Virgin Fleet - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Virgin Fleet

Virgin Fleet

By Chris Beveridge     January 09, 2001
Release Date: January 09, 2001


Virgin Fleet
© Central Park Media


What They Say
From the creator of Sakura Wars! Life isn’t easy for the girls in the super-secret Virgin Fleet. Schoolwork is rough and the competition brutal. Luckily, cadets are trained in the use of “Virgin Energy,” serious blasting power useful for playing pranks, scuffling with the (ick) boys, and blowing enemy war planes out of the sky!

The Review!
This show seems familiar. Cute girls with special abilities, neat looking odd technology. Various military characters running around, foreign visitors who aren't quite what they seem. Some nice looking animation and a pretty skimpy and minimally explained plot. It's Sakura Wars: The Virgin Fleet! Yes, the similarities are strong at times right down to the makeup of the cast.

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to the Japanese language track and had no problems. The front soundstage is pretty well used for both vocals and effects throughout. There wasn't any instances of dropouts or other distortion during playback. We did spot check the English track and didn't notice any problems during the couple of minutes we sampled.

Video:
Talk about a mixed bag. Being an OVA, there are at times some great looking pieces of animation, especially when you add in the fluidity that water based animation can provide. Striking character designs also help in this department. And several areas of this disc does look quite good. Unfortunately there are an equal number of scenes that just get me rolling my eyes. One of the ones that I'm sure most people will miss are scenes early one with the red planes that the cadets use. If you watch closely, you'll notice the lines around the plane tend to get really jagged as opposed to the smooth line that was actually drawn. The other places where it gets bad is in artifacting. The night time sky scenes are particularly overcompressed as well as some of the dark blue uniforms and helmets at times. Rainbows are pretty minimal throughout but do surface on occasion.

Packaging:
Packaged in a clear keepcase, the front cover is quite good looking with the ensemble cast of women looking bright and happy. Let it be noted that the amount of skin by the main character on this cover is far more than she ever shows during the episodes themselves. Bah! The back cover has a couple of gorgeous headshots as well as a show summary and a list of all the features. The reverse side of the cover, visible through the clear keepcase, lists the voice cast for both languages and the exceedingly minimal (and poorly placed) chapter stops. And yes, the disc is pink. Pink!

Menus:
The usual fare here, with a static main screen that has a piece of the shows animation playing on part of it along with music. Submenus are set up similarly and all are pretty fast when it comes to access times. No problems or issues here.

Extras:
The only extra on the video side of the disc is a quick two screen section with each of the characters and their corresponding Japanese and English voice actors. We didn't check out the DVD-ROM extras.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As noted above, Virgin Fleet is pretty darn similar to Sakura Wars. Some will even say it's the same story, just different characters, but Sakura Wars left little impression on me in the end.

The show revolves around a group of young cadets fifteen years after a cease fire in a big world war. The war was won by a special group of soldiers who were part of the Virgin Fleet, young women who used their mysterious and never really explained abilities to destroy the invading enemy. Peace has settled in since then and the military continues to gather and train these women.

The central character is the amazingly gifted Shiokaze, who gets thrust into the limelight early by displaying her powers in front of someone who turns out to be the Vice Admiral of the group. Along with two other girls, the trio heads off to prove their abilities by competing against each other and in some way becoming friends as well.

There's a pretty wide and varied cast throughout the three episodes, but other than two or maybe three of them, they're all forgettable and barely touched upon. Even fifteen minutes after the show was over, I could only remember two of the girls and the main male lead. The story is pretty skimpy as well, with two nations battling it out for no known reason (the Confederacy and the Federation). The peace that's last so long is the central focus, as the Confederacy has become complacent and the Federation is bringing the war back to the forefront as they're no longer afraid of the Virgins.

Say that with a straight face.

I can just imagine the meeting to sell it to the higher-ups. "See, we got these young girls, they have powers because they're virgins. They fight the bad guys with it and endure the rigors of growing up with a war starting". They probably thought they were getting a hentai show. And there's nothing even remotely hentai about this. There's hardly even any real fan service either, which one would practically expect as a given considering the name of the show.

The animation for the show is pretty nice, especially with some (but not all) of the character designs. Shiokaze and Satsuki make out the best with great color design and overall design. There's some pretty good moments throughout, notably during water based actions, but the show as a whole feels a bit like a low budget OVA.

Virgin Fleet is the essence of the light and mindless anime release. Don't expect much and you might have a good time.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Meet the Cast

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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