Princess Tutu Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Princess Tutu

Princess Tutu Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     October 13, 2005
Release Date: November 29, 2005


Princess Tutu Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
Her magic is unexplainable and spinning out of control! Darkness hid the pieces of her beloved's shattered heart and time's running out for Princess Tutu to find them. Using the power of an enchanted amulet, she must uncover the mystery and keep herself and the Prince alive.

The Review!
Tutu continues to capture the fragments of Mytho's heart but is what she's doing actually helping or hurting her love?

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its English language adaptation. To my surprise, this is one of the few new series from ADV that didn't get a 5.1 mix for its English mix but it still comes across very well with its stereo mix. The show is obviously richly filled with music and that doesn't fail to sound beautiful here at all. Mixed in with both subtle and very outgoing dialogue throughout all the episodes, the stereo mix does a good job of handling the basic directionality and depth that it requires and turns out a solid performance. During regular playback, we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally airing in 2002, the transfer for Princess Tutu is presented here in its original full frame aspect ratio. This is one of those series where the colors and style of coloring used is critical for the shows presentation in that it's a major part of the mood and not just another part of every day life. The slightly washed out and dulled feel, an almost brushed on look in many places, is very well achieved here and the authoring bears it out with wonderfully solid looking backgrounds and very clean looking characters who don't exhibit any noticeable blocking in their large areas of single color. Aliasing is extremely minimal and cross coloration was nowhere to be found. There were a couple of areas where some very slight color gradation could be seen but it didn't make much of an impact for the few seconds it was visible.

Packaging:
While the artwork isn't from the Japanese covers we are getting some good looking pieces here and a good design overall. The front cover for this release has a very whimsical and magical shot of Tutu and Mytho together in their finery as they dance close together as sparkles and feathers fall all about. The back cover has a good selection of images through the center while the top half provides the summary of the premise. The bottom half lists the discs episode numbers and titles and rounds it out with the list of extras. The discs technical and production information fill out the very bottom of the listing. Due to this being an early copy there isn't an insert like the first volume. The cover is fully reversible for this release and the alternating images of a much darker part of the story are well played out here. The reverse side front cover has a great image of Princess Kraehe in her full outfit against a darkened red wall background with black feathers falling about. The back cover to the reverse side has a series of character shots inside the gears of Drosselmeyer and a somewhat older looking image of Fakir. The cover has a good summary of the premise and the discs features and technical information is all clearly listed and easy to read..

Menu:
The main menu is a relaxing piece that uses the artwork of Tutu from the main cover off to the side while the background has a mixture of the sparkles, golden feathers and the moving gears that dominate so many scenes throughout the show. It's a good mix of the bright and happy along with the machinations of Drosselmeyer underneath as the simple instrumental piece plays. Access times are nice and fast and navigation is easy with instant access to each episode. As is standard with ADV releases, our players language presets were properly read and played accordingly.

Extras:
Similar to the first volume, there's a good chunk of extras included for this release. The opening and closing sequences are done in their clean format and there's a new round of dub outtakes from the show. A staff commentary is done for an episode on this volume as well with the shows DVD producer and the ADR scriptwriter. The Etude section is back again covering some of the music from within the show and the ballet for beginners continues to round out some of the basics about the style. The one that proved fun to watch for me is the new In the Studio segment that has several of the voice actors going through their lines and working through the performances. As enjoyable as they all are, the one that continues to impress me the most is watching Luci Christian as Duck, a lot of times just because it doesn't seem possible that the voice she's using for Duck could be coming from her. It works great in the show but hearing it come from her instead is just weird at times. It's also amusing to watch her facial features as she gets into the character and uses that to accentuate the reactions and sounds.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a ten month delay between the first and second volume, Princess Tutu picks up once more and it's surprisingly easy to just jump right back into it and the show came back very quickly within the first couple of minutes. The magic and charm of the show isn't diminished in the slightest by the delay nor does the constant arguing of certain elements of it among fandom seem to affect it once you sit down and watch, something for which I'm extremely grateful.

As enjoyable and engaging as the show is, I do find it rather difficult to talk about and express what it's going through. At the center of things, Tutu is going through her range of emotions and feelings about wanting to help Mytho recapture his heart so he can feel and be himself again. She has enough issues with it in general such as wanting to avoid Fakir who is growing increasingly mean to her about her wanting to get close to Mytho as well as Rue who she knows is fated for Mytho. A lot of her angst comes down to her realization that she is simply a duck and that she can't really be what she wants to be to Mytho so she's more than willing to go through all that she's doing just so that he can be happy, even if she's not the one to really make him happy.

Naturally, nobody else knows this is her role that she's set to play so she gets brushed off easily enough. What she's done so far though has certainly made an impact on Mytho as he's started to gain a bit more confidence and assurance about himself as well as a real curiosity about what's going on. Fakir's been able to restrain him simply with words for so long that now, after gaining another shard of his heart, Mytho is less than compliant. After getting a letter from Duck about meeting outside, he's as adamant as he can be about going there and Fakir's words fall flat, though they'd surely work against Duck should he use them. Watching the slow but growing changes in Mytho as the various pieces of his personality become restored via his heart is a lot of fun to watch, especially when they start showing up in his face and voice more and more.

What really made this particular volume for me is the introduction of someone new to the scene with the arrival of Princess Kraehe. Similar to Duck and how she turns into Tutu, Rue now has something similar as certain stimulus will give her the ability to transform into Kraehe though unlike with Tutu, she doesn't remember any of it when the event is over. Rue's been following and watching how closely Duck and Mytho have been getting together and it's slowly pushing her further and further along so that when she as Kraehe learns about Mytho's heart, she realizes that she'll love him regardless of whether he has one or not and simply wants to stop Tutu from hurting him any further as well as stopping her from getting any closer to her. The arrival of a crow based character in the game of course throws Fakir for a loop as he's already taking on a new tact in order to control Mytho. Everything simply gets more complex for him after a few simple scenes here.

There are a lot of changes that go on during this set of episodes and the characters are pretty much unlike they were at the start as things have evolved quickly but without seeming like it until you sit back afterwards and reflect on it. Some of the most fun you can have with this volume is watching how Drosselmeyer goes from simply observing and keeping an eye on things to his active moments and just how important everyone's parts are, never mind how they must do their part regardless of their feelings. His scenes are a bit creepy in general but visually they're very exciting with the way the gears work into everything, especially when they simply fall out from a shadow or appear when you least expect it.

In Summary:
Princess Tutu has certainly been a tempest in a teapot because of the delay in discs but at the end of the day – and more importantly, at the end of the series – what we will have is a very well produced and beautiful release. While I'm sure many will hold grudges, this is the kind of issue that's important at the time but in the long run is meaningless. This volume reaffirms what I had seen in the first volume and it continues to rattle around in my head long after first seeing it. So much happens in these four episodes that it's highly deceptive until it all hits home just how much the main characters have changed and grown in this time, something that some series can barely do over a full run. Princess Tutu is definitely a show that will charm and delight but will also chill as you can see the dark side to it showing itself much more clearly now. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Staff Commentary with Mariela Ortiz (DVD Producer) & Mike Yantosca (ADR Writer),Clean Opening Animation,Clean Closing Animation,ADR Outtakes,Étude, Ballet for Beginners,In the Studio

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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