Mania Grade: B+
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- 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. #05
By Kim Wolstenholme
November 10, 2005
Release Date: October 17, 2005
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Vol. #05
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.
To escape from the desert to Alaska, the Archangel first must take care of some unfinished business with the Desert Tiger. But ZAFT maritime mobile suits are waiting for them, along with Athrun and his comrades at the controls of four stolen Gundams. In search of a place to rest, Kira and his friends discover that the ZAFT forces won’t give them a minute’s peace, and that nothing but war seems to reign on Earth.The Review!
Gundams location has moved from space battles to desert battles and now Kira faces a new environment in the Strike – underwater. Will he be able to get to grips with this new battleground? Audio:
As with the other disks the Stereo audio tracks are fine. I noticed no dropouts or distortion on the Japanese audio track, with everything coming across well. I spot-checked the English track and this also displayed no problems.Video:
Once again the picture quality is pretty good, I did notice some ghosting but this was fairly infrequent and not too intrusive. I also noticed that on a couple of occasions the picture became a bit soft and lacked detail but again this did not really distract from the enjoyment of the show. Colours continue to come across well and are now more widely used with the change in location for the Archangel. In my previous reviews I noted that the explosions in space seemed to be more on the pink side rather than the expected red, in this volume it was particularly noticeable that all explosions are now deep red.
Subtitles are white with a thin black outline and I noticed no grammar or spelling mistakes.Packaging:
After the colourful cover for the fourth volume, this cover on this instalment is slightly disappointing and goes back to using more a more muted colour spectrum. Once again the Strike Gundam takes centre stage on the cover, this time facing off against a ZnO, a submersible suit used by ZAFT to fight underwater. Due to this cover shot being underwater, blue is the dominant colour and this makes the SEED logo look a bit indistinct. The back cover continues with the layout seen in previous volumes, with a number of screen shots included. Once again the insert with this release explains more about certain aspects in the show that are kind-of glossed over.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 Strike 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:
The extras on volume 5 are once again similar in nature to the extras on the previous disks. The clean opening / closing animation is a staple of the Gundam releases as are the Character / Mecha profiles, although these concentrate on different characters each volume. Finally we have some more production sketches, which once again contain location designs and are in a slideshow format.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
The change of location for the Archangel in the last volume really started to add some variety to the show, which was much appreciated. This volume continues with the Archangel starting it’s long journey to Alaska leaving the desert resistance behind, although Cagalli and Kisaka have decided to join with the Archangel for reasons of their own. Their journey is not without peril though as the route to Alaska will take them across ZAFT controlled territory.
It seems that the Desert Tiger has received intelligence that the Archangel is due to leave the desert base of the resistance and he has one last attempt to bring the ‘legged’ ship down. This time he’s going into battle himself in the LaGowe, his own personal mobile suit. The Tiger has also sent off for reinforcements as many of his BuCUE’s have been destroyed in previous battles, but instead of more BuCUE’s he gets Yzak and Dearka, the two members of Le Crueset’s team who also landed on Earth during their last battle with Kira. It seems the Desert Tiger is not really a fan of Le Crueset, and although Yzak and Dearka are willing to take part in the battle to destroy the Archangel he makes them stand as sentries on his main ship, which they are far from happy about. However, this is probably the best place for them, as, like Kira initially, they are not used to fighting in an atmosphere where gravity plays a large role.
Of course it goes without saying that the Archangel manages to escape from the Desert Tigers forces, and starts its journey to Alaska by crossing the Red Sea. They are not free from potential attack though, as ZAFT count many of the Earths oceans as their territory. Despite this Murrae decides to let her crew have a well-earned break by allowing them onto the deck of the Archangel to sunbathe and relax. It is during one of these breaks that Kira actually gets to know Cagalli a little better as she kind of helps him with the remorse he was left with after his battle with the Desert Tiger. Flay overhears part of their conversation, and she can’t help but ‘stake her claim’ on Kira in a rather feminine way.
Unsurprisingly ZAFT forces have been informed about the defeat of the Desert Tigers forces and soon launch another two-pronged attack on the Archangel, using both air and maritime mobile suits. Unlike the Alliance, ZAFT seem to have designed mobile suits that are developed specifically for their environment. The oceans are patrolled by GOOhNS, maritime mobile suits that are well suited to the challenges of their underwater environment. However, it’s Kira to the rescue once again as he battles against the GOOhNS whilst Mu La Flaga takes on the air based mobile suits.
Meanwhile, Operation Spit Break is about to begin, which means that Nicol, Athrun and Le Crueset arrive on Earth and meet up with Yzak and Dearka. In a surprising move Le Crueset gives permission for the four of them to go after the Strike on their own and names Athrun as the leader of the team. On their way out to the ZAFT base nearest the Archangels current position Athrun gets separated from the others due to problems with the transport ship.
When ZAFT forces attack the Archangel yet again, Mu La Flaga allows Cagalli to take part, but, when her plane is damaged, she crash lands near an uninhabited island - or at least it appears uninhabited. Athrun has also found himself on the same island when his transporter got involved in the ongoing fight with the Archangel. Athrun was forced to disembark with the Aegis and has holed up on the island while waiting for the rest of his team to rescue him.
Of course Cagalli comes across Athrun and manages to wound the ZAFT pilot before he overcomes her and ties her up. However over the course of the night they grudgingly come to terms with one another, especially after Cagalli informs Athrun that she’s not a member of the Alliance.
In the final episode on this disk, ZAFT forces are once again attacking the Archangel, but this time the four stolen Gundams piloted by Athrun, Nicol, Yzak and Dearka are along for the ride. They’ve also got some nifty little hovercraft type things that mean that the suits are not affected by the gravity of the planet (I’m assuming that these guys aren’t as talented as Kira and have not reprogrammed the Gundams). While the battle is raging, both sides are coming closer to the territory of the Orb nation – a neutral colony. Both sides receive warnings from the Orb military to reverse their course, but Cagalli insists that the Archangel head into Orbs waters…
This disk had a surprise in store for me, and one that I found quite shocking after writing my last review, although I realise that it was required in order to move the story on. So far the numerous battles depicted in Gundam have not really involved me emotionally so I was quite surprised when I found myself concerned for a particular character (even if he does wear the most ridiculous helmet I’ve ever seen). The characters just seemed to give the impression that no harm would come to them – apart from the faceless pilots of the unfortunate Gundams that Kira has destroyed. This maybe indicates that the remaining episodes will be far more emotionally involving now that the majority of the exposition is (hopefully) done with.
Despite not really feeling emotionally attached to the characters up until this point, I still feel as if Gundam has a good strong cast. Even though Flay does not really feature in this disc, when she does, she’s got some really good scenes, although Cagalli is fast supplanting Flay with her tomboyish qualities and determination (her refusal to wear a dress really struck a cord with me). As ever Mu La Flaga is always ready with a quick riposte and Murrae seems to have become the focus of what little fan service the series displays. In summary-
This volume, whilst enjoyable, has gone back a bit to the old ZAFT attack Archangel routine that played a large part in the first few disks. It’s not a bad thing, but sometimes feels like it’s being done to just add new mobile suits into the mix (and thus more merchandise opportunities). When it’s not concentrating on battle scenes though Gundam still works remarkably well, due to the strong characters included in the series. This is well demonstrated by the episode in which Athrun and Cagalli are stranded on an otherwise uninhabited island.
I’m more used to the usual episode count of 26 episodes, so I was expecting my interest in SEED to have started to wane by now seeing as the halfway point has only just been reached. In reality I’m looking forward to the next 25 episodes, I suppose that does make me a Gundam convert (don’t hold it against me, please)
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 Sketches
Panasonic 42” Plasma, Arcam 88+ Prog Scan DVD Player, Kef Egg 7.1 Speaker system with a Ruark log sub. Denon 3802 amplifier.