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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Princess Nine: Strike Zone! (Vol. 4)
Princess Nine: Strike Zone! (Vol. 4)
ADV Films // Unrated // May 28, 2002
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Earl Cressey | posted August 16, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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Princess Nine is a twenty-six episode anime series about an all female baseball team at Kisaragi Girl's High School focused on challenging – and beating – the boys' teams in the Koshien Tournament in order to shatter the sexual barriers in Japan. Lead by Ryo, their pitcher and a natural with the fastball, her team includes Seira, Hikaru, Yuki, Koharu, Izumi, Yoko, Mao, and Kanako. At first glance, the series might appear to be only about baseball, but Princess Nine is actually more complex. In fact, only one of these four episodes features a baseball game – most flesh out the characters and their relationships with each other. While I have yet to view the entire series, I had previously seen the first volume, and it was fantastic – and only six of the team had been introduced at that point and they hadn't even played one game. Strike Zone!, reviewed here, is the fourth of six volumes in the series, and contains episodes 14-17:

Episode 14: Lighting Ball
Episode 15: Scandal
Episode 16: Exile
Episode 17: Visions

When Rinkai High figures out her pitching patterns halfway through their first game, Ryo starts to lose her focus. Only by working as a team and with Ryo's 'lighting ball' are they able to eek out a win, which allows them to become part of the league. With their success comes the press, and in the press's zest to uncover as much as they can about the girls, one reporter exposes a scandal that Ryo's dad may or may not have been involved in. This revelation devastates Ryo and in response to the allegation, the Parents Association attempt to shut down the team. With her faith in her father and the game shattered, Ryo leaves the team. Now her teammates must come to her rescue, and not a moment too soon, as her life hangs in the balance.

Though I no doubt missed some great stuff in the second and third volumes, I still enjoyed Strike Zone!. Princess Nine is quite captivating and is simply some of the best anime I've seen in awhile. The characters are well developed, the stories interesting, and there are some great cliffhangers. Though Ryo and Izumi are the principal characters, the rest of the team also gets a chance in the spotlight. Seira and Hikaru are two of my favorites, and I look forward to seeing the rest of the series to find out how it all turns out. The series is rated 12+.

Video:
Princess Nine is presented in 1.33:1 full frame. The transfer is fine throughout, despite some minor cross coloration and aliasing. Colors look great and there is little in the way of print flaws.

Audio:
Princess Nine is presented in Dolby 2.0 Stereo in English or Japanese. Optional subtitles are available in English. The stereo track is solid, with some subtle directionality. Dialogue is mostly center channel based and is crisp and clean throughout with no distortion.

Extras:
Extras include two karaoke songs ("Princess Nine" and "Passionate Days") with either Japanese or no vocals, clean opening and closing animations, profiles for some of the English and Japanese voice cast, and trailers for Robotech, Orphen, Powerstone, Soul Hunter, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Dai-Guard.

Summary:
Princess Nine is one of the best anime series released lately, due to some excellent character development, great writing, and some terrific cliffhangers. Anyone interested in anime who hasn't already should definitely give Princess Nine a try – it's the best thing to come out since Cowboy Bebop.

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