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: 29.98/49.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Scrapped Princess
Scrapped Princess Vol. #5 (also w/Limited Edition Figure)
By Chris Beveridge
December 27, 2005
Release Date: December 13, 2005
Scrapped Princess Vol. #5 (also w/Limited Edition Figure)
What They Say
© Bandai Entertainment
Because of Pacifica's amnesia, when Raquel finds her she explains who she really is. A military offical spots her and she is forced to flee before being reunited with her siblings. Raquel and Shannon continue to search for her unaware that she has been captured. The King has ordered her execution. If there was ever a good time for a rescue, it would be now!The Review!
As Pacifica tries to keep to a normal life for once, forces around her raise the stakes considerably.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. 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:
The series uses the same artwork as the Japanese release but with a slightly different border surrounding it. This volume features a particularly drab and dull cover that features Raquel in a dark barely lit room where she's close to the front with a bland smile on her face. There are some minor pieces around her, such as the costume that Leo was wearing peeking up, but the entire piece is just poor and uninspired looking. 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)
Since the full on revelations about what's really going on in the world, at least as explained so far, the series has moved at a rather good pace and has a lot of things going on. The last volume ended things with a bit of a curve ball after the first major battle between the sides as it's left the object of everyone's interest lose her memory. So now Pacifica, as Pamela, is simply trying to avoid those who claim to know her so she can lead a simple life with Furet.
With the shift to this kind of storyline, the series doesn't exactly stumble at this point but it does slow down a fair bit as it has to go through the motions of dealing with a far more reluctant Pacifica now rather than the one who was ready to do what was necessary. Pacifica and Furet's time together gives her the glimpse, unknowingly in her mind, of the kind of life she's not been able to have for some time now and she's subconsciously really pushing for it. Furet's not quite sure exactly what's going on with her but his sense of honor and worth insists that he protects her at some level while they try to figure out what's going on. His own background slowly comes into play as we find out just what kind of life he's really led and how it'll impact Pacifica. As Pacifica is the kind of person that draws trouble and coincidence, it isn't too terribly surprising.
The rest of the cast end up with storylines that are fairly varied and interesting in different ways. Raquel comes across the weakest since she's been rebuffed by Pacifica already and spends her time hanging around the city keeping an eye on her from a distance and hoping to catch up with the others to formulate a real plan. Leo and Winia manage to gain some grace with Pacifica and are able to spend some time with her as they try to get her to understand who she really is but they don't push the subject too hard so they aren't pushed away. When things get dicey though and the larger forces are set in motion, Pacifica finds herself being entrusted to their care and Leo manages to show that he's truly grown as a man and as his vision of what a Knight should be like. He and Furet have some brief but very good discussions about the nature of their lives and what the choices they make will really mean. One scene in particular where they're actually facing off about who can protect Pacifica better is very well done just for how they look at each other in their own way, each having a different live, set of values and experiences.
The one that has the most interesting of storylines here is Shannon I think as he continues to spend his time trying to find Pacifica and the others while practically falling into the grave from exhaustion over his search. His search isn't alone though as Zeifris occasionally pops in to talk to him, trying to get him to slow up a little to recover his health, but most of his time is spent with Cz who is following him to see where things may end up going. The pair is amusing with both of them being of the deadpan variety but it's the right pairing as the story progresses and they find themselves brought before the King in order to broker some kind of deal with the Peacemakers overall so that the kingdom can, with their nod, wage war on the other countries and to unite it all under their rule. Shannon finds himself caught up in the larger world once again as royalty and Peacemakers work deals in front of him while using his sister as a bargaining chip.
As the various stories start getting closer and closer together, the show picks up its pace again and some of the fringe elements start coming back into play so it gets back towards where it left us in the last volume but not quite. The one area that felt really badly done in this volume where the coincidences were just too high and the time given to it just wasn't right dealt with Pacifica's capture and time in the dungeon where she talks with one of the other prisoners while never seeing their face. It was simply a far too obvious tug at the heartstrings moment that served to close out a particular part of the storyline and provide a bit more motivation that I think could have been handled a lot better. It simply felt far too forced across the entire segment when looked at from the end.In Summary:
Scrapped Princess has certainly been an enjoyable series to watch from the beginning and its twists along the way have been fun and engaging up through the last volume. Several areas of that are carried over here but the volume has a significant drop in the energy level as it really feels like it's taking a detour but the reasons are obvious and more of one side's storyline is fleshed out more to the viewers understanding. Some series don't get back up properly when they lose that energy but with the events swirling around Pacifica, the storyline is moving strongly again by the end of the volume and has set things up for the finale in the next volume just right. Taken in full, these episodes are just about the best way to move things along outside of a minor blip or two.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
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.