Vampire Princess Miyu-Volume 2: Haunting (1998)

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Released 18-Sep-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio-loud!
Credits-Japanese opening credits
Gallery-Shinma
Trailer-3
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 102:15 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Toshiki Hirano
Studio
Distributor
TokyoPop Anime
Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Kenji Kawai


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese 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 Titling
English
Smoking Yes, infrequent
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This is the second volume of the Vampire Princess Miyu series. You'll find my review of the first volume, and introduction to the main characters, here. I recommend you read that review first.

    This disc continues exactly where the last one left off - the teaser at the end of the first disc applies to the first episode on this one (as you'd hope).

    Miyu doesn't work alone, mostly. She has the aid of Lava (sometimes spelled Larva), a former stray shinma, now fighting on the side of good (we assume Miyu is good, right?). She is also accompanied by Shiina, a creature whose powers are, as yet, unclear - she looks rather like a rabbit with an evil eye. We get to learn more about Lava in the third episode on this disc.

    Miyu is not an easy character to like - she seems aloof, distant. But there's a gentle sadness about her. She does what she must to deal with the shinma who are terrorising humans, but she does it more in sorrow than in anger (mostly!). I do like her, maybe it just takes a while.

    The episodes on this disc are:

Number Title Description
4 Reiha Has Come Another hunter of shinma, is Reiha a friend, or a threat?
5 Sepia Coloured Portrait What is so strange about a 20 year old unfinished film and the professor who made it?
6 Ghost of Miyu Who is the seeming duplicate of Miyu who is making so much trouble?
7 Fate Can Miyu do anything for the runaway pair with unusual powers?

    In the first episode, Miyu is away from school, and Lava, and Shiina, for no explained reason. She meets Reiha accidentally (it seems). Reiha is a half-breed - half shinma, half frost demon - which gives her unusual powers. Her doll, Matsukaze, has strong opinions about Miyu and her motivations (of course her doll speaks - what's strange about that?); Reiha is less outspoken. It is not yet clear what Reiha's motivations are - she seems eager to hunt shinma, and considers Miyu a shinma, so we cannot be sure that her plans and Miyu's will not clash.

    The other three episodes are a bit more conventional - Miyu is back at school with Chisato, Yukari, and Hisae. The friendship between Chisato and Miyu becomes closer in Ghost of Miyu, even though Miyu doesn't hesitate to use her.

    This disc is better than the first, because each episode is presented in full - it starts with the establishing scene, then the opening (really like that theme music), then the episode, then closing credits in Japanese and English (marvellous song), and then the teaser for the next episode. And the closing song is subtitled this time. All good stuff, and the way episodes should be presented. There are plenty of chapter stops, too, so it's easy to navigate.

    The basic characters seem fully established at the end of this disc, so I look forward to the development of a longer story arc in the next volume. Even without a longer arc, these episodes are enjoyable - things are not as cut-and-dried as in a children's show, but that's part of the enjoyment - this is not kid's stuff.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, as you might expect for a TV series. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is sharp and clear. Shadow detail is meaningless in animation, but there's considerable shading in the drawing. The drawing is nicely detailed, without pretending to be anything more than animation. There's no low level noise.

    Colour is excellent - there's a much wider range of colours than is customary in animation - rich deep shades. There are no colour-related artefacts. There are some scenes with a white cast over the entire frame, but this is intentional - these scenes are like dream sequences.

    There continue to be some tiny film artefacts, but they are never troubling because they are always small and momentary.

    The same problem areas exist as were commented on in the review of the first disc of this series: there is quite a bit of aliasing, albeit mild, plus some interlacing artefacts (interleaved frames), and a fair bit of dot crawl on some of the black edges that define the foreground characters. Even with these artefacts, the picture is attractive.

    There are two sets of subtitles in English - the first set only subtitles signs (useful when you're listening to the English dub), the second are full subtitles (for the purists listening to the Japanese dub). I feel obliged to point out that the subtitles are in American English ("rumor" instead of "rumour", for example) - we can cope, I guess. The setup screen makes it easy to select the combination of subtitles and soundtrack you want.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered, so there's no layer change. Even the four episodes on this disc don't need excessive compression to fit.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English and in Japanese, which will keep the purists happy, but let the non-purists enjoy an English dub. Both tracks are Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround-encoded, at 224 kbps. I listened to the whole of the English track, and to two episodes of the Japanese track. Both tracks sound mono a lot of the time, but the English track has some serious stereo imaging at times. Even with Prologic decoding, your surrounds will stay silent, but your centre channel will get plenty to do.

    The dialogue is clear and comprehensible. There are no obvious flaws in audio sync - I think the English looks closer (personally, I think the English voice actors try harder to sync because they are doing "after-the-fact" dubbing).

    The score is from Kenji Kawai - it's excellent. I really like the opening music (Heartbeat of Shinma) and the closing song (Miyu Forever).

    The surrounds and subwoofer are not used by this strictly 2.0 soundtrack.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static, with more very loud music (good music, but loud). Be warned - this music is five to ten dB louder than the episodes. I really hate that.

Japanese opening titles (1:37)

    The opening titles in Japanese (on the feature they are in English). Worth a look, but it's rather short.

Gallery - Shinma

    Six pages of images showing design sketches for the shinma in these episodes: En Jyu, Gen Eh, Ho Jyo, and Cho Jyu.

Trailers

    Labelled Madman Propaganda (as usual), we get fewer trailers on this disc (probably because of the extra episode):

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 of this disc sounds pretty much the same as ours, but without the Madman propaganda. It has a gallery, but different content. I wonder if the R1 might be free from the interlacing artefacts? It reportedly suffers from the infamous rainbows (a problem that seems to be confined to NTSC anime).

Summary

    More of an interesting series, on a better DVD.

    The video quality is fair, but there is some aliasing, some dot crawl, and some interlacing artefacts.

    The audio quality is very good for a 2.0 soundtrack.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, September 30, 2002
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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