Lost Universe vol. #6 - 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: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Lost Universe

Lost Universe vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     April 21, 2001
Release Date: April 21, 2001


Lost Universe vol. #6
© ADV Films


What They Say
Someone has turned the universe upside down! Millie and Nina are adrift in space! Rail Claymore is running for his life! Kain is hiding out! And Kali has just taken over the Universal Guardians! The only thing that could make matters worse is if an evil rival suddenly destroyed Swordbreaker.
Oops. Maybe we spoke too soon. Things look bad, but the psi-blade master never says "die". Surely Kain will come out on top as he always has. There's no such thing as an invincible villain. Is there?

The Review!
With this volume, the series finally comes to its conclusion. The setup in disc 5 started to pique our interest and things here do bring things to a fairly satisfying conclusion.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to the show in its original language of Japanese. Throughout the show, there's a fair number of directional effects on the front soundstage with the starship combat and a few of the more close and personal fight sequences. The majority of the dialogue is center channel based though, and there were no noticeable problems with it. The soundtrack is basically what you can expect from a typical TV series.

Video:
Things look up a bit better here on this disc than in previous ones, but there's still some minor things. Some of the CG animation continues to produce some ugly looking jaggies, but the main downside is the source material which just continues to look flat and lifeless in a lot of places. The amount of outsourced animation in these final episodes is practically non-existent so there's a fair level of quality. It doesn't look like the entire budget went into the end of the series, but it looks like they kept things mostly in house. Overall the quality of the last disc is slightly ahead of most of the earlier releases but for the most part, you know what to expect if you've bought previous volumes.

Packaging:
With the final volume, they at long last produce a good looking cover. The image of Volfield overseeing the final battle between Kain and and his arch nemesis from Nightmare. The back cover has the usual suspects of a few animation shots, some menu captures and a brief summary of the disc. The insert provides a nicer looking version of the cover (without the laugh worthy "It's his duty to kick some booty" line on it) on one side and the chapter listings on the other.

Menus:
The menus are the simple layout they've been since the beginning. With simple layering, access times are fast and moving between menus is a breeze. The main menu has a still shot with some music playing behind it, but no transition images when you move to the submenus like one of the earlier discs.

Extras:
Zip. Zero. Nada.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There's a lot going on here.

Early on we deal with Rail and his internal struggle with the Lost Ship that he's taken control of. The ship begins to fight back, which is fairly easy for him as he's been around a long time. Rail does seem to know quite a lot about the Lost Ships and their histories, and once he escapes from the Lost Ship, he ends up being rescued by Millie and Nina and tells the tale. What he doesn't tell unfortunately is his motivation and the why of what he did. This doesn't really get explained to any satisfaction later in the disc, resulting in the character being very poorly written.

We also get some interesting flashbacks via Canal to when Kain's grandmother piloted the ship during her final days. The tale is pretty interesting even if it does set up the obvious new weapon aboard the Swordbreaker that nobody knew or talked about before. The old version of Canal is definitely an interesting design, especially in the transformation to the way she is know and how she grew up alongside Kain.

With the return of Rail's Lost Ship to the Nightmare folks, Kali inherits it and is assigned to take down Kain with it. Since the Swordbreaker is in hiding while performing repairs and heading towards Nightmare's base, Kali does her best to attract his attention. Blowing up planets should do it, yes? Kain of course cannot let this happen as it goes against his hero type, but the resulting battle and the sacrifices made are pretty interesting, especially on Kali's part with her Lost Ship.

The final battle begins soon afterwards with the Transformer that is Dark Star. In a rather amusing moment, the space station base that Nightmare has ends up combining with the Gore Nova Lost Ship and transforms into a spiky ball of pure evil. Wow, I can't believe I actually got to say that. With all the main cast now assembled and back together, Kain heads over to the Dark Star to take down his arch nemesis in person. The battle between them is pretty decent (though the banter is more serious in the sub) and the exterior battle between Canal and Gore Nova is rather intense.

In the end, the final arc of the series is better than the first arc and the filler. But that's not saying all that much really. It almost could have been pulled off as a thirteen episode series with just the second half and some tweaking and tightening up of the script. The reflection portion of the last episode is rather well done also, moving between somber and uplifting and keeping you guessing as to the end result. Of course, things set up easily enough for a second season, but I don't think that'll ever happen.

Lost Universe is a series that really benefited from being on fewer discs. With the final two having five episodes each, it gave those who weren't too sure about continuing on a good incentive and hopefully they'll enjoy the show for what it is, a light SF fantasy romp about good vs. evil. And cute hologram girls.

Features
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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