Ys Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: C

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ys

Ys Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     April 16, 2003
Release Date: March 25, 2003

Ys Vol. #2
© Media Blasters

What They Say
Adol Christen's quest to uncover the lost books of Ys takes a new turn. The guardians of the sacred books have saved Adol many times and aided his quest. The high priest, Dark Fact, is very different. Rather than fight the evil forces invading Esteria, the mysterious Priest uses his knowledge to control them. It is his treachery that spells doom for the land and spawns Adol's greatest challenge yet!

The Review!
The concluding volume to the original series, Ys Book 2 takes things to their logical conclusion.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show is primarily a mono track that’s done up as a stereo mix, with practically all of the dialogue coming through the center channel. The dialogue is nice and clear and without distortion, while the music sounds a bit fuller through the stereo channels. We noted no dropouts or other issues on either track during regular playback.

The transfer for Ys is definitely showings its age, but it’s the kind of show I can’t imagine looking al that amazing when it was released either, as most game to anime shows tend to either be big budget or small, and this one looks small. The materials here mainly show their age in the form of a number of nicks and scratches throughout as well as dust and dirt. Colors look decent, though flesh tones seem a bit more red than I would have expected. There’s no cross coloration and very little aliasing to be seen though, so that’s a major plus.

Looking like a book cover, this cover looks great with a rough image of Dark Fact in the center with the series logo at the top. It’s not terribly vivid or eye-catching, but I get the feeling that it fits well within the established world of the game and the show. The back cover provides some animation shots and a basic summary of what to expect. The discs features and production information is nice and easy to find. The insert provides chapter listings on one side while the reverse has box art adverts.

Almost all the right notes are hit with the menus here. Going to its game origins, this looks just like an eight bit game with its designs and colors, from the borders to the actual selection text. This is such a great menu that it’s unfortunate that there’s some flaws in it, noticeably with the menu and selection notes, which are far too loud compared to the rest of the music and the disc itself. There’s also a fair amount of lag time in waiting for the menu to load the submenus.

Fans will definitely be pleased with the extras here. They kick off with the episode map, which ties to the insert and shows where all the action too place on this land. The calendar gallery contains some really nice images from a calendar obviously, though navigating it seems strange since you can go in different directions. The big extra, encoded as one piece but split into separate selections here, is a thirteen minute video piece that breaks down to some footage from a Falcom Festival, the Rie Sugimoto music video and the JDK Band music video. This all looks to be from 1990, so definitely get in the mindset of late 80’s groovin’ styles. But in the end, these are some probably rare pieces of footage that US fans have likely never seen before. Definitely very cool.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first lackluster volume, having not cared terribly for both fantasy shows anymore as well as game to anime conversions, things pick up a bit better here in the second volume as things are more focused beyond character and worldview setup and more aimed towards actual actions and events. That’s not to say it isn’t predictable though.

We’re still following young Adol, the one who is prophesized to be the Brave Soul who will come from afar to free the land from Evil. And yes, it’s evil with a capital E. Adol’s journey, now that he’s teamed up with Goban, is to continue to find the various books of the original six priests who served the two goddesses of long ago. He’s acquired several of them so far, but there’s still three left. He’s eager to go after more of them though, but Goban urges some caution due to all the things going on in this land.

Adol’s chomping at the bit even more after he has a dream where Roda, the great tree with a soul that was created to preserve the memory of the land, contacts him in his sleep and instructs him to some of the history of the world and what his role in it is. So just as he’s ready to go find Roda, they all get a visit from Dark Fact, who in his own Evil taunting way, reveals the location of a missing book. Of course, he intends for Adol to die in trying to get it, but also to taunt since he just captured a priest in Goban’s care who has a book as well.

Adol’s really fired up now, and a visit to Roda reveals much of the back story of the world, from the formation of the Dahm Tower where Dark Fact now resides to what the two goddesses were trying to do early on. The other revelation comes in the form of the metal that’s caused all the trouble, the Cleria that brings evil to the surface. In order for Adol to complete his destiny, Roda bestows upon him a suit of armor and a sword made of Cleria, since that’s the only thing that can resist the Evil of Dark Fact’s Cleria.

And so, Adol ends up going in search of the remaining books, an exercise that eventually takes him and his few friends to the heart of Dahm Tower to confront Dark Fact himself, as well as trying to free the enslaved goddess. It all really does play ever so predictably that if you’ve ever played an RPG, especially a Japanese one, you know exactly how it will all end. It’s all very formulaic, but it’s also likely playing very closely to the role of the game itself, so in a sense that can be forgiven.

Ys is a show that I can’t see having wide appeal beyond the core fanbase of the game and whatever materials came out over the years. For a fantasy show, it’s very by the numbers and with very little in the way of surprises. The animation is definitely of the time it was made and with a decent budget. The releases themselves are quite well done overall and are really in theme with the show, so those who are fans will really appreciate the love shown to it. But non-fans will likely find themselves struggling to get through each episode.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Episode Map,Calendar Gallery,Falcom Festival,Rie Sugimoto Video,JDK Band Video

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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