Burn-Up Scramble Vol. #2 - 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: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Burn-Up Scramble

Burn-Up Scramble Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     February 09, 2005
Release Date: January 18, 2005


Burn-Up Scramble Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Lilica is beginning to learn to control her powers, though there are many bungling mishaps! Then Maya finds her long-last master . . . but will fate tear them apart? The lovely ladies are then required to dress up in stewardess uniforms to guard a princess – and oh, what an adventure they have! Finally, will robots from outer space take over the planet, or will the Warriors prevail?

The Review!
Keeping to its episodic nature and not going with a story that spans the entire series, Burn-Up Scramble provides a mixed bag of episodes.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series has a pretty active stereo mix that's based around the action sounds and some of the dialogue, making good use of various situations to provide a nice flow. This was more noticeable when we listened to it on our smaller set than our main theater though. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with either language track for dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally airing back in January of 2004, the latest AIC is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for the show looks fairly decent but it looks like some of the source materials were done a bit on the cheap side using some of the digital animation techniques. A lot of the show, especially interiors, look very soft throughout all four episodes. With the style of digital painting used, there are a lot of areas where the color gradations are very visible. It's definitely a source/intentional thing in that regard, but some of it becomes more difficult to author; the Supreme Court has a few moments in each episode where the man in charge has some gray case in front of him and you can see a lot of blocking going on in it instead of a smooth single color. Cross coloration itself is very hard to find as is the aliasing and a lot of the show does look good, but it almost looks like AIC was trying to find a way of doing things differently and it led to something less than a clean clear set of source materials.

Packaging:
A good looking cover overall, the main focus of it is with Rio in her police uniform set against a couple of buildings and a dark blue sky in the background. It's not until you really look at it, maybe a couple of times even, that you realize below her you've got Lilica and Maya wearing some kind of tight spandex UFO costume that comes from the fourth episode. The back cover provides a good looking illustration shot of the trio in casual spring clothes and a number of small screenshots. The shows summary gives the basics while also listing the episode numbers, titles and the features on the disc. The bottom portion of the cover continues to look a bit too messy for my tastes and difficult to find all the relevant information. As other companies continue to adopt the technical grid, I hope Geneon joins up in this as well. The insert has a simple shadow of Maya set against the chapter listings while the reverse side has a shot of the trio, very softly done, in their bathing suits. Geneon's also made this a reversible cover, with the reverse side having the third Japanese DVD cover artwork which looks really nice in its larger size.

Menu:
With a bit of animation playing before it settles into the menu proper, the end result is a very active looking menu where you've got the three leads standing in action poses in front of the police building while "live" flames play around it and set to an action instrumental piece of music. It's a very busy looking menu and one that works pretty well though I didn't care much for the pre-load animation since it just delays things. Navigation is quick and easy to use and the layout intuitive. The disc also read our players preset languages and played correctly.

Extras:
A couple of new extras appear on this volume. In addition to the line art gallery, there's a promotional trailer that was used to advertise the show prior to its original air date. Also included and running just over six minutes is the first of presumably two voice actor interview pieces which tackles the three main voice actresses of the series and has them talk about the show, their performances and their characters.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the first volume of this series showing that the series was being rebooted for this incarnation and then spending its time getting you adjusted to the changes, some of which were minor like Rio, who is now more standard anime beauty than the slightly off looking older version, and some of the major changes like Lilica being completely psychically powered and kept under lock and key for most of her life, resulting in a very childlike character. The basic concept of the series is still the same though in tying together action scenes with lots of fanservice but like we saw in the first volume, they're able to do it but not recapture most of the charm of the original series.

With the four episodes on this volume that carries us through the center portion of the series, we get a bit more background on one of the characters but otherwise we get four stand alone pieces that go to have fun with what they have to work with. The opening episode does a good job of trying to get the three girls to become more of a team, but it's not something I really expect to see in this series since it isn't one of the driving forces here. With Lilica being kept under watch for much of her life, she hasn't gotten out into the world to see how things really are more than a few times. The commander decides that she needs to get some real world experience so she assigns Maya and Rio to escort her around the town for a day to wherever she wants to go and whatever she wants to do.

The childlike nature of Lilica really comes through here as she's fascinated by the simplest of things and easily taken advantage of. Of course, Maya takes easy advantage of Rio and splits on her before she realizes she's been left along to watch Lilica. And Lilica in the city is a dangerous thing as she's quickly hit upon by the usual kinds of Japanese city perverts that anime has taught us exist on every corner, from the seduce them for money types to the amateur video star audition scam. This is all stretched into a running gag about a trio of crooks who stick-up convenience stores and are continually botched by Rio during them. This gets taken to a few different areas and is mildly amusing but where the laughter lays is when Lilica gets drunk for the first time and ends up walking around town wearing nothing but an apron. The fanservice level isn't even attempting to be coy here but just outright blunt.

The one episode that really had me laughing and enjoying it quite a bit was the second one here which has the trio getting together after something of a break and Maya starts to relate the tale of her trip to her home in Hokkaido. The way it's told is where it gets interesting and amusing as it comes through the filter of Lilica's mind where, according to her manga and videos, Hokkaido has a real wild west feel to it. So while Maya relates a normal story of going back to real-world Hokkaido, the visuals are an amusing mixture of sometimes reality but more often than not a cowboy skewed world with six-shooters, ten gallon hats and more. Rio's frustration with Lilica's interpretation eventually gives in though and as it gets rolling it's quite amusing, especially since it doesn't stick to just one particular bit of the wild west idea. The story itself does a good job of letting us know why Maya is the way she is with guns and it gives her a bit more depth but since it doesn't change much in the present tense it does only so much good.

The remaining episodes were a mixed bag. One of them has the trio escorting someone of royalty from her trip to Japan where she's seeking some help as her country is in the midst of a civil war. Secrecy being the key, she goes undercover as a stewardess on the return trip with Rio partnering with her while the other two handle other areas of it. Of course, someone on board the plane knows about who she is and there's a plan to kill her and it follows some of the usual gags and action associated with it. Strangely, there's a real disconnect between the languages; in the subtitles she's listed as the Queen of her country but in the dub she's a Princess. This is presumably due to her being very young(looking) but it's an unnecessary change really. People are quite familiar with young kings and queens but I'm guessing that they mention a living King to complement her. And we all know that things like that only happens in Europe.

And honestly, the less said about the fourth episode with the UFO and everything else associated with it, the better off we all are.

In Summary:
While some of the material is fun, some of it is just pretty bland which accounts for the mixed bag feeling with it. Some of the fanservice is decently done but a lot of it is just so overt that it's not all that interesting or fun to watch since you know it's coming. The art of real fanservice just doesn't seem to exist for a lot of shows anymore as everything becomes much more up front. Burn-Up Scramble is a fairly average series for one that does the babes with guns genre as there's nothing really new brought to the table here other than the main dishes everyone likes but not something that ties it all together just right. There's good moments to be had but not quite enough to carry it across the entire release.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Gallery,Voice Actors Interview Part 1,Promotional Trailer

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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