Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Arc the Lad
Arc the Lad Vol. #2
By Chris Beveridge
June 12, 2001
Release Date: June 12, 2001
Arc the Lad Vol. #2
What They Say
© ADV Films
The action never stops as Elk, Shu and Lieza find themselves pursued at every turn. When the bounty on Pondit is lifted, Elk is sure it's a trap and he and Shu hatch a scheme to find out who's after Lieza by using her as bait. What they don't plan on is that there's another party after the Mayor and his cronies and his attack is going to happen at the same time as their own! Episodes 4-6.The Review!
The show begins to progress a bit here with more screentime for the title character of the show (i.e. Arc) and the introduction of a bigger plot in the form of Arc and his group going against the evil plans of the city's Mayor.Audio:
For the purpose of our primary review, we listened to this in its original language of Japanese. Being a TV series, there's little surprise here in how it sounds. The opening song is strong and probably the loudest part of the show. Dialogue is crisp and clear with no noticeable dropouts or other distortions. There's some rather good directionality across the front soundstage through a couple of scenes that works really well.Video:
Much like the first disc, this is a very shiny looking show with a lot of bold striking colors throughout that work well. There's hardly any issues at all here, with only a few very minor rainbows and the occasional background blue sky artifacting moment here and there. The big attraction here continues to be the colors and just how great they look.Packaging:
The second volume gives us another action pose for Elk and the larger background picture to Arc himself. The colors here are also quite nice, but it's essentially just a character shot cover. The back cover is similar to the first volume with the angled split with one side getting a number of screenshots and the other getting the story summary and some menu shots.Menus:
The menus are pretty simple since there's little to do with the disc beyond watching the content and the trailers. The main menu is done in a similar cut style as the cover with one section playing part of the opening music and animation. Access times between menu selections are pretty fast and without issue.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
At the end of this disc, which brings us up through episodes six, you'll be left with one question. Does Arc have the personality of a wet rock? Talk about Zero Charisma Leader...
The show kicks off with Elk and Shu learning that the bounty on Pandit has been taken down. This essentially gets Lieza off the hook and she and Pandit can continue on their journey without much trouble from the law. Elk and Shu decide that this is a good cause for celebration and take Lieza out to buy a new dress. But in reality, it's just to get the bugs out of it that have allowed the Dark Suited Men to trace her location.
This is also around the same time that the Mayor and his assistant Clive are getting things prepared for the unveiling of the statue. The military's in place, the guards are on keen watch and everyone's ready for Arc and his group of evildoers to arrive and wreck everything. The unveiling ceremony, which is very quick and very small on pomp, shows the crowd the giant goddess statue with the crystal ball in her hands. As everyone admires it, the ball begins to glow and emit some kind of waves that starts affecting everyone's head, except for a certain few who took some pills earlier.
And as predicted, the Silver Noah and Arc arrive to attack and destroy the statue, saving the people from whatever the thing is causing (it's not explained in these episodes at least). Arc and his ship arrive from within the city, which is apparently the one undefended place. The quick action leads to some fast paced chase scenes between his blimp *cough* aircraft and the mayor's car. Arc finally manages to get the Mayor and his associates out into the open and out of their car and gets ready to confront them...
Which is when Elk shows up with a chip on his shoulder against Arc for destroying his village and killing his parents. The quiet and personality-free Arc mumbles a few things and basically evades all of Elk's attacks. This of course leaves the mayor free to escape, which he does once he comes across the helpless Lieza...
Arc the Lad continues with what we saw in the first volume in presenting an interesting mix world of fantasy styles with different technology. We also get the so far fairly typical video game RPG plot. I've been told that things do improve quite well as the episodes go on, and with the remaining four discs in the series having five episodes each, we'll hopefully reach some better plot points soon. And hopefully Arc will develop something resembling a personality. I may sound like I'm harping on it here, but it was just so noticeable.
With this first arc of Arc the Lad, the show is very middle of the road. The visuals are what's getting the attention since the plot is pretty thin. But with another twenty episodes to go, there's still a chance for improvement.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.