Geneshaft Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Geneshaft

Geneshaft Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     July 25, 2003
Release Date: July 15, 2003


Geneshaft Vol. #2
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
From director Kazuki Akane (Escaflowne) - In deep space, the Bilkis is proceeding with its mission to annihilate the Rings and protect humanity. A small Ring has infiltrated the ship and has begun cloning the crew one by one in an attempt to steal the Shaft. The past comes back to

haunt them when the crew discovers a 21st century space shuttle floating in space! Soon after, the Bilkis is thrown into a new battle and the firing of a new beam weapon which annihilates the enemy Ring. The crew begins to wonder what Mika did, including herself. On their return to base, the crew is in for a nasty surprise!

The Review!
After a very enjoyable first volume, the series continues on and brings in some interesting time portal elements to the storyline.

Audio:
We listened to both audio tracks for this show but we settled on the Japanese track for the majority of the episodes. The dialogue for both tracks is solid with no noticeable dropouts or distortions. With it being a pro-logic mix, there’s some occasional pieces thrown to the rear speakers, primarily in music from what I could tell, but it’s fairly weak and doesn’t add terribly much to the overall presentation.

Video:
Originally airing in 2001, it’s little surprise that this transfer looks just about perfect. The materials for this are very slick looking with a almost a gloss feel to it. Colors are rich and vibrant and aliasing is very minimal. There’s a bit of cross coloration showing up in some of the CG scenes with the Shaft drive, mostly due to the amount of detail in some of the line work. The only other noticeable issue, and it’s more inherent in the source than anything else, is that some of the characters have a bit of an edge to them when set against some of the CG backgrounds.

Packaging:
Going with the tried and true formula, the cover here goes with showcasing two of the women who are very much different from each other. The cover is also the same as the Japanese cover for the second volume, though again it looks like they’ve darkened up the backgrounds to give it more of an “Alien” feel than the more silvery metallic of the original. The series logo is also the same with the exception of it being silver instead of green. The back cover provides a collage strip of images from the show and a couple of short paragraphs of summary. The episode numbers and titles are listed, which is a plus since there’s no volume numbering, as well as a clear list of the discs extras and production list. Strangely, there’s no indication of what languages or subtitles are available on the disc. The insert has another shot of the front cover, though zoomed in a bit, and opens to provide a page of background on the men of the Bilkis as well as a small bit about the Register. The back of the insert has the production credits and a great full list of bilingual voice actors for the entire series.

Menu:
The menus are designed in the same style as the menus the characters use on board their ships, so it has a fun little feel to it, though there’s a slight load-up time when they first come up. The menus are laid out nicely and with a balanced audio with the show, so we weren’t going deaf on one but not the other. Access times are nice and fast and moving around was easy to figure out.

Extras:
The textless opening and ending sequences make another appearance here much to my enjoyment. The Geneshaft Glossary guide continues to act more as liner notes in providing details about both the characters and their motivations as well as tidbits on the sci-fi gear in the show, which makes it something to watch only after the episodes are over since they’re spoiler filled. There are also two small character galleries included here, one of them showing the women on the bridge while the other has a few shots of the trio that works in the debugging room.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having rather enjoyed the world created here in the relatively near future of just a couple hundred years, especially since part of the premise reminded us of some of the older science fiction novels of my fathers that I read when I was a young lad, I was definitely looking forward to seeing more of this universe that was created. The second installment pretty much picks up where things left off.

While there’s various training going on as the Captain makes use of all his assets, ensuring that he can substitute the main driver should he need to with someone else, there’s a fluctuation that indicates a Ring is nearby. The readings are accurate, but it doesn’t visibly show up anywhere and eventually dissipates. What the crew doesn’t know is that it was a rather small Ring and it’s infiltrated the ship. And in a rather interesting twist, it invades the human it comes across and drains them of a lot of their blood, rendering them unconscious. It also then copies their appearance and begins moving about the ship, giving the thing a rather vampiric feel.

This particular Ring has a mission though, which is definitely something giving the indication of not only some level of intelligence instead of random spatial phenomena, and it begins making its way through various crew members so that it can get to a place where it can do some serious damage as well as potentially stealing the Shaft unit. This provides a good main story, but it’s the secondary story that brings some good character information to the surface as well as more revelations about the differences in the men of this age compared to ones past.

The good stuff with the characterizations comes from learning more of what happened between Amigawa and Mika’s best friend Ryoko that’s been haunting her ever since Ryoko died. With the Ring running around the ship and duplicating people, Amigawa reveals what happened there to Mika when she comes across him and keeps him at gunpoint, having fought and chased the Ring duplicate already. The play by play he provides is interesting since it reveals more about him at that time and how different he is now.

That’s all nicely self contained, but it’s the next multipart episode that’s quite a bit of fun. While the Shaft crew all move along nicely into deep space, they’re surprised to find an ancient looking ship drifting along and emitting a distress signal. Surprise of surprise, it’s a NASA space shuttle. The three man crew, all males, have been drifting for a bit and just have no clue what’s going on but are getting the feel that things are all over for them. But when they start getting towed on board this massive and bizarre looking ship they start to wonder what’s in store for them.

As it turns out, they got sucked into a Ring back in the 21st century and ended up here in the future. They’re pretty surprised to see mostly women on board this ship though they have good dealings with the calm and impassive Amigawa. While they’re pretty much quarantined to their shuttle, they do get some sneaky visitors in the form of Mika, Sofia and Tiki. Mika takes a strong liking to them and insists that she can help them adjust from the culture shock to become useful members of modern society. Of course, Amigawa dissents.

The culture shock is part of the fun here since we get all kinds of new revelations along the way as well, and much like the male crew, we get to drop the jaw once in awhile as we learn various aspects of this new future society and evolution of mankind. Of course, many ways of humanity today would shock those a few hundred years ago, so it’s all a matter of perspective, but it makes for enjoyable and engaging storytelling. This two part storyline does a good job of bringing these characters into play and then dealing with the Ring and what it’s attempting to learn. There’s a lot of good character action here as various crew members really start to exert themselves.

Much like the first volume, I’m definitely enjoying this more “pure” science fiction series since it so far avoids a lot of the things that bring others down. The closest thing to that is Tiki with her being the young wild child type, but she’s fairly restrained all told, at least in comparison to other series. There’s just a feel to this show that I really enjoy that’s hard to put my finger on.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Textless Ending,Geneshaft Glossary,Character Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD Recorder, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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