Mars Daybreak Vol. #6 (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2006
What They Say
The crew of the Ship of Aurora has finally found the treasure that they've been searching for, but trouble has found them in a big way! Not only do they have to fend off an entire assault fleet from the Earth Forces, but they realize that they've been betrayed by one of the men they truly believed in. But a pirate's spirit is indomitable, love, hate, and plenty of action finds their way in the concluding volume of this high seas pirate saga.
It's a race to the treasure which only serves to then cause everyone far more trouble than it's worth.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The included stereo mix is a pretty standard one with a fair bit of directionality across the forward soundstage for things such as ships moving across through the water as well as various weapons. Dialogue gets a bit of directionality as well but it's otherwise a fairly standard solid mix with no real issues. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions on either language track during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Across a lot of their series, BONES has a certain look and feel to their works and it continues here with Mars Daybreak. While the level of CG interaction continues to go up in terms of meshing with the animation, the series in general has a very smooth and colorful look that's not overly vibrant but has a real life to it. Colors look great throughout and avoid blocking but there is a fair bit of gradient issues that come up with some of the CG sequences, particularly the ships. Aliasing and cross coloration are non-existent and the artwork in general has a very clean and smooth polished look to it that's well maintained. This is a good solid looking transfer overall.
The last cover for the series isn't a bad one itself and does fit for the theme of the episodes as it brings in Gram, Veste and Kuberness, all of which have some key moments as the finale plays out. With the mecha behind them and the green waves of water, it's a slightly busy cover but it sets a serious tone for things. The back cover is tightly laid out with a lot of open space around it as the bulk of the text and images are kept to a central piece where there are several paragraphs of summary and four images showcasing the characters. The discs features are clearly listed and the bottom is rounded out by production information and very little useful technical information. No insert was included with this release.
The menus here are more animated than usual for Bandai as it moves around an underwater setting that has video panels down below and showcases clips from the show as explosions and other vehicles move by, all set to some of the choral style music that's from the show. Navigation is nicely done along the bottom and in submenus and is quick to access and load. The disc correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Mars Daybreak comes to a close with this volume and manages to tie up a lot of the loose ends that have been floating about or at least setting them in such a way that they feel relatively resolved. While it doesn't have the most gratifying ending in that you walk away feeling incredibly buzzed about it, it's a pretty solid piece.
Though it's really just a small lead-up to the bigger plot that will take up most of this last set of episodes, the race to find the treasure is pretty fun to watch as the Ship of Aurora finally breaches the chamber and sets the crew out to find it. The mad dash to find the stone structure as well as finding Gram along the way is comical to watch, especially the robot balls, but it doesn't stay humorous for too long as Yagami ends up showing up as part of the minor entourage around Nia Poell. Before the Ship of the Aurora crew realizes it, they've had the entire massive golden treasure swiped from them and been branded traitors of Mars.
Once that happens, it seems like a lot of characters we haven't seen in ages start popping up again as the plot shifts from finding the treasure to simply staying alive. Branded as traitors and now given a death sentence, most of the crew is in custody and simply awaiting their execution alongside the scuttling of their ship. Some are able to get out of the situation, such as Megumi and the Doctor as they play up the hostage angle reluctantly, while Enora is simply removed and set up to return to Earth so that her part can be excised entirely. Having her show up on a pirate ship certainly wouldn't help her grandfather. And with Gram managing to keep out of the Earth Forces hands, it's up to him to figure out how to bring everything together so the treasure can be saved, Mars escape from the control of the Earth Forces and everyone to live happily ever after. And find true love as well!
In a way, the political maneuverings of these final episodes feels a bit out of place since it's something that hasn't been touch upon much throughout the series and even at the beginning it wasn't gone into much detail. Most of the series has kept to some minor discovers, character dramas and lots of chase sequences as they pursued the treasure. That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable since it was, but in bringing the finale together in a cohesive way, some of these characters have been so long out of touch with the series that remembering exactly who they are at a critical time doesn't help much. Once that part comes back though, it's fun to watch as Gram and Veste along with help from a rather stubborn Enora start moving forward their plans to rescue everyone and do what needs to be done. Enora has some of the best moments as she gives voice to the reasons why she's done things, particularly with regards to Gram, but Veste has some good moments as well as she makes her own realizations.
Mars Daybreak has been probably the weakest series from the folks at BONES but I can't say I'm too surprised since it's based off of an original concept for a video game. The show certainly has its moments along the way and it's a fairly decently done action/adventure piece but it ended up lacking a lot of really important critical background material to make the setting come alive. The concept of a water filled Mars with vast underwater cities and various pirates has a lot going for it in visuals alone but it needed a lot more to really cement it as an overall concept. The finale does a good job overall of bringing it all together but much like a lot of the previous volumes, it's not a show that really stands out above a lot of other action/adventure shows.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, 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: A
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mars Daybreak