Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: A
- Extras Rating: A+
- Age Rating: 17 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 90
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Steel Angel Kurumi
Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. #1
By Edmund Lee
June 21, 2002
Release Date: May 21, 2002
I think it's the trailers that hooked me into getting this series. And to be honest, this show is very entertaining, but it seemed a bit fast pace for me. Anyway, in terms of production value for this disc, I'm highly impressed.
On the first episode a young boy named Nakahito is being dragged to an old house by 3 of his friends. In the house a scientist named Ayanokoji is working on a secret weapon, a 'Steel Angel', is being hidden away from the Army. Coincidentally the Army decides to take back these Steel Angels and started to invade the old house. And with typical fashion, Nakahito happens to awaken the Steel Angel by accident with a kiss.
On the second episode, Kurumi makes quick work of those nosy Army troops and helps both Nakahito and her creator escape. They found sanctuary in an Omyou temple, which happens to be where both Nakahito and his brother Kamihito happen to be staying. Meanwhile back in the Army based, they managed to find another Steel Angel the professor was working on.
The third episode has poor Nakahito trying to cope with having a Steel Angel hanging all over him. Meanwhile back at Army base, Dr. Amagi has managed to activate the other Angel and is now going on a test run to show what she is capable of, which of course impressed the General.
On the fourth episode, Nakahito had to deal with his 3 friends from the first episode and it so happens, Kurumi finds them picking on Nakahito and decides to teach them all a lesson. It almost turns disastrous, but Nakahito orders her not to fight again. Which leads to a bad thing as the other Angel, Saki, comes knocking down the temple searching to destroy Kurumi.
The fifth has the 2 Angels duking it out with Kurumi getting a beating because of the order Nakahito gave. It almost turned bad when Saki came close to killing her, but, coincidentally, she ran out of power. Turns out that Dr. Amagi forcefully awaken her with electricity, but of course Kurumi shows how it's done to activate a Steel Angel and just like that she has a younger sister, a shy soft-spoken one. But as fate has it, a mysterious group captured Dr. Ayanokoji.
And in the last episode, we see Dr. Amagi being released from the Army and is now helping Nakahito finding out what happened to Dr. Ayanokoji and at the same time to find out the secrets of the Angel Hearts.
My thoughts on this show? It is entertaining like I said but because of the episodes flying past real fast, it's really hard to sit down and enjoy it. Only on my second time thru did I manage to enjoy it a bit more. However because of how some of the episodes are tied together I get confuse which scene is from which episode, making me think I was watching one 30-minute episode. With the storyline, it's the basic concept of a shy protagonist and a cute girl chasing after said protagonist. This has been done over and over in anime and for those who got sick of this idea will probably not like it. What's worse is that I could even rave on about how the show falls into all the anime stereotypes, but I ain't gonna bother. What made this rather enjoyable for me were the funny SD moments, the lighthearted humour, the funny speech patterns Kurumi has, and, of course, the General (the wood carving scene in ep. 6 especially). Not only that, the show is slightly unique, in the fact that !
it's based in the Teisho Era, which you don't usually find this sort of historical time period in anime. The visuals are rather gorgeous and it's really hard to believe that it is all with the help of computers.
The video is excellent on my setup. There was slight amount of aliasing but nothing I should complain about. Also there are some complaints about rainbowing, but honestly it's so minor while I was watching it the first time thru it wasn't even there. Only during my second viewing and on my DVD-ROM, did the rainbowing become apparent, but it is still so minor that it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.
Audio is excellent. While the English track sound a bit muffled, but I'm assuming it's just the side effect of ADR processing. So, there's nothing for me to complain about. Dialogue comes out clear in the center with music filling up the other soundstage rather nicely.
Extras are really impressive on this disc. First up is the interview with the English VAs and the ADR Director. Although I'm not too hot for the dub, it's just nice to put a face to those voices and what their impressions were on the show. Next is the historical background on the Teisho Era, something I've always wanted to know about. Then there's the Onmyou Tradition, which details the practise of religion (specifically the Onmyou) in Japan. Next up is the production sketches, which basically contains pencil designs for the show. Next is the Translator's Notes, interesting read for those who want to understand the nuances of the Japanese language and culture. Then there's a clean opening (which I watch countless amounts of times because it's so addictive), an extended preview section (which is different to those in the show), a fortune teller pdf file and, finally, 6 anime trailers. That's the whole lot. I wonder what volume 2 would be like?
Now the dub. Seeing as this is my first Steven Foster dub, infamous for some of ADV's dub blemishes, I have to say that this dub isn't so bad based on what people accused him of. Some of the dialogue goes really off tangent with the original script but I see this as a creative way to avoid some of the pitfalls that the Japanese language can imply. However, I still don't think it's right to change the dub script to whatever you like. In general, I like the dub but I'm sticking to the Japanese dub. The VAs performed real well, nothing less I guess. There's one thing I didn't quite like, and that's Kelli's Kurumi, she comes out sounding both sexy and cute at the same time rude. I blame the script and not on her. What surprise me about this dub is Kira's Nakahito, she made him feel like I want to kiss that boy (that goes the same with Houko's Nakahito), weird.
So was it really worth it? Maybe, for those who enjoy the concept of 1 guy many girls, then yes. But for those who had enough of these, then no. As for me, I'll reserve judgement when more episodes are release.
Panasonic SA-HT80, Panasonic TX-76PW10A 32" Widescreen 100hz/Progressive Scan, standard S-video cables