Tenchi Muyo! : Magical Project S: Volume 2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 44.95
  • Running time: 325
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo! : Magical Project S: Volume 2

By Chris Beveridge     January 08, 2003
Release Date: November 19, 2002


Tenchi Muyo! : Magical Project S: Volume 2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Each of Ramia?s plots to destroy Pretty Sammy has failed and Tsunami comes ever closer to becoming the true queen of Juraihelm. Before Ramia could let this happen, she decides to get personally involved and creates the Team Lovely Madams to assist her champion, Pixy Misa. Even the third candidate for Queen of Juraihelm, Romio, helps through her champion, Love Me Eimi. Will Pretty Sammy be able to succeed against such powerful magical enemies? What would happen when Sasami discovers Pixy Misa?s true identity and Ramia's ally reveals her true intentions...

Thirteen full episodes of the Japanese language Magical Project S (Pretty Sammy TV) series with English subtitles.

The Review!
After a solid first half of the season, the second half takes some interesting twists and turns and manages to provide something very rare ? a good ending.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Unfortunately, no English dub was created for this show, as the sales of the OVA series that preceded it didn?t do all that well, causing this series to be a very low priority. The show features a solid stereo mix with lots of surprising moments of directionality throughout the episodes and a solid center channel mix for the dialogue. Throughout the first thirteen episodes, we didn?t notice any dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally airing in the fall of 1996, Magical Project S looks to have had a good budget, or a very wise use of the monies allocated to it. The transfer here overall looks very good with bright vibrant colors, practically no cross coloration and only a few areas of bothersome aliasing. The most that really gets noteworthy at times is that during some mid-range shots, there?s little detail to the characters faces, causing things to look a bit softer than usual. But otherwise, this is probably a very close representation of the original source materials.

Packaging:
A sexy looking Pixy Misa takes the front cover here while the shadowed version of Ramia is in the background, both offset with the silvery material used for the cover itself. The back cover provides more shininess as well as some shots of Sasami. There?s a brief summary of the show, a listing of all thirteen episodes and numbers and the discs features. There?s a reversible cover here as well, with one side having Sasami and Misao touching through a bubble and the other with Tsunami. The insert is full of artwork, with Romio and her logs on the front. The insert opens to a great family shot of Sasami with her parents while the back of the insert has Hikari on it. Also included with the first pressing run of the series is a great mini pencil board with Pretty Sammy and Misao on one side and a great image of Sasami and Misao on the other.

Menu:
The menus here are fairly simply but very nicely done, with a static image and a moving background with some music playing along. Access times throughout the menus are nice and fast and thankfully the show defaults with subtitles on, though they do provide a setup menu to handle it.

Extras:
Much like the first installment, there?s a good amount of extras here. There?s a good artwork gallery and a textless ending sequence from the new one, but the real treat is all the theater extras included. There?s a number of very good ones here that add a lot of humor to things, but the best one of them all is the fictional trailer for the Pretty Sammy movie, subtitled ?God Boys vs. Magical Girls?. While there?s some re-used footage, the entire thing is just one of the best parody trailers ever made. God Boys. Oh my.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first half of the series or Pretty Sammy focused on some of the more usual aspects of a magical girl show, with the introduction of the hero and villain, the monsters of the week and the trials and tribulations as well as the good times at school. After all, how many magical girls do you know that are out of school?

With the second half of the season, things move into somewhat darker territory, the villains get more difficult and the stakes are continually raised. Much like the first half, there?s plenty of parodies and jokes, humor and attempts at minor romance and it all works well in building things towards the climactic ending sequence of the series.

Sammy?s big challenge early on comes in the form of the Mrs. Lovely Madames, which is where Misao goes and acquires a number of women who are happy in life, several of them older and married. Giving them their Lovely Powers (though if you listen, they actually say Sexy), they work as a team to take down Pretty Sammy. This goes into a multi part episode that puts our heroine in the most danger she?s been in yet. Naturally, it serves as the point where everything changes as well.

One aspect that gets looked at more heavily in these episodes is Misao?s life and her missing her father, who?s still overseas performing his piano stylings. While it?s a fairly simple plot device to provide the character, especially a young girl, with some angst, it works well here and helps move things along in the quiet moments. When she learns her father is coming home at last, the change in the character is stark. So stark that it really starts to affect Rumiya, whose feelings for Misao are getting stronger and stronger. He even pushes Ramia to stop forcing her to transform into Misa since it?s causing so much internal problems.

Once the series gets into its end episodes with the final big arc as the new amusing villain takes the center stage, things are just completely hectic and chaotic, from new magical girls to Sasami?s father becoming a rocket pilot, from the worlds needing to be merged together to the new villain literally smacking the Earth towards the sun. It?s so completely over the top at some points that it produces near gut inducing laughter. Of course, there?s plenty of sappy moments slipped into areas here and there, but the overall result is a real rarity in the anime universe: a good enjoyable ending that doesn?t leave you screaming at the screen.

This series is an amazing value in more ways that one. Beyond the price, the majority of the series had great episodes, with only a few barely registering as filler episodes. While I do wish it had been dubbed so more people would see it, those who do are going to find themselves re-watching this on a regular basis and constantly referring it to others to watch. Magical Project S is a great series that serves up and skewers the magical girl genre from the inside. Very highly recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Art gallery,Textless ending #2,Magical Girl Pretty Sammy Bonus Theater: Magical Amila,Video Jack Misa,Pretty Sammy Murder Mystery,The Pretty Sammy Movie Trailer


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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