Nazca Vol. #4 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2000
Release Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2000



What They Say
The souls of ancient Inca warriors have been reincarnated in the modern world to do battle with each other. On one side is Tate, whose twisted ideal of creating a perfect world means the destruction of all humanity. On the other side is Kyoji, who must fight to save humanity by stopping Tate from unleashing the ancient power known as Iriyatesse, a power capable of destroying the entire planet. Now, with the tide of battle clearly turning towards Tate, Kyoji and his friends make one last desperate gamble to stop him from releasing Iriyatesse. But to stop Tate, somebody must be willing to make an ultimate sacrifice. The saga to Nazca comes to a dramatic conclusion in this climactic final chapter.

Contains these episodes:
Beyond Light, Towards Tomorrow!
Towards The Final Fate!
And For The Future!

The Review!
Nazca: Eternal Power brings to conclusion the twelve episode late night television series. While the first disc started out above average, the middle section deteriorated in quality. Does the finale return it to its former glory?

From the audio perspective, this is another high bitrate soundtrack and it really shows. The range of sound from the opening sequence continues to give me a thrill every time I hear it, and we do play it through with each episode. Dialogue is clean and crisp with no noticeable distortion on our system. We listened in its entirety the Japanese language track and spot checked the English side, and both sounded good. The English track will get another run sometime in the near future as we enjoyed the dub on the previous discs.

As was found out at the recent Anime Expo convention, the master material for this show wasn't the greatest that was provided. While it looks pretty decent on a VHS setup, the problems inherent with such a master are amplified with DVD. The general softness to the image from the previous releases is still apparent here in many scenes, but it's not as pronounced throughout as before. What really helps in this final volume is the apparent increase in the quality of the animation itself, almost as if a good part of the budget was saved for the final episode itself and several sections leading up to it.

The cover artwork for this disc is a step up over the past couple but still a bit below the first. Any cover that features Aquira is a good cover! Plenty of leg showing there. Always good in my book. The back cover contains a solid amount of information, both from a technical perspective as well as a content perspective. The insert artwork is duplicated from the back cover and lists the large number of chapters available for each episode. The disc itself is the typical silver etching style, nothing too flashy.

Keeping both in tone and style of the last two volumes, the menus for this disc are nearly identical if not for the different artwork used for the backgrounds. This isn't a bad thing as the menus work very well, access times are quick and selections are plainly obvious for languages and subtitles.

The extras on this disc contain the final two mini manga pieces, which are hilarious. The end of the Inca Research Empire is brought about in these two volumes.

After being mildly disappointed in the last couple of episodes for the way the story seemed to be dragging out, the final disc did a good job of keeping things pretty straightforward and bringing things to their conclusion.

A good portion of episode 10 revolved around the attempted opening of the door to Iriyatesse in the past. The battle up to the gateway had some wonderful animation and some good fights. The remainder of the episode brought the 'good' characters to a quiet place to rest and plan their attack again on Tate and his comrades.

The remaining two episodes brings the series to its conclusion with fights both in the present and then a shift to the past when the doorway is opened in the present. These episodes look like they got a good chunk of the animation budget as there are some truly gorgeously animated sequences. The final battle between Tate and Koji is wonderfully done and very fluid looking.

In retrospect, Nazca was a good series that got trapped in the problem some recent late night series have. While it has an OVA budget spread out for the longer length, it didn't have a cohesive enough of a story to really maintain that length. If it was produced as a six episode OVA series with the higher quality animation, it likely would have done better and been more cohesive. And they probably could have lost some of that really cheesy computer animation (which does make a return in the final episodes).

Nazca did something different enough than a lot of anime that's out there, and we're drawn to that. Though it had its rocky parts throughout, it's a series that we'll remember for sometime for what it tried to do, as well as for the great music used in it.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Mini Manga

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Nazca