Geisters: Fractions of the Earth Vol. #2 - 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: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Anime Crash
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Geisters: Fractions of the Earth

Geisters: Fractions of the Earth Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     December 01, 2004
Release Date: October 19, 2004


Geisters: Fractions of the Earth Vol. #2
© Anime Crash


What They Say
Get ready for Dean Honos, Alcion Fama, Cris Vesta, Victor Deicius, and Shai Tanna... together they are the Geisters - an ultimate fighting force with powers, abilities, and weapons far beyond that of normal humans. They are mankind's last hope.

Things get hot and heavy when bad intelligence about weapons stockpiles sends the team into a trap set by Shioru insurgents.

The Review!
With the threat of the Siliconians growing, those in power are making plans to go as far as needed to ensure their own safety, at least visibly.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its Japanese language version. The series sports a rather strong stereo mix that has a good amount of directionality and some forceful oomph to the track in general. Dialogue comes across nice and clear throughout it. We spot checked both the English 5.1 track and the stereo track and noticed no real issues. The 5.1 mix appears to take the already solid stereo mix and gives it a bit more clarity and distinctness.

Video:
Originally airing in Japan during 2001, the Geisters transfer here looks very good in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show makes a lot of use of the CG animation, and it's fairly reflective of what was coming out in 2001, so the CG pieces have a lot of shading and vibrancy to them but avoid the cross coloration issue. The more traditional animation comes across very well at the same time with some very solid looking bright colors and the backgrounds maintaining a solid feel. This also avoids the cross coloration issue for the most part though there are a few minor instances spread across the five episodes. It's fairly negligible overall though. Aliasing is minimal but does existing during some of the panning sequences. The transfer in general looks pretty solid and problem free.

Packaging:
The release is packaged rather nicely all told with a cardboard slipcover. The slipcover has the cast shot of the key women in the series so far with Cris in the center of it while using a good looking blue background and ghosted imagery with it. The back of the slipcover provides a decent summary of the shows premise and provides a few shots of animation. The discs extras and features are pretty clearly listed, though it's missing one or two things like the region encoding. And it may just be me, but the DVD logo just doesn't quite look like the official DVD logo for some reason. Once you pop off the slipcover, the clear keepcase has a front cover shot of one of the Geisters in the regular armored outfit set against a red hued background that has various images from the show, some easier to pick out than others. The back of the keepcase uses the same summary and features/extras listing but has a few different animation shots. The reverse side cover is an interesting black and white piece that takes Alcion's character design and provides a close-up of it with a full color version of it in the lower right. The reverse side back cover has summaries for each of the four episodes and a shot of animation to go with it. The insert, which is a bit thicker than the normal paper ones, has a decent cast shot of the five Geisters together in their regular uniforms. The reverse side provides a biography of the Alcion character with a timeline of him and some basic information.

Menu:
The menu layout uses animation from the show of one of the Geister ships moving through a tunnel that's done in all CG. This is one of the best looking pieces of CG in the show since it's not mixing with traditional animation and it just looks great as a menu. The series logo is the core of the menu selection menu down along the bottom where all the usual access points are. The menus load quickly and without transitional animation to slow it down.

Extras:
The extras are pretty minimal here but this doesn't look like a series with a lot of bonus material to begin with. The shows original Korean opening sequence is provided here and it really highlights the difference in storytelling styles between the two cultures in what they want to emphasize just from the opening sequence. There's also an art gallery that has a number of images from the show that you can manually move through. Added for this volume is a behind the scenes piece with the dub where they talk with the voice actors about the show and their characters

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though it's been some time between volumes, the basic premise of the show came back pretty quickly once it kicks in. The series also has the helpful advantage of the prologue to each episode having a brief narration of what happened in the previous episode so that also worked to bring things back up to speed quickly.

The first volume had a pretty sizeable job to do of bringing this pretty different world into focus and lining up the various pieces that are going to be important. Mixing a lot of politics and intrigue into it, albeit not in the best way, along with plenty of action and general big monster rampaging fun, the series has a lot of variety to it. Add in five or six lead characters in the Geisters themselves plus all the attendant secondary characters and it's a fairly wide cast to follow. This volume tries to move the larger plot forward while also giving us some more character depth. We got to know Alcion a bit in the previous volume by seeing his street ruffian past and that plays into this volume rather well.

The only character getting much in the way of real exploration this time around is Cris, who we get to see during her younger years with her affection for her older brother whom she lost to war. Her life of privilege and innocence isn't explored deeply but you get enough along the surface to make guesses as to how it was and how the loss of Lares causes her to shift gears and become who she is now, much to the distraught of her parents. With Cris starting to take more of a central role in the team, it helps to get to know her a bit better, particularly as so many of the regular soldiers around Dobias seem enamored with her but not in an overly familiar way.

A good chunk of these episodes are given over to the testing of the new bio suits that Elecia's group have come up with. These things are nasty in general, though obviously powerful. They're hellish on those who wear them and in a way it's surprising that they're doing the testing with the Geisters themselves wearing them. The process of simply wearing it is draining and damaging, from the liquid solution that they have to absorb and then the wrapped coils of the muscles that constrict their own bodies. The end result, with the full armor on them, is disturbing looking. You have to wonder how their own bodies really fit inside it. Each of them reacts differently to the process and some are better able to handle it than others. But it's a process I can't see any of them enjoying nor wanting to do even with as much power as they get.

Another area that gets touched upon and brings the only real action set piece to these episodes is the continuing problems with the Shioru. They've decided to step up their attacks even though the Siliconians are getting stronger and destroying more areas throughout the land. They've also realized that they need to take down the Geisters first since that'll be the force that will stop them easily if given the chance. So they lure them into a trap in the Silicon Jungle, a crystallized place that reaches into the sky, and set about a lot of traps to try and take them down. Of course, there are some incredibly goofy moments throughout here, such as that the Shioru shoot at them continually but the Geisters are able to block them with their armored arms, but also that when they want to force them into a direction where a trap is, they shoot an arrow at one of their legs and that hits directly and they fall in. Wouldn't it be easier to shoot them all in the less protected legs, blow a few kneecaps off from a distance and then kill them? Ah, cartoon mentalities.

In Summary:
Geisters is a show that feels like it has a lot of possibilities but is just too full of what it's trying to do to pull it off smoothly. The animation in the show is also somewhat problematic; the characters in general look decent but you can see a fair amount of short cuts where they drop details almost completely. Some of the CG material looks really good at times, but doesn't blend all that well. And sometimes the CG looks awful, such as when the liquid solution flows out from the suits and looks like a bad art student meltdown project. The overall mix leaves us with a show with a lot of potential but just too much of a mired production behind it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Korean Opening,Art Gallery,Behind the scenes with US Director & Cast,Slipcase

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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