E's Otherwise Vol. #5 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: E's Otherwise

E's Otherwise Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     January 22, 2006
Release Date: January 24, 2006

E's Otherwise Vol. #5
© ADV Films

What They Say
When a crack team of powerful psychick mutants, known as AESES, is formed to maintain peace and order, will the E's use their powers to save the world-or conquer it?

The Review!
As E's Otherwise races towards its conclusion, this volume serves as something of a transitional piece to ready everything for the end.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The included stereo mix for this track is rather solid and has a very full presence to it. The forward soundstage is well used for a number of directional moments in both dialogue and action effects but it's the music that almost seems to overwhelm it at times with how strong it is across the entirety of it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either track.

Originally airing back in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this release is noticeably better than the previous two volumes. The show is very recent and being done by Pierrot it has a great color palette used for it. The character animation in particular really stands out here and looks great with lots of white used, lots of clean lines and some good detailed areas. The color gradient issue wasn't much of one with this though you can see a few edges here and there but nowhere near as bad as some other series. The blocking issues that were prevalent during the earlier part of the series don't show up at all here, partially due to those areas not being in the show but also from what looks to be better encoding all around.

Avoiding the Japanese release artwork, the cover for this volume has a pair of really nice illustrations of Emiriya, one of them more straightforward while the full color piece has some real flair and style to it. Both The artwork for the characters on the cover continue to look better than the actual in-show design as well. The design is nice though and with the filmstrip piece and coloring it's a decent looking cover. The back cover provides a large shot of one of the leads while providing a filmstrip along the side with a number of shots from the show. The summary is pretty basic across a couple of paragraphs while the remainder of the cover is made up of the production and technical information. No insert is included with this release.

The main menu is a decent piece that's got a bit of minor animation to it but feels more lively than most of the menus ADV's done in recent months. With the main shot being of Emiriya in his standard suit as seen from the front cover along the right, the left of the menu has a rotating circle with the menu selections inside it, including individual episode access. The layout works nicely though the bit of the opening song that plays cuts out too short but that's almost a standard problem with ADV releases in that there isn't a good flow between the end and the start. Access times are nice and fast and the navigation is easy and intuitive. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

The included extras are pretty straightforward and standard fare. The opening and closing are presented in a clean form and there's a round of production. Continuing from the previous volume is a couple of static screens where they do "PSI Records" of the English voice actors as mini-bio's that have some cute bits and gags along with their info.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the series gets closer to its conclusion, volumes like this are key in being able to move the characters into positions where the final bit of storyline will play out and a lot of things tend to either get cleared up or the setup is obvious as the pieces are moved around the game board in a sense. With E's Otherwise, you can see some of this but with the continued foggy storyline that's had so many detours along the way, is there a real storyline to follow through to the end?

The four episodes here follow across a few plots and round out some others. The more interesting ones unfortunately tend to be shuffled to the side and characters that should have more time continue to be relegated to small areas. The opening of the volume for example does some nice material on following Kai as he gets Raphael and the kids set with the real nuns who will take care of them after they all got rescued from the Church's clutches. It's a positive arc that has some happy endings but with it carrying over into this episode it feels almost tacked on instead of getting it squared away earlier. The other arc early on that has some good material deals with the fight that went on between Kai and Shin-Lu as she's grappling with the forces that are controlling her and trying to avoid fighting. Her personality wavers once more and Shen-Long finally starts to seem like he's getting a clue but his overprotective nature sends them right back to Ashurum where Shin-Lu will find herself set up for being controlled even more. There is some minor movement in this arc but it's given something like five minutes or less across all of these volumes and that hurts.

Where the stories do get somewhat interesting is the one that follows Yuuki and Asuka as they're now working with Maria to go visit the guerilla base so that they can figure out what to do with Asuka since she's being sought after. There are a few key moments throughout this that we learn important elements that will be used later on, since both Kai and Yuuki are working on finding the Sacrament and what it really means. Yuuki, being the smarter of the two and the one with the real information network at his fingertips, is able to come up with an interesting idea about the entire concept of the Sacrament and works it from there as he's getting the general vibe that Maria isn't telling all that she should be. Particularly when they start bringing in more information about the guerilla's being psychics that have an agenda that may conflict with his or at least bring a lot of conflict to an area he calls home.

For all the areas that the four episodes cover, such as Sherry and Kouta's minor attacks and following around Yuuki and the others as well as a few moments where we learn once again about what kind of power that Kai's little sister has, the volume really doesn't seem to achieve a heck of a lot. There are a few political moves that go on and the characters do move around to a number of settings and meet up with others, sometimes gaining a few tidbits of information, but overall it doesn't feel like a lot was really accomplished here. Each of the episodes has some nice moments to them where the characters interactions have a touch of payoff but overall it's the kind of show where if you were watching it on a weekly basis you'd wonder why. In this form you can see some of the larger picture but even that feels so badly obscured that you can't remember why you were watching it.

In Summary:
As the series has gone along what I keep coming back to is that the show that was presented at first simply isn't the show it wants to be even though it keeps bringing in certain aspects of it, such as Shin-Lu and Shen-Long and much of what takes place in Ashurum. It's more interested in the tale being told in Galt, a lot of which has been episodic and only mildly interesting and terribly unconnected to the larger picture other than creating the bond between Yuuki and Kai. It's interesting enough on its own but when it continues to mix in the other elements of church and state, psychics and social upheaval, it all just feels overburdened and poorly paced and laid out. This is a show where the series structure, based on the manga, just falls apart. And it's very surprising considering the person in charge of it has done some rather good material before in terms of scripts but very little with action structure. E's Otherwise continues to be a series that's a struggle to watch.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Actor PSI Profiles,Production sketches,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set to 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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