Mania Grade: B+
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- 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: Central Park Media
- MSRP: 19.99
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Hades Project Zeorymer
Hades Project Zeorymer Vol. #1: Separation
By Chris Beveridge
June 11, 2003
Release Date: June 10, 2003
Hades Project Zeorymer Vol. #1: Separation
What They Say
© Central Park Media
High school student Masato Akitsu led a normal life until his parents revealed that he is a genetically engineered life form. 15 years ago, the Hau Dragon Corporation created Masato to pilot the giant fighting robot, the Zeorymer, and take over the planet. Now Masato must take control of the monstrous robot and battle for survival, or be destroyed! Contains parts 1&2. The Review!Audio:
For our primary review session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. While with the original release from NuTech this was the only option, a new English dub has been commissioned for this release, which we skimmed through and had no problems with. With its age, there's not a lot to really say about the audio here other than its serviceable. Dialogue is clean, we didn't hear any crackling or other age related problems. The show does a decent job of filling the front soundstage with no real noticeable directionality.Video:
While no side by side comparisons have been done, the transfer here seems pretty much as we remembered from the original release, though without the additional problems of burned in subtitles. The print here has the original Japanese text for the opening and ending sequences as well. There's a bit of rainbowing scattered throughout, mostly in the tightly drawn areas such as noses and occasional bruises and the like. The show is fairly dark overall, so there was a small amount of background breakup and color banding. A number of the backgrounds looked really sweet here though, with the colors showing off nicely. There's a fair amount of small nicks and scratches throughout the episodes though. The overly large subtitles, which are burned into the video, sometimes get a bit fuzzy around the edges, but that may just be how they were done when this print was first struck.Packaging:
The front cover has the main image that was used for the VHS, laserdisc and previous DVD release, with the trio of main characters standing out with the Zeorymer in the background. The only difference this time around is a different background color and a lot more nice logo stylings. The back cover has a nice image of some of the bad guys from these episodes as well as a decent summary of the shows premise. The features and technical information is also nice and clearly listed. The reverse cover of this clear keepcase has some more black and white artwork and lists each episodes chapters as well as bilingual voice actor credits.Menu:
The main menu here is a very nice looking piece in tone with the new logo and looks like it belongs with a much fresher looking show. Bits of code stream in the background while animation moves along while the foreground has the selections lined up in bars next to an image of the lead character. Access times are nice and fast and the menus are easy to get around in. Though once again, I foolishly complain about the fact that the menus start the program automatically after a short time and language selection takes you into the show as opposed to back to the menu, making me shake both my fist and remote at the sky while grinding my teeth to the letters of CPM.Extras:
While the original release had no extras, this one fairs only slightly better with three very brief art galleries. One for basic artwork such as original covers, another for sketches and a final one for character designs.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This disc contains the first two OVA's of the four OVA series. Being a late 80's OVA, it's got itself some serious style, but also a brief run, so it has to tell a lot of information fast, to get things up to speed.
We're introduced to our "hero" of the show, Masato Akitsu, as he's being chased down dark dank alleys by several large men. He's quickly captured, and taken to a holding cell somewhere. He begs for release, promising to do anything. His captor, always wearing sunglasses, brings his parents into view and gives them a briefcase full of money.
Masato learns that he was adopted, and that his parents knew it would last only so long. It's a cruel way to learn it, and Masato is turned upside down with the information. His mother, who never utters a word, is visibly shaken by this, but his father is certain what they've done. They take their money and move on with their lives, leaving Masato in his jailors hands. Hands that want the teen to be a fair bit wild, to a point where he'll be willing to kill.
On the other side of the coin, we're introduced to the Princess of the Hau Bang group, an immense group whose used their Tekkoryu corporation to expand their plans to become lords of the underworld. The princess has a group of men and women under her whose sole purpose in life is to pilot their gene-coded mecha. There's eight total, but one was stolen years ago, the one that's arguably the most powerful, the Zeorymer.
The Hau Bang have decided that now is the time to bring their plans to fruition, to make their mark on the world. The first order of business is to eliminate the Zeorymer so that there can be no threat to their power. Each of the pilots vies for the job, but it's given to the Princess' lover. He makes his way off to find the Zeorymer, which ties in with Masato learning of his own background.
Masato learns that he, and the woman at the complex he finds himself in now, were genetically bred to be the the two pilots of the powerful Zeorymer. The organization that's done this isn't really disclosed, and it's hard to tell what their goals are, and whether they're actually government men or not. But it matters little when Masato is thrust into the Zeorymer with Miku, and the Hau Bang's Lanstar mecha arrives to pummel it.
There are a couple of reasons why I adore this show, just from these two episodes alone;
The designs of the mecha and the bad guys is very much Chinese oriented, which brings some interesting style to the show, similar to the appeal of Outlaw Star. The mecha themselves are very reminiscent of what we've seen in Gasaraki, with their more ancient look as opposed to the whole Gundam/Eva style of mecha.
The bad guys, while simple, are also fairly complex for the couple of episodes we're introduced to them. Their plans are straightforward and no nonsense; conquer the world to become its masters. Achieve by any means necessary. There's some interesting looks to the enemy and their motivations, which can be hard to do when you only have two episodes to start with.
Masato himself. There's definitely more to be learned, but the young man thrust into the fight with no knowledge is always interesting. The first thing many people will think is Evangelion with Shinji all over, but those expecting a Shinji are going to be in for a surprise. As Masato goes through the two battles here, he takes on an almost different personality...
He enjoys doing this. The power at his fingertips, the control he has, the feel of it all. Masato goes out there and kicks some serious ass and takes no prisoners. This alone is a simple joy after so many years of whiny brats complaining about their great power/great responsibility gig.
CPM’s re-release of this title takes care of at least one of my problems with the original, and that being the hard subtitles. Having the clean print here definitely makes for a more enjoyable show psychologically. The addition of the dub means that hopefully more people will actually try it out and enjoy it. I do wish that my other complaint, the fact that the four OVAs were split across two discs, would be fixed, but at least the price has been reduced by a third over the original NuTech release, which does in the end offer a better value. This show continues to be a favorite and one that I certainly don’t mind watching more than once.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art & Sketch Gallery,Character Profiles,Hades Project Zeorymer Trailer
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers