Vampire Princess Miyu TV Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Vampire Princess Miyu

Vampire Princess Miyu TV Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     August 17, 2002
Release Date: August 13, 2002


Vampire Princess Miyu TV Vol. #6
© TOKYOPOP


What They Say
Contains:
Episode 22: Once Upon a Time
In a flashback, Miyu, unaware of her true identity is living as a normal girl and a stray Shinma tribe is plotting to kill Miyu off before she awakens.

Episode 23: Confrontation
In mid-summer Tokyo, people are mysteriously freezing to death and Miyu attributes the killings to her friendly foe - Reiha - the Snow Queen.

Episode 24: The Boy Who Returned
The usually very solitary Tokiya, visits Hokkaido, to heal his wounded heart, when he encounters the mysterious golden bird! He returns as an assassin with the mission of killing Miyu.

Episode 25: The Last Shinma
The powerful Bird Shinma are sent to ensure the final death of Miyu, who must flee to protect her friends. Yet, the birds find an unexpected way to deprive Miyu of her powers, forcing her to reveal her true identity to Chisato and her other friends.

Episode 26: The Eternal Sleep
All seems lost as Miyu struggles in her fight against the last Shinma. Larva tries to help her, but is trapped by the mighty bird Shinma, Shidon.

The Review!
The final installment of Miyu brings a number of things to the forefront, and gives continuity through the remaining episodes. This set of episodes is likely the best of the entire series.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show continues to feature a decent sound if not terribly immersive stereo mix that makes good use of the forward soundstage. Dialogue is nice and clear and we haven’t noticed any dropouts or distortions throughout these episodes.

Video:
The transfer for these episodes makes out better than the last couple of volumes, with most of the cross coloration issues apparently disappearing, leaving just the somewhat soft image. Colors are nice and solid, though they lack any real vibrancy by design. Aliasing is pretty minimal as well, though there’s a bit of grain in a few areas but that may be intentional for the story at hand. If there’s anything odd about the transfer, it’s how it’s been blocked out. With the five episodes, the first three appear to be within their own title, so a running time only shows three episodes worth of time. At first I thought they forgot to encode two whole episodes, but at the end of the first title, the second one kicks in with the remaining two episodes. It’s oddly setup to be sure.

Packaging:
Miyu takes center stage of the cover here facing forward while the image of Chisato holding her charm is set behind her and off to the left a bit, which starts to blend a bit against the similarly shaded background. The back cover provides a summary of what the show is about and then two lines or so for each of the episodes along with a picture for each. Features and production credits are all clearly listed as well as episode numbers and titles, but no volume number. The insert provides the full image of the front cover with the surrounding frame while the reverse side advertises some of their other properties. The other insert goes again into comments and designs from Teraoka and covers the various Shinma seen in these episodes.

Menu:
The strong and subtle work of Nightjar again brings a nice feel to this release. This one just looks very Miyu stylish with a paper style image of Larva 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:
The only extra here at the end of the series is sketches, sketches and more sketches. There’s sections for character sketches, Shinma sketches, prop sketches and location sketches.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With these last five episodes, a number of questions get answered and a lot of the past is covered. There are also some rather good surprises, as I was completely blindsided at first by the potential of one of the Shinma. All told, this was a great way to end this series that was made up of mostly single episode stories. The final continuity was all about Miyu herself.

While during most of the stories, Miyu has been a peripheral character, generally only coming in at the end to dispatch of the Shinma, here she is the central character. We get a look into parts of her past, starting with her at the age of fourteen and living on the outskirts of town with just her mother. A passing troupe of actors has arrived again, as they always seem to near her birthday every year. Miyu talks with the leader of the troupe, telling him of her troubles at home. Her mother often cannot even remember Miyu’s name, and talks of her father coming home and leaving again, even though he’s been dead for many years. All Miyu wants now is to leave and get on with her life.

With her now being fourteen, the troupe leader is more aggressive with Miyu’s mother in bringing her into the troupe and taking her away. Her mother finally agrees, and we get Miyu moved into the group, where we’re introduced to the young girl named Reiha. Reiha’s apparently been left there by her mother at some point in the past, and everyone in the group takes care of her. Miyu and Reiha get along quite well, and with Miyu in the performances, the two work well together.

But the evil that’s afoot is strong. With whispered words of birds that killed Miyu’s father, leaving not even a bone left, a rogue of some sort who has a group of ninjas launches an attack on the troupe. Apparently it’s all just a cover, as the troupe leader is a protector of Shinma, and Miyu has reached the age where she will change, if given the chance, from a normal girl to the Guardian. Naturally, the Shinma aren’t going to let that happen and a very vicious battle ensues. And one that sets the stage for the deep seated hatred that Reiha eventually tries to use against Miyu.

All of this is to set the stage for the present, where Reiha has changed her tact and is now using humans to try and unnerve Miyu. She loses her general sense of subtlety to bring about her revenge, having finally had enough of Miyu and always remembering what has caused her to feel this way. The battle between the two, played out among flashbacks to both their pasts and origin stories, really fleshes out the characters nicely and will add quite a bit to the story upon rewatching earlier volumes.

But even Reiha isn’t the final piece to the story. The Shinma themselves have been planning long and hard to defeat Miyu, and a plan they set into motion ages ago finally takes form, using something from earlier in the series I completely didn’t see as being used this way. Their goal of making the strongest Shinma ever to take on Miyu is a bit weak in itself, but it’s the overall execution of the concept that works, especially when tied to Miyu’s origin as well as her fathers grisly end.

Miyu TV has been a good series overall, with some excellent single episode tales of pseudo-horror and mystery as well as a few mediocre ones. The culmination of all of it into these final episodes that bring so much information to light makes it all work in and of itself, and adds a good level of replay value in terms of seeing the motivations of the characters, especially with Reiha. Ever since my fascination with this character nearly ten years ago with the OVA series, I’ve been waiting patiently to see some kind of origin story. Now that I’ve gotten it, I find myself extremely pleased with the progression of this character over the years. Miyu isn’t for everyone, especially with its slow pace, but for those who enjoy it, this has been a great ride.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Production Sketches

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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