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ADV Films presents
Princess Nine #6: Grand Slam! (1998)

"No one is alone here."
- Ryo Hayakawa (Miki Nagasawa)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer  
Published: January 06, 2003

Stars: Miki Nagasawa, Mami Kingetsu, Yoshiko Sakakibara, Sumi Shimamoto, Hilary Haag, Monica Rial, Vic Mignogna, Kelly Manison
Other Stars: Taketo Koyasu, Tetsuya Iwanaga, Yasutsugu Ishii, Akiko Yajima, Kyouko Hikami, Naomi Nagasawa, Ayako Kawasumi, Rumi Kasahara, Kokoro Shindou, Mayumi Iizuka, Taeko Kawada, Chris Patton, Christine M. Auten, Andy McAvin, Tiffany Grant, Shelly Calene-Black, Cynthia Martinez, Kira, Kelly Cousins, Jennifer K. Earhart
Director: Tomomi Mochizuki

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (12+ for mature content, brief nudity)
Run Time: 02h:05m:05s
Release Date: January 07, 2003
UPC: 702727007422
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-B+A- C+

DVD Review

Disc number six delivers the final five episodes of Princess Nine, concluding one of the better series I've seen this past year. The story centers on the hopes and aspirations of nine young girls as the battle to become the first all female baseball team to make an appearance at the national championships at Koshien, the holy grail of baseball. After overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles getting the team into the preliminary, including breaking down opposition from all sides, the girls finally have a chance to prove themselves, but their adversity has only begun.

The personality conflicts and rivalries continue on and off the field, as the love triangle between Izumi, Takasugi and Ryo comes to a head. Several of the other team members face their own personal demons, trying to resolve their inner turmoils without sacrificing their team. The girls not only have to fight the competition in the ballpark, but also their own feelings, heightening an already emotionally-charged event with even more drama.

As the disc opens, Yuki is highly distraught over the loss of her long time companion and good luck charm, Fifi. Withdrawn, and believing she can never play baseball without her lost doll, the rest of the team has to rally behind her in order to keep their team together. After failing in her search for the missing doll, Ryo returns to find Izumi championing for a replacement, but there is something about Fifi that the rest of the team doesn't know.

Approaching their first game in the preliminaries, the reality of their opposition from the other boys' schools begins to sink in, and the Kisaragi Girl's School's first assignment is one dreaded by many for their tactics. With everything on the line, Ryo has to deliver in the pitching department, and her trademark "lightening ball" has yet to meet its match, but the ferocity of this style is taking its toll. Will the girls be able to pull off their mission? Can they really make it to Koshien and play in the big leagues?

How the girls live up to their own expectations provides the framework for a highly entertaining series, and Princess Nine delivers on many levels. The characters each have a chance to develop and mature, although the principles are the primary focus. The natural competition of a sports event keep the anticipation and anxiety of each challenge palpable. The pacing for the most part is excellent, handling the games in a manner that gets their significance across without being bogged down with too much detail. The emotional ups and downs work in well, giving a sense of depth and realism to the cast. The resolution to the series also came as a bit of a surprise from what I was expecting at the outset, while delivering the closure required to make the run to the finish gratifying.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Image quality is consistent with the rest of the series. Colors are strong, black levels good, and there is little in the way of noise throughout the transfer. The final installment carries the same range of image pitfalls as previous discs, but to no greater degree than seen previously, including ringing on outlines, moderate aliasing, and a bit of rainbowing.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Stereo audio is presented in original Japanese and English dub. Both are fairly dialogue driven, with the extremes of the soundstage being used for the score and little else. The sound quality is pleasing and well bodied, with no excess sibilance or unnatural equalisation. The bottom end is a little light, but won't be a concern given the material. No distortion or other anomalies were noted.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 5 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Galaxy Fraulein Yuna, Nadia, The Secret of Blue Water: The Motion Picture, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, Excel Saga,Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040, Steel Angel Kurumi
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Clean opening and closing animation
  2. Original Japanese VHS cover art
Extras Review: Extras include clean opening and closing credits, a gallery with the final seven original Japanese VHS covers, and preview trailers for Galaxy Fraulein Yuna, Nadia, The Secret of Blue Water: The Motion Picture, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, Excel Saga,Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040, and Steel Angel Kurumi. A bug on the transition sequence reveals a voice actor commentary that never materialised.

As before, the disc has a "play all" feature, or the individual episodes can be accessed from a second menu. Each episode has 5 internal chapter stops at the expected locations.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Princess Nine concludes with a bang and some unexpected twists. The series encompasses all that is good about sports-based stories, from rivalries and adversity, to the emotional rollercoaster competition entails. The cast is diverse and interesting, making for a lot of internal friction, and the unpredictability of many of the characters and their pasts makes things more enjoyable. As the saga of the first girl's team to make a run for Koshien comes to a close, Princess Nine easily falls into the recommended column, offering drama, action, romance and triumph, in a heartwarming and exciting story. Trust me, this one's a hit.

 


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