What They Say
When Hiro Hiyorimi tries to save a beautiful young woman from certain death, he ends up a dead hero himself! However, since the drop dead girl is Hime, daughter of the King of the Monsters, his “reward” is to come back as a not quite living soldier in her honor guard of horror! That means helping fight off the army of supernatural monstrosities Hime’s siblings are unleashing against her in hopes of moving up the ladder of succession; and if facing off with vampires and zombies isn’t bad enough, how can anyone be prepared for the REALLY weird ones like were-sharks, pandas and killer dumplings? This sure as hell isn’t the afterlife Hiro was hoping for, but the really sad part is that Hime is the good girl in all of this… or at least as close to good as you can come when you’re on the wrong side of the gates of hell!
The only audio track available is a Japanese 2.0 one. It is a basic 2.0 track with the soundtrack split evenly between side and center. The track it is free from dropouts or distortions and dialogue is delivered clearly and the music and effects come across well. An additional note to this subtitled only release is that the subs on this set are adequate but do suffer from some spelling mistakes on occasion.
Originally created in 2007 the series is presented in its original anamorphic widescreen ratio. The video is a bit on the weak side as it contains noise, dot crawl, minor aliasing, some color patching, and ghosting which can distract from what otherwise is a rather impressive palate that uses a good mix of colors from bright to subtle to represent both the real world and add a degree of other worldliness to scenes involving the more supernatural elements found within. Thankfully for the most of the video the majority of colors are solid and blacks are lacking in blocking issues which can really distract from a presentation.
The package for the complete collection is a four disc Stackpak with a large foam block inside to help keep the discs from having a chance to fall off the spindle. The sleeve for the set contains a picture of Hime and Hiro on the front with Hiro lying prone and Hime having lifted his head and upper body up as she is giving him a caring look while providing him the flame of life he needs to survive. The picture is in front of a red background with the stylized buildings and trees being solid black and the upper right corner containing the series title. The image is surrounded by a grey boarder with red splatter that continues on to the spine and back. The back cover features Hime covered in some blood and carrying her chainsaw in front of a red and black background similar to the front. The back also contains eight stills from the series and the series copy. The spine features an image of Hime holding a very large war axe that she has balanced in the crook of her arm with she licks the fingers on her right hand.
The four discs all share the same background look of having a black ground with dark purple buildings behind them set against a lavender purple sky. The first disc features Hime carrying a chainsaw in her left hand with a chain wrapped around her right arm and her android Flandre just behind her. The second disc features Hiro standing in front of his older sister Sawawa while the third has Liza Wildman standing in a fighting pose and her arms transformed with Reiri Kamura landing behind her. The fourth disc is a group shot with all the major characters from the first three discs combined with Hime’s younger sister Sherwood and her android Francesca and her panda protector Ryu-Ryu. It is a great representation of the series involved as the various characters personalities are on display.
The menu template for the series is the same across all four discs with a black ground that also contains black shadows of various monsters, plants and buildings against a purple sky. The episodes are listed individually with the number at the top and the episode title under it and where applicable the special features at the bottom of the screen. The option selected is shown by a variety of bright orange symbols including Celtic crosses, spider webs, tombstones and Jack o’lanterns. The menu is quick to respond both to changes in selection and to implementing the selections when chosen.
The only extras present are a clean opening and closing.
Hiro Hiyorimi is an orphan whose life has just changed for the better. His older sister Sawawa has just procured employment as a live in maid and has also been given permission to allow her brother to live in the mansion with her. Hiro arrives at the place his sister mentioned in her letter only to discover that no one is there and the building is boarded up and that the building exudes an odd atmosphere. Hiro heads into town and comes across an attractive young woman who carries a powerful air about her. As she stands next to a small girl in front of a broken cart a stack of building beams that are being hoisted over her head wire begins to break and Hiro rushes forward and pushes the woman out of the way. Unfortunately for him he gets crushed under the beams and despite being rushed to the hospital there is no saving him and he passes away.
Rather than being the end of the story this is where the story begins. As Hiro’s corpse lies in the hospital the young woman he saved stands before him and declares it a wonderful corpse. She then produces a flame on her finger tips and imparts it into the corpse. The woman returns to the mansion where Sawawa has finally arrived and she imparts that she wishes to be called Hime. As Hime is at home the hospital guards get a huge shock as the corpse of Hiro has run out of the morgue. As Hiro stands in the street confused as to where he is and why the hospital guards called him a corpse his memory returns to him and he recalls the woman he saved. He decides to head back to the mansion and notices a pack of wolves heading that way in front of him.
Hiro gets to the mansion in time to see Hime impossibly fighting against a werewolf with the small girl from earlier fighting beside her wielding a rather large trunk of a tree. With this Hiro is introduced to a world he can barely believe but must accept where Hime is a member of an other worldly family that is using creatures from the dark reassesses of humanities legends as soldiers in a war for the throne which he is now forever linked. Hime explains to Hiro after the battle that she has used the power of the royal family to bring him back to life but that there is a sting attached-the power that restored him to life has a limited time effect and he now survives only as long as Hime periodically replenishes the power that keeps him alive.
Hiro’s life is now tied forever to Hime and that means her fights will be his. Though Hime has no interest in the other world’s throne the other world is not about to forget about her and let her just fade into the background. From siblings sending assassins and proxies to kill her to vampires and witches believing that consuming her will grant them even more power or immortality the princess and her allies will find themselves constantly on their toes battling all manner of nightmares. Luckily between Hime’s force of will and Hiro’s personality they will draw others to their side including a half-werewolf and a vampire among a number of other creatures as the cycle of war for succession builds from those who do not care that Hime has no interest in the throne but need her dead so it can be theirs. In the end will Hiro accept his new role as knight to the always calm princess and provide her the protection she needs as they forge a path against the trials in their stead or will the waves of opponents sent against them crash over them and drown them in its wake?
Princess Resurrection is a wonderful gothic looking series with some absolutely fabulous characters that allows for the mining of legends and nightmares in a manner both fast paced and doesn’t forget to allow the audience to laugh at the characters and situations while also building up tension and suspense where called for. The series has some really brilliant parts going for it from style to the world that it establishes. Sadly it also has a few detrimental factors as well. For some reason the series decides to eschew blood to a level that completely unrealistic in a series that involves vampires, werewolves and assorted other creatures of the night battling each other consistently. The original manga’s use of blood to grant eternal-ish life is even replaced with the use of a flame that the sires of royalty use to recruit their soldiers which just seems like a rather odd attempt to avoid something that some may find squeamish.
The other issue with the series is that is remarkably poorly paced and constructed in terms of establishing antagonists. While a few characters walk a tight rope for a good deal of the series as to just how on Hime’s side versus against her they are one vampire in particular is set up as a chief antagonist for a good portion of the series just to be discarded with no real fanfare or premise when the series chooses to move on to its next antagonist whose own machinations sadly are undermined by the series failing to play them up as events transpired. There is often little character development for some antagonists as the simple act of wanting Hime’s blood or out of way of the throne is deemed sufficient enough motivation. With a bit more planning the series could have really built itself up to something special but instead of using all the potential blocks they have at their hands to chance make something seriously special the creators opted for a safer and ultimately less fulfilling result.
Princess Resurrection is a wild and fast paced ride with some gorgeous designs and fantastic music tracks that paints a deliciously dark and energetic tale of an incredibly strong willed woman and the cast that she gathers around her as she fends off siblings who want her out of the way of the throne and those who simply want her blood. The tale will use blend a variety of the things that go bump in the night that man has written about and feared over the centuries and merge them into a world where they exist but are often subjected to the will of a royal family-a family that is now engaged in a war of succession and willing to use many of the creatures to their own end. It is far from a perfect tale but the positives that the feature brings to the table outweigh the negatives and combine to create an entertaining journey.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: C-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: A-
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 3rd, 2010
Running Time: 650 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Samsung 50″ Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080.