Project A-ko: Uncivil Wars - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 104
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Project A-Ko

Project A-ko: Uncivil Wars

By Chris Beveridge     June 12, 2001
Release Date: June 12, 2001


Project A-ko: Uncivil Wars
© Central Park Media


What They Say
A-ko and B-ko are bounty hunters in an untamed world. When a young heiress, C-ko falls out of the sky and into their hair, they find themselves battling space pirates and galactic police for custody. Their high-pitched, hungry charge holds a secret – the spirit of an ancient evil – and is the center of a plot to destroy the universe!

Contains:
Project A-ko VS Battle 1: Grey Side
Project A-ko VS Battle 2: Blue Side

The Review!
The final batch of Project A-Ko OVA's are presented here, with the oddly named Grey Side and Blue Side. After being disappointed by the last batch of OVA's, I wasn't sure where things would go after that. As one might suspect with anime of this type, it goes off in a completely different direction.

Audio:
For our primary viewing, we listened to the show in its original language of Japanese. With the shows being so old, the majority of the audio comes through the center channel and is clear throughout. There's little movement on the front soundstage other than a couple of effects. Dialogue was pretty clean and undistorted to our untrained ear.

Video:
A number of the problems from the previous volume are still evident here, but the overall effect isn't as bad. There's a lot of nicks and minor scratches throughout the two episodes and rainbows are still pretty prominent in large sections of the show. There are a few areas where things do look quite good, but they're brief. The show has a number of areas where the brightneses fluctuates as well, but that's definitely a source material thing than an authoring issue. Colors do appear more solid in general this time around, which makes things more bearable.

Packaging:
The front cover has a nice close-up of A-Ko as well as a more full shot of the female enemy in this show. The style of the artwork does help push the show as something a bit more modern in animation style and coloring, but don't be too deceived! The reverse side has a nice cast shot and goes into a brief summary of the show, while all the technical information is at the bottom.

Menus:
The menu system here is pretty straightforward looking, with a lot of selections angling down over the animation presented while the music plays. Access time between the menus is solid and the layout works much as most CPM releases do.

Extras:
The extras on the video side are pretty minimal this time around, with the main attraction being the original trailer for the Blue Side laserdisc release. The comics section was something we only partially glanced at, not having cared much for the A-Ko comics when we originally saw them.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So how do you follow-up the OVA series that didn't live up to the expectations of the movie?

Setting change!

Instead of taking place within the scholastic world as seen in the past two discs, Uncivil Wars takes our favorite characters and throws them into the transmogrifier to see what we come up with. Now, in some distant future where humanity has spread to the stars, C-Ko Kotobuki is the 10 year old daughter of a massively rich company owner. She's celebrating her birthday aboard his best space cruiser when she's abducted by the space pirates Gash and Liza. They're hustling her off to their boss, Gail, who's going to use C-Ko to raise the spirit of the long dead sorceress Xena to bring about the collapse of all the universes so they can start again in a better way.

Our favorite gal A-Ko it turns out is partnered with B-Ko on some outlying world where they hunt various beasts in the sand for money. They're decent friends, though a bit competitive, but otherwise their relationship is pretty different from past incarnations. A-Ko and B-Ko have their lives thrown into disarray when C-Ko falls out of the pirate ship during it's crash landing and ends up becoming friends with them.

Though B-Ko ends up with something along the lines of a Lolita complex with C-Ko. This was actually fairly bothersome. I certainly had no problem with it when they were all the same age in high school, but having an older B-Ko being fascinated with the 10 year old C-Ko is just pushing things a bit to keep it all within the original continuity style. At least A-Ko takes a decent dislike to C-Ko until she realizes that there's a heap of money to be made in saving this girl from the pirates.

From there the fun and chaos ensues as the two pirates and their boss go back and forth with A-Ko and B-Ko in capturing her and trying to save her. When C-Ko becomes merged with the spirit of the dead sorceress Xena, we see a number of very good scenes where this dark and evil being has all the lightness of C-Ko shining through. Especially in her happy bouncy way of wanting to blow up more worlds...

While again we have a show that doesn't reach close to the heights of the original movie, it definitely rises above the below average material that filled up the Love & Robots disc. Taking the characters out of their normal setting and changing their relationships actually does work here, though the universe level danger plot stretches credulity further than a show like this can really find itself able to pull off.

If you made it through Love & Robots and liked that, you'll find more to like here. At the end of it all, I'm just glad that they never made any more after this. The A-Ko legacy can take only so much abuse.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Japanese trailer,Meet the cast,Art gallery,Production credits

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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