X Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: X

X Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     August 02, 2003
Release Date: July 22, 2003


X Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
After Fuma, the second “Kamui,” joins the Dragons of Earth, the attack on Tokyo turns even more brutal. Half-blinded in battle with Fuma, Subaru nevertheless faces off against Seishiro. But for these two, this battle will bring everything in their past to a feverish finale! Meanwhile, Yuzuriha cancels a meeting with Kusanagi to protect a city from a remorseless Satsuki’s attack. Unable to answer the question of why humans must not kill other humans, Yuzuriha is attacked by an uncaring Satusuki!

The Review!
The sixth installment of the series ratchets up the intensity quite high, but falls short of being a top volume due to a recap.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Presented in a pro-logic mix, the audio makes excellent use of the forward soundstage in terms of directionality and depth, but doesn’t take advantage of the rear speakers for more than minor music ambience. This doesn’t detract from the excellent presentation though, as the track plays well with the dialogue and helps the music sound nice and warm.

Video:
The look and feel of this transfer is just simply gorgeous. There’s a huge amount of varying shades of black and deep blue throughout this show, and they all come across beautifully here. Other colors are very vibrant without any noticeable bleeding or over saturation. Cross coloration is practically non-existent as well as aliasing. I’ve got absolutely no complaint about how things look here at all. I can’t get over how this show looks.

Packaging:
Presented in a clear keepcase, Pioneer has this release done up as a reversible cover. The primary cover here is definitely dark but gives a feel of tragedy as well, with the central image of Subaru and Seishiro back to back as the cherry blossoms glow and fall. The back cover provides a listing of the episode numbers and titles as well as a good breakdown of the discs features. There’s a brief summary of the shows premise and a few more animation shots and the usual list of production credits. The reverse side of the cover is similar in that it uses the same characters but has it more as headshots, but still very dark in look and feel. The back side of the reverse cover is identical. The insert provides a listing of chapters on one side while it gives another look at the cover on the back. The slipcase makes another appearance, this time with silver lettering.

Menu:
The menu layout this time around is rather nice as it has the creation of a barrier starting up and the selections lined along it once it finalizes. The feel is pretty Spartan with the black background and the very dark green of the barrier. Access times are nice and fast and there’s no transitional animations to complicate things.

Extras:
The only extra included on this volume is the image gallery which has under a half dozen promotional images from the series, and just about all of them gorgeous.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As I watch more and more anime series and more and more series at the same time, I start to put them into two categories. On one side are series that I enjoy and will enjoy as each volume comes out. The other side are series that I pretty much want to marathon right away and get to the bottom of. There’s very few of those, since I tend to find marathoning a show to be a disservice to it as you can’t just enjoy the small details from watching a couple of episodes. It’s one reason I both like and dislike box sets.

The X series is one of the few series that I want all of the volumes now, to leap from disc to disc to get more of the story. As each episode ends, it’s torture knowing that there’s any kind of wait for the next release. This volume proved to be even more difficult since the middle episode is a recap episode.

The opening episode is a fantastic one, one that takes the revelations of what happened in Subaru’s past with Seishiro that caused the two to become such bitter enemies. The flashbacks to it throughout the episode, as the two fight back and forth, is beautifully done. With it originally having Kamui going against Subaru, the action is as intense as it has been yet, with the strong and skilled fighters here not being restrained by lack of experience. The battle sequences are great as the two leap about to the orchestral music, the buildings being freely blown up and more.

The second battle with Seishiro himself is exquisite. With it tying back to the older Tokyo Babylon era material, the battle between them takes on the kind of classic tragic Greek style, as each intends to hurt the other but believes that they should be hurt themselves. Combined with the revelations of what really happened in the past and the trick that was done that changes everything for Subaru, this is one of those episodes that stands out amongst a series.

Unfortunately, we move on to a recap of sorts after that as Kakyou recounts the past for the recently tuned in viewer. There are some interesting new bookened pieces with Kamui reflecting in the trees about what’s happened, with the end part providing a nice sense of closure for him in one way. Regardless, there was precious little new here otherwise, so we skimmed the episode.

This brings us to another very strong and powerful episode as things focus on Yuzuriha. She’s set up a date of sorts with Kusanagi to try and get him to reveal his past to her. Since we know who he really is and his alliances, it should prove interesting as Yuzuriha is apparently pretty clueless about it. While the two do begin to talk, mostly trivial stuff over a parfait, their date is abruptly cut short by the presence of one of the dragons in the area. So Yuzuriha and Inuki head off to deal with it.

This brings them into contact not only with Satsuki, who recalls Yuzuriha from a previous day when they ran into each other, but also the dark Kamui. Much like the battle between Seishiro and Subaru, Yuzuriha finds herself up against a very tough opponent who will cause only grief. It’s a beautiful battle that takes place inside the barrier, having Kusanagi watching on in the background as Kamui beats on her repeatedly, causing her more and more pain, both vocal and physical. With the rising powerful music, it’s a sequence that had me on the edge of my seat.

The time that Satsuki has with Yuzuriha is also quite powerful, since it brings into play the element of ones conscious mind when it comes to killing. The old quandary about it being ok to kill an insect but not another human is one that, in Yuzuriha’s position, takes on a strong importance and can bring much anguish to her if she can’t formulate the answer properly.

While I would dearly love to be able to watch the remaining volumes together, I can only imagine how mentally disturbing it would be. I can’t imagine myself being in the right frame of mind after watching the fifth and six volumes together with the heightened tragedy and ruin that’s caused. This series is the kind that puts you through the wringer if you allow yourself to become immersed in it. I feel like I’ve given over a part of myself to this series and just let it have its way with me.

This is great stuff, with the exception of the recap episode. The end is so close now and the final episodes are frequently the most powerful of a series that I’m almost afraid. But I can’t stop recommending it enough.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Image gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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