Figure 17 Vol. #5 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Figure 17

Figure 17 Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     May 31, 2004
Release Date: May 25, 2004

Figure 17 Vol. #5
© Media Blasters

What They Say
The events of today from this point on will cause the bond between the two girls to grow ever stronger, but little do the girls know that something strange is happening to Hikaru...

The Review!
Reeling from the events of the last volume, the girls have to deal with a new reality while the threat of the Maguar becomes even more dangerous.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo track here is decent, though the bulk of the show is dialogue based which means the center channel is getting most of the workout. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.

Originally airing on SkyPerfecTV back in 2001 and broadcasting just one episode a month, we get a show that's essentially OVA quality and done in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The end result is a great look transfer for the bulk of the print that shines through beautifully. Colors are lush and deep in many scenes, lots of vibrant moments during the action and fully fluid movement. Saturation is just right throughout and there wasn't any noticeable bleeding. The macroblocking still seems to be continuing in the couple of problem areas, such as the girls hair when they're getting close-ups as well as things like the green chalkboard. Most of the show looks really good, albeit a bit soft in some places, but these areas of macroblocking are pretty noticeable.

Shifting to an orange and yellow styled color shading for the borders, it frames a good action shot of the two girls in the corner while their Figure form leaps into battle. The artwork looks really good with lots of simple clean lines and still some fine details mixed into it. The back cover has a few shots from the show itself and a quick summary of the basic elements. Production information is nicely laid out and we get the usual technical grid. The insert does a color negative style reverse shot of the front cover but with oranges and pinks while laying the chapter listings on top of that. As usual, the reverse side of the insert has boxart advertisements.

Taking the image of the Figure character from the cover and then placing what must have been a sun exploding in her field of vision, the main menu's static image has her being nearly whited out with some orange and yellow flaring along the top side. Selections string across the top and some of the nice instrumental/sort of vocal music plays along. Moving to submenus can be problematic if you're going through all of them in one sitting, since it uses the same transitional animation for each one. Depending on how fast your player can load and access them, this can be tiresome. Our Panasonic loaded it quickly but the Toshiba took a bit longer which got frustrating as we hit each submenu.

A couple of video pieces are included in the extras this time. The first is with the musical director of the show, which runs about two minutes in length. This guy is amusing if only for the fact that he did some of the music work with the guitar with a broken finger he received while bull fighting. You can just visualize him now can't you? The other video extra, also running just over two minutes, is a press conference for the shows production that has the staff making a few comments on it and a preview trailer for it.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Figure 17 continues to move its characters along their paths as each of the story arcs progresses well here and the situations become fairly critical during the course of each of them. While one of them deals with the end of the world for everyone, the other deals with the end of the world for one of them.

Hikaru and Tsubasa's relationship is really all over the map here across the two episodes as Tsubasa is having a hell of a hard time dealing with the loss of Sho. This has to really affect her even more so since she's lost her own mother and already has gone through these kinds of feelings before. And since she and Sho were getting so very close over the last couple of episodes, so much so that she took the balloon ride without even telling Hikaru about it, it's just going so deep into her that she's either crying or simply looking out with lifeless eyes.

The retreat of Tsubasa really starts to get to Hikaru as time goes on and it ends up leading to one of those strange and scary confrontations as each of them lays their feelings on the line as they go on about why they're feeling how they are. Tsubasa manages to get in several hurtful things, though they're honest, and it leads to one of those very rare anime moments as each of them just lets it all out so that they can try and figure out what to do so they can move on. Their relationship reaches one of those watershed moments here, filled with tears and sadness.

But in a very good twist of writing, it doesn't solve things in the long run but rather sets it down another bad path.

For Oldeena and DD, their pursuit of the Maguar has led them to learn more and more about what's going on, such as their reproduction and evolution capabilities as well as how they're getting around underground. The creatures they're fighting are continuing to evolve, enough so that the recent attack patterns that they learned and mastered are becoming ineffective. With winter really hitting Hokkaido now, their encounters are taking on a great visual effect as the whipping winds and snow change how things are done visually, especially when it happens in the darkness of night. There's one really big fight sequence in the first episode and it's really well done watching the two of them go at the Maguar in this setting.

In Summary:
Much like past volumes, while the Maguar threat is a key piece of the storyline and the reason for all of this going on, the real story is the relationship between the girls and the world around them. Figure 17 really does feel like a series that could not have been done if not for being on a pay satellite service since it doesn't play up to what advertisers want. The girls here really continue to change and grow and become more interesting people as it progresses. Figure 17 continues to be a very engaging show, albeit slow and leisurely paced. The mix of the two storylines is very well done and the extended episode lengths really work in its favor. This is very solid storytelling done with real emotion. Very recommended.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Musical Director Interview,Press Conference Video

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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