Princess Nine Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & 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. #4

By Chris Beveridge     May 11, 2002
Release Date: May 28, 2002


Princess Nine Vol. #4
© ADV Films


What They Say
Just when it looked like Japan was getting ready to accept the Princesses, a maelstrom of tragedies tear the all-girls baseball team asunder! As the Parents Association attempts to shut down the baseball program, Yoko and Kanako are pulled from the team and the revelation of the secrets in Ryo's past leave the young pitcher devastated and alone. Will the sins of her father drive Ryo to edge of destruction? The remnants of the team race to the rescue in the fourth explosive volume of Princess Nine!

The Review!
The big cliffhanger from the previous volume gets settled here and the show moves off into a rather unexpected direction, especially from the characters perspective. Add in some really bad cliffhangers within these episodes and things really put you through the wringer here.

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:
The transfer for this volume is a bit better than the previous one, in that the cross coloration overall is less apparent. There’s still some aliasing during panning sequences and the jitter from the original editing shows through strong in some areas, sometimes much more so than in others. Colors look good and we didn’t notice anything in the form of bad artifacting.

Packaging:
The front cover has a great shot of the two rivals, Ryo and Izumi, each sporting their own confident looks with a good cloudy background behind them and Seira getting some placement as well. The little varmint with the bowtie is… odd. The back cover features several animation and menu shots as well as a decent summary of the episodes. The discs features and production credits are also listed clearly. The insert shows the front cover artwork again while the reverse side lists the previews and the episode numbers and titles, which is the only place that these useful bits of information show up.

Menu:
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. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is easy to use and set up pretty logically.

Extras:
Karaoke fans are going to be really happy with this release. The new extra included here is karaoke versions of the opening and ending, provided in two flavors. One flavor has the music and the vocals playing while the other is just the music. The video side of both has the romaji lyrics with the English translation underneath. What makes it amusing and fun to watch is that the little white ball bouncing over the romaji is a baseball. These karaoke videos are done very well and will provide some fun for a lot of people. The disc also brings out the usual extras with more Japanese and English voice actress profiles and the inclusion of the clean opening and ending again.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The big thing with this disc is the way the teams’ first game plays out, which was going rather badly at the end of the last episode. Suffice to say, I won’t talk about that episode at all, as there’s just way too much good stuff going on here and it’s all connected to each other.

After it’s all over though, win or lose, things are definitely different for them. With the game being broadcast locally, everyone garnered a fair amount of attention and reporters are all over them trying to figure out what makes them tick and why they play baseball. Some of them handle it better than others, such as Yoko soaking up all the limelight she can get, enough so that she actually gets scouted, to someone like Izumi whose dealt with this before with her mother, and knows how to avoid the reporters and their probing questions.

All of this attention gets to the eye of one person who works for a sports paper. He’s been around the world of baseball for years and years, and seeing the images of Ryo brings to mind something that he used to report on. The name helps ring the bell, and he pushes his assistant forward to getting more information about Ryo’s father. As it turns out, her father was involved in a baseball scandal nearly twenty years earlier that involved payouts for losing games, according to a bookie. Hidehiko ended up being one of several players who were banned from baseball for life.

This is all completely new to Ryo and she’s shocked beyond belief. This spills into a huge amount of local media coverage and sends all sorts of people into a tizzy. Students at the school are shocked about it, and many of them want the entire team kicked out of the school since they’re just not as proper. The Parents Association seems to attract the most ludicrous people and they’re pushing for all kinds of things and come off as the type of person you just want to hurt. Badly. All of this works against the group psychologically and begins to wear them down.

The majority of these episodes deal with the scandal and how they’re all dealing with it as well as other issues that have come up. There’s plenty of solid character development throughout it as well, which is what’s making this show as enjoyable as it is. When watching the game in the first episode, you continue to be struck by the way the creators have actually made baseball interesting and exciting to someone who generally does not care for the game at all.

Things don’t drop off at all here, and the show continues to ride strongly through this arc with its strong push of character growth and team development. This is good stuff and something I’m glad I’ve been able to enjoy as much as I have. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Voice actress profiles,Textless open and close credits,Outtakes,Behind the scenes features

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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