Infinite Ryvius Vol. #2 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, November 18, 2003



What They Say
2225AD, an act of sabotage has destroyed the Liebe Delta Astronaut Training Center and has stranded 487 teenage cadets aboard the ship, Ryvius. Tension begins to mount as the balance of power begins to shift among the cadets onboard. While plans for a coup are being discussed by Airs Blue and his group, discovery of the control unit for the Vital Guarder is discovered and several top cadets, including Yuki Aiba and Ikumi Oze are ordered to train to use it. Soon attacks upon the ship prompts the launch of the Guarder into battle. Contact is soon lost with the vehicle and speculation of Yuki and Ikumi desertion of the Ryvius spreads across the ship.

The Review!
The second set of five episodes brings more tension aboard the ship as Airs Blue makes his move while the mysterious forces after them raise the stakes.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The series was done in Pro-Logic with the bulk of the dialogue coming through the center channel. The music fills the stereo channels nicely giving it a much fuller feel. Through regular playback, we had no issues with dropouts or distortions on either language track.

Video:
Originally airing back in 1999, Infinite Ryvius comes across looking quite good here for the most part but not without a few issues. The bulk of the problems come in the form of the cross coloration issue, which features prominently during the second closing sequence. Since that’s colored manga style artwork, it’s almost alive with the shifting rainbows. This also shows up throughout the episodes at various times but not consistently. Colors look good throughout without any bleeding. Mid range shots look a bit soft and lacking in detail for the characters. There’s also a slight feel of film grain throughout the print as well.

Packaging:
Part of Bandai’s Platinum Edition series, the first thing you’ll see is the thin strip along the top that indicates that status. Continuing the style of the first volume with the black background with white line artwork of various elements from the show, it’s overlaid by a full color shot of Aoi giving a wave and a nice smile. The back cover provides a couple of shots from the show and a summary of the way the universe works at this time and a bit of the opening plot. The discs episodes and titles are clearly listed (the spine indicates the volume number too) and the discs basic technical specs and extras are easy to find as well. The insert has another shot of the front cover but with less “clutter” that opens up to two panels that provide some conceptual artwork shots of various locations. The back of the insert is the standard production credits and bilingual cast listings. Included in our copy was a single pencilboard that has the shot of Aoi from the cover on it.

Menu:
The menus are nicely done in that they use various pieces from the show such as the monitors and the green theme technical shots to provide animation to go along with the music. Selections are nicely laid out and easy to access, though submenus take a bit to load, as there are some transitional animations to go through.

Extras:
The second set of extras has some familiar pieces but mostly continuations of a theme. The opening and ending segments have their second versions here, both of which are textless. There are three subtitled commercials for the soundtracks. Another VJ mix that runs about four minutes or so has animation from the show mixed around to the music and plays with the footage a bit. There’s also another set of four episodes of Ryvius Illusion – but be careful, the fourth one has several spoilers in it!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first volume of Infinite Ryvius provided a lot of information about a substantially different world, or solar system for that matter, but didn’t fill in too many of the gaps until near the end. Even with that, much was left unsaid and with the location and situation continually changing, it wasn’t until the fifth episode before some semblance of “normality” started to filter into the show as all the kids got settled on the Ryvius. With a substantial cast with various motivations and distrusts already in place, there’s a lot to take in, but it got the show moving at a quick clip and sets up for these episodes nicely.

Much time is still spent on the cast getting to know their roles, adapting to their situation and keeping things under control. The Zwei cast try to keep a tight lid on too much information getting out to the general populace since there’s a fear that it’ll cause a panic, but they’ve got their own leak in the form of Charlie giving all the goods up to Airs Blue, via the snuggling he’s getting from the attractive sister there. One of the Zwei, Gran, puts his own plan into motion by getting a group together to try and get the Vital Guarder robot that they found earlier up and running with proper Solid’s and a crew to pilot it. With Ikumi and Yuki in the group, it’s not exactly the smoothest operation on the ship either.

But most of the Zwei’s plans end up off the table once Airs Blue has decided he’s had enough of how they’ve been acting and keeping things from everyone and stages something of a coup, effectively casting Lucson aside. Airs only failure is to not kick this boob off the bridge right away but instead suffer his whining for days on end. But Blue does luck out with a few non-Zwei that were on the bridge at the time, such as Kouji and Faina, who are both now doing their best to help out and keep the situation calm. Juli also tries to keep something of a balance, but she’s still leaning too much to the Zwei side and has some difficulty in dealing with Blue.

Blue’s takeover of the ship is interesting. Instead of really strutting about, the most he ends up doing is informing the ship of what’s happened so far and then following some of the similar policies, but not directly. With several of his group on the bridge, he’s able to take the role of captain easily, but lets the crew itself (now a mix) decide what their best options are and he then approves what he thinks is the right one. What gets to be amusing is that it’s usually Kouji with the right idea, even if it goes against the Zwei. The look the two of them have with each other is priceless, but it shows just how intelligent Blue is in that he won’t overlook a resource just because it isn’t specifically his.

The takeover is actually timed rather well, as the ships that have been chasing them decided to wait in orbit around Mars once they find that a Geduld wave is pushing the Ryvius towards there. While the Zwei figure that they can establish contact with them and try to make them understand that they’re in need of rescue, Blue is more prepared to take the battle to them based off of both what happened earlier and with what they learned with the adults that were on the training ship. With the Vital Guarder ready for its first real flight, he sets them to protect the ship and fend off the repeated attacks that come from what seems like it’s the Orbital Security Bureau.

Throughout the five episodes, there is a lot going on with this cast, from relationship potentials such as Ikumi and his pseudo girlfriend to Kouji’s newfound friendship with Faina that’s starting to concern Aoi. A lot of the students are still looking out for themselves, so there’s an interesting change in at least surface loyalties by some of the Zwei after Blue takes over. Some may be opportunistic; others may see that Blue is better able to handle what’s going on. All of them need to be smacked for not spacing Lucson earlier and for letting him stay around as long as he did after being “de-captained”. The rough house crowd that Blue leads also comes across better this time around, proving to be more organized than they’d actually let on before in handling a crowd.

In Summary:
There’s still something hard to really pin down with this show. A lot of what makes it interesting is that it’s very hard to predict what’s going to happen. So much is held in mystery, but it’s not so much that part that makes it difficult to discern, but just wondering what part Neya plays in all of this and what the real big picture may turn out to be. The small world that we see onboard the Ryvius is filled with plenty of stories in itself, that seeing them all play out together in the larger tapestry is both entertaining and intriguing.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Promo Clip,Commercials,Ryvius VJ Mix #2,Ryvius Illusion,Ryvius Shitajiki (Limited Item)


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 Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



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: Bandai Entertainment
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Infinite Ryvius