Infinite Ryvius Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Infinite Ryvius

Infinite Ryvius Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     September 12, 2003
Release Date: October 21, 2003


Infinite Ryvius Vol. #1
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
2225 AD an act of sabotage has sent a space station plummeting towards a dense plasma phenomena known as the Sea of Geduld. With only hours to spare before the collapse of the entire station, a group of teens, training on-board the ship will seek safety aboard the Ryvius, an interstellar spacecraft hidden deep inside the station. With the adult crew and instructors killed, these young astronauts must rely on their training, courage, and most importantly... each other. Prepare for the journey home.

The Review!
The lives of 487 teens take a drastic turn when their orbital academy becomes the subject of a hijacking.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The series was done in Pro-Logic with the bulk of the dialogue coming through the center channel. The music fills the stereo channels nicely giving it a much fuller feel. Through regular playback, we had no issues with dropouts or distortions on either language track.

Video:
Originally airing back in 1999, Infinite Ryvius comes across looking quite good here for the most part but not without a few issues. The bulk of the problems come in the form of the cross coloration issue, which features prominently during the second closing sequence. Since that’s colored manga style artwork, it’s almost alive with the shifting rainbows. This also shows up throughout the episodes at various times but not consistently. Colors look good throughout without any bleeding. Mid range shots look a bit soft and lacking in detail for the characters. There’s a slight feel of film grain throughout the print as well.

Packaging:
Part of Bandai’s Platinum Edition series, the first thing you’ll see is the thin strip along the top that indicates that. These continue to be much thinner than some of the early artwork indicates which is a huge plus. The front cover for the opening volume focuses on Kouji while white line artwork against darkened backgrounds from the series fill in behind him. The back cover provides a couple of shots from the show and a summary of the way the universe works at this time and a bit of the opening plot. The discs episodes and titles are clearly listed (the spine indicates the volume number too) and the discs basic technical specs and extras are easy to find as well. The insert has another shot of the front cover but with less “clutter” that opens up to two panels that provide some conceptual artwork shots of various locations. The back of the insert is the standard production credits and bilingual cast listings.

Menu:
The menus are nicely done in that they use various pieces from the show such as the monitors and the green theme technical shots to provide animation to go along with the music. Selections are nicely laid out and easy to access, though submenus take a bit to load, as there are some transitional animations to go through.

Extras:
The opening volume has a good selection of extras to get things rolling. The opening and ending sequences (first ones only) are done up in textless form here. There’s a four-minute promotional clip that does a really good job of laying down the foundation of the “universe” the show inhabits. A couple of commercials from the Japanese broadcast are included as well as a music video that’s a remix of the opening song. I only skimmed it since it used shots from beyond the first five episodes and I wanted to avoid any potential spoilers. Also included is the Internet segments entitled “Ryvius Illusion #1”, which is the SD versions of the characters done up in comical situations and was a great way to cap off the disc.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Going into Infinite Ryvius, I had almost no real background on it other than there are a number of die-hard fans that kept asking when it would be released. With no preconceptions other than one trailer recently on another Bandai disc, we slid the disc in and wondered what kind of science fiction show this would be.

While Infinite Ryvius has a lot of teens in it, it manages to work itself into an interesting show. Having been somewhat spoiled lately by the number of adult-cast science fiction shows; it’s almost a little refreshing to slip back into something different again. With a cast of 487 kids in the show, that may seem like overkill, but it plays out nicely.

The series takes place in 2225, eighty years after a solar event has caused widespread destruction and has created a layer of (very heated and dense) gasses throughout the solar system that’s called the Geduld. This plasma sea spreads across the entire solar system and has managed to really slow down interplanetary travel and further expansion. Ships that enter into the Geduld tend to not last long under the immense pressures and gravities hidden within. With it being so dense, very little exploration has been done on it and explanations for the occurrence itself are still a mystery. Looking at the Earth with this plasma sea around it provides a very interesting visual.

The series focus starts off on the Astronaut Training Center called Liebe Delta, a place where hundreds and hundreds of teens from across the solar system come to learn the various trades required for sustaining interplanetary travel. This ranges from basic navigation skills to piloting and all the way to the future version of stewardesses. With journeys often taking many months to go from one place to the next, all kinds of services are required on the varying types of craft that skim the sea of space.

We’re introduced early on to Kouji, the series lead who is leaving Earth to head up to the ATC to become a navigator. His childhood friend Aoi, who keeps trying to get him to realize that she’d make an excellent girlfriend, is also along on the ride as she’s going to be involved in the more customer service end of the training. Through their little chat, we get a nice feel for not only their relationship but also Kouji’s feelings about his younger brother Yuki.

Life on board the Liebe Delta looks interesting, with a lot of kids there. Skipping forward a bit of time into the training, we come up with Kouji and his friend and fellow navigator Ikumi. The two of them look out for each other and get along well. Both of them are also continually oblivious to the advances of the two women who keep trying to get them to realize how good they are for them. The training is coming to a halt for a Dive Holiday, a time when the giant station gets its orbit shift and moved so that it can avoid any problems with the Geduld. Presumably a lot of the kids have left and others are planning to go, so the overall number of cadets is relatively small.

The Dive itself is normally a fair routine operation, routine enough that the high-end class of students called the Zwei has been invited to perform it. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, but something much larger is going on here as some unknown group has infiltrated some of the adult staff. After sabotaging things properly and eliminating some of the other instructors, the Dive begins and all appears to be going well. But once the tampered gear has been found out and they realize they’re very off course; it goes from bad to worse. With only fourteen hours to go, the crew has to figure out a way to save everyone on board before the entire station is crushed in the Geduld.

All of this takes place just in the first two to three episodes and only hints at the changes that are coming after it. There is a larger story taking place here that we get snippets of through the infiltrators and later through other officials. Infinite Ryvius is a series that very much peels back the layers of its story slowly and purposefully, not necessarily teasing out the plot but rather placing everything where it goes and letting it unfold. With the series focusing on 487 kids who have to survive without any adults, it’s something that’s not going to go smoothly or without angst – they are teens after all.

A lot of the rivalries can be discerned just from watching the opening sequence. You get the immediate rivalry between Kouji and his younger brother Yuki. There’s something deep and unsettling about the violence between these two brothers that’s hinted at in a few places. You have the very formal and structured Zwei group who basically assumes command based on their skills. They often find themselves going up against Airs Blue and his group of ruffians who have their own particular skills that make them useful. Add in the usual group of other characters and all the male/female relationships and you have a sizeable but intriguing cast.

And then there’s the mysterious purple clad woman who can read peoples thoughts but can barely be seen by anyone who seems to be manipulating events at times.

The music to the series is quite good, both the vocals and the incidental pieces. The opening and ending songs are quite fun and fit the mood of the show nicely. There’s one lead in during a prologue where the singer keeps an “e” at the end for quite some time that it reminded me a lot of Nina Simone, which then became somewhat more evident during the opening song itself. The incidental music does an excellent job of moving the plot along but also really giving a sense of urgency at the right times. More importantly, during some of the beautiful exterior visuals of the solar system and the Geduld, the score really brings a sense of wonder and awe to it all.

Infinite Ryvius is an engaging show that rolls out a number of surprises in the first five episodes, nudging the story along while making sure most of the cast members get a fair shake at getting good screen time. There’s a lot to this show and it looks like it’s being well plotted so as to not reveal anything before it’s properly time. While there are the usual issues with so many kids as characters, there are differences in the norm as they’re trying to deal with a situation where they would normally have adults. That small change can make all the difference in how they act. This looks to be an interesting and engaging science fiction series.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles.Promo Clip,Textless Opening,Textless Ending,Comercials,VJ Mix Video,Ryvius Illusion

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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