Landlock (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, June 05, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, May 28, 2002
What They Say
Mysticism and technology unite in this great 2-part anime series featuring character designs by Masamune Shirow (Ghost in the Shell).
The land of Zer'lue is in turmoil, ravaged by the technological might of Chairman Sana'ku and his evil militaristic forces. With the fate of the world in his hands, a young man must use his mystical 'powers of the wind' to fight them or all he loves will be destroyed.
Landlock is a title that I was interested in solely for the designs being based off of some Masumune Shirow imagery. And much like most shows that are Shirow based in some way, I found the designs good but the story overly simple and just generally lacking.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Both tracks are presented in their basic stereo mixes with the English track not getting an upgrade to 5.1 sound. Each sounded decent with a little directionality across the forward soundstage but otherwise a simple stereo mix. We noticed no dropouts or distortions throughout the primary track.
The transfer here appears to be fairly decent in general, but has some of the usual issues you’ll find from earlier animation shows, particularly those taken from less than pristine masters. Outside of some aliasing during camera panning sequences, the main problem that comes up, something that will vary between setups, is the cross coloration. It’s pretty apparent throughout both OVA episodes as it’s found along edges of characters and through the hair, but also in some of the more detailed areas in the first episode or some of the mid range character shots, where the entire character seems to glimmer a bit. Particularly noticeable was during the rain sequence over the ocean, as each drop of rain was rainbow colored. Very distracting there.
Both images from the VHS released are nicely used here to give the cover a split feel for the two parts, titled Red Eye and Blue Eye, with those colors dominant in their own section and showcasing the characters important to those parts. The back cover gives a summary of the show and the usual array of credits and technical information.
The menus here are fairly lackluster, utilizing a sequence of animation from the show and just laying the selections over it. The animation used for the selections, where they highlight as you move the cursor, looks slightly worse than an amateur mouseover on a webpage since it just highlights the large text. The language selection section, usually where we’re most critical, is an odd mess of highlights. Once a selection is made, there’s no indication that it took visually, leaving you to either go back and try again or just make use of the remote when the show starts. Access times are nice and fast however and the layout is pretty standard for Manga titles.
The only extras included with this release is a brief photo gallery of shots from the show and some character bio information that helps to flesh things out a bit.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Landlock is a very confused show, at least it appears to be based on the various interpretations of names alone. Ostensibly the lead character, the young male with the Red Eye, is known as Ruda in the subtitled version. In the English dub, he’s credited as Ruda. But on the summary on the keepcase, he’s known as Lue’der. Go figure.
The story of Landlock is a basic one, and we’re given most of the story right in the opening narrative by Ruda as he describes his life up to a certain point. A point where a boy shall become a man, which is where it leaves off and shifts to the show itself and said journey of Ruda into manhood. Placing this into a pseudo fantasy setting with a floating fortress out of a science fiction movie as well as guns and jets and you get another confusing mix of what they want to be.
Ruda’s the powerless son of Moog, the leader of a group of people. His ability to control the Wind, something Ruda’s people consider to be a good thing, is something that Ruda does not have. Yet his father continues to train him in the ways of it as he will inherit the position of Master of the Wind. Even if he doesn’t have the power, he still will inherit it. But you know that something is going on with all of this, cause you can’t have a powerless hero.
Everything goes bad though when the forces of Zaroan Earth Forces arrive to destroy the Master of the Wind because that power is considered to be something that can topple their rule. This group is military style folks is led by Zaroas, a rather imposing big guy with plans to become a god. A god? You got it. You see, the lead male Ruda has one very red eye and one normal eye. Zaroas’ daughter Agahali has one very blue eye and one normal eye. Zaroas intends to take the power from both of these eyes and bodies and bring them into his own body so he can become the big man on planet.
Zaroas’ daughter Agahali is very much for her fathers plans, up until she eventually comes into contact with Ruda and begins to learn secrets that unravel her past and bring some “surprising” revelations. It’s little surprise when she and her compatriot turn sides and begin to help Ruda escape along with his childhood friend Ansa and the weird insect studying scientist that end up becoming involved in all of this. You can fairly well visualize what the plot evolves into and the “climactic” battles that follow.
Landlock isn’t a bad story per se, but it’s just so completely unoriginal that it goes beyond the been there/done that feel some other shows have. With the quality of the animation being fairly nice in the first half and then dropping in the second half, that doesn’t help it rise above its origins either. For better or worse, the two episodes are provided here as one spliced movie with the credits for everything at the end, so some people are going to feel that this is cut as well, since it’s not presented as the two OVA’s they once were.
With it running just over an hour and a half, there’s plenty of room here for the characters to expand nicely without being overly forced if it was a normal half hour ova per episode. The basis of Shirow’s designs show through here both in character designs and in some of the gunplay battles, but I don’t think that’s enough of a draw for Shirow fans to get really excited about. Landlock in the end is nice, but essentially forgettable.
English Language,Japanese Languages,English Subtitles,Character Bios,Photo 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: C
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: C
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Running time: 97
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2