Kurau: Phantom Memory Vol. #5 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kurau: Phantom Memory

Kurau: Phantom Memory Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     December 04, 2007
Release Date: December 11, 2007

Kurau: Phantom Memory Vol. #5
© ADV Films

What They Say
The barriers between good and evil shatter as a shocking series of revelations turn Kurau’s world upside down! While Ayaka finally learns the truth about her family’s murder, Kurau and Christmas are confronted with horrifying evidence that their opponents may have been right all along! And if the Rynax really are a deadly threat to Humanity, on whose side must they stand? With allegiances to ones own species in question, boundaries between friend and foe cease to exist and surprising new alliances are formed! But as more rogue Rynax appear and the body count continues to rise, only Kurau can prevent the holocaust that may engulf both sides! The fate of two races lies at stake in the fifth volume of Kurau Phantom Memory!

The Review!
The revelations continue to come, albeit slowly, and a pair of very dangerous new Ryna Sapiens appear on the scene.

The two audio tracks included on this release are quite solid though the edge definitely goes to the English track. The Japanese track is presented in its original 2.0 mix encoded at 224 kbps. The mix for it is pretty dynamic with lots of nice bass to it and some good directionality to the action effects and dialogue. The English 5.1 mix is done at 448 kbps and really comes across as a much stronger and more focused mix. The subwoofer in particular has a much stronger effect here and radically changes how several of the action sequences play out as well as the opening and closing sequences. In listening to both tracks, we didn't have any troubles with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Like many series from BONES, this one has a very wide range to it in terms of its color palette and overall animation. Going through this release a couple of times I'm hard pressed to really find any issue with it outside of some minor gradient problems in the backgrounds and a small touch of cross coloration in some line work once or twice. Colors look fantastic and nicely saturated, backgrounds maintain a solid feel without any noticeable noise or breakup and the fluid moments of animation are very clean. This is a very clean and solid looking release.

Similar in design to the previous releases in the series, this cover provides the pairing of Kurau and Christmas together with some really well done illustration pieces. The background is once more a hodgepodge of different colors and shapes along with what looks to be the interior of a futuristic car. The back cover takes the yellows and silvers once more and puts the whole thing at a couple of angles. The summary reads well as its kept level but the pictures and production information is all given at an angle. The technical grid is as well but at a different angle and still quite readable. The insert is a three panel fold-out that has several text interviews with the creative staff as well as shots of the original cover art. The cover for this release is not reversible.

The menu design for the show at the moment doesn't really seem to make much sense as it adapts part of the background from the cover as its basis. Using dark grays and navy blues as the color mix, wisps of energy float around the mechanical designs that are hidden pretty well in the background. The top level has individual episode selection and submenus for languages and extras as well as a preview for the next volume. The layout is quick and easy to navigate and while it doesn't look like anything in particular it does have a sense of style to it. Access times are nice and fast and the disc correctly read our players' language presets.

This volume of the series has a couple of good extras on it. The opening and closing sequences are presented in their clean format and we get a round of production artwork as well. A "key words" section covers various phrases relevant to this new world and there's also a set of Japanese CD spots.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The fifth installment of the series performs a couple of turns in order to set things up for the ending that's due in the next volume. One storyline is cut off quickly in order to provide an emotional boost, one that doesn't last long at that, before it shifts into dealing with a pair of powerful new Ryna Sapiens. And along the way we find out that Ayaka may not be such a bad woman after all. Everyone hug and make up! It's all Rynax energy under the bridge.

The storyline involving Yvon didn't last long in the grand scheme of things but it seemed like it would be more important to events than what happened. With the loss of Jessica, Yvon is distraught over everything and isn't sure exactly how to go forward with his life, or if he even wants to. He's being helped by Kurau and Christmas, with Christmas taking a special liking to him as she wants to comfort him during this painful time. Yvon is a bit irrational though and he intends to strike back at those that caused his true loves death and that can only lead to more pain. Yvon hasn't exactly been an interesting character but having someone who wasn't able to find his pair for so long and then to grasp at something that made him feel complete has made him far more interesting than most other Ryna Sapiens we've seen, including Kurau and Christmas.

The storyline involving him finishes out fairly quickly and we're left with a situation that has both Christmas and Kurau upset, angry and simply quite sad. With the way his body was failing as well as his emotional state, it wasn't a surprise to see him go out in a blaze of glory. Yet the reason for this, in order to provide more emotional impact for Christmas and Kurau, is given such a small amount of lip service that it was pretty much a waste. It doesn't take long for Yvon to almost be relegated to a footnote as the next storyline kicks in after a brief period through which some changes in other relationships occur. The introduction of Ayaka as someone a bit more sympathetic than she used to be is good, but coming off the heels of Yvon's death makes it feel forced and you wonder if it will have any real impact considering how quickly he was dealt with.

Where the show starts to get back on track, albeit in a way that feels forced, is in the introduction of a pair of twins who work for the GPO that have been Rynax-upgraded. Their purpose is to hunt down Kurau and Christmas as well as any other rogue Ryna Sapiens but the GPO has once again underestimated things. The twins are compelled by the Rynax energy to do something different and their mentality is almost childlike in the way they manipulate the world. Their goal is the opposite of what the GPO wants as both of them intend to capture Kurau in order to bring more of their kind over to this wide world. Kurau is unaware of this and is trying to help them once she finds out about their existence, which of course leads to a natural confrontation. The twins are actually quite violent in their own way which is a shock to both girls at first since they can't make the connection easily.

In Summary:
Kurau is really a great Agent on the uptake, isn't she? Each volume of this series has me coming back to the same questions over and over. For a lead character who is seemingly quite smart and competent, she makes the wrong choices continually, often based through emotion. She reacts instead of being proactive and she doesn't seem to realize the scope of the problem, even after others tell her all about it. This set of episodes left me feeling the same as previous ones in that there are glimmers of interesting moments but it just doesn't come together in an engaging way. None of the characters are really sympathetic at this point and watching them all die off one by one wouldn't be a negative. I'm curious to see how it will all end and whether it will be anything like the train wreck we see in these episodes.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,Key Words Glossary,Production Artwork Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI 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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