Glass Fleet Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Glass Fleet

Glass Fleet Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     January 16, 2008
Release Date: January 08, 2008

Glass Fleet Vol. #3
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
War on a grand scale has erupted among the stars! The People's Army's hope for victory begins to grow and flourish as lords once neutral begin to fall in line behind revolution, shifting the balance of power. Only the impending battle between two men of power and destiny can overshadow the carnage of what is to come.

Michel Volban's desperate search for one that would lead them to freedom and Cleo's solemn vow to return the Royal Family to glory were at once one path and also untangled. Through the haze of such conflict, only the strongest of leaders can remain unbowed in the face of so much tragedy. Like all revolutions before, peace only comes after royal blood has been spilled. The wind has calmed, but the fires of war rage more fiercely than ever...

Contains episodes 11-14.
Life a Hungry Wolf
Like the Setting Sun
Like a Labyrinth
Like Daybreak

The Review!
The battle picks up steam as sides become more clearly defined, but Vetti has some aces up his sleeve with inside people in the People's Army.

FUNimation has gone with a pretty standard setup for the audio presentation with this release by including three tracks. The original Japanese track, done at 256 kbps, is what we listened to primarily and the stereo mix is pretty solid. The big action sequences have some nice directionality to them but there isn't much of a sense of depth. Dialogue is well placed when necessary and in general the mix serves the material well. The English stereo track is essentially a copy of that and gets the job done. Also included, but set as the third language track instead of the primary for some reason, is a 5.1 English mix done at 448 kbps. This adds a bit more punch to things and some greater clarity and bass to enhance the bigger scenes. We spot checked the English tracks and with the Japanese track we had no problems with dropouts or distortion during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2006, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The visual presentation of Glass Fleet had me really intrigued during segments of it as FUNimation suitably bumped up the bit rate during numerous scenes. These heightened areas tend to come across as more solid and problem free. They're still the minority however as enough of the scenes with noise in the background with some low level blocking continues to show through. A good chunk of the show is still done at a bit rate of five or less which with as many episodes and languages are here still feels too low. The biggest surprise was that the majority of the space sequences with the green backgrounds tended to look good. They didn't shine but they didn't look as bad as I thought they might.

The artwork for this series is something that likely makes it a hard sell, though it's certainly appealing in its own way due to the rough and angular nature of it. This installment puts Michel in the center while those who support him are ringed around him. The focus is on him but it's also drawn heavily to his blood red sword.. The logo looks good with its angled look and glass features but overall there's a certain darkness to it that makes it a hard draw for a casual buyer. The back cover, done sideways, features a good shot of Cleo and Michel along one side and more of the cast on the other. In between is a summary of the shows premise and a breakdown of the episodes with their titles. The bottom portion is filled out with the usual production information and a technical grid, all of which is done as white on black and is fairly readable. No insert is included nor is there a reversible cover.

The menu layout utilizes the cover artwork of the cast of characters for the right half of it while the left half contains the logo and navigation. The black background is kept from the cover as well which when combined with the music gives it a fairly good look and feel. There is a certain simplicity to what's presented here to set the mood for the show. Access times are solid with the standard FUNimation navigation design and we had no problems moving about. With the use of multiple angles and with mislabeled subtitle, we went for a direct setup and didn't rely on player presets.

There's a new seven minute and eight minute interview session from the Japanese DVD release which sits us down with the man behind the mechanical designs of the series. He runs through the usual elements, such as impressions about the show and his involvement in it, and shows off some of the designs and how they came to the end results. Also included are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences, though it's worth noting we do not get the new ending sequence in clean form yet.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Moving to the halfway mark of the series, Glass Fleet sort of confounds me here with this volume. The show moves into a fairly epic moment rather quickly as the battle between Vetti and Michel takes center stage and various forces align around them. Just as things reach a real crescendo and the series aims to change its direction, we're treated to a full length episode of recap material of the past twelve episodes. Recap episodes are bad enough in series twice the length of this, but they're even worse when it hits at the halfway mark. Especially when things are so up in the air as to how it will proceed, I can imagine this being really bothersome when watched on a weekly basis.

Prior to the recap, events move forward quickly after Michel was able to bring B.B. over to the People's Army side. That has gained them quite a bit of support, but in the numbers game they still come up short in comparison to what Vetti has aligned behind him. But as Cleo tells them, it's not about the numbers so they shouldn't be reliant just on that. Will and determination are far more important, and that's becoming a problem as most of those that have now signed on are intent on just letting the People's Army handle the fighting and supplying them with weapons and equipment. That's certainly useful, but it's not all that they need in order to take down Vetti. Cleo is simply amused by it all since in his mind it's all going to be his in the end anyway, so it's likely best to let everyone else fight it out for a bit.

This turns into quite the challenge for Michel and others at the upper levels since they now have more political infighting to deal with within their own group. And even that comes at a bad time as apparently there is someone on the inside of their core group that's working to secure some kind of mutual peace treaty with Vetti and has leaked their plans. The sudden arrival of a massive sized armada from the Holy Emperor leads to a pitched battle between the two sides that's played out on several levels. The action and large scale battle scenes are fun, though they very much point to a space opera and very little science, and there are some good moments as some of the better known secondary characters make their moves and reveal their true intentions.

As strong as it gets at times, particularly when Cleo makes his personal advance on Vetti in order to settle the score, much of the momentum is lost when it suddenly drops us into that recap episode. When things get back to normal, or at least something resembling it, with the last episode on this volume it really starts to take shape more. The cast has been splintered due to the events of the battle and everyone has to deal with very different issues. Michel in particular should be interesting to watch as his hidden identity becomes known to Vetti, who himself is going through changes having finally married Rachel. She's the crafty one that will have to be watched for the remainder of the series as it's continually apparent that she's using Vetti as much as he's using her, if not more so.

Glass Fleet is a hard series to really pin down, though it's very much clear about being a space opera with little grounding in science. We've known that for some time, but the large battle in this episode only cements it further with ships ramming the large territories, the ridiculous movements in space and so forth. While that's easy enough to deal with, the pacing of the series is another issue. The recap really pushes this hard as it feels like it's all over the map. Recaps are generally like this, but it's even more apparent here as the recap doesn't give a good progression of events for the twelve episodes we've seen. No characters are really singled out for it and the focus that you would get in some of the better recaps is simply absent.

In Summary:
The second volume of Glass Fleet helped to turn things around after some very chaotic opening episodes, but this volume starts to lose some of the momentum from there. While the scope and intent of the series is pretty plain, the pacing and characters really aren't helping to move it along well. We do get some good material that explains Vetti's background more, i.e. that he wasn't loved properly as a child, and the back and forth between him and Cleo hits a nice new level. But the inclusion of a really unnecessary recap and a peak in the story that may have come too soon has me unsure of whether they can pull off the second half of the show well enough. Hopefully there won't be any more recaps though.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Japanese Interviews,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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