Rune Soldier Vol. #6 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

0 Comments | Add

 

Rate & Share:

 

Related Links:

 

Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: D
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: �19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Rune Soldier

Rune Soldier Vol. #6

By Dani Moure     March 05, 2007
Release Date: May 16, 2005


Rune Soldier Vol. #6
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
What happens when you put one finicky priestess together with the part-time work schedule from hell? Melissa reaches the end of her rope filling in for a fever-stricken Merrill. When Louie hears of her plight, he vows to help-that is, if Melissa's juniors will let him! Then, disaster strikes when a partisan army invades Ohfun. Taking his most trusted advisors, the king leads his army to battle, leaving the capital open to a coup d'etat. It's up to all the adventurers to band together and rescue the country from a traitor's clutches! Don't miss the climactic confrontation between soldiers and sorcerers alike! It's an all-out battle to decide the fate of a nation in this final, spellbinding volume of Rune Soldier!


The Review!
What happens when you put one finicky priestess together with the part-time work schedule from hell? Melissa reaches the end of her rope filling in for a fever-stricken Merrill. When Louie hears her plight, he vows to help - that is, if Melissa's juniors will let him!

Then, disaster strikes when a partisan army invades Ohfun. Taking his most trusted advisors, the king leads his army to battle, leaving the capital open to a coup d'etat. It's up to all the adventurers to band together and rescue the country from a traitor's clutches!

Don't miss the climactic confrontation between soldiers and sorcerers alike! It's an all-out battle to decide the fate of a nation in this final, spellbinding volume of Rune Soldier!

The review

And there was much rejoicing, as Rune Soldier goes out with a bang rather than a whimper.

Audio:
I listened to the Japanese stereo track for my main review, and noticed no distortions or dropouts. The track itself was a fairly standard stereo mix for a television series. I really enjoyed the performances of all the actors for the main characters; they all play off each other perfectly, especially when the three girls get together to complain.

The English language stereo track is presented in the same manner as the Japanese one, and it sounded fine for the part of an episode I sampled. The dub sounded pretty good, with most of the main characters seeming to spark a similar chemistry as their Japanese counterparts.

Video:
The transfer for this volume is quite fresh and clean, looking great for the most part. A few scenes seem a little blander and less vibrant than most, but that seems to be more how they were drawn than a problem with the transfer itself. I noticed no artefacts or aliasing during regular playback, and I only spotted a few areas of very minor cross-colouration.

Subtitles are slightly larger than the ADV UK norm, and are in a yellow font as always.

Packaging:
Packaged in a clear keepcase, the cover looks great yet again (these covers really have been consistently good, if slightly busy), with all the main characters getting a piece, with Louie in front and the girls all behind him. The show's logo and volume information are in the bottom right hand corner, and I like that it's labelled and numbered on the front here, unlike some other recent ADV shows. Disappointingly though, there's no volume numbering (or name) on the spine. The back cover is clean with a nice image of Louie, Melissa, Genie and Merrill, and the usual volume and series summary with screenshots. ADV UK's info boxes list all the technical information.

The cover is also reversible, with the both the front and back opting for a more comedic look, with all the characters in their super-deformed mode.

Menu:
The main menu is mostly static, with a world map on the bottom left that draws dotted travel lines as the menu loops, and the main image from the cover takes centre stage. The episodes are all selectable from the right hand side, and I was glad to see a scene selection menu present, too. The sub-menus follow the style of the first, all being static with different character images, except for the scene selection menu. Different background music plays over each menu screen. In general the menus fit well with the show and look quite nice.

Extras:
Yet again all we get are the textless opening and ending, which have been on every disc so far now.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Over the past couple of volumes, we've been really teased with the idea of an ongoing story, but it's never quite got there. We know there's more to Renard than meets the eye. We know there's more to Lord Dardanel than meets the eye and also that Master Foltess is working on some rather... interesting creations. But what we never knew is how it all fitted together, and finally in the last three episodes all is revealed and we get an ending that packs a surprising punch (and surprising amount of story).

Before we get there though, there's time for one last stand-alone, with the first episode on the disc seeing Melissa forced to do work, taking over from Merrill when she comes down with a fever. Her daily routine is very hectic though, and Melissa finds it difficult to cope, so much so that she gets fired from every job she tried. It's all very typical Rune Soldier, but the episode does offer a fair few laughs, and a sweet side when Melissa crumbles and Ila and Louie pick up the pieces.

Let's face it though, at this stage we want to see a big, epic finale, and although I had started to wonder if we would actually get that, the creators come through with a great three part story that brings things to a close. What makes it really good is how certain relationships are turned on their heads, and how many of the characters are integrated into things quite heavily, and far more than you might expect.

The army that's been gathering to the west of Ohfun finally invades, so Jenny and Carwes join King Rijarl and his army in trying to stop them, while a group of ministers remains in charge. Louie is taken away by Master Foltess to work on something sinister, after he's had Ila translate a piece of paper revealing ingredients to make a powerful creature. Meanwhile Lord Dardanel, who's effectively running Ohfun, declares martial law leaving Melissa, Genie and Merrill to ponder what is really going on. Louie meanwhile gets dumped into a pit for discovering what Foltess is really up to, and on his escape he manages to set off an alarm, alerting Ila and the girls to his plight.

Renard, Lily and Isabel are also all intertwined in the story, and it's left up to Louie to try and overcome everything he finds, including a bizarre clone, and take on Dardanel to save the country, with the girls there to support him.

As mentioned, the great thing about the concluding story is how all the key players are integrated in the story in different ways. Lily, for example, who we knew had more behind her than it first appeared, ends up being something of a pawn in Dardanel's games, as he plays on the fact that her grandfather was killed by the King. We get a nice bit of backstory for her, and her inevitable redemption that comes is quite heart-warming, in particular with the reaction from Renard.

His story, too is fun as we see the way he is quite heavily influenced by Dardanel but then gets cloned and, thanks to Louie, gets his spark back and realises he can actually stand up to the clone, since he is no better than the real him. Dardanel makes an interesting villain as well, and Foltess' role in it all is surprising in the end since it appears that he didn't necessarily know exactly what he was doing.

It's not just the supporting characters though. Louie gets some fantastic moments too, from showing his true character in moments like the aforementioned one with Renard to his confrontations with Dardanel and Foltess. We all know he's kind and caring as we've seen this many times in the series before, but his true moments of heroism really come out throughout his trials in these three episodes, and it's nice to see almost the final evolution of the character.

Perhaps the one slight downside is that for parts of it, Melissa, Genie and Merrill seem a little bit sidelined on occasion, though they do come into their own in the latter parts of the saga. The different parts of the story just fit together really well, and it works as a grand finale to a series that really hasn't had much in the way of an overall story. I can see some being disappointed by the ending, but for a series such as this, I felt it was perfect. What better way to celebrate the trouncing of the evildoers than to just go on a grand adventure? It's totally fitting with the spirit of the show and I liked it a lot.

In Summary:
The final volume of Rune Soldier is a very definite return to form for the series, with a great final story-arc as a conclusion, it's just a bit of a shame that overall the show ended up a little bit uneven. The characters have been excellent and strong throughout, but the crucial thing for a comedy " the laughs " went missing on a few too many occasions during the middle portion of the show. It's a bit of a shame as more consistent laughs could really have propelled the series, but as it is I'd still recommend it as long as you realise that it might drag a little in the middle, depending on how you respond to parts of the humour. In the end, Rune Soldier is a good, fun fantasy-comedy series with a great cast.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening & Closing

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP 5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, Pioneer HTP-GS1 5.1 Surround Sound System.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES



Be the first to add a comment to this article!


ADD A COMMENT

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.

POPULAR TOPICS