Vandread Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Vandread

Vandread Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     May 09, 2002
Release Date: February 26, 2002


Vandread Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The Gender Gap! The female pirates and their male prisoners/crew develop a grudging respect for each other despite their extreme differences. Meanwhile, Hibiki discovers that the Vanguards can merge with different Dred fighters to make different types of Vandreads!

Now, other female pirates want to join with Hibiki to see what happens - can he keep up his energy against the constant alien attacks and all of this female attention?!

The Review!
The second volume of Vandread feels much less rushed than the first as we move away from all the character introductions and start to actually get to know about these people and their situations.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show features a very nice pro-logic track here with some good use of the entire soundstage. Music and sound effects regularly are thrown to the rear speakers while there's also a good amount of directionality across the forward soundstage. The rear channels aren't exactly getting a workout, but they're used much more than normal and are well done.

Video:
While my distaste for heavy CG animation continues to be a problem with this show, the actual transfer here is pretty much top notch. Colors are lush and vibrant and the blacks look nice and solid. Cross coloration is non-existent and I’ll be hard pressed to find any aliasing going on either. As an added bonus for HDTV folks who are going to want to zoom in on this, Pioneer was extra careful and made sure that the subtitles all take place inside the picture and not the widescreen bars, so you won't lose subtitles during the zoom.

Packaging:
This volume makes use of the foil feature as well, using it to advantage like the first volume by having the special effects from the Vand-type and the Vand-type itself use it. Meia is the only character to actually get on the front cover here and she provides an almost somber look to things. The back cover makes use of the foil features throughout the animation shots and logos. The discs features and summary are nicely laid out and the episode numbers and titles are listed clearly, though there is no volume numbering. The insert features Meia again but with some character design artwork behind her as well as the chapter stops.

Menu:
Very much in the style of the show, Nightjar provides another set of great looking and great sounding menus that are also functional and easy to navigate in the style of one of the ships control panels. Moving between the menus is a breeze and access times are nice and fast. The menus are also done in the widescreen mode to keep in line with the show itself, so zooming here results in no loss as well.

Extras:
There’s a big chunk of extras here that will satisfy fans. In addition to another batch of character line art, we get the first five TV commercials to the series. There’s also textless openings to the three episodes that are featured on this disc.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Things pick up in a pretty episodic format from the first volume, with the crew out there somewhere in the galaxy and trying to get back towards home. So this means things move forward in a pretty basic way of the ship moving from destination to destination and dealing with things that happen as they come.

Taking the characters out of the situation, it plays much like a standard Star Trek episode from any of the series. The ship comes across a planet that may have some valuable supplies they can use, so they send down a group to investigate. As expected, the whole thing is a booby trap to capture people who don’t belong there. What makes it Vandread though is the characters. A good portion of these episodes is focused around the women trying to get Hibiki to merge with them and not Dita. The one pushing the hardest is Jura, who goes so far as to learn how to cook for Hibiki.

The other thing that works well with this episode is that since it’s a planet-bound piece, the women have to use the Vandread’s that are onboard instead of their spaceships. This sets Hibiki off nicely, especially when he finds out that the women are painting all of the Vandreads in bright gaudy colors.

In the midst of all this we have Meia, whose feeling troubled about everything that’s on her shoulders with the team. When she’s kept out of a particular mission, it’s left to Jura and the others to lead things. This leads to massive problems due to the fact that Meia never really trained anyone as a second in command since she assumed total control. This leaves the crew and the ship at the mercy of the bizarre aliens that are attacking them. The Captain helps flesh things out with Meia by relating the story of her meeting with Meia as well as why she’s so solitary about things.

Meia’s the only one really playing up the distaste between the male and female races, as just about every other woman is either indifferent or falling madly for one of the guys. The guys are playing things in an indifferent way themselves, with none of them really pursuing any of the women to any degree. In fact, you have Hibiki trying hard to fend off Dita, as she’s decided that he will be hers. Dita’s interesting through all of this as she tries to learn about the male species and actually makes some good observations and decisions about her pursuit of him.

The show went by pretty fast all told, and while it didn’t feel like things actually progressed in any meaningful way from the frantic first volume, I’m starting to actually remember the characters names now instead of just their hair color and chest size as identification. The only thing still bothering me is the overuse of much too slick looking CG animation with the Vandread units.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,TV Commercials,Textless Openings,Production Art

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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