Shattered Angels Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Shattered Angels (Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora)

Shattered Angels Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     May 08, 2008
Release Date: May 20, 2008


Shattered Angels Vol. #1
© ADV Films


What They Say
Kuu Shiratori often fantasizes about her "prince," and one day she meets him!

Contains episodes 1-4.

The Review!
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.

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. 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:
The cover artwork for the series pushes the sexuality of the series quite nicely as it takes three of the lead characters and poses them just right. Setsuna takes up most of the background with a larger view of her while Kyoshiro has Kuu holding close to him as they all have a really good look to their faces. Add in the light fluffy clouds in the background with a mixture of blue and pink hues to them and it stands out quite nicely. The back cover pushes the characters and their sexuality even more bluntly as the angled strip has a lot of shots from the show that play up that factor. The summary is made up of very small text which covers the basics of the plot. The discs features are clearly listed as are the various extras while the bottom is made up of the standard production credits block and technical grid. No insert is included with this release nor is there a reversible cover.

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 three lines of large text which has the individual episode access, the language submenu and the extras submenu. 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:
This release has a couple of good extras to it that help flesh out the show a bit more and give the viewer something to look at after all is said and done. The first is a pair of bonus shorts which run about five minutes each. Though you can switch languages on it, they're only in Japanese. The first one is a rather mellow and intriguing piece that deals with the relationship between Setsuna and Kyoshiro with such key moments as when he gave her the bells that adorn her hair and the overall significance of them. The second short revolves around Himiko and Kaon and details some of the things that occur between the two of them after Kaon had undergone her new training. Similar to the first short, it's very mellow and atmospheric as Himiko goes about painting her. The web previews for the series are included as well which runs just about thirty seconds and a promotional video is here as well. This is the first promotional video which runs about a minute and a half and has a very polished look to it. Rounding out the extras is the inclusion of the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the three volume manga series by Kaishaku known as Kyōshirō 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 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.

This actually manages to salvage the first volume far better than I thought it would as the first couple of episodes are all over the map with a lot going on and very little to really follow. The plot is pretty straightforward but it's told in a way that is very reminiscent of Kannazuki no Miko in that it's slowly drawing things out. The fairy tale aspect of it works in the shows favor, particularly with the animation style used, but it feels like it's trying to be something more than it actually is. It has an epic feeling to it with events from ten years prior that resulted in the destruction of most of the area around Joutou and it plays up things with how Kyoshiro takes everything so seriously. Even more evident is the section involved the Sword known as Kaon who gets "reprogrammed" through torture to properly become who she is supposed to be.

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 three episodes. The fourth episode salvages a lot of this though by filling in a lot of the back story and giving it something to really work with in future episodes. Whether it can use this material to its advantage or just reuse familiar themes and ideas remains to be seen though.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,Bonus Videos,Promotional Video,Web Previews

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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