Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 17 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Steel Angel Kurumi

Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     February 07, 2003
Release Date: March 11, 2003


Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. #5
© ADV Films


What They Say
Thousands of fans have followed the adventures of the beautiful and powerful android Steel Angel Kurumi-from her awakening at the kiss of the young boy Nakahito to the climactic battle that toppled the floating fortress known as The Academy. Now find out what becomes of your favorite characters in the aftermath! Has shy Saki gone Hollywood? Can a secret admirer help Karinka forget about her crush on Nakahito? Is Kurumi capable of becoming a graceful and dignified woman?

It all wraps up with a hilarious competition between the dozens of Steel Angels who have tracked Nakahito down for a taste of his miracle kiss. What happens is sometimes touching, often funny, but NEVER what you would expect. A must see for any Kurumi fan!

The Review!
After a successful TV run, the creators came back to provide a small run of OVA’s to wrap things up a bit.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show features a good stereo mix that makes good use of the forward soundstage with a few instances of directionality, but overall it sort of takes over the entire soundstage throughout most of it. Dialogue is nice and clear and we noted no dropouts or distortions. We did listen to a good portion of the English dub track and noticed no issues with that either.

Video:
The transfer here manages to maintain the same level of cross coloration as the previous volume, though I think it manages to reduce it a slight bit more towards later episodes. It’s simply nowhere near as bothersome as it was on the first volume was. The transfers very vibrant color scheme used throughout, particularly in the opening sequence, looks fantastic here as well. Colors are nice and solid without any noticeable bleeding, aliasing is very minimal and black levels look good.

Packaging:
Keeping in tone with the earlier releases, this volume has a really bright cover with all three girls in their uniforms embracing and against each other. The original logo is in the upper corner and the English one, with the attached Encore piece, is along the bottom. It’s a very eye-catching cover with the colors and the characters. The back cover provides a few small character shots from the show and a lot of summary for the show. The discs extras and production information is all clearly listed as well as the basic technical stuff. The insert opens up to provide a multi-paneled poster on both sides that’s very attractive.

Menu:
The menu layout is slightly reminiscent of what the TV series had, with the gears in the background now being inverted and purple. Along the edges we get the super deformed bouncing heads of a variety of characters scrolling up as the opening song plays and Kurumi’s head twirls in the center. It’s definitely cute and it really works for this show. Moving about is nice and easy and access times are nice and fast with no noticeable issues.

Extras:
With the show being short, there’s plenty of extras here to be had. Both sets of actresses from each language get their own Selected Works pages that lists what they’ve worked on (and provides some surprises I had missed in the past). The Kurumi trailers section has the English produced trailers for all three series, with the next one being the newest thing to see. The extended episode previews continue to make their appearance here as well. The opening and ending sequences get the textless treatment here also, which means that there’s four separate endings as each one was unique.

Also included here, and it’s a real treat for dub fans, is a commentary track done by the four lead actresses of the show, split into episodes. The first one has Kira and Monica and is a mile a minute laugh fest and plenty of jokes and moments of unintentional hilarity. The second episode has Hilary and Kelli, which is a bit softer in general, but that’s just their style to begin with. Kira and Steven Foster handle the another part. The commentary track throughout these episodes is just good fun in general, and fans of the actresses will enjoy them letting their hair down so to speak and to listen to them talk about all sorts of things. Mind you, this disc is rated 17+ and I’m guessing it’s coming from the commentary. Mr. Foster has a potty mouth at times. Though I admit it’s more fun when Kira does that.

Unfortunately, once this extra was announced, the number of Japanese language fans who trashed this was surprising and disappointing. It’s no wonder fans continue marginalize themselves when they pull stunts like that. I’m certainly not a huge fan of dubs, but I’ve enjoyed all the material that they’ve done for the English language fans throughout this series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the successful TV run, everyone came back to provide some quiet follow-up to the characters. With the four episodes, each character essentially gets their own episode and highlights something about their new life and the changes they’ve made after all the fun and mayhem.

This works out well and gives each of them some really good screentime and then caps it all off perfectly. Saki takes the opening episode as she deals with her continuing desires for Kurumi, but is confounded by Kurumi’s deep love for Nakahito. She and Karinka are trying to adapt by having regular jobs at a restaurant, which works out even better for Saki and she ends up being discovered by a movie producer there. Such begins her whirlwind change into a massively popular movie star with invites to go to Hollywood. This episode plays out great and gives Saki some real character and expands a lot on what we knew of her. I loved this one a lot.

Karinka’s episode is one of the weaker ones, as she deals with wanting to be in love but not wanting to exactly grow up just right yet. She ends up with a love letter, which Kurumi ends up finding out about and encourages her to go. She concedes and goes, but avoids actually going with the person who invited her and instead just hangs out in a nice outfit with the intent of spending some time alone. Her plans don’t work out well though when she realizes Kurumi and others are spying on her, so she ends up finding herself spending the day with Nakahito’s older brother instead, with the two of them essentially play-dating. It’s an ok episode, but I still find Karinka to be the weakest of the characters.

Slightly better than this episode was Kurumi’s, where she decides that to truly gain Nakahito’s love, she has to become more of a traditional Japanese woman and starts taking lessons and changing things about herself to accomplish this. It has some unintended side effects on her system, but turns into an episode about being who you are and that being what people should be really attracted to. It’s the most obvious of the episodes, but it does have some really good humorous moments and plays out well.

The best episode is the final one however. With all the Angels we saw from the end of the TV series, they all suddenly come upon the realization that they can become really powerful. If. If they have Nakahito kiss them. So they all show up at his house insisting that he kiss them all. Kurumi goes nuts, Nakahito’s scared witless and the Angels are all puckering up. So what’s the solution? A rather hilarious one as Nakahito’s brother (after offering himself up instead and being denied) comes up with a series of competitions for all the Angels to go through, with the winning one being able to acquire the kiss. This was just a hilarious episode that was very well paced and packed with humor.

This “encore” selection of episodes was just the thing that was required after the series. Light and amusing, hitting all the right marks and playing out just right, it’ll likely satisfy all those who enjoyed the series and wanted more of the slice-of-life stuff. Though it’s short, I think it runs just right without being too much. Very enjoyable and very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Production sketches,Extended Episode Previews,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation,Steel Angel Kurumi trailers,Commentary with the English voice actresses

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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