Geisters: Fractions of the Earth Vol. #3 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, March 10, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, January 11, 2005



What They Say
Get ready for Dean Honos, Alcion Fama, Cris Vesta, Victor Deicius, and Shai Tanna. Together they are: The Geisters. The Geisters are the ultimate fighting force with powers, abilities and weapons far beyond normal humans. They are the last best hope for mankind.

The Review!
Politics heats up in Dobias and leads to events that has Dean understanding more of the Shirou and their ways.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its Japanese language version. The series sports a rather strong stereo mix that has a good amount of directionality and some forceful oomph to the track in general. Dialogue comes across nice and clear throughout it. We spot checked both the English 5.1 track and the stereo track and noticed no real issues. The 5.1 mix appears to take the already solid stereo mix and gives it a bit more clarity and distinctness.

Video:
Originally airing in Japan during 2001, the Geisters transfer here looks very good in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show makes a lot of use of the CG animation, and it's fairly reflective of what was coming out in 2001, so the CG pieces have a lot of shading and vibrancy to them but avoid the cross coloration issue. The more traditional animation comes across very well at the same time with some very solid looking bright colors and the backgrounds maintaining a solid feel. This also avoids the cross coloration issue for the most part though there are a few minor instances spread across the five episodes. It's fairly negligible overall though. Aliasing is minimal but does existing during some of the panning sequences. The transfer in general looks pretty solid and problem free.

Packaging:
The release is packaged rather nicely all told with a cardboard slipcover. The slipcover has the close-up image of one of the Geisters in their combat uniform with the hazy orange and yellows behind it that mix in character artwork. The back of the slipcover provides a decent summary of the shows premise and provides a few shots of animation. The discs extras and features are pretty clearly listed, though it's missing one or two things like the region encoding. And it may just be me, but the DVD logo just doesn't quite look like the official DVD logo for some reason. Once you pop off the slipcover, the clear keepcase has an action pose of the same kind of Geister though the background is a bit more muted in the yellows and has different character artwork mixed into it. The back of the keepcase uses the same summary and features/extras listing but has a few different animation shots. The reverse side cover is an interesting black and white piece that takes Shai's character design and provides a close-up of it with a full color version of it in the lower right. The reverse side back cover has summaries for each of the four episodes and a shot of animation to go with it. The insert, which is a bit thicker than the normal paper ones, has a decent cast shot of the five Geisters together in their regular uniforms. The reverse side provides a biography of the Shai character with a timeline for her and some basic information.

Menu:
The menu layout uses animation from the show of one of the Geister ships moving through a tunnel that's done in all CG. This is one of the best looking pieces of CG in the show since it's not mixing with traditional animation and it just looks great as a menu. The series logo is the core of the menu selection menu down along the bottom where all the usual access points are. The menus load quickly and without transitional animation to slow it down.

Extras:
The extras are pretty minimal here but this doesn't look like a series with a lot of bonus material to begin with. The shows original Korean opening sequence is provided here and it really highlights the difference in storytelling styles between the two cultures in what they want to emphasize just from the opening sequence. Also included in this release is the second season opening sequence for the show though it's not used in the series proper here. Also included in this volume is a behind the scenes piece with the dub where they talk with the voice actors about the show and their characters

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the third installment of the series we get to the halfway mark of the show and a lot of this volume is really focused on setting things up for that by moving the characters around and bringing more of the future history of Earth into light from different perspectives. The Geisters as a group pretty much doesn't exist anymore as they're all being pulled in different ways and finding that their own beliefs are now driving them to the differences they have.

The politics of things is rather big in events as well though some of it is tried to be kept behind the scenes. One thing that happens is that Shai gets herself setup and accused of a crime which has here kept in the midst of the Sarakiya family tower. The Sarakiya continue to be one of the more boisterous but weak members of the noble families and their bravado during this, with the new younger leader, only goes to show that the family will be doomed if they keep on this path. His attempts at upsetting the balance of power and trying to take down the Vesta family is amusing since it goes right to the next generation of the family. With Shia taken hostage, Dean obviously won't let it stand but Cris also has reached her limits in allowing things like this to happen and uses her command of the family forces to help free her from the Sarakiya.

Rather than flee with them though, Cris returns to the Vesta compound and begins her takeover of the family and ensures that it's smooth and legitimate, even though her father can't believe what's happening as he loses his position. This leads into a lot of other areas of political manner across the episodes and everything seems to touch even a little bit on Evolution X so it's not surprising that Cris will now have a greater access and more information than ever before. This is barely touched upon here but with the way the families go it's only a matter of time.

What is more interesting with this volume is following Dean and Shia as they escape from the Sarakiya tower and head out of the country. They end up on a crash course that ends up saving them more than anything else but it puts them firmly in Shirou territory. Dean ends up being introduced to people he's fought against before in a much calmer manner but he also gets to meet the leader of the families of the Shirou and is surprised at just how different the reality of the land is compared to what they're all brought up to believe. What fascinates him even more is that during a celebration dinner he gets to attend, the history of the Earth from the time of the asteroid hitting to the present is done and he sees things through another perspective and it's vastly different from what he's grown up with as well, which continues to push him to question everything he believes in.

These episodes are pretty straightforward in setting up how the second half of the series will play out and it is fairly predictable. The entire sequence with the history being played out via dance was well done and a nice creative way of doing it and doing it in length as opposed to a quick piece. There are a lot of things going on with the fairly sizeable cast now and with the delays between volumes it's difficult to keep up with who is who and doing what with whom, but once it starts moving along there's often enough information given to figure it out along the way, plus the mini recaps here and there that help. It's not a complex show but it does dabble in numerous areas.

In Summary:
Geisters is pretty much continuing on what it started before and has moved to the point where the group as a whole doesn't exist anymore and is working through the motions of putting all the characters where they need to be so that they can all go forward as the next generation that will change how the world works. I like a lot of the concepts of the new world and how it works after the way it all ended before but the execution continues to be mediocre to below average at times. The series feels like it should have more to it and there's the potential but it just didn't have the right creative people or the budget to really do it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Korean Opening,Second Season Opening,Art Gallery,Dub Outtakes

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: C+
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: Anime Crash
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Geisters: Fractions of the Earth