Adventures of Mini-Goddess (Volume 3: The Urd Files) Review
The Urd Files marks the third Western outing of The Adventures of Mini-Goddess on DVD, containing another dozen 'bite-size' episodes (25-36). There's not much to add to the comments I made in my reviews of volumes one and two, other than to note that these 12 episodes make even more 'in' references than usual for this show, be it to pop culture, other animé, or even just meta-commentary about itself. Expect piss-takes of everything from Die Hard to Independence Day to Slayers; there's even a 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' visual joke on Pokémon in the fishing segment).
25: 'Squeak Hard: Gan-chan's Desperate Situation'
Belldandy, Urd and Skuld install a special computerised anti-theft device on the kitchen fridge before heading off into town, but when a mysterious band of armed rats burst into the temple and begin a 'safecracking' operation, will Gan-chan be able to stop them?
26: 'Squeak Hard: Descent of the Devil'
Marla, the evil sorceress behind the rat invasion finally reveals herself in the second part of 'Squeak Hard'… but then why are the goddesses so glad to see her?
27: 'Pop! Goes the Urd'
Urd and Gan-chan take a little time out to host a 'talk show' (complete with an audience laugh track and faux advertisements) intended to answer some pressing questions from the Adventures of Mini-Goddess fanbase…
28: 'Rainy Day'
In this bizarre dialogue-free episode, Urd goes for a wander on a rainy day.
29: 'Let's Meet in Our Dreams'
Skuld's latest contraption, 'Mr Dream TV' lets other people view your dreams whilst you're asleep. But when she and Urd discover that Gan-chan dreams of, well, sleeping, they resolve to mess him about a bit…
30: 'Female Detective Skuld's First Case… Mystery of Three Stolen Treasures: The Dangerous Trap Hidden in Steamy Smoke!'
When Skuld's ice cream, Urd's pickled squid, and Gan-chan's cheese all abruptly go missing, you just know someone's cooking up trouble. This time literally.
31: 'Goddess Love Theatre'
In this swords-and-sorcery segment, can Skuld rescue her sisters from the dark clutches of Marla? Yeah, probably.
32: 'Quick Fix Division of Tariki Hongan Temple'
When a rat child gets trapped in the space beside the kitchen stove, will the quick thinking of Skuld, Urd, and Gan-chan be able to effect an equally rapid rescue? You've got to be kidding.
33: 'Fishing Journal'
Gan-chan demonstrates his finely-honed abilities as a master fisherman. No, really.
34: 'Give Me Some Servants'
It's so hard to find good help these days, as Marla soon learns to her dismay.
35: 'Rules of the Ninja – Volume I'
When Marla summons three ninja fighters out of a coin-op machine at the local arcade, it's up to our heroes to defend the Temple!
36: 'Rules of the Ninja – Volume II'
Marla's ninjas have come up with a very crafty plan indeed, but will their downfall be… TV?
I have to admit that I wasn't too impressed with the picture quality on this third Mini-Goddesses volume. While overall there weren't too many problems to be found, where there were problems, they were pretty severe. For instance there were a number of shots where there was quite a bit of line shimmering going on in even very slow camera pans, and whenever there's a situation where text scrolls across the screen, it's practically unreadable due to blurriness/jerkiness. My guess is that something went wrong in the NTSC to PAL video conversion, causing the frames to move out of sync with the new framerate. Whilst these are isolated instances, they are major problems and really should have been spotted/corrected before the R2 release. As such, whilst 95% of the animation here is fine, I've had to deduct an additional point from the video score.
Fortunately, nothing wrong here. This is an older series and as such only offers your basic stereo mix (in both the original Japanese and the English dub), but it gets the job done admirably. The voice acting for this production was good on both sides of the Pacific, so this is a show you can comfortably listen to in either language without cringing. And if you can manage to listen to the super-catchy end credits theme tune without humming it for hours afterward, you've got me beat.
As with the previous two DVD volumes, the disc menus here are about as bare-bones as they come: silent, static, and to be honest not very well designed (for example, the 'selection highlight' takes the form of little bubbles which obscure the name of the menu item you're trying to select). As for special features, there are even fewer included here than the meagre offerings on the previous instalment: just a two-page set of character notes on Urd, a tiny Urd gallery featuring 13 miniscule and very 'samey' poses. Other than that, there's the usual pseudo-extra of trailers for other DVD releases.
Lots of fun continues to be had by our stalwart trio of madcap goddesses and their best mate (as far as rodents go, that is) Gan-chan. While there are still a number of very inventive sketches in this set, I get the feeling that the writers are beginning to run low on ideas and have opted to go the route of parody and stylistic imitation in order to mark time. For example, some of the pieces here rank high on artistic merit but low on actual story. Still, it's always a pleasure to sit down to a disc of The Adventures of Mini-Goddess, so if you've enjoyed the previous 24 episodes, you shouldn't be disappointed with these either.