BASToF Syndrome Vol. #5 -

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: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: BASTof Syndrome

BASToF Syndrome Vol. #5

By Luis Cruz     November 10, 2004
Release Date: October 19, 2004

BASToF Syndrome Vol. #5
© ADV Films

What They Say
One player has been hospitalized, two robots have been destroyed and now Moderato has turned his back on his own creation. But the Mayor needs the game to bypass Pluto's locks, and Riddle has her own reasons to unearth the PX-1 file. As the stakes become higher, memories begin to resurface and the possibility of all out war looms on the horizon. The city hovers on the brink of destruction in the latest stunning volume of BASToF Syndrome!

The Review!
The Pluto conspiracy takes the forefront of this latest volume of BASToF Syndrome.

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. Most of the volume is dialogue, but the few action scenes played across the front soundstage quite nicely.

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.

Moderato stands on the front cover along with Mint and Pseudo's virtual personas; in the background is a ruined city. The only other touch on the front is the series name and volume title near the bottom. 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. Each image has the erupting volcano scene in the background. 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)
With few episodes left, there are plenty of plot elements that need to be wrapped up before BASToF Syndrome concludes. The bulk of this volume begins to do just that and finally manages to weave the conspiracy a bit more into the battle sequences.

We start out in Xenon City Hospital where we find Mint on her way to visit Bebefau. Bebefau is recovering from his injuries from his last Lemon Game encounter; Mint arrives and finds Mayor Hadim exiting Bebe's room. The remainder of the episode is spent reliving the past through Mayor Hadim's memories. Hadim and Pluto worked together on numerous projects in the past. Things went horribly wrong and resulted in Pluto falling to his death before Hadim could recover the PX-1 file.

We move quickly to the next episode where Bebefau sees Cora, Pluto's deceased daughter roaming the halls of the hospital. Meanwhile, Hadim spots Tiel while visiting the Xenon Temple; he recognizes a holographic pattern on Tiel's neck as belonging to Pluto. Mint and Pseudo must face a Death Star Lemon in battle; many clues about the PX-1 project, Cora, and Pluto are revealed around this battle.

The third episode reveals even more details as Moderato finally learns that Sister Hestia is in fact the hacker Riddle. While she reveals more about Pluto and Hadim's past, including the fact that Pluto developed the biochip technology, Pseudo has to rescue Tiel from Hadim's men in black. Their flight takes them back to Pluto's former home where Tiel relives her involvement with Pluto's projects and his daughter Cora.

We end the volume with Pseudo bringing Tiel back to Moderato's headquarters; Moderato has also brought Riddle back as well; with everyone in one place, it is time for another Lemon encounter. While Pseudo fights in a virtual reconstruction of artificial bone, Tiel reacts strangely to the events, her eyes glowing with an eerie light. Biochips malfunction across Xenon City causing panic in the city. The volume ends with another win for Pseudo but with the MiB taking Tiel away.

It is good to see the series starting to focus more on the conspiracy plot rather than the game itself; it is this plot that makes the series worth watching at all. The writers take care to lay the elements out and pay attention to the details. We begin to see how Pluto, a brilliant scientist, ends up down the path to insanity in an effort to restore his daughter's health. His ethics are cast aside in pursuit of this goal with Hadim as the prime motivator behind Pluto.

While the content is decent, the presentation could be a bit better. The same flashback sequences are used repeatedly with each sequence revealing a bit more about events. This can be an effective way of unfolding the plot, but this should have been done slowly over the entire series rather than cramming it into four episodes near the end of the series. It loses its effectiveness and becomes a bit annoying to have a flashback play and then reply within a short period of time.

This can be forgiven though since it does take time away from the repetitive battle sequences seen throughout the series. The plot is moved significantly towards its conclusion but still leaves enough mystery left to make the ending something to look forward to.

In Summary:
This volume shows just how good this series could have been; the writers show that they can build a detailed, complex plot. The battle sequences are still a bit tedious, but this time around it directly influenced the plot behind the series. Sadly, all of this is coming a little too late; if the elements present in this volume were applied from the beginning of the series, it might receive a strong recommendation for purchase rather than a passing rental recommendation.

Korean 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable


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