Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 19.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Princess Princess
Princess Princess Vol. #2
By Chris Beveridge
July 23, 2007
Release Date: July 10, 2007
Princess Princess Vol. #2
What They Say
© Media Blasters
Tooru Kouno has become a campus princess, dressing up as a girl and using his pretty-boy looks to add some color to the dreary world of his all-boys school. He's been given a special mission to put on a concert, but his fellow Princess, Mikoto, is completely tone-deaf. As the Princesses struggle to perfect their act, Tooru has the feeling that they are not alone. Have they attracted the attention of a stalker?
Meanwhile, the director of Fujmori Academy steps down, and his son takes over. Shocked at the existence of the Princess System, the new director decides to do everything in his power to destroy it!The Review!
Why do men in dresses end up becoming so damn appealing?Audio:
Media Blasters has opted to provide only a single Japanese language track for this release, which is in stereo at 192 kbps. The show is basically a dialogue piece with little in terms of directionality or placement outside of some music cues. There isn't a lot of depth to the scenes either as the characters are all generally at the same placement. While it's not a mix that will excite in terms of what it presents, it is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback. Video:
Originally airing in 2006, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Similar to other shows such as Gakuen Heaven, the show is designs with a lot of soft backgrounds, strong vibrant colors in the character designs and not a lot of movement at times. With it being dialogue driven and all about looking pretty, it succeeds in that area for the most part. The transfer in general looks good with solid if soft backgrounds and clean looking character artwork. Where the main issue lies with it is in the various pans and zooms that occur in that there is some rolling and line noise. Some of it is fairly distracting while other instances are pretty minimal but still noticeable.Packaging:
Using the same artwork and framing as the Japanese release but brightening up the background to make it more appealing, the cover certainly promotes the pretty boy and attractive girl aspects. Yujikata's design looks great here in both forms though his student uniform version has him looking particularly evil with the way his face is done. The back cover continues with the light colors with a few shots from the show framed nicely alongside the summary. The discs production information and technical information fills out a good portion of it and is well laid out and easy to read. No insert is included with this release nor is there a reversible cover.Menu:
The menu takes various elements from the cover and uses the light style with a dash of vocals from the series. The right half has the cover artwork from the Japanese release while the left side features the navigation menu. The font used for the title and navigation is a bit awkward though certainly stylish. With nothing on the disc besides the show and some trailers, navigation is simple and easy. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets though I'm sure it was a non-issue anyway due to there not even being a sign/song track on here.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Princess Princess certainly came as a surprise during its first installment as a show that proved to be far more enjoyable than it should. The combination of humor, character designs and the kind of wild-takes that are done with the cast worked perfectly. Adding in a reasonable enough reason for all of it and some cute stories along the way and Princess Princess simply charmed itself into my collection.
The second installment of episodes manages to replicate the charm of the first and building upon it. Some more interesting elements are brought into play and the overall demeanor of the show becomes a lot more engaging. At the same time, it remains a very pretty looking show with some great character designs that should not be as pretty as they are. If there's ever a series of feminine male designs that will make you question yourself, these are them. It's amusing that those outside the school that discover who they are tend to find themselves in the same position of disbelief at first but then succumbing to the apparent charms. It also doesn't hurt that a lot of people in high places in this series participated in the princess program themselves many years ago.
The stories in this volume range from the cute and fun to the more serious. Well, as serious as a show about guys as girls can be. The opening tale is an interesting one as a model scout has caught a glimpse of the girls previously and has been trying to hunt them down ever since. He's prowling around the school grounds taking shots while trying to figure out how to get closer. Though he's unseen for most of this, his presence is felt in different ways and it sets everyone on edge until they can figure it out. While this is the main plot, the more interesting story is the one that continues to bring Akira Sakamoto more into the group. With his role as a future president seemingly assured, the training he's getting by Arisada has him doing a lot of work with the princesses.
The arrival of Akira in the previous volume didn't seem to signify too much but it gets far more interesting with these episodes. With his family history with the school, there's a certain curiosity that's built up among the three princesses over what his older brother is like. The summer months have moved Mikoto from the picture for a bit so we're down to just Tohru and Yujikata. The two have certainly grown close since the start of the series and working closer together during the summer has made them rather good friends and on the same wavelength. The potential to finally meet this great former president has them angling to spend time at Akira's place which is fascinating for several reasons.
With his family being made up of six members, Akira is to his belief the most normal looking of them all. This is actually fairly true since everyone in his family is almost comically beautiful when taken in full. His mother is mistaken for being in her late teens or early twenties at best, his older sister is easily mistaken as a beautiful young man and his younger brother is mistaken for a younger sister. When his older brother, the former "Mr. Sakamoto" arrives, it gets even more amusing as he's such a great looking guy but has a huge brother complex with Akira in the way he protects and adores him. The whole family is wacky in their own way but in the few minutes that they all spend together it's crafted just right in portraying them as a very close knit group.
The biggest challenge there is for the cast during these episodes is when the new semester kicks off and they learn that a new director for the school is arriving. The son of the previous director, Ryuzaki has come to see what's going on at the insistence of his father. To his surprise he learns about the Princess Program without any prior knowledge about it and is aghast by it. That puts Arisada in the position of having to show him exactly why it's so important for the school and its students. Tohru and Yujikata are all for it as they're very much dedicated to the cause of the princesses now for different reasons but they have to contend with the weak link that is Mikoto. Though the episode doesn't play out in any unexpected ways, it's amusingly well done with some great little nods about the scope of the entire program.In Summary:
Princess Princess is one of those series that shouldn't be as good as it is. Just about everything it does works well as it mixes it all together. The characters are positively fun, the designs are great even if they do make you question yourself and the comedy is just right. In particular I keep coming back to the little wild-take moments where they get either super-deformed or over the top in their princess mode. There isn't anything terribly original here but it's a concept that's executed in such a great way that it rises above itself. Fans of the series will love this next installment and those willing to take the chance may well be rewarded by trying this out, particularly since it's available at a low price.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI set to 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.