Tide-Line Blue Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • 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: 24.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tide-Line Blue

Tide-Line Blue Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     August 07, 2007
Release Date: July 17, 2007

Tide-Line Blue Vol. #2
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
Under the command of Captain Gould, the Ulysses sets course for the neighboring nations: Wei and Tengel, countries which have been locked in a generation's long war with one another. It is here that Keel will witness the strength of the Ulysses and her commander, as Gould uses the submarine's massive armaments to threaten the longtime enemies to establish peace in the war-torn region.

However as the New U.N.'s forces begin to tighten its noose around the rogue submarine, the Ulysses will be forced to seek safe harbor in familiar territory, and abandon Keel and Josie in the process. However the duo will find themselves in the mountainous territory of Tibet, where they'll encounter some old friends and the enigmatic spiritual leader Chenrezig...

The Review!
As Gould continues on with his mission of using force to gain piece, Keel finds himself dealing with the reality of the world at large.

This series includes a pair of stereo mixes but is the kind of show you want to go back and smack the Japanese producers for not doing a proper 5.1 audio mix on. Encoded at 224 kbps, the stereo mixes do a good job of presenting the series but at times it feels like it really lacks any serious impact to it. Directionality is generally minimal as characters tend to be center stage when talking and subtle sounds, such as when people are inside submarines, are generally non-existent. The mix is decent enough for what it is but it could have been a lot more. In listening to both tracks, we didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Filled with lots of rich colors along the way, particularly in the blues for obvious reasons, the transfer for this series is pretty solid in general. Colors look vibrant with plenty of fluid animation throughout and it avoids cross coloration and noise in the backgrounds. The couple of problems that do crop up along the way are fairly separate but still tied to issues beyond encoding itself. The first is that in a number of the blue sequences, there is a noticeable gradient throughout. It's not as pronounced as some early digital shows, but they're perceptible. This is simply how it was animated as well as the resolution itself. A potential high definition transfer could either smooth them out more as more color depth is available or it could make it worse. The other problem is that there is a lot of noise in the colors, particularly when it comes to the backgrounds. This is exacerbated by the gradient/banding issues and causes a lot of it to look alive at times. Most of these scenes seem to have an average bitrate in the fours so it's not too surprising. With only three episodes on the disc, I expected something of better quality.

Using artwork from the fourth volume of the Japanese release and retaining the original logo, the cover for this installment avoids the dark look of the first with more colors that catch the eye while showcasing some of the cast members and battle material from these episodes.. The artwork looks good in general though and getting the Japanese artwork is always a plus. A reversible cover would have been ideal however. The back cover features a very simple layout as the artwork used is mostly just black space while along the bottom corner it has part of the burning city. The summary covers the basics of how the world is now while providing an idea of the plot. Episode numbers and titles are included as is a listing of the discs extras. The bottom portion is rounded out with the usual production information and the minimal technical notes. This release does at least note that it's an anamorphic widescreen series which is a nice change of pace. No insert is included with the release.

The menu design for the show is quite nice overall as it features a background piece of animation where the space station Freedom is off to one side looking down as the Earth rotates below. Overlaid on this is a submenu on the left which swaps out character artwork as the light flashes from the space station. On the right is the navigation strip which has the usual basics we get from Bandai releases and the logo is just below that. There is music attached to the menu but it's painfully low to the point where it's barely audible for the most part. Access times are nice and fast but the disc did not read our players' language presets and instead defaulted to English with sign/song subtitles.

The extras are fairly similar to the first volume but work off of a different angle. While the first volume dealt with the singer for the opening song and music video for it, this one is focused on the ending sequence. A brief interview is included with the singer for it and there's also the live action music video for the full length song that was used.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a rather fun and engaging first volume, Tide-Line Blue drops down an episode from that but pushes its agenda forward nicely if a bit too smoothly. The drop to three episodes really feels off here considering how few series are released this way these days and the show feels like it's over before you've really started it. Thankfully though, the show itself is still enjoyable if you can discount that ostrich from your memory. Tide-Line Blue has its very own Jar Jar Binks.

The series continues to have a rather wide ranging series of locales and a cast that's spread across them. This keeps a lot of things happening but often with just smaller windows for each of them. So if you hit upon a character or story subplot that's not all that interesting it doesn't take long to shift to something else. The main focus of the three episodes here revolves around Gould's next target now that he's thrown the New UN Forces into chaos with his attack on Yabitsu. Two nations, Wei and Tengel, have been feuding for some undisclosed reason and Gould is intent on ending it through his use of force. In a rather clever trick that's bound to blow up should the two sides ever really talk with each other, he has teams go in and threaten each side against each other in order to ensure an alliance as well as unlimited supplies and resources for his ship.

As this plays out, some other storylines are playing at the same time that are quite entertaining. Keel has found himself in the position of wanting to help out more so he can be a man for Ilsa and the baby that he's intent on helping her with. That leads him to trying to do things on board the ship but nobody really wants him around, least of all Josie. So she shuffles him off on a side mission where the crew are supposed to just keep him quiet and out of the way. This starts his journey of discovery of how the world outside of Yabitsu really works as he can't believe that Gould is attempting peace through violence again, even threatening with nuclear weapons. His experiences in one of the nations opens his eyes a bit and is quite a surprise compared to what he's been used to on Yabitsu and it goes a long way towards exposing him to new ideas and different perspectives.

The other main arc that plays throughout here follows Aoi and Teen as Aoi is going about firming up support for taking out Gould and re-establishing things after the damage of Yabitsu. Her trip to NORAD has the discovery of something fascinating relating to the space station Freedom which in turn changes the way that Teen looks at the world and his life. With the explanation of his and Keel's past in the previous episode, it's expanded upon here as we see what happened to that family at a critical time on board the station and how it affected the two very young children. The revelations there certainly go a long way towards explaining the way the two are at their present age, particularly with Keel and how he's handling things with Ilsa and her baby.

The multiple arcs throughout here, which have their own subplots within them as well, keep the show rather well paced and always on the move. The passing of time is a bit awkward as everyone seems to get around a bit too fast at times but overall there isn't a lot of down time here. The changes to the world with the high waters continue to be fascinating to see, particularly when they explore the Himalaya's during a battle sequence between Gould and Satoyama. There are some good character moments throughout as well, such as when Keel and Josie arrive in Tibet and we see the differences in what each can adapt to. There is also some good material that goes back to covering the ramifications of the attack on Yabitsu when Keel comes across Angie in Tibet.

Now, if only someone would cook that damn ostrich.

In Summary:
Tide-Line Blue manages to keep most of the momentum going from the first volume but it isn't quite as much due to the drop in the episode count. The storyline itself is fun and has some good battle sequences to it but there are some areas that are just simply annoying. Beyond the obvious of the ostrich, Keel is the weakest character of the series and he's unfortunately the lead character of this ensemble. The setting of the series and the dynamic of the simple politics is the main draw here as is the underlying story of what's going on with Freedom. Overall this is an enjoyable series but some of the weaker parts are making it difficult for the short duration that they're on screen. Beyond that, fans of shows in this genre will find a lot of it appealing.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Special Interview,Special Music Video

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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jnager 3/13/2012 3:41:56 PM

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