Melody of Oblivion Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     May 12, 2006
Release Date: April 25, 2006


Melody of Oblivion Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
"Remembering that Melody
The final battle of all humanity begins! Bocca and his fellow warriors battle against the Leader of Monster Agent. But they are all surprised when they have to face off against another Aibar machine. Bocca finally arrives at the Melody Playhouse to confront the Monster King. As the battle for humanity enters the crucial stage, the secret of the Melody of Oblivion is at last revealed. Will the Monsters win the war against the humans once again, or will a single sacrifice save the world?"


The Review!
Wrapping it all up in a set of visually beautiful episodes, Melody of Oblivion closes with a very unsatisfying ending.

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. The last episode during the final credits sequence that has the Japanese text has two instances where the top third of the screen turns into a series of large blocks but it lasts barely a second or two.

Packaging:
The final cover works with the style set by the series and brings in most of the characters that have had a really key role to the show and lets them shine together here, though of course it can't have everyone that really needs to be there. The covers have used the materials from the Japanese releases pretty well though I wonder whether the muted look has worked well for it in terms of actually grabbing people off the shelf. 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 Bocca and Sayoko together.

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 are a bit more interesting in this volume. We get another round of production gallery pieces (which are labeled as thus on the cover as well now instead of production notes) but we also get a final entry of the "columns" which covers the karaoke aspect of one of the episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Melody of Oblivion has been a hugely erratic and uneven series throughout its run and it's little surprise that the ending plays out in much the same way. So much has gone on before this and the lead up to this finale of a battle in space was fairly big in terms of the amount of episodes covered for it that once there, the show really takes advantage of the new locale and Monster's involved.

The arrival of the Maharoba in space brings us much closer to where the Monster King may truly be as the space station is where the big Silent Operation is being launched from. Of course, under the command of Child Dragon, Bocca and company have to face a series of attacks and retreats before they're able to get close to where the real battle lay and we're treated to some of the best looking visual scenes this series has yet to offer " which is saying a lot considering how much I've adored the visual design of this world. There are a lot of creative moments as the elevators move in both directions along the axis but the ones that thrilled me the most were the fights along the clear tubes that showcase the Earth below it. It's so visually sleek and has a great sense of depth that it feels almost epic.

Like many of the previous battles that Bocca and the others have fought, it's again a series of feints before we start to get close to the real final battle and Bocca has to figure out what it is inside of him that pushes him to do this kind of job, to be one of the few who will go through the pain and suffering to free people from the controlled peace that the world is under. These events are filled with massive amounts of visual ideas and designs that would surely keep any psychologist very well engaged for a long time just as another Gainax series would have done over ten years ago. This is something that works both for and against the show because it's something where if you've made the effort and put a lot into the show, you'll get a lot out of it and it will have massive replay value as you piece together the ideas and messages that are woven into it. But if it's a show that's been hard to connect with or as uneven as I've found it, it ends up becoming something that's very attractive and pretty to look at but without any real soul.

The sexual overtures of the series also become much bolder in these final episodes which isn't exactly surprising since it's always had an undercurrent to it but it's pretty strong in ways I didn't expect. The relationship between the Warrior's and their Aibar's has been one that has led to interesting discussions, particularly since Bocca's didn't transform for him, but as events play out during the course of their final battle they have to use a bio gel on their bodies that will allow them to operate out in space. But even then, they have to connect properly with their Aibar's in order to works seamlessly and this means the three main warriors all find themselves naked, rubbing each other down with gel, and spanking their Aibar's with arrows to get them going. It's even worse for Tone who hasn't really worked out her relationship with Skyblue and the two end up in a strangely erotic sequence with much of it done through carefully planned angles but the inference is quite plain and almost too out of bounds for the show.

Even more unusual is one of the places that at first has no apparent connection to everything going on is a beautiful countryside farm where there are dozens of young women dressed in bikini's with the standard cow design on them. And they have cowbells for earrings. And they just make mooing sounds. It's weird enough to see them milling about or playing in the fields but when the show goes to them being stripped down and then milked " offscreen for part of it at least " with all the aural sounds you can imagine it just goes beyond what this series has been about. It feels so completely out of place that it even when you find out its connection to the main storyline that you can't help but find it to be a hugely pandering piece of fluff.

In Summary:
The design of the series is one that's kept me very interested in it as it's progressed with its gorgeous visuals and the feeling of a world that's normal but not quite right if you were looking at it from the proper angle. The storyline itself felt this way for awhile as it moved in disjointed fashion to tell its various tales in order to establish the way the world worked but it was the kind of story where you have to really invest a lot of yourself mentally in order to be able to enjoy it and get something from it. It's a series that will play much better I think in larger chunks instead of two month breaks between volumes due to the way everything has meaning and is connected. If you don't have it in you to make the effort that the show requires then you won't get as much out of it and you may find it to be as uneven and difficult to enjoy as I did. This isn't a series for a casual fan but one of those rare titles that will be an unearthed gem for some that they wish more would enjoy. Unfortunately, it's a series that in total I can't recommend checking out unless you fit into the caveats above.

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

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set to 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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