IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix Vol. #6 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • 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: 24.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: IPGX: Immortal Grand Prix

IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     December 01, 2006
Release Date: November 14, 2006

IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix Vol. #6
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
Amy's leg is healed and Takeshi is out of his funk. So, it looks like Team Satomi is back to 100% and they have to be against Team Sledgemamma because Yamma is staking his job on winning. Team Satomi has perfected working as team but at the annual IGPX Festival, they don't do so well at the individual events. But they don't mind. They have bigger things to worry about like racing against Team Velshtein in the semi-finals. Hey, wait! Is that Liz in a dress?! What's she doing in a fashion show?

The Review!
Things are moving swiftly towards the finals and the teams continue to get paired down while the tension mounts.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The full release has a good set of audio selections as there are 5.1 and stereo mixes for both Japanese and English. The Japanese 5.1 mix that we listened to is very solid and the kind of track you expect from Production IG in that there is a good deal of activity across the rear speakers and plenty of directionality with the forward soundstage. The mix in general is really good as it's very strong right from the opening song and through the various race/fight sequences, such as when they go through the hoops and around the loops. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback on either of the 5.1 language tracks.

Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Not unlike many other Production I.G. series, IGPX is a visual treat that takes the kind of work that they've done on Stand Alone Complex and shows that it can work with just about any other kind of show. The production values in the show are very apparent with the transfer here as the meshing of CG and animation looks fantastic, colors are beautifully vibrant and solid and there's a depth and feel to it that makes it feel so much more alive than many other series. While the Stand Alone Complex material is dark and beautiful, IGPX turns on the lights and shines it on a very interestingly animated world. The transfer here is spot on throughout and the only area where it's slightly off is some of the CG has some jaggies to it during various panning moments but these were only visible the closer I sat to the screen.

Still using the mixed layout of having the racers and their equipment done in a split format, we get some good looking artwork of the racer in its action mode as well as the headshot of the pilot character is in the background. The back cover is lighter in tone as it has everything set against the wide open sky as it provides a decent summary of the premise. The discs features, episode titles and numbers as well as the extras are clearly listed but the technical grid is the usual minimal kind we get from Bandai releases " there isn't even any mention of the discs being an anamorphic widescreen release. No insert was included with this release.

The menus, done by Littlehaus, are pretty decent with the main menu has about half of it given over to a waving CG checkered flag that has the navigation and logo on top of it while the rest plays out clips from the show through an interlaced style filter. The menus load nice and fast, the layout is quick and easy to use and I like that they did the language selection in that once you select something it's highlighted afterwards so you know that it took. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Unsurprisingly as the series gets closer to the end, the extras continue to get less and less. This volume provides a look at the IGPX pilot movie cut.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The character development side of the series doesn't exactly take a back seat here but it's interspersed with much more in the way of actual races going on in this volume. Whereas the last set of episodes dealt with getting Takeshi back in the drivers seat and working Amy through her problems, this set of episodes is all about the team recapturing what made them such solid racers to begin with and expanding on that.

Most of the conflict between the pilots is out of the way but what little is left, mostly between Takeshi and Liz, gets worked through in the midst of a race as they become completely dependent on each other to finish it. Things get so bad that all three end up becoming reliant on the others to make it through in what few pieces are left. The competition is barely a blip on the radar for all of this as it's kept mostly to Team Satomi and their struggles. That's not unexpected though as they're focusing much more on getting the team back to its former glory and ready for the final trials that are ahead. This really serves as the capping point to the last several episodes that have dealt with the way the team has fallen apart in different ways.

With that out of the way, they go for something of a comedy episode in order to lighten the mood and provide a bit more of a break between the races. Something of a fashion show is put on with each team being able to send one of their racers in for it " male or female " and they go through a series of events before a winner is chosen. Some of it is indeed a fashion show, where they get all dressed up for the big night and show off, but they also include some IG racing events as well, such as using them to go through something of an obstacle course. It's amusing to see the racers going through such a thing since they have to do climbing and other movements they normally don't. The real humor is in that Liz is really pushed forward to win the competition and does so willingly because she wants the prize money. It's not necessarily an ugly duckling kind of story but it does let Liz really show off.

The last two episodes of this volume are all centered around the races that lead up to the finals. With the final volume containing the last three episodes, everything in that will deal with the two teams that make it there. That leaves this volume to go through the events with Team White Snow and Team Velshtein. Each of the races are obviously very well paced and they have a real sense of tension to them since it comes at the same time that Team Satomi is really getting it all back together again. Where the really interesting parts come for me is when the race against Velshtein gets underway and it plays something of a flashback in the middle of the race to when Kaiser and Rocket George were top of the heap. We've had snippets of their pasts shown before and their rivalry is certainly easy to see, but this gets deeper into the reasons why. In some ways, it's hard to reconcile the images of Rocket George in his prime with him as Andrei today.

In Summary:
This volume plays out very quickly once it gets to the races. The only real slowdown is the comedy episode but that's just fun to watch after everything that's come before that it's a great diversion. When it comes to the races though, it's very fast and a lot of fun to watch. The change in how the characters are acting now, much closer to their ambitious selves from the first season, is great to see again. IGPX has a real energy around it with these races and some fun if fairly standard characters. It may not be the most imaginative story out there, but it has a real sense of design to it and the animation and characters are all top not pieces. Production I.G. has taken a concept that I don't think would have flown in most other hands and really ran with it.

Japanese 2.0 Language,Japanese 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,IGPX Movie Pilot

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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