Shattered Angels Complete Box Set - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 14 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 59.98
  • Running time: 300
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Shattered Angels (Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora)

Shattered Angels Complete Box Set

By Chris Beveridge     March 24, 2009
Release Date: February 24, 2009


Shattered Angels Complete Box Set
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

When a transfer student from the prestigious Joutou Academy arrives at Kuu’s school, her life enters the realm of a fairy tale with a lot of dangerous action to it.

What They Say
An Eternal Tale of Passion, Tragedy and Destruction.

Ten years ago, an unspeakable disaster shook the world and endless devastation rained from the heavens. From the ashes of that tragedy rose the city of learning, Academia. A young girl named Kuu attends one of the city's many schools, unaware that the fearful disaster only marked the beginning fo the struggles to come.

When a series of people go missing a mysterious transfer student named Kyoshiro joins her class, Kuu's life is turned upside down. She soon finds herself locked in a conflict with the Absolute Angels, a group of beautiful girls who must feed off of human life force to survive. Wielding god-like strength, they have the power to destroy the world itself. But are these angels truly demons of destruction, or simply innocent girls trapped in a fate they can't escape? Who is Kyoshiro, and why does he look like the prince of that Kuu sees in her dreams/ In a world of love and betrayal, Kuu must not only find the answers to these questions, but the meaning of her own existence.

The Review!
Audio:
Shattered Angels gets a pretty standard bilingual stereo mix which fits the material pretty well. The series isn’t one that’s stretching its muscles much in this department and both tracks gets a good competent stereo mix encoded at 224kbps. The show has a rather full sound to it with very little in the way of directionality either in the action or the dialogue. There are little moments of placement here and there but by and large it’s not something that stands out all that much. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either language track.

Video:
Originally airing in early 2007, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The release is done in a 6/6 format to cover the twelve episodes across the two volumes. Not unlike other series based off of properties by Kaishaku, Shattered Angels has a very soft look to it that’s designed to promote the fairy tale aspect of it. The colors are very light and inviting for the bulk of it but there are some very vibrant moments as well when the action kicks in. The soft look generally looks quite good and noise free but there are a few areas where there is some noise to be found but it’s never distracting. The main thing that crops up is a bit of line noise during a number of the various panning sequences but it’s fairly mild overall. The show has a very clean look in general and looks quite similar to other shows from this particular creator.

Packaging:
This complete collection is made up of two thinpak cases nestled nicely inside of a thin cardboard slipcover. The slipcover is rather attractive as it features the series logo through the center and it has clouds as its border, but it’s the central piece of the character artwork that really appeals. The top has an upside down shot of Setsuna while the bottom has Kuu, both of which are in white and pink simple outfits. The clincher is the heavy metal chain attached to the collars around their necks which adds the air of menace to all of it. The back of the slipcover is brightly done with a solid looking action piece along the top. The central section has a text heavy summary of the premise and the bottom is given over to a number of appealing but small shots from the show and the basic production information. The episode count and the discs extras are all clearly listed and it’s well laid out for the most part since the technical grid is pushed to the bottom of the slipcover.

The two thinpak covers are nothing to ignore either. The first volume has a nice large shot of Setsuna in the background while Kyoshiro and Kuu are in the foreground holding each other. The second volume has the bulk of the leading women for its central piece where they’re all wearing very appealing simple flowing dresses of different colors. Both covers are done using the soft blue and orange clouds as the background and it all ties in nicely with the slipcover. The back covers are very appealing as well as it has a shot of Academia, one of them a long shot and the other a close-up one. With the earthy colors up against the soft blue sky, it’s very pretty looking. The reverse cover for the first volume is the larger shots of what was used for the slipcover front piece while the second volume has a far too risqué shot of Setsuna and Kuu in their lacy undergarments spread across two panels. No show related inserts are included.

Menu:
Perhaps this is in theme but it really truly feels like one of the weakest menus I’ve ever seen. The background is a static image of some light fluffy clouds against a bright blue sky. In the center of the menu are lines of large text which has the individual episode access, the language submenu and the extras. There’s a bit of light bouncy music playing for the thirty second standard loop and that’s it. It really just looks like absolutely no effort went into it at all. Everything works flawlessly in the technical sense but beyond that it’s just sort of there. The disc correctly read our players’ language presets and played according.

Extras:
The extras for this release are a real disappointment, especially in comparison to the first single volume that got released. All that’s included here is the clean version of the opening and closing sequences. Not included? The pair of bonus shorts that ran for ten minutes, the web previews and the promotional video. It’s very disappointing to see that these extras did not make it over since they obviously had them at one point.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the three volume manga series by Kaishaku known as Ky┼shir┼ to Towa no Sora, Shattered Angels is a twelve episode series with its animation production done by TNK. With a similar look and design to other Kaishaku series, fans of their other works such as UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie and Magical Meow Meow Taruto will find much to like here. There are shared elements with other shows such as Steel Angel Kurumi and Kannazuki no Miko as well, and these are all things that just point to why I continue to have issues with their shows since they tend to adapt and rework things over and over again.

Shattered Angels was originally being released by ADV Films but they only got one volume into the three volume release before everything went south. The series ended up going to FUNimation when Sojitz moved all their titles around but the work was continued with it and what we have here is essentially what ADV Films was going to release, just in one complete collection. This is a series that does make out better by having it all up front in one collection as my enjoyment of the first volume was fairly low. Kaishaku’s material has not been something I’ve been enamored with overall and Shattered Angels met my low expectations early on. Seeing it in full, that only reinforced those early opinions.

Shattered Angels revolves primarily around the character of Kuu, a very sweet and pleasant high school girl who attends one of the many academies within the giant city school section known as Academia. Dozens and dozens of schools appear to reside here, each with their own unique style and design as well as their own uniforms. Everyone is buzzing about the upcoming Eternal Festival in which there are all sort of romantic gestures that can be made among the students which has Kuu hoping that she has a chance with one of the boys she really likes. Of course, with her being a bit timid and not quite aggressive enough, she’s quickly disappointed but bounces back well as she wonders who she’ll actually end up with, if anyone. Surrounded by a lot of good girlfriends, Kuu remains eternally optimistic but it’s tinged with sadness as she talks about how her name really means ‘empty.’

Like any story of this nature, everything seems to change the minute a transfer student enters the door. That one comes in the form of a very handsome young man named Kyoshiro who has come from the legendary Joutou Academy. Considered the best of the best, everyone is after him at this point but he’s entirely focused on Kuu once he comes across her outside of the classes. Something about her has drawn him to her and she’s just surprised by it all, especially when the first thing he does is practically undress her in public. This is all just prelude to the bigger problem though when everything falls to a series of attacks by a green haired catgirl who is after her own prize. As it turns out, Kyoshiro is in possession of a powerful weapon, his Sword, who is known as Setsuna, a very attractive and blonde woman who is his servant in just about all ways.

Shattered Angels runs through a number of fairly standard setup ideas here as we get the girls all going crazy over certain guys, a few different viewpoints as the various Swords are introduced along with their owners and hints at what the show is really all about. There’s even a standard plot device used where Kuu writes and narrates repeatedly to her Prince that she’s interested in, whether he’s real or not. This is a nice enough hook on some level but it’s rather overdone in some ways and feels far too familiar. The last episode is the best one though as they actually go through a great deal of the larger back story for the events of the world and cover why Kyoshiro is doing what he’s doing.

The first half of the series revolves around these ideas as it sets up the basic relationships and pushes forward with what Kyoshiro is going to do. You have Kuu being kidnapped a few times, which is admittedly amusing as she writes about it in her opening letter a couple of times and you have to wonder what kind of life that must be like. Having the three main sides initially, and the relationship that they all share, it feels like a very inbred kind of show. Watching as Kyoshiro is doing his best to live up to the ideals of his older brother that died in the Days of Hot Snow is interesting enough, since it’s not that often you have a character in this position, but they do make it more interesting in the second half when said brother shows up and he turns out to be a complete monster bent on destroying the world.

And Kuu turns out to be far more than the simple girl she seems at first. Kuu is the kind of character that you know what she’ll be like for a lot of it as she has that whole fantasy view of meeting her prince, falling madly in love and having the life she wants. And you know she’s going to go through hardships to get there and there may be a secret about her along the way that tries to radically change how you view her. It’s in this manner that Kaishaku’s stories tend to bother me the most as they seem to go for the lowest common denominator and keep it that way. The ideas here aren’t original, they aren’t given anything really unique and it has an air of pure fantasy about much of it that makes it hard to really get engaged with or take seriously. There are some fun moments to be had throughout, but much of the chaotic nature expressed in the opening episodes is carried through to the end and it simply lacks any real sense of depth to it to give it the kind of grand epic importance it’s striving for.

In Summary:
Not surprisingly, Shattered Angels reminded me a lot of how I felt about other Kaishaku shows such as Steel Angel Kurumi and UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie. There are some nice design elements to it but the execution just isn’t for me. The series is one that wants to play up the fairy tale angle but to take it to another level with some overt sexuality and a lot of fanservice. There are cute moments to be found and there are a number of big action sequences as the various Swords get to fighting, but it feels very by the numbers for the first half. Even when it does start to introduce more of the back story, it doesn’t really follow through well with it since it continues the whole by the numbers feeling. Fans of Kaishaku’s material will like this – there’s even a token Valkyrie character design appearance in the end – but this is the kind of show that won’t appeal much to people who have been watching anime for years. It’s more for the newer fans who haven’t seen this kind of material done before and done better. Shattered Angels was one of the shows I had hoped would have been lost in the deal between FUNimation and Sojitz.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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