Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: A-
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 150
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Blue Seed
Blue Seed Vol. #3
By Chris Beveridge
January 24, 2002
Release Date: September 18, 2001
Blue Seed Vol. #3
What They Say
© ADV Films
Beset on all sides by the monstrous Aragami of Japanese legend, the TAC finds itself on the defensive. And, as attacks gain in both frequency and intensity, the public is becoming increasingly aware that all is not right.
However, the members of the TAC have gained a powerful new ally in Sakura Yamazaki, a most unusual Shinto Princess from America. She’s bold, brash and supremely confident, but will her presence be enough to turn the tide of battle?
Especially since a new soldier has appeared on the third side of the battle as well, an addition whose identity will throw the TAC into a confusion that just may be fatal. The Review!
The next installment in the Blue Seed series packs another six episodes worth of Aragami attacks and continues the somewhat episodic feel of the series. The overall arc of the show continues to move along in the background with an occasional move to the front, but these episodes focus more on getting to know our cast better.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Though like previous discs, we did give a brief listen to both the English language and Spanish language audio tracks. The show continues its center channel feel with the dialogue and using the front soundstage in a more full way with the action and music. There's no real standout sequences here, but the track is serviceable and gets across what was intended.
And just like the past two discs, the main thing that works against Blue Seed is the grain from the master. The transfer is pretty much on par from the previous volumes, with the colors being solid if lackluster (which seems very much to be intentional with the types of colors used) and hardly any visible rainbows to speak of. There's some jaggies during a few camera panning sequences, but even those were mild. With the exception of the grain, this is a pretty decent transfer.
The group shots continue with the large cast filling up the front cover, though it does look as if Kaede is getting the center piece here. It's a bit busy, but it does look pretty good if rather dark. The back cover provides a few stills but is mostly text and a listing of the features and the technical side of things. The insert one one side is just box art for other shows while the reverse lists the various chapters.
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.
Much like the earlier volumes, the Omake Theater here is a real treat. The shorts which still run just around 3 minutes and under are pretty varied. One in particular is a vocal song that has Momiji around the house on a rainy day. As an extra treat, there are both English and romaji subtitles available but it's not listed or anywhere to select it. It uses what the player is currently set for. The character bios are also included, but again, we don't check those out till the end of the series.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Things in Japan aren't quite as good as they used to be. This is the general feeling that's being conveyed across these episodes as the Aragami attacks continue and the huge seeds that have taken up residence across Japan continue to increase.
During this time, Japan was heavily into their continuing recession, so this isn't exactly a surprising feel among the populace. The country has lost its way spiritually as well, which is where this focus comes in. The Aragami will wipe the slate clean and create a new Japan, one where the country isn't crying and suffering from the abuse of its occupants.
There's a fair amount of internal conflict among the members of the TAC as they continue to try and grapple with the situation. The Aragami attacks are becoming more varied and the group finds themselves more on the defensive. Parts of the characters pasts also continue to come to light and start causing problems. There's a quite good episode that deals with Sakura's past (which has her continuing her amazing streak of English knowledge with "god damn" and "shit") with her mother and how she ended up becoming a CIA operative. Her feelings towards her mother and how their relationship went awry at such a young age gives a good insight into why she's the way she is. Which is just nuts.
Another interesting relationship bit is between Takeuchi and Kunikida, where she's clearly infatuated with him and he hardly notices after he throws himself fully into his work after one encounter with an Aragami causes him a lot of grief and heartache. Though we only see one side of her face (they way her hair falls would drive me insane) it's quite good at conveying the near-schoolgirlish way she feels around him, especially when she's close to telling him how she feels. Mix this in with the growing relationship between Momiji and Kusanagi and we get some nice bits throughout these episodes.
This set of episodes also has one of the better episodes to date, that deals with the wall that's come up between Kusanagi and Kaede. In their quest to bring Susano-oh to age by visiting various pools of power throughout the country, one city falls prey to them and an immense fog wall surrounds it. Nobody can enter and nobody can leave, and heaven only knows what's inside. Kusanagi senses Kaede within and his desire to see her combined with the mitama allows him passage through the barrier, where the streets are now emptied.
A psychological game of cat and mouse ensues as Kusanagi finds himself dealing with his past with Kaede at various ages but all with her as intelligent as she is today. The Aragami continues to stalk him while Susano-oh gains even more power under the protection of his two guardians. Momiji also ends up realizing (albeit slowly) that her single mitama allows her through, which places her firmly in danger from the Aragami, but leads to a rather satisfying conclusion.
Things end off well though, as part of the mystery behind Susano-oh becomes revealed and we end up returning to the beginning by going to Momiji's home and figuring out what the deal is with the supposedly secret cave hidden nearby. The show finally begins to pick up the pace towards the end with hints of what's to come, but what's kept me interested so far is the small workings of Susano-oh and Kaede. The show is continuing to deliver some solid entertainment.
Japanese Language,English Language,Spanish Language,English Subtitles,Character Bios,Omake Theater
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.