Cyber City Vol. #3: The Vampire - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 49
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:!
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cyber City

Cyber City Vol. #3: The Vampire

By Chris Beveridge     July 06, 2004
Release Date: July 06, 2004


Cyber City Vol. #3: The Vampire
© Central Park Media


What They Say
Genetics researchers are turning up dead, drained of blood, with fang wounds on their throats. Is this the work of an old-fashioned vampire, or has science created a new monster to terrorize the Cyber City? Ex-criminal turned cop Benten tracks the grisly clues to their source: a mysterious laboratory, where something deadly lurks?

The Review!
The final episode in the trilogy goes with the only member not to get his own story yet, Benten.

Audio:
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.

Video:
Originally released in 1991, 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.

Packaging:
Probably the worst cover of the series, this one gives Benten his standalone character shot and puts some bits from the episode around him in the background. While the image itself isn't bad, it's about on par with the earlier ones, the color reproduction is horribly off. His white uniform is now pink and his grayish-blue hair is now lilac colored. It's like it screams "gay cops of the future" or something. 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 once again 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
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.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Cyber City trilogy comes to a close with this volume as Benten is given an episode in which to shine and show off. The show continues in much the same style as previous episodes in which we get some really interesting designs for the city itself and it tends to play a bit of a character in its own way and the rest of the cast gets shifted to secondary status. It's all about the lead when it comes to these tales and this volume is no exception.

The story is pretty interesting at that. Various geneticists are being killed with an almost amateurish style but in a way that's close to causing a panic. Their bodies are being drained of blood and giving rise to speculation about a modern day vampire roaming the city. There doesn't seem to be any common bond between the victims beyond their genetics backgrounds as some of them have gone on to higher practice and some have sunk quite low. Due to the possibility of the public really freaking out, the trio's boss puts this as their priority job and all three go their separate ways to investigate things.

As was done in previous episodes, the lead character takes on the bulk of the investigation and the other two end up in support roles. Benten's given the lead and starts going through his usual array of contacts to try and find more of a connection while the others go about their own methods. Clues begin to pile up and Benten starts making a connection where a group of patients in cryosleep are being used to test illegal medicines. This pushes Benten against one of the more powerful citizens in the city and puts him in the targeting scope of quite a number of people. Benten's own allegiances get challenged as well when one of the cryosleep patients turns out to be roaming the city and is responsible for the killings, but she has her own agenda to deal with and he ends up wanting to help her in his own way.

This final story plays out in a similar respect to the previous ones so there's little surprise there. If anything, that's been one of the failings of this series. While it's filled with plenty of good moments and some great animation for its time, each of the episodes are so strikingly similar in plot execution that you could mix them up and it'd all still make sense. While not bad for the first or maybe second episode, by the third episode you know exactly what to expect and can predict it pretty easily. I like the idea of giving each character their own episode to shine, and obviously the series was sold that way, but the plots are just far too interchangeable in execution to really stand out on their own.

In Summary:
Cyber City isn't a bad series by any stretch but it's a good formulaic tale with some interesting visuals and a few remnants of the 80's character design standards. What's done in the three OVAs would probably work out as a good basis for an extended TV series with some larger plot to it as there's plenty of material to work with. Some great talents worked on this series and their efforts definitely show through, but it's unfortunate that such a release pattern was chosen for it. With a previous single disc release with everything on it to a three disc release of three forty minute episodes, it just feels like a money grab attempt. Unfortunately for CPM, I doubt many people will actually make the grab and those that do will wait for a bundle sale or get the box set on the very cheap some how.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art & Sketch Galleries

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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