Shamanic Princess -

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Mania Grade: A+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 180
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Shamanic Princess

Shamanic Princess

By Michael Thomas     May 10, 2003
Release Date: February 13, 2001

The Review!
An excellent magical-mystery story.

When watching the show, I listened to the original Japanese seiyuu (voice actors). The talking, ambient sounds, and background music made excellent use of the two, built-in, TV speakers.

To put it simply, excellently done. Colors are crisp and vibrant, with great attention to shading, lines, detail, and animation. There are several scenes where the CG blends seamlessly with the cel-art animation. All of the characters and backgrounds are richly detailed. There are some problems with pixelation when there is a lot of motion, especially when there are a lot of bright colors immediately next to dark colors.

The cover art is fantastic. The top cover resembles one of those Escher paintings in which a bird turns into a fish. What I mean by that is you have the main character, Tiara, predominately displayed on the center, casting a spell. But, her hair blends into these bat-like things... which blend into butterflies... and then into flower petals... and then back to her hair. The effect is pretty cool. Also on the cover is the rest of the cast, in various and mysterious poses. The back of the box, and of the DVD cases, contains the usual material (DVD extras, VAs, technical stuff, and copyright), as well as a good summary of the story. The DVD is silk-screened with Tiara and Lena back-to-back. There is no insert.

After a short, intro, the menus display. The menus are very straight forward, easy to navigate, and quick to load. When played in a DVD-ROM player, the menus are also easy to access, and quick to load.

Shamanic Princess is packed with extras (character bios, art, scripts, etc.); however, most of these extras are DVD-ROM only, which is why I deducted a grade-letter from the score.

::Content: :(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shamanic Princess blends great storytelling and flawless art. This was a labor of love.

Shamanic Princess tells the story of Tiara, and her quest to rescue the Throne of Yord. You see, Tiara is from the magical realm, and the Throne of Yord is what grants everyone in this realm their powers. But, as with any good mystery, this task isn't as straightforward as it would seem.

So, the show starts with us meeting Tiara. She's found the general location of where the Throne of Yord is, a very detailed, old-European-style city; however, now needs to do some investigating to actually find it. This is where things get interesting. Next, we find out that Lena, who was previously sent to find the Throne, is actually working with Kagetsu, who stole it. Then we find out that Kagetsu stole it because he wants to save his sister, Sarah, who was given as a sacrifice to the Throne. Lastly, in a great story-telling twist, the final two episodes deal with what happened before the Throne was actually stolen; and goes deeper into the past of Lena, Tiara, Sarah, and Kagetsu and into their relationships with each other.

I know that summary is very brief, but I really don't' want to spoil the story for anyone. It's that good. And, it is hard to discuss the story without ruining a lot of the "NO WAY" moments that occur during show, which makes it so keen. This is an absolutely amazing tale of friendships, misunderstandings, noble quests, jealousies, and triumphs. And, the story unfolds in a very good manner too.

Instead of staring at the beginning, we're thrust into the story when Tiara is already on the trail. So, the story is done sort of in reverse. Very similar to how Memento shows you the end of the story, and then shows you how the ending came about. Anyway, telling the tale in this way allows for the characters to already know each other, and think they understand each other's motivations. But, as the story progresses, you find out they don't. For example, near the end of episode 4, we have Lena saying just how much she envied Tiara (basically Lena is a very reserved, cultured girl, and Tiara is your proud, strong-willed, take-charge kinda girl). But, in a twist of friendship, Tiara expresses just how jealous she is of Lena. (Tiara always wished she could be as refined and dignified as Lena is.) Anyway, it's an amazing way to tell the story.

In addition, I also like how, when it does get to telling about their past, how you can see how the characters are why they are. For example, Tiara is very proud, almost arrogantly so. When you see her past, and just how much power the elders say she has, it then makes sense. Her past also explains why she has Jalapo, and not a more human-like looked aide like Lena has. You see, you find out that Tiara has a huge affection for Kagetsu. It's not a crush. It's a full-blown, and mature, love. So, when Tiara goes to summon her first helper... she summons a helper who becomes infatuated with her. And, in doing so, she learns just about who and what she is. Let me explain.

Basically, shamanistic magic deals with natural forces and balance. For example, water brings life to fields, so crops can grow... but too much water, and you flood the field, or rot out the roots. Such is Tiara's awesome power. She has the power of both life and death, creation and destruction, love and hate. So, when she finally accepts the dual-nature of her power, she is able to overcome a huge obstacle that the Elders warn her about.

I also like the way in which the shamanistic magic is illustrated. The writer/producers spent some 6 years learning about shamanistic magic. So, all the tattoos, spirit-beasts, magical-incantations, and whatnot are all from their research. And it's just plain cool to have a magic that isn't your normal "FIREBALL", but is still as intense.

Overall, I highly recommend Shamanic Princess. Its style of storytelling, deep characters, great background, and awesome artistry make for a show that you can watch over and over again, and keep finding things that you might not have seen before. Definitely a title worth adding to your collection.

Review Equipment
Panasonic CT-27D11E 27" TV; Sony Play Station 2 DVD Player; Gold-Plated Monster component cable


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