Vampire Princess Miyu - Volume 6: The Last Shinma Review
This final volume opens with a cracking episode that I am sure would be even more compelling if I had been viewing the series from the very start (see my review of Volume 5 for an explanation). Essentially dispelling the myth this episode explains Miyu's origins and her purpose, while also filling in another blank and giving us a more than valid reason as to why Reiha dislikes Miyu. The drama continues in the second episode which sees Reiha finally reveal her true colours as she unleashes the hatred building up inside her by threatening Miyu's friends and forcing her into a duel where she must question her motives and stretch her abilities to the limit in order to overcome her adversary.
With her history laid out before us Miyu looks at her most vulnerable and unbeknownst to her and for a change, even us the audience, a plan has long been in the making by her oldest enemies and is about to be unleashed with devastating effects. Dragging her human friends to the forefront of the series a sect of Shinma referred to as the 'birds' have found a way to effectively shield themselves from Miyu's sixth sense and plan to use her much debated love for humans to kill the guardian who has thwarted their kind for so many years.
The events which take place in the final three episodes are superbly plotted, agonisingly unforgiving in the torment laid upon Miyu and the choices she has made in her role as Guardian, and genuinely thrilling as a fine balance between battles laden with emotion, and dialogue riddled with hints at the final outcome are delivered by both antagonist and protagonist alike. Then, in the final setting for the series the surreal aspects of the show are injected with all manner of hallucinogens to create a memorable closure to the series that will invite discussion and repeat viewings to fully grasp.
Each episode is presented in the original 1.33:1 Full Screen aspect ratio and have a very pleasing look to them. Other than a slightly soft appearance detail levels are pretty good while colours and black levels are well reproduced. With no sign of any noticeable compression issues there is little here to complain about.
On the audio side of things we have both the original Japanese language track and an English Dub presented in crisp Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo while the optional English subtitles that accompany the Japanese audio are well timed, easy to read and present us with a literal translation of the dialogue.
Extra features on the disc are standard anime fare with the Original Japanese Opening sequence present and accounted for, while a gallery of the Shinma creatures featured on this volume also makes a welcome appearance.
This final volume rewards fans of the series by dispensing with the shows traditional 'story-of-the-week' plot structure and focusing heavily on Miyu and those directly involved with and affected by her role as a guardian. This makes for entertaining viewing and offers a satisfying close to the series that once again is presented well on this DVD released through MVM.