Cyberteam in Akihabara Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cyberteam in Akihabara

Cyberteam in Akihabara Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     September 15, 2005
Release Date: May 31, 2005



What They Say
With the Primum Mobile descending from the heavens, Christian Rosenkreutz will stop at nothing to achieve his goal of awakening the Metatron: neither the betrayal of his very own son nor the destruction of the entire city of Akihabara! Meanwhile, our heroines find themselves in over their heads, as new powers and inner turmoil threaten group dynamics. In an effort to coax Tsubame out from under the influence of the Rosenkreutz, Hibari turns to a secret weapon… her mother’s delicious vanilla pancakes! But will the rest of the gang welcome the cantankerous (and frankly, just plain evil) Tsubame into the Cyber Team family? Or will the unit collapse under the pressures of defending the universe?


The Review!
As Takashi's arc comes to a close, the focus shifts to Tsubame before we get an episode that reveals everything going back several hundred years.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show has a very simple mix to it that's listed as stereo but is more of a full feeling soundtrack than anything else. There's a fair amount of action and sound effects throughout the show but there isn't much in the way of real depth or directionality to it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 1998, the transfer for this series is presented here in its original full frame aspect ratio. Done in the traditional animation style and avoiding most of the obvious bad digital animation that was cropping up at that time, the transfer here looks good for the most part with a clean set of materials to work with. The main problem that some will see throughout will be the aliasing during some of the action sequences but otherwise it's fairly problem free. Cross coloration is very minimal with only some slight sight of it in a few scenes. Colors look good and maintain a solid feel throughout and you can see a good amount of detail in the animation when it's there.

Packaging:
Though it looks a bit cartoonish and not quite the same as the in-show artwork, the cover gives over to a couple of the transformed Pata-pi's with massive breasts with the standard circuit board background. The style of the artwork mixed with the sleek logo gives it a really current feel and overall looks pretty sharp. The back cover has only a couple of very small animation shots and is instead filled with lots of pastel colors that hold the sizeable summary and the large section of production information. The discs technical features and extras listings are easy to find and are all accurate. No insert was included with this release though there was one in earlier volumes.

Menu:
The menu layout continues to use the same design and colors as other parts of the release with a static background of a Pata-pi lined across it several times that changes color as it goes along to the music. On top of that there are the usual selections and a cute image of a Pata-pi being picked up with a claw arm game. While not the most amazing menu, it's nicely in theme and gets the job done without slowing you down in getting to the sections you want. Access times are nice and fast and the disc read our players' language presets without issue.

Extras:
The mix of extras continues to be decent here with this volume. The production sketches are still gone, but we retain the clean opening and closing sequences. Though the In Studio sessions are apparently over with we do get another commentary track, this time for the big revelation episode number twenty-two.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
To say I've had less than spectacular feelings for this series isn't an understatement but with each volume I continue to wonder just exactly what it's audience is and what it's trying to do. With it being spearheaded by a bunch of fairly young girls who have very cute robotic-like pets that allow them to transform into older looking bosom heavy combat suit wearing women, you can certainly see the appeal among a certain age group of girls but also with a lot of male viewers. A lot of what the show seemed like it was aiming for at first is girls of a younger age but as its progressed its intended audience doesn't seem to fit.

And with this volume, they pull out such a massive bit of exposition and history that I can't imagine any young girl being interested in the show anymore. In fact, when this is all revealed to the girls as they sit around the table listening to the old man, they all looked bored out of their minds with the exception of the continually shocked Hibari. They plunge back over five hundred years to explore the Rosenkreutz myths and realities to tell the tale and it's done in black and white with lots of nods towards actual events and other events and bringing it all together into the 20th century, from V2 rocket launches with Nazi's to the first lunar landing that was done to really find the missing key to bringing Metatron back to reality in order to evolve mankind.

Yeah, I can see the pre-teen girls really being interested in this.

Of course, this is all at the end of the volume and it explains away much of what the Principal, aka Rosenkreutz, has been working towards all these years with his creation of the Pata-pi's and everything else. His disregard for anything he uses is evident as Takashi himself is thrown away casually after his uses is up but Takashi wants to make sure he's of more use and has some self-determination so he goes after Hibari and the others on his own. This brings in the trio of followers of his who understand that this is the last hurrah and while he waxes poetic at times during the final fight, the cyberteam girls are just unsure of what all is going on and can't understand why it's come to this before it all plays out in the only way it can.

The other piece that's played with a lot in this volume is the change in relationships and dynamics due to the arrival of Tsubame. Hibari is very intent on bringing her to the side of good and being a good friend to her but it starts to cost her with her other friends as she spends more time with just Tsubame in trying to reach her. One of the ways she tries to do this is to have her become involved in the things she herself gets to do and one of those is a most happy event when Hibari's mom ends up making up a batch of pancakes like she used to when Hibari was little. As it says on the back cover, "Saving the world… with pancakes?!" It's not quite like that but it's a method used to have Tsubame around a working happy family and it does its job. It makes her realize what she hasn't had from her own "father" and laments about that and makes her want to be more like Hibari and the others all the more. Of course, it doesn't play out easily because there's young girl emotions involved so it's not all quick and simple and free of violence.

In Summary:
As the series continues to turn in all sorts of directions that I doubt were originally intended, its identity continues to be in doubt and I really have to wonder what the young girls watching this thought, for however long that they managed to keep watching it. With the kind of long reaching revelations and history presented here, I can't imagine many of them having stuck around to this point or much longer after this. While it's not entirely out of left field due to the Rosenkreutz connections established much earlier, having it take up an entire episode this far in instead of smaller nuggets along the way just really ends up hitting the viewer over the head and probably making them wonder which series they're supposed to be watching.


Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Commentary track with ADR director Joe Grisaffi and voice actress Tiffany Grant,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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