R.O.D. the TV Vol. #7 (w/box & action figure) - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 44.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Read Or Die / R.O.D.

R.O.D. the TV Vol. #7 (w/box & action figure)

By Chris Beveridge     June 15, 2005
Release Date: June 21, 2005


R.O.D. the TV Vol. #7 (w/box & action figure)
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The End?

Despite the success of the global brainwashing, Mr. Carpenter's plan to restore Great Britain to its position as the dominant world power remains incomplete. To execute the final stages, he takes his prisoners back to the British Library with only the remaining Paper Masters to oppose him! With the constant surprises they've suffered up to this point, what will they find when they finally make it to England?!

The Review!
It hardly seems like it could happen, but the end is here and the series has gone in ways unimagined based on how it all started.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. In a continuing trend, albeit a slow one, this series sports a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that makes good use of the surround setup. While not as active as some other recent 5.1 series we've seen, the additional clarity to the soundtrack in general is a real plus here in allowing for not only the vocals to be sharp and price but for the simple fluttering of the papers across the forward soundstage. Right from the opening song, the audio here is just a solid mix that sounds great even on small tinny speakers such as a portable player. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2003, ROD the TV is presented here in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this show is practically flawless as far as my setup is concerned. The visuals are striking to begin with as the show has a great sense of color and utilizes backgrounds in a near painted sense, some backgrounds being direct lifts from the OVA release itself. Colors are beautifully vivid and solid, cross coloration is non-existent and I'm hard pressed to recall any aliasing during camera panning moments. Some of the dark night time sky sequences are just great to look at as they maintain a very solid feel and avoid macroblocking. This is a transfer that you can simply lose yourself in once it starts playing.

Packaging:
Using the character artwork from the Japanese release, the final cover avoids the heavy fanservice of some of the more recent volumes and goes for a piece that just fits perfectly with the image of Hisami and Anita together reading a book and smiling like only kids can. It's very light in its nature between the color of the uniforms, the white background and Anita's hair but it just has the right kind of softness to it. The back cover goes for the case work format as along the top it lists seven color coded tabs for each volume. The discs features and extras are all clearly listed just above the big chunk of production information. The insert has a neat black and white illustration of Hisami and Anita and opens two a two panel spread with some small pictures and messages from the Japanese staff about their intentions and what they wanted to put into the show. Amusingly, as much as I like all the packaging, it's all getting tossed so the disc goes into the limited edition book casing. The reverse side of the cover has a nice double panel spread of the trio sitting on the floor in some very gray colored clothes.

With the final volume, there are a number of different release formats for it, from a box with figure, the disc itself, just a box and I believe a book version as well which may be limited. We've covered the book previously and the disc itself, but we also picked up the disc + box version that came with the figure. The box is a nice chipboard version that keeps to the same kind of nice leather color feel to it. One of the main panels has a good shot of the trio in their uniforms with the paper flying around them while the other main panel has a similar one of them in their uniforms but without paper flying around but also includes Nenene in there. The spine is a great shot that has the three in a running action pose inside of a circle with the series logo along the top of it. It's simple and understated but with the leather feel it really just has a good feel to it.

The figure included in this release is a very cute one of Anita with her big plush frog which she holds close to her. Like a lot of figures in this range, the arms come off and you can replace the frog with her throwing paper in an action pose as well as changing her face. They've supplied both a blushing version of her as well as a ticked off version. I really like this figure and it's already found a nice home alongside many other figures that I've gotten in recent months from DVD releases.

Menu:
With a style that fits the show perfectly, Nightjar scores big with this new series. From the opening animation moment (very brief) of the series logo flashing in and papers fluttering about, it settles to a very detailed image of an old book with ornate writing and artwork where in the center clips from the show play to the action theme from the show. The selections are laid out as a table of contents, though a touch hard to read due to the moving lighting at times, it's all very in-theme and you can imagine any of the girls just poring over such a piece. The layout is pretty intuitive and easy to navigate with fast access times and quick loading submenus. Unfortunately, the release did not register our players preset language selections in regards to the subtitles, resulting in Japanese language with English on-screen text subtitles instead of full translation subtitles even though the language menu indicated it was set up properly.

Extras:
The extras are somewhat minimal in a way with this release. The original previews for the four episodes are provided in the extras section and we also get a series of production artwork that you can manually move through. The big extra once again in this release, though with an appeal to only part of the market, is a commentary track by some of the voice actors and staff at New Generation Pictures that runs for one episode.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
ROD the TV comes to a close with this final volume, bringing the last three episodes of the story to its conclusion and wrapping up much of what's come before. The last three episodes play out in such a rush and cover so much ground yet still have so many quiet moments that help give you time to really take in the events that at times it's almost like a roller coaster ride.

The plan put into effect by Joker and the British Library has really been one of those things that was in no way visible as the series started and we just had a few people looking for those mysterious books. With the sisters all thrown to the wind now and each of them dealing in their own way with learning that their memories were faked, the last hurdle they have to face is truly an internal one since it's easy to simply shut down and close off at this point. The focus is given to Anita since it's something that will naturally hit her the worst since she's the most vulnerable both due to her age and due to the way she was brought into the trio. The other two are able to deal with it better, due to their different ages and perspectives but in the end you know it's all affected them.

Even with the trials all of them must face within themselves, they know that they have to deal with the larger issue at hand with the British Library as their plans to bring a forced world peace to fruition isn't going to be something that most people will really want if they think about it, or so they hope. This is one of those areas where it's almost an event that you want to root for the "villain" side of things since it would bring such a radically different world to the forefront. With how they've done it though, from the book burnings and forced removal of knowledge from countries, they certainly have set enough people against them but the shows focus keeps things to a very small group so that the view is that the world is overwhelmingly in favor of what they've been told is about to happen. Well, except for the President of the United States whose been lied to and his own plans have been foiled so all he can do is just wet himself.

With the good guys essentially back together with the exception of Nenene, the assault on the British Library gets under way This is where the series truly goes beyond what it's shown before and its revival of Gentleman, which requires a rebooting of London, is just fascinating. The scope and level of their plan, from the way the city changes and the way they intend to bring him back with the level of equipment and buildings is just staggering. It's almost like another series in a sense but it all fits just perfectly. The futuristic feel of things as they invade the lower levels of the British Library while having the Victorian age people and outfits running around in it. Having our heroes dressed up in these kinds of outfits and working their way down to deal with everything is such a great mixture, particularly when they ride the underground there, it reminded me so much of some of my favorite science fiction moments.

As the plan to revive Gentlemen is revealed layer by layer, it only fascinated me more and more. Even better, the determination of the people behind it from the Joker on down was something that's rarely seen in a series. These people all have the right motivation – which is why I hated the moment where a few words from Yomiko and others may change their minds – and are dedicated to doing what they feel is best for the world and humanity. It's one of the elements to the show that really helps set it apart since it plays up one of the best storytelling elements anime has, or had, in that the fuzzy line between the heroes and villains is a fine one indeed. The climax to all of this is just really well presented here and there will certainly be a lot of people who will be conflicted about who they really want to win. Especially after hearing Joker's lines about how they will always just try again no matter what happens.

As a finale to the series, this hits all the right notes with plenty of action and a script that really to the best of my knowledge wraps up all of the storylines that the series has spawned. The epic level of the finale is spot on as it reaches around the world but keeps its focus very much on the core cast of characters, all of whom really get just the right amount of time to shine. I was in particularly extremely happy to see Nancy's evolution in these episodes since it brings back someone that I enjoyed from a place where she wasn't all that interesting anymore. There's a lot of focus given to Anita across this but it's expected as she's the voice and personification of the future with her age and her being tied to the other school kids. There's a great little wrap-up at the end that also works towards closing up plot points as well and the series simply leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction.

In Summary:
ROD is yet another series where I've learned to not listen to a lot of people as there were many claims before it came out about how it all falls apart in the second half, something that a lot of people seem to say about a good number of series. ROD is strong in its first half with the characters, the quieter stories and the slow but gradual setup of the books and what the Library is really after. The second half is all over the place as they deal with it but it's filled with beautiful and powerful moments, from such areas as the horrific book burnings to the return of Yomiko and the various revelations about so many of these characters. ROD is a series that has great replay value once its finished since it makes you go back to the OVA release and then soak it all in again to see all the little bits that you missed the first time around. This is one of those series that deserves to survive the test of time and I hope that it does as I'll be revisiting it many times in the years to come.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Japanese Previews,Art Gallery,Episode Commentary (US Production Staff)

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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