Angelic Layer-Volume 3: Idol Worship (2001)

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Released 19-May-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Alternative Version-Clean opening (2:03) and closing (1:31)
Gallery-Production Art montage (1:32)
Audio Commentary-English voice actor & ADR Director
Trailer-ADV Previews (4)
DVD Credits-US
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 96:52 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nishikiori Hiroshi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Atsuko Enomoto
Jessica Boone
Masaya Onosaka
Andy McAvin
Yuri Shiratori
Sasha Paysinger
Jun Fukuyama
Kevin Corn
Satsuki Yukino
Monica Rial
Kotono Mitsuishi
Kelly Manison
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Kohei Tanaka


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
English Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, next episode preview after credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    If you missed my reviews of the first two volumes of Angelic Layer, called Divine Inspiration, and On the Wing and a Player, then I urge you to read them before proceeding.

    The episodes on this disc are:

9 Sing Misaki!
Is the Deus an Idol?
Misaki has to face a teen singing idol, and overcome her natural shyness
10 Mean Sisters!
Hikaru the Target
Misaki and Hikaru stand in the way of Madoka and Arisu's chance of facing Hotoko again, something they have been obsessed about for a year
11 Finish It Off!
Hikaru & Mao's Important Game
Several people are aware that something is wrong, and have various ideas of what action to take
12 Misaki & Kotaro
Their Exciting Date
Kotaro offers to show Misaki some karate in the hope that it may help her

    Misaki is surprised to learn that the girl she spoke to in the Ladies is actually a pop star (or "idol" as they are known in Japan), Ringo Seto, and even more surprised to learn that Ringo is her next opponent. Ringo has an unusual fighting technique with her Angel, Ranga. Their battle is watched by a lot of people we recognise, including the four mystery girls (all of whom we finally meet during these episodes), Ohjiro Mihara (about whom we learn a lot more in these episodes), Shoko (in her capacity as a reporter), and even Shuko (yep, we learn more about her, too). This is an important battle, because Misaki learns two things. It's really cute when Ringo demands that Shoko take TV footage of Misaki (Ringo doesn't know, of course, that Misaki lives with Shoko). It's a shame that a pop star can only afford one dress, though.

    Ringo happens to be voiced (in English) by Mariela Ortiz, the coordinator for the Region 1 DVD.

    The first three episodes are concerned with the progress of the Kanto Games, and the elimination of competitors down to the semi-finals (which must be on the next volume). It's stirring stuff, including some shots of Suzuka polishing off opponents in next to no time.

    The fourth episode on this disc is a welcome change of pace. Misaki may be a brilliant rookie at Angelic Layer, but she's also a young girl, and just as shy and embarrassed with a boy as any other girl (and it doesn't help that both Tamayo and Shoko tease her about it). Misaki gets to exert her other talent, cooking, in preparing lunch for Kotaro.

    Almost all the characters have the same names in the English and Japanese credits. The notable exception is Madoka's younger sister, whose name is spelled Arisu in the English credits and subtitles (that's how the English voice actors say her name, too). In the Japanese credits, however, her name is spelled Alice...

    Misaki often makes friends of her opponents after a fight. It's interesting to see some of them cheering for her in later episodes (such as Ryo Misaki, who we see in the audience while she's pitted against Ringo). Oh, it may not be realistic for her to convert so many opponents into friends, but it feels good, and that's nice.

    This may be written as a series for children and young teens, but there's enough here that adults can definitely enjoy it. The simpler storylines are a relief after over-tortuous anime designed for adults. This is a pleasure to watch, and I await the next disc eagerly.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. That's the original aspect ratio, which is fine.

    The image is crisp and sharp on the foreground characters, but softer when they are distant; backgrounds are often a little softer, but that's partly because of the way they are drawn. There's no film grain, and no low-level noise.

    Colour is excellent - bright and cheerful, with a broad palette that's well-rendered. There are no colour-related artefacts, but the light on the Angelic Layer table is rendered by a very hot white, leading to the appearance of an over-bright picture.

    There are no film artefacts.

    Once again, pan shots show moderate aliasing, but pans are not all that common in this style of animation, so it's not too troubling. Most of the shots are static, or only a small amount of the image is moving. There is no moiré, mainly because the characters are coloured with solid shades rather than patterns. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are the customary two sets of subtitles, both in English. One set subtitles signs and songs, while the other is full subtitles. I watched the full subtitles all the way through, and they seem accurate and well-timed to the Japanese dialogue, as well as being easy to read — they are not all that different from the English dub.

    The disc is single-sided (with a nice picture label) and dual layered, but not RSDL formatted. The layer change is placed between the second and third episodes, so it doesn't create visible artefacts, and the pause between episodes makes it harder to spot.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English and Japanese. The Japanese soundtrack is Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround-encoded, at 224 kbps. The English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1, at 448kbps. I watched all the episodes in both languages. There's a third audio track, for the audio commentary, on the second episode.

    The English dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear, but I can't assess comprehensibility (maybe one day I'll learn Japanese — I'm starting to pick up a word here or there...). Both dubs seem better matched to the mouth flaps than previously. I prefer the English dub for this series, mainly because the Japanese voice actress for Misaki is a bit shrill for my ears.

    Kohei Tanaka continues to provide a good score to this series — there are some amusing sound effects worked into the score here and there.

    The English soundtrack displays some rather neat use of directional sound in these episodes — the Angelic Layer arena feels more real, and you hear the audience calling out from various points around you. There's ample use of the subwoofer where appropriate, too. The Japanese soundtrack is plain stereo, and uses neither the surrounds nor the sub.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menus are animated with music. They are easy to navigate, and nicely themed to the show.

Credit-less Opening (2:03)

    The opening sequence, but without the credits over the top. It's a nice extra, once, but it was on the first and second disc.

Clean Closing (1:31)

    The closing sequence, without the credits. Again, a nice extra, once, but it was on the first and second disc, too.

Production Art (1:32)

    A short montage of character art, showing images we've seen, and some we haven't. I can already predict that episode 21 will be a beach episode, because all the swimsuit art is marked as coming from #21. I'd prefer it if the artwork were drawn exclusively from the episodes on this disc.

Audio Commentary

    This is a commentary for episode 11 on this disc from the English-language voice actor for Madoka (Shelley Calene Black) and the ADR Director (David Williams). They are a little more serious than the last pair, but they are a bit light-hearted because this is their last task before breaking for Christmas. They comment on the differences between this role and her prior role in Noir (there's a contrast of roles...), but they don't mention Steel Angel Kurumi (yet another different role).

Trailers: ADV Previews

    Four trailers, presented one after another, rather than individually selectable in normal Madman fashion. Note that they are separate titles, though, so I can get individual runtimes.

DVD Credits

    These are the US credits, rather than Madman ones, which is unusual.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version was released early 2004. It has the same four episodes as the Region 4 disc. The front cover looks quite similar, with the same character shots, but a more heavily patterned background on the R1. Apart from a "mini-poster" in the R1 that's missing from the R4, the extras are the same.

    The R1 disc is reported to have an excellent transfer, with minimal aliasing, but the R4 is a fine disc. I'll continue buying the R4 discs.

Summary

    Volume three of Angelic Layer gets even more exciting. It is presented well on DVD.

    The video quality is excellent, except for the aliasing on pans, but that is reduced somewhat from earlier volumes.

    The audio quality is good. This is one series where I prefer the English dub.

    The extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, June 20, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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