Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 29.98/39.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Scrapped Princess
Scrapped Princess Vol. #4 (also w/Limited Edition Figure)
By Chris Beveridge
October 24, 2005
Release Date: October 25, 2005
Scrapped Princess Vol. #4 (also w/Limited Edition Figure)
What They Say
© Bandai Entertainment
Pacifica and her siblings are determined to return to Leinwan to prevent the loss of any more lives. The Generals fear an invasion and launch an offensive spell. When the dust settles, Pacifica has been separated from the others and her her memory lost! As she now lives a normal life, how long can she keep that up until she is recognized as the Scrapped Princess?The Review!
If read as a novel, this set of episodes is where we get a chapter or two of massive exposition and revelations, a set of chapters that are the kinds that I simply live for.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, the pairing of Zefiris and Natalie take this cover with their different personalities evident just from their smiles. The cover is decent overall and there's only so far you can really complain since it is the original artwork but this series really got some average cover artwork overall. 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:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I certainly wasn't spoiled going into Scrapped Princess, I was very much aware that there would be changes occurring later in the series that would fundamentally alter the view and perception of things. Hints were plenty abound early on but I tried to not read too much into it since I wanted to be as surprised as I could be when it really came out. As that happened in full force in the last volume and is really expanded upon here, I'm enjoying this series even more and the lead-up to it has played out well in retrospect.
With a good number of the revelations coming in the previous volume now that Senes has squirreled them all on board the fortress and they had the confrontation with the Peacemaker that has them making the journey to Lenwein, it's time for more to be revealed. Pacifica finds herself experiencing a visual journey into the past that shows us how mankind was fighting against the aliens some several thousands of years ago and the kind of desperation they were up against in the final days of the battle. Their plans to launch a massive attack with their Peacemaker weapons ended up turning against them due to the influence of the aliens as they took over the devices and transformed them into the guardian entities that we see now in the present day acting in human form at times to ensure the balance of things.
So much is revealed during here as we see the journey that humanity has taken as its been shifted into this contained form and the journey from the former region of Korea to Japan now takes on new significance. The reasoning isn't strongly given for reducing humanity back to a medieval state but there are plenty of obvious reasons for doing so. Such tales have been told many times in the past though rarely in anime form so it's interesting to see the differences as they come across here, such as how the similarities between magic and science are displayed. We also start to see more of the time from when Pacifica was born and given to the Cassul family though the reasoning for this isn't the best for the cast.
Natalie and Zefiris, not in complete agreement over this, have taken the tact of basically brainwashing Shannon so that they can control him properly and use him as needed due to his genes so he as a Guardian can do the job that he needs to do. This naturally infuriates Pacifica when she finds out but not as much as what she finds out soon afterwards as she's given the chance to see into his mind to stop him from being brainwashed and to try and reverse it. Seeing how Shannon perceives her in the past and in the present isn't really all that surprising but it's something that Pacifica needed to see and it helps to finally really clarify why he does what he does. The bonds of this family are truly strong and it's great to see such strength working for them in a positive way.
The eventual arrival in the capital city begins a very interesting new part of the story as the three Peacemakers that are there have been using their influence during the two weeks time to cause the King to be even more agitated and others to push forward the idea of war. Though the general idea is that the fortress that's coming isn't part of an armed attack by Giat, a contingent of the court is pushing for them to destroy it and then attack Giat in response, using the fortress as a declaration of war on their part. The Peacemakers don't care what happens in this regard as long as the Scrapped Princess is killed and the King is practically of the same mind. The split in the make-up of the court quickly becomes an issue but everything is set to change as the battle actually begins and Shannon and Zeifiris combine in order to fight them off.
There is a lot revealed along the way here in the story and background but the best material continues to be in the character growth and revelations. The main trio has certainly been interesting enough up through now but Shannon really gets to shine in a few different ways this time around both in personality and his determination to protect his sister. The Peacemakers themselves even in their casual attitude are fascinating to watch and Pacifica continues to grow nicely here as she realizes more and more of just what's at stake. She's not terribly quick on the uptake and certainly tired from years of being called what she has been but she continues to put her family before all else. In Summary:
While the release may be barebones, the cover art a bit weak and the minor video problems that crop up every couple of episodes as diagnosed early on, what really continues to score heavily here is the engaging, well written and well acted storyline. These characters are very much alive at this point in the story and simply have established a great rhythm that what they experience and go through now with their reactions is believable and fun to watch. The show has certainly shifted gears and it's done so in a way that I really like, though it's been obvious from early on that something like this would happen. The stakes have risen considerably in this volume and the changes made in the final episode of this release show that there's going to be a bit of fun before heading to the finale and I can't wait to see how this turns out.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitiles
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.