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Princess Resurrection Complete Series Anime DVD Review

12 min read

Being given half of immortality, Hiro finds himself caught up in a world of monsters and the supernatural that he never thought existed. And chicks with chainsaws.

What They Say:
She’s a hot Goth vixen with a jones for swords, chainsaws and mace balls. And it’s a good thing she’s handy at using them all, because every zombie, vampire, mummy and demon spawn is gunning for her. But weapons aren’t the only thing Princess Resurrection has going for her. She’s got a team of ass-kicking darksiders right beside her: a pint-sized android maid, a half-werewolf hottie, a sexy high school vampire, a wicked-cute little sister, and a young boy she brought back from the dead. Fighting evil was never this sexy – or this much fun!

Contains episodes 1-26.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release diverges from the original release from Sentai Filmworks by including a bilingual set of tracks whereas the original was just the Japanese. The new presentation doesn’t change the Japanese mix and the new English mix mirrors it as we get stereo presentation encoded at 224kbps. We do get a good pair of mixes encoded at 224kbps which serves the material well. The show makes good use of the forward soundstage throughout, particularly in the action sequences, and it has a warm feeling to it when required. There’s a good bit of directionality at times, with dialogue as well, which helps give it a bit more impact during some key scenes. There isn’t anything that has it standing out above and beyond most other shows, but it’s done well and it has a strong feeling to it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2007, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. This set spreads the twenty-six epsiodes across four discs with a seven/six/seven/six format and the show does seem to suffer a little bit for it. There’s a lot of dark sequences in the series and there’s a fair bit of noise throughout a lot of them with bit rates often falling into the twos or threes. The average seems to be in the fives and there are a number of scenes where it peaks into the sixes, but it doesn’t have as strong a feel as one would expect from the material. Colors generally look good and without any added saturation and it’s free of line noise outside of a few pans here and there, but the noise problem crops up a lot just because of how many scenes take place in darkened areas or at night.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release is a bit unfortunate as we get the four disc set inside a stackpack release. The packaging is a double sized case with a bit of padding inside and some very good artwork on the front cover. The central area has the bloody chainsaws and the logo while the foru points around it has the four female leads, with Hime, her sister Sherwood, Liza and Reiri. They all look good and it the mixture of black and red for the background gives it the rougher and more violent edge that fits the show. It makes good note of the new dub and the number of episodes and discs. The back cover does the same promotion along the top but also highlighes some of the dub actors which is welcome. The plot summary is kept simple as most of the space is given over to a really good and fun full sized image of the majority of the main cast of characters together that has a near party atmosphere. The production credits are listed clearly along the bottom and the technical grid covers everything well. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menus:
The menus work off of the same kind of design as the front cover with the striking black and red backgrounds. The layout is really appealing as it uses that quasi-halloween feel to it with the image sof ghost and critters rising in black against the red and various buildings and the like. That black area also contains the episode number and title selection segment while the red below has the language and special features options if available. There’s a really good feel to it that’s creeping up on the Nightmare Before Christmas territory but it works very well. Submenus are quick and easy to load and the discs correctly read our players’ language presets and played appropriately.

Extras
The only extras included on here are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences on the first volume.

Content:
Based on the manga by Yasunori Mistunaga, Princess Resurrection is a twenty-four episode series with two OVA episodes. It was originally released in two half season sets without a dub but that’s been corrected here as we get the whole shebang with a brand spanking new dub that’s pretty fun and definitely enjoys itself. The series mirrors the manga in a lot of ways but diverges in others which in turn makes it a bit less gory and thereby a bit less violent. It also has a certain appeal with its basic imagery that has the attractive lead character wielding chainsaws set against a stark background. I’ve not read the manga much but I admit to loving the cover artwork, much of which is mirrored here in the anime release for the menus, silkscreening and general design.

Princess Resurrection revolves around two primary characters. The series introduces us to Hiro, a middle school student who suddenly finds himself dead on the way to meet his sister at the mansion that they’re going to live at where she’s now a live-in maid. Hiro gets killed when a bunch of girders fall on him when he tries to rescue someone but finds himself waking up in the hospital hours later after being pronounced dead. Fleeing into the night, he finds himself at the mansion where he discovers what’s happened. The woman he saved is actually his sister Sawawa’s new boss and she’s a princess in the Royal Family of monsters. And she’s granted him the “gift” of half-immortality which is why he’s alive.

The princess is literally named that, or at least that’s the name she goes by as she’s known as Hime. Hime is a very cool and collected woman who is attended by her pint sized android in a maid outfit named Flandre. Hime’s just moved into the mansion her father has given her and she’s preparing for the next phase of her life as a member of the Royal Family. The decree of the Royal Family is that the children of the king will fight it out amongst themselves to become the next king so she has plenty to be on alert for as her brothers are out to eliminate her. She’s able to use her power of half-immortality to build up her forces of Royal Soldiers in order to combat what her siblings will throw at her. Hime does take a somewhat laid back approach to things by settling into the mansion and practically waiting for the others to come after her.

This sets up the series in its basic ideas as Hime uses Hiro to fend off those that are coming to get her, though he’s not all that up to the task for awhile. In fact, it’s often Flandes that takes care of things with Hime providing the knowledge and sometimes the verbal wit to end things. Princess Resurrection brings in a few more characters along the way in the first half that helps to flesh it out a bit. The first is Liza Wildman, a half-breed werewolf girl who has come seeking revenge for the death of her brother at Hime’s hands. She’s actually more interested in killing those that pitted he brother against her and she takes on a sort of hired gun role for Hime and not quite a Royal Soldier since she’s not gifted with half-immortality. Liza provides some of the spunk for the series with a more tomboyish air about her and a very hands on aggressive approach.

One of the more intriguing character additions is Reiri, a vampire girl who arrives in town and takes a liking to Hiro. She’s playing him which is plainly obvious, as she’s doing things to get closer to Hime and tweak her along the way as she wants some of her blood. The promise of the blood of a princess of the Royal Family holds immortality for the vampire that tastes of it. Reiri is also a key player as she’s the one dealing with the main villain that we see so far in a few background scenes as he pulls the strings. The other main character that gets brought in during the first half is Sherwood, the younger sister of Hime who has come to try and form an alliance. With both Sherwood and Hime being the younger ones of the siblings, there’s something to be said for the two working together. And Sherwood brings in an android of her own as well, a more typical maid with glasses type named Francesca.

While a lot of shows will play episodic for the first half and then grow into something bigger in the second half, Princess Resurrection follows much the same formula as the first half. And this makes it enjoyable but ultimately somewhat disappointing because there’s no real ending. What made it feel even flatter at the end is that the show does end on episode twenty-four and then we get a pair of extra episodes that provide a bit more fun in a way that doesn’t affect anything. If you don’t know that ahead of time, you watch the show and then feel like it loses all its momentum after episode twenty-four. It doesn’t help that the last two episodes are mildly enjoyable at best, especially after the way things build up to the real ending before them.

For a lot of the second half, the show moves in the way of providing some minor foils for Hime and Hiro to deal with while slowly building up the larger background villains that eventually come into play. Due to the manga being ongoing, there’s not bound to be a real resolution here. Hime’s insistence that she has no interest in the throne continues to do her little good overall as her elder siblings still try and take her down through various methods. The one that makes the most impact for a lot of this set is Emile, a smiling young blonde man with a Giant Robo-like android servant. He has some interesting manipulations going on at times, particularly one that revolves around acquiring a mermaid that he gives his Flame of Life to. He’s also got a werewolf on his side that enjoys sparring with Liza, at least until he learns that Liza is moderately friendly with the vampire Reiri.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the episodes here are standalone pieces that have the gang dealing with various short term issues. Some are fun and quirky while others are a bit more serious. The episode involving the mermaid is one of those while a less serious one has the group of “friends” of Hiro’s from school coming to the mansion to take pictures of the hotties there. That leads to an amusing competition of sorts as Hime tries out the numerous new traps she had installed recently with the prize being something that the guys wants. The object of their affection revolves around Sawawa, but once they see the others they’re even more desirous of being there. One of them even goes so far as to dream about being a boot licking toadie for Hime as his final goal. There’s a lot of envy for what Hiro has, not realizing just how badly things are for Hiro.

Other stories are just as quirky which isn’t a surprise considering the nature of the show. One has the gang spending a bit of time away at a hot spring but it goes badly when there’s a shark haunting the place. A land shark. Watching it tearing through the halls is amusing and you can almost imagine an SNL skit about to happen. Another one that I liked a lot revolved around a vampire hunter whose come to taking down either Reiri or Zeppeli so he can return to taking care of his family with the bounty. Of course, he’s a raccoon that has a very Puss in Boots feel to him as well as a certain level of incompetence. The vampires are admittedly in character in how they deal with this by almost playing with him or treating him as a nuisance, but at the same time I can’t help but feel that real vampires would just eliminate the hunter regardless of his actual skill.

Interestingly, they go back to the classics and bring in the quasi-Dracula character with the vampire named Dracul. Dracul has come under the employ of one of Hime’s brothers because he is the eldest of the vampires and is getting up there in age and starting to feel it. If he can take Hime out, he’ll have the best of both worlds and it’s ideal for him. Of course, he’s an old school kind of guy going up against the colder and more cynical Hime, so it’s not exactly a fair fight overall. Dracul is a fun character in that it adds another shade to the whole vampire angle, which also builds onto the animosity between them and the werewolves. Dracul himself doesn’t really add a lot and it’s a familiar enough interpretation of the character so there are no surprises there. I always like seeing Dracul being brought into various series just to see if someone does something a little different with him, but Princess Resurrection plays it pretty straightforward.

Everything does come to a big conclusion of sorts where the other members of the Royal Family decide that it’s time to take down Hime so they can move forward. This covers the final two main episodes of the series before the extra episodes and it’s decent but fairly forgettable. The use of zombies becomes a key part of the storyline and that’s something that’s forbidden because the Royal Family cannot raise an army against each other. The whole point of the survival of the fittest is to have the one most capable of handling themselves and a small group of retainers is the best fit for taking over the kingdom. So when Hime gets manipulated into things, she knows all too well which brother it is that’s setting her up. Always the cunning one, she does set things in motion – with too much emotion at that – for dealing with it and making sure everything goes her way. It’s a decent enough fight and it adds some new layers to the show, but at the same time it’s like a lot of other things here in that it doesn’t seem to have much real impact.

In Summary:
Princess Resurrection was fun in its first half as it laid out the cast and the situation, but something about the second half just didn’t click right. It felt like it was spinning its wheels more than anything else at times rather than really progressing forward. Of course, it’s probably just adapting numerous chapters of the manga so it has to go with that flow, but when played out in marathon form like this it seemed to lose some of its appeal. The cast doesn’t really change though they add in a few more characters as the rogues and Reiri has some mild changes, but overall it’s not all that different from the first half as a decent ensemble piece without anything too weighty or serious about it. It was enjoyable enough, but at the same time I suspect it’s going to be mostly forgettable if you watch a lot of series. This is a good starter show with its quirkiness and the sometimes frantic nature of it, but it’ll be old hat to a lot of long time fans.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Readers Rating: [ratings]

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: January 17th, 2012
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 650 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
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.

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