Spiral Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Revelation Films
  • MSRP: ¬£15.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Spiral

Spiral Vol. #3

By Dani Moure     July 18, 2007
Release Date: March 19, 2007


Spiral Vol. #3
© Revelation Films


What They Say
The game is underway, but the victor is still unknown. Kousuke races to intercept the damning tape containing evidence against the Blade Children, while Ayumu speeds towards fate and an explosive showdown with Rio. Fate waits for no one, however, as an ominous warning goes out to the Blade Children. The Hunters are coming, and their targets are locked on Eyes Rutherford. Will Ayumu join forces with the Blade Children to save their mysterious leader?

Episodes
10. Only One Wise Action
11. Goodnight Sweetheart
12. Dry Eyes
13. Overture

The Review!
The previous arc comes to an end as things settle down before the quest for the Blade Children begins again.

Audio:
I listened to the English 5.1 track for my main review. The mix sounds good, with the music and effects coming across quite well, and a bit of directionality here and there. I noticed no dropouts, distortions or other technical issues with this disc. The dub is good, with most of the characters coming off well, although Kanone's voice (Chris Sabat) is extremely annoying, I think because of the accent.

I briefly sampled parts of the Japanese track and didn't notice any problems.

Video:
The transfer here is pretty good. The colour palette is quite vibrant at times but at others it comes across as a bit bland, but it's all well-represented with your standard quality Madman transfer. There were a couple of moments during the opening where I noticed a bit of artifacting, but it was negligible.

Subtitles are in a nice yellow font, and I noticed no spelling or grammatical errors.

Packaging:
The front cover looks nice, featuring an image of Rio, with some shapes and Ayumu looming in the background. The logo, episode numbers and disc title are at the top of the cover. The back cover has a layout similar to other new Revelation releases, with a bit of text at the top, some images in the middle, and a volume description at the bottom. Technical information isn't in a grid but is clearly stated at the bottom of the cover. Also of note is that the spine lists the episode titles between the letters of the word "Spiral".

Menu:
The main menu is mostly static, with the cover image of Hiyono present, as well as the logo of the show, volume number and selections. There is a bit of movement in the background, and it all looks very blue. A piece of music plays over the main menu. Sub-menus are all static, sporting the same design but with just the text selections available, and they don't have any music playing. Once again, there's also no scene selection menu. Overall, as is often the case the menus are functional but just very bland in their design.

Extras:
The extras continue to be light here. We get another "prologue to the series", which seems quite pointless, as well as some image galleries and the textless opening and ending songs.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The latest volume of Spiral continues to be enjoyable with the story from the previous disc carrying over and concluding on this volume, before a bit of a lull prior to what seems to be the full-on story arc being kick-started in the final episode on the disc.

With Hiyono ending up on a train, it seems that Rio and Kousuke hold all the cards over Ayumu and yet he still doesn't seem too fazed by it all. In fact, he immediately calls Hiyono and tells her he's simply going to create a situation where Rio is in danger as well, to cancel her actions out. Kousuke soon thinks he's figured it all out when he finds the tapes, but true to form Ayumu has a plan up his sleeve, having posted numerous identical tapes to himself so Kousuke has no clue which one is the real one. It then becomes a stand-off between Ayumu and Rio, with her holding the off switch to the bomb around his neck, and him apparently having nothing but time on his side.

It all ends really well; much to my surprise the twists worked out really well and much of the reasoning makes sense. It does still make me laugh, as with any show of this sort, when the characters break out with incessantly long explanations of things, and how some characters like Rio over-analyse every move to the point that she might as well want to slit her wrists if she makes even the slightest wrong move. But regardless of that, the way the twists worked out, and Ayumu had backup plans even if his original one failed, worked really well. Hiyono was even involved, which seemed really unlikely.

With that saga over and done with, things slow down quite significantly as Rio returns to hospital, joined by Kousuke and Eyes. There's an interesting stand-off between Eyes and Ayumu at the bedside, but the main revelation is that a bigger bad lurks around the corner " the Hunters, and for that reason the Blade Children really can't afford to lose anyone or their abilities, especially Rio. Apparently Eyes got his information from Kanone (who it has to be said has a really irritating accent in the dub), who has been contacting him somewhat in secret. We get to see moments of Eyes and Kanone growing up and, as Christmas is approaching, some exchanges of gifts as well. It's all a bit of a lull for the series but in many ways it's a natural slow-down to give some recovery time for the characters after the blistering pace of recent events.

But saving the best for last, the final episode on the disc kick-starts the Hunters story with one of them targeting Eyes, telling him that he'll be killed within 4 hours. When he eventually reveals it to Rio and Kousuke, they realise they need Ayumu's help to find the assassin. With the three guys teaming up, they try to unravel the clues that the Hunter is unknowingly leaving behind to try and find out how exactly he plans to strike at Eyes show, and if they can stop him.

What works in this episode is once again how well the pendulum swings back and forth in the two sides favours. One minute the Hunter seems on top of things and you think he might succeed, only for Ayumu and co to turn it around and get the upper hand. It does a really good job of showing the potential of the threat the Hunters will bring as you do feel that Eyes' life is actually in danger for much of the episode.

The Hunter story at this stage has a lot of promise, and I am looking forward to seeing where it goes. It seems as though it'll lead to the inevitable proper team-up between Ayumu and the Blade Children, and hopefully will lead to some big revelations with regard that side of the story. With an ongoing threat from what appears to be a big group, the promised one that will threaten the Blade Children's very existence, it'll be fun to see how the characters handle it.

In Summary:
In many ways this volume is a bit transitional, with a fine end to the story started on the last disc, followed by a bit of a lull and then the beginning of the next major arc in the story. The show is still somewhat heavy on the "hit you over the head with it" style of exposition, it continues to be good and the characters are continuing to show more and more facets, which is never a bad thing. Hopefully Spiral will keep up the pace.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Outtakes,Textless Opening and Ending,Series Prologue

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.

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