Princess Tutu Vol. #6 - 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     July 11, 2006
Release Date: July 25, 2006


Princess Tutu Vol. #6
© ADV Films


What They Say
A story's birth is a sudden event: the start, a happy accident; the end, the fate for which it's meant. Cruel the story without an end. But the stasis of the status quo can soothe the sick and weary soul. Why leave the shadow puppet show and the safety of the cave? A hunger stark is a driving gale; against the dark, the light seems pale, for certain doomed and bound to fail. Foolish Pandora, foolish Duck. The Raven's army circled round, released at last and gaining ground. Whither would our heroes' feet: to triumph or the grave?


The Review!
Bringing everything to conclusion with many revelations and a sense of the epic, Princess Tutu brings together a highly satisfying ending.

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:
Probably the best way to end the series in terms of artwork without going with the obvious Tutu image is to do what we get here with Uzura and Duck in her duck mode moving along with the gears darkly in the background. The bright flared feathers sticking into the ground behind them add the right amount of light to it as well. 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. The single page insert for this volume has a series of text interviews with the Japanese voice actors for Tutu and Mr. Cat. The reverse side of the cover has the lighter side of the show but like the front cover it twists it around as well by having the light background accented by Tutu and Fakir in their full dress outfits performing together.

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:
Closing out the series in terms of extras, there is some good material here. For English language fans, there's a new voice actor commentary for an episode and for those wanting to know more about how the release was put together, a new staff commentary as well. The opening and closing sequences return for another clean rendition and Etude has its finale as well. The last installment of In The Studio covers sessions by Jay Hickman, Marcy Bannor, Jessica Boone, Chris Patton and Luci Christian. Jessica and Luci in particular were a lot of fun to watch as they both got so emotional about the ending episodes and performances, especially since some of that emotion had to make it into the characters as well, that you can see easily just how much these actors get into their roles and care about their characters and performances. The last round of split episode previews are included from when the show aired in parts and the final TV special is also here, Vorfinale, which covers a good chunk of the last two volumes in an abbreviated form.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The conclusion to Princess Tutu brings you to a place where you're both so very excited to see how it all comes together at long last but also where you lament that it's truly over. With so much of the story in the last volume dealing with the conclusions of stories and how they must end, it's bittersweet that the same must apply to the very show we're watching. While it gets a touch self-referential in a way, it does it with just the right amount of a wink before sending the viewer off to feel really good about how it all ends.

The last four episodes of the series brings a number of changes that have been building up. As we've seen from Fakir, through Autor he's learned of his heritage and is struggling heavily with how to deal with it. A new weight has landed on his shoulders as he has to find a way to save Mytho through it but nothing is coming, which only infuriates Autor since he believes that he should be the one that should be writing and changing the world. For Tutu, she's in the mode of trying to figure out how to help the best as Drosselmeyer plies her with suggestions that may not be in her best interest since he's far more interested in seeing the tragedy play out more than any sort of happy ending. This view of Drosselmeyer's is quite a lot of fun since he's so openly honest about it.

Some of the most interesting material on this volume that goes a long way to extending the replay value of the series is that we see Rue's past both as a child and as she becomes Kraehe. Understanding her true motivations behind everything and the amount of time that she and Mytho have spent together does a beautiful job of tying those two characters together far more closely than we'd believed before and making it clear why there was just such a relationship, even as Mytho's heart wasn't anywhere near the same as it should be. Be it Kraehe or Rue, the character to me had little real appeal beyond being the dark femme fatale of the series and providing a counterpoint to Tutu's light, but the origin for her really changes things a lot and she becomes a fully dimensional character.

Of course, the most visually challenged character of the final volume is Mytho as he has to deal with a lot of things going on. We've never seen him at his true self during the course of the series and only aspects of him when the shards have been returned. Even worse, along the way he got the shard dipped in the raven's blood which led to him shifting to something darker and more unlike his true self that pinning down his real nature got to be more difficult. The culmination of recent events has led him to a stark visual transformation into that of a mixed human/raven that's positively eerie, especially as it starts to do the ballet moves. With the Raven trying its best to tempt and acquire him, seeing him make this sharp transformation from his already darkened nature is surprising when first seen and almost shocking.

Of course, there are some sweet twists that come into play, such as Uzura's real nature, the discovery of the final shards location and some more of the real nature of the world Drosselmeyer has created here. Watching him watch as it plays out and causes its effects is very entertaining since he's almost giddy with how the tragedy occurs. Sometimes it's the little stuff that makes a show and Tutu is filled with a lot of it, from how Tutu has to deal with her own role in the grand scheme of things to Fakir's own past and how it's affected him. In a way, while the show has many brilliant small and personal moments, it's the fact that the main lead characters are all looking at the big picture that makes this so enjoyable. While many shows deal with casts that are focused on themselves or getting close to someone, Princess Tutu has been focused on freeing someone and ending a cycle of destruction and tragedy so that everyone can live free. It's a great change of pace that still has plenty of the small personal moments that make it so much more.

In Summary:
Steeped in fables and other tales often told to children these days, Princess Tutu is a beautiful combination of a lot of fantastic elements that are given a strong basis in a form of reality from our past. Bringing it together through the form of ballet and classical music, it stands out against just about every other show out there which would normally just be a marketing gimmick but they make it integral to the story itself. Free of fluff and filler, set with a single goal and a real sense of beauty in order to tell it all, Princess Tutu is not only a gem in the catalog of ADV Films but a gem in the realm of anime releases in general. This is one of the shows that should have strong crossover appeal to the mainstream since it has a lot of familiar elements to it. While maybe not the best introduction to anime, it is a series that should be in just about everyone's library.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Staff commentary on episode 24 by Fumiko Chino and Mike Yantosca,Voice actor commentary from Luci Christian and Chris Patton, Split Episode Previews,Tutu TV special Vorfinale,Etude,In the Studio,Interviews with the Japanese Staff (text),Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 player via DVI set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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