Dangaizer 3 Vol. #2 (of 2) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, November 07, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, January 21, 2003



What They Say
Hina Mitsurugi never imagined her life would end up like her favorite battle game! Even after piloting the monolithic robot Dangaizer, Hina can’t seem to remember what her true purpose is or why Goma is trying to kill her. While Reika and Cindy struggle to restore her broken memories, Goma is targeting Neo Hong Kong for the next stage in their diabolical plans of destruction. When the three pilots knowingly rush headlong into a trap, the stakes have been raised! There’s a new player in the game - Eileen, the Angel of Destruction! Her close resemblance to Hina could contain the answers to her mysterious memory lapse. But why is she so determined to destroy Dangaizer?

It’s an all out battle to Armageddon that no one may be able to stop!

The Review!
Considering my past tastes and feelings about shows like this, I should be hating every moment of it. Yet I find myself oddly attracted to it, to the point where I’ve actually watched it multiple times, something that I rarely have the time to do anymore.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The series features a pretty standard stereo mix with some good moments of directionality across the forward soundstage. Dialogue is crisp and clear and the music sounds particularly good. We listened to this disc fully in English as well and had no issues with it.

Video:
Released in 1999, these episodes are some very high quality OVA pieces of work. The transfer here brings the quality through quite well, with only a few extremely minor things bothering me, such as a bit of tiny edge cross coloration during the ending sequence (which is drawn images by Obari). This is just so minor though that it barely even registers unless you’re looking for it. Otherwise, colors are vivid and richly layered, blacks are nice and solid and overall things look excellent.

Packaging:
The cover this time around has a nice blue theme with Reika in her Soul Gear being the prominent image while the Dangaizer is behind her, also set against blue. The artwork is nicely detailed here, almost looking close to manga style. The back cover is nicely done with a couple of paragraphs about the show and a clear listing of the discs features and basic production information. The discs features and basic production information is also clearly listed. Since this is a review copy, no insert is included. The package is a clear keepcase, but the reverse side is just white.

Menu:
The main menu has most of the features right on it, keeping things a slight bit crowded but quick to access. There’s a good static animation collage of various characters from the show with the opening song playing to it. Language selection is available on the main page, though just for audio. If you select Japanese, you’ll get subtitles, but if you want subtitles with the English track (such as I do for second viewings), you have to set that on the fly.

Extras:
There’s a couple of extras here, with the really useful one being several pages of background information that’ll give some very helpful clues into why things are they way they are here. There’s also a brief video gallery of shots from the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Dangaizer 3 OVA series completes with this second volume, but I’ll say it flat out right now; there’s no real ending. This is cliffhanger anime at its best or worst, depending on how you look at it.

But the trip continues to be one that I’m enjoying immensely. With these two episodes, we start to learn more about the Dangaizer itself, as Cindy and Reika have taken Hina to the island where the Dangaizer resides in the rocky underground. They tell her about its past and their own relationship to it, with their realization of it bringing their past lives of a sort to the foreground. Their main confusion stems from the fact that Hina simply doesn’t remember much about Dangaizer unless she’s actually inside it and doing something. Once outside, it starts to fade.

All of this is told as the trio of attractive women change into skimpy bathing suits as they head out towards the island. Massively good fanservice there.

To balance out their stories, we also get to learn more about Deene and Pixis and their relationship with the previously deceased Sapphire. The main motive of this is to continue to flesh out the enemy so that they’re not merely your generic villains, but this manages to fall short somewhat since you know they’re just going to die once the Dangaizer itself gets into the picture. Between their background revelations and the small movements by the Goma in their Neo Hong Kong base, you get the feeling that they’re not entirely evil, but have no issue doing the wrong thing to get what they want.

What does throw a monkey wrench into everything is the introduction of a new villain, the mysterious Eileen. What makes her particularly troublesome is that other than her hair color, she’s the spitting image of Hina, but with a real nasty mean streak to her. Her Soul Gear is identical as well, though all done up in black and gold. She ends up joining the battle with her Bloody Kaizam, which makes the entire situation a large scale bloody battle between the two sides.

By all accounts, I should really dislike this show. With the small amount of real information being revealed, the episodes being mostly entirely taken up with one battle to the lack of any kind of real closure, it’s things I’ve railed against in the past. But this time around, Obari manages to do it with such style in regards to the characters that I can’t help but be drawn in. It’s continual similarities to Zeorymer also ring well with me, causing me to let it play out until the very last minute without trying to second guess it. Dangaizer 3 is pure mecha and female fan service served up in a couple of high quality OVA’s. I find myself oddly fascinated with it, from the opening to the ending, but can’t really explain why. It’s a guilty pleasure.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Liner Notes

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 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: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dangaizer 3