Angelic Layer-Volume 7: Seventh Heaven (2001)

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Released 20-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Alternative Version-clean opening (2:03) and clean closing (1:47)
Gallery-production artwork (3:15)
Audio Commentary-voice actors: Kelly Manison, Christine Auten
Trailer-ADV Previews (3)
DVD Credits-US
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 72:06 (Case: 75)
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
Kotono Mitsuishi
Christine Auten
Yuri Shiratori
Sasha Paysinger
Jun Fukuyama
Kevin Corn
Masaya Onosaka
Andy McAvin
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 (192Kb/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, denouements during credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Angelic Layer volume 7, Seventh Heaven, is the last volume of this sweet series. In order, the others are Divine Inspiration, On the Wing and a Player, Idol Worship, Faith, Hope and Love, Deus ex Machina and Inherit the Layer. If you haven't seen the episodes on those discs, or at least read those reviews, beware that this review will give away some spoilers.

    The episodes on this disc are:

24 Reach Misaki!
This Thought Goes Over the Rainbow!
The impressive second semi-final, between Sai and Shuko, is the backdrop to some changes to relationships.
25 Reunion of Destiny
Angels Wet with Tears
Will Shuko and Misaki finally meet again? Can they face each other? Can they work out seven years of separation?
26 Angel Wings
Please Guide Me and Hikaru!
The spectacular final match.

    There are two fights in this volume, and both of them are impressive. The fight between Shirahime and Athena, between Sai and Shuko, is a confrontation of two strong, fast Angels, of two strong-willed women. Shuko goes into the fight planning to show off to Misaki. Sai goes in determined to fight her hardest against the champion. It's a fight they both enjoy. And there's a big surprise at the end.

    The arena is quite active during the semi-final and the final, as you'd expect. The matches live up to the crowd's excitement.

    For the past six volumes, the past 24 episodes, this series has been building to the meeting between Misaki and her mother. Strangely, both of them feel unworthy, as though they don't deserve to see the other one again. It's been beautifully built up, and it is easy to understand how they feel. This makes for an awesome climax. So many series have something small, like the end of the world, as their climax. This one's climax is heartbreaking, between a girl and her mother.

    There's an unexplained challenge at the end of the second last episode — see how many of the characters sitting in the audience you can identify. There are a lot of people who have fought Misaki among them.

    The final fight begins on a bare layer (in contrast to the varying terrain we've seen in the other finals), but then... Very pretty. Such an awesome ending to the fight, too — that's one Layer that won't be the same again...

    The final episode ends differently — it does a lovely job of wrapping up the loose ends during the credits, with a series of quick scenes showing how things end up for many of the characters.

    The ending to the show is quite apt, and satisfying. It's a joy when a sweet series like this ends well.

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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.

    The image is sharp and clear on all the foreground objects — it looks gorgeous on a TV screen 68cm or smaller (which it was designed for), and still looks really good blown up on an even larger screen. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise.

    Colour is beautiful, too. It is rich, deep, fully-saturated, and intense, with a varied palette. There are no colour-related artefacts, even with the hot whites of the lights on and around the Layer.

    There are no visible film artefacts. There is frequent aliasing, but only at a minor level — I don't find it distracting. There is no moiré. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are the usual 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, single layer. The three episodes and the few extras fit easily into the one layer.

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 volume really shows off the work of some of the voice actors. Unless you are a big fan of the Japanese, I'd recommend listening to this show in English.

    The Japanese dialogue sounds clear, but I can't assess comprehensibility. The Japanese voice acting is perfectly acceptable, and I'm sure you can enjoy the show with this soundtrack, but I do recommend the English over it.

    The score of this series has been good all along, but Kohei Tanaka has surpassed himself on this volume — the music is superb at supporting the action.

    The English 5.1 soundtrack gets to use the surround speakers every so often, mostly "crowd in the arena" scenes. The subwoofer is used very subtly in moments of high emotion. The Japanese soundtrack, being pure stereo, doesn't use the surrounds or subwoofer.

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 (2:03)

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

Clean Closing (1:47)

    The closing sequence, without the credits. This one is the second ending, and this version starts with Sai walking away.

Production Art (3:15)

    A montage of character art.

Audio Commentary

    This is a commentary for episode 25 on this disc, from the English-language voice actors for Shoko (Kelly Manison) and Shuko (Christine Auten). They tell some interesting stories, including explaining their history together (they were Priss and Lina in Bubblegum Crisis 2040AD). There's a touch of distortion every so often — they weren't paying a lot of attention to their mike technique during the commentary.

    I did like one comment: one of them describes this as one of the few shows she can share with her niece.

Trailers: ADV Previews

    Three trailers this time, presented one after another, but as separate titles:

DVD Credits

    These are the US credits, rather than Madman ones.

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 in June 2004. It has the same episodes as the Region 4 disc. The background colour is different (the R1 is predominantly green, the R4 predominantly yellow) but the character art is the same. The extras are the same (except for the trailers) — including the commentary.

    The R1 transfer is reported to be excellent, perhaps even slightly better than this R4 (it sounds as though it has even less aliasing). I'm still rating the two as pretty much equal. I like my R4 collection, especially in the box that I bought with the first volume. I won't be surprised to see this series re-released as a complete box set — if you missed out on buying the discs as they were released, I'm sure you'll get another chance.

Summary

    A spectacular ending to an excellent series. It is presented very well on DVD. And if they could sell the Angels with the DVDs, they'd make millions!

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent, especially the English dub.

    The extras are good, especially the commentary.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, November 28, 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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