Super Robot Wars: OG - Divine Wars Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Visual USA, Inc.
  • MSRP: 49.99
  • Running time: 72
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Super Robot Wars Original Generation

Super Robot Wars: OG - Divine Wars Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     May 07, 2008
Release Date: May 13, 2008


Super Robot Wars: OG - Divine Wars Vol. #6
© Bandai Visual USA, Inc.


What They Say
On the eve of the last battle, signs show that the true enemy has at last appeared..

The first chapter of the DC War comes to a close as Commander-in-Chief Zoldark squares off against the Federation.. but which side will win the right to defend the Earth sphere?! Find out in the climactic sixth volume of Super Robot Wars: Original Generation!

The Hagwane launches an attack on the DC's main base, and the skies above of Aidoneus erupt in a bitter 'rial battle. But the skirmish can only last so long before Bian Zoldark must at last pilot his Valsion into battle and challenge the Federation once and for all. The fight to defend the Earth sphere reaches its dramatic conclusion.. and when the dust has settled, the fate of the war could rest in the hands of a young princess. Will the Federation be able to defend her from the clutches of DC Sub-Commander Adler Koch?

The Review!
The fight between the DC and the Federation takes an abrupt turn as the focus begins to shift to the larger enemy in store for them.

Audio:
This TV series is presented in monolingual form with the original Japanese stereo mix. Similar to some past releases from Bandai Visual USA, it's a very well done stereo mix at a 448kbps rate which really lets it have a lot more clarity and impact. The forward soundstage presentation is good throughout, though it doesn't have quite the depth that some other shows might in a similar situation. With its TV origins however, there aren't a lot of high expectations here but the show does a good job with placement and clarity. The music in numerous scenes comes across very well with a rich feeling to it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in late 2006 and early 2007, this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The visual presentation for this series is very striking with lots of big bold colors, rich looking CGI and an overall sense of depth and presence to many of the scenes. As has become seemingly standard for this company's releases, the bitrate is consistently high which results in some very solid looking scenes. The series has no real breakup or noise to its backgrounds or character animation which gives it a very appealing look on a large screen. It's not problem free though and the issues appear to be more source related. The first is that the CG tends to have a bit of line noise to it during the panning sequences, but this is relatively minor overall considering they avoid doing many pans and zooms over the machines. The other is that there are a couple of instances of visible banding which leads to some very minor blocking. Beyond that however, the show looks gorgeous.

Packaging:
Super Robot Wars doesn't stray from its designs much for this installment as it provides both a look at the cool super robots and a number of the characters that fill out this large cast. Unlike previous volumes which were pretty light and colorful, this one is focused on the D characters and has a very dark background to it which blends in with the mecha, almost to the point where you can't tell where they begin and end. The back cover keeps things a bit dark and murky for the background but it provides several shots from the show and summaries for the episodes on the release. The bottom portion of the cover runs through the main staff and the voice actors as well as a decent looking technical grid that covers all the important information. While no reversible cover is included, we do get a very nice booklet that runs through several pages of character designs, mecha designs and information for what's introduced in these episodes.

Menu:
The menu design for the series is simple but it goes against tradition in a small way in how most US companies do their menus. The menu is split in half with the cover artwork on the right side, with the a bit of light added to the top to brighten it all up, while the left side contains the navigation strip. With nothing on the disc but the show, subtitle selections are on the top level as well as individual episode access. The menu has a very brief bit of animation that it runs through at the start and then settles into its loop with music. This is where it's interesting in that unlike the standard design of a 30 second loop, they've done a 4 minute loop of music. Moving about the menus is easy, which isn't a surprise considering how little is here, and it naturally defaulted to having subtitles on. I do continue to be disappointed that they still don't do any advertising of their other titles with their releases.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Super Robot Wars: Original Generation - Divine Wars, I'm finding myself in the same position I was with the series after the second volume or so. With such a large cast to it, and one that has a fair bit of history, the episode counts really hurt in that keeping up with who is who and what their relationship is with everyone else is fairly difficult. Maybe it's a bit easier doing it on a weekly basis from when it aired and maybe it'll flow better in a marathon session, but I keep finding this format of three episodes to really weaken the show. With no real character connections, Super Robot Wars: Original Generation - Divine Wars really just becomes a seventy minute long action sequence. A very shiny action sequence, but little more than that.

After the pitched battle against the United Colony Corps in the previous volume, this one has the captain of the Hagwane intent on carrying things through to the finish and taking down the Divine Crusaders before they can do more damage. That means an all out attack on the Aidoneous Island but that's difficult due to the damage inflicted upon all of them during the space battle. Captain Minase has a plan in mind though and intends to take the Hagwane down by itself along with a full complement of Personal Troopers to pull the job off. While they're somewhat tired and coming down from the battle they were just in, everyone is ready to do whatever Minase has in mind so that they can put an end to DC once and for all.

While the character side is weak, particularly as it's easy to lose track of people with their helmets on and there being so many Personal Troopers to follow, the actual combat and action sequences are spectacular. I'm still not a huge fan of the CG model but they've done such an amazing job with this series in making it both fun and attractive that I can sit and watch seventy-five minutes of it and be fairly pleased about it. The initial aerial battle over the island is a lot of fun, especially as Ryusei and Tenzen go at it once again, but overall there is just so much going on here that the battle moves quickly and smoothly while still retaining quite a lot of polish about it.

Where the battle takes an interesting turn is in the second episode where they decide to ramp it up by having the SRX team deal with just a single foe. Zoldark himself gets out into the battle by using his latest and greatest creation, the oversized and overpowered Valsion. Not unlike the uniform designs of many of the DC characters, the Valsion is impressive to look at and it has a certain kind of presence to it that makes you take notice. With everyone else keeping to the sidelines on the DC side, Zoldark gets to throw a couple of pretty little speeches from behind his protective Distortion Field before he gets down and dirty. A lot of these scenes remind heavily of older classic mecha series and the Zeorymer show in particular when it comes to the general mecha designs. The changes that the show goes through from this encounter are intriguing though as it signals the next stage in the series which could potentially move things along and beyond the Federation versus DC mode that it's been in for too long.

In Summary:
Try as I might to actually like the content of the series, Super Robot Wars: Original Generation - Divine Wars continues to leave me feeling rather blasé about it. It's production values are quite outstanding and the show is a great piece of visual work outside of some issues in making the characters clearer. The storyline just feels very muddled and too large for its own good which when combined with poor pacing just undermines the whole thing. The core storyline is certainly a decent one but it's just put together in a way that will really only appeal to the truly faithful. Fans of the show who will pony up for the price point of this series will love the release as it does exactly what each previous one has done when it comes to the technical side and it just shines in that department. And honestly, the only people really getting this at this point are those people so they're probably quite pleased.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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