Burn-Up Scramble Vol. #3 - 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: 16 & 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     March 16, 2005
Release Date: March 22, 2005


Burn-Up Scramble Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The Warriors are all wet when they go on assignment aboard a luxury cruiser in order to stop a Chinese Mafia leader. Then the girls are finally faced with a real challenge – one that breaks up the group! A new group is formed, but this one is TOO brutal! Rio and Maya must defeat the new members in a wild fight, just in time to save a young girl who has been taken hostage.

DVD Extras for this volume include TV commercials, Club AT-X’s Voice Actor’s Interview and a line art gallery! Character Designs by Toshiharu Murata (Blue Submarine No.6, Hellsing, Gad Guard, Get Backers, You're Under Arrest TV and OVA), directed by Hiroki Hayashi (Battle Athletes TV and OVA, Bubblegum Crisis TV and OVA, El Hazard TV and OVA, Magical Project S) and screenplay by Jukki Hanada - Screenplay (Mahoro Matic: Something More Beautiful, Popotan, Hanaukyo Maid Team).

The Review!
Tricking us into thinking there's been a plot all the while, the last four episodes provide a continuous arc of episodes with one devoted entirely just to epilogue material.

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:
In an almost amusing attempt to make the characters look hip and young, the last cover showcase the trio against a wall in street clothes as if they were going undercover in a really bad cop comedy movie. Depending on your fashion sense this piece of artwork may either make you laugh, cry or rush out to buy the same thing. The back cover provides a good looking illustration shot of the trio in swimsuits and cutoffs as well as 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 Lilica set against the chapter listings while the reverse side has a shot of the trio in their standard uniforms while the city blows up behind them. Geneon's also made this a reversible cover, with the reverse side doing the full color artwork of the illustration on the back with Rio in her Daisy Duke cutoffs.

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:
In addition to the line art gallery, there's new collection of commercials is included here. There's also the conclusion to the interview session with the voice actors that started on the previous volume.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first two volumes and eight episodes of the series, we essentially thought we were getting a show that was pretty much episodic after it got around to introducing the premise and basically having fun with a simple girls with big guns in somewhat science fiction oriented near future. The highlight being the overt fanservice and copious amounts of destruction combined together into big action sequences, it certainly has its draw to people even if it pretty much disregards much of its previous incarnations.

The show does seem to start off as normal here with a standalone episode as the trio take time aboard a cruise ship where they're supposed to apprehend a much wanted Chinese criminal who'll be coming on board to make an illicit deal of some sort. Scoping him out when he arrives, they're surprised when someone tries to take him down on their own but his school aged female assistant is so powerful that she takes them down before he can even really get involved. She's actually amusing in that she's a pill popper and fairly psychotic so it's like a wildchild in a uniform that's almost drooling over being violent. The episode is fairly predictable as a standalone piece but it's at the end where we find out that the criminal had been hired to off Rio and the others by someone very powerful, setting into motion the Big Conspiracy.

It's from here that we learn just what's been going on and it's really standard material. When the trio returns to Japan, they find themselves knee deep in a really bad mission where one of the bridges has been destroyed and a bus-jacker has several civilians under his thumb with plans to kill them if his demands aren't met. To the Warrior's surprise, the orders they're given are counterproductive to saving lives and suddenly a pair of fully covered armored women arrive on the scene and cause mass destruction and confusion; they kill the bus-jacker but all of the others are dead as well. They even go so far as to put some fear into the Warrior team but taking them down in a non-lethal but very physical way.

Suddenly Maya and Rio find themselves somewhat retired and a new pair of women show up and work with Lilica in taking out the hardcore criminal element found in the future. Their methods are much tougher, more violent and cause a lot more property damage and they treat Lilica like a slab of meat if not for her psychic usefulness. The Big Conspiracy starts to reveal the players behind the scenes that are invested in creating the next generation of Warriors as they want true super cops and have used all that they could from Rio and friends for the blueprints and are now just building upon them. Naturally, this doesn't sit well with the old team when they figure out what's going on so it's up to them to fix it all and then ensure that the future is bright for the defenseless people of the city.

Burn Up Scramble has been pretty mediocre right from the start and the ending plays up the predictable angle very hard. I was surprised that they did give an entire episode to the epilogue to try and get things back to the beginning so they can always make more – something that's sadly seemingly a requirement of any series made these days – but it wasn't at least an episode devoted completely to over the top fan service like some older series used to do. I don't mind those but this show has had more than enough of it throughout it and with the character designs being what they are it's more eye-rolling fanservice than oo-la-la material. The way this final volume plays out you can probably play in your head based on seeing it in numerous other series so it's just the attraction of the characters themselves and what they've built up in the past that will allow it to work. It's not bad, it's not great, it's just… there.

In Summary:
In its third incarnation, the Burn-Up franchise has moved further and further from its origins. Starting as a basic girls with guns OVA and then progressing in a much more fanservice oriented piece, it's culmination in this reboot isn't all that unexpected and it really plays up all the standards of the genre. Depending on how much of this kind of show you've seen in the past as well as your attachment to either of the previous two incarnations will show indicate just how much you'll enjoy this series. Having seen this done so many times now and not being terribly attached to either of the previous incarnations, I'm simply glad that it's all wrapped up.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Gallery,Voice Actors Interview Part 2,Commercial Collection

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 480p, 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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