Angelic Layer-Volume 5: Deus Ex Machina (2001)

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Released 18-Aug-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Alternative Version-clean opening (2:02) and clean ending (1:46)
Gallery-production art montage (1:33)
Audio Commentary-Mariela Ortiz and Sasha Paysinger
Trailer-ADV Previews (5:01)
DVD Credits-US
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 96:57 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No 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
Kotono Mitsuishi
Christine Auten
Souichiro Hoshi
Chris Patton
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

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

Plot Synopsis

    Angelic Layer volume 5, Deus ex Machina, follows Divine Inspiration, On the Wing and a Player, Idol Worship and Faith, Hope and Love. I urge you to read those reviews before this one, if you haven't read them already.

    The episodes on this disc are:

17 I've Made Up My Mind On You
The One Misaki Selected
Misaki must choose a second for the National Games, and everyone has volunteered for the position
18 Many Strong Opponents
The National Games of Everyone's Dreams
Misaki gets to see "the white Angel", Athena, again — the one who inspired her to take up Angelic Layer — but she didn't know that Athena is the Champion of Angelic Layer
19 System Down!
Decisive Fight on a Ship in a Storm
Misaki's first fight of the National Games is against an opponent as upset about being tall as she is about being small
20 Is Icchan the Enemy?
The Puzzling Second Game
Misaki's next match is against a representative of the Angelic Layer Company, with unexpected Seconds on both sides

    The National Games are different from the regional games. Now each Deus is backed up by a Second, and the battle is broken into rounds of 3 minutes, with a break to repair the Angels between rounds. That means that the battles can be rougher. Add in the fact that each competitor was either winner or runner-up of a regional Games, and there are no easy battles in these Games.

    The Champion appears at the start of the Games wearing her Angelic Layer headset, and identified only as Shu. I guess it's understandable that Misaki doesn't recognise her as being her mother, especially given that Misaki hasn't seen her for seven years.

    We finally get to see Athena (and Shuko) in battle, and she is an awesome combination of graceful and devastating. Her first fight is a demonstration of skill that would be terribly demoralising to anyone who will be facing her. Shuko wanted this to be an impressive fight for the benefit of Misaki — she succeeded. We are all wondering how Misaki will react when she learns that the Champion is her mother.

    We haven't seen "wiggly Icchan" for a while. I guess he thinks Misaki doesn't need direct help any more. The regular Icchan is still entertaining, though, especially when he (oh so badly) tries to talk to Shuko about the future.

    If you haven't been looking closely at the scoreboard that hangs over the Layer, I recommend you do so. There are some real gems of broken English on it at times; things like: "that's a fighting illusion on the curcle and do the evolution" — whatever that means... I was amused by: "misaki's partener is hikaru!" (remember Peter Sellers in The Party?)

    The end of episode 20 warns us that the next episode, 21, will be a trip to the seaside (something we guessed earlier from the production artwork). Ah, well, I guess almost every anime series has to have a seaside episode — it's a rule, isn't it?

    I'm thoroughly enjoying this series, and its gentle approach. Oh, it's not realistic that Misaki can unravel the tortured psyche of so many opponents with a few words, but it's sweet, and it's really nice to see how they become friends — the first episode on this disc makes that clear. This series is relaxing and a pleasure to watch, and the next volume is only a month away!

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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, and we're not going to complain about that.

    The image is crisp and sharp on the characters in close-ups and medium shots, but quite soft in long shots. The backgrounds look like they are watercolours, which are soft. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise.

    Colour is vivid, fully-saturated, with some bright colours on display in virtually any scene. There are no colour-related artefacts, but there's plenty of hot whites, especially on the Layer.

    There are no obvious film artefacts. There is mild aliasing on pan shots, but there aren't too many pans in this show. There is no moirι. 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. I didn't spot any errors this time.

    The disc is single-sided, single layer. I'm surprised that they managed to fit everything onto a single layer, when previous discs have been dual layer with the same number of episodes and  the same extras. Still, it does mean that there's no layer change to worry about.

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 first episode.

    The English dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear, but I can't assess comprehensibility. Both dubs seem fairly well matched to the mouth flaps. I have to say that this is one anime where I prefer the English dialogue — Misaki is a tad shrill in Japanese - I prefer the English voicing.

    Kohei Tanaka has given us a varied score, including full orchestra for some scenes, down to acoustic guitar on others. Nicely judged, and a positive feature of the show.

    Surrounds get used intermittently on the 5.1 soundtrack (mostly in the Angelic Layer arena, when we are looking at the layer — we can hear the crowd around us — quite effective). The subwoofer is only used intermittently, too. The Japanese soundtrack is plain stereo, and uses neither the surrounds nor the sub, but it offers a wider stereo separation.

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.

Clean Opening (2:02)

    The opening sequence, but without the credits over the top — this is the opening of the very first episode. Exactly as on the first four discs.

Clean Closing (1:46)

    The closing sequence, without the credits. This one is the second ending.

Production Art (1:33)

    A montage of character art, drawn mostly from the episodes on this disc, featuring Ringo, Shuji Inada, Chitose, and their Angels.

Audio Commentary

    This is a commentary for episode 17 on this disc from the English-language voice actors for Ringo (Mariela Ortiz) and Hatoko (Sasha Paysinger). Mariela is also DVD Coordinator on this series — she explains that this is not a glamorous job.

    It's interesting to hear Sasha Paysinger's natural voice. Despite Monica Rial's claim, she doesn't sound like Hatoko, but there is enough of a resemblance to make it easy to identify her.

    This is not a highly technical commentary, but it's amusing, and reveals such titbits as Mariela's strong fondness for Ohjiro. She refers to Ringo as a space cadet (fair enough), but she's clearly fond of her character, too. She explains the strange game involving rock-paper-scissors and a mallet and bowl.

Trailers: ADV Previews (5:01)

    Three trailers, presented one after another, rather than individually selectable in normal Madman fashion.

DVD Credits

    These are the US credits, rather than Madman ones. The very first credit is DVD Coordinator, Mariela Ortiz.

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 in 2004. For once, the Region 4 disc has completely different artwork from the Region 1; the Region 4 disc's art looks inappropriate, because it harks back to the start of the series, with Misaki holding an Angel Egg.

    The two discs have the same episodes and extras (except for the trailers).

    The R1 disc is reported to have an excellent transfer, with minimal aliasing and no cross-colouration. The R4 is a very good disc, even if it does have some minor aliasing on pans (there aren't that many pans in the show). Even so, I rate the two discs as equivalent, and I will keep buying the R4 discs.

Summary

    A delightful anime series reaches volume 5. It is presented very well on DVD.

    The video quality is excellent, except for the aliasing on pans.

    The audio quality is good. I really like the English dub.

    The extras are good, and I'm glad that they include a commentary on every volume.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, September 02, 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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