It’s “Hold the Presses” weekend here at Okazu! It is with much thanks that I review the second volume of Simoun today. The fantastic folks at Media Blasters got me a pre-press copy this time, so I could get a jump on this review. ^_& (That doesn’t get you out of giving me a real one, guys! )
Because this is a pre-street copy, I don’t have case, cover or the physical extras (or lack thereof) to comment on, but I’m still asking for all the cover art to be collected into a book or something for the final volume.
(February 25, 2008 Note: I received the street copy – thanks John! – and other than the pretty disk, there’s no physical extras.)
I was assured that some of my suggestions were taken into consideration for this volume. In general, I feel like the subtitling was more smooth all around, but still no romaji or kanji for the opening and ending songs. I’d *really* like to see that. It used to be the standard for DVD releases – when did that stop? No typos at all that I found. Well done! And did I mention that they keep the honorifics? They do. Write them and tell them that you prefer it that way, so they expand it to other titles.
The story of Simoun, Vol.2 is…compelling. Not good. Not interesting, or entertaining – compelling. I had to sit through the whole disk, because just watching one episode was just not enough.
The volume begins with Chor Tempest, now officially on milk runs, bearing up under the spiteful potshots from the other Chors, showing that they are still jealous of what was – and may once again be – the finest of all Chors.
Mamina arrives, with a belly full of arrogance born of desperation and Yun comes burdened with multiple layers of duty and guilt.
A peace conference brings hope, then tragedy, then hope again. And Dominura uses the time-honored tradition of shared suffering to bring out the best in her heterogeneous Chor. Traumatic events make Neviril recognize the one thing that she and Aer share.
I have a lot of notes from this volume, but the one thing I wanted to comment on is that Anubituf may well have put his finger on it, when he says that it might be better for Chor Tempest to not return to the Arcus Prima. I thought that was exceptionally insightful – and maybe even prophetic.
The final episode is so heavy with irony it seemed a bit overburdened and maybe not the best place to end the volume, but then…
The extras include a really fabulous commentary from the director and the artistic director/character designer. The director comments that he quite specifically wanted this series to avoid dramatic formula. So, the last episode’s ironies were laid down *purposefully* to be that heavy-handed. He wanted a realistic, yet contrived world, and one that had many things left unexplained. I was so pleased to learn that that had been done with a specific vision, rather than as some haphazard reflection of lack of time and/or resources. And there’s a couple of great revelations in this extra that would be spoilers, so I won’t share. Just do watch this, even if you don’t usually watch the extras.
The other extra, an interview with Parietta’s and Kaim’s VA would have been good, but kept being interrupted and cut short by the irritating “host” lollipop with eyes, a computer modulated voice and a rampant case of condescension.
Overall though, a slick and pleasant edition of *still* one of the best stories in anime. Now give me romaji/kanji lyrics and the remaining cover art and I’ll be happy. ^_^ It’s a great series.
Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 8
Yuri – 4
Service – 4
Overall – 8
Best scene? When Mamina and Yun arrive and Floe snarks that she’ll probably say something like Chor Tempest doesn’t live up to it’s reputation (translated as “is a letdown”) and the giggling when Mamina says it word for word. Very like a passel of girls, war or no. ^_^