Psychic Force - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: D+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Image Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.99
  • Running time: 64
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Psychic Force

Psychic Force

By Chris Beveridge     March 23, 2002
Release Date: March 19, 2002


Psychic Force
© Image Entertainment


What They Say
Rapid changes in the new century have brought forth a dangerous power capable of good or evil.

Harnessing the psychic abilities of its residents, the government has turned its most gifted citizens into New Age guinea pigs, drained of their essence and discarded after serving their purpose.

The Review!
A completely mismarketed title with all of its specs sent out to retailers completely wrong, it won’t be a surprise that few people pick this up when the main market is dubs and this is solicited as subtitle only. It was a surprise then when you actually look at the selections and not only is it dubbed, but both languages have 5.1 and 2.0 options.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese and in 5.1 as provided. The shows audio is pretty decent and the 5.1 mix does a good job of giving the music better clarity through the forward soundstage and throwing it in a subtle fashion to the rears. Dialogue and most of the special effects remain along the forward soundstage with good directionality.

Video:
Being a more recent OVA series, the show boasts some good looking production values, particularly in the coloring department. Colors are very vivid and vibrant when appropriate, such as the blood splattering against a liquid tank. Backgrounds maintain a good solid feel with no noticeable macroblocking and cross coloration is very minimal. But on the odd side, there were several instances where it seemed like the animation was “stuttering” for lack of a better word. It almost looks like it was sped up in a spot or two, but the soundtrack itself is fine. I’d consider it an anomaly of how it was animated, but can’t be sure. Regardless, it was very distracting when it happened.

Packaging:
The packaging sports a good looking character pose cover set against the sunset of a city skyline. This look is definitely representative of the character animation in the show, which may be enough to keep some people away. The back cover features a lot of text talking about the show and a couple of pieces of character animation and the discs features. The insert provides some new artwork of the two main characters and the two episodes chapter stops.

Menus:
The main menu sports a nice big cast picture with music from the show playing along. Submenus are quick to access and moving around is fairly natural. Language selection is bothersome as it doesn’t mark your selection in any way, letting you make sure you’ve got the right selection set. And oddly enough, subtitles on/off is placed in the extras section instead of its own or in language selection. Access times are nice and fast though.

Extras:
Though a hardly known show here, there’s a solid presentation of extras here, some that would make others rather jealous. The first one is a good isolated music score which fans of the composer are certain to enjoy and a rarity with anime releases to begin with. A promotional video is included that’s basically showing various clips from the OVA’s as well as a set of commercials. There’s a ten minute segment of “Special Interviews” with the voice actors and others involved in the production that is nicely subtitled. The real treat, and one I wish we saw more of as I know these events keep happening, is the Psychic Junky Fair Three. This runs about 25 minutes and is one of the live events meant to promote the show, where all the voice actors go, talk about the show and characters in front of a big audience, maybe even do a live reading. These events always fascinate me since they’re such a fun and unique way of promoting a show to the hardcore fans.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Psychic Force is a two part OVA series that’s related to a fighting video game, Psychic Force 2012. I’m not sure which came first, but I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy the game much more than the anime. At least with the game I could do some damage to these characters.

The show opens with varying flashbacks and flashforwards set in the future, alternating between 2007 when we see a variety of psychically powered people being persecuted and escaping from various places to 2010 where things look like they were lifted out of one of the original storylines used for the Sentinels in the X-Men comics with psychics being hunted by regular people and of course by the men in black in the government who want to continue to harness their powers for their own goals. There’s also a mysterious person in glasses with some impressive powers whose making moves of his own, but those only become noticeable much later.

Through the variety of flashbacks, we get introduced briefly to a few characters, most of whom are being hunted. One in particular has his own mother come into his bedroom with a knife going on about how its all for the best and that the kid isn’t really human anyway, so what’s the big deal. The fear and paranoia set about, likely from the government or from some event, is never really defined here for us at the start and seems like nothing to really worry about. The only thing we know is from one of the 2010 segments that Tokyo is once again in complete ruins (as well as Russia and Germany), but damn the cops look good in nice clean uniforms. We follow them as they try to take down a couple of little girls in cold blood due to their abilities.

The main focus of the story though takes place in 2007 in the US, when we meet up with Keith, a young blue haired man whose on the run from some Men in Black and ends up crossing paths with Burn, a rebellious blonde haired kid with a Cockatiel hairdo. Burn helps him out and brings him back to his parents house to recuperate, and everyone gets along fine and dandy. Burn and Keith click pretty well together, though Burn is your basic extrovert while Keith is the classic introvert. Burn definitely feels some sort of bond with Keith and an almost protective urge about it.

Everything goes fine and dandy until the Men in Black show up again and start harassing everyone, but Keith knew it was going to happen and had booked out earlier and was making his way to somewhere else to keep alive and ahead of them. This doesn’t sit well with Burn, who sets out after him and the two begin their journey to keep ahead of them together. Of course, we know it doesn’t last long since one of the first things we learned in the show was that Burn was looking for Keith in 2010, only to learn that he’s now an integral part of some new government of psychics for the psychics.

When we watched this the first time (as I do listen to the English dub when I write the reviews), my wife left the room before the first episode ended and said to finish it by myself, she was going to go have a better time changing a diaper. I was envious indeed. There’s something about the show that just does not generate real interest for either of us, with the way it plays out with the jumping around in the timeline and the lack of clarity in the storytelling. The jumps in the characters ages isn’t an issue to be sure, as I’d rather deal with the older characters than the younger ones, but there’s nothing that really makes you care at all about the characters to really want to see what happens to them.

Image has done a great job with the disc and its presentation, but the material itself just doesn’t fall into a category we like (which is probably obvious to anyone whose read us for any length of time) and was so poorly marketed to both fans of the anime and fans of the game that it’s little surprise so many people probably passed on it before it even came out. Good job on the materials, hopefully the next time it’ll be something we’ll actually want to watch past the first episode instead of dreading things into the second episode.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Isolated music track,Special Interviews,Promotional Video,Commercials,Psychic Junky Fair Three

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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