BASToF Syndrome Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: BASTof Syndrome

BASToF Syndrome Vol. #2

By Luis Cruz     June 24, 2004
Release Date: June 15, 2004

BASToF Syndrome Vol. #2
© ADV Films

What They Say
Back after a nine year hiatus, the Lemon Game is alive and well... well, more alive than a game should be. As events occurring within Lemon's virtual battlefield continue to spill over into reality, Mayor Hadim and Moderato begin two separate searches and arrive at one suitable conclusion: A hacker is in the system. But is a hacker really using the Lemon Game server to access the city's mainframe and terrorize the citizens of Xenon? And who could the hacker be? Or is it something entirely different? Could there be a ghost in the machine, bent on escaping its virtual prison?

The Review!
More mystery awaits in the second round of BASToF Syndrome's "Lemon Game".

The original Korean language track was used for my primary viewing session. The track was crisp and clear with no noticeable distortion or dropout. Dialogue and music were mixed well with neither overshadowing each other. Action is played across the front soundstage quite well.

The English language track continues to be one of the better dubs I have heard recently. While the dialogue diverges from the original language, it fits well with the characters and setting. Pseudo's voice still sounds a bit too old for the character, but this is a minor point.

Produced in 2001, the video is from print defects, grain, or scratches; the transfer looks very clean and sharp with very rich colors. There are scenes of quick movement that look like they might be suffering from some aliasing. However, I am not certain if the effect I am seeing is a style choice made for the artwork or an actual defect. The only other quibble with the video would be the backgrounds of certain scenes. While characters are moving, the way the background moves behind them does not feel natural and comes off as too "digital". Overall, the video is sharp and will not detract from the viewing experience.

Mint and her virtual persona take up the majority of the front cover. The only other touch on the front is the series name and volume title near the bottom; it is a simple but eye-catching cover. The back cover contains the requisite screenshots, synopsis, episode listing, and disc specifications. Inside is a one-page insert containing the front cover art on one side and a listing of the disc contents on the other.

ADV keeps the menus nice and simple; a static image of one of the characters appears in each menu, as does a sample of music from the theme songs. There are no transition delays switching between menus.

Clean versions of the opening and ending animation are the only extras included on the disc.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Things are not quite right in Xenon, as the boundaries between the real and virtual world are beginning to blur. Moderato is particularly concerned since his Lemon Game appears to be directly involved. With the latest game taking place at an abandoned but active nuclear plant, he has every right to be concerned. Meanwhile, Pseudo has concerns of a different nature; the schoolyard buzz around the game is that Pseudo is too weak and undisciplined to be in the game.

This does not sit well with him, so he rushes headlong into battle with the latest Lemon threat. As the battle rages on in the virtual world, Mayor Hadim attempts to prevent nuclear fallout in the real world. The real world nuclear plant is on its way to meltdown, and a mysterious lock is preventing Hadim and the city technicians from stopping it.

Pseudo prevails over the Lemon threat, which also neutralizes the real world meltdown. Moderato and Hadim are confused, as the smoke from the battle forms the BASToF symbol last seen nine years ago before the game disappeared. Moderato attempts to contact the server operator Dupe; however, Hadim's secret service agents get to Dupe first and arrest him on charges of hacking.

The remainder of the volume has Bebefau and Mint battling more Lemons, while Moderato attempts to track down the owner of the pirate broadcast of the game. Adding to the mystery is a priestess named Hestia who has ties to the mute girl Tiel and Pseudo. Pseudo's waking visions are also increasing and becoming more vivid.

While the game and its evolution is the central mystery of the story, BASToF is slowly introducing new mysteries into the story. They are being introduced slowly and in a way that fits in with the existing story. The action and plot for the most part on this volume is predictable; without the introduction of these mysteries, this volume would be on par with most of the young adult material on the market today.

However, BASToF is beginning to show some promise that it might elevate itself above the crowd. It is refreshing to see a series whose plot is not based around a merchandising gimmick and is instead trying to tell an interesting story. What also helps is the cast of characters assembled; the Spearhead team is comprised of teens.

Even though large events are unfolding around them, they are concerned mostly with things every teen is concerned with. They are not battling to save the world or other grandiose concepts; they simply want to play games and be the best at it. Moderato is the identifiable and stereotypical computer geek; his obsession is figuring out why the game he created is not under his control.

I am not the target market for this title, and it really is not clicking with me despite the characters and the small mysteries that are unfolding. Still, I can appreciate what the series is doing and am interested in seeing where the story goes. It is on the verge of being a series that can capture my interest; it will be interesting to see if it can do just that.

In Summary:
BASToF is on the cusp of being a better than average show. The action and plot in this second volume is predictable, but it continues to develop an engaging cast of characters and mystery filled story. While it is not a title I would rave about, it shows promise that it could build and end on a strong note. The young adult set should definitely continue to check this series out, as it stands above the majority of the titles available for them.

Korean 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable


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