Cybuster Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cybuster

Cybuster Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     August 18, 2005
Release Date: July 19, 2005


Cybuster Vol. #5
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Ryuzo's hard work has finally paid off. His reports on the mysterious death of Dr. Frank and the DC's involvement in the series of explosions result in international sanctions.

The Review!
Why stick with two giant robot gods when you can have upwards of four? Add in some of the most obvious foreshadowing you can imagine as well and you have the bulk of Cybuster.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The show has a pretty good stereo mix to it with some well noticed directionality across the forward soundstage, more often found during battle sequences than dialogue, but still present in a number of forms. The music track sounds good in general and uses the stereo channels well to provide a good warm sound. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing back in 1999, Cybuster is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Being from 1999, it looks and feels like it was done with the more traditional animation methods and there's a definitely feel to it that's not found in most newer shows these days that's appealing. The series plays with real-world style color palettes so there aren't too many really vibrant areas but a few do shine through during it. Cross coloration is pretty much non-existent but there's some noticeable aliasing in places, usually during really busy action scenes, that will distract some folks. The colors look good in general and maintain a solid feel, particularly the large solid areas.

Packaging:
Giving the DC side of things a chance to own the cover, the Granzon machine makes up the backdrop along with the cloudy sky while Saphine and Shu, in good looking character design form, are in the foreground looking serious. If only the show itself had the characters looking like this. The back cover provides a few shots from the show around the summary and the listing of episode numbers and titles. The discs features are clearly listed just above the small-type production information. The insert has the same artwork from the back on one side with the episode numbers and titles just above the chapter listings while the reverse side lists the upcoming release months for the next five volumes of the series.

Menu:
The latest Nightjar menu is one of their more average design ones but it fits well with the show by using a variety of technological symbols and designs integrated with clips from the show and a really pumped up version of the opening song playing along with it. The layout is quick and simple to navigate with fast loading times. The disc also properly read our players language presets and played them accordingly.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Seemingly always close to the bottom of my pile, we hit another four episodes of Cybuster in the fifth and penultimate volume in the series and it's at the point where it's obvious that they're going to wrap things up but it still feels like we've seen a whole lot of nothing. This round of episodes felt like something we should have seen ten episodes prior instead of now as it sets some foreshadowing up that will get resolved in the next volume and they also beef up the good guys a bit.

The latest attack on the good guys comes with Dallas taking the lead in a number of new vehicles but it's thwarted fairly easily when the latest of the robot gods shows up and is nicely themed for water. Piloted by Sayuri, she's surprisingly capable with it and screams out about violence and hatred and how it sucks and then proceeds to flood the entire valley. Lots of dead floating animals after that I bet. Sayuri's not quite the chosen one for Gottess, the water god robot, but they take care of that fairly easily by Ken taking her on a quick jaunt to Le Guias so she can be anointed and team up properly.

This actually provides for some conflict as Mizuki is upset that she can't just take Gottess herself since she feels she's a better pilot than Sayuri. Sayuri's actually doing really well with it and her heath has improved considerably since gaining its power but she can understand where Mizuki is coming from since she can't really fight much anymore. Of course, there's always the chance of the fourth and final robot warrior god being available so just wait a few episodes Mizuki and you too can journey to Le Guias and see if you can be anointed!

On the DC side of things, there's a lot of changes going on there as well as the government has decided to force DC's hands and have laid out an attack on them since they won't surrender peacefully. This allows DC to roll out and smash up lots of stuff which reveals their true nature and only makes those remaining on the inside all the more nervous. Their attempts to flex their muscles end up backfiring to some extent when Ken comes into contact with Dallas and explains to him what's really going on about how the two worlds are close to coming into collision with each other. The possibility of losing his homeworld actually motivates him to challenge Shu and Saphine about things which leads to an amusing peace conference between the two sides at a Chinese restaurant.

While the show does seem like it's getting a bit better and more cohesive as it plays out these storylines and sets things up for the finale, there's one area of blindingly obvious foreshadowing that it's almost comical. Early on, Mizuki laments to her father about the lack of siblings she has after seeing Ken and Sayuri stick together during a bit of a tough time. Her father has a strange look to his face and you have to wonder just what it means. So barely a few scenes later when we learn that Masaki wasn’t born on Le Guias and just mysteriously appeared one day, well, the clue hammer is huge. Even better, Masaki and Mizuki end up getting along pretty well and both Masaki and Mizuki's father seem to hum the same little tune. Oh my…

In Summary:
I can't imagine too many people are still with this series but as it gets close to the finale it seems like some tighter writing has come into play and a bit more focus on things. Too many elements have been left out to rot though and a lot of it seems halfhearted in an attempt to save the series but I'll give them credit for trying. These episodes were a lot more watchable than earlier ones with the action being a bit more interesting and the characters seeming like they're actually acting with some self interest in mind and following that rather than blindly following Ken. I don't have high hopes for the end of the series and enough of it is telegraphed already but I'm looking forward to it being over, something I can't say about a lot of shows.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

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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