Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: TOKYOPOP
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Vampire Princess Miyu
Vampire Princess Miyu TV Vol. #2
By Chris Beveridge
October 30, 2001
Release Date: October 30, 2001
Vampire Princess Miyu TV Vol. #2
What They Say
Reiha Has Come
An ally against the darkness.
Sepia Colored Portrait
A long lost film seriously engages its audience!
Ghost Of Miyu
Miyu's look-alike draws suspicion to the Guardian.
New foes with strange and dangerous powers threaten Miyu.The Review!
Taking the problems from the first disc, correcting almost all of them, the 2nd volume of Miyu TV is a considerable improvement over the first in several areas.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Throughout the disc we had a no problems at all. The first disc had slightly lower audio, which seems to be properly corrected here. The majority of the show is dialogue, which is mostly through the center channel. The music continues to be a real highlight, making excellent use of the forward soundstage.Video:
The main problem with the first volume we had was that the episodes were spliced together. This is no longer the case here, with full openings and endings. There remains one overlay at the very beginning, likely because the Japanese script below it wasn't something that could be removed. The end credits retain their full Japanese script followed by English translations. Otherwise, the main video issue left is the rainbows which are more prominent in the first two episodes than the second two, though they're still there. Without this problem, this is a great looking disc with fresh vibrant colors and solid looking darks and backgrounds.Packaging:
If they continue to use the great artwork from the Japanese releases, and do the packaging the way they have so far, I can't see giving lower grades to this section. It's just very well done. The front cover provides a great shot of Reiha and Miyu. The back cover gives a summary of the series setup itself and then four one-liners regarding each episode. Each episode is given its number and corresponding title, which is a plus since there's no volume numbering on this series. The color insert gives the image from the cover with the full border from the Japanese release on one side, while the reverse has the series summary and episode information There's also a great black and white foldout insert from Kenji Teraok that goes over the designs of the four Shinma encountered here and talks about their origins and design origins. Very solid piece.Menus:
As soon as the menu came up, I was quite pleased to see that the Miyu series has also gained the services of Nightjar, quite probably my favorite company who works on menus. Though a simpler design, it's leaps and bounds better than the first volume, which was essentially a simple soft image with buttons on it. This one just looks very Miyu stylish with a paper style image of her in the background with a floating flame image moving along it as well as some of the eerie music. The layout for the menu works great, selections are easy to check and access times are fast. Yet another series where I'm excited to see the menus.Extras:
Of the two extras, the Japanese opening sequence is obviously a favorite, and good to see by itself. The image gallery provides a number of cover art shots and other artwork shots in addition to some animation screens.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Miyu's style continues to follow what we've seen in the first volume, which means that for the most part, we have four more self contained adventures here. Yup, they went and upped the episode count for the remainder of the series, so we'll get more in each batch.
For the most part, we definitely enjoyed all four of the stories. Each one is definitely unique in its own setup and style, though of course it all comes down to a battle between Miyu and the Shinma in question. The first episode provided some added fun, as we get more of Reiha and her companion. She and Miyu end up staying at the same small travelers hotel, where they talk with a father and daughter who've recently lost their mother. He's feeling guilt for being too much of a workaholic, and the girl believe she's on a journey to find her.
The two end up leaving early the next morning on their journey, but Miyu senses a Shinma nearby, and upon learning a bit more from the hotel owner, she sets off to find the pair. Reiha tags along, as she's figuring in the back of her mind that one day she may have to face Miyu, so might as well get an idea of what Miyu is like when she fights. After awhile, they come across a small house near the top of the mountain, where travelers generally don't spend any time. The woman living there by herself invites them in, and it's not long before the obvious is stated that she's a Shinma. She has a twist though in that she doesn't have any desire to be around people, and hopes to use her goodnaturedness as a way of avoiding Miyu's intentions.
Another highlight episode was the third one, that follows an interesting story revolving around a doppelganger Shinma. This Shinma has taken the guise of Miyu and has begun to stalk various people, sometimes just for fun. This leads to very high tensions at school, since she's not identified firmly as Miyu, but the school uniform gives at least part of the problem away. This episode does go down a few obvious paths, but with some witty banter from Reiha and her companion and the strengthening of Miyu's relationship with her human friend, this episode does a great job of humanizing her a bit more but still keeping her cold nature pretty clear.
If there's a downside to these episodes, it's the general lack of Larva's participation outside of one or two things. The little white rabbit-like critter makes an appearance or two and provides some useful help, but I still want to know more about what it really is. The other is that the show still continues to be episodic after seven episodes without really introducing more new characters. Hopefully the larger plot will start to show up in the next disc, but even if not and we get more episodic stories, they make for great late-night viewing in the dark.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original Opening,Image Gallery
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.