Pilot Candidate Complete Collection - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: C
  • Packaging Rating: D
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 305
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Pilot Candidate

Pilot Candidate Complete Collection

By Jennifer Rocks     May 18, 2007
Release Date: October 11, 2005

Pilot Candidate Complete Collection
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
The planet Zion has become mankind's last hope for survival. But the legions of Victim are intent on destroying humanity!

Five humanoid fighting weapons called Ingrids are capable of stopping Victim's onslaught, but only the best pilots are chosen. Those individuals lucky enough to undergo training are sent to G.O.A. and officially become known as Pilot Candidates.

Do these candidates have what it takes to make it to the top or will they succumb to the pressure? The fate of Zion rests with these chosen few.

The Review!
Pilot Candidate takes a very clichéd premise and starts building a fairly interesting story around it, but just as it starts to get good the series abruptly ends.

For this review, I primarily watched the show in Japanese. Unfortunately this show was dubtitled, and all of the issues with dubtitles were evident here. The timing of the subtitles is not always on with the characters who are speaking, a handful of dialogue is never subtitled at all, and a few times subtitles appeared when no one was speaking. In addition, the dubtitles are direct transcriptions, rather than more accurate and clear translations. The audio itself was without issue, with dialogue nice and clear. However, the music feels at odds with the show and often seems as if it was transplanted from a 50's musical.

The show originally aired in 2000, and certainly shows its age, due to the heavy use of early CG work. All of the Goddess mechas are rendered in CG, as are all of the space scenes. The episode title cards also use unattractive low-resolution graphics. Luckily, the cell animation is good looking, though there is some heavy cross coloration throughout all of the episodes.

The collection is housed in a double sized keepcase that opens to store all four disks. Disc one and four both store on the front and back of the case respectively, with disc two and three stored on a hinged flap attached to the back of the case. The cover artwork is a large image of the G.O.A. institute logo and the show title. The back of the case has a handful of screenshots and a poor quality background image over which the text is displayed. There is brief information on the set contents and some information on the technical specifications. Overall this is pretty uninspired packaging.

The menu loads with a CG animation of a Goddess pilot hatch opening. The menus make use of moving images from episodes included on the disc. Each episode menu is designed to resemble the pilot candidate profiles, which is a nice touch. The Extras menu is simply a background of space with one of the characters posed from the title sequence.

The Welcome to G.O.A feature is production artwork that is shown while Azuma, the pilot candidate instructor, delivers an introduction to the new recruits. Although it is an interesting idea, I was frustrated that the only way to really look at any of the artwork was to pause on each drawing. There are three episodes of the Voice Actor Academy, which provide you the opportunity to read a scene for Zero, Kizna and Clay alongside the shows voice actors. Also included are interviews with the director, which are most notable for the fact that the director never appears on camera and delivers his comments through what appears to be a tiger shaped oven mit. Weird. Also included are the textless opening and closing.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Pilot Candidate takes place in a bleak future. Humanity has spread itself across the galaxy, living on various planets and colonies. An alien entity, known as Victim, has destroyed humanity's foothold in the universe, with the exception of the planet Zion. The Goddess Operators Academy (G.O.A.) is created to train teenagers to pilot the Goddess mecha to protect Zion and ensure the survival of mankind.

Enter Zero Enna, one of newest recruits of G.O.A.'s pilot candidate program. The candidates are young men with a power known as EX, which enables them to pilot the Goddesses. The other new recruits are Clay Cliff Fortran, who is brainy but cowardly; Hiead Gner, the sullen and enigmatic Yin to Zero's Yang; Roose Sawamura, who is always hungry; and Yamagi Kushida, who looks like Zero's shorter separated-at-birth twin. Zero, who is exuberant and unthinking, immediately enters a rivalry with Hiead for best pilot candidate.

During the candidates' introduction to life at G.O.A., Zero gets lost and finds himself in the hangar with the Goddesses. Zero accidentally enters a Goddess and begins to mentally synch with it, assaulted by visions of a girl with long hair. The designated Repairer for the Goddess attempts to abort the synchronization process. A Goddess can only be synched to one pilot, and Zero could prevent the current pilot from being able to do his job. During all this, a Victim attack begins. Zero is spit out, and the current pilot takes his place, though the Goddess no longer responds as she had previously. Despite the issues caused by Zero's interference, Victim is defeated.

In short order Zero and the other candidates begin their training to become pilots. The pilot candidates are matched up with repair candidates. They will work as partners to pilot the Pro Ings, which are smaller less sophisticated mechas. The candidates engage in battle simulations in the Pro Ings to learn to pilot. Both Zero and Hiead show significant prowess in piloting.

During the training sessions, another large Victim force arrives and one of the Goddess pilots dies in battle. The top pilot candidate replaces the fallen pilot and a competition is held to determine who will be the new top pilot candidate. Hiead's only goal in the competition is to defeat Zero. Before Hiead and Zero can fight, another massive Victim swarm arrives. The swarm is too large for the Goddesses to fight alone, so all of the pilot candidates in their Pro Ings also go out to battle. Though left on the sidelines, both Zero and Hiead soon find themselves in the heat of battle with Victim. Just when things seem overwhelming, Zero, Hiead and the head Goddess pilot have a simultaneous EX reaction that allows them to kill the Victim swarm. This simultaneous reaction means that something important is close to happening, but what that might be we will never know, as this is the end of the series.

The show does take some time to get going and feels a bit flat and uninspired in the first few episodes, but the story picks up before long. Zero's character is exactly what you would expect from this type of story, but is enjoyable nevertheless. Luckily the shows large cast of characters keeps things interesting.

In Summary:
Pilot Candidate is an enjoyable show despite its faults. Though the story is a familiar one, it is still unique enough to be interesting. Unfortunately, the series ends abruptly and leaves you wanting more. Although not in my top picks, this is ultimately a fun show that is worth watching.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Dubtitles,Textless Opening,Welcome to G.O.A,Voice Actor Academy,Interviews with the Director,Textless Closing

Review Equipment
Review Equipment: Samsung HLN5065WX 50" DLP HDTV, Sony DVP-NS975V Progressive Scan Up Converting DVD player, Pioneer Elite VSX-81TXV DD/DTS receiver, HDMI cable, JBL Multi-Channel Speaker System with 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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