Hades Project Zeorymer Vol. #2: Extinction (of 2) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, August 11, 2003
Release Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2003



What They Say
From the character designer of Silent Mobius and Detonator Orgun!

Mild-mannered Masato was genetically engineered to be the perfect pilot of the Zeorymer robot. But when he is thrust into the cockpit, a new personality emerges from Masato’s subconscious, that of the mad scientist who constructed him!

Contains:
Project 3
Masato's last battle with Aen and Tau unleashed a frightening new personality and now all wonder if they really understand the true relationship between Masato and the Zeorymer robot.

Then, when Miku is kidnapped by an equally curious Yuratei, Masato is forced to face his greatest challenge all by himself: Rose C'est La Vie of the Moon, one of the Hakkeshu's most powerful battle machines. Without Miku to help pilot the Zeorymer, Masato is an easy target for his new enemy, the mysterious Ritsu. But in the midst of this latest duel, more shocking secrets about the two Zeorymer pilots are about to be revealed...

Project 4
Masato was simply born to be the Zeorymer pilot... or was he? Now all secrets are revealed, and no one is quite sure who is behind the plot, which will either lead to world domination or absolute extinction. As Masato fights to regain his old personality, Yuratei sends the last of the Hakkeshu pilots to destroy him and Zeorymer once and for all. As both sides meet for the final showdown, the world teeters on the knife-edge of nuclear destruction, and the true face of the Hades Project is discovered at last!

The Review!
Bringing the series to a close, the second volume provides some solid giant mech action sequences with style.

Audio:
For our primary review session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. While with the original release from NuTech this was the only option, a new English dub has been commissioned for this release, which we skimmed through and had no problems with. With its age, there's not a lot to really say about the audio here other than its serviceable. Dialogue is clean, we didn't hear any crackling or other age related problems. The show does a decent job of filling the front soundstage with no real noticeable directionality.

Video:
While no side by side comparisons have been done, the transfer here seems pretty much as we remembered from the original release, though without the additional problems of burned in subtitles. The print here has the original Japanese text for the opening and ending sequences as well. There's a bit of rainbowing scattered throughout, mostly in the tightly drawn areas such as noses and occasional bruises and the like. The show is fairly dark overall, so there was a small amount of background breakup and color banding. A number of the backgrounds looked really sweet here though, with the colors showing off nicely. There's a fair amount of small nicks and scratches throughout the episodes though.

Packaging:
The front cover has the main image that was used for the VHS, laserdisc and previous DVD release, with the lead characters standing in front of the Zeorymer in battle mode. The only difference this time around is a different background color and a lot more nice logo stylings. The back cover has a nice image of some of the bad guys from these episodes as well as a decent summary of the shows premise. The features and technical information is also nice and clearly listed. The reverse cover of this clear keepcase has some more black and white artwork and lists each episodes chapters as well as bilingual voice actor credits.

Menu:
The main menu here is a very nice looking piece in tone with the new logo and looks like it belongs with a much fresher looking show. Bits of code stream in the background while animation moves along while the foreground has the selections lined up in bars next to an image of the lead character. Access times are nice and fast and the menus are easy to get around in.

Extras:
While the original release had no extras, this one fairs only slightly better with two very brief art galleries. One for basic artwork such as original covers and another for sketches.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The show picks up where the last episode left off, with Masato as Kihara tells Miku just what she is in the big scheme of things, setting her to run off crying. Amazingly, this gives the Hau Bang group the perfect opportunity to kidnap her right in her own headquarters, without anyone knowing. This is unfortunately one of the worst moments in the series as it's just wholly unbelievable.

With Rose C'est la Vie attacking now, Masato finds himself rather unable to properly defend himself against the attack, as Miku's participation in the whole mech-combat scene is apparently more important than Kihara originally let on. Oki doesn't understand why Masato's working at a 3rd of his usual power with Zeorymer, and the pilot of the Rose almost finds it to be an insult, but doesn't care as long as he can eliminate Masato.

With Miku now in the Hau Bang's hands, Yuratei has her chief technical subordinate, a man who worked with Kihara on the entire project in the past, try and determine what makes Miku so necessary for the Zeorymer to operate properly. After all, the Zeorymer wasn't built for multiple people, but for Yuratei herself to be in charge of until Kihara ran off with it 15 years ago.

Yuratei decides that while the plans are going to be changed, they'll still be going forward. Instead of turning the entire world into a wasteland in one brilliant moment, she'll devastate Japan and turn it into rubble, and then expand from there. So she sets forth the three remaining Hakkeshu onto the unsuspecting public, and the carnage ensues. The lands are ravaged, cities are brought crumbling down, and millions die.

And only Masato can save them. But his attitude is a why bother one, as he via his Kihara personality, wants to rule the underworld wasteland himself. Might as well let the Hakkeshu do all the dirty work.

After watching all of this show after the five or so years since my initial viewing, I still find this to be a real hidden treasure out there in the rough. It's got a lot of style, a cohesive and short plot, and some great mecha action. The fact that it actually tells an entire tale within four episodes is something rarely seen these days. My only real problem with it is that CPM has decided not to take the chance on dubbing it and giving it a full and proper release, letting more people take a chance with it. It's a shame, as it's something I'm sure more people would enjoy.

CPM’s re-release of this title takes care of at least one of my problems with the original, and that being the hard subtitles. Having the clean print here definitely makes for a more enjoyable show psychologically and through its presentation. While I continue to wish it had all been on one disc, at least the series was released fairly affordably and able to get a bigger audience with the newly commissioned dub. This isn’t one of those kinds of shows that has a long term impact, but it’s one of my favorite short OVA series that does mecha with style.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Sketch Gallery

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: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Central Park Media
MSRP: 19.99
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Hades Project Zeorymer