s-Cry-ed Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: C+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: s-Cry-ed

s-Cry-ed Vol. #1

By andrew     October 15, 2003
Release Date: July 15, 2003



The Review!
Bandai?s second Platinum Series title is s-CRY-ed, an adventure taking place in future where a portion of Japan has been torn from the mainland, and people with strange mental powers called Alters now exist. Now, there are forces attempting to control the Alter users, but one Alter user refuses to be placed under their control.

Audio:

For my primary listening session, I listened to s-CRY-ed in its original Japanese language. This is a pro-logic track that makes little use of the rear speakers, mainly in music and some explosions. Most sound is played towards the front sound stage and there is little use of directionality. Dialogue is clear. No dropouts or distortions were present. While writing the review, I listened to the English soundtrack and noticed the sound was completely missing from the prologue section of episode five. This is very problematic, and I dropped the audio a full grade because of it.

Video:

s-CRY-ed originally aired in 2001, so the print Bandai has for this is pristine. Unfortunately, there are some very detailed backgrounds in s-CRY-ed so I had numerous instances of line shimmering present. The opening and ending credits are left in Japanese, but Bandai provides English ending credits at the end of the DVD. Softsubs are used extensively for signs, episode titles, and the eye-catch.

Packaging:

The cover features Kazuma and Ryuho, the two Alter users that become adversaries immediately, as they both have very different views on how the world operates. Kazuma looks like he?s giving the finger, but it?s just his index finger. The Platinum Edition label is also smaller this time than it was on .hack//SIGN. The background is very colorful, so it?s very eye catching. The spine is very dark, making it very hard to actually read the title. A volume number is on the bottom of the spine. On the back, there?s a large paragraph setting up the Lost Ground for the newcomer. The episode names are listed on the back, plus there are pictures of five different Alter users. The packaging is very dark for the most part. Inside there?s an insert that includes a map of the Lost Ground and the part of Japan it is near. Translated credits are also printed, including full English and Japanese cast lists.

Menu:

After an extensive loading sequence, the main menu features Kazuma in his Alter form, with a psychedelic colored moving background. The opening, ?Reckless Fire? plays. The options on the main menu are Play, Scenes, Extras, and Setup. Setup was the last option, which is an option I usually prefer second so that I can quickly change over to Japanese. The setup menu does clearly indicate what audio and subtitles options are chosen. Menu transitions are very responsive.

Extras:

The amount of extras on here is pretty good, in line with Bandai?s Platinum Series. s-CRY-ed has an opening that changes every episode, and Bandai has been kind enough to include the textless version of each episodes on this DVD. Episodes 1, 2, and 3 have very obvious difference, but 4 and 5 are a lot subtler. A textless ending is also included. In order to help the viewer become familiar with the series, there?s a Lost Ground Express, which explains how the Lost Ground came to be, what an Alter is, and how the organizations of HOLD and HOLY were formed. Finally there?s a 64 page design gallery that contains information on several characters, their Alter powers, and design sketches. Since you have to right page through the entire thing, it can take quite a while to view.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

We have a post-apocalyptic environment being controlled by the few in power behind a walled city. People running around with freakish new mental powers, and an oppressive do whatever they feel like organization attempting to control it all. Welcome to the Lost Ground.

Twenty-two years ago, an earthquake occurred in Japan that split off a portion of the main island of Japan into a separate island. This threw Japan into chaos for a while, and the area, now called the Lost Ground, went unchecked. After a number of years, about 2% of the people being born in the area have now developed psychic abilities, which are referred to as Alter. They take matter around them, and can reform it into different objects.

The mainland, in order to police this area, has formed a group called HOLD that built a walled city on one part of the Lost Ground to establish a government on the island. Alter users are very powerful though, and can defeat normal police forces. HOLD forms a group called HOLY, which consists of Alter users. These Alter users police and subdue all other Alter users who won?t join HOLY.

All the people outside the city live in small communities that have no police forces of their own. It?s up to each community to take care of itself. In one town, there?s an Alter user named Kazuma, who really doesn?t care to help in tasks like building homes or working on the farm. From time to time, his friend Kimishima comes to him with jobs for him to do, where he makes use of his Alter powers. The jobs he takes usually involve helping the downtrodden.

While Kazuma is taking care of an Alter user that was bullying the local populace, HOLY shows up. Kazuma has never lost a fight before, so he fights with an Alter user named Ryuho. Ryuho soundly trounces Kazuma, taking him into captivity. In episode 2, we flashback to before episode 1 starts, but the story takes the point of a view of Mimori, a girl who has lived on the mainland but has come to become a member of HOLY. She?s on a mission to help people, especially Ryuho. Ryuho and Kazuma have very different life philosophizes that are bound to cause many conflicts.

s-CRY-ed can be a bit formulaic at times. The episode starts with a conflict, and somehow we can into the end of the episode with an Alter battle between Kazuma and another Alter user. Before that, we?re got some great dialogue though and some really interesting characters. In HOLY, we?ve got some eye candy by the name of Scheris in about the shortest skirt possible, and Straight Cougar, an Alter user who speeds through life. Kazuma has a girl named Kanami, who?s much younger than him, that takes cares of him.

The first three episodes here set up the series really well. We get the history of how Alter users came about, but there?s still some mystery as to exactly why. There are many mysteries to solve, and you should definitely give s-CRY-ed a check.



Review Equipment
Toshiba 3109 to a Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears


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