Cybuster Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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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: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cybuster

Cybuster Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     August 27, 2005
Release Date: September 20, 2005


Cybuster Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
"HEAVY METAL MECHA & MAYHEM JUST THE WAY YOU LIKE IT!" The destructive forces of Micro Black Hole Cannon are putting the earth in serious danger. Ken and his team mates fly to La Guias once again in order to acquire the forth and last Warrior Robot God. Shu and the remaining mercenaries try to eliminate the rebellion group all together by using the Micro Black Hole Cannon one last time. Can Ken save the earth before it's too late??

The Review!
Ending just like the rest of the series has been, Cybuster is all over the map and has a final episode that is so anticlimactic that you have to wonder who decided to do it last.

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:
The final cover of the series is a great looking piece that has the four warrior god robots in the background in action poses while the main lead cast is in the foreground doing the "gaze into the distance" look that works so well. 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 previous volumes all with silly "Available now!" comments.

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:
The opening and ending sequence to episode twenty five is presented in textless form.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
To be fair up front, the final episode of the series being placed as the final episode isn't exactly the fault of anyone since it's only if you read the back cover of this release do you learn that it was never actually aired on television. The three episodes previous to it though do bring the series to a close and as mentioned above, it's done in the same fashion as the show has been in general, muddled and chaotic and at times fairly nonsensical.

There are a couple of character plots that go on during the first episode or two that deal with some basic issues. One of them is the continuing whininess of Lyune over her not wanting to pilot a warrior god robot because she wants to honor her father by piloting Balcione instead when they decide to take down DC and free it from the tyranny within. She decides to con Ken into taking her to La Guias under the pretense of taking up the role of a pilot but she uses it to challenge the Elder there as to why she has to pilot it and why she'd rather use Balcione. Of course, the Elder is wise and uses common sense and basic logic to confuse Lyune, a character who is nothing short of inept and at times brilliantly stupid.

The other arc that requires the viewer to be all of five years old to understand is the ongoing piece about how Masaki is really Mizuki's older brother. This gets played out once more with a number of harmonica and humming solo moments when their father plays that while gazing at a sunset. There are no real words spoken about it but apparently there's an understanding of who Masaki may be and it strikes at the core of the older man but he still can't really come out and say it. The fact that he gives him the harmonica though is enough indication that he knows as well as the tears that come later. The fact that they don't really do much with this though really makes it feel like a useless piece of the storyline and one that if they were going to use, should have been introduced something like ten episodes prior if not more.

So while all of this is going on, those bad guys at DC are up to no good again and continuing their black hole experiments. Shu has come up with an interesting idea based on what happened to Mizuki way back at the beginning of the show when she was transported to La Guias and has Saphine set up a series of experiments to try and utilize the micro black holes as a way of transporting between the two worlds, something that would allow all of these people to head back home again. Their exile into another dimension and resulting arrival on Earth has been good for them but they really want to get back home for a number of reasons, though for Shu it's no more than his desire to continue to change that world from spirituality to science.

So the experiments get underway and these cause more and more of the ties between the two worlds to be drawn together so that the possibility of collision is even more real, leading the pilots of the warriors gods to head to DC to stop them from doing what they're doing. Enter the climactic battle and to the death fight sequences as the fate of two worlds is in store. Sadly, there are no last minute tricks or ideas that help to elevate the show beyond what it is, so it's pretty easy to figure out exactly what's happening. There are a couple of nice moments here and there as people realize who they are and what their real strengths are but they're extremely weak in the face of an entire series.

The bonus episode I guess you could call it is fairly interesting though as it shows Masaki's origin from the time when he was a five year old boy on Earth and with his father as the destruction of Japan started. This is when he got sucked up into the vortex and landed in La Guias with no memories other than the tune that he continued to hum throughout his life. Through this storyline we get to see how the society of La Guias is made up with its spiritual base and disdain for science. As it takes place after Shu and the others had been exiled, there are those that want to follow in their footsteps and as Masaki gets older we see how a new element rose up to try and change the world from one steeped in superstition to one based in science. It all comes around though as the episode ends where the series sort of begins with Masaki coming through the bright light that brings him to the ruined city on Earth and his first encounter with the DC folks.

In Summary:
There's not much shine you can put on a show like Cybuster. There were a few good moments here and there, particularly in the last volume or two where the storyline seemed to be tightened up a bit and less meandering, but it was so incredibly uneven from the get go and so poorly conceived from the original ideas of what Cybuster was that it's impossible to imagine there are many fans of this. The original ideas that this series presented before the Cybuster itself showed up were interesting enough as it focused on how to rebuild and revive a devastated city but in the end that was merely a prop for what turned into robots bashing robots and characters that looked awful that would rarely stay on model. Cybuster is one of those series that when they say "it should never have been released here" is what they're talking about.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening & Ending For Special Episode

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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