Princess Tutu Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 14 & Up
  • 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     January 24, 2006
Release Date: January 24, 2006


Princess Tutu Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
A klutzy teen is transformed into a magical ballerina princess, but don't let that fool you! Dajrk and sophisticated, this mordernf fairy tale is more Brother Grimm than Disney

The Review!
The first arc of the series comes to a strong close as the quest to save Mytho's heart reaches a critical stage.

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:
Hoping that darkness will sell it better than light, the front cover for this release goes with a Princess Kraehe piece that has her pulling Mytho's heart into her embrace as the darkness of her powers surrounds them. It's an enticing shot with some good designs to it and a layout that pulls in a lot of elements from the show just right. 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 it's more aimed at the lighter "Tutu" side of the show with her and Mytho doing their dance together. The back cover is laid out in a much simpler but more elegant manner as it covers the summary, more pictures from the show and the rest of the same information from the main cover. While I like some of the darkness of the front cover that's used I'm still reversing this series to provide a consistent light look to it. The insert has what looks to be the original artwork that the Mytho/Tutu character piece came from while the reverse side of it has a commentary by the show's director about their introduction to the property.

Menu:
The main menu is a relaxing piece that uses the artwork of Tutu from the riverside side 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 previous volumes, there's a good chunk of extras included for this release. The opening and closing sequences are done in their clean format which is a continual good point. There's also a new voice actor commentary for one episode. 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. New to this volume we get a pre-production promotional video for the show that's very interesting to watch to see how it evolved from concept to reality.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the third volume of the series, Princess Tutu brings the opening arc of the storyline to a close and for many, they may be surprised that there are more volumes after this one. In fact, the arc ends on such a solid note that this is one of those volumes that really needed a preview of the next volume that ADV's been including lately – but not on this release.

As the storyline has progressed, we've seen changes in the characters as their real roles in the grand story have been revealed now that things are going forward. We've seen how Mytho is becoming more and more alive and human as his shards are returned to him but we've also seen some of the more interesting revelations about how Rue was just the façade of what's really the crow behind it all. Tutu's own changes have been less obvious as she's grown along the way in how she cares for those around her. Her arc isn't so much watching her grow and change but more to understanding just how caring and true she is to those she cares about and just how much of herself she's willing to give to her friends. Tutu's the kind of character in this story who is the catalyst for everything else and who she is doesn't really change much.

The one character that really changes a lot throughout this both himself and in the viewers perception of the character is Fakir. His original position of simply protecting Mytho and keeping him from gaining back his heart seemed a cruel thing as if there was some sinister plan that he had in mind for him and that he needed him to be kept in that form. As it's gone on we've learned more about the nature of the story and what it all means but until this volume we weren't able to see what was really motivating Fakir to the level he's at. Being able to see his origin of sorts and understand his position as the Knight and what keeps him from being as potent as he should be makes him a fare more accessible and sympathetic character. This is brought out even more strongly due to the way Tutu tries to continually work with him so they can achieve what's basically the same goal. Her simple nature and open heart allows him to see Mytho in a way he hadn't realized and gives him the strength to really go forward with what he has to do for his part in the tale.

With the culmination of so many events in this set of episodes, Princess Tutu achieves some really high notes for its short run in the arc. The first thirteen episodes of the series just come together in such a perfect way here at the end, bringing all of the disparate characters together under Drosselmeyer's view, so that we can see the story play out like it has before but with the several of the characters being more self aware of what's really transpiring. The music and dance continue to be a strong element in the show but it reaches a really new level here as the final battles play out. It's the kind of thing where if you're talking about it, it sounds almost campy and corny, but a final battle done through ballet is very engaging here with the lives that are on the line.

If there's anything to complain about with this volume it's a scene early on with Mr. Cat where he gets so flustered about how the girls are talking so much that he proceeds to clean himself right then and there. It's a visual you simply do not want.

In Summary:
Princess Tutu really hits every mark right on this volume which is saying a lot considering how excellent the first two volumes were. Everything that had been built up and laid out in those volumes is peeled back beautifully here so that it's all easy to understand and so that it all comes down to the heart and intent of the characters portrayed through their dance. While there is always room to explore some of the characters a bit more, those that need the full fleshing out here, such as Fakir and what we get of Duck, are well covered and their pasts and how they're able to work with each other allows the final episodes to be tense, tragic and simply beautiful. There's a reason this show is loved but such a wide range of people and it's one that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. Very highly recommended.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Voice Actor Commentary,Clean Opening Animation,Clean Closing Animation,Étude,Ballet for Beginners,In the Studio,Pre-Production Promotional Video

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set to 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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