Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: A+
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 19.98
- Running time: 125
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Princess Nine
Princess Nine Vol. #1
By Edmund Lee
February 16, 2002
Release Date: October 23, 2001
After many months waiting, it finally arrived on my doorstep and as quickly as it came, I quickly ripped off the plastic wrap around it and gave it a good spin on my DVD player. After watching all 5 episodes twice, once in English and another in Japanese, I came out greatly satisfied.
First episode we are introduced to Ryo Hayakawa, the secret weapon of the Wild Cats. It turns out she is one fast pitcher, and no one has yet to hit a good ball from her. This of course creates interest with the Chairwoman of Kisaragi High, Keiko Himuro, and she decides to form the very first and only Girls Baseball team to compete against the boy's only competition. Of course there were opposition to her ideas, but she isn't worried about that. Also we get a glimpse of Izumi Himuro, the star tennis player of Kisaragi Girls High, and Hiroki "the genius slugger" Takasugi of Kisaragi Boys High. At the end of the episode, Ryo gets challenge to a pitching match with some baseball goons and she soon makes quick work of them. And surprise, surprise, Hiroki happens to be there and decides to challenge Ryo himself. Hello cliffhanger ending.
The second episode, the challenge begins as the "genius slugger" goes up against Ryo. Surprisingly enough he is able to hit Ryo's pitches, which shocked everybody, including the Chairwoman, who was watching in the shadows. After a couple of foul balls, the third pitch shattered Hiroki's bat as he went to slug it. From then on, Hiroki is now Ryo's boyfriend and goes on to call her Ganmo-chan/Tofu, which irritates her to no end. Later she gets a free scholarship to Kisaragi Girls High. The catch? Play baseball for the school of course! Ryo hesitates for a moment until her mother told her to follow her dream and play baseball and not to worry about her.
On the third episode, Ryo goes to an interview with the Chairwoman and we learn a bit more about Ryo. Of course the Chairwoman has already decided long before that Ryo will attend Kisaragi High. This doesn't sit well with both Izumi and the Principal, though she isn't too fazed by it. Later on during the show, a "show down" between Izumi and Ryo begins. First, a tennis match then a baseball pitch off. After all that, they begin to respect each other's abilities.
The fourth episode on this disc begins with introductions to 2 new members that also took up the scholarship to play baseball, Hikaru Yoshimoto and Yuki Ayuma. And they are officially introduced to Shinsaku Kido aka Beer Breath/Coach Drunk, their coach, much to their disappointment. The second half on this episode, the coach is asked to go scout out another girl, a fiery redhead named Seira Morimura. After much arguments and miscommunication, Seira "agreed" to join the team.
Lastly on the final episode of this disc, we are introduced to the manager of the team, Nene Mori. I think I'm in love with her. There's always something about blue hair girls in anime that are very mysterious. Soon after, the Chairwoman has found another potential player for the team, Koharu Hotta, who has a unique batting style called the "Wave Motion Swing". Ryo goes to get Koharu by herself since the coach slept in late again. It was difficult to convince Koharu to join, because in a way it reflects on Ryo's original dilemma, and after being strike out in a pitching match, only then she agreed to come along.
One thing I like to get straight, this is not Battle Athletes. Why? Because it isn't. I never like comparing shows against one another unless it's blatantly obvious, especially with Battle Athletes. So with that out of the way, I would say this is a good change to most other anime I have because it's soooo, I dunno, down to earth. It's a rarity to find this sort of thing in most of today's anime releases. The main heart of the show is the characters themselves. It's the belief in dreams that the show is trying to get across with the characters, and it does so in a way that never seem so out of place. And the background music! Having a real orchestra, especially the Warsaw Philharmonic, really does put more emotion in key scenes. The baseball side of the story seems to take second place at the moment, but I assume it would change a bit later on during the series.
The video on this disc is excellent. There were shimmering on the menus and in some bits of the show, but this is mainly due to my equipment. Can't really complain here.
Audio is superb. The only thing I noticed is that the Japanese track has more directionality than the dub. Apart from that, there's nothing to complain about.
Extras we have here are creditless opening and ending, character statistics, and some trailers. Since I like the opening and ending so much (I like the ending more), this will get high marks from me. The statistics are basically profiles of the girls that appear during these 5 episodes on the disc. And there are 6 trailers from ADV's catalogue.
Now onto the dub. Seeing as I started the infamous "Guess the dub VA" thread in the AnimeonDVD forums not so long ago, you can say I really like listening to the dub. Every actor in the dub really bring their roles to life, although there were a few times some of the dialogue got a bit off, i.e. during the nice explanation of Sato talk, overall its greatly well done. I still can't get over how well Jennifer Earhart plays Nene ;).
Overall, I was highly entertained. For such a great price with this amount of episode on this disc, add to the fact that this is one high standard disc with a great show, make no hesitations about it and get this disc now.
Panasonic SA-HT80, Sharp 25" X-51F4