Lost Universe Vol. #3 - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Lost Universe

Lost Universe Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     November 14, 2000
Release Date: November 14, 2000

Lost Universe Vol. #3
© ADV Films

What They Say
Watch as Kain, Canal, and Millie continue their zany adventures. While the Universal Guardians handle most of the peacekeeping in the galaxy, trouble contractor Kain and his crew aboard the Swordbreaker always seem to get stuck with the assignments that nobody else wants. As always, they usually complete their missions, but their methods of operation are a little unusual to say the least. Along with the usual mayhem, in Ultimate Weapons the crew of the Swordbreaker is faced with one of their worst nightmares. The ship's only bathroom is lost in a giant maze??!

The Review!
The third of six volumes for the Lost Universe series is probably overall the best of the ones released so far. While an overall plot is barely hinted at in earlier episodes, it's brought more to the forefront on this disc which makes it much more enjoyable to me.

The two audio tracks, English and Japanese, both sound good. Both tracks have a minor amount of directionality, though the majority of things are center channel focused. The English track escapes the usual hollow sound I find in so many dubs and for the most part sounds pretty good. Some of the script changes were a bit annoying however.

The video is definitely an improvement over the first two volumes which would almost feel a bit rushed to meet street dates while playing catch-up. This volumes video is significantly better, though there are still some source material issues that cause some soft areas and some line noise among some of the animation. Our Pioneer player on the main setup didn't exhibit any noteworthy artifacting or any solid issues. Colors for the most part are pretty solid, though not really standing out due to the style used. Probably the best looking scenes throughout are the CG exterior shots of the Swordbreaker ship. The black space backgrounds in these shots are perfectly black and look great. It's too bad the budget that went to the CG didn't go the budget of the animation though.

With the first episode of the show being called "Toilet Fears", the cover blurb has the obvious joke: Flushed into space! Yes, yes. Get the groans out now. The cover is pretty decent, though I have to admit at first glance I can't even remember these characters names. The back gives a good summary of the show and the technical specs of the disc. The insert's pretty nice with a one-sheet style for the front with the main cast and the reverse side listing the episodes and their respective chapters.

I have to admit, the simple bit added to the menu of the zoom/flash makes a nice touch and a menu transition that isn't bulky or slow at all. Access times are pretty good and since there's only one level below the main menu, very easy to navigate around.

The one downside to the release is the so far absolute lack of extras, including textless openings and endings.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The four episodes on the disc are pretty good and start moving things into the larger overall plot. The first two are more of the typical episodic fair, though with some good humor to them.

Toilet Fears, a rather amusing title in itself, brings into play a mysterious device from an ancient civilization that the group finds in an abandoned ship inside an off-limits zone of space. The device causes particular rooms in a ship to change place, which leads to some chaotic fun and allows Millie to learn some interesting things about Kain's past.

Vagrancy Decides is a pretty average episode that really doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense in the end. A colonization ship in search of a planet has people inside turning their cargo into black market merchandise and selling it off to rogues who visit the ship and barter for it. The ship has apparently been searching for 40 years, but this is as far as they've gotten? The inside story with Kain and Millie ends up dealing with a group of kids who are fighting for their basketball court. Kain manages to repeat a particular line about a dozen or so times throughout the episode, leading me to believe writers block was definitely in effect for this particular episode. After the hints in the previous episode, this one gets a bit disappointing.

The final two episodes, Friendship Scatters and Rain of Tears End, are probably two that I've enjoyed more than other episodes so far. The crew of the Swordbreaker take on a cargo ship bodyguard job alongside several other Trouble Contractors and some Universal Guardians. The cargo company has had some really big pirating thefts lately, so they've hired out to ensure the cargo gets to where they need to go.

While waiting for the assignment to start, Kain meets up with an old friend whose running guard duty for one of the other cargo ships and they proceed to try and drink each other under the table. During their partying, they make a bet to see who will buy the drinks the next time around and they end up swapping which ships they're providing guard duty for.

This is particularly bad as the mysterious group who is out there to take down the Lost Ship of Kain's ends up going after his friend instead. There's quite a bit of good starship battles throughout both episodes though they're a mix of CG and animation. There's several decent surprises through both episodes as well as the appearance of more Lost Ships. The bigger story starts to come into view and hopefully shows up more fully in the next couple of episodes.

Lost Universe isn't on my must-have list, but I'm enjoying it more than it's comparative series, Slayers. This disc was a definite improvement over the first couple though, so if you've enjoyed those, you'll really enjoy this set of episodes.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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