X Vol. #7 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 16 & 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. #7

By Chris Beveridge     September 19, 2003
Release Date: September 23, 2003


X Vol. #7
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The battle between the Dragons of Heaven and Earth rages with deadly consequences, as Seiichiro, a Dragon of Heaven, secretly challenges Yuto. Karen discovers his plan, and puts Seiichiro to sleep then heads to the battlefield, determined to fight Yuto herself. She is sure that her sacrifice will not be missed, while the more mature Dragon’s would! Satsuki realizes her real feeling towards Yuto but when she orders Beast to help Yuto during his battle, she gets a nasty shock -- the mechanical Beast no longer obeys her! Frustrated at the turn of events Kamui asks Hinoto for the next possible attack point, but notices Hinoto acting strangely...

The Review!
Closing in on the end of the series, the stakes get higher as each side begins to force their moves and agendas.

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 keepcase cover goes for a dark murky look with the image of Karen and Sorata using their powers. 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 characters of Yuzuriha and Kusanagi but 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 purple lettering.

Menu:
The menu layout this time gives the nod to Karen’s past with the cross imagery used with feathers floating over it as animation from the show plays within it. The feel is pretty spartan with the black. 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)
With three episodes on this volume, and bringing things dangerously close to the close of the series, we get some excellent material as we learn more about the various dragons, but we also get a sense of fear about how well this can all be wrapped up with only a few more episodes to go.

The bulk of the focus, for the Dragons of Heaven at least, shifts to Karen and Sorata for these episodes but also follows those who are close to them. It starts simply enough with Seiichiro going to file for divorce from his wife so as to keep his family away from him during these times when the other Dragons may attack without any notice. His luck doesn’t run too well though as the person at the counter is actually an enemy Dragon, Yuto. The conversation is casual enough, but the two do promise to meet again later that night to battle.

Catching all of this is Karen, who was there to do some other paperwork. Realizing that Seiichiro isn’t quite up to this battle yet, she sets things up to invite him over and drugs him, allowing her to take his place in the battle. Through this, we get to learn more of her past, how her mother found her to be a devil when she was young and started manipulating fire and other elements that caused her to mature like she has. Karen’s past is interesting, though her present day life more so. Characters that get to walk around in lingerie are not to be ignored.

Another relationship that gets much exploration after Sorata manages to kick Kamui out of his funk is the one between Sorata and Arashi. This begins innocently at one point where Sorata is teaching everyone to cook the dinner meal and he helps her get things prepared, since she’s actually a bit clumsy and overly cautious with the knives. His help brings him dangerously close to her space, something she continues to find herself highly interested in, though she fights against it. The will they/won’t they aspect is played up nicely here, but it comes up against something more powerful soon enough.

Though Hinoto is acting strange, the four Dragons head off to deal with the pending problem that she sees, sending them in two separate groups. Kamui and Sorata together deal with Ginza and a supposed earthquake that’s about to arrive while Arashi and Yuzuriha check out the other location. They don’t make out so well though and find themselves under attack, something that Soarata finds himself feeling. With his drive of being her protector, he unleashes and amazing power to try and save her.

Their relationship becomes increasingly strong during these episodes and it’s fascinating to watch since both characters are so different. It’s typically the other way, with the shy guy and the outgoing woman, but it’s all reversed here. Arashi’s younger days get explored as well and we get to know her better, but the main focus continues to be on the present for her, one that’s changing in ways she simply doesn’t like.

There are a lot of revelations throughout here and some gorgeous action sequences. The battles with Yuto against Seiichiro and Karen are a lot of fun with both of them playing with the elements as well as watching the devastating attacks that both Yuzuriha and Arashi suffer. The fascinating parts come in small doses though, such as how Satsuki’s “Beast” gets jealous as she starts to find feelings in herself for Yuto.

This is all great material, but it feels like we need another twenty episodes to now tell the rest of the story. With only three more to go, I’m steeling myself up for a disappointment in how it’s all going to play out. This volume is worth its weight in gold though.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art 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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