Burn Up Excess Vol. #2 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, August 27, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2002



What They Say
When a famous pop star is being stalked, racy cop-for-hire Rio is ordered to protect her. But when the singer comes into possession of a mysterious DNA pen, they find a stalker is nothing compared to the pen's dangerous owner! Later, Maki remembers how she first came to meet the craziest cop on the Team. And when Maki takes a vacation, it's up to Team Warrior to solve a series of strange crimes on their own. But can they manage without their fearless leader?

The Review!
After the fairly fun batch of first episodes, things settle in a bit here as we get some inklings of the overall plot plus some history on the series.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show features a pretty basic stereo mix that sounds good but has a fairly limited sense of directionality, with only a few moments of the forward soundstage being used. Otherwise, it sounds good but without much depth or range. We also spot checked the English language track and the Spanish language track and noted no issues with it.

Video:
The transfer for the second volume is pretty much the same as the first, with only a few very minor places of cross coloration and aliasing. Colors are strong and solid with no noticeable bleeding, though the color scheme doesn’t give it a really vibrant sense most of the time.

Packaging:
My favorite of the Warrior girls gets the cover this time, with Maya actually in her uniform while holding some good weaponry. I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for women with green hair. Much like the first cover there’s the blinds style background as well as the Charlie’s Angel style imagery in the “X” portion of the logo. The back cover provides a number of small snapshots of the show and of the menus as well as a decent summary of what to expect. The discs features and technical features are clearly listed, but the volume/episode numbering continues to be a mess. While the lack of a volume number is normal, it’s extremely bad form to not list the episode numbers and give people an inkling of figuring out what volume they need to get. The insert provides another shot of the cover while the reverse side is just boxart adverts.

Menu:
The main menu utilizes the artwork and background from the cover in an even more vibrant color palette while the selections are listed along to the right. Moving about the menus is quick and easy and the layout is easy to figure out. Access times are fast and there’s little issue here.

Extras:
Much like the first volume, there’s a good selection of extras on here. The production sketches provide a good quantity of images with the plus of having the text translated, giving an insight to the animator’s minds. The jiggle counter gets another round here, and while they do reset everyone for this volume, they do provide the final numbers from the first volume. The clean opening and ending sequences are present again as well as the US trailer for the series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first fairly formulaic volume of Burn Up Excess, which we did admit to enjoying for what it is, a simple show that plays up the fanservice and at times feels more old-school than many other shows being released today, the second installment provides some more of the same while also showcasing one of the better episodes yet.

The formulaic parts are really bookends here, with the first volume being a rather time honored staple of the cop anime series. Rio finds herself becoming the bodyguard of a popular idol singer Anna. She’s doing several large scale concerts in the area, only to find herself the subject of a stalker. After an early encounter with Rio, she requests that she go on the case full time, much to the objections of many people. To make matters worse, Anna is in the possession of a very high-tech pen that the bad guys want to get back. So the two cases end up colliding, causing quite a bit of fun and some good action sequences. It was definitely worthwhile to see Rio go up against the evil looking woman we’ve been seeing for awhile.

The other bookend episode is a fun whodunit style comedy piece. With Maki out of the episode for the most part, off visiting a grave with a past whose consequences look like they are influencing the dark events surrounding the events of this series, Rio is essentially left in charge of things. And there’s a whole boatload of minor and major cases that come in, and she tries to get them all solved quickly so she can accrue more points that will lead to a raise, a promotion and fame. This episode does start off fairly creepy though, with a body appearing to have exploded inside a bathroom and going off into three or so other various cases. The way it’s all tied together is paper thin, but amusing nonetheless.

The central episode is probably one of my favorite ones of the series so far. It goes back in time and provides the first meeting between Rio and Maki and the subsequent events that lead to her becoming part of the Warrior team. While the characters aren’t any visibly different, it starts to show some of the motivations, particularly of Maki and the higher-ups in their going ahead with the whole concept. Rio continues to be Rio, and her prime motivation was the monetary side when she saw what she could get paid for various jobs. Of course, we know how that works out in the end. But she’s definitely happier being poor and part of Warrior than being poor and being nothing more than a coffee girl for the “real” cops in the precinct.

As a whole package, it does feel short with only three episodes, but we ended up enjoying it a bit more since I think a fourth episode would have been more fanservice than I could have handled I think. The jiggle counter continues to be amusing and fun to watch, though I think it might spark some arguments among diehard fanservice fans over what constitutes a jiggle.

And such is how fandom is.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,Spanish Language,English Subtitles,Textless opening,Textless Ending,Production Sketches,Jiggle Counter

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: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Burn-Up Excess