Arc the Lad Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Arc the Lad

Arc the Lad Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     July 24, 2001
Release Date: July 24, 2001


Arc the Lad Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
Seeking a way off the island where they’ve been marooned, Elk and Lieza encounter a frightening relic of a lost civilization.
That’s only the beginning of their problems, however, for they soon discover that a bounty has been placed on Elk’s head! Now the tables are turned as the Hunter becomes the hunted and the two must flee for their lives!

The Review!
The third volume of this series, which gets a bump up in episode count from three to five, continues on Elk's quest to find a plot. Amazingly, it looks like he's found one!

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:
While for the most part the video continues to look strong, with a lot of vibrant colors and some very nice looking sequences with some fluid animation, there's some very minor things that are just catching my eye on this disc. It's not a major issue, but I've noticed with this disc, if you watch closely at the characters eyes, you can see the edges of them turning fairly jaggie at times. This happens on the eyebrows occasionally as well. There's also a bit more color banding occurring this time around as well, with some fairly noticeable rainbows during parts of the opening sequence. This is still a very nice transfer, but these little issues are catching my eye now.

Packaging:
The design style remains nicely similar to previous volumes (including I believe the spine art), this time with the purple themed cover of Elk and his friend from the past, Gene. The back cover follows the previous releases in style, which means lots of animation shots. The insert is a variant on the front cover, with expanded pieces of the artwork used. The disc doesn't have proper volume numbering or episode listing, but the back cover does have a screenshot of the menu which lists the episode numbers.

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:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Something about this show confounds us. There are some potentially interesting things to do with the setting and the characters, but the characters instead seem to just sort of flounder from situation to situation. While we are, at the start of this volume, only six full episodes into the series, a bit more cohesiveness in plotting would have had us paying more attention. As it is, it already feels like we'd watch an entire season of this already.

Thankfully, after a couple of episodes on this disc, the show begins to progress towards actual plot. The adventures of Elk and Lieza on the Survivor island comes to a close with the discovery of an ancient robot that talks of an ancient battle between the world and Darkness. This plot is then completely dropped after they rebuild the robot. So either this was just a throwaway to make the world seem more mysterious, or we can expect to see something about this show up around episode 22 and be a "surprise".

Upon their return to the real world, things have changed. Big time. The city, still reeling from the attack of Arc and the Silver Noah, has hundreds of wanted posters slapped all over. Of who? Elk of course. Those in power have decided that the best way to recapture Lieza is to get her new traveling companion, and this is the most expeditious way since their attempt to capture her via Pandit failed rather spectacularly.

After a rather brief encounter with Shu where they talk about the changes in the city and Elk's newfound popularity, Elk, Lieza and Pandit head off into the countryside so Lieza can check out her home village to make sure it hadn't been sacked the way others have been. And so leads into the next phase of the journey, where those of the White House begin their attempts to bring both of them in and control them.

To their own detriment, they begin by using someone Elk knew during his own time in the White House. His friend Gene is sent to capture Lieza, but his main personal goal is to kill Elk for letting Meril be captured during his escape. A capture that has supposedly led to something sinister and nasty... if she's even alive. Gene himself has suffered from this particular escape, and has ended up as a Chimera.

We have a lot of flashbacks throughout these episodes that start dangling, sometimes bluntly, the aspects of Elks past and the real nature of the White House. The power of the Chimera's become more clear, as well as the plans for them in this new world that various people in power are working towards. This becomes very apparent when we are treated to the "origins" of Arc's rise to fame and the beginnings of his journey's in the Silver Noah.

There's a lot to absorb in these episodes, and having five of them here helped a lot in getting to some of the more meaty episodes that started to keep my interest. The shows animation still is pretty consistent, with some interesting character design choices and some great coloring styles. The setting of the world still feels very up in the air and not completely decided, giving the show an odd feeling, which is also affected by the pacing of the story. There's some interesting things going on at times, but others feel like they came right off of the RPG it's based on. While I don't have an outright recommendation for the show, with the remaining discs having five episodes each, it's hard to not give it a shot to see where these odd twists and turns will go.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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