Eden's Bowy Vol. #4 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, October 11, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, October 07, 2003

What They Say
After everything the old warrior has done, the Princess of Foresight has been snatched back into the hands of Yulgaha. Will Yorn and the rest of our heroes give up? No way! When the going gets tough, the tough pack their bags for Yulgaha! But dangers await Yorn and his companions-they fall off Yulgaha and go crashing to the earth below and then are captured and dragged off to the Yanuess-controlled city of Chanaccare.

Will Goldoh and Vilogg find their precious cargo in the maze-like forest of Yaokeshipu-or will they strangle each other first? What angelic tragedy transformed Spike into the angry God Hunter we see today? And who is the mysterious Parella, and where do her loyalties lie?

The Review!
Moving past the halfway mark of the series, the show takes a few odd turns before returning to the main plot.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Done up in a simple but effective stereo mix, Eden’s Bowy provides a nice bit of range across the forward soundstage with a few good moments of directionality, but otherwise a solid stereo mix. Dialogue was nice and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.

Originally broadcast back in 1999, Eden’s Bowy is a nice looking production that avoids much in the way of detail and goes for a simple look. The transfer looks good, though somewhat soft in a number of areas, causing some of it to look grainy. There’s some CG throughout it, and these areas tend to stand out not only because they’re CG, but because there’s a bit of cross coloration showing up in a lot of it. Aliasing is fairly minimal, but does show up in a few areas.

The front goes for a bit more sex appeal with a skin shot of Parella holding her pet and wearing something very skimpy. With the logo going sideways down the right side, the cover wraps all the way all the way around with a faded background image of a map of the world. The back cover has a good summary of the shows premise and a decent listing of the discs technical specs, which are done sideways as well. The insert has a foldout mini poster of Elisiss surrounded by a variety of other characters in super deformed form while the reverse side has some information on various characters in the show.

The menu changes a bit here to something simple, using the same music but not having the static image that’s used from the mini poster of Elisiss. The episodes are all listed for quick access while everything else is nicely tucked away and easy to get to. Access times are nice and fast and the menus load quickly with no transitional animations.

The extras here are a bit on the short side, with only the opening and closing segments provided in their textless form as well as a trailer for the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the previous volume basically ending with Yorn falling out of the floating city, we get the obvious lack of continuation here on this plot until the third episode on the disc. Before we get to that, we have a number of other characters to visit and plots to move forward. Our main cast doesn’t even make a real appearance for the first two episodes.

With Eden’s Bowy, there’s almost always a subcurrent of comedy running through the plot. Of course, it’s up to the viewer whether the comedy is funny or not. I’ve not found much of Eden’s Bowy’s humor all that engaging outside of a slight chuckle or two. So when we get an entire episode that revolves around Goldo and Vilogg, I figured I was in for a bad episode. Surprisingly, their humor worked a bit better this time around as they were given more screen time and weren’t as rushed.

With Nyako in their company, they’re off to Rubeet! When they arrive, Nyako continually asks for assurance that they’re actually at Rubeet. With both of them constantly agreeing, we pan back to see a city that’s anything but Rubeet in its look. And the big sign that says, “Welcome to Chananaccre” is right next to them. Nyako’s distaste for her master swordsmen shows through, but they end up going into the city anyway, as Nyako is curious to check out the place where much of their technology is worked on. Nyako gets a pleasant welcome there, but she ends up not being the real focus.

After something of a dispute with her two swordsmen, they decide to compete to see who is the better at directions. With a missing CPU chip in a nearby forest, they lay the challenge that whoever finds it and returns it first is the better of the two. Goldo and Vilogg comedy ensues as they race all over the place trying to find it. Their attempts lead them to various places and comical looks from those they pass repeatedly, but the end result is a setup for episode 17 that places them just under the floating city that Yorn is falling from.

Episode 16 goes in a similar direction by providing a standalone tale, this time with the wounded Spike. With Elsiss’ sister watching over him and letting him know just how close she is to killing him, Spike tells her his tale of woe. We see him a few years prior when he was living at home and working on his swords that he’d sell in town. One day he comes across a beautiful woman who takes up with him and he suddenly finds himself with her living with him. The two get along quite well, but Spike finds himself drawn to making the perfect sword while visions of being a God Hunter continue to play in his head.

His tale turns tragic as he mixes the positive moments of their relationship with the tragic ones. Spike definitely needed some fleshing out and this episode did wonders for him, turning him from the cardboard “insert opponent here” that he was before into someone who has some sort of history to him now that will provide some angst when he confronts Yorn again.

When the series picks up the pace of the overall storyline again in episode 17 by bringing Yorn and friends back into the picture, things get more outright comical with super deformed moments and the like. Vilogg and Goldo manage to capture the trio easily, after all, they just fell from the sky. Taking them back to Chananaccre, Nyako is shocked that they actually managed to accomplish their goal and find their way back (hint: the old man helped with the directions). Nyako lays out some of the plans she has for them, but otherwise lets the two swordsmen play with the old man for a bit with some improvised bungee jumping.

Yorn’s luck continues to hold out though when Parella finds herself chafing against what Nyako is doing. She pulls of an amusing rescue sequence when she takes her flying mecha right into Nyako’s temporary office. The escape is quite a bit of fun, particularly when Nyako tries to motivate some of the citizens to help find out who owns that flying mecha. The plot definitely starts going along again here though as we get Yorn back into action and he meets with more people and advances forward again.

One thing I found particularly interesting with this release on a technical level is that with the last two episodes here, the ending sequence has changed. But with what’s there, apparently no textless version was provided for it. What ADV ended up doing is what I wish every studio would do for all their releases. The ending is left with the Japanese text and plays out. It then goes to the next episode preview. And then on a black screen it scrolls the credits for THAT episode. And each of those three items is their own chapter, so you can skip easily or read exactly what you want. I want to know the credits for each episode and not a huge master list. But I also want the original Japanese credits. And this is how I wish they were all done.

From a story point of view, the episodes here were slightly more amusing than the past episodes but not by much. While I enjoyed the standalone stories, I felt like things were dragging and a bit more chaotic when Yorn and crew got back into the show. It’s not a terribly good sign when you almost dread their return to the show and find the minor characters much more interesting.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 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: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Eden's Bowy