Mania Grade: C
0 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Visual USA, Inc.
- MSRP: 39.98
- Running time: 50
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Wings of Rean
Wings of Rean Vol. #3
By Chris Beveridge
August 06, 2007
Release Date: August 14, 2007
Wings of Rean Vol. #3
What They Say
© Bandai Visual USA, Inc.
The Hojo Army and resistance force have passed through the Aura Road and emerged on Tokyo Bay. There, the two armies decide to join forces and follow the same path. In cooperation with the Hojo Army, Rori and Kanamoto strike down Tokyo Tower, shocking the city into a state of unprecedented chaos. Meanwhile, led by the Wings of Rean, Aesap and King Sakomizu arrive in Japan at the end of the World War II. Skies riddled with B-29s...atomic bombs...the battle of Okinawa... Sakomizu is filled with anger and sadness. Aesap sees his parents before he was born. When their journey to the past ends, they find themselves in the skies above present-day Tokyo Bay.The Review!
Almost two episodes straight of nothing but action, Wings of Rean concludes with gorgeous battles but little sense in the story.Audio:
Bandai Visual has provided only a single audio track for this release and it's a stellar sounding 5.1 mix encoded at 448 kbps. Simply put, if you're not watching it in full 5.1 sound then you're missing a sizeable part of the shows presentation. The mix is not overly dynamic in terms of placement of dialogue though it certainly has its moments. Where it excels is in the bass area as the massive ships that surface throughout the two episodes and the sounds made by the numerous mecha really come alive. Rear channels have some great use at times with jets flying around and overall it's a very solid mix. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.Video:
Originally released in 2006, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. When it comes to the video side of their releases, Bandai Visual USA simply excels at the presentation. For the vast majority of this release the bitrate is at a steady nine and pushing close to the limit that most players can handle when you add in the audio track (as ten mbps is where the spec tops out though there are instances of releases going over that). Colors are rich and properly saturated, backgrounds have a strong solid feel to them and issues such as aliasing and cross coloration are non-existent. This continues to be one of the most visually stunning discs I've ever owned. Packaging:
Even before opening up the release there was a sense of a bit more weight behind it than normal. The cover art for this volume uses the artwork from the Japanese release with King Sakomizu in the foreground. It's a bit heavy on the dark colors but it's a solid looking cover even if it doesn't work as well as the first volume did. The back cover is pretty traditional with some basic selling points along the top and two strips of screenshots for each episode title. The summary provides some useful background for going into the show while the remainder is made up of the basic technical and general features. The only area to really criticize here is that it's unclear whether the show is in 4:3 of 16:9 as the two graphics aren't associated with specific things.
Where the weight in this release comes from is in the booklet included, which uses a snippet of character artwork from the Japanese cover art of Lyukus and Aesap embracing. The booklet is a rich piece that has some terms and liner notes as well as conceptual artwork and storyboard pieces with notes. Where it really shines is in the extensive third interview with Tomino as it becomes apparent just how much he's mellowed in the last few years. There are also interviews with the CG directors and the mechanical designer. The insert in general is done on some really slick paper stock that shines with all the color artwork and its overall design is just solid.
A second booklet is also included that coves the early sketches from the series with some radically different designs for the characters as well as the mechanical designs. One full color booklet is a lot considering how solid the first one is but including a smaller one, even as short as it is, is very surprising and a welcome addition.Menu:
The weakest area of their releases continues to be the menus (give Nightjar a call guys, please!) and this one is no exception. Essentially a static piece that has a framed design to it, it contains the two episodes basic structure (feature, ending, preview) as well as quick access to the discs bonus features. The only real submenu to use is the setup area but that's set by default anyway. Though there are only three ways to access each episode from the top level, there are many more chapter stops within the program which is very much appreciated. Access times are obviously a non-issue and though the layout is meager it's functional and problem free.Extras:
The final volume has a couple of extras to it that add a fair bit of runtime to the release. The first is a brief promotional trailer for the first volume's release in Japan. The second is a much lengthier eighteen minute piece that goes over the orchestration for the series. It goes back to starting with how the music from After War Gundam X was going to be used but the composer wanted to do something new for this series. Yasuo Higuchi looks like you expect most composers and has plenty of interesting things to say about the production and his limited anime interaction as well as talking about Tomino himself. Fans of the music of the series will definitely love this piece.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Still largely influenced by my interest in Aura Battler Dunbine, the final volume of Wings of Rean brings out the last two OVAs in the series to provide closure. With this property being separate from the other in just about every way that matters in terms of stories, it's easy to view this one on its own once you realize that. The downside to the show continues to be its large scope and cast of characters which do not make the transition from novel to short form animation very well.
The show is playing up so many political aspects with characters and situations that none of them get the proper time to really gel and formulate. You have Codour and her group trying to gain revenge for the way their tribe was dealt with back in Byston Well, you have the American forces exerting their own pressure as well as some sort of splinter group forming from it. You also have the milquetoast Japanese government getting involved and essentially letting far too much happen without any intervention. And you also have the Japanese radicals that are trying to wake up the population of peaceniks by creating a situation that will shock them. Dropping a nuclear weapon on the city of Tokyo and killing ten million people would certainly do that but you never really get a fully formed set of motivations for them to actually go that far. Maybe it's just a political disconnect on my part to present day Japanese politics, but there are so many elements interwoven into the show around such ideas across both lands that it just feels like it's not really fleshed out properly.
The majority of the time spent during these two episodes is focused almost entirely on battle. Even when there's critical dialogue between characters, it's done either as they're fighting someone or each other or there is fighting going on all around them. When Codour and Lyukus square off briefly on the bridge of a ship, it's almost overwhelmed by the battle raging around them. The various ships from different fleets and the numerous factions that have evolved since the start of this make for a truly chaotic battle sequence. And in the middle of all of this is Sakomizu and his attempt to seemingly destroy everything based on what happened to him in the past. There are some really strong moments when he and Aesap see the past through the Aura Road and Aesap starts to understand more of Sakomizu's position, but in the end it doesn't seem to make any real impact on the present day storyline.
As weak as the story is, and it is very weak here in several ways, the overall presentation is just stunning to watch. The sheer number of things fighting over the locales is just breathtaking at times. The animation is beautifully solid, the colors are incredibly vibrant without being too much and the designs are just stunning. Sakomizu's Ouka-oh in particular really shines during all of this but it's not the only thing. The different ships, particularly the souped up ones from Byston Well, have a real sense of presence on the screen. The use of the CG animation for the battlers comes across quite well during all of this and even if they don't feel smooth in the same way as character animation does, it blends in beautifully and really makes me want to see what Tomino has in mind next. This volume, much like the previous two, is essentially a DVD that you can just show off on any set to see the beautiful quality of it all. Beyond some very minor instances in the previous episodes, this is as close to flawless as I think I've seen during regular playback.In Summary:
The Wings of Rean isn't a show that is going to appeal to a lot of people and will have a hard time even with fans familiar with the setting and basics of the story. In the end, the story for the series left me disappointed but the show overall entertained me greatly. It's a visual tour de force that shines on just about every level. The beautiful visuals and rush of animation in the episodes is wonderfully closed out by one of the more haunting ending sequences I've seen and heard. This final volume just puts it all out there when it comes to the action and the visuals and that's where it succeeds greatly. You don't care what goes on after awhile and just become lost in the beautiful chaos that fills up the screen. This isn't a series that can be recommended for various reasons, be it pricing or the meager story or the episode count, but those that do take the plunge and fall in love with it will be singing its praises for quite some time to come.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Promotional Trailer, The Wings of Rean "Orchestration Guide",32-page color booklet, 16-page color booklet "Early Sketch"
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI with upscaling set to 1080p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.