BASTof Syndrome Vol. #6 -

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. #6

By Luis Cruz     December 22, 2004
Release Date: November 30, 2004

BASTof Syndrome Vol. #6
© ADV Films

What They Say
Mayor Hadim's blind ambition continues to destroy Xenon. The deceased Dr. Pluto's PX-1 technology nears its end; events once buried in the past begin to resurface as his ghost predicts, "Xenon will be consumed by ash and lava, and all will be buried and none will survive." The Spearhead Dream Team must prove Pluto's prediction is wrong, but with Pluto's locks standing between them, the unthinkable happens and every session of the game played could be their last.

The Review!
With a few final twists, the Lemon Game comes to its conclusion.

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.

Pseudo, his Spearhead, and bomb stand against the temple landscape on the front cover. 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)
The Lemon Game has been somewhat entertaining over the past five volumes; it incorporates some basic cyberpunk elements and blends them with a dose of action and humor. We pick up where we last left off with Tiel in the clutches of Mayor Hadim.

Hadim has Dupe monitoring Tiel's condition back at Pluto's old home. Meanwhile, Bebefau battles a new Lemon in an unfamiliar environment. It appears Cora is sending a message that if the Lemon Game continues then Sodo will be consumed once again by the volcano. As the battle rages, this prophetic landscape appears close to be coming true; with each blast, one of the control mechanisms keeping the volcano in check is disabled.

The city is spared though when Bebefau logs out of the game; the end result though reveals to Dupe that Tiel is in fact a cyborg created by Pluto. Things move quickly to the conclusion with Pseudo revealed as having Pluto's own biochip implanted in him as a child. Pluto's memories begin to overwhelm Pseudo while Cora calls to her father from inside the game.

Tiel is soon revealed to be the missing PX-1 Pluto built years ago, and Cora is out to reclaim it to use as her body and exact revenge on her father. If this happens though, all of Pluto's locks will be broken causing the volcano to erupt and destroy the entire city.

Despite this grim fact, Mayor Hadim goes completely over the edge of sanity and only cares about using the PX-1 to create his own mind control utopia. The game is finally ended for good when Moderato deletes it entirely. This destroys Hadim's mind, as he was in the game at the same time. Our story ends as the rest of the cast bids farewell to Cora and attempts to continue their lives.

This was the most entertaining volume out of the lot; it moved things to the end quickly and with some interesting twists. However, this volume is also a good example of why this series will not connect with a more mature audience. Throughout most of the volume, there are some over the top moments of attempted humor; the face faults and exaggerated movements seem to be in abundance in each episode, but they just do not fit in with the events unfolding around the characters.

Also, the various cyberpunk elements are interesting but are not explored much throughout the plot. They are added on at various points in the story but are not expanded upon any further. It builds a good framework, but the writers do not hang much else on it.

It just feels like the series really did not know what it wanted to be; it ended up being a mishmash of action, humor, and plot that just did not blend well together. Outside of the slapstick, the final volume does manage to find its focus and deal a bit more with the "ghost in the machine" elements. And one has to realize that this is aimed at a younger audience; a more mature audience will want more of the story.

For its intended audience, BASToF Syndrome will challenge them more so than most of the other material out there. It is not aiming to launch a successful and lucrative line of merchandise. It simply tries to tell an engaging, thought provoking story. And, it does so well enough that it will entertain its audience.

In Summary:
While entertaining, BASToF Syndrome has suffered volume after volume with not knowing entirely what it wants to be, and the final volume is no exception. It tries to blend slightly over the top humor, action, and an intricate plot, but it just cannot find the right balance for all the elements. However, it does manage to be a step above most of the material aimed at the same audience. The plot does introduce some complex concepts and does not rely on a line of merchandise as its driving force. It is a good introduction to the various concepts most cyberpunk tales revolve around, features some fun characters, and is visually appealing. Not something that will appeal to more mature audiences, BASToF Syndrome can be easily recommended for the young adult set.

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

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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