Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: B-
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 39.99
- Running time: 300
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Eat-Man 98
Eat-Man 98 Collected
By Taylor Shann
February 16, 2002
Release Date: April 04, 2000
I bought this on a pretty much "What the hell" basis. I was already getting Trigun and Cowboy Bebop, and I didn't know anything about what this series was about or if it was any good. All I knew was the lure of getting a whole series for such a low price was too tempting not to take a bite (although the concept was incredibly strange). In a nutshell, Bolt Crank- yes, that is his name- is a mercenary who travels around and helps people by eating metal and reproducing it from his hand. In other words, if he eats an axe or a laser gun, he reproduces it later through his hand and proceeds to do away with evildoers.
Not exactly your typical Sailor Moon or DBZ. Not even Ghost in the Shell.
The details- the video is excellent, with smooth animation that never clips or has no noticeable flaws, which is especially nice during the sequences where stuff is coming out of Bolt's hand. The audio is equally fine as well, but it deserves some knocking for only having the first two episodes dubbed (out of twelve.) When I hit episode three and it was suddenly in Japanese dialogue, I thought something had gone haywire with my disc or system. However, upon examining the box, I found a little box
that did say- English only on episodes one and two. Frankly, I think that this is kind of cheap, and that it should have been all or nothing, since the change from sub to dub produces a completely different tone of the show.
The packaging is also an issue. While well drawn, it features bolt against a cityscape and the two other characters, and you can see two additional characters in the foreground. The problem is, all of these characters are exclusive to the first two episodes. There are none of the characters from the rest of the series, or the implication that it's really Bolt's show. It's kind of misleading. The description on the back explains the concept of Bolt and has some nice pictures, and then goes on to brag about what he does during the first disc. Hmm.
The menu is just a standard static image menu, nothing special I did like how each disc has a separate batch of
trailers, and the episode breakup is done well.
As for the show itself, it doesn't really lend itself to this 'the whole series in one set' format. The series has no link between episodes except for Bolt, and the series itself is unevenly distributed: one
two-parter "Bye Bye Aimee", two separate single episodes, the four episode "Ambrosian Days" that spans both discs (definitely the best) then two more two-parters, "Mega Mix" and "The Farcical Dream." I realize that this series is a sequel, but the show seems to be all middle and no beginning or end. "The Farcical Dream" doesn't really answer anything, and "Bye Bye Aimee" isn't the best introduction to Bolt, mainly because of how serious it is.
However, the two single episodes compensate for the slow start and they are small gems of humor and standoffs. Every episode breaks down to Bolt being a walking deus ex machina, and there's really nothing wrong with that. The usually silent hero finally having his say and dispatching the evil-doers makes for great anime, and 'Ambrosian Days' is a small masterpiece of final-fantasyish mumbo jumbo about princesses and demons and evil ambassadors and such. (Oh yes, and a magical sword!)
Back to the world of technology, 'Mega Mix' is like a watered down 'Blade Runner', and while 'Farcical Dream' has some nice drama, it hardly concludes the series. That's part of the problem- it doesn't feel like a whole series, instead it resembles a bunch of episodes that come between the beginning and the end. Much like Bolt himself, it comes, stays awhile, kicks some butt and then leaves.
It may sound like I've been pretty hard on this show, so let me say that I did enjoy it very much overall. It has beautiful character design, great music, an original concept and surprising depth. And for 300 minutes of quality DVD anime, the price is too good to pass up. I liked this show. I'm glad I own it. I hope that Bandai continues this format. I also hope the next series has more connecting it than just it's hero, and that it actually concludes.
Philips Magnavox Region One DVD Player Model DVD405AT, Magnavox 14" TV/VCR with Sony Speakers, Regular AV Cables