Vandread Vol. #4 (of 4) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, June 28, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, July 09, 2002
What They Say
The Last Stand! Halfway home, the women finally get fed up and decide to throw the men in the brig. Hibiki flees with his Vanguard and discovers a fleet of spaceships with both men and women working together in harmony! Hibiki's initial surprise is replaced by admiration, however, the Alien fleet overwhelms and annihilates them. Adrift in space, Hibiki is rescued by Rabat who takes Hibiki to the Nirvana where the women promptly throw both of them in jail. Can the women defeat the Aliens without the men, or will they be forced to depend on each other for survival? Extra! Holographic foil wrap and limited edition holographic foil trading cards with every DVD!
The final episodes of the first season of Vandread serve as a good closing of the first chapter, in that things change dramatically, there’s plenty of action and you’re left wanting more.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show features a very nice pro-logic track here with some good use of the entire soundstage. Music and sound effects regularly are thrown to the rear speakers while there's also a good amount of directionality across the forward soundstage. The rear channels aren't exactly getting a workout, but they're used much more than normal and are well done.
The transfer here is pretty much top notch. Colors are lush and vibrant and the blacks look nice and solid. Cross coloration is non-existent and I’m hard pressed to find any aliasing going on either. As an added bonus for HDTV folks who are going to want to zoom in on this, Pioneer was extra careful and made sure that the subtitles all take place inside the picture and not the widescreen bars, so you won't lose subtitles during the zoom.
The final cover here is all about Hibiki, with him getting the center shot and a very shiny yellowish gold Van type behind him taking up the rest of the space. The back cover continues the shiny foil with a number of screenshots and a decent summary of things to expect. The discs features and episodes (titles and numbers) are clearly listed as well as production information. The insert provides the Hibiki shot from the front cover against a white background alongside the discs chapter stops.
Very much in the style of the show, Nightjar provides another set of great looking and great sounding menus that are also functional and easy to navigate in the style of one of the ships control panels. Moving between the menus is a breeze and access times are nice and fast. The menus are also done in the widescreen mode to keep in line with the show itself, so zooming here results in no loss as well.
Much like past volumes, we have textless openings of the three episodes here and we also finally get a textless ending. There’s also two galleries, one of them being character cover art from the Japanese release as well as Mecha cover art, which I’m presuming was on the reversed side or possibly an insert. Both are good to have here though, as I love seeing Japanese cover art.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the first season racing towards a conclusion, two sizeable things occur.
The first is that some of the women on board the ship finally get sick of the men (after misinterpreting a few situations) and demand something be done. This in turn leads to a really bad thing for the three men on board. Paiway is the main guilty party, since she accuses Hibiki of making Dita cry, all while Dita was cutting up onions to make something special for Paiway with Hibiki helping her carry the foodstuffs out of storage. Of course, it didn’t help that earlier Hibiki stumbled into one of the women’s quarters by accident and had his nose go straight into said cute women’s panties, just below where the bear was showing.
With the women armed and protected, at least this small cabal that’s decided to take matters into their own hands, they jail them up, but not before Hibiki manages to snag his Van and heads out into space to get away from things. The other two obligingly go along with things, figuring they’ll be needed eventually in one way or another. While the women try to figure out what to do next, since their journey to Mejale is more than halfway over, Hibiki comes into contact with something new.
His race through space is stopped when he his a human fleet of mixed men and women. They’ve built a good sized fleet up to defend their homeworld against the Harvesters that we’ve started to see more of in past episodes. They’ve decided to make a stand in a defense line against the oncoming invaders. Hibiki’s not sure about this, after he’s brought on board and given a bit of help for himself and his ship, but he finds something oddly compelling about these people.
It’s from here that the threat of the Harvesters and their massive starships becomes obvious not only to Hibiki, who experiences it all first hand when he joins that fleet, but to everyone on board the women’s ship. The larger battle looms and provides some rather good fight sequences. But it’s the last minute daring plan that Hibiki’s working on that may save the day or destroy everything. It’s definitely an interesting small arc in watching the changes in Hibiki, especially with his communions with the ship, since he’s looking much older in some of the sequences.
With the first season now closed, I have to admit that it steadily became something of a guilty pleasure once I hit the third volume. The second one didn’t capture me all that well, but the third and fourth made me something of a real fan of it, to the point where I’m looking for official goods for some of the characters now. The key is to not take it seriously I think, and just treat it as a space opera of a sorts. It’s not a show of amazing depth to be sure, but it’s got a bit of bouncy fun to it. I’m looking forward to more, especially if the CG improves like I’ve heard.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Openings,Textless Ending,Character Cover Art Gallery,Mecha Cover Art Gallery
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: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2