Pilot Candidate Vol. #1 - Mania.com

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  • 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: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Pilot Candidate

Pilot Candidate Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     June 16, 2002
Release Date: November 06, 2001

Pilot Candidate Vol. #1
© 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!
I knew I was in trouble just from the opening sequence. The first thing my wife said during it was, "I thought we were watching anime tonight?". Uh oh.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. This presented us with a bit of a problem this time, as the subtitles supplied on the disc are actually dubtitles (subtitles listing exactly what the dub says). This lead to a few poorly timed areas as the English dialogue starts in a different place, sections where a line or two in Japanese wasn't translated at all or an area or two where a subtitle shows up but nobody was talking. We've learned that the shows production side was done by Bandai Visual of Japan, and they didn't create an accurate translation of the subtitles for this series, and it's likely not to be fixed for the remainder of it at this point either. It looks as if Bandai Entertainment is merely handling the DVD authoring and distribution for it in region 1. For the audio track itself, it sounded fine with no dropouts or distortions. Dialogue is very center-channel based, but the music made good use during the opening of filling the entire soundstage through both stereo speakers.

Being a very recent show, and a very CG heavy show, things looks as you'd expect here; quite good. Colors are vibrantly rendered, the animation looks slick and the darks are right on. The only problem we had with the disc is the varying amount of cross coloration. We noticed a fair amount in the shows logo alone, and a lot show sup in various areas of the show itself, such as along some characters and in some of the CG goddesses. There's also some jaggies along some of the characters eyes at a few instances.

The first cover is a pretty typical looking one with an array of the cast members and the face of one of the Goddesses behind them. The back cover provides an array of animation face shots and a summary in the center, while listing episode numbers and titles. Extras are clearly listed and all the technical information is easy to check out. The insert replicates the front cover and folds out to give individual episode summaries. On the down side, one of the things Bandai was talking about trying to do with this series was to give it a reversible cover with the original name of Candidate for Goddess. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to have worked out.

The menu system is designed similar to the goddess units, with the pod opening and then showing the menu selections across a tablet. The animation is pretty brief and runs without any problems. Accessing other menus is quick and painless and things are laid out in a nice and logical fashion.

There's two extras included on this disc. The first is the textless opening, which provides a clean look at the animation for the opening. One thing that's rare about this opening is the lack of vocals, something you don't see too often these days. The other extra is a welcome to the GOA, a little 2-3 minute video piece talking about what the GOA is and Victim and the like.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Pilot Candidate takes place in the year 4084. Due to some unknown idiocy by humanity, we've wrecked every planet we've colonized in the galaxy except for one, Zion. Humanity is now fully engaged in protecting this one planet from our main enemy, Victim, a mysterious and eerie looking race/creature that seems to absorb its enemies.

To help accomplish this, humanity has at its disposal five Goddesses, large mecha that have an wild array of weapons and powers that let them take on the forces of Victim and defend the last remaining planet. Each of these Goddesses has a pilot and a repairer. The pilots can easily be replaced by anyone showing more skill at operating it than the current pilot.

With this, humanity has been taking kids from the various space colonies and bringing them to GOA, where they're tested to be pilots and to help keep a fresh supply of young kids ready to die in defense of what's left of humanity's glory. The show brings us to three new candidates for the academy that are being brought in. One's reckless, one's quiet and subdued and the other is a bookworm. Check your templates for just about any other series.

But don't discount them just yet. They seem to have some hyper abilities that manifest in between fighting and sniping at each other. There's no love lost between any of them. And once onboard the academ, they start taking in what their roles will be. Until Victim is sighted in the area and the place is closed down. But before that happens, the main boy, Zero (who happens to be the only character whose name I can remember), stumbles into the bay where all the Goddesses are stored and repaired prior to launching into their next objective.

Zero's got a feeling about the Eeva Liina Goddess and checks it out. It starts calling to him, and he sees a vision of a woman, and before you know it (and before the repair tech woman who was working on this particular Goddess knew it), Zero gets sucked into the Goddess. While he's trying to figure out what's going on, she's trying to get him out. And from what can be told, he's synching far better than the previous pilot.

After watching the three episodes, and getting beyond my wife's main complaint of how poor the CG looked, we both just felt really bored by the show. The characters aren't memorable at all, to the point where we kept forgetting the main characters name, never mind the dozen plus secondary characters. Things do happen during these episodes, but not much that gives you a reason to keep watching. You know Zero will synch better with the Goddess, and you know that when the original pilot gets in, the Goddess will be somewhat out of synch for him, if unusable as well. It's just one predictability after another.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Dubtitles,Textless Opening,Welcome to the GOA

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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