Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: A
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 80
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Crest of the Stars
Crest of the Stars Vol. #4
By David Rehfeldt
December 22, 2001
Release Date: December 04, 2001
For a show that has popped out of nowhere and had a rocky start (major video problems with Volume 1, remedied by Bandai), Crest of the Stars has become one of my favorite shows.
Both the Japanese and English tracks are presented without any noticeable problems. The English track is dubbed by Ocean Studios, who do a competent job, but not much more than that. One actor is used for at least 6 roles in one episode, in addition to other characters. He's the same guy who does the voice over for the Crest of the Stars trailer that is available on other Bandai discs, and if you listen carefully you can hear him. One interesting moment for me, after just finishing Angel Links (another Ocean dub), was hearing some of the same voices: Specifically the voices for Meifon and Kosei playing characters who share a scene. Anyway, I lowered the grade a bit because of the repetitive voices.
A solid transfer, I did not notice any problems. My only beef was during the beginning of the show, when the narrator is speaking in Abh, the Kani translation is hardsubbed at the bottom, with the English translations directly above them. This has been bothering me since Volume 1, but it culminated with this disc as I had to rewind and pause just so I could read the subs.
On the plus side, normally in these 13 episode series there is a drop in the animation level for one or two episodes (when the budget runs low). However, I didn't notice that with Crest of the Stars, each episode maintains the same animation standards. Perhaps I missed something, but if not, big points to Bandai Visual and Sunrise for providing a show where the characters look excellent.
Another interesting cover graphic, this time with the Abh fleet commander taking a spot. Aside from the cover being cut a little short (which I fear is the new Bandai norm), no problems here.
Similar to previous discs, the menus begin with a short animation clip from the first episode on the disc, and proceed to the menu itself. These are the kind of menus I like (similar to Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne and Angel Links), so no problems here.
Having run out of openings and endings, we are only left with another "History of the Abh". This time we are treated to the history of the four nations that oppose the Abh, which is fine... except this has already been mentioned in the series. There's no real new information, it is a retelling of the political aspects of the show that we've already seen. It does leave the story open ended (which it is), but it seems that Bandai was scraping the bottom of the barrel. A music video may have been nice.
We join Jinto and Lafiel on the planet Sufugnoff. Episodes 11, 12 and the first half of 13 focus on the United Mankind army searching for them, and their subsequent escape. While this is happening, the battle between the fleet of the Abh and the United Mankind is also taking place. We are introduced to some interesting Abhs, and see a little more about Abh culture.
**Major Spoilers from Here On Out**
While on Sufugnoff, Jinto and Lafiel are "captured" by a group of anti-imperial freedom fighters. However, they turn the tables and use the group to help them escape. Meanwhile, the local Inspector and United Mankind Officer whom we met in episode 10 are also on their trail. These two make a pretty good inadvertent comedy duo, as they have some pretty funny lines. All of episode 11 has funny moments, which was a break after the serious Baron Febdash arc.
There is a lot of running around, and a few chases, but it is hardly filler. Somehow, Jinto and Lafiel end up in an amusement park (a twistedly safe one). They are cornered and Jinto takes a shot/bullet for Lafiel, just before they are picked up by the freedom fighters again. They help Jinto and Lafiel escape into space, where they are picked up by the victorious Abh fleet. As they are being launched, Jinto says that he has decided that he will not leave Lafiel's side. A promise he made earlier in the show, if only to himself.
Jinto and Lafiel return to their old lives, having returned the logbook from Gosroth to the Empire. Jinto learns that ties with his home planet of Martine have broken down, that his father has been killed, and that the man he grew up with (from Episode 1) has aligned the planet with the United Mankind. Surprisingly, Jinto does not feel sad at all, and it shows that he has accepted Abh culture. He prepares to go to accounting school, and find a job as a Supply Officer in three years, while Lafiel is going to command school to be a Captain in three years. So, of course this was coming, Jinto and Lafiel agree to meet again. And flashbacks to the events of the previous 12 episodes are shown, Jinto makes his promise one more time.
But that's not all! After the credits roll, we pick up the story three years later. How convenient. We see what happens to all the characters, even minor ones (including Seelnay the vassal from Volume 2) and of course we see Jinto and Lafiel again. In true anime fashion, Lafiel's last line is the same as her first, when we first met her in episode 1. Still, it was a very fulfilling moment, after being left hanging before the credits. The whole piece is 6 minutes and leaves you satisfied, but still leaves the story very open to sequels (which there are).
Crest of the Stars has a lot of things going for it. It's based on a series of novels, and has a very rich storyline. It has a sense of realism to it, that is sometimes lacking in anime. And it has two sequel TV series that have yet to be licensed yet (hint hint, Bandai)!
I highly recommend this show to any anime fan.
Sony DVP S560D DVD Player, Zenith 27" TV, Aiwa Mini-Home Theater System (without 5.1 sound), Generic AV Cables