Cyber City Vol. #1: Time Bomb -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 46
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cyber City

Cyber City Vol. #1: Time Bomb

By Chris Beveridge     March 06, 2004
Release Date: March 09, 2004

Cyber City Vol. #1: Time Bomb
© Central Park Media

What They Say
An evil genius has seized the city?s tallest skyscraper, and 50,000 people are trapped inside! Their only hope: A team of convicts turned cops who are in hot pursuit of their criminal brethren. Each member is rigged with a collar set to explode if they don?t cooperate. Now the reluctant heroes must rescue the hostages and eliminate the captors within 24 hours?or their collars will detonate, and thousands more will die!

The Review!
With the sublicense to NuTech over, CPM goes back and fixes one of the more botched early releases but at the same time makes the original feel like the better value.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. This was actually difficult to do the last time since there was a bad mix and you could hear the English track underneath it. The CPM release corrects this problem with a much better sounding pure Japanese stereo mix. The dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no troubles otherwise with it. We listened to the English track in a few places and noted no issues with it either.

Originally released in 1990, the transfers here look quite good with lots of solid colors, no cross coloration and only some minor breakup during some of the hazy blue night time skyline sequences. Mad House was on a roll around this time with their OVA quality releases and this one shows it nicely with broad strokes and very distinct style and look. Like most other CPM releases, the opening and endings are unaltered wit the original Japanese text which is then followed-up by the English translation.

With this being nearly fifteen years old, it looks like there's little in the way of distinct artwork available for individual episodes as the captures here go for the really fuzzy cut and paste look with the lead character set against the backdrop of the city. While you can't get away with the character not looking its age, the way it's done here just doesn't inspire you to check it out. The back cover continues the trend that's on the front with the "From the X of X". There's a single animation shot here that shows the trio of the series and a brief summary of the premise. The rest of the cover is given over to the various technical elements. The reverse cover, which has artwork that would have worked better in color and on the front, has a shot of the trip together underneath the chapter selections. The other panel provides bilingual cast information and a rundown of the basic production credits.

The menu layout here uses the typical SF-feeling borders to provide one half of the menu as a series of clips while the other half is split into three boxes where varying clips play, all to the vocal song from the series. The selections menu, over the smaller boxes, is the typical selections that once more have the problem of selecting a language equating starting the program. Other than that, the menus are decently done and have good access times.

The extras here are unsurprisingly weak, with just a trailer for the show and just over two minutes worth of a video gallery that has mostly stills from the show and a few pieces of artwork. You'll even forget that there's another extra here since the commentary track by Kawajira is located in the audio selection section. We didn't get an opportunity to listen to this, but have enjoyed Kawajira's talks in the past.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Cyber City is a rather entertaining three part OVA series that was released at the beginning of the 90's, with each episode running about 45 minutes or so. These were originally released on one volume back in 1999 under a sublicense to NuTech Digital but is not back in CPM's hands, so they've been cleaned up, tweaked and released. The downside is that instead of getting all three OVAs together in one volume, they're spread across three discs and end up costing more than the original release. This is unfortunate since it'll keep people away from it and these are some good solid fun SF adventures.

The plot is straightforward in the setup here. We're introduced to three cyber criminals, Sengoku, Benten and the horridly named Goggles. All three of these criminals are doing time in a high security lock-up for an average of about 300 years each. But their warden has given them a chance to earn their freedom. By taking on the role of police that specialize in cyber crimes, each of them will get a reduction in the years they owe for every A class criminal they catch. While this may not seem like a lot to some, when you consider that they all live in 'Cyber City' Oedo, there's a good chance that you'll come across a lot of criminals that are talented.

The look of Oedo is quite interesting, it's like they took the way Akira looked during an early introduction scene and decided to eliminate the glitz and then double the size of it. The city is monstrously tall; so much that one building reaches high into and above the clouds. Everything in the city is controlled by machines to ease the lives of the humans within, so they take advantage of it by doing all sorts of criminal activity. So with the three former criminals now signed up to fight on the side of right, they get the kooky uniforms, the same bad haircuts and an intelligent robot minibar that follows them around and makes sure they don't break any further laws.

The opening episode is focused heavily on Sengoku, though Benten and Goggles do provide backup as the story gets underway, about a criminal whose set things his way to kill everyone in the city, which is resulting in all sorts of evacuations and mass shutdowns. One of the groups liaison partners are even trapped in an exterior glass elevator some hundred or two stories above the ground. With all the technology at their fingertips, it's actually fairly easy for them to discover who's behind the plot, which then shifts the show to the attempts to infiltrate the building and take out the criminal.

In Summary:
While the designs are definitely not the most attractive by today's standards, this is an OVA series that I liked a lot the first time I saw and I liked it again here the second time. The problem is that it's just too damn short. This release really needed to have all three episodes together to give it a really meaty feel as opposed to this slimmed down wallet grab. This is a really good Mad House quality OVA show, but the re-release is a real mixed bag.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Director?s Commentary by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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