Shrine of the Morning Mist Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Shrine of the Morning Mist

Shrine of the Morning Mist Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     April 20, 2005
Release Date: April 26, 2005


Shrine of the Morning Mist Vol. #3
© Media Blasters


What They Say
The true purpose of the Dark Priestesses is made clear as the god of demons, Yagarena, begins to awaken. The Priestesses of the Morning Mist are in the fight of their lives as new monsters make their appearance at the shrine. Then their most powerful member, Yuzu, is absorbed into Yagarena. The Priestesses cannot follow, but Hiro is determined to finally step up to the challenge!

The Review!
Bringing the series to a close, the Priestess Club has to fight to save not only Tadahiro but themselves when Yagarena is revived.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The show sports a fairly standard stereo mix for a TV broadcast which means we do get some decent moments of directionality and some depth as well but nothing that really stands out too strongly. The music makes out rather well here and sounds quite warm and full. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either language track.

Video:
Originally airing in 2002, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This show tends to go into a couple of different styles depending on what it's trying to get across and just about all of them look really good here. Some of the scenes with the soft backgrounds and the mist look really beautiful and avoid pixellation or blocking going on while some of the more vibrant action sequences are just great to look at with solid colors and no gradient issues with the digital painting. A touch of aliasing shows up in a few scenes but is otherwise negligible as is cross coloration.

Packaging:
Using the same artwork as the Japanese release but adding in a more stylized border around it and a really great looking English language logo along with keeping the Japanese logo, this cover just looks great with its light illustration look and the soft colors used in it. Going with the light shade of green for the color, we get a great looking illustration of Tadahiro and Yuzu together with simple honest smiles to their faces. The back cover is cleverly designed to show a number of shots from the show itself and provides a brief but good summary of the premise along with some of the basics of the production. The technical information is filled out in the always useful grid along the bottom. Like a lot of other recent releases from Media Blasters, there is no insert included in this release and we continue to look at this as a good thing since most inserts just rehash the cover information anyways.

Menu:
The main menu is a good looking but simple static piece that has the headshots of Tadahiro and Yuzu from the front cover that's more a pencil sketch than full artwork with a bit of a tan filter applied to it, which looks really good against the indistinct back drop and the logo next to her. Selections are lined along the bottom and are quick and easy to navigate and access. The music from the show plays in a lengthy loop unlike the usual 30 second piece. With little to the disc other than the show itself, the menu does the job well though the disc didn't read our players' language presets properly and defaulted to English with no subtitles.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Bringing the series to a close with the last set of episodes up through twenty-six in half-length form, Shrine of the Morning Mist concludes fairly predictably based on what we've seen before but still has a bit of fun before it all comes to that and then provides some interesting little twists as it goes towards its finale.

While you could see the end coming from almost the start of the series, it got solidified a lot more when the Twilight Priestess girls showed up and started interfering in things. Their presence brought in an even more predictable storyline but they also had some cute little things to them that helped them stand apart from other shows like this. Much like them, those in the Priestess Club themselves have their own quirks that help them stand apart and we get things like one of the first episodes here where Chika is the focus of things as she continues to fail horribly in one of her classes. It's a cute piece where she and Kurako try their hardest to get past their differences so Chika can properly learn the material she needs to pass the class and the two do end up becoming friendlier when pushed into a nasty situation. It's all very basic stuff but when done in the half-episode format it goes by with far less of the filler and has a sharper wit about it.

A number of the episodes on this volume are given over to the Twilight Priestess' so that we get even more familiar with them so that when the end times come and Yagarena is revived, we feel for them as well, particularly when it comes to the youngest of them, Kukuri. Since she's the only human among the trio of priestess', her continual search for some meaning in things and trying to find connections keeps her at a distance from the others, even more so since they know her place in the scheme of things won't be good for her in the long run but is necessary for Yagarena to be revived. It's a simple way of humanizing everyone and showing that even though they're the bad guys, they're not bad all the way through. They even go so far as to provide more about Ayatachi so that he doesn't come across as complete scum through and through on this volume.

Everything leads up to Yuzu being kidnapped as the Twilight Priestess' need one of them to be able to bring Yagarena down to Earth and open up the world to what it really needs. This gets to be fairly predictable and the ending to the show as they deal with Yagarena's arrival and the shifting positions of those that called it down isn't all that big but it's something that's not got many surprises to it. At least with a predictable ending it's not as bad as an awful ending where things just collapse. Much like a lot of other series, it's the journey to the ending that makes the show enjoyable and the ending here just brings resolution to a few areas before moving on. It's not great but it's not bad, it just leaves you with a feeling of acceptance and that's about it.

In Summary:
Shrine of the Morning Mist is a decent little series that has some really nice hooks in it from the start with the Priestess Club and the way they work myth and magic together into a modern setting. But the series suffers from being predictable so that as you see it hitting all the marks along the way, not too much surprises and you can see what's going to happen next. The characters are what make the show enjoyable with their little quirks and interactions though so all of it is brought to a decent close here but nothing that's earth shattering in the slightest.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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