Glass Fleet Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     May 09, 2008
Release Date: May 06, 2008


Glass Fleet Vol. #6
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
War is hell. Salvation is fleeting. As the thunder of war reaches a deafening pitch, all the souls wrapped up in the conflict and prophecy are making preparations to face their destiny head on. The People's Army seeks to solidify its base of power, yet the Holy Emperor still has some moves of his own!

The Imperial fleet rushes forward to take on the growing People's Army, both sides stoic and unflinching, determined to achieve their goals despite the cost. Two men; opposite sides of the same heart. Two blades; one seeking peace, the other only victory. As sanity flees from the battlefield of space, Cleo and Vetti will be released, one upon the other. Prophecy is realized as great heroes bear the burdens set upon them by fate. And in the flames, two lovers will embrace...

Contains episodes 23-26:
Like Scarlet
Like Bloodshed
Like a Blood Edict
Like an Ovation

The Review!
As the Black Cross draws ever near, multiple plans are put into motion for different ways of saving the human race for the purpose of gaining power.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
The final installment of the series is similar to previous ones with the way it's fairly dark and the use of the illustration style. This one goes for an unusual choice by using the shadowed image of Guildy from one of the keye moments of the series in terms of explaining what's going on, but since she's such a rarely used character it doesn't connect quickly or easily. 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 Michel in both forms of dress 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.

Menu:
The menu layout utilizes the cover artwork of Guildy 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 kind of 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.

Extras:
The extras again bring in some of the original Japanese DVD pieces as well as the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences. The Japanese included extra for this volume is what appeared on the final Japanese DVD release in which a broadcast interview with the series director was re-edited in order to provide something a bit smoother and geared more towards what people were interested in about the series, such as its origins and the why behind the style of it all. This runs just under ten minutes and is certainly a good way to cap off the series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
At the conclusion of the series, I have to look back at it as a whole and I'm really unsure of how I feel about it. Glass Fleet had some really interesting moments at times and it definitely went with its own sense of style - and physics - which helped it to stand out. At the same time it was plagued by some awful pacing and plot elements, especially at the beginning, and seemed to want to run through similar paths repeatedly as Cleo and Vetti chased each other in order to deal the final blow that each felt was simply required on an instinctual level.

The final four episodes of Glass Fleet takes what has come before and pushes it towards its logical conclusion. As Vetti and Cleo build up their forces for different reasons in order to move forward, other forces are moving on their own as well. In an unsurprising twist, the Cross Star religion as led by Pope Gorna is getting quite excited by their proximity to the Black Cross as they see their salvation just beyond it. Generations upon generations of belief and the growing closeness of it has pushed many of them over the edge. It's little surprise that Gorna is a bit more logical about it though and believes it only to be a place of destruction and he has no intention of actually going through it. That doesn't reach his followers for quite some time, but Rachel's reaction to it is perfect as he has raised her far better than he expected.

Vetti has little intention of letting him run free when events are moving quickly and he does his best to clamp down on the upper echelons of the order. His focus on doing so is not to just keep them in line as his plans go forward, but also to secure some information from their vast storehouses that could unravel the mystery of what he really needs to do. This small bit of key information leads him to the bracered at the same time that Cleo heads out there to try and talk to him about working together to save all of humanity. What they learn there is both surprising and note as the two have been heavily tied together since they first met. Their past gets explored a bit more through this though and that sets the stage for the finale as it is now formally a brother versus brother event over the fate of everything.

What makes this show so much fun towards the end is seeing how everyone interacts with each other and what sort of chaos ensues. In particular, I have to admit that Rachel really stole the show at times since she turned into one of the more faithful members of the religion and worked towards making it a reality with the kind of cool calm style that can convince people who are easily swayed. The fact that she took it as far as she did, such as offing several characters along the way in her efforts to win over Vetti and that of the Black Cross, only adds to how much fun she is. She's simply not all talk and that goes a long way towards making someone a great misunderstood character. She's not a villain, nor are there really many if any villains to be found here, and that ambiguity has been both a strength of the show and a weakness.

As it all comes together, Glass Fleet covers a lot of ground and provides for a great deal of action. The space battles with the massive yet high maneuverable ships and the numerous territories floating about provide for a lot of fun but there's a lot of character drama a well. When the focus shifts to Vetti and Cleo's pasts, they both become much more interesting than they were before, especially when we see some of the time Cleo spent with Eckardo in his formative years and when he first launched the Glass Battleship. The relationship between Cleo and Michel finally moves forward, though predictable, and at one point it seems like everyone is secretly in love with each other and reveals it when the impending doom of the Black Cross is practically upon them. It's corny, but so many parts of the show have been like that throughout.

In Summary:
In the end, I'm still quite unsure if I actually like this show or not. It had a lot of problems early on both with its storytelling and some of its visual design, but as it started to really get into the show it had a lot of fun and played around with some interesting ideas. At the end, it tries to take it to the large epic level it's been pushing for so long and in some ways it does hit it. With the Black Cross so close and humanity struggling to deal with it in whatever way they can, it's a good backdrop to the more intimate problems of the main cast that we're exposed to. And like any good epic show, the body count does start to rise along the way and you do have to wonder who will get knocked off next. Glass Fleet isn't a mainstream show by any stretch of the imagination and its appeal is going to be quite limited. Those who fall for it though will likely be strong proponents of it and enjoy it for years to come as it has so many different aspects to it that can be played out. For the majority of people though, it's probably just going to turn them away or leave them unsure of whether they actually liked it or not.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,Director's Interview

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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