Venus Versus Virus Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Venus Versus Virus

Venus Versus Virus Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     April 15, 2008
Release Date: March 18, 2008


Venus Versus Virus Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
The final inoculation draws near!

While the pressure of eliminating viruses seems to have abated somewhat, there are still resident evils that lurk beneath the surface. Sumire's blossoming relationship with Yoshiki has a dark side, and Nahashi and Laura are intensifying their search for Lucif. Their goal: to ultimately put an end to the scourge that is threatening their existence. Nahashi's worst fears are confirmed when he finds that his rival is not only after Lucia, but Sumire as well. Lucif's relentless search for the ultimate fragments has lead him to believe that somehow, these two girls hold the key to opening the True World. In the final countdown, will Lucif's evil win out over good? Or will the Venus Vanguard uphold its promise to humanity? Find out in the stunning conclusion of Venus Versus Virus!


The Review!
The series draws to a close as Lucif's plans finally hit the ground running as Lucia and Sumire are put to the test.

Audio:
The audio mix for this series is surprisingly light as both the original and English mixes are done in a standard 224 kbps stereo format. The show does have some good moments in terms of its audio when the various Virus' get active and attack, but for the most part it's a rather mild mix that's kept to dialogue and some incidental music along the way. The opening and closing sequences with its music tends to be the biggest draw as it utilizes the stereo channels well. Outside of that however it's a rather predictable and sometimes bland mix. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions with either mix during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in early 2007, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. With it being such a recent show I was surprised to see how it looked. There's only one real problem with it but it's a sizeable one in that the backgrounds are filled with mosquito noise. In some of the scenes it's almost overpowering, especially when there are lots of soft blue filled backgrounds. This isn't kept to just the backgrounds though but it is where it's most noticeable. The show appears to be shot somewhat soft in general which adds to this and gives the backgrounds a feeling of being in constant movement. Colors in general look good with no bleeding or oversaturation but their level of solidity is out the window. The opening and closing sequences tend to look a lot better, the closing in particular with its heavy white use.

Packaging:
This release is slightly different from most other ADV Films releases in that the keepcase used is done in a nice shale blue color which helps to accent the color design of the artwork itself. Similar to the previous volumes, the release looks good as the keepcase color helps to draw you into the background design. Lucia and Sumire are paired once again with a nice shot that has them pretty much back to back with relaxed and happy smiles on their faces. The back cover has some good framing to it as well while it uses a rather detailed purple background that lets the text and artwork stand out. The summary covers the basics and the discs episodes and features are clearly listed. The shots for the show are a bit small though, presumably to make space for the copious amounts of Japanese production credits and copyright info. The technical grid along the bottom is pretty good even with all the required logos since it still gets the discs features across clearly and cleanly.

Menu:
The menu design is rather simple and straightforward as it uses the character artwork from the cover off to one side and has a static purple filtered background that uses some of the framing from within the show itself. The navigation is kept to the left which individual episode access and it's all tied together with a bit of the opening vocal sequence. It's a decent looking menu but has that basic effort feel to it. Access times are nice and fast however and the disc, like just about every release from ADV Films, read our players' presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty standard in the inclusion of the clean version of the opening sequence and the two ending sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the Venus Versus Virus manga still ongoing, and only at seven volumes as of this writing, there isn't much to really expect from the end of the anime incarnation unless they try to go their own way. These last four episodes actually manage a decent end to the show but it still can't seem to rise above the problems that have plagued it from the beginning.

The bonds between Lucia and Sumire are at the core of the story in this volume as they're about to be put to the test by Lucif and his plans to achieve his True World. What better way to bond the girls together even more than by having a birthday party? This actually works out fairly well as the two of them share the same birthday but Lucia has never celebrated it since it's also tied to the anniversary of her mother's death. Sumire doesn't quite realize this at first and naturally feels awful afterwards, but Lucia has changed a little bit since Sumire came into her life and she's actually interested in trying to make it work. That does lead to a really awkward scene where Lucia is trying to do a test run on baking a cake which means she's in her usual outfit plus an apron. Pandering to the audience at its best...

The birthday storyline actually takes up an entire episode which is focused on the test baking runs but it goes beyond there as well. Sumire wants to keep it small but it starts to balloon a little bit larger than she expected when some friends find out and want to celebrate with her. She's also very interested in inviting Yoshiki, though he's a bit hesitant since he and Nahashi would be the only men there and that's just plain awkward for a young man like him. The slowly growing relationship between the two of them is quaint in a way as it feels rather restrained given what some other shows are doing today. Of course, these are the episodes where we start to really see that there's more to him than meets the eye which in turn sets Lucia off on him in a nasty way.

While the story works roughly around the idea of Lucia and her business of dealing with the Virus' that are out there in the world, the main plot of this particular arc is dealing in her father. With his return and intention to destroy everything and open up the path to the True World, he's returned to Japan where his daughter and Sumire are as they're the keys to it, quite literally. With the flashbacks we got in the previous volume with how he ended up like he did and what happened to Lilith, it isn't a stretch to see how both girls are tied together in his plan. The deception and manipulation that he's exercised on them isn't exactly a surprise but it is nicely done overall since it puts both girls through the wringer once it starts getting revealed.

As an end to the series, Venus Versus Virus has me somewhat confused about how to feel about it. As the final two episodes get underway, there is a significant amount of bravery not seen in a lot of shows about how to deal with characters. When the bodies start dropping - and stay dropped - I have to admit that I become more curious since it means they aren't going to play it safe for more merchandising possibilities. The conflict that's put up between the two young women is one that works rather well and provides for some understandable angst. It's brazen in its manipulation, but that's what Lucif is all about at this point so it's hard to complain about it because it makes perfect sense for what he has to accomplish. Add in that the series ends on a less than clear note that leaves it quite open for what really happens and Venus Versus Virus just doesn't fit into the kind of predictability that I expected from the first ten or so episodes.

In Summary:
While the last episodes of the series provided more entertainment than I expected, Venus Versus Virus is still a very difficult show to recommend. It has some pretty standard ideas to it and much of its execution worked in that direction. There are some good moments throughout and I like the characters but it comes across as a budget production instead of something more lavish which could have helped boost it. The designs are all built around things that are still popular out there but they aren't strong enough with the detail or animation to pull it off. There are things to like about this series, particularly the ending, but it's a difficult work as a whole to really recommend. This is the kind of show that's good for newer anime fans to sink their teeth into and to find what they really do like and don't like. For long time fans though, this will be far more difficult to get into.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

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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