Divergence Eve Misaki Chronicles Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Divergence Eve

Divergence Eve Misaki Chronicles Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     February 21, 2006
Release Date: February 28, 2006


Divergence Eve Misaki Chronicles Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
A glimpse into her father’s past triggers something in Misaki, sending shockwaves through time and space. Behind the temporal barrier, the Earth suddenly phases out as Watcher’s Nest phases in! The time: shortly before the exodus.
The remaining Seraphim pilots are called to investigate, which flings Suzanna head-on into a jarring encounter with reality. But her shock is only a tremor compared to the shock everyone gets upon the return of someone else: the shadowy Lieutenant Commander LeBlanc. With the Ghoul poised to invade, the ladies of Seraphim must decide whether to bend to his hidden agenda and form a makeshift alliance that may seal their fate!
A universe at stake! An irrevocable choice! Don’t miss a minute of the intricate intrigue and spine-tingling suspense of Misaki Chronicles!

The Review!
As Misaki confronts her past she realizes what she needs to be able to cope with it all is the help of her friends who are stranded in a twisted present.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series has a fairly standard stereo mix to it that does have some rather good directionality during a number of scenes, particularly the exterior ones inside the armor suits. With the characters, it's a fairly decent dialogue show and there is a lot going on but it's never excessively going to one side or the other though it does shift from time to time. Overall, the dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we haven't had any trouble with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either language track.

Video:
Originally airing back in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. In watching the four episodes on this volume, I'm hard pressed to find anything to complain or nitpick about. With such bright colors, solid areas and great looking computer animation mixed in, the transfer is essentially flawless here. Colors are solid without any noticeable blocking, cross coloration is non-existent and color gradient issues simply aren't here. Add in a lack of grain or aliasing and this is just a beautifully detailed transfer.

Packaging:
The cover artwork here has some great looking character artwork as most of the team is together and strutting their stuff in their skintight uniforms but it's set against a completely black background which just gives the whole thing a bit too dark of a feel in some ways. The designs are great and it's a standard pose that works well but something just feels a touch off about it, especially after watching the episodes. The back cover provides a few shots from the show alongside a summary of the premise as well as a listing of the extras which all works well and doesn’t crowd each other not provide more than is really necessary. The bottom half is filled out with the production credits and technical grid and contains all the useful information in very easy to find format. The cover for this release isn't reversible but the other side is taken advantage of through the clear keepcase with an illustration of Misaki and a couple of others at the beach wearing nothing but threads. Threads that I think they're trying to pass off as swimsuits. The fanservice level is huge, particularly of the catgirl like nature of one of them.

Menu:
The menu layout is well done here as it continues the same kind of font as the previous season and uses a grid style faded in background that lets the character artwork of Susanna and Kiri in the foreground really stand out with its colors and shading. The layout itself is fine and navigation is easy and the colors work out nicely compared to the previous volume. Access times are nice and fast and the disc correctly read our players' language presets without issue and played accordingly.

Extras:
The basics are included here such as the clean opening and closing seqeunces. Another neat but somewhat awkward inclusion is the mini-manga for the show; it's done with the pages as their own screens and translations to the left but it is unfortunate it couldn't be printed.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Misaki Chronicles season of Divergence Eve manages to be a little more linear and easy to understand for a lot of this volume in comparison to the opening volume which took its sweet time to explain why we were seeing so many variations of Misaki throughout history. We only get one trip through history this time though it's an important one before the good Dr. LeBlanc once more becomes involved in everything that's going on.

The trip into the past that Ertiana takes this time around brings her to 2305 on the allied forces naval base where the initial rounds of testing is ongoing with the first generation rampart models that are being pushed deep down under the water in order to simulate what they'll experience out on the real Watcher's Nest dives. The tests are problematic as the machines are having trouble working in general so that the unmanned program is going wrong fairly often. Ertiana makes her way through the rather happy go lucky military crew that's on the base, notably the pilots of course, and tries to figure out exactly what Misaki is up to at this point in time. When she finds that she's spending a good deal of time with Misaki's father who is one of the best of the best pilots there it starts to get clearer. For Misaki though, she's confronted once more by her own child self about what's being hidden within her own mind that's forcing her to avoid the real problem of her attempts in rewriting the history of the world.

Confronted on so many sides, this version/vision of Misaki finally breaks down and the nature of the wave that surrounds the Earth changes and forces Ertiana and the others to go back to where they initially lost Misaki and have to rescue a fragment of her from the Ghoul entity that has her and the specular that's there. All of this happens as the "beyond human" version of LeBlanc starts appearing across whatever monitors suit his need and he starts talking about the real secrets behind the Watcher's Nest and what was learned about it early on but hidden from everyone else. There really aren't any surprises in this regard as we get an idea about what the place was originally built for or at least what they believe it was originally built for but the confirmation of it and now forcing the military folks to really try to fix what they've screwed up so badly works rather well here.

While there continues to be a good mix of technobabble going on here as they explain the why and how of the messed up timelines that are going on, the story itself is still very much working through an interesting number of concepts from what's usually left to the more hard science fiction novel areas. It's rare to see something this convoluted in anime today especially in a show that's been pushed early on as being all about the giant breasts. This season seems to be more inclined to explain what's going on in this volume as there are a number of characters who are aware of things that weren't the first time around. Back then, LeBlanc had a clue but he also seemed to be half mad and could be taken seriously only so far. As we know more going through this volume, the stakes are clearer by the end and the setup for the last batch of episodes is done in such a way that both the larger picture and the very personal picture of Misaki herself are both areas that will be key to saving everything.

In Summary:
With every volume of this show I have to chuckle at myself as I remember how much I was dreading this show based on what I knew of it beforehand. By the end of each volume my mind is trying to make sure that I've got all the concepts and ideas pushed by the show in order to right the universe right in my own mind. This volume does some great work in showing the motivations of several characters on conscious and subconscious levels as we explore the past a bit with Misaki's father but also as the real threat comes to light and everyone works to figure out the best way to deal with it regardless of the sacrifice involved. It's hard to say these characters have grown since we got to know many of them but one thing is for certain and that's that they all perform well under incredible pressure. There's so much going on and at stake as these episodes progress that I'm practically at the edge of my seat waiting to see how it all plays out. This is one of the best science fiction series out there right now.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Mini-Manga,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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