Angel Links Vol. #4 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, October 02, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, October 02, 2001



What They Say
Meifon is tormented by the memories she has been having and by the realization of her true destination.

In an attempt to escape from reality, she disbands the Angel Links and the Links Group and relocates to a small village on a remote planet. But the past cannot be escaped, and it comes looking for her. So, however, do her friends and comrades.

But when Yayoi suddenly falls ill, Meifon is forced into a final confrontation with the evil pirate Goryu. The battle is hard and only one of them will survive.

The Review!
The final three episodes on this disc bring the Angel Links series to a solid conclusion. All said and done, this was a really fun series for me as it brought back a lot of nostalgia to my old Star Frontiers campaigns as well as being just a generally fun little show to watch.

Audio:
For the purpose of our review, we listened to this in its original language of Japanese. The series continues its typical TV audio stylings, with the majority of dialogue coming through the center channel and a few ambient effects in the left/right. The music makes the most use of the soundstage and the ending song continues to be our favorite piece so far in this series. A solid audio presentation overall.

Video:
Things are pretty much on par with what's come before. The opening sequence is the strongest area for cross coloration, though it does show up in a number of sequences in the show itself this time, notably during some of the tighter linework along the white sections of the starships. A slight bit on some characters, but pretty negligible there. Colors are good and the fleshtones look great. It doesn't look as if anything was outsourced on the animation side of things for these episodes, so those problems are gone with this disc as well.

Packaging:
One thing is for sure, Angel Links had some of the most gorgeous covers of this past year. This volume is no exception with a really detailed piece of Leon Lau and Meifon in embrace and on the edge of kissing. There's just so much detail on it, it's beautiful with all the colors. The back covers layout is the same as previous volumes, listing episode and episode numbers as well as numerous animation shots. The summary is decent and the listing of features and extras is nice and straightforward. The insert folds out to provide a character summary on Kosei as well as some artwork.

Menus:
The menu system is pretty much the same as past volumes, with episode selections on one side and setup options on the other while some animation play through a center sphere. The menus are nice and fast with good access times between them and moving around in the submenus is pretty straightforward.

Extras:
We've only got one extra this time around, but it's a pretty neat one. Clocking in just over six minutes, it's an video segment that shows the conceptual artwork for the various ships done as if Meifon was showing them off to the viewer, with her thoughts on them as they go along. It's also got some actual animation spliced into it showing the final product. Very cute and an interesting way of presenting it.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the disastrous revelations of the last episode, Meifon's simply devastated. She's completely unsure of everything and takes it out on anyone who gets around her. After demolishing her monitors, she starts dismantling and dissolving the Links Group. Her being the tool that she is brings her to the mindset that she can't lead and she apparently has only the one goal, that of killing Goryu.

This doesn't go over well with everyone, but there's little dispute as things start closing down. Kosei takes Meifon away while everyone goes about their business of transferring clients to other security firms and closing up shop. Duuz doesn't exactly take things with a grain of salt though, and goes out and does some investigating. He relays some surprising information to Kosei, about the past of Meifon's grandfather and Goryu. The revelations of just how close the two were in their pirate days is surprising and how their relationship soured proved interesting.

In the end, Goryu simply wants revenge on Meifon's family. He's actually had it unknowingly, but now that he knows what kind of abilities Meifon has, he intends to use her as the best product to offer in his arms merchant catalog. With Kosei now hiding her out in plain view in some remote village, he tries to give her the normal life that she seems to claim that she wants to have. She wants nothing to do with the Links Group or its mission, she simply wants to live out her days.

This won't happen though, as Goryu has plotted by sending a diseased young girl to her as well as the knowledge that Meifon was only given another month of life by her creator. She suddenly realizes what she's been playing at is not her, and she must get back to what needs to be done, no matter the cost.

Angel Links isn't a series that everyone is going to get into. I can fully see how many will find it to be repetitive and simply generic. But after finishing Outlaw Star and having a fond affection for just this type of show from my role playing past, this series was just a lot of fun to watch. Great opening and ending sequences and music, solid acting and animation for the most part and a show that doesn't take itself too seriously, it had me going from the start. For those that enjoy it, this final disc does a good job of bringing things to a conclusion. Recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Secrets of Angel Links

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Angel Links