Sol Bianca: The Legacy Vol. #2 (Mania.com)

By:Roman Martel
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2000



The Review!
Overall Rating: 4.4
(on a scale of 1-5)
-Disc Ratings-
Sound: 5
Picture: 5
Menu: 5
Presentation: 5
Goodies: 5
Overall: 5

-Artistic Ratings-
Animation: 5
Sound: 5
Plot: 2
English Acting: 3
Music: 4
Overall: 3.8

Intro
This disc is the continuation of the adventures of our lady pirates going out blowing stuff up and making off with treasure. Well, not really. It's more of a character study of the members of the crew. Well, not really. It's a romantic love story that... Nope not that either. Then what is this disc all about? A bunch of stuff, and really nothing at all. Keep reading to find out what I'm talking about.

Technical Review
We've got high marks in the technical department on this disc. Great sound and picture. And boy did it give the 5.1 speakers a work out. This disc has one of the best menus I've seen yet. It keeps in the feel of the story and it works smoothly. It's got the look of a heads up display from the weapon Jani uses in the first episode. This is a fun menu. The presentation has all the info right on it and you got a great eye catching cover to boot. And finally the extras: an Animetronic music Video and a character gallery, not to mention an extra long trailer. All around this disc is as good in the technical department as the last one.

Content Review
Well, it took forever for my copy of this to arrive (I won't mention why), and while I did enjoy the first disc I was hoping for a bit more in this one. Maybe the wait for it made it that much more disappointing. The grade stays the same, but the marks have changed a bit. This series needs a good shot in the arm, and it needs it now.

The first episode deals with Jani and a strange creature on the board the Sol Bianca. Jani gets a huge gun and gets ready to take out the garbage. It's got lots of action and even tries to have a little heart... and falls on its face. The next episode was better; it dealt mostly with Feb and April's clashing personalities and of course man troubles. It was a pretty good episode, but there is definitely something missing here. The preview for the next episodes looks good and I'm hoping that they can wrap this show up with a bit more than what they have now.

The animation was still very impressive for the most part. The computer animation looks a little less obvious and fits a bit better overall. The design is still good and I must say that the dark look to the second episode helped create a great atmosphere. The fluidity of the action is also handled well. While I was watching the disc my sister wandered in and stopped in her tracks. She was impressed by the look of the show and watched the last episode with me. (She doesn't watch anime too much.) The sound works very well in the first episode while Jani is hunting her prey. And the ship battle in the second episode also sounds great. So both the visuals and the sound are top notch.

The plot is the serious problem here. This is a fairly entertaining show, but we know next to nothing about most of the characters. I think the action and the images are getting too much screen time and we aren't having a real connection to anyone. The result is that you end up sitting there very conscious of time passing and while you aren't waiting for the show to be over, you aren't saying "Wow that was fast!" It's lacking the fun aspect that Outlaw Star and even Cowboy Bebop managed to pull off. It should be fun, it should be exciting, but instead it just is a nice showcase for the technical attributes and not much heart to it at all. As I said above the next episode looks a bit more promising. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

The English cast did improve a bit in some areas but some of the bit players really pulled you out of the show. This is still a middle of the road dub. I'm leaning toward the Japanese track for the next disc, because the dub ended up being a bit distracting at times.

The music is good and I will say that the opening and ending themes are catchy. The score is good, but it's nothing that really caught my ear. It works with the show at least, and nothing jumped out as distracting or bad.

I'm still gonna say rent this before you buy it. It might work for some people more than others. Like I said, I'm hoping the next disc wraps it all up in an entertaining way, but so far I say save your money for Outlaw Star if you want some real space pirate fun.



Review Equipment
Panasonic A110, Pioneer Elite Pro-107 (45 inch screen), Kenwood THX certified 4.1 receiver, Boston Acoustics (5 speakers and 2 subs)



Mania Grade: NA
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sol Bianca: The Legacy