Cybuster Vol. #4 (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2005
What They Say
Ryuzo's hard work has finally paid off. His reports on the mysterious death of Dr. Frank and the DC's involvement in the series of explosions result in international sanctions against the DC. Now that Shu no longer needs to conceal the true identity of his evil organization, he launches full-scale military campaigns against Ken's rebel group. Granzon, the monstrous transforming robot equipped with the secret lethal weapon, the Micro Black Hole Cannon, is dispatched to Ken's hideout. Can Cybuster save a group of youths with no combat experience from trained killers with super weapons!?
All promise from the first couple of episodes is now completely gone as the series tries to build up drama and tension but fails across the board.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The show has a pretty good stereo mix to it with some well noticed directionality across the forward soundstage, more often found during battle sequences than dialogue, but still present in a number of forms. The music track sounds good in general and uses the stereo channels well to provide a good warm sound. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing back in 1999, Cybuster is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Being from 1999, it looks and feels like it was done with the more traditional animation methods and there's a definitely feel to it that's not found in most newer shows these days that's appealing. The series plays with real-world style color palettes so there aren't too many really vibrant areas but a few do shine through during it. Cross coloration is pretty much non-existent but there's some noticeable aliasing in places, usually during really busy action scenes, that will distract some folks. The colors look good in general and maintain a solid feel, particularly the large solid areas.
Highlighting a blue robot of all things, the watery background and its color give indication of something new here and it sets the sickly Sayuri in the foreground as even more foreshadowing of what may be in this volume. The back cover provides a few shots from the show around the summary and the listing of episode numbers and titles. The discs features are clearly listed just above the small-type production information. The insert has the same artwork from the back on one side with the episode numbers and titles just above the chapter listings while the reverse side lists the upcoming release months for the next five volumes of the series.
The latest Nightjar menu is one of their more average design ones but it fits well with the show by using a variety of technological symbols and designs integrated with clips from the show and a really pumped up version of the opening song playing along with it. The layout is quick and simple to navigate with fast loading times. The disc also properly read our players language presets and played them accordingly.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the series moves closer and closer towards the ending, now that it's full in the second half, it's proving that there wasn't that much thought really put into it because everything seems to be in one large slow stalemate. It takes a couple of episodes to deal with what could be done in half of one in a way and it just feels like it's dragging on and on. There are a few decent moments here and there, but when combined with the artwork, the pacing and the way the story is playing out it's something you just want to be done and over with.
One of the things that seems to continue to be a problem for the group is the whole issue of trust. Lyune is big on her not trusting anyone at all to even touch her Balcione so she snaps when anyone is close to it, never mind actually sitting in the pilots seat as someone does here. She gets her trust issues thrown back in her face though from when she ran off to DC to do some infiltration work previously to gain intelligence but since she didn't tell anyone they had no idea what to expect, but that they still trusted her to do the right thing and welcomed her back. A lot of these trust issues lead into one of the big sections to this volume that deals with the instructor, Isazaki.
His time in DC is going rather horrendously and he's still trying to do things as he always has, which means teach and train. Unfortunately he's stuck with the people at DC that are far better warriors than he is and have their own training regime so they just mock and make fun of him. His ability to handle the students continues to be lessened and his overall sense of value is dwindling. So he takes it upon himself to grab a chopper and head out to the Sea of Trees and find out where the Cybuster is hiding and where everyone else is. This leads him directly into their base since he has an accident and Ken and the others are too good to let anyone suffer. This lets him find out everything about the place that he can and potentially provide a huge coup for Shu and others back at DC.
But it's all about a matter of trust. This plays out across a couple of episodes and various parts of it affect different characters. It's mildly interesting to see that some of those that fight under Shu aren't enamored with his back door methods of doing things and claim he's lost his sense of warrior pride among other things. The people at DC that remain that were originally there for its cause of repairing things are finding themselves continually pushed out and Isazaki becomes important to them to some extent, and this plays up his trust issues some more. There's also the beginning of something new where Sayuri gets into the picture by getting out of the sick bed and stepping into Jaifer where she finds that its presence has reduced her asthma problems. Going by what's on the cover, it's fairly easy to deduce where that's going, which is unfortunate since it could have been something of a surprise otherwise.
Every volume, I still remember back to the first episode and some of what I thought the show was going to be like and in a way I'm still wondering how it got to this point. Things play out so slowly here and the story doesn't actually seem to be going anywhere that you end up watching the countdown clock more than the show itself. As much as has happened and the way the bad guys keep talking about taking over the world, their progress is simply invisible for the most part and they just seem to spend their time working out. Combine that with the increasingly worsening animation and awful character designs and this is one that you don't even want to check out in the bargain bin.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: D
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2