Big Wars - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 70
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Big Wars

Big Wars

By Chris Beveridge     April 13, 2003
Release Date: April 08, 2003


Big Wars
© Central Park Media


What They Say
At the dawn of the 21st century, war rages on Mars. Captain Akuh and his crew are on a top-secret mission to destroy an enemy warship when an officer is stricken with an alien mind control plague. As the plague spreads, inciting madness and treason, Akuh must complete his mission, annihilate the alien battleship, and save the fate of the human race!

The Review!
As the old sublicenses to Image run out, re-releases and remasters abound, and Big Wars falls squarely into that camp.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show has a nice stereo mix that mostly fills the entire forward soundstage rather than do much unique with either channel. It’s a decent soundtrack with no dropouts or distortions, but not one that’s going to really suck you into the show either.

Video:
Originally released in 1993, the materials here are decent but starting to show a little bit of age. There’s a few nicks and scratches throughout and a bit of dust here and there, but nothing as bad as a number of older shows I’ve seen recently. The color palette for this show is pretty drab since they’re going the Martian route, but there’s some occasional moments of nice vibrant colors. Some aliasing and cross coloration is visible in various areas throughout the show, generally in the detailed line artwork.

Packaging:
A new piece of cover art graces this release, and overall it looks better in its rough drawn style with the massive human ship rolling across the Martian landscape and attacking the enemies. The backgrounds particularly look good in the painted style used here. The back cover goes a bit simpler with a few animation shots set against a black background and a short summary of the premise. The discs features and technical specs are all very easily and nicely labeled. The reverse side of the clear keepcase cover provides several black and white images and a listing of the main production staff, chapter listings and the bilingual cast list.

Menu:
The main menu brings back the old cover artwork and cuts a section in the center open to have animation and music from the show playing. Selections are nice and quick to load and access times are fast. There’s not much to the disc than the normal features, so the layout is easy to maneuver through and looks good.

Extras:
The only extras included here is a one minute video art gallery that has some of the original cover artwork and a number of cel shots from the show as well as a trailer for the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Big Wars is a show that’s not quite sure what it wants to be. It’s not quite an OVA with it’s 70 minute run time, but it’s also no quite a movie because of the same run time. It ‘s done in widescreen, so they give the intent of going in that direction. But with the runtime in the middle like it is, it lacks the quickness of an OVA storyline as well as the proper pacing and depth of a fleshed out movie. If it had been fleshed out more and certain aspects not rushed, this could have easily sat alongside Venus Wars as a very enjoyable Martian war anime.

The show opens with a future-history that takes us from the present up to 2416 in a very rushed section of text. It’s almost like they’re saying, there’s lots going on, but nevermind that, we just want it to seem more important than it is. In 2416, mankind is on both Earth and Mars now, with lots and lots of people colonizing there. Mars is breathable, but it’s still a raw desolate planet with massive sandstorms and that ever-present red feel.

In the time since humanity began colonizing, an alien race named The Gods has since descended upon them to beat them back. They make claims of each race only requiring one planet and demanding humans return to just Earth. The Gods are also quite subversvive, using their powers to change the minds of various humans to work for their goals instead, essentially turning them into terrorists that strike back at vital points on the Martian world. After many years of fighting, things have gotten close to the end as The Gods are now plotting their biggest offensive yet.

We’re given over to follow Captain Akuh, a man who recently lost his ship in battle and has been recovering for the past few months. Upon his return to service, he’s told of the offensive and that he will play a key role in trying to turn it back before they can fully launch it. Akuh becomes even more game for the plan when he finds out that not only is his new ship the latest coming out of the factory and sporting features nobody else has, but it’s even been named after the ship that was lost. So with half of his crew remaining from the previous ship and a several new folks, they set off to battle in the Martian landscape.

Most of that though is pushed back so that Akuh can get in a couple of nice sex sequences with a woman he knew from a previous assignment that works in Intelligence. The two were attracted during their last assignment together, but the timing never worked out. This time around, they go at it like rabbits and pretty regularly. There’s more than meets the eye here though in that it’s not just inserted for giggles, but through this woman, we start to learn how a human is subverted and why.

Once all that is said and done though, the show primarily goes through the military combat aspects and provides lots of action. There’s definitely more that could have been explored throughout here, especially with some of the cast that gets introduced. The animation is very nice for the most part with some solid designs that go in a serious manner, which means there’s no campy out-of-place types included here. This is done as a straightforward action/adventure show.

This remaster has worked out pretty well overall, with the hardsubs removed and some softsubs for things like signs and ship names. It’s been five years since the original was released, so comparisons are pretty useless at this point since things were so new then. For fans of this show, it’s hard to say if an upgrade is worthwhile unless that keepcase really bothers you that much. For those who haven’t seen it before, it’s not a bad little show and provides some good moments of serious SF military action.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Trailer

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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