Blu-ray Review: The Princess and the Pilot

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With Manga Entertainment’s Blu-ray (and DVD) release of the Princess and the Pilot now available we’ve opted to skip the in-depth critical review of the film and provide a quick review of what you can expect from the overall final product.

Synopsis:

The war between the Levamme Empire and the Amatsukami Imperium has been raging for years. In the midst of this struggle, the prince of the Levamme Empire declares his love for Juana del Moral and vows to end the war in one year as part of his marriage proposal. When the Amatsukami catch wind of this, they assault the del Moral residence, targeting Juana’s life.

As a last-ditch effort to bring the prince his bride, the San Maltilia Airforce employs a mercenary of mixed blood – a bestado – to fly Juana to the prince in secret. The pilot, Charles, accepts the mission… but traversing an ocean alone, and into enemy territory, proves a much more dangerous ordeal than anyone could have anticipated.

Our View:

For starters The Princess and the Pilot is a Subtitled only release; meaning it is only available in Japanese with English Subtitles, so if this doesn’t interest you then you may as well stop reading right now. Anyway; The Princess and the Pilot is a feature-length-movie adaptation of the light novel by Koroku Inumura, whereby it follows Charles Karino as he attempts to rescue and protect the ‘yet-to-be’ princess Juana del Moral from an attacking nation.

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Interestingly this is only ‘part’ of the story, as while Charles’s protection of Juana is the focus point for the film, the only reason she is in this predicament is because the prince of the Levamme Empire, known as Carlo Levamme, proclaimed his love to her. Basically as part of Carlo’s marriage proposal to Juana he claimed he could end the war with the Amatsukami Imperium within a year; of course the Amatsukami Imperium caught wind of this and decided to kidnap and potentially kill Juana – which is where Charles comes into the equation.

Charles is a mercenary, a soldier for hire, and since the San Maltilia Airforce are out of options for rescuing Juana they opt to send Charles alone, a covert mission if you will, in order to retrieve the princess-to-be. In short this is his story, a single ‘gun-for-hire’ rescue attempt on a mission that no-one else would dare undertake due to its high threat level and certain death. As you’d expect from a film such as this there is plenty of war-like-politics being discussed, airplane dogfights and the occasional fist-fight but it still feels like a drawn-out-love-story, even though you don’t exactly see the couple next to each other.

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Potential plot spoilers aside The Princess and the Pilot is your traditional film length and is nothing like the movies released by All The Anime, such as their release of Garden of Wards (or their upcoming release of HAL) both of which are just shy of an hour; so you are treated to a true cinematic experience – even if it does (at times) feel a bit slow.

Extras:

When it comes to feature-length instalments you can usually expect a fair amount of bonus content and that’s exactly what we get with this Blu-ray release of The Princess and the Pilot; albeit in promotional form.

  • 15 Second TV Spot – Action (Roadshow)
  • 15 Second TV Spot – Tragic Love (Now Showing)
  • 15 Second TV Spot – Tragic Love (Roadhow)
  • Preview
  • Preview – Neutral (Textless)
  • Trailer
  • Trailer – Neutral (Textless)

All of the bonus content are different forms of Promotional Material used during the films campaign; for instance the TV Spots were (as you’d expect) shown on TV while the trailer and preview were shown in cinemas. Amusingly the ‘Neutral’ trailers are exactly the same as the standard trailer; it just doesn’t have any written text over the animation so you actually see what’s taking place.

Specs:

Media: BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 1:39:41
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Japanese) & LPCM 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Grey)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

The Princess and the Pilot is a story that sees mercenary Charles Karino take on a mission to rescue Juana del Moral, a potential princess, from the clutches of the evil Amatsukami Imperium whereby along the way Charles and Juana take part in various confrontations in order to find a way back home. It may sound like a unique story, but to me it seems very familiar to the story within Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope, whereby Han Solo agrees to rescue princess Leia for money but after spending time with her realises there is more to life than just money and opts to protect her; it’s the same thing within this anime movie, it’s not necessarily bad but it’s not great either – although the airplane dogfights are pretty cool.

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In regards to the Blu-ray it seems Manga Entertainment UK have decided to author it ‘in-house’ (or to that effect) as the subtitles offer a grey tint, as opposed to FUNimations white or Sentai Filmworks’s Yellow style. It’s not a bad thing; I’m just pointing it out. What I did find disappointing was the visual quality of the film, it looks like an old film upscaled in high definition rather than a true HD native product – and it doesn’t look as sharp as the promotional screenshots included in this article – although this ‘issue’ could be the films ‘animation style’ rather than the an actual High Definition quality concern.

Despite these ‘potential’ negatives there are some positives to be had; for starters a nice selection of bonus materials are included – which is of course a bonus for a ‘relatively’ unknown project such as this. All of the bonus content is ‘promotional materials’ so a wealth of Trailers, TV Spots and Preview videos are included; all of which are presented in Japanese with English Subtitles. The second ‘positive’ aspect of this release is that it includes a 5.1 DTS-HD Audio track, something which brings the film to life when played one 5.1 Surround Sound as you can really here the planes roar around you.

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The Princess and the Pilot, for me, Is a hit a miss film but the overall package presented by MangaUK is a good one; it just depends if you are interested in feature-length-films that have had ‘very little’ exposure within the UK, especially one that involves a single dare-devil styled mission to rescue a girl and is only available in Japanese with English Subtitles.

Score: review-stars-3

The Princess and the Pilot is now available on Blu-ray and DVD within the UK.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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