Scrapped Princess Vol. #2 (also w/Limited Edition Figure) - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98/49.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Scrapped Princess

Scrapped Princess Vol. #2 (also w/Limited Edition Figure)

By Chris Beveridge     July 01, 2005
Release Date: June 28, 2005


Scrapped Princess Vol. #2 (also w/Limited Edition Figure)
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
The journey continues as they successfully evade the forces of Mauser. But a bounty on Pacifica’s head is now set and a bounty hunter aims to collect using poison to end her life.

Raquel and Leo must now set out on a dangerous journey to try and find an antidote before it is too late. Powerful beings called the “Peacemakers”, who claim it is their destiny to rule humanity can no longer wait and observe as time is running out and as prophecy predicts, “the world will be destroyed when the Princess turns 16.”

The Review!
The journey continues for Pacifica but not without some sizeable trials kicking in already.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. While a lot of the show is fairly quiet and dialogue driven as it keeps to the small cast as they travel and interact with locals, there are some really good action sequences that utilize the forward soundstage well and move across it. The opening volume has some fun scenes, such as when Leo first arrives and rolls across the screen or during the glass valley fight where the crinkling sounds come from all over. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The materials here for the most part are pretty good but the series does suffer in a few areas, some quite noticeable. One of the most blatant areas and one that made me leery of the release in general was the opening shot when the Japanese logo comes up with all of the dot crawl all around it. There actually seems to be a method to this madness however. It looks to be hitting the same set of episodes as the Japanese release that was on separate discs. In other words, the second set of episodes on this release were on their own disc in Japan and the first two on their own. Only the second set here has the dot crawl issue. So it looks to be much more master related than actual authoring issues. The shows colors in general look really good with the backgrounds and they mostly maintain a solid feel though there are some occasions where the gradient becomes more pronounced than it should.

Packaging:
Using the same artwork as the Japanese release but with a slightly different border surrounding it, this cover provides a look at one of the better and more defining moments of the series with Leo raising his sword to a very resolute Pacifica in the foreground. The logo is kept relatively the same kind of style by translated for the main part while the subtitle is left in Japanese and the only other addition to the front is the basic logos and volume numbering. The back cover has a fairly standard fantasy style layout with scrolls and line work with a very descriptive summary of the premise. A few shots from the series are attached to the episode listings and the discs features are pretty clear and easy to find. Though not a full technical grid, something resembling the start of one is there along the bottom. No insert was included with this release.

Menu:
The menu layout for the series is similar to the front cover a bit in that it has an elaborate frame around it while a bit of animation plays through the main window with clips of the scenery fading in and out. It initially starts with a shot of the carriage with the trio riding in the front but that clipped animation shifts down to the lower right and was probably a poor choice for inclusion since it features a fair bit of cross coloration and aliasing in it, which is not the kind of image you want to produce on the first actual bit of the show you see. The layout of the selections is pretty standard with instant episode access and navigation is easy. The disc makes out good in another area by properly reading our players' language presets and playing accordingly.

Extras:
The only included extra on this release is a clean version of the ending sequence.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Scrapped Princess continues on with another four episodes that slowly lays out more of this interesting world before us and starts to move the view to different levels of power. Across this volume we get some interesting material that takes us from the up close and personal dangers that the trio faces on their journey to the highest levels of power and the curious glimpses at what plots are underway there.

Over the four episodes, we get a couple of plots that flow along rather nicely as well as the small tangents in the background that are connected as we see people moving about in the places of power. With Pacifica and friends, the show follows along with where it started by having those that are hunting them down continuing to do so, the latest being a troubadour of sorts who has control over some ancient bugs that are quite deadly. He's a rather happy and friendly sort which is a nice change from the dark brooding warriors that have been sent in the past with a chip on their shoulder, and his use of the environment to try and take down Pacifica is something that would ordinarily work rather well.

Unfortunately for him, they have the recent acquaintance of the knight in exile who works as a doctor in the area and has some knowledge of the bugs and what can cure their poison, provided it was only a light scratch and not a full on sting that would cause instant death. This allows for both Leo and Raquel to plead their case to him and to start to understand more of what he's gone through since his exile as they have to go searching for a special herb. His guilt over being the one who had to kill an innocent babe is strong and you can see the way it's affecting how he's dealing with these people he'd otherwise just turn away. It leads to learning a touch more of the past and those who were involved in all of it, fleshing things out just a touch more.

The overall arc for this has some really good material and some that just annoys. The fact that Pacifica is near deaths door again means she gets to go on her shtick about people being better off if she's dead so she may as well die, which we heard a fair bit of in the first volume as well. It's not an unusual feeling to have in her position and it's something that teenagers can identify with very easily which I'm sure is part of the point, but it's also something that just gets old rather quickly from a storytelling perspective because it doesn't offer anything new and just puts her in a defeatist mode. On the other hand, when Pacifica really is resolute about something such as she is later on when trying to find out where her brother and sister are and she offers up a part of herself in payment, she comes across with the strength that we haven't seen much yet and really offers a good glimpse of what I suspect is to come for her.

The beginning of the next small arc is here as well where when the group settles down into a small town to ride out a storm and do repairs on their wagon, Shannon ends up bringing back a little girl who was standing outside and she sort of becomes an adopted member for a few days. Pacifica is against her from the start and just feels unease with her presence and especially at the way that Shannon is fawning over her. Raquel slowly seems to succumb to the same thing and the girl is slowly drawn out of her shell and at the same time seems to win them over more and more. Pacifica finds herself being cast as the villain in this new little family dynamic which starts showing some much darker angles to it as we see more of what's really going on.

It's an interesting enough arc, albeit just as slow as much of the series has been recently, but where the show really fascinated across these episodes and just before is where we see things happening in the places of power. The young man Christopher from the previous set of episodes shows up again and finds himself being used in an interesting manner. He's now been adopted by the Baroness and given her family name so that he can start doing an investigation at Grendel into what's going on there as things are seeming to get out of control with whose being sent out after the Scrapped Princess and who all is getting killed in the process. It's all political power plays, but it reveals a lot about the upper structure of how this place works and it's just plain interesting.

In Summary:
While we haven't really learned a whole lot of major new things here, these episodes do a nice job of avoiding the second volume slump as it doesn't really introduce a lot of new characters or situations but instead forges ahead with what's come before. Doing that, it's kept on track and doesn't feel like it's suddenly becoming another show due to who all shows up, something that's somewhat rare these days. Scrapped Princess continues to be an interesting show with a number of neat little ideas but it still hasn't hit that really big hook yet that turns it into a really great show.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,LE Figure is of Raquel

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

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