E's Otherwise Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • 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: 29.98
  • 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     March 11, 2006
Release Date: March 21, 2006


E's Otherwise Vol. #6
© ADV Films


What They Say
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into Gald, all hell breaks loose as Kai, Sherry, Kyou, Maxim, Maria, and the rest of the psychics turn the heat up full blast. Kai is trying to save Hikaru. Shen-Lon just wants his sister, Shin-Lu, back the way she was.

Meanwhile, Eiji is realizing his evil plan is coming to fruition. He wants to rid the world of humans and have a population of only psychics... of which he is now one. Kai still believes the two races can co-exist, but Eiji will have nothing to do with that concept, no matter the cost.

The secret of the Sacrament of Calvaria is finally revealed. Will it mean destruction for Gald? Will Eiji and Ashurum finally succeed in their diabolical plan? Can Yuuki, Kai, and Asuka save the world from what seems to be its inevitable doom and fate?

The Review!
With all the coincidences in place and everyone set up for the finale, E's Otherwise provides for some last minute revelations that strike at the heart of the show.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
The final cover of the series moves to cover one of the most important characters at the end and that's of Hikaru as she gets an animation style design and a really nicely illustrated piece over the filmstrip that has the darkened visage of Gald. The design is nice 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.

Menu:
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 Hikaru hanging while unsconscious on 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.

Extras:
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)
With the final four episodes, the very inconsistent E's Otherwise comes to a close and it does so by bringing in all the coincidences that it's built up in the last several episodes and this volume to ensure everyone is in place. Last minute revelations are at hand that change the nature of several characters and the plans of one man, Eiji Sugimiya, come to fruition with nothing good for humanity in store from it.

The cast has continued to expand over the last couple of volumes but most of them tend to make little of an imprint on your memory. The little jobs that have been done over the course of the series start to fall into place such as the kids being rescued and some of the people Yuuki and Kai have run into as well. Maria is now falling onto the same side as them and recovering in their care while plans are put into motion to deal with what's going on in Ashurum. Things have progressed there to the point where Eiji is ready for his master plan to go into motion now that Hikaru is showing signs of being ready for the change. His pawns continue to work well for him as well but there are cracks there. While Maxim fight against his control at times he's still firmly in Eiji's camp but Shen-Long has progressed to being more interested in saving his sister than anything else, including dealing with Kai. Fir Shin-Liu though, her changes have solidified and she has little interest in her brother or anyone else, she simply wants to serve Eiji.

This takes on an interesting turn as we get the full look at the manipulation that's been going on with the psychics and how Eiji has been trying to artificially boost them all this time. One of his best controlling elements for them however has been his ability to wipe their memories and load in new ones. We've seen the changes in several of them and his overall disregard for their lives but when that is pushed onto Kai and he learns of his lack of true relations with Hikaru and that his entire past before waking up and eventually going to Gald was just made up, it pushes him even harder to defeat Eiji since he doesn't want to lose the memories that are real to him. The time spent with Kai is now clearer in that we had to know him from then in all the various situations so that we can care about him when we learn that everything prior to that was a lie. This works in some shows and stories but here, where we had a clue that it was likely, it still feels incredibly forced and out of place, just a last minute revelation designed to give Kai the push he needs to do what needs to be done.

And he and the others have quite a bit to do now that Eiji has removed most of the obstacles to his plan. The acquisition of the Sacrament of Calvaria is now in his hands and by using the resources of Ashurum, he's had an ongoing "redevelopment" plan for Gald in the works which has been building his massive structure that will harness the power of prayer by certain individuals as well as the power of Hikaru in order to remove humanity from the world and let psychics take over as is their true place in the scheme of things. Naturally, having twisted so many psychics' to be loyal to him, he'll be able to grab a lot of power in this new world that he's after that only a few people can stop.

For a series ending volume, it's not that bad and it pulls a lot of things together while leaving plenty open at the end. It's not a satisfying ending though, or rather, it's not a satisfying epilogue as things are still left vague in a few areas. What's really problematic though is that when you look at the series long term, the elements from the first volume that I liked the most were the ones most quickly ejected by the second volume as the show changed into something completely different. I really liked some of where things seemed to be going at first but once it moved out of that direction, the show took a lot of what I thought were inconsistent and generally uninteresting moves. Some of the material was still funny and enjoyable for what it was but as an overall project it lacked something that really kept it all together, simply because while we knew Eiji was evil, he and most of those under his power could be off screen for several episodes at a time. When you change the elements of danger to smaller issues and people and leave the big bad alone for so long, it invites a lack of interest and that's really what happened. The series planning for E's Otherwise was its own worst enemy as it felt like it was done with darts and a couple of plot ideas.

In Summary:
A lot of series have come and gone recently and there are always those that you hate to see go, but E's Otherwise is a show that I won't have much memory of once that final keepcase is closed up and locked. It had some really fun moments at time, such as the surprisingly cute drag sequences, but the show proved more frustrating in the long run than I expected. It's original intent being just a sham to move to the actual story left me wondering what kind of show I was really getting into and now at the end it's one that I realize I've seen before many times and one that missed a lot of opportunities along the way. Fans of the show have received a solid release overall but for everyone else this is one to wait for a price down collection or cheap singles if you have an interest. As an overall series it doesn't have enough to hold it all together for multiple viewings, if that.

Features
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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