Blue Seed Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 175
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Blue Seed

Blue Seed Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     January 30, 2001
Release Date: January 30, 2001


Blue Seed Vol. #1
© ADV Films


What They Say
For thousands of years the forces of the Aragami have been held in check by a steady diet of human sacrifices, but now the bonds have been broken and mankind's oldest and deadliest enemies are stirring. To combat an enemy who can attack anywhere, anytime, without notice will require the most talented agents from around the world and every resource available to modern civilization. The most effective armaments, however, could be two very special human weapons. Joining the battle are Momiji Fujimiya, last daughter of the family charged with containing the Aragami, and Mamoru Kusanagi, former servant of Aragami.

The Review!
Blue Seed was originally released in Japan back in 1995 and got a fairly speedy release here in the US shortly afterwards, running around the same time as ADV was releasing Evangelion. While the two shows don't share a whole lot in common, the fan base at the time was prone to picking up volumes of each show at the same time. While that release totaled 13 tapes (for each language), the DVD release is getting a pretty good treatment here with all 26 spread across four volumes. The price compared to the VHS release is definitely in the "super buy" category.

Audio:
Adding even more value to the package, the disc includes the usual Japanese and English tracks but also a Spanish language track. For our primary review we listened to the Japanese track and had no problems at all. Dialogue was clean and at a good level, no noticeable dropouts or other distortions. There wasn't much in the way of forward directionality but what little there was did add to the experience nicely. Solid presentation all around.

Video:
Taking into consideration the number of episodes and the age of the show as well as the style used, this is a pretty good looking presentation. The animation itself is done in a "real world" style with little real flash or vibrancy, even for the Aragami creatures. The resulting look is somewhat flat in feel. Colors are solid with little breakup, but there is some grain in places that make dark blues in skies a little shifty and some jaggies along some edges.

Packaging:
This single disc package is nicely laid out. The front cover is probably one of the more vibrant parts of the whole show! All the main cast members show up here and looks good without coming across as overly busy. The back cover has a good rnudown of the show as well as a few animation and menu shots in addition to the features of the disc. Disregard the textless opening listing though, as that feature got pushed to another disc and apparently didn't get the packaging changed in time.

Menus:
The menus are pretty well laid out here, with music playing along with static menus. Episode selection can be done right off of the main screen, which is great for those who set their language defaults like myself. Chapter index layouts are nicely done as well with each episode selectable from the right and then the chapters listing on the left. The Extras are laid out in a fairly similar way. Access times are pretty quick with no noticeable issues.

Extras:
Noting the missing textless trailer above, the included extras are pretty nice. The character bios aren't overly detailed but do provide some nice info, including the meaning of the characters names. The big attraction is the first two of the omake theater from the show that takes the characters and does various things with them. These are pretty hilarious and definitely out of character. Great stuff with them, and we've been told to expect the majority of them on the final disc due to the lower episode counts on those.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Blue Seed follows some of the more conventional rules of anime shows, at least for the beginning arc. Start off with something flashy and confusing, introduce the main character in a dangerous situation and then introduce all the secondary characters while dealing with problems along the way.

The show opens with people racing to stop a young woman from killing herself in a tunnel under the city. Kaede has decided to end her life, and in doing so unleashes some powerful energy that can be seen for miles around. Things then cut fast to the countryside where we're introduce to Momiji, a slightly clumsy yet cute and spunky fifteen year old girl. She's lived in this town all her life, but appears to be somewhat oblivious to the history and legends of the area. She's told the story of how monsters used to terrorize the area, and sort of just shrugs it off.

It doesn't take long until this creatures of myth turn out to be real, and they are after Momiji. Through the attacking creatures dialogue while rampaging through the school, Momiji learns that she and Kaede were twin sisters, and both possess a power over these creatures, the Aragami. As long as she lives, they live. Yet the person they've entrusted to her safety, a spirit-powered human named Kusanagi, is now trying to kill Momiji in an effort to regain his life. His failure at protecting Kaede has driven him to this.

At the time all of this is happening, the government back group that deals with the Aragami problem arrives at the scene and tries their best to take down the creature and save Momiji, as they hint that the countries fate is tied to both her and the Aragami. Little detail is given, but the foundation is laid out here with this.

The show then progresses in a fairly standard pattern of moving Momiji to Tokyo, introducing her to the TAC group, and getting her involved in the whole operation. Through each of the episodes we get to learn more of the overall story, introducing various Aragami, as well as giving spotlights for each of the TAC team and who they really are. Some are naturally more interesting than others, but they're all pretty fun and have their moments of levity and suspense.

The show is definitely playing off of different genres, with the Aragami having a feel of creatures from Urotsukidoji and the TAC team playing up the government back creature hunters from the Godzilla flicks. Tying it all together though is the cute yet serious Momiji. She's definitely got character, and her clumsy moments truly cracked us up. She definitely fits the mold of being the heart of the team as well as bringing other forces together through her personality and will.

Though the show does show its age in a few places, especially in the somewhat flat styled animation, it's definitely got life to it. The voice actors do a good job of giving the characters personality and that opening song is darn catchy. For the price and number of episodes per disc, this is an easy addition to the library.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,Spanish Language,English Subtitles,Character Bios,Omake Theater (2)

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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