Silent Mobius the Motion Picture 2 (Also w/Limited Edition) (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, November 21, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Katsumi finds herself unable to escape the AMP as they set plans in motion to show her the reality of her situation

What They Say
After the death of her mother Katsumi wants nothing more to do with this horrible place known as Tokyo. Forced into staying an infuriated Katsumi returns to AMP HQ where chief Rally Cheyenne pleads with her to stay and join the team. However, her pleading falls on deaf ears as Katsumi exclaims that she wants nothing more to do with them, leaving to find another way home.
 

Meanwhile the Demons taking over Tokyo begin their final move against humanity and the AMP. They realize that the key to opening their demon world lies within Katsumi. Her unwanted abilities mean everything to them and without her their plan would fail. The stage is set once again on the destroyed Tokyo Bay Bridge. Will Katsumi choose her destiny and defend her new found friend or will she fall to the weakness and despair within her?

The Review!
Audio:
With its age, the audio tracks included for this release aren’t a surprise. The original Japanese language track is a standard theatrical stereo mix encoded at 224kbps while the newly minted English language mix mirrors it. The film certainly has moments where it would benefit from a 5.1 remix to it, especially in the bass department as well as directionality, but what we get is certainly serviceable and authentic to the original experience. The dialogue placement has some good moments across the forward soundstage but by and large it’s a simple and straightforward presentation that won’t exactly overwhelm. Though it’s a theatrical film, it’s one that’s coming from a time when most theatrical movies didn’t get much more than what we get here. Thankfully, we didn’t have any troubles during regular playback of the film with dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally in theaters in 1992, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The film isn’t like the first one all that much as it’s not nearly as dark and moody. This keeps the grain from overtaking many of the scenes and from being all that noisy at times. The opening sequence is among the worst as the light comes over the city and the blackness of night gets rather blocky. Beyond that, the grain doesn’t turn into heavy fuzziness or cause any significant blocking so it provides more of a true film experience than anything else. Surprisingly, it’s rather reminiscent at times of how the TV series from 1998 ended up looking, enough so that you could shift between the two relatively easy enough. The transfer for this is generally solid throughout with only a few blips of cross coloration here and there and some occasional line noise. Though this was a striking project during its original release, it comes across as more mundane now but still is a solid production.

Packaging:
Bandai has gone and produced two different editions for this release, a regular keepcase edition and a limited edition in a steelcase. I rather like seeing the steelcases for shows that are considered above the average in a way and these movies are long overdue for a proper release in general. So giving this a limited edition steelcase release works nicely for people like me I’d suspect as this was an early gateway release. The steelcase edition is solid as it features core cast of characters for this feature together with an action feel to it. The background mirrors the show itself with a lighter feel but also something bigger as it has the beam from the orbital laser hitting down onto the bridge. It’s actually fairly subdued until you spend some time really looking at it and seeing the detail of it. The package has a glued on small piece of paper to the back that provides the basics of what to expect, but when you finally carefully tear that away, what you have left is a really dark piece of artwork with Katsumi looking menacing with a shadowed cathedral shot behind her. The technical grid along the bottom covers the basics of what to expect – the absolute basics unfortunately. The interior of the steelcase features an expanded piece of the cityscape in full color as well as a brief full color booklet that’s essentially for the included CD. And that’s the extra disc in this case as we get the first OST as the limited edition item.

Menu:
The menu design for the release is rather simplistic in nature, almost a bit amateurish, as it has what seems like a fairly stock style for the background that you’d get out of some package while the center has the logo and brief clips from the film playing throughout, all of which is set to instrumental music from the film. The navigation strip is simply and effective with the basics and submenu navigation is quick and easy. Like most Bandai releases though, it doesn’t pick up our players’ language presets and defaults to English with no subtitles as there are no sign/song subtitle options here. Chapters are also a bit awkward here as there are eight of them in total, one of which being the translated credits. While it’s only a 54 minute feature, this again comes across as a bit more of a stock kind of setting rather than something really planned out to match the actual chapter needs..

Extras:
The extras are fairly meager here as we get a short promotional video and the original theatrical trailer and TV spot for the film. The first two are amusing in that they also include the double showing with Weathering Continent.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the first Silent Mobius movie felt familiar and comfortable, having seen it several times over the years, the second movie has a sense of freshness to it as I never actually got to see it before. It’s also a very different movie than the first in a way because it’s far more relaxed and laid back, with only a few brief instances of real action to it. Silent Mobius, especially in the manga, has had a lot of introspection to it as the characters try to understand their place in the world and this film is about that for Katsumi as she’s provided with the truth about things.

This feature takes place not very long after the first one as Katsumi has decided that she isn’t going to stay with the AMP but instead return to her home in Hawaii. The AMP, Chief Rally to be specific, has a very different plan for her however and has altered her ID so that it lists her as a resident here now. That means she doesn’t have a valid visa for going overseas and is essentially stuck. She’s still not intending to take part though as she’d rather just live her life without the past that’s connected to her father somehow. With the loss of her mother in the previous film, it’s all become almost too much for her to take and she’s simply seeking to get away from everything that reminds her of these things.

It doesn’t help that she has Kiddy and Nami watching her constantly, on orders to make sure she’s safe and unharmed. With the attacks that she suffered previously, and the fact that she’s apparently the key to the future for the Lucifer Hawks, the AMP has a vested interest in keeping her alive and on their side. Frustrated by it all, Katsumi manages to find a way to cope somewhat when she comes across the woman she met in the previous film, the seemingly psychic Yuki. Yuki has a real affection for Katsumi that comes across as rather unusual, but with her abilities and her empathy, it does make sense that she’d become attached to her rather easily. The two make an amusing pair as they stay together for a little while, though at times it seems like Katsumi is using her more than anything else.

In the midst of all this back and forth about whether she’ll join up with the AMP or not, and the tension that comes between Kiddy and Katsumi, Rally finds that the Lucifer Hawks are becoming more intent on swaying Katsumi to their side. The belief that they hold is that if they show her the truth, with a bit of a filter of course, Katsumi will realize that she’s being used by the AMP and that she’d be better served by working with the Lucifer Hawks. There are a few in full form that we see here and there throughout the feature, but the most time – which isn’t much – is spent with an old man and little girl really that talk about their plans in understated and relatively unclear terms at times. Therein lies the real problem with this film.

Silent Mobius 2 is all about the setup. The opening film had a great introduction and set the stage well, but for this hour long film they’re working more towards simply getting Katsumi to join with the AMP. That follows the manga pretty well to be sure, but it makes for mildly interesting material for a feature film. It has a lot of good visuals, and as a setup for the first half of a film it’s quite good, but there isn’t any real payoff here. The character development is nice and we get some really good bits with Katsumi as she struggles with understanding her family history, but when we have the big confrontation towards the end, it’s really just at the point where it’s about to get good. It’s an engaging piece, but without something larger to tie it all together and move it forward, it feels very incomplete which is quite damaging when all is said and done.

In Summary:
I have a whole lot of love for Silent Mobius, which may not always be apparent with how I talk about it. Unfortunately, I’ve come into the feature films from the wrong direction for many of the long time fans of them. While I’d been exposed to the first one ages ago, my “upbringing” with the property was one through the manga and then through the TV series. Going back and experiencing the movies now after all these years simply points out their limitations and flaws. They’re movies that I’m extremely grateful to have in such a loving form – Bandai Entertainment has done a fantastic job of packaging these up and providing the soundtracks and steelcases for them. I wish nothing but success for them with it and hope that it gives them incentive to look into some other classic Kadokawa features that would be worth releasing. But like the first movie, Silent Mobius 2 is mainly about nostalgia and seeing a property through a different lens. More people are likely familiar with the TV series at this point than the features, but the features do help to sell the TV series quite a lot. Fans of the films will love what Bandai has done here and for them I can recommend it very easily.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Promotional Trailer, Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition: Steelcase, Original Soundtrack 2

Review Equipment
 



Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
MSRP: 29.98/39.9
Running time: 59
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Silent Mobius