Zone of Enders Dolores i Vol. #4: The Enemy Within -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 15 & 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. #4: The Enemy Within

By Chris Beveridge     May 24, 2003
Release Date: May 06, 2003

Zone of Enders Dolores i Vol. #4: The Enemy Within
© ADV Films

What They Say
A new assault has been launched! Just who are the sharp young pilots of these hot new LEVs? And who is their superior, Naphth Pleminger, Metatron arms dealer extraordinaire? The family business isn't what it used to be, that's for sure! All in all, there's more happening on Mars than could have ever been imagined on Earth. Can James Links maintain his sanity long enough to stay in the battle and figure it all out? Instead of coming together, the family seems to be coming apart at the seams. Perhaps his long-lost wife can help. Is that really Rachel Links?

The Review!
With this volume, we get to tour much more of Mars from its wonderful sandstorms to its… continual wonderful sandstorms.

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.

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.

The front cover here goes towards the enemy side this time around with a look at one of the people whose masterminding much of the uprisings. 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 has a great looking shot of Noel and her father set against some Frame technology, with the color scheme here being very eye-catching. 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.

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.

The chunk of interviews continues with this volume. Strung together in one video piece but individually selectable, there’s interviews with the two character designers and two mecha designers. Amusingly, one of them in the menu is referred to as a chaTacter designer. Also included is the opening and ending theme in karaoke version. The opening theme is particularly fun since so much of it is already in English. The production sketches section runs just under five minutes and has lots of shots of the various characters in both black and white and color while the conceptual artwork section runs just over two and a half minutes with some great looking background shots.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the previous volume, with the Links family now finally on Mars and traveling around in their rather large sized trailer, we got to hit various spots along the way and start getting a feel for the planet itself. This volume pretty much keeps up that theme and introduces some new characters as well as providing some comic relief.

One of the new characters comes in the form of Nikolai, a young man who travels around the various spheres in his own miniature trailer. Once he arrives at the spheres, he helps out by using his skills as a technical/repairman to do spot jobs and ensure everything is working, sort of like a wandering jack of all trades. Leon and Noel come across him when they get stuck in one of the massive sandstorms, and they both head off together to a nearby sphere that he knows about.

Of course, the introduction of this particular person sends the heart of young Noel into overdrive and she’s slowly becoming enamored by him. She ends up crossing paths with him several times throughout the episodes, as they invariably end up in similar areas. There’s a rather good reason for this as we learn in the later episodes, which makes rewatching the first ones with him all the more interesting. The addition of Nikolai provides Noel some much needed interaction and also puts her father off balance once he catches up with them.

James Links’ time is spent in a rather frustrating manner for a good part of these episodes, especially during the beginning where he’s still got independence fight Rebecca under his watch. While he continues to not treat her as a prisoner, she keeps insisting that she be tied up and treated like one. Jim simply rolls his eyes at this and even Dolores can’t understand it. All Jim wants to do is to return her and get back on the path to finding his kids and then finding Rachael.

His eventual return of Rebecca to her comrades brings about some interesting revelations. Once Axel finds her after a brief encounter with Dolores, he’s quick to bring her back to the base. She’s become different though from her exposure to the earthlings and having to deal with their indifference and lack of care about the two planets relationship. Her learning that Jim had actually married a Martian only confuses her more, which results in her being not altogether there. This causes concern among her fellow pilots who thinks she’s simply been brainwashed by her captors.

One of the best moments during this batch of episodes has Jim finding his way to a “pleasure” sphere of sorts that’s been founded by Isaac Barrett and follows the teachings of his books. Everyone in the dome continually says “love and peace” and nobody can do any wrong. When Jim comes across Barrett himself, his idol after reading the book about being a better father for so long, he’s practically overcome with tears and begs to learn more from the man himself. Of course, Barrett holds a dark secret that could destroy him, but it’s just so amusingly done. It’s a simple story device, but it works.

The only glitch we ran into with this release is one we seem to keep finding with this series, and that’s a subtitle lock-up. In the third episode when Jim runs up to the intersection where there’s a commotion, the white subtitles on the top row stop up there. It just took a rewind and a play to unfreeze it and move on without losing anything, but it’s just a strange glitch to get.

Much like past volumes, I’m really unsure what it is about this show that gets me to enjoy it so much. We’re getting episodes that could have all easily been excised or tightened up to just one episodes subplot, but it doesn’t bother me at all. This volume continues much the same as past ones, though with a bit less Dolores, but it’s still a good spot of fun. More pieces are definitely falling into place here.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Interviews with Madoka Hirayama (Main Character Designer) Kumi Horii (Character Designs) and Tsutomu Suzuki and Tsutomu Miyazawa (Mecha Designers),Karaoke versions of opening and closing animation,Production sketches,Conceptual artwork

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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