With more characters, action, and drama, anyone who was on the fence after the first volume should absolutely give this a shot.
What They Say
A young boy named Shiroe is reading Peter Pan and having the time of his life with his loving family. His youthful exuberance captures Jomy, and after a brief meeting with him he decides he wants to free him. Unfortunately the truth scares Shiroe away, but that's the least of Jomy's problems because his ship and his people are under attack!
Keith Anyan has just awakened on Station E-1077. His adulthood exam completed, he walks onto the main deck and meets his classmates. While in the meeting hall Keith meets jovial Sam Houston, whose friendly personality and outgoing demeanor seem strange to him. Keith excels in his course work and his abilities are put to the test when he has to rescue his classmates after their transport is hit while docking onto E-1077. Four years have pass and the young Shiroe has come of age and is now stationed on E-1077. His one and only goal is to beat upperclassman
Keith Anyan and prove that he is the best. Shiroe's constant goading and slighting remarks have put Keith in an awkward position. Can he rise above this or will this pretentious youth have his way with him?
This show was released with just the original Japanese language track, no English dub. It's a disappointing decision, as this seems like a show that could have widespread appeal with the right push. The audio mix is in stereo, and there's some really nice directionality in some of the action scenes, although that's not really the focus of the show. The dialogue and music sound clear and have some nice depth to them.
While this is a fairly recent show, presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with anamorphic playback, the design overall has a decidedly vintage flair, and it was animated in a way that really plays that up. There's a good deal of noise and grain added in that would be more commonly associated with older cel animation, and while it isn't necessarily a drawback, it makes what should be large, flat areas of color look extremely busy at some points. I noticed a little bit of macroblocking, although it wasn't widespread. While the video isn't perfect, it really isn't too bad overall.
This is about as bare bones as a release gets. The cover has a dark shot of Keith and Shiroe, with E-1077 in the background. It doesn't work quite as well as the first volume's cover, mostly because of the overall darkness of the cover and the way the characters blend into the background. The back has the series blurb along with lists of the episodes, DVD features, and extras. And that's really it - no insert, no reversible cover, just the basics.
The menus here are simple and easy to navigate, but quite appealing as well. The standard navigation options are laid out on the right, with a futuristic orb that features rotating shots of some of the major characters on the left. The background music is a beautiful instrumental piece that I wish ran longer. Response times are nice and fast.
Extras include a textless opening, the second part of an interview with Keiko Takemiya, the creator, and trailers for other Bandai titles. The interview offers some nice insight into the history of the series, and should make the fans who want more Japanese extras included very happy.
Although he was selected by Soldier Blue to be the next leader of the Mu, Jomy's struggles continue. Despite constant training, his abilities still aren't at the level the need to be because of his relative immaturity and lack of focus, and the constant mental barrage of criticism that he can't escape doesn't make it any easier for him. Of course, nobody on the ship can escape his emotions, either. Meanwhile, since the existence of the Mu mothership has been revealed to the humans of Ataraxia, they can no longer rely on secrecy for protection. The humans have developed a system that can help them locate the Mu mothership, even through their protections. Their very survival may depend on a course of action that could wind up killing them all.
Jomy manages to locate a young boy who seems to have Mu potential. Shiroe immediately connects Jomy with Peter Pan in his mind, and is eager to be friends, but resists Jomy's attempts to take him away from his mother and to the Mu ship. The whole contact is disastrous, actually, which drives home better than anything else how hard the job in front of him really is.
Meanwhile, some non-Mu humans who have passed their adult examinations are moving on to their new lives on Station E-1077. Keith is a genius who's managed to already catch the eye of Mother Eliza, the computer controlling the station, and while he has definite ambitions, he also has a strong will of his own. He befriends Jomy's old friend Sam, and the two end up being quite the team.
Four years later, Shiroe is back in the picture as an underclassman on E-1077, and he's as cocky as they come, determined to make a name for himself and defeat Keith in everything. But there's more to his rebellious attitude than simple ego - the adult examination was traumatic for Shiroe, and he's determined to keep the memories he still has left, even as he feels them slipping away. He manages to get through Keith's cool, collected front like nobody else has, but that's not enough for him. Convinced that there's more to Keith than what's immediately obvious, Shiroe goes digging, and ends up finding far more than he bargained for.
Sam and Keith, on the other hand, are running into some problems of their own while out on a training mission. Jomy makes mental contact with them in an attempt to open up a line of communication between the humans and the Mu, but the aftermath leaves everyone but Keith unconscious, as their ships slowly get sucked into a gravity well. But to Sam, even the shock of that is nothing to the discovery of what his childhood friend has become.
With a larger cast of characters and more of a focus on Keith and Shiroe, the show has taken a definite turn for the more interesting. There's so much going on in these episodes - more world building as more of the human system is explored, but also the introduction of two new but very different characters, who change the dynamics of the show in different ways and play off each other extremely well. And the reintroduction of Sam and Suena was really interesting as well, and not something I was expecting.
While the first volume had me intrigued about the general premise, I still wasn't completely sold on the show itself. This volume changed all that. I'm hooked, and hooked hard, and can't wait until the next volume is out. With the multiple setups that happened in this volume, it's going to be quite a ride - the conflict between Shiroe and Keith, with what Shiroe both learned and experienced, is almost definitely going to be kicked up a notch, and with the addition of a more experienced Jomy to the mix...things are going to be fun. Highly recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening,Interview with the Creator Part 2
Panasonic DVD-S25S Progressive-Scan DVD Player and Panasonic TC-26LX85 26" Viera LCD 720p HDTV (Component Connection)