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Petite Princess Yucie - Final Test 6

ADV Films // Unrated // July 19, 2005
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Don Houston | posted August 6, 2005 | E-mail the Author
Movie: When reviewing anime series, it often helps to see the volumes of a show in order and to see every one of them. This is akin to reading a book in the order of the pages and chapters; if you skip around, you can be said to have seen the trees but missed the forest. Without the context of each chapter before it, only the lamest or most capsulated series will make sense to a viewer (or reviewer) but with so many shows being released that follow stereotypical characters and generic situations it is sometimes easier to plow through a show and provide a decent general review given a bit of background information. Such was the case with today's review of Petite Princess Yucie 6: The Final Test, the final volume of a show made for young girls to watch and fantasize about.

Having reviewed only Volume 2 and Volume 3 of the six disc series to date, I had to use some common sense and pay a bit closer attention to the episodes than usual in order to follow some of the scenarios but the show was pretty basic this time. The basic premise is that there are several worlds all interconnected to one another in a place long ago. Magic abounds in these worlds that are otherwise set up in a medieval fashion and the story focuses primarily on a young gal who has stopped aging, Yucie. She enters a prestigious school referred to as the Princess Academy after being singled out along with four others in a competition to win a coveted spot as champion of all that is good called the Platinum Princess. By doing so, she'll get a single wish off the magical tiara but she faces some stiff competition from the other four. They face similar predicaments and want to win too so they are set to handling various tasks in order to push their skills to the limit and test their resolve.

The final chapters are where a series ties up all the loose ends (or at least gets us ready for a sequel series) so I suppose I had just enough background to understand most of what was going on here. The episodes this time were 23) To The Fairy World: Light Up Those Five Souls, 24) Graduation: Thoughts Kept Within, 25) Final Scene!: Princess Selection, and 26) To The Me Who Will Eventually Be An Adult. They started off with the gals fighting an impossibly powerful demon in the fairy world, moved to the more mundane reflection of all they had done to get to graduate, and then the realities of the selection process' final step. Yucie, finding out the secrets of the tiara and the cost of making that wish, has to decide whether or not to save the life of one she holds very dear or that of her friends with no middle ground lest all be lost. For such a colorful and fluffy series as this, that struck me as kind of out of place, if you catch my drift. Regardless, the various threads were all tied up and the characters all shared a regret or two in this moderately obvious closer volume; making it worth a rating of Rent It if you saw, and liked, the previous volumes in the series. Most of it was predictable but the darker material managed to salvage it for me in away that might've had greater impact if I had been provided copies of the entire series to review.

Picture: Petite Princess Yucie 6: The Final Test was presented in its original 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. I was surprised that it was a fairly recent series since it had an older "look" to it with some visual effects used to deaden an otherwise sharp presentation. There wasn't a lot of grain, the characters movement looked truncated (as though less frames were used to save money), and the backgrounds were relatively static; forcing almost all the movement by the immediate characters in most cases. It gave me the impression that it was made for a younger, less discerning audience, even though ADV Films rated it as a "12+" series.

Sound: The audio presentation was a bit better than the visual but also had some issues to contend with. The choices here were the original Japanese track, in a 2.0 Dolby Digital mix, or a full 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround English dub. The original track sounded flat with little separation and like little care was put into it but the vocal actors seemed right for the part. The English track had a lot more separation, particularly with the special effects during fighting sequences, a richer bass line, and beefed up music, but some of the vocal cast was not the best choices (they grated on my nerves as often as not). In all, I think ADV Films' staff did some solid work here overall with the audio (they have been getting increasingly better at enhancing audio tracks), making the dub well worth listening to.

Extras: There really weren't a lot of extras here with the usual set of trailers, a clean opening and closing, a limited amount of production sketches, and a double sided DVD cover that looked much like the both sides were copied from the same source.

Final Thoughts: Petite Princess Yucie 6: The Final Test was cute, had some interesting conflicts (internal and external) and was fairly well made but taken out of context, seeing the last volume out of six made it tough to properly evaluate. If you've watched the previous five volumes, nothing I say will change your mind regarding this last one and if you haven't, watching this one won't make much sense either so like the final chapters in any book, let the past guide you into whether this one is right for you or not. My best guess is that young females will appreciate this series more than anyone else and the production qualities were decent enough for this type of production.

If you enjoy anime, take a look at some of the recommendations by DVDTalk's twisted cast of reviewers in their Best Of Anime 2003 and Best Of Anime 2004 article or regular column Anime Talk

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