Zone of Enders Dolores i Vol. #6: Last Things Last -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • 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. #6: Last Things Last

By Chris Beveridge     September 02, 2003
Release Date: August 26, 2003

Zone of Enders Dolores i Vol. #6: Last Things Last
© ADV Films

What They Say
The final contest has begun now that Radium Lavans has emerged to make the brutal intentions of Mars fully known. There's only one power in the universe mighty enough to stop the destruction and mayhem that this insurrection will cause: Metatron! Only problem is, everyone's got some! With Dolores still in the middle as the key to tipping the scales on either side of the growing conflict, James Links must corral not only his family, but also his wits to somehow rescue both Earth and Mars from each other! The final countdown has begun. Prepare to win or die.

The Review!
The final episodes of Zone of the Enders bring in many elements from throughout the series, all capped with great action sequences and plenty of emotion.

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 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 sums things up nicely with the dual images of Dolores as well as the Orbital Frame version of her in the background in a completely trashed form. It’s pretty significant and is a good sign of what some of the struggle in this volume is all about. 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 solid piece with Jim and Radium eyeing each other while the background has Radium’s Frame in the shadows. 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.

This series has been phenomenal in providing just about every Japanese extra created under the sun on the discs. This final volume is no exception at all. It kicks off with a twenty five minute video roundtable with four of the lead actors talking about their roles and experiences in the show. It’s literally a roundtable as they put the camera on a wheel and spin it around as each person talks. There’s a cute little three minute “Omake” piece that looks like some of it was done in MS Paint that deals with the after effects of the series. One really interesting extra is a “Document” that provides a look at the timeline of events for the end of the series as done before the script but after the plot was finalized. So there’s things that are different mixed into it. The opening and ending sequences get another appearance but again in karaoke form and there’s the final rounds of production sketches and conceptual artwork.

Zone of the Enders is a series you wave at people when they say that companies never get enough Japanese extras. This series has been chock full from the start.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Being able to watch the final volume so quickly after the fifth volume definitely helped add to the drama and tension of the series. While I think most shows benefit from not being marathoned, Zone of the Enders in its final major arc makes out better for it, as the adrenaline rush from each episode builds upon the next, kicking things up higher with each new piece.

The main focus continues to be the war that’s started, but the focus moves off of the Martian independence move and more towards dealing with Radium and his plans for revenge. Radium has mostly definitely gone off the deep end in many respects but still commands quite the presence. After essentially forcing their way into the launch catapult on Deimos, he and the small crew with him head off on a two week trip to Earth to complete their goals. But during that entire time, he speaks nary a word, not even to his own daughter. Radium has become so focused on his goals and bringing things to a conclusion that all else has become wholly unworthy of his attention.

While he’s off on his long journey, that leaves Jim and the Links family and friends in the unenviable position of not only trying to catch up to him to stop him, or at least convince the military of his real objective, but they also have to stop the fighting going on all over Mars between the two sides. Cities have become deadly battlefields and most of the population have run underground or hiding in shelters, but the military for both sides continue to fight it out. Jim manages to actually get two sides talking in one small section of the conflict, but it’s the quick thinking of Cindy who gets it hooked up to the world net feed and broadcast all over.

With that, they’re able to focus on getting Radium taken care of. Most of those on Mars are now pretty firmly in Jim’s camp in understanding what Radium’s goals are, but the Earth Military doesn’t believe them in the slightest. They’re taking the threat of Radium seriously, after all he has the history of the Deimos Affair behind him, but they’re convinced a three defense layer plan will stop him before he can get anywhere near the Orbital Elevator. Starting with a series of mass catchers to scoop him up once he leaves the slingshot, followed up by a mass dispersal rail gun and then finally over 5,000 of the new LEV’s, the military has a pretty good reason for being smug about it.

This being anime and it being the kind of story it is, we know it’s all going to come down to a real fight between Radium and Jim, each with their Orbital Frames bringing their power to the field. The way all of this plays out is beautiful, once we start to see how far gone Radium is. His mind is so focused on what he believes is the right thing to do that he’s ended up with a mental image of Dolly encouraging him on about it. The battles that we get are really nicely done, using some simple tricks to allow them past the initial defenses and into the hornets nest. The more engaging battles though occur both alongside and inside the Orbital Elevator, with all sides engaging each other at times in fast paced battle.

The human element is far from lost during all of this either. It’s very strong, from watching Leon take up the reins from his father and realize that it’s not something to be ashamed of to seeing how Rachel has fallen for Jim all over again. The relationships of the “Bad guys” is examined quite a bit as well, with Rebecca finally understanding why things worked out as they did. The most visual though comes in between Jim and Radium as they battle it out both physically and visually, owing back to sequences from the OVA itself.

Each episode in this volume had me on the edge of my seat wondering how it would play out. The series has been quite engaging, though it did start off fairly haphazard. The way it was laid out originally didn’t give much hint of how things would come later in the series, and Jim isn’t exactly the typical lead character. But he definitely grew into the role just as he grew into being a better parent for his kids and his adopted one in the form of Dolores.

In its sum, Zone of the Enders has easily surpassed its game origins to become an engaging if slightly awkward series. Its early parts didn’t seem to fit, but in retrospect they laid down an interesting if unusual foundation for what came later. Taken all together, this is a series that I’d recommend to anyone looking for a different kind of set of heroes in a fun and action filled science fiction series. It won’t rise to the top tier of shows out there, but this is the kind of solid mid range series that are more enjoyable than you’d ever think they would be.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Roundtable talks with Tesshou Genda (James); Mitsuru Miyamoto (Leon); Narumi Hidaka (Noel) and Hoko Kuwashima (Dolores),Karaoke versions of the opening and closing animations,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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