Reviewed by: Azure
Released by: ADV Films
Age Rating: TVPG
Region: 1 - North America
Length: 325 minutes
English 5.1 Surround
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
Sixteen-year-old Himeno like many teenagers feels alienated and alone –these feelings are emphasised when she finds herself living on a big estate with two step sisters after her father remarries. The situation escalates when Himeno runs into Hayate who happens to be a member of the leaf knights, a group who is sworn to find an protect the Pretear, a woman who when she merges her power with the Leafe Knights is able to wield tremendous powers.
Pretear was somewhat of a surprise for me. I discovered the show after a friend leant me volume one of the series. The thirteen-episode span of the series means there’s very little filler-instead Pretear is strongly plot based. There’s also a strong fairy tale element to the series- it draws on the story of snow white especially though in Himeno’s case she is dropped in the lap of luxury rather than poverty.
Pretear is more than the standard magical girl anime. Himeno is a load tomboyish girl who is genuinely likeable, a far cry from the classic demure magical girl heroine. The Leafe Knights could easily have become fairly 2D, but thanks the tight plotting most of the characters grow – I’m pretty sure most viewers will have their favourites by the end of the series.
The animation boasts nothing new or revolutionary but it does remain solid throughout the story. The character designs are distinctive, and help to give Pretear a slightly bolder look than many others of the genre. In fact the most generic part of the show is the transformations-which involve pretty standard implied nudity and sparkles. The creators of the show are perhaps all too aware of this and it becomes an in joke as Himeno’s transformations have a new spin, in order to transform she has to ‘merge’ with a Leafe Knight somethis she find deeply embarsing what girl would want a guy watching while she transforms? Each Knight has different abilities and is able to guide Himeno in their use as a disembodied and often sarcastic voice.
The Pretear collection is presented with a box of three slim pack DVDs, which save of shelf space and makes the series highly affordable – sadly though if fans want to view the extras they’ll need to purchase the individual DVDs.
Pretear is probably more of a story for the girls, but that doesn’t stop it being far more intelligent and entertaining than many of the genre. In a way the series is a little short, I certainly wanted it to go on but on th upside the length forces the story to develop and makes the series a refreshing change , a series to sit down and watch with a big tub of chocolate ice cream.