Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: A
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 3 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: TOKYOPOP
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Saint Tail
Saint Tail Vol. #4
By Chris Beveridge
March 17, 2002
Release Date: March 12, 2002
Saint Tail Vol. #4
What They Say
Saint Tail #4: Moonlight Episodes 12*15: "Surprise! The Large Lizard Santa Clause?!", "Mystical Princess Rosa's Mirror", "The Platform Of Love And Tears", "Run After A Jewel Thief! Little, Naughty".The Review!
This installment of Saint Tail brings another four episodes of bilingual goodness to fans of Meimi and her tales of young girls doing good things in the middle of the night in skimpy outfits.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The shows soundtrack continues to be a bit lower than normal but not to a point of being problematic. There's nothing in the way of rear speaker directionality going on here and only slightly more with the forward soundstage. It's a decent sounding track, but you don't really expect much from a show that almost feels like it's supposed to be quiet.Video:
The transfer is definitely on par with the previous volume, so things still look somewhat grainy and almost a little fuzzy, but more film like than a lot of other TV shows. Colors are nice looking and backgrounds maintain their solidity without any noticeable major macroblocking. Cross coloration is practically zero with only a few strays here and there.Packaging:
The cover this volume sports is a nice character pose of Saint Tail against a large moon in the background and looks nice but I'm not sure how well it'll grab someone at the retail level. The back cover provides a couple of animation shots and a good listing of the discs features. There's also a couple paragraph summary of the shows premise and a listing of the episode numbers and titles as well as a brief description of that episode. Menus:
The Nightjar menus continue to provide a great way to star the disc once you get past the logos and all, with it's use of the simple soft music and a nice partially static piece of animation that plays in a loop. Access times are nice and fast and moving around is just as I'd want it to be, with a solid layout and easy to check selections.Extras:
The only extra included on this volume is a good textless ending version of the first ending. Watching it, you realize just how much you miss when you pay more attention to the credits than to the animation itself.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the problems in reviewing a series like Saint Tail is that for a lot of it, particularly in the beginning, it's very repetitive for the action sequences, which are laid out in a similar fashion from episode to episode, but the really juicy stuff that takes place is so spread out that talking about it covers every last nugget of good stuff that's not made up of the villain/theft of the week. That happens with this volume as well.
The individual stories are pretty good during this volume, though some are certainly more entertaining than others. An early episode that deals with the near-Christmastime theft of a girls little lizzard provides some really good moments when Saint Tail arrives in the home of the little bully to take it back only to find out that it really is a lizzard, and she can't bring herself to even touch the thing. This is played in parallel with her relationship with Asuka Jr. as she continues to be frustrated with him and his one-track mind over Saint Tail. She even goes so far as to break her promise of leaving him a note and does the lizzard job on her own.
Something of a weaker episode deals with Saint Tail being asked to retrieve a bicycle. The American whose been riding it has taken it all over the country so he can see all the real sights of Japan, but during his last day in Japan and in Tokyo, while talking with a pretty girl, his bike gets stolen by a little kid. Of course, they can't go to the police since they don't exactly want to the kid to get in trouble. So it's off to the local church where their prayers and hopes get sent to Saint Tail to deal with. The underlying layer of this show is based in a more classical romance from a movie a bunch of the girls saw early on, but the whole thing about it being a bike stolen from an adult being the cause of it all just doesn't play well with me for some reason.
One of the better episodes on the disc brings Sawatari back into play in the school. While he's essentially stalking the streets at night looking for a scoop, he comes across one where two guys are stealing a mirror that the owner doesn't want auctioned off due to its famous origins. Sawatari snaps a few pics of the people and car, at the least getting thelicense plate. His next move? To make it the lead story in the school newspaper with Saint Tail being the culprit in all of it, even though she was never around or mentitoned during the entire "heist" from what he could hear. Oh yeah, top of the line journalism going on there. The episode does a good job of having Meimi use her natural skills outside of Saint Tail to try and get what she needs, which amusingly makes Asuka Jr. become jealous of her and how she's playing Sawatari. Of course, Sawatari is just too plain dense to realize a lot of this.
I'm definitely still enjoying Saint Tail quite a bit. It's unfortunate that this is the last volume to feature the dub as it continues to be one of the stronger points of the show and one where younger viewers are able to really partake in it. But, at least it's not being canceled outright and those who watch the show in its original language will get to see the ending. And after fifteen episodes of this now, I'm really curious to see if there's a overreaching plot to develop.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Texltess Ending #1
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.