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ADV Films presents
Steel Angel Kurumi #5: Encore (1992)

"It's tiring to be a traditional Japanese woman."
- Kurumi (Atsuko Enomoto)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer  
Published: March 23, 2003

Stars: Atsuko Enomoto, Houko Kuwashima, Rie Tanaka, Masayo Kurata, Kelli Cousins, Kira Vincent-Davis, Monica Rial, Hilary Haag
Other Stars: Yasunori Matsumoto, Kikuko Inoue, Michiko Neya, Tomoko Kawakami, Tomomichi Nishimura, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Chiharu Tezuka, Akemi Okamura, Ryoka Yazuki, Kazusa Murai, Kumiko Yokote, David Matranga, Alison Kieth, Tiffany Grant, Shantal Van Sant, Kaytha Coker, Christine Auten, Emily Carter
Director: Naohito Takahashi

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (17+ for mild animated violence, brief nudity)
Run Time: 00h:57m:21s
Release Date: March 11, 2003
UPC: 702727038426
Genre: anime


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

DVD Review

There are some series that you know right off the bat you are going to enjoy, and for this reviewer, Steel Angel Kurumi is one of those. From the upbeat opening credit song to the unfolding of the story, the combination of great characters, an interesting premise, and a tightly written and humorous script, Kurumi was a winner. With fans clamoring for more, this encore set of OVAs was produced, following the same mini-episode format, but coming up with a set of stories that focus more on the characters, with no continuity to the original plot line.

The cast of the series returns, with 11-year-old Nakahito Kagura, the shy boy who inadvertently becomes master of the bubbly android, Kurumi, and her two sisters, Karinka and Saki. They all live together at the shrine where Nakahito is in training to become an Onmyou priest under the direction of his older brother. Kurumi's fierce dedication to Nakahito is central to the story. Like most anime characters in his position, the boy doesn't know how to handle the attentions he receives. Karinka, the devious younger sibling, also has eyes for Nakahito, but tries to repress her feelings in consideration for Kurumi, who is secretly loved by Saki, her older and quieter sister, something to which Kurumi is oblvious.

After the tumultuous events that led up to the four living together, life is back to normal around the household, with Saki and Karinka now working as waitresses. In the first of these bonus episodes, Saki is scouted by an agent and becomes a silent film star, much to her younger sister's jealousy. As her fame grows, she has the opportunity of a lifetime to go to Hollywood, but it would mean leaving Kurumi behind for over a year, the thought of which is depressing. However, she also recognizes that her affections for her sister aren't being returned, and decides to make the journey. Is this the last we'll see of Saki?

Next, Karinka receives a love letter from a secret admirer, and after first dismissing the sender as a loser, is convinced to show her desirablity to her sisters and accepts the invitation to a secret rendezvous. Of course, Kurumi isn't about to let her youngest sister go off alone, so she drags Nakahito and Saki along in disguise to follow all the action, but there are some surprises in store for everybody.

Kurumi is determined to get Nakahito to kiss her again, but his reluctance has her doubting their relationship. When the proper Miss Nadeshiko returns, Kurumi decides her only chance to keep Nakahito's interest is to learn to become a traditional Japanese woman—a sharp contrast to her boisterous and animated personality. Saki assists with a little educational material, but Kurumi discovers acting like a traditional wife is a lot of hard work.

Finally, the rest of the Steel Angels at the Academy have had enough, and decide it is their right to be granted the same powers Kurumi was endowed with, so they flock to the temple to receive Nakahito's transformational kiss. With Nakahito overwhelmed by the idea, the right for the honor is put to a contest, and may the best Steel Angel win!

While this collection is essentially filler, it continues the high level of entertainment value the rest of the series offered. There is plenty of action, loads of fanservice, cuteness in abundance, and some fun stories. All of the main cast show up at some point for a revisit, and the character pieces allow for indulging that wouldn't have fit in with the main storyline of the TV series. This is definitely recommended for those who enjoyed Steel Angel Kurumi, and is something extra to tide you over until the second series gets released. Powerful, magical, wonderfuru!

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: This series continues to look great, with bright, bold colors, which are presented well, and solid blacks. There are no source defects to speak of other than a bit of rainbowing, and normal amounts of interlace aliasing. No complaints here.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Stereo soundtracks are available in Japanese or English dub. Both offer a nice mix, which utilizes the forward soundstage nicely. Dialogue is easy to discern, and there is no distortion or other technical deficiencies that were noted. A solid presentation.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
8 Other Trailer(s) featuring Steel Angel Kurumi, Steel Angel Kurumi 2, Colorful, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, Noir, Rune Soldier, Chance POP Session, Neo Ranga
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Voice actresses Kira Vincent-Davis, Monica Rial, Kelli Cousins, Hilary Haag, and ADR producer Steven Foster
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Clean opening and closing animation
  2. Extended episode previews
  3. Poster
Extras Review: The extras on the first four discs set a new benchmark for ADV, and while this isn't as loaded, it does have a couple of fun features.

First are commentary tracks for three of the episodes by the English voice actors. Kira Vincent-Davis (Nakahito) and Monica Rial (Saki) take the opener, Kelli Cousins (Kurumi) and Hilary Haag (Karinka) the second, with Kira returning opposite ADR producer Steven Foster for the third. Kira and Monica are out of control (apparently this is the toned down version), and discuss their roles while poking fun at Foster's rewrites and Kira's reputation for doing little boys. Kelli and Monica are more refined, but do have their share of the fun, while Steven and Kira's entry provides some alternate, and more profane, versions of the theme and script.

There are selected filmographies for both the Japanese and English cast.

Trailers for Steel Angel Kurumi, Steel Angel Kurumi: Encore and Steel Angel Kurumi 2 are provided, as are extended episode previews.

Colorful, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, Noir, Rune Soldier, Chance POP Session, and Neo Ranga.

A double-sided poster is also included according to the packaging.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

The fun continues in this four OVA collection, bringing back all the likeable characters of the Steel Angel Kurumi TV series. This has all the charm of the original, and makes a nice bookend. Recommended.

 


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