Burst Angel Vol. #4 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Burst Angel

Burst Angel Vol. #4

By Dani Moure     July 26, 2006
Release Date: July 10, 2006

Burst Angel Vol. #4
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
Before a solution to a biologically enhanced war is found, the past must be uncovered and the fears of an angel will be realized.

The city of Osaka is under Siege!

Takane finds herself against a wall , unable to defend the lives she's sworn to protect. With Meg serving as bait, Sei finds herself on a short leash dealing with the newest gun in town.

Meanwhile, Meg and Jo are sent to stop a cold-blooded killer, but something unexpected occurs. Jo begins to suffer mind-breaking visions. Suddenly routine exercise with Leo and Jango becomes a fight for survival as a violent attack leads Jo face to face with a ghostly warrior staring her down for the duel of a lifetime.

Episodes Comprise:
13. Showdown In Osaka
14. Wild Kids
15. Slingin' Oil
16. The Man With No Name

The Review!
The ups and downs of Burst Angel continue, with this disc fairing much better than the last.

I opted to listen to a mix of both tracks for this review. The Japanese 5.1 track sounded really good when the action kicked in with the sound effects making nice use of the channels. Music and dialogue sounded crisp and clear as well, and I didn't notice any dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

The English dub, produced by FUNimation, is fairly well cast with all the girls fitting their roles quite well, although there's something about Jo's voice that bugs me a little bit (perhaps her being the focus of this disc brought that to the fore). I also love that FUNimation continue to dub songs, and dub them quite well.

Being a fairly new show from GONZO, we get a really nice anamorphic widescreen transfer for this series. I noticed no compression problems, no anti-aliasing and colours came out really vibrant and life-like. The series has quite an interesting look to it with its blend of a Western and sci-fi vibe, and it just looks really nice and helps you focus on the show itself.

Subtitles are in a nice yellow font, and are a good, clear size. Unfortunately the problem that has plagued recent Fullmetal Alchemist subtitles is here as well; full stops at the end of sentences are replaced with hyphens. It's not a deal-breaker or anything but is strange and distracting.

My only issue with this disc is that, unlike the US release, for some reason Madman (who author the discs) or MVM decided not to include alternate angles. Although this time they switched it round and we now get the Japanese opening, I find annoying that now we get no translation for the credits at all. Why can't we just have alternate angles like on Full Metal Alchemist and the US release?

No packaging was included as this was a check disc.

The menus are all static, with the main menu featuring a very cute image of Meg and Jo. On the right hand side we have the individual episode selection and the "Setup" and "Extras" options. The show's logo and volume title are just above them, with the funky opening theme playing over it. The two sub-menus are also static, with just text on the menu background. While they're definitely functional, they're also somewhat dull.

This volume we get a familiar but nice selection of extras, including the dub commentary for episode 13, which is nice to have and a far better choice of episode than the last disc (though I'd have preferred one on episode 14). We also get more radio dramas that appeared on the Japanese releases, presented here with subtitles as super-deformed images of the cast appear on screen. We get the lengthier "On Air Selection" 8, 9 and 10, with three shorter bonus tracks as well. They're a lot of fun since we don't get to see these sorts of extras often, and it's great to hear the cast having a bit of fun! We also get the textless opening and endings (both the English and Japanese versions) again.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the last disc hit an early slump and finally regained a bit of momentum in the last episode on that disc, this one has goodness sprinkled fairly evenly throughout. It's still not great, but it's more Burst Angel for everyone, which is great for fans of the show, and this time it's the enjoyable kind we've come to expect from the series.

Following on from the last episode, Detective Iriki is now known to be the man behind all the happenings with the robot on the streets of Osaka and he has kidnapped Meg (to the shock of absolutely no one) in yet another dastardly deed. Naturally, Jo isn't happy as his ploy is surprisingly good; kidnapping Meg stops her or Takane really trying anything funny, and also keeps Sei on a tight leash as she tries to negotiate for Meg. But neither of the two girls is going to let it lie for their own reasons, so while Takane gathers some old biker gang friends, Jo heads over to see about getting Django upgraded. I quite enjoyed this episode for what it is " a typical Burst Angel kind of story. There's nothing really deep or meaningful about any of it, but the two-parter is enjoyable to watch with a few nice character bits in between. Meg getting endlessly captured is extremely frustrating to watch but it's become so common now I just chuckle every time it happens.

But the next episode is probably my favourite of the series so far, as we finally get a good bit of backstory. We start following a young girl who leads a gang of younger kids around, and although we're not told her name until the very end of the episode, it's clear that it's Meg. She and the other kids come across a body washed up by the river, and one of the young girls wants to bring her back with them. But the white-haired girl isn't an angel, and although she has amnesia some rather evil people certainly know who she is and are after her, getting all the kids mixed up with it in the process. The new girl can really hold her own though, and as she goes around kicking butt she forms a friendship with Meg that will prove to last over time.

Of course, even before the end of the episode we all know it's Jo, but it's great to see the two girls back when they were younger as they formed their friendship, what they went through together and how it influenced what they did later. It really explains the close bond that has been evident between the pair since the start of the series, and illustrates why Jo is always so protective of Meg. This is just a really good episode with a well-told story, something that I don't really expect from the series.

The next episode returns the series to its more standard and mediocre style, as the four girls, along with Kyohei and Leo, take a trip to Tokyo Treasure Island, a new off-shore resort that is on a man-made island. While they're looking to enjoy some downtime without any jobs to do, they really should know better and it's not long before trouble comes knocking. An executive, who is naturally very greedy, powerful and out for his own gain (and is made out to be just as nasty as you'd expect) sabotages the opening of the island, even resorting to using what equates to a giant squid to help him. Of course, just on cue the girls are all ready to sort this out and do so with a little time to spare. It's this sort of episode that, while enjoyable, just reminds me how mediocre this show can be, and it's especially disappointing coming off the high of the last episode.

Alas, things do improve again for the final episode on this disc, which kicks off another multiple part story. This time Jo and Meg are sent to sort out a bad guy, and Meg gets captured leaving Jo to clean up behind her. Pretty standard, right? Well this time things are a bit different, as Jo starts having strange visions. She continues on anyway and after successfully sorting the guy out the girls return to base. But later, Jo struggles to control Django during training and has more visions that seem to be memories of her past that she's piecing together. She gets involved in a chase with a cybot and ends up confronting a man who barely speaks, but eventually offers some hospitality. Her new surroundings only seem to trigger more visions though, and it would appear that this place holds a key to her past.

There's not a great deal of dialogue in this episode, in fact the writers make great use of silence during the flashbacks, so that is no bad thing. This is a really intriguing story as it sets up Jo learning a bit more about her past. Having said that though, the one caveat about this episode and indeed the whole disc, is that it feels very Jo-centric. That's fine for Jo fans (and I am one of them!), but there's not really a great deal of balance going on between giving all the girls screen time, as Sei and Amy especially tend to get pushed aside more often than not. Perhaps if the writers tried to incorporate them a bit more it would stop some of the stories feeling like they've been done before.

In Summary:
While it's still not an amazing series or anything close, this disc does house one of the best episodes of Burst Angel so far. With three enjoyable episodes and one that is a bit hit or miss, this volume also stands up much better than the last and is probably one of the best so far. The stories aren't spectacular and nothing about the series will blow you away, but it is enjoyable with some good characters, so while I struggle to recommend the series as a whole, if you like what you've seen of it before there's a lot of enjoyment to be had from this volume.

Japanese Language (5.1),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Commentary with the English Voice Actors for Showdown in Osaka,Radio Dramas,Textless Songs

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.


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