Arc the Lad Vol. #5 - 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: 15 & Up
  • 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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     October 16, 2001
Release Date: October 16, 2001


Arc the Lad Vol. #5
© ADV Films


What They Say
The defeat of Galuano was only the beginning of the battle. As Arc leads the Smerian forces against Andel’s army, the sinister Clive masterminds a different assault on an unexpected target.

As Shu battles Toshu and the barrier protecting the shrine is destroyed, a powerless Elk must face both his worst fears and his greatest challenge

The Review!
The penultimate disc to the series brings things through the late teen episodes and into the early twenties. The middle arc finds itself running to completion and then a batch of filler episodes to prepare the way for the final arc. I hope Arc is up to one more arc...

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 fourth disc, this dual layered disc presents the show in its full vibrant look that I've come to expect to see it in. There's practically no cross coloration, macroblocking is exceptionally minimal and there's not much in the way of shimmering during camera panning sequences. Honestly, I found little to really even nitpick about with this disc. Good stuff here.

Packaging:
The sliced sectional looking menus continue again here with Elk slicing down the middle with his flame, having a very soft looking Toshu to the lower right and a very vibrant looking Kukuru to his left. The back cover is set up identical to previous volumes with a fair number of animation shots and some menu captures. A brief summary talks about the episodes and the technical information is fairly well represented, though finding the running time is a bit of a chore. The insert provides another shot of both Elk and Toshu while the reverse side features each of the episodes and their respective chapters.

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)
With a surprisingly fast pace, the first episode here brings to conclusion the fight to recapture Smeria from Andel. The battle moves along fairly quickly, with most of it feeling like it was done on the last disc as opposed to this one. The confrontation begins just between Elk and Andel, but eventually Arc shows up and it takes both of them to try and take him down. Andel's prepared for this though, and after Elk loses his flame power, he manages to escape, leaving Smeria in Arc's hands.

Things then go completely in another direction in the next episode. The entire Smeria storyline is dropped and we end up following a little tale about Elk helping out a little blind girl whose being protected by a soldier whose got the Chimera infection. It's a nice tale, and one where Elk tries to deal with his lack of powers and to understand more of what's going on in the world, but it's such an abrupt change from the previous episodes it just feels wrong.

We also get another episode where Shu and Toshu cross paths as both are hunting down Elk to try and bring him back to their respective causes. All in all, Elk ends up not being gone very long, but upon his return things in Smeria go to hell in a handbasket, and his reason for returning (i.e. the very cute and cuddly Lieza) finds herself being kidnapped by the slimy evil known as Clive. Of course, if you couldn't see that coming, you've not seen a lot of shows.

This is where the final arc storyline starts to get going. We get to see that Andel and his cohorts have things still well in motion for bringing some mysterious ancient darkness back to life, and now that they've got Lieza they don't need the highly protected Kukuru anymore. She's going to be the key that will open the Ark and bring the ultimate evil upon the world. Good times ahead to be sure. Arc gets everyone back together and manages to gain the trust (rather easily) of the Hunters and now has access to their information network. Plans are now set in motion to get Lieza back (or kill her) before she can open the Ark, regardless of the cost to those around them. Arc does want to reduce collateral damage, but he's got the right idea. The fate of the world is riding on this and it's going to be a tough ride.

Much like I've felt throughout the series so far, these episodes are just as oddly paced as all the rest. Things continue to move at odd leaps and lurches and then suddenly slow down in the strangest areas. While these episodes are no different, there's a real dramatic shift early on here that made getting into the rest of the disc a bit awkward. I still find it hard to really like any of the characters outside of Lieza and to find much to really get all fired up about with it. It's not bad, but it's moving forward in its own unique way.

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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