Burst Angel Vol. #4 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Justin Rich
Review Date: Thursday, September 06, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What They Say
The city of Osaka is under siege! Takane finds herself against a wall unable to protect the lives she's sworn to protect. With Meg serving as bait, Sei finds herself on a short leash dealing with the newest gun in town.

Meanwhile, Meg and Jo are sent to stop a cold-blooded killer, but something unexpected occurs. Jo begins to suffer mind-breaking visions. Suddenly routine exercise with Leo and Jango becomes fight for survival as a violent attack leads Jo face to face with a ghostly warrior staring her down for the duel of a lifetime.

The Review!
Jo continues to blast anything and everything that gets between her and Meg.

For this viewing session I began with the 5.1 Japanese track. The music is constant as well as the continual gunfire and explosions makes great us of the surround sound. I also listened to FUNimation's English dub too to listen to their 5.1 as well. Awesome rear speaker explosions, especially during the Django/Gigantus fight, to go along with sound language from the front speakers making for a solid 5.1 on both tracks.

Burst Angel is one of the latest Gonzo series airing in Spring of 2004 so the transfer is 16:9 widescreen. Animation is sharp and crisp with beautiful combination of hand drawn and computer animation like most Gonzo shows. There is no bleeding in the animation making the background scenery and the characters come out vibrant and lifelike. Once again exceptional backdrops for the series, and this is accentuated by the change of scenery in this volume for more gorgeous eye candy. But, in the final episode of the volume there is a few patches of inconsistent lines and almost complete drain of color.

FUNimation goes back to the clear keepcases which they have used for Kiddy Grade and Fullmetal Alchemist. It contains reversible covers with the primary cover containing a picture of Jo with her guns over her head and RAPT blasting away from behind her and reverse is seductive picture of Sei on the left hand side and the mysterious pilot of the armor on the left hand. The Burst Angel logo is in the bottom with the disc title in small, white writing to the right of it. The back is dark: Black and blue with Sei looking over towards you as she lies along a nearby wall with a splattering of screen caps.

This volume also includes a fourteen page booklet. There is a single character file to start the book focusing on Takane. There is a page of mechanical files, one page of costumes, as well as three pages of guest files for the four episodes. Finally there is a two page art file of the two locations for volume two.

In the upper left corner is the original kanji of Bakuretsu Tenshi in orange with teal English lettering of Burst Angel below it. The menu is a red shading on a black background with Amy with a yellowish tint looking over her right shoulder. In the bottom right corner is round picture of Amy and Meg from episode 10. Next to three cut out pictures of Jo's eyes is the options to play all, episode, audio and extras in white writing with Jo's tattoo as the curser.

Episode 13: Showdown in Osaka has audio commentary for the fan that likes to learn a little more about the show their watching. More zaniness from Japanese actresses of Meg and Jo in three more Baku-Ten radio segments. There is four FUNimation trailers on this disc: DBZ doomed heroes from the Season 1 uncut before they reset the entire DBZ line, Burst Angel, Kiddy Grade, Kodocha, Galaxy Railways & Tenchi Muyo GXP. We also get textless songs for the opening Loosey by the Stripes as well as both the original Japanese closing of Under the Sky by Cloudica and a new FUNimation English version. Also, much to my chagrin, Mr. Stain returns with another abysmal segment.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The show picks up the volume where once again Meg is a hostage, a plot device that is has been used way too much, and she is of course waiting for rescue from Jo forcing both groups to reset for a later battle. Jo and the group wait for the upgrades on Django to be finished, while Takane finds herself in the much harder position of passing along the news to a little girl on her birthday that her dad is dead, which was done well to cater to those looking for some sort of emotion in the serious other than adrenaline rush. Takane then visits her mother's grave and moves out to stop the rogue whom she had thought was her friends as well as that of Osaka. Her and her fellow Hell's Angels knockoffs ride into battle to stop the powerful robot, only to have themselves on the verge of death when Jo shows up via the new wings she had just had added to Django, and she defeats the villain as Jo always does,

The next episodes is probably the best of the series so far which is done completely in flashback with a dull grainy look that really adds to the feel. Two little kids find Jo with much longer hair lying in a gutter and bring her back to their rundown bus/home, where they are being raised by Meg. Jo is being pursed by another member of the group she had escaped from and this leads to the first of many savings between the relationship of Jo and Meg, and of course the key to her memories being locked away.

Just when the series is finding a decent rhythm Baku-Ten finds a way to derail itself. It slips back into an episode of pretty much mindless fan service and a couple of flashback clips. The episode serves no purpose but to waste time watching Jo fight a giant squid. We get to see a look into the life of the corrupt Governor which may or may not matter, since so far most of the characters which I thought would matter have done nothing be fade into the background.

Gonzo's laziness continues into the final episode of the disc where we see the same clips over and over as Jo has some sort of mental meltdown while fighting another unknown foe. We also see another armor that portrays itself as a giant a midevil monster to a mute swordsman he without any regard for himself charges towards it with his blade drawn and Jo right behind him guns a blazing. Could this armor be the cause of the sudden memories that were leaking back into her conscious to go along with the constant headaches that were almost bringing Jo to her knees. The series attempts to leave the viewer with intrigue but unfortunately that has been the case before with Baku-Ten and for the most part it has been a lot of unmet potential, and I highly doubt this will change any time soon.

In Summary:
Baku-Ten is the type of series that can enjoy but also drive you crazy at the same time. We finish an arc just to go into pointless fluff and recaps till we reach the end of this volume to leave the viewer wondering if going to the next disc is even worth their time. The flashback episode was by far the best part of this volume as we get to view how Meg and Jo came together, but then practically watching the entire episode again over the final episode kind of sours the fun. This series suffers from a series lack of identity and as the show continues forward the lack of any real plot hurts the pleasure and not being a big fan service guy the panty shots can't save this sinking ship. Hopefully the last two volumes go better than this continuously shifting train wreck did.

Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Songs,Commentary by ADR Director Christopher Bevins; Alison Retzloff (Amy) & Greg Aryes (Kyohei)

Review Equipment
Sony SAVA D9000 Dual Stack DTS w/ 5 Disc Changer in stack 1 and subwoofer in stack 2 Tv is Sony 57" widescreen rear-projection HDTV Model #KPD 57WS550

Mania Grade: C-
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: TV 14
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
MSRP: 19.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Burst Angel