In 2013, Anime Sols made waves in the anime community, with a unique business model that was as unique as it was risky. The company greeted the market on the promise of crowd funding. Episodes would be streamed free to all users, while physical editions would be left to the market in a kickster-esque drive. Users would be free to contribute as much or as little as they pleased, though higher amounts would net better rewards, which ranged from the DVD set to autographed goods.
The first title to break the funding goal was Magical Angel Creamy Mami Set 1. Creamy Mami is a 1983 magical girl series from Studio Pierrot that pioneered the “media mix” approach to anime marketing. It blew past its funding goal in the last few hours of running, and quickly became a sign that Anime Sols, as a company, could be on to something. The original shipping estimates for the set quoted “about 3 months,” though the realities of DVD production had other plans. About eight months after the first completion letters went out, the set began to ship to members.
Earlier today, we received our own copy of the first Magical Angel Creamy Mami set. Since this is the first release from a newcomer to the market, I wanted to perform a full tear-down of the release. (Click images for larger versions)
The packaging itself consists of a two-disc Amaray case with a cardboard slip cover. The case and slip cover both feature the same key art of Creamy Mami, relaxed and looking toward the camera. The back of both the slipcover and DVD case use a piece of key art featuring Yu Morisawa. The episode list, cast information, and staff info is lain over the artwork.
The discs themselves are adorned with a “decal” effect, where shapes like shooting stars and Mami’s wand are cut out to reveal the shiny top of the disc. Disc 1 is colored purple, while disc 2 is a light blue. The title is fixed at the top of both discs, while publisher information and serial numbers are lain out on the bottom.
Note: Since the release has a consistent look & feel across the discs, I will only be covering the first disc. Further dissections would be redundant.
The disc features two menu screens. The front menu features the same piece of key art that adorns the front cover, which is accented by a violet color theme. Core options, as well as the option for the show’s Supporter Credits, are listed to the left side, beneath the show’s logo.
The Episode menu uses the same Mami piece that adorns the front menu, with options being lain out horizontally. Episode numbers are arranged in menu options shaped like purple hearts. Beneath the episode list is a screen from the episode, then the chapter stops of OP, Part A, Part B, Preview, and ED.
Overall, this is a very bare, very simple release. The box art is clean and attractive, with a strong choice of art and a use of color that really makes the artwork pop. the menus, while a bit spartan, are snappy, and place the most important elements within easy access of the user.
The real star of this release is the overall quality of the show itself. The video and audio are both superb, with vibrant colors and a lack of the common problems that plague releases of older shows. It’s an encouraging first effort for the company, and I can only hope that future releases continue to build on this.