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Fantastic Children Vol. 2
Date 02 Dec 2006
When I reviewed the first volume of Fantastic Children, one of my closing statements was "wait and see". Quite simply, the opening five episodes really weren't enough to weigh up the potential of the series, thanks almost entirely to its obsessively slow-paced and detailed plot build up. Thankfully, volume two of the show finally takes us to a point where the plot begins to progress in a positive direction, although still in a rather lethargic manner - With five episodes on show in volume two (as we also saw with the first disc), it takes until the final episode or two of the disc for things to really start moving.
Whereas the initial episodes of Fantastic Children set up what seemed to be an almost limitless number of individual storylines, these plots gradually become tied together – Chitto and Thoma encounter (and come to blows with) one of the Children of Befort, while the Children’s search for Princess Tina begins to lead them in the direction of Helga. Away from all that, Detective Cooks finds himself drawn into an ever more mysterious and surreal series of events, which again appear to tie in with the white-haired quartet in some shape or form.
Thankfully, this convergence of plots makes the second volume of Fantastic Children far more manageable to follow than the first, as the pieces of the puzzle start to click into place. Having said that, it still takes an uncannily long time before the show begins to let those pieces fall into place - Watching through episodes six to eight on this disc, you can't help but feel that they could all have been rolled into a single episode (or one and a half at most) without losing any salient points. From this point onwards however, things pick up pace considerably, to the point where my curiosity has been more than piqued to see whether volume three can keep things moving along nicely while retaining the quality of the last couple of episodes found on this disc.
By this point in time, I have to confess that I’ve grown rather more accustomed to the rather crude-looking animation on show here – Perhaps not to the point where I'd call it charming, but with the storyline picking up its basic nature becomes less noticeable somehow. This certainly isn't a series you should be looking to pick up for the eye candy though, that’s for sure.
Overall then, Fantastic Children is finally beginning to live up to its potential. I'm loathe to say "wait and see" yet again after using that exact same phrase for volume one, and certainly this second volume is hugely more enjoyable to watch, particularly once we reach the last couple of episodes on the disc and the pace picks up. However, my money is on volume three and the next bunch of episodes to be the decider that will make or break this show. Unlike when I closed my review of volume one though, this time I get the feeling that the next DVD could mark this series' card as one to watch.
Due no doubt to the relative plethora of episodes on the disc extras are sparse here, consisting of only textless opening and closing credit sequences. Aside from that, the DVD gets English Japanese and French stereo soundtracks, along with English and French subtitles and a few trailers for other Beez shows.
Things are looking up for this series – It’s potential is beginning to show, but volume three will either make or break it.