Princess Nine Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Princess Nine

Princess Nine Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     February 22, 2002
Release Date: March 26, 2002


Princess Nine Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
The all-girls baseball team - the Princesses - launch themselves into a grueling training schedule. But even with the strength of Ryo's pitching and Koharu's batting, the team's inexperience proves to be their Achilles Heel. As the critical first game arrives, their only hope may lie in Coach Kido's bag of tricks.

Meanwhile, Keiko makes a second assault on the High School Baseball Association, only to be joined by an unexpected ally.

The Review!
The third volume of Princess Nine really takes things up a few notches. While we had plenty of angst and drama as Izumi and Ryo tried to hone their skills and prove themselves in the first two volumes, these episodes go beyond the two personalities and take in the whole team. And they play ball!

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The stereo soundtrack continues to sound pretty solid with a good use of the forward soundstage with some subtle directionality across it. Dialogue is mostly center channel based as expected with the music making good use of the stereo channels. Neither the English or Japanese track had any noticeable dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Things continue to look good here much as the first two volumes did. The colors are solid but not overly saturated, cross coloration is minimal and backgrounds look nicely solid. The only complaint is just the same as the other two volumes in that a lot of the camera panning sequences, of which the show has a good number of small ones, you get the jumpy linework. Somewhat annoying to me, but definitely not mind-numbing.

Packaging:
Izumi gets the top spot for this cover with a striking full color pose with the bat while she gets another blue colored in-action post in the background against the setting sun. It's a solid looking cover and while it doesn't soften the character up, it definitely shows her personality. The back cover provides a few screenshots and menu shots along with the brief summary and the usual round of production credits. Features are clearly listed but episode titles and numbers are non-existent, which hurts since there's no proper volume numbering going on here.

Menus:
The main menu replicates the front cover artwork with the usual array of selections. There's a tiny bit of animation during menu transitions and music playing along, sort of like elevator toe-tapping stuff that will eventually drive you insane. I should know, I've had it on repeat in my headphones for 20 minutes now while I've been prepping this review. Insanity looms around the corner.

Extras:
There's a variety of extras to be found here. The original extra is a look into the origins of baseball in Japan where it's not set in myth like it is in the US. This is several pages long and very enlightening and goes a long way in filling in some of the cultural blanks from the show itself. We also get another round of English voice actor credits but we also get some Japanese ones this time. The only downside is that there's no accompanying photographs, but the information is very welcomed. The textless opening and ending also make another appearance here.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While we've definitely been enjoying thise series over the first two volumes, the third volume really brings the show into its stride and the characters are all getting more screentime together and working together more.

The show opens with the girls playing against the Meio junior high school boys team. The majority of the episode focuses on the team playing the game and all the things that go right and wrong during it. While things go right early on, the other team eventually starts figuring out their weaknesses and begin to take advantage of it.

Unsurprisingly, Izumi decides to help out and arrives in her uniform and helps bring the team to victory. Those who couldn't see this coming may have never seen shows that play along with these kinds of rules before. Either that or they missed the eye-catch that lists her as the fourth batter and third baseman. So Izumi ends up on the team, but as she puts it, to make sure they don't fail as embarrassingly bad as they would if she wasn't there. Well, at least she speaks her mind.

We then get a few episodes that revolve around getting the team to be accepted well enough to play in Koshien. The men in charge still refuse to let them play so the chairwoman continues to devise ways to get her team accepted. Meanwhile, there's more practice to be had and some hardships to be overcome by at least one of the team members whose struggling to keep up. It's well done in that it takes a non-standard approach to the problem and the character doesn't really wuss out over it all.

Izumi's mother eventually wrangles a game against one of the Koshien regular teams with the stakes being her teams ability to be accepted into the league to play. Using the media to her advantage, the game is set and the Kisaragi girls team goes up to play against some real talented players.

I refuse to spoil it at all, suffice to say that the entire fourth episode here is devoted entirely to the game, but it again proved to be one of the very few times I was actually interested enough in baseball to watch a game. It's very well done and brings some new light to the characters.

Princess Nine is doing a great job of developing a wide range of characters and having other characters manipulate them to their own advantage while also helping them learn the ways of the world that they need to survive. Combined with some great looking animation during the games, I'm really enjoying this series even more now.

And Yuki with her alien Fifi are just too hilarious here!

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Profiles of the English and Japanese voice actresses,History of baseball in Japan,Textless open and close credits

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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