Melody of Oblivion Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Melody of Oblivion

Melody of Oblivion Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     October 18, 2005
Release Date: October 25, 2005


Melody of Oblivion Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
A new town, a new problem. Bocca and Sayoko continue their search for Kurofune and the Melody of Oblivion. They come to a place where Bocca helps out as a bodyguard. A recent series of truck hijackings may be the result of monsters. But what Bocca discovers reveals something even more troubling, causing our heroes to lose one of their own in this battle with the monsters.


The Review!
Bocca's journey takes him to a new area where part of his past comes back and the larger picture starts to come to light.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Both the English and Japanese track are stereo mixes which are pretty decent but not all that engaging. A few areas make decent use of the entire forward soundstage, usually the key action moments or some of the music, but the bulk of the shows dialogue is through the center channel. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show is done with some very interesting colors and style that sets it apart from a lot of other series, particularly in how the backgrounds look almost incomplete in a sense or like very stylized pieces of coloring with something akin to crayons but with much more detail. The series plays up the mysterious angle a lot so we get some interesting red and white sky backgrounds that helps change the feel of the rest of the color palette. The transfer itself looks really good here with crisp clean colors, very solid and problem free line work and no cross coloration or much in the way of gradient issues. With the style used in the show, the transfer really makes it stand out all the more and it looks great here.

Packaging:
Similar in style to the previous volumes, the cover art this time around goes for the new group that's introduced here that will be changing the dynamic of the series a bit as it goes on. With it being the standard pose shot, they look decent but not terribly exciting though it'll add a bit of perk with the cute girl in school uniform added to it. The back cover shifts to a reddish background with a mixture of bricks and other shades while providing a few pictures and episode numbers and titles along the right side. The left side has a couple of paragraphs worth of summary of the premise that doesn't give too much away as well as the discs very basic features. The bottom section fills out the production information and then mostly just logos. The lack of basic technical information in an easy to find location here continues to really annoy me on what are generally otherwise very good looking covers. Geneon goes the extra mile here with the reversible cover that also uses the Japanese artwork, this time with the melody girl and Global Wildcat.

Menu:
The main menu uses the layout of the front cover but without the extra text to it and changes that to the navigational strip. The character artwork looks decent and fairly well cleaned up compared to the first menu or two where things looked a bit more jagged. A brief clip of music plays along to it as well as shifts of animation in an motion piece next to them but it's all fairly short. Access times are nice and fast and navigation is easy through the menus. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets.

Extras:
The extras and setup menus are combined once more and it continues to be something I just don't like. The menus are pretty minimal here with only a brief production art gallery included.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shows like Melody of Oblivion can be a bit frustrating since they do something a number of shows are guilty of and that's introducing the main cast of characters in the opening sequence even if some of them don't show up for, say, twelve episodes or so. So when the series actually reaches the point where the characters come in, you already know to some extent where things will end up with them. After all, if they're all standing happily together in the opening, chances are high that things will turn out good.

The previous volume cleaned up and finishes the arc that it hard started, and I like how they're breaking down each of the arcs and labeling them as chapters before going into the individual episodes. A new chapter starts with this volume that runs three episodes and the start of the next chapter is with the fourth episode. The three episode arc on this volume is rather good and not quite as dark and gloomy as the past ones have been as we followed Bocca on his journey that's taken him now to a city by the bay where a large number of factories exist. The place is having a bit of trouble as their delivery trucks of important equipment are being stopped by what must be monsters as there are massive holes in the sides of them when they do find them.

Bocca's been by himself for a bit doing some training so it's not until he makes it into the city that he comes across Sayoko, who herself had an interesting run in with a young pink haired girl who was quoting books. Bocca's brought in to the manager of the factories in the area, a man named Monkey, who is interested in hiring him for as long as possible to guard the deliveries going out as well as more. The massive factories here are all for serving one point and that's the massive Engine One that's there. Engine Two apparently was lost in the bay itself but plans are afoot to raise it out. While Bocca won't take on the job full time, he's interested enough since there's the possibility of Monsters involved for him to check out a couple of them.

And those people are certainly game as they attack the next delivery out and Bocca gets wrapped up in a rather engaging and intriguing kind of battle with them. In a nice change of pace though, they opt to let words rule for once and after providing each other with a challenge Bocca agrees to go with them to their place in order to try and understand what they're up to as they're not actually part of the Monster Union. This is where the past comes into play as old man Tsunagi turns up here and is working with this group in order to fight off the Monsters from something more critical than Bocca knows about. While the show has been rather earth-bound and in keeping with how things have worked since the Monster Union won and took over, this one provides some good back story on how humanity was trying to win at the end of the fight in the previous century and some of the lengths they were prepared to go to – and how the Monsters are trying to use that old technology now.

Similar to the first two volumes, I'm still having a hard time really putting my finger on this show and getting it in a way. I'm fully enjoying it but something is just gnawing at the back of my mind about it. The visual style continues to be highly appealing as I love the way the shadows are done with the red and that the life of the world feels like it's in standstill unless you're one of the people actively doing something. This set of episodes also brings in some interesting new characters to the fold, from the pink haired Coco who is definitely much more than she seems as well as what appears to be the leader of the Monster Union, a rather confident but quiet green haired woman who has the appearance of having some big things in store. This arc is nicely self contained but it also opens up a lot of possibilities for the second half of the series in terms of where it's going to go.

In Summary:
This series continues to be on that wins over people just by the oddity of its design and feel since it doesn't seem like most other shows out there. It's certainly got a plot though and it's enjoyable enough as it slowly reveals its many layers but it's still primarily for me running on style and visuals right now. More questions are answered in this set of episodes though of course more questions are raised at the same time. Melody of the Oblivion is the kind of series that really needs time to grow on you and to reveal its charms unlike some series that smack you up hard in the first few minutes of the first episode. Slowly but surely it is winning me over though.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Production Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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