Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 29.95
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Betterman
Betterman Vol. #3
By Chris Beveridge
December 06, 2002
Release Date: October 08, 2002
Betterman Vol. #3
What They Say
© Bandai Entertainment
Having discovered the mysterious Animus Flower in the Ajanta caves in India, the team has a new lead in their quest against Algernon. But Keita and his team are faced with more questions than answers. When the rest of the team arrives at the BPL facility, they soon face a new breed of genetically engineered creatures. And among them is... Chandy?
Betterman arrives on the scene and even he is thwarted by these evil creations. But just when all looks lost, a new hope shines in the darkness. Could it be... another Betterman? The Review!
With many questions already unanswered, Betterman moves into more uncharted territory by providing an even longer list of things that make little sense.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The series appears to be sporting a pretty decent pro-logic track, so the rear speakers at least come alive on occasion. The majority of the rear activity tends to focus in the music, both the opening and the ending, as well as some incidental music and sound effects throughout. It’s not major by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s definitely there. Dialogue is well placed along the forward soundstage and we noticed no dropouts or distortions on either track during regular playback.Video:
Betterman continues to be one of the darker shows I’ve seen in its use of the black and gray palette, though it does branch out a bit better here. Colors throughout look good without being over saturated, and have a slightly soft feel to them, which seems to be very intentional by the style. Combined with the animation style, the show at times feels like a theatrical piece, with several sections reminiscent of Metropolis. This isn’t a show that’s going to look stunning since it’s intended to be murky.Packaging:
Again using the foil method, the front cover looks gorgeous! Betterman’s face makes up the upper background while a shot of lightning strikes through as Sakura clutches her hands to her chest while her hair flows all over. The back cover uses it as well, mixing the animation shots into one swipe. There’s a good summary of the show as well as the episode numbers and titles here. The discs features and production information is also listed. Bandai makes more friends with this cover by making it reversible and having that front cover be very similar to the Japanese one as well as providing the Japanese title logos for it on the front and on the spine. The back cover provides a variety of new artwork as well. The insert provided has the front cover art used again while it folds out to talk about the Betterman a bit. The back of the insert provides the full credits listing. The included card with this release is of Keita against a shimmery green background.Menu:
There’s a brief and rather loud lightning flare-up before the menu settles in to a version of the front cover with the Betterman image and lightning striking down on the logo and selections. The layout is very well done and the images used for everything sets the mood perfectly. Submenus are quick to load and easy to get around, and the language menu was done up just as I like them.Extras:
The extras this round are fairly minimal, with three new pieces of character production artwork that’s in full color (but not translated) as well as about five or six pages of the next installment of the Mode Warp files, which flesh out the mecha a bit.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a very engaging second volume with all kinds of new things brought about and a change in perception of what they’re fighting against, I was very much looking forward to the third volume.
And then I watched it.
It made little sense overall, especially with the recap material. It didn’t help bring things into perspective. So I waited a week and watched it again.
It still made little sense.
A third viewing over a month after release and I find myself still unable to really access this volume in any meaningful way. Something just goes wrong right from the first episode that keeps me from really getting what’s going on. It’s like I keep shutting down halfway through the disc and it’s just not getting through.
Maybe volume four will make sense. This one just left me with a headache each time.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Production Art Gallery,Mode Warp File 3
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.