Third, The: The Girl With The Blue Eye Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Kadokawa Pictures USA
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Third, The

Third, The: The Girl With The Blue Eye Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     April 04, 2008
Release Date: March 25, 2008


Third, The: The Girl With The Blue Eye Vol. #5
© Kadokawa Pictures USA


What They Say
One Girl. One Tank. No Problem.

Guarding the planet on high from their shining city of Hyperius, The Third may seem to be perfect, but even they have dark secrets they'd rather remained buried. When Honoka heads off for a rendezvous about a new job, the jack-of-all-trades discovers that her client is a particularly high-ranking Third named Fila Marique. But just as their meeting begins, Fila's auto-enforcers turn on their master and attempt to kill her! It seems The Third's past has come back to haunt them, and Honoka is caught in the crossfire! Contains episodes 17-20.

The Review!
With Joganki under Rona's control now, Fila contracts Honoka out to rescue him and pairs her with her worst enemy - Blue Breaker.

Audio:
This series is presented with the standard options of the original Japanese stereo mix as well as an English stereo mix. In addition to that it's been given a spruced up English 5.1 mix, at 448 kbps as opposed to the other mixes 192 kbps, which gives it much greater clarity and sense of impact. The 5.1 mix provides something that gives the show a fuller feeling that enhances the overall presentation and once again illustrates the need on the part of the Japanese to stop mucking around in stereo so much. The stereo mixes certainly aren't bad as we listened to this primarily in the Japanese language and it fit with the show well enough. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2006, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The series marks the first time that Right Stuf has worked with anamorphic materials for the anime side and the results are pretty good overall. With there being less lengthy extras on this volume, the increased space has allowed for some better peak bitrates when needed throughout the show. The average is still relatively the same and the results are still very good looking throughout. The series has some stellar looking backgrounds to it and they're wonderfully realized here in the authoring for the most part. The blocking that was visible on the first volume has eased off considerably though there are still natural gradient issues that crop up from the source material.

Packaging:
While a lot of the covers for this show have been dark and murky, the fifth volume decides to throw out a lot of bright light and a bit of levity to the characters. The main trio of Honoka, Joganki and Fila are here and with the light skin and hair color for two of them combined with the light background it doesn't feel as bad as previous installments. Even Honoka gets a bit silly with this one. It is however still a hard sell to someone who just comes across it. The back cover goes for an in-theme style look with some good colors to it as it uses blacks and oranges to good effect. A few shots are included of the darker moments from the series as well as some much smaller shots to flesh it out. The summary covers the basics while the special features are all clearly listed. As usual, there is a good technical grid along the bottom that contains everything in a very easy to read format. The cover is reversible as it has the Japanese artwork which has Honoka in her PSP combat skintight suit alongside Rona with her very skimpy outfit. This cover is pretty dark like past ones and it actually pushes both the action and sexy aspects fairly well. Also included is a very heavy stock insert that provides poetry summaries of the episodes, character artwork and comments as well as some background illustrations.

Menu:
The menu design for the series is fairly simple but has some nice design and animation elements to it. The main menu uses the front cover artwork in expanded form to tie it all together with the navigation strip. A bit of music plays back during it and there are some nice animation moments to it as it reloads or as it shifts to the show itself. Moving about is quick and easy and the design is intuitive while still flowing well. Access times are fast and the disc correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The character bios continue to break tradition a bit in a good way. Going into each character there is a bit of artwork and a summary but there's also a commentary. The commentary is done by the Japanese voice actress for Honoka and it showcases a short clip, often a couple of minutes or less, of character design artwork with comments about the perception and design of them. A welcome inclusion with this volume is the clean opening sequence and the two clean closing sequences to date.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Third gets back on track after a fairly quiet and introspective fourth volume by hitting the action and not stopping for much along the way. The four episodes on this volume don't exactly finish out this particular arc but we're getting one consistent story piece from the beginning of it here and it's one of the strengths of the show. The Third has spent a good bit of its time on the secondary character development and letting Honoka show more of herself so these episodes are meant to capitalize on that and bring out some big moments.

The shift back into Honoka heading out on a job isn't awkward as she's simply approached by the Central Integrated Government to come to the Administrative Bureau after she finishes with her collection of the newly updated and reworked PSP. To her surprise upon arriving there however is that she's met by Fila - after mistaking her for Joganki in drag. As it turns out, she's requesting Honoka's help for a sensitive and critical mission that involves rescuing Joganki as he's disappeared after investigating a Third facility that has gone off the radar. The entire building has been reworked by nanomachines and once Joganki went in to investigate it, or possibly to negotiate with whoever was in there, he hasn't been heard back from since. While the Third may sacrifice their own in order to keep to the higher goals of protecting the planet, they'll at least make some sort of attempt.

Which is what draws Honoka into the event, something that becomes a bit more forced when she and Fila are ambushed by some remotely controlled automatic soldiers that the Third typically employ. Honoka's relationship with Joganki is an amusing one to watch since he typically just shows up wherever she is when he needs to talk with her and just has a certain air and presence about him. Having to save him from harm puts the relationship into a new spin, one that she's not quite sure how to feel about. But with plenty of money being thrown at her and the need to help save someone that she does know, it's not something that she can easily refuse. Where the problem comes in is when Fila requests that she take Blue Breaker with her on the mission.

The tension is certainly understandable since Blue Breaker was the one that killed Millie's father not that long ago. While she's definitely had the intention of settling the score, it doesn't exactly feel like it's her personality to swear a blood vengeance about it even considering what's happened. The confrontation between the two is something that was expected, but being thrown into this situation was not something that I saw coming easily. Honoka is first and foremost a professional however so it wasn't a surprise that she'd accept him coming on the mission with certain conditions since he could at the least provide a solid distraction for the numerous soldiers that they're bound to find at the facility. The addition of him to this team along with Paife and Iks really works well in that there's so many different little things going on yet it all flows together very smoothly.

While a good chunk of these episodes deal with the verbal back and forth among the cast - and that of Joganki and Fila as he tries to ferret out what she really wants - it's the action that really wowed me here. Past episodes have had some great scenes with beautiful backgrounds for it to all happen by, but this one feels a bit different. The shift to three distinct action sequences wasn't a bad thing but only one of them really caught my attention. Honoka and Blue Breaker have some good moments as they infiltrate the facility and Iks and Paife play well off of each other after Bogie kicks them out to catch up with the other two. What really won me over was watching the battles between Bogie and his opponents. The deal with him going against the TH-1138 attack aircraft was great and visually pleasing. The CG moments are even better blended than before in a lot of ways and it really felt like it had a lot of impact. Those scenes, all too brief, kept my attention better than almost all the other fight scenes.

In Summary:
With only one more volume to go, I'm really unsure of how this series will end as it has been kind of all over the place. The shift to an action storyline here works well and is the kind of juice needed to get things rolling again after the more introspective fourth volume. The storyline works well for the most part as it brings together a lot of familiar characters in a new team dynamic, but there isn't enough given to the viewer with the real meaning behind it. That's not too much of a surprising considering how the Third are about such things, but it lessened the impact a bit. All told however, this series continues to be a whole lot of fun and a wonderful production in its technical regards. The action scenes and the CG are well blended, the characters are a whole lot of fun and the setting is just pure enjoyment. The show hasn't quite held up to what I thought it would be at first but it's certainly giving me something just as good. Now it's just a matter of whether it can make the destination worth the journey in the next final volume.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Character bios,Clean Opening,Clean Closings

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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