Key the Metal Idol Vol. #3 (Mania.com)

By:Brian Shea
Review Date: Sunday, March 03, 2002
Release Date: Monday, October 30, 2000



The Review!
Video:
The video was pretty average, no complaints here. While pretty good looking, the quality wasn't good as other Pioneer releases like Serial Experiments Lain, due to the amount of episodes they put on the DVD.

Audio:
Technically, the audio was perfect, no noticable complaints. I listened to the japanese track first, then when back and listened to the dub. The japanese one is easy to love by just about all anime fans, as most are. As for the dub, it'll probably depend on your preferences. If you're a fan of Ocean Group (early seasons of DBZ, Gundam Wing, Escaflowne, etc...) like myself you'll love it. If you're not a big fan of there's you'll probably hate it, although it is one of their older dubs so those of you who don't like their recent stuff like Escaflowne and Mobile Suit Gundam might find it acceptable. One thing interesting to note is that Ocean dubbed all the songs as well (including the opening and credits) which sounded pretty good to me.

Packaging:
What can I say that hasn't been said on the other volumes? An alright cover, but everything else is rather dull looking. It does contain a good synopsis on the back however which kept its grade up.

Extras:
Just like on disc 2, the Extras didn't work at all on this disc, resulting in it getting a N/A. Everything else worked fine.

Menus:
The menus are pretty good, using scenes (and music) from the opening theme in the main one, with other cool designs and music used for the minor menus. Rather simple, but they look fine if you ask me.

Content:

This disc contains the final 2 episodes. Wait, no need to get upset, this isn't some insane ripoff. Each episode on the disc is nearly 4 times the length of a normal episode, coming in at 90+ minutes each. Like I've said on my reviews for the other discs, you're not gonna find a better deal than this. It makes most of the deals for the other series out there look kind of bad when you consider that most of them (Escaflowne, Eva, Lain, etc...) contain only around 75 minutes worth of footage per disc and this one contains nearly 200 at the same price.

Anyway, this is it, the finale of the series. I've enjoyed this series immensely and rank it up there among Lain, Eva and other highly regarded series. The ending is quite good and wraps up everything presented in the first 13 episodes. I recommend it to anyone.

However, the show's not without its flaws. Episode 14 is dedicated to answering practically every unsolved mystery on the show. Is Key really a robot or a human with a mental disorder? What is gel? And so on... all answered in this episode. Its not the story thats the problem though, its the execution. The large majority of episode 14 is not much more than narration. A half an hour atleast consists of a number of scenes where Wakagi and Tataki sit on benches and discuss everything dealing with the PPORs, Mima, Key, and so on... Another large amount of scenes consists of a new character called Maestro doing basically the same thing. Although these scenes answer virtually everything, they're done in an incredibly boring manner. Its hard to figure out why after 13 episodes the writers/director would suddenly do what was the total antithesis for the series up to this point. My only guess is that just like in that other series that came out around the same time and used basically the same method - Evangelion, they didn't have as high a budget as they needed and had to revert to this.

Things get much better in the last 15 minutes or so of episode 14 and all of episode 15. Since it is the ending I won't go into any detail on the story so you can enjoy it for yourselves.

Outside of the completely useless Maestro character and the method that they decided to tell us everything in episode 14, the content on this disc is perfect. A great resolution to the series and outside of what I mentioned, it was everything I hoped for and expected.



Review Equipment
Panasonic DVD Rom, 17 inch monitor, Cambridge Soundworks Speakers



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B-
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 180
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Key the Metal Idol