SHUFFLE! Prologue - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: D-
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: Happinet Pictures
  • MSRP: �3200
  • Running time: 12
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Shuffle

SHUFFLE! Prologue

    July 29, 2005
Release Date: May 27, 2005


SHUFFLE! Prologue
© Happinet Pictures


What They Say
One day a gate opens, connecting the human world with the world of the gods and the world of the demons. 10 years later, Rin Tsuchimi is a normal high school student living his life with a little bit of help from his childhood friend Kaede Fuyou. Life will never be the same when two extraordinary girls transfer into his class, princesses of the god and demon worlds! Will this ordinary guy become a ruler with a queen by his side, and can he survive the attentions of several women?

The Review!
Audio:
The only audio track available is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Japanese track encoded at 448 kbps, and there were no dropouts, distortion, or static. The music level is a tad on the loud side, occasionally fighting with the dialogue.

Video:
Like many newer shows, we're given a 16:9 anamorphic widescreen transfer, which looks good. Though there is some banding visible in areas of solid color in a couple of spots, things look bright and colorful without any problems the rest of the time. The overall look is a little on the soft side, but this is probably a conscious stylistic choice, as the ending credit animation does not have the same effect. Minor aliasing can be seen on some of the finer linework, but is hardly noticeable unless you're looking for it.

Packaging:
The front cover art features a nice illustration of Nerine and Lisianthus by Aoi Nishimata and Hiro Suzuhira, while the back cover has staff and cast lists to go along with a summary paragraph and some eye-catching screenshots. Printed on the reverse side of the DVD cover and visible through the clear DVD case are character illustrations and information (even including B/W/H) about the five main girls. The release also comes with an attractive sturdy artbox sized to hold five discs.

Menu:
With only the preview content and a trailer on the disc, the producers decided to forgo a menu for this release.

Extras:
There's nothing to be found in the extras department aside from a trailer for Kyoto Animation's Munto.

Content: (may contain spoilers)
Based on Navel's popular adult PC game of the same name, SHUFFLE! begins with a preview disc of sorts and gives us a glimpse of what this new entry to the harem genre has to offer. An introductory voiceover speaks of a doorway opening in the human world 10 years ago that connected it to the god and demon worlds.

We're then introduced to Rin Tsuchimi and his childhood friend Kaede, who are close to the point that she makes him breakfast in the morning before they walk to school together. The school is buzzing about two new transfer students, who are apparently female and attractive. When the door to the classroom opens, the male students rejoice, complete with confetti and streamers, before realizing that the king of gods and the king of demons are standing there instead of hot girls.

The banter of the two kings is cut short by a chair whacking the king of gods across the room, wielded by his daughter Lisianthus, or Sia for short. Also present is the daughter of the king of demons, Nerine, who prefers to go by Rin. The teacher says that the two are therefore princesses and that Rin Tsuchimi will be looking after them. As the class looks on jealously, the kings explain to Rin that he has been chosen as a possible fianc�e for either Lisianthus or Nerine, and could be the next king of either the god or demon world depending on who he chooses. Not too bad for a normal high-schooler!

Later on, as Rin and Kaede are out shopping, he sees a young girl who resembles Ruri from Nadesico in both appearance and demeanor. While he's talking to his female-obsessed friend Itsuki, the girl walks up to him, tugs on his sleeve, and calls him by name without ever having met him. This shocks Kaede, but not as much as the mysterious girl jumping on Rin and ending up on top of him. This ends the brief preview, and things wrap up with fanservice-laden shots of the females alongside the ending song.

In Summary:
With only eight minutes of actual content, it's tough to get a real feel for the show, but what was shown looks promising. With several candidates for Rin's affection already presented and an interesting backstory, the show has a lot of room to play around. The character designs are much simplified from the game's art as expected, and the elf-ears could put someone's eye out. The seiyuu for Lisianthus and Nerine seem to be trying too hard to give their characters cute voices, and the result is somewhat grating. Aside from that, it's likely that a predictable harem setup will come to fruition, but predictability can be fun if done right.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,Munto trailer

Review Equipment
Sony KLV-23M1 23" LCD HDTV, Toshiba SD-4900 progressive region-free player via Acoustic Research component cables, Sony STR-DE897/S receiver, Sony SA-VE367T 7.1 channel speaker system.

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