I have managed to watch, at last, ROD The TV, Volume 2.
Wow, is this series every bit as good, if not better, than I remembered it from the first time! It really is a must-see for anyone, except for, perhaps, those who only like shoujo.
First the technicals – the DVD comes with the reversible cover, which seems to be standard practice these days. This makes a nice mini-poster, which I saved. I purchased the box for this set, which I now regret for various reasons (some of which I detailed in my review of Volume 1.) As a result I am missing the first package insert which seems to have character and story comments. I’m always a fan of creative liner notes and commentary, so I’d like to see more of this. In addition, the DVD includes a two-sided pencilboard with obligatory sexy picture of, this time, Maggie, which appealed to me more than Michelle or, heaven help us, Anita. But that’s a personal taste issue. Now, if they have sexy pencilboard pictures of Nenene and Nancy – *then* I’ll be a happy girl. ^_^
There were four episodes on this disk, which seemed like too little, but that was mostly because the story is so damn good I’m always left wanting more. This volume almost exclusively focused on the three sisters, developing the characters quite a lot in a short space of time. Maggie turns out to be more competent than she first appears, Michelle smarter, and Anita more human. In retrospect, I can see many things that I missed the first time around, which just make the story more interesting – especially in regards to the sudden development of the sisters into more fully developed characters.
As always, the stories switch back and forth from “domestic” to “foreign”, each story focusing on a particular set of relationships, with Anita becoming more and more the main character. And most importantly, the tension is beginning to grow, as clues are handed out so subtly we don’t really know we’ve seen or heard one until after the fact.
The art is so variable on this series – I don’t want to say that animation is “bad”, because sometimes it is amazing…but the people often suffer while the backgrounds remained highly detailed.
In terms of yuri value, this volume is pretty high. On the comedic side, Nenene has chosen Maggie as her butt-girl, forcing her to cater to the cranky writer’s whims. On the drama side, we’re getting slow burning embers turning into flames between Anita and Hisa. An aborted confession gives us Hisa’s point of view, but for the moment, Anita’s feelings aren’t fully expressed. (Next volume will bring both out into the open, only to be parted. Boo hoo.)
Let me once more discuss translation here. The honorifics issue aside, this was one of the best translations I’ve ever seen on a US-release anime. This story is, by no means, easy to convey. It’s a fairly complex set-up, and the characters are deep, devious and contrived in turn. This translation is very good. The concepts being discussed are easy to follow. What is lost in the translation of names and honorifics is simply overridden by the terrific voice acting work of the seiyuu.
Story – 10
Characters – 9
Animation – 6-8, depending on the scene
Music – 8
Yuri – 8
Overall, a solid 9. This remains a must-have for Yuri fans, and anyone who likes a really well-constructed story.
And it’s only going to get better…. ;-)