Melty Lancer Vol. #2: Omega (of 2) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, February 28, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, April 08, 2003



What They Say
Melvina, having been stripped of command, continues to work independently to unravel the mystery of Iyonesco. Meanwhile, Sylvie tries to cope with the stresses of command, and the others fight to maintain their sanity in their sub-par headquarters with their new less-than-exciting duties. The final countdown starts when the terrorist group DEFIANT and the shadowy Iyonesco make their move. Can the Meltylancer team stop bickering long enough to work together and save the world?

The Review!
After a disappointing first volume, things picked up a bit better in the final three episodes, but I still get that feeling that it all would make more sense if I had played the game.

Audio:
Since we’re not keen on dubs, we watched this one in Japanese first on our main setup. The show has a decent stereo mix which the music is the only area that really takes advantage of it. From the sound in the menus to the audio throughout the program, it’s a solid mix. Dialogue was nice and clear and we didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions. We did listen to the dub while writing the review and found no issues there either.

Video:
Originally released back in 1999, the show was a real stunner then with its high quality OVA animation. It really shines through here in this transfer, which is the main highlight of the disc. Colors are gorgeous, aliasing is non-existent and cross coloration shows up only briefly in one or two scenes. Even when they play some camera tricks of doing a lot of shaking for the storyline, the image is wonderfully vivid and sharp. As with most recent Bandai offerings, the opening and ending credits for each episode are untouched and the credits play following the final episode in translated form against a black background.

Packaging:
Bandai continues with the use of the foil cover, which means that the front cover is very shiny as the all-female crew has lots of bright colors on them that manipulate it well, especially with as much dark as there is surrounding them. The back cover provides a number of small screenshots of the show and a good couple of paragraphs of story summary. The extras are clearly listed (and accurate) and there’s the usual listings of basic production and technical credits. Surprisingly, the insert uses the foil paper as well and has a different image of the girls on the front. It opens to talk about three of the characters, while the back cover has the full production credits list as well as complete bilingual actor lists.

Menu:
The menu setup here is really nice and eye-catching, even with it playing a lot of animation form the show in the background. The layout is done up in a similar style to the computer screens in the show with a section devoted to part of the show playing while a portion of the opening song plays. Submenus are nice and quick to load even with the minor animated transition screens and access times are nice and fast.

Extras:
Rounding out the extras for the final volume, we get another segment of the glossary of terms from the show and several pages of the Mechanics Manual that has design work from the show and explanations of the what and how of each particular piece in English.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the way we felt from the first volume, we figured there wasn’t much more room for it to go down and hopefully just room for it to go up. While it didn’t go down, it only barely edged up, but still left us feeling hollow in the end.

After the end of the first volume, things in general aren’t looking good for the group. With the near ruin of the group, Aide finds himself going to the bottle and complaining to nobody around him about what’s going on. This sets him up easily for becoming a member of a religious cult, one that a couple of the girls are attempting to infiltrate. The cult has been acquiring a lot of young people to lead them to a new life of sorts, and eventually sets them all aboard an orbiting space platform/station. Aide ends up becoming one of the cultists himself and falls very easily into being in power, much to the surprise of the couple of Lancers who recognize him.

The cult is naturally a ruse that’s being set up by Iyonesco for their larger purpose. With such a large amount of vibrant energy in human form, they use them and their magical science to create something of a localized black hole after exploding the platform. This sets off a series of events that Collins, the mysterious leader of the group, had anticipated. A quick word from him and super-science is used as the Lancer team from all over the local system find themselves teleported together to a secure location. They’ve become the first people to every teleport.

From here, the entire larger plot of Collins and those funding and manipulating him starts to be revealed as they go against what the real Iyonesco threat is. With the series being so short, there’s nowhere near enough time to properly set up the background and cast of characters that suddenly get introduced that it all feels very forced. With the speed at which it rushes through, as the team ends up mostly together but still telling separate tales, and having so many personalities dealing with their own internal issues, it all gets very messy and there’s pretty much not enough time for each of the subplots.

While I really liked the character designs and some of the world design, there’s just so many gaps in properly filling things in here in addition to the overly rushed pacing of so many subplots that it doesn’t balance out well at all. This may go over better with those who’ve played the game or have some more knowledge of it than I do. To me, it’s a shiny package with no soul though.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Glossary,Mechanical Manual

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: D+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Melty Lancer