Zone of Enders Dolores i Vol. #3: A Prelude to War - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Zone of Enders

Zone of Enders Dolores i Vol. #3: A Prelude to War

By Chris Beveridge     February 07, 2003
Release Date: March 11, 2003


Zone of Enders Dolores i Vol. #3: A Prelude to War
© ADV Films


What They Say
The Links family has made it to Mars on a wing and prayer, but their troubles are far from over! For this rescue mission they need a hero, and fast! James Links doesn't want to be a hero except to his wife and children, but he'll have plenty of chances to practice for the role on Mars! Championing the people of a planet on the verge of insurrection, with the authorities still hot on his trail, this space trucker has more on his mind than any one man should have to cope with!

The Review!
The story of the unluckiest family in the solar system continues as the Links Go To Mars!

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series features a nicely dynamic mix that’s fairly active in the forward soundstage with good directionality in both the special effects and the dialogue. Dialogue throughout was crisp and clear, and the we noted no dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally airing in 2001, the transfer for this show is nice and fresh. The show is one to feature a range of colors, with plenty of darks in space to a lot of bright colors throughout the Earth tour. Throughout, colors are strong and vibrant and backgrounds are very solid. Cross coloration is pretty much non-existent while aliasing only shows up in some very tightly animated areas during a panning sequence. This is a solid transfer all around and can easily be identified as a fresh new show.

Packaging:
The new kids on the planet and their battle craft get the cover here with their snazzy skintight suits and their sleek blue Frame in the background. The artwork continues to have a grayish tinge to it and a slate keepcase to match, giving it a very solid feeling. The back cover provides a number of animation shots from the show and a very brief summary of the show itself. The discs features and technical aspects are all nicely and clearly listed in a block while the production information is along the bottom. The insert provides a new piece of artwork on one side while the reverse has the listing of extras and audio selections against the image of one of the characters. A set of four cards is included, with various characters on the front. The backs of them look like they’ll form a part of a larger picture.

Menu:
The menus here are decent, if unexceptional. Static artwork of one of the cast members and other pieces are on each of the submenus, but there’s no animation playing along anywhere. The opening music does play in the main menu though, which has access to each episode and then to the various setup and extra submenus. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is solid, if bland.

Extras:
All new extras fill up this volume and there’s some really good ones in here. The main appeal one for me is the Japanese ADR session that has Hoko Kuwashima and Tesshou Genda working together on some of these episodes. They talk about the characters they play and the show itself, and as usual, I find it pretty interesting to listen to the talent talk about their jobs. James’ Diary makes another appearance as he catches the viewer up on events and there’s also a new Map of Mars that lists various areas by name, giving a sense of the vastness of the planet. The opening and ending sequences are here as well, but this time we get a karaoke version of them. The Japanese text is burned into the print, so we get both a soft romaji translation and a hard sub of the Japanese text as well, which is a neat addition for this kind of extra. And there’s also a couple of sections worth of production sketches and conceptual artwork available, filling out the list nicely.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Links family really does feel like the unluckiest ones ever, as each situation that they manage to escape keeps throwing them right into another that’s just as problematic. And no sooner is that one dealt with… well, you get the idea that it’s a rollercoaster for them with very few lulls and lots of fast downward spirals. This volume is no exception.

With all the underworld problems now behind them and the Enders out in space, closer to Mars than at any other point since setting out there, they run into the problem of getting past the defense systems of the planet. But they use something that makes sense here as Jim does have a trucker’s past, and truckers almost always know a back way to get into places quietly and without being noticed. Jim takes a cue from the Star Wars universe here and heads his ship into a floating pile of large garbage.

Jim uses his gained knowledge of parenting to encourage Leon to figure out a design to get them down to the surface by using the scrap material there and to create a capsule that will allow them to survive the atmosphere. It’s a great scenario and adds a lot of fun to the situation as Leon struggles to figure it out and only comes up with death scenarios.

Of course, you know they make it down because the show would be over otherwise. Their landing brings us to a new and interesting part of Mars and that’s the terraforming aspect. One of the things the scientists came up with was a large weed basically that produces oxygen and water, but the plant went wrong and covered up too much area. So they’ve been using massive platforms that take in the water and extract the oxygen to the atmosphere. These are terribly simple machines and are mostly automated, but there’s still a small staff on there, so the Links folks end up lying to them and end up crashing there for a bit.

Of course, Mars is now rife with those fighting for independence and those who don’t want it, so what better symbol of the struggle than blowing up several of the towers and setting the terraforming project back several years? Jim and his family get mistaken for staff there and end up being held captive. With an episode title of “Die Hard”, it plays out just like you’d expect. Lots of action, wise cracking and shootouts. If there’s anything to be disappointed about with this sequence is that they don’t really give you much of a feel of the entire terraforming project, something that can really change how someone views things. But, that’s not what this show is about. (For that, go read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy!).

The family continues to make a run for land, and once there they hop between various near-deserted establishments to try and get closer to where they think Rachael may be. Each stop brings up some new kind of encounter, but also allows time to be spent elsewhere on the planet as we start to see more of the factions fighting over Mars status in the solar system in regards to Earth. The downside is that while we know this will all come to a head with Dolores being a key, a lot of it just feels forced and not all that important since it jumps in and fills up a few minutes and then isn’t followed up again for awhile.

But with the primary story of following the misadventures of the Links family and their giant pink robot, well, that works out very well and continues to be enjoyable. The series as a whole is something that I can’t quite pin down. It’s almost like I look forward to seeing what situation they get themselves into next.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,ADR Session with Hoko Kuwashima ("Dolores") and Tesshou Genda ("James"),Karaoke versions of opening and closing animations,Production sketches,James' diary,Map of Mars

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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