Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: All
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
Bubblegum Crisis 2040 Vol. #4
By Roman Martel
February 06, 2002
Release Date: February 13, 2001
Overall Rating: 4.1
(on a scale of 1-5)
English Acting: 3
This disc of Bubblegum Crisis 2040 got a .1 raise on the grade. It's true; the series is beginning to pick up a bit. This whole disc is packed with plot and exposition. It starts things down a different path and is raising the tempo. I can see the next few discs raising the stakes and pushing this one to its climax. But before I get too far ahead of myself, let's look at the technical stuff.
This disc is on par with the previous ones, and with all the ADV discs I've been watching lately. The sound and picture were both top-notch on my set up. The menus work quickly and combine entertainment and functionality perfectly. The presentation is good; we are still missing the number of channels used by the sound. But we get Sylia on the cover so it's a good trade off. The goodies are average. You get some design drawings of the vehicles used in the series. It's a good technical disc, worthy of ADV.
This disc does exactly what it should have in the scope of the story. I'm happy to say that the entertainment value is growing a bit more. But before I get into that it's time for a quick recap of the action in this disc. We finally get some exposition into who and what Sylia and Maki are. Secrets are revealed and for some it's too much to handle. The Knight Sabres begin to fall apart as the target for Sylia's aggressions and Mason's search is revealed. It turns out that a secret lies inside the lab used by professor Stingray. Sylia knows that it must be kept away from Mason and does everything in her power to prevent him from getting is gloved hands on it. Well things don't work out so well, and the Knight Sabres lose face and their hard suits. Because of this mishap, the origin of the hard suits is revealed, much to the anger of Priss, and she leaves the team. Now it's up to Lina, Nene, Sylia and Maki to stop Mason from using his newfound treasure and awakening a sick and twisted dream.
Wow, it was tough to write that without giving too much away @_@. (sigh) O.K. now on to the animation and sound. This show had remained pretty consistent in its look and feel all the way. This is good especially in comparison to Outlaw Star or Nadesico, which seemed to suffer from bouts of weird animation. And even though the look is consistent it is lacking some of the directing skill that I've seen in Trigun, Escaflowne and Evangelion. It's been presented in a pretty standard straightforward way. But since this is an action-based show, I'm not expecting too much in the way of artsy camera movement or lighting. The sound has remained an equal to the visuals.
The story and characters are where this show has improved a bit. Well, I should say that the plot has done what it should have done at this point. It has thrown in some twists. The steady path that I was afraid of has been bent and we are going into fully uncharted territory, especially in comparison to the OAV series. All the characters have been given some more depth especially when they are forced to deal with the revelations about Sylia, Maki and the hard suits. Add to this the fact that Mason's agenda is more than just, "I'm evil and wicked and I'm going to rule the world!", and I think this series could turn itself into a very interesting one.
I'm sticking with my take on the acting. I love some of the actors and others are pulling me out of the scenes. Sylia's behavior is justified now that we know more about her, but I still get the feeling that her English voice actress is going a bit over the top. It just doesn't feel as natural as Lina, Nene and Maki are playing their parts. Mason's icy cool voice fits the look and feel of his character perfectly. It's a good job and while it's not as good as Trigun or Bebop, it is on par with most other dubs.
For some reason the music on this disc really popped out at me. It's an interesting combination of guitar and techno. Most of it works very well in the scenes but there are times when it over powers a scene or changed the mood too much. One scene in particular is when Sylia is getting her large microwave cannon. The music is good, but it just seems to be out of place in this scene. I will say that I'm thinking of getting the soundtrack just because the score is well done. I'm still not so partial to the songs.
The Entertainment grade went up with this disc. I did find that it wasn't passing as quickly as I had hoped though. This series is really strange. It should be grabbing me, I should be chomping at the bit to see the next one, but for some reason I'm still only mildly interested in it. I found that rewatching Evangelion, I'm always surprised when the eye catch appears. When I get to and eye catch on this series, it feels like it should have popped up just then. Maybe the next disc will do more than pass time and pull me into the story completely.
Roman J. Martel
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General Electric Performance Plus (25 Inch), Sony Playstation 2