Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: AnimEigo
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Vampire Princess Miyu
Vampire Princess Miyu Vol. #2
By Chris Beveridge
December 17, 2001
Release Date: December 17, 2001
Vampire Princess Miyu Vol. #2
What They Say
When spiritualist Himiko continues her pursuit of Miyu, Princess of the Vampires, she does not have to look far. For Miyu comes to Himiko, and offers her a bargain -- the truth about herself, in return for Himiko's assistance in her battle against the demonic Shinma. Join us now for the conclusion of our journey into the Occult -- Japanese style!
Himiko agrees to help Miyu defeat a ghastly armored monster. In return, Miyu tells the tale of how she met Larva, her silent companion. Later, Himiko learns of the tragic fate of a husband and wife.
Meanwhile, a beautiful young man with a ghastly laugh circles and waits. Who is he? What is the secret of the Armor? And what of the Shinma? Can Himiko put the pieces of the puzzle together in time?
Himiko travels to Kamakura, a childhood home. There, she dreams of herself as a child, running in terror from a mysterious mansion. Now the mansion has a new tenant: Miyu.
Miyu at last tells all -- of her discovery of her true nature after her first meeting with Larva, of the secret concealed by Miyu's parents, and of the night that Darkness and Shinma gathered together. And, finally, Himiko realizes what it is that has bound her destiny together with Miyu's...forever!The Review!
The second and concluding volume to the Miyu OVA series does a nice job of expanding upon our two central characters as secrets from their past rise to the surface.Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. While this is indeed an older OVA series, dating back to 1988, there are some quite good audio moments in the disc. One of the early moments with one of the Shinma moving with its cloaks flowing is very enveloping across the front soundstage and sounds great. Dialogue throughout is quite good and ambient effects and music make good use of the left/right channels.Video:
Things here look much like the first volume, so it's definitely got its pluses and minuses. Probably the biggest minus is just the age of the materials and the way it was animated. There's a lot of changes in the brightness of colors throughout which is fairly common with older shows like this. A room with dark brown walls will suddenly get lighter for a few seconds and then shift back and then do it again. It's not really distracting unless you're really attuned to it. Colors otherwise look good and there's no noticeable cross coloration. Some of the tighter line work, such as around the edges of Miyu's hair, get a little jaggy at times though.Packaging:
The cover is nicely done up similar to the first one with a different central picture of Miyu. The actual version comes across a lot better than the online image thankfully and looks quite nice and detailed. The back cover doesn't have much in the way of artwork but has a good summary of both episodes and gives a rundown of all the production credits that you usually see. Since the liner notes for these episodes were included with the first disc, there aren't any here. AnimEigo has however included an amusing piece up anyway with their usual sense of humor about it.Menus:
AnimEigo did a really great job with the menus here in bringing a sense of style to what could otherwise have been fairly simple but effective menus. There's a nice bit of flowing animation along the top mixing together with the music the subtlety rises from a low to medium volume. Otherwise, selections are quickly accessed and things are laid out in a nice and logical way that leads to no problems.Extras:
The only extra included here is a two minute video image gallery that provides some nice looks at animation and original artwork.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though the release time between the two volumes was somewhat longer than anticipated, I found myself getting easily immersed into these episodes thanks to the fact that the show continues to remain fairly episodic.
Being episodic, each one really takes the time to just focus on the short tale it wants to tell. The story of Fragile Armor revolves around a couple who came into possession of an ancient piece of samurai armor. Through its powers, it took their lives in a subtle way and ended up pretending to be a Shinma. The armor unwittingly became the tool and puppet of Lemures, an old friend of Larva who cannot stand to see his friend under the control of Miyu. He uses and manipulates the armor to try and draw her out after sealing away Larva so he can eliminate her.
But the focus isn't heavily on Miyu but instead works towards giving Himiko a more powerful role as one who can at times take on and hold their own against Shinma. Of course, it can also be argued that this isn't a real Shinma, but with its purpose to draw Miyu out, it serves well enough as one. Himiko comes out strong here as her abilities are needed to help free Larva and she manages to strike a del with Miyu that in the end, lets her discover the origin of the relationship between these two powerful people.
The Frozen Time episode though is where all the really good origin stuff is. The show opens with Himiko heading up into a hill near her hometown where has a vague memory of a mansion there. On the way, she sits to rest briefly and lets her mind wander. This lapse lets Miyu's manipulations open up her mind to give Himiko a look into Miyu's past as a normal human growing up with two very strange parents and the destiny of becoming a Guardian for the Shinma. The story is told in a very slow but deliberate pace, one that doesn't give away the information too easily but manages to tie things up in a truly unexpected way.
Vampire Princess Miyu's OVA series stands up well with me since its release nearly thirteen years ago. It was one of the first shows I had first gotten into when AnimEigo had started producing subtitled tapes and one I've bought in three formats now. With full episodes containing excellent direction, compellingly eerie stories and a great score, Vampire Princess Miyu is a show I definitely like to revisit every couple of years and to simply take in and enjoy.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Video Image Gallery
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.