What They Say:
When Lillia learns that she’ll be going on vacation with her best friend Treize instead of her mom, she’s not sure how she should feel about it. Lillia’s parents aren’t exactly typical, having saved the world… oh, a dozen or so times. And Treize is a member of a royal family, so the restrictions on what he can do are a royal pain. But still, once she’s actually on vacation, she starts to have a good time. Until – people start trying to kill them; they end up with a planeload of orphans; it turns out that Trieze is actually a PRINCE; and did we mention that people are trying to kill them? There are secret identities, aerial dogfights and twisting plots galore ahead as Lillia inherits the family talent for being in the right place at the wrong time!
Contains episodes 14-26.
The audio presentation for this release is presented in its original Japanese language in stereo encoded at 224kbps. The show has a rather simple approach to events where it’s a mild at best stereo kind of show. The action scenes don’t thrill all that much and it’s fairly bland overall, but it does convey things well and admittedly feels appropriate for the series. There’s little in the way of things like directionality or placement as it has a full feel to it and most of the time the characters are speaking one at a time with out anyone else on the screen at any significant difference. It does have a clean feel to it and it’s problem free, but it has that sense that the whole thing was kind of phoned in when it came to mixing it.
Originally airing in 2008, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The thirteen episodes here are spread across two volumes in a standard six/seven format with no noteworthy extras to be found so space isn’t an issue. The production by Madhouse feels like it’s not exactly the B level team that animated, as that would be a little generous. The show has a very basic look about it with little in the way of detail and a kind of flatness about it. There’s an old school feeling to it in a way but it reminded me a lot of the Michel series that came out a few years back as there’s a lot of soft colors that look decent but nothing with any real pop to it. The transfer conveys it all well but there’s not a lot to write home about here as it has a minimal effort feel.
Allison & Lillia has a standard packaging in that both discs are inside a single sized keepcase. The front cover looks is similar in tone and style as the first as it features Lillia in street clothes with a strand of hair whipping around her in a completely impossible way while various planes fly in formation behind her that are used throughout the series. The bottom portion of the cover is given over to the logo which is kept simple but has a really nice sense of style about it, especially with the white background and the use of the black and blue colors. The back cover uses similar colors with its approach while letting Treize be the key player here along the right. Most of what we get here is a good block through the middle that covers the setting and premise for the show along with a look at what extras there are. Add in a few strips with various shots from the show and the bottom segment given over to the technical grid and you’ve got a solid cover layout that makes everything crystal clear and is problem free.
The menu design for the series is pretty appealing as it lets each disc focus on one of the main characters, Lillia on the first and Treize on the second, where they stand to the right taking up most of the screen while to the left of them is a breakdown of the episode numbers and titles with some relevant design nods towards the planes to tie it all together. The additional pieces along the bottom cover other parts of the discs, mostly the extras or trailers and credits, but it’s all quick and easy to navigate since there aren’t any language setup options and you can just dive right into it.
The only extras included in this release are clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The structure of Allison & Lillia is one that I do have some appreciation for as it worked the first half of the series with the story of Allison and her beau while the second half deals with their child, unaware of who her father is since she believes he died, and her own potential romance that’s burgeoning. There are many series where I’d love to see the next generation get their time in the sun to show off so there’s definitely appeal here for this one. Unfortunately, the first half of the series had a lot of problems with how it wanted to tell its stories and the romance between the leads was so restrained and at a distance so it was hard to really get behind it, never mind the way the story progressed so awkwardly where it felt like it was working with a script that was twenty or thirty years old because of the lack of depth.
With it being eighteen years since Allison and Will found the wall painting that ended the war, a lot of things have changed but a lot is also the same. Allison has found her place in the world while Will has accepted her grandfather’s offer to become one of the secret behind the scenes movers in another country in order to help promote and build the peace that’s now been forged. What they did manage was to have a relationship across the years which resulted in the birth of Lillia, who is the spitting image of her mother with much the same attitude. What’s also come along over the years with Will visiting is another young man named Treize who has become Lillia’s childhood friend. With both in their teenage years now, they get along just about as well as Allison and Will did back in the day. The parallels are so strong that in a lot of ways there’s not much to say about it because it is a replay of that relationship.
Unlike that one, the positions are reversed in order to “shake things up.” Treize is the more outgoing one while Lillia has the cool and critical eye that Will did. The two end up spending time together during the various breaks in their schooling, which happens in different countries, by going on trips to different places now that they’re old enough to travel on their own together. And not surprisingly, they run into some trouble on the way as well. Their initial trip has them visiting an area called Lachke wherein they meet a young boy named Carlo who helps them find their way around, only to end up in trouble himself. The have a good journey but end up in trouble themselves later on where they’re introduced to a man known as the Sage, who is a very kindly man that helps them take a seaplane back to where they’re supposed to be. Only the plane is being target by that countries military in an effort to highlight the poverty issues they have through some really awkward explanations.
This is all done over the first five episodes and two episodes are dealt entirely with the seaplane flight where Treize takes control of the plane and they have to deal with making sure that they and the numerous kids on board it aren’t killed. Nobody acts well during this on any front. The military guys explain their plan in detail and beg them to leave so they can shoot down the kids so that the country gets attention to its plight. Yet they’re going to let Lillia and Treize live and expect them to not say anything? It’s just silly in how it all works. And in the midst of it all, you have Treize doing his best to hide the fact that he’s really a royal heir of Ikstova as we learn that he’s Fi and Carr’s kid and he wants to be treated normally. And he wants to win her love so that he can marry her rather than a marriage of political convenience that he has to give in to if he doesn’t make things happen by the time he turns twenty.
The journey the two end up on covers a lot of ground since it moves forward to different vacations, and there is some nice progress as Treize does try to make his feelings known to Lillia. He even invites her out to Ikstova where he has to keep her away from most everyone else so nobody reveals who he really is, and to avoid revealing it himself with all that he knows. The chance for him to reveal who he really is and how he feels about her has a lot of potential, but it gets mired with another blast from the past when one of the “villains” of the first half has his daughter appear and attempts to gain access to some secret treasure by capturing the royal family. Of course, Lillia gets all caught up in it and nothing gets revealed, but somehow she’s oblivious enough to how he really knows so much about the royals and gets involved with them that she blows it off entirely. It’s a stunning lack of insight on her part or curiosity. That she gets shuffled around so easily and yet has so much downtime and never asks is just one of the main problems with the series in general.
Yet in a way, I find myself feeling really ambivalent about this half of the series. While watching it, certain things didn’t bother me as much as it feels like it does as I actually dissect it a bit. Things feel like they do move more smoothly here, largely because the relationship between the two characters doesn’t feel as lopsided since Treize doesn’t act as superior as Allison often did in the first half, which made you wonder why Will was into her. Here, Lillia does get a bit big for her britches at times, but it’s balanced by her naïve nature that hits frequently. The stories themselves are problematic as well, yet they don’t feel like they’re as bad off as before either with such huge coincidences. Yet when you get down to it, they are just as flawed; they’re simply not as broadly painted with a big picture event that will happen. While Allison and Will had the whole wall painting that changed the course of history, we have none of that here. It’s a more human story with smaller events overall, but they’re still dealing with things that should get more notice, have more people involved and lead to more problems. But with this really being just a very simple show, it avoids all of that and that weakens the narrative hugely.
In a way, I really feel bad picking on Allison & Lillia, though more specifically this half. The characters are a bit more enjoyable to watch and the situations don’t quite change the course of history in any significant way, which lets it deal with just the primary characters. And they have some loving interference in sometimes subtle ways from the leads of the first half. But when you really look at what’s going on, there’s such gaping holes that you could slide a whole country through it. Yet it still manages to have some surprising charm and you hope that Treize will get his interest across to Lillia so they can make some attractive if dull children. This is a world that could use a good bit more detail to it and more of a serious angle and it’d be pretty interesting if it was all tightened up.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: July 12th, 2011
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.