Infinite Ryvius Vol. #4 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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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: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Infinite Ryvius

Infinite Ryvius Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     March 25, 2004
Release Date: April 27, 2004

Infinite Ryvius Vol. #4
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
Hurtling through space towards a dense plasma phenomena known as the Sea of Geduld and certain death, the remaining crew of a doomed space station must figure out a way to save themselves. Unfortunately, this is a crew of teenage trainees who have lost their instructors and who are faced with the daunting task of applying their limited skills to a life and death first mission. Forced to pilot the ship Ryvius out of the space station, these intrepid teens now face the long hard journey home. In these episodes, chaos breaks out when everyone learns that Airs Blue intended to take the Vital Guarder for himself and abandon the crew! Riots ensue and Airs Blue takes to hiding, leaving his friends to take the brunt of the students' anger. Juli replaces him as leader, but the points system remains in place and causes further discontent. This program contains episodes 15-18: "Deforming World," "Free Order," "Incomprehensible," and "Smiling With You."

The Review!
The command level of the Ryvius continues to change more and more as events unfold.

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.

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 also a slight feel of film grain throughout the print as well.

Part of Bandai?s Platinum Edition series, the first thing you?ll see is the thin strip along the top that indicates that status. Continuing the style of the earlier volumes with the black background with white line artwork of various elements from the show, it?s overlaid by a full color shot of Airs Blue wielding his pistol and giving his casual dark look. 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 ships. The back of the insert is the standard production credits and bilingual cast listings. Included in our copy was a single pencil board that has the shot of Blue from the cover on it.

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.

The extras section is pleasantly full once more with a variety of Japanese extras that add some humor to an otherwise pretty heavy show. The fourth variant on the opening sequence is presented in a textless form here, once again letting you try to find all the minor changes as the series progresses. There are a few brief commercial spots for the various singles and soundtracks, all fully subtitled. One of the features I continue to like a lot is the Ryvius Illusion internet pieces, and these don't slack off in the comedy department at all. But what really had me chuckling as they played out this time was the art gallery/audio commentary pieces about Kouji's attempts to get the first limited edition release and dealing with people who have it or want it, giving him grief and aggravation over it. Very cute stuff, though I wish the art galleries weren't completely identical for each. Since this is the only way we'll ever likely see Drama CDs brought over, I really hope someone gives it a try.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It seems like with every batch of episodes, the situation on board this ship changes so dramatically that it's hard to maintain any real sense of continuity to it. The early part of the series handled the training facility falling into the depths of the Geduld and the students escape onto the Ryivus. Then we dealt with the Zwei trying to maintain order and get things under control as they discovered this strange new ship they were all stranded on. That order didn't last too long as Airs Blue and his group then moved onto the stage and took over command of the ship and used his gang to enforce his will upon the Zwei and the rest of the students.

Blue's style of dominance is one of a few that can work well in these kinds of situations, where fear and a sense of retribution will keep people in line and working. With his methods of installing supervisors over the other students and the points system, he's made it clear that there are rewards to be had if you play by his rules. If not, you end up either without points or like someone like Lucson. But even Blue can overplay his hand, something that he does during one of the battles here. The Ryvius is still being pursued by a variety of ships since their initial escape out of the Geduld and the most recent one is their most dogged pursuer yet with their own Vital Guarder. It's an interesting one if only for its design with a huge drill on the front.

The ships commander is intent on destroying the Ryvius at all costs at this point, partially due to the collapse of part of his mind over it. Watching his mental descent is rather fun as he's continually beaten back from each near victory by the way the kids manage to think of something and pull it off. Things do look hopeless for awhile though, especially when the Guarder the Ryvius are separated for a time. Those on board the Ryvius decide to try and continue on for Hyperion since they know that Blue will try to get there while those on board the Guarder system think of a way to get back to the Ryvius. But that's actually not in Blue's gameplan since he's just interested in getting to Hyperion with the Guarder. As he goes on, he says what he really thinks of the Ryvius' students and what his goals are to some extent. Of course, this is the classic downfall of a villain since you know that someone is recording it and playing it back for the student body at large. It's a sequence that firmly cements Heiger's status as a follower and not a leader as he mentions later on, since he's the type who will do what's necessary but isn't the one to rally others to the same cause.

So it's little surprise that there's another coup of sorts that happens and the Zwei manage to pull off, somewhat reluctantly for some of them, a quick enough trick to be able to pin all the blame on Blue's group of thugs and redirect the anger there. Kouji's getting troubled over this and it doesn't sit well with everyone, but it's the next Big Lie that gets foisted out on the ship. Life on board the ship continues to change and evolve as well, especially once the 'tyranny' of Blue's group is behind them and people find themselves slacking off more and abusing their privileges to get what they want. While the Zwei have managed to retain some control after being dislodged, they're finding themselves in control of a situation far more unstable than the one they were in under Blue.

In Summary:
There's a lot of changes with the characters here as several of the key ones are thrown into completely new situations and we get some confirmations of how feelings run with others, and that starts to bring more to the surface with them. Though there's still a lot of mystery going on with these giant advanced ships themselves and their alien-like control systems that really need to start getting explained, the core story of the kids and how they're handling being in these situations is the strongest part of the show and continues to be the most enjoyable. This series just doesn't have that extra oomph to get people raving about it though and that's a shame since it's so enjoyable and well plotted.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Soundtrack Commercials,Ryvius Illusion,Art Gallery w/Audio Dramas

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, 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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