Mania Grade: B-
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A
- 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
October 15, 2003
Release Date: May 21, 2002
Steel Angel Kurumi was a title I had originally planned to pass after seeing episode one after it came out in Japan. After receiving two volumes as a gift, I decided to search out the rest of it and check the entire series out.Audio:
Steel Angel Kurumi has a decent Japanese stereo mix as it is a relatively recent show. I certainly wasn?t expecting very much from a show that was only fifteen minutes long an episode, so I was pleasantly surprised. There is little directionality, but the show sounds great in Japanese. Kurumi?s voice can take a little getting used to, as they are going for over the top cute. As I was writing a different report, I listened to the entire DVD in English. I found that I didn?t enjoy Kurumi and Nakahito voice actors very much, but by episode five I felt they had finally settled into their roles. The other roles, especially Saki, are cast very well. In fact, I might prefer the General in English.Video:
I did notice a bit of line shimmering on the transfer, and I could pretty much find some in about every scene. You really have to nitpick to see a lot of it though. The show uses very bright colors throughout the series which has transferred over very well to the DVD. The opening sequence is vibrant.Packaging:
The front cover features Kurumi nude with the US logo carefully placed to cover some of her assets. She is serene, and angelic on the cover. The original Japanese logo is placed in the right corner. The volume number is placed on the spine, making it easy to distinguish the different volumes from each other. The back cover features a ton of text describing the series and a blurb for the English voice actresses. The DVD itself contains a silkscreen of Kurumi in another fan service pose.Menu:
The DVD opens up with an Onmyou prayer being recited and displayed on screen. After all the Excel Saga Volume two menu comments, I?m surprised this wasn?t made a big deal of. I find it appropriate in the context of the show. We?re presented in the opening menu with a shot of Kurumi. The main buttons are displayed as gears turning, including some gears that are translucent in the background. Menus transitions are quick. Kurumi pops up with a different still image throughout the menus on the DVD. The only animated transition is from the main menu, through the scene selection also contains moving images.Extras:
Since the show is only ninety minutes on each DVD, there?s a lot of room for extras. The big extra (a whopping half an hour) is part one of a feature that interviews the English director and actresses. It includes some of the casting decisions the director made for his casting choices, and the actresses describe the characters they are acting. A historical background on the Taisho Era in Japan is on the DVD to give the view some political background story. The Onmyou tradition is also explained, which considering how much it often it appears in anime, I?m glad someone finally took the time to explain it all to me! Translator notes, clean opening, production sketches, extended episode previews, and the Kurumi Fortune Teller wraps up everything. Wow!Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Another robot maid show. That was my initial impression when I first heard and saw Kurumi back in 1999, so I pretty much let it run under my radar. During the 2002 con season though, everyone kept asking ?Does ADV have all of Kurumi, or just first season?? It crept back into my consciousness though.
Our wimpy male hero this time is Nakahito, a young Onmyu priest in training. If he?s hit puberty yet, that would surprise me. We are introduced to him as a gang of boys are dragging him on an adventure to explore that house of a doctor who supposedly dissects young women. The military has setup road blocks around the house, so our little troupe finds the back way in, and they dump Nakahito by himself into the house. Nakahito discovers the unactivated Kurumi inside. No, we didn?t see this in Saber Marionette J, did we?
The military is attempting to find Dr. Ayanokoji, the creator of the Steel Angels, with a strike team led by Dr. Amagi. As they move in with their giant robot, they disturb the house so that Kurumi falls over and her lips meet with Nakahito?s. Kurumi is activated by this action, and her obedience circuits are geared to Nakahito. Her speech makes her seem like a child, and she blindly loves Nakihito. It is up to Kurumi to save Nakahito and Dr. Ayanokoji from the invading forces showing her incredible strength. One of the show?s quirks is introduced her, its SD moments. Whenever Kurumi does something really comical, the animators turn over to SD animation.
Over the course of the next five episodes, we are slowly introduced to our story. None of the episodes on the DVD are filler. The military organization is run by a General, who would just love to do ?interesting? things with the Steel Angels. I got some chuckles out of him.
Our second angel, Saki, is recovered by the military and they use her to try to take down Kurumi. This leads to an impressive fight sequence, where we begin to see how Kurumi?s heart operates. But really, its what happens after the fight that gave me my first surprise moment of the series, as there is a slight switch in how the guy surrounded by girls genre works. Saki doesn?t end up being enamored of Nakahito, but Kurumi instead! The scenes with Saki dreaming of Kurumi are just absolutely hilarious. I?m looking forward to more scenes as the Angels play off each other.
I admit, during the first couple of episodes I wasn?t getting into the show very much. Kurumi can get on your nerves a little bit and Nakahito being a wimp can be jarring at the time. The other characters kept it going for me until I got used to Kurumi. By the end of the first DVD, the relationships between the characters have already shifted slightly, and we are given small little tidbits to the overall larger story. It?s that back story that will differentiate this maid show from the rest.
Toshiba 3109 player, Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears