Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Vol. #03 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Beez
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Vol. #03

By Kim Wolstenholme     October 05, 2005
Release Date: August 15, 2005


Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Vol. #03
© Beez


What They Say
The war between Earth and its space colonies has turned childhood friends Kira and Athrun into enemies. In their Mobile Suits (giant manned robots), they undergo a life-changing epic. Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, one of the latest series situated in the world of Gundam, has been a huge success in Japan and the US.

Kira goes before a disciplinary committee for having helped Lacus to escape. Meanwhile, the whole of the Federation’s 8th Fleet comes to the rescue of the Archangel. But they were not counting on Le Creuset and his men who have no intention on letting them get away. To reach the Earth, the crew of the Archangel once again have to stand up to the four Gundams stolen by ZAFT. Will Kira manage to counter the attack?

The Review!
The third volume of Gundam SEED, continues to move the plot along, but was there really any need for a recap episode?

Audio:

After sampling the English track for disk two, I stuck with the Japanese track this time round and just spot-checked the English track. There’s nothing wrong with either of the language tracks and everything sounds exactly as you’d expect for a Stereo mix. Music, effects and dialogue all come across well.

Video:

The problems that I noticed with the previous release seem to have disappeared with the third disk, and we have a welcome return to the picture quality that could be found on the first disk. Colours are all well represented and the picture overall is nice and clear. The CG shots continue to be a bit jarring, but otherwise everything is fine.

Subtitles are white with a thin black outline and I noticed no grammar or spelling mistakes.

Packaging:

After having a couple of covers dedicated to individual Gundams the third volume gives us a nice action shot of two Gundams fighting with the Archangel in the background making its descent to Earth. It’s a more action oriented cover and conveys the basic premise of the show (i.e. big robots fighting) really well. The logo is nice and clear, as is the volume number for this particular disk. The back cover follows the same layout as the previous ones, with a few shots from the show and the blurb. BEEZ also include a technical grid similar to the ones used by ADV where all the technical disk information can be found quickly and easily.

Once again we get another insert with this release that contains more information about the show. These inserts are a nice additional feature and cover areas that usually do not get explained in any depth (or at all)

Menu:

The menu has been designed to look like what I would term as a console session or a computer screen. Before loading the main menu screen you are prompted to select your language preference, once your preferred language has been selected a brief montage sequence is played before the main menu is displayed. The main menu has a picture of the Blitz Gundam taking up the centre of the screen along with the SEED logo and scenes from the series play in the background. The menu options are displayed at the bottom of the screen, and music from the series overlays the main menu. When you select one of the main options, another screen opens up and the original screen moves to the bottom left hand corner of the screen, although the options on the main menu screen remain selectable. All the submenus are silent, with the exception of the episode selection menu, and access times are nice and quick. The only slight misgiving I had about the menus reside firmly with the language selection screen, which gives no indication of which options have been selected – an oversight on behalf of BEEZ, especially with the number of audio / subtitle options that are included on this release.

Extras:

As per usual the extras start off with the clean opening and closing animation, something that’s so far been on all three disks. Next is the other staple of the Gundam SEED disks – the Character / Mecha files, although these feature different characters on each disk. This time they provide some more information about individual members of the crew on the Archangel as well as some technical detail about the Archangel itself. Production Designs is a new extra and is a slideshow presentation of various initial designs for the series, these are accompanied by music. Finally we have trailers for .hack//sign and Witch Hunter Robin.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)

At the beginning of this disk, it really seems as if the Archangel is destined to be stuck in deep space forever, just managing to stay ahead of ZAFT forces and defending the ship using the experimental Gundam piloted by Kira. At the end of this disk a glimmer of hope emerges for our crew, but not before several more devastating battles are fought against ZAFT.

Initially though, Kira has to face the consequences of his actions in the last episode – namely taking Lacus Clyne off the Archangel and delivering her to Athrun her fiancÚ. While not exactly a Court Martial (after all Kira’s not actually a member of the military at this point), it’s taken fairly seriously with the potential sentence for Kira’s actions being mentioned. Eventually though he’s just let off with a warning, which is better than the two friends who helped him who have been assigned to toilet cleaning duty for a month!

The Archangel is now on its way to meet up with the 8th Fleet who will accompany them back to Earth, but before they can meet up with the fleet ZAFT launch a surprise attack in the 3 stolen Gundams. Once again Kira is up against Gundams with similar abilities and the pilots of Duel, Blitz and Buster really want to bring the Archangel down and are counting on the element of surprise to give them the upper hand. During the battle Kira launches a devastating attack on Duel, the Gundam piloted by Yzak resulting in Yzak suffering quite a nasty injury.

When the Archangel finally meets up with the 8th Fleet, a feeling of relief permeates the ship. The civilians on board can go to a ‘safer’ ship that is part of the 8th Fleet, and Kira and friends can return to a semblance of a normal life – or can they? With the Admiral of the fleet on board, decisions have to be made about what to do with the civilians (i.e. Kira and his friends) who have helped run the Archangel over the past few weeks. It’s interesting to watch how this situation is handled, Natarle Badgiruel wants them made to join the military as they’ve been party to quite a lot of confidential information, while Murrae Rameus is fine to let them go and get on with their own lives. In fact Murrae and Natarle seem to have very different views on how things should be done in general, and this isn’t the first (or last time), they’ve had vastly differing opinions.

In the end Kira and his friends are given discharge notices, and seem quite content to leave the Archangel behind. All except Flay, she’s never been more than just a civilian on the ship, but is present when the others are given their discharge notices and she comes out with a surprising request – she wants to join the military! It’s a surprising decision for her to make and while she’s accepted it leaves the others in a quandary, should they accept the discharge notices and leave, or should they follow Flays example and get involved in the war? In the end they all decide to stay, even Kira who was about the board the transport ship to take him off the Archangel, and it’s just as well as yet again the Archangel comes under attack from ZAFT, and this time they have backup.

Since finding out about the Archangel and the Alliance Gundams ZAFT have been determined to destroy the ship and the remaining Gundam. They are aware that these new Gundams are far superior to their owns GINNs and could give the Alliance an advantage in the war. They have to destroy the Archangel before it lands safely on Earth, where the information it has on board can be used to potentially defeat ZAFT. So, once again we have another all out space battle, but this time the Archangel is under orders from the Admiral not to take part – instead it is to keep close to the main ship in the fleet for protection. However, with Alliance ships being lost the order is given for the Archangel to start her descent to Earth unaccompanied, but not before Mu La Flaga and Kira leave the ship to join the battle.

It must be said that the third episode on this disk finishes at quite an exciting point, with the Archangel starting its descent to Earth, Kira and La Flaga have to get back to the ship to ensure that they too descend safely. While I wasn’t quite on tenterhooks I was quite looking forward to the next episode only to find out that it was a recap episode (of sorts). Why exactly did we need a recap episode when we’re only 13 episodes into the series? I really don’t know, but I was left feeling rather annoyed by this decision. It seemed like a deliberate ploy by the creators, and, for me at least, destroyed the tension that had been built up in the previous episode. While the episode does provide some new information (more background on the Bloody Valentine tragedy, the war and how coordinators came into being), it maybe could have been done after the events of the previous episode had played out or at another more suitable point.

But not to worry, the final episode on disk three, takes us back to the almighty space battle with ZAFT and the Archangels descent to Earth. While the ship (as well as Kira and Mu La Flaga) manage to land safely on Earth, they have missed their allocated ‘arrival zone’, by quite a margin. As such they are in a potentially less than friendly location and are unsure how to proceed. The episode ends with the Archangel unknowingly under surveillance, friend or foe? We’ll have to wait and find out…

Gundam SEED is continuing to impress me as the series continues. I’m even coming to change my views on certain characters as I learn more about them. Flay continues to surprise me with her decisions, especially her decision to join the military. She’s also the one person on the Archangel who actually voices her opinions regarding coordinators and seems very forceful with her views, although sometimes it seems as if she’s just repeating things she’s heard said by others. She’s certainly self-centred, and at this stage only seems to think of herself, an example of this being the cold way in which she breaks off her engagement with Sai.

Murrae Rameus and Natarle Badgiruel get some more screen time this time round that shows them in a different context to the, “on bridge when under attack” scenario. There are several occasions when it’s clear that they both think in different ways. Murrae seems to think about things before making a measured judgement while Natarle acts on the spur of the moment as the situation dictates. This results in an amount of conflict between the two women, and while Murrae is the Captain of the Archangel, Natarle gives the impression that she thinks she should be the one in charge.

Finally Mu La Flaga, initially just a ‘Top Gun’ pilot cipher, has turned into quite a fun character, as he injects a sense of humour and self-depreciation into situations. He’s quickly turning into Kira’s role model as he demonstrates how to deal with situations and offers advice. He works well with Murrae and occasionally puts Natarle in her place with a well thought riposte.

Athrun’s companions in ZAFT also get some character development this time round, as we see them planning the surprise attack, and actually fighting as well as some off time on their ship. It’s nice that some of the other Gundams are getting a look in now, as the battles have had a tendency to end in a Kira / Athrun standoff where the end result has always been a bit predictable.

SEED is a very action oriented show, and many of the episodes so far have followed the same formula – Archangel thinks it’s safe only to be attacked by ZAFT and relying on Kira to ‘save the day’. Surprisingly, I’m not finding this as repetitive as it sounds, the action sequences are well done and actually manage to build the characters. I’m also enjoying the stylistic choices, mainly the way in which the reactions of the participants are shown during battles. It’s a good use of split screen, which seems like an outdated concept, but it can be very effective when done well which Gundam manages to do. Although the space battles with ZAFT were entertaining, I’m somewhat glad that the Archangel is now on Earth, as it has the potential to take the series in a totally different direction.

In Summary:

My main disappointment with this disk was the recap episodes, yes it introduced new information, but it really seemed to have been surplus to requirements. Overall though this disk has moved the plot on well, and ending with the Archangel in a new location is a good move for those tired of space battles. So far, Gundam seems to be pushing all the right buttons for me. Am I a Gundam convert? Well the jury’s still out on that one, but I’m getting increasingly tempted.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,French Language 2.0,German Language 2.0,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,German Subtitles,Dutch Subtitles,Polish Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,Character and Mecha files,Production Designs

Review Equipment
Panasonic 42” Plasma, Arcam 88+ Prog Scan DVD Player, Kef Egg 7.1 Speaker system with a Ruark log sub. Denon 3802 amplifier.

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