Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Another blind anime selection turns into something that was far better than I was expecting.
In the year 2097, in the city Neo Hong Kong, science has advanced far enough to merge man and machine into one entity. Unfortunately with this advance, mankind is faced with a new threat to its safety known as Viruses. These viruses start within the machine themselves but soon they are able to spread and mutate into monsters and merge humans into themselves until they are killing machines.
Luckily an organization has been formed to combat this menace. They are a group of young men and women known as S.T.A.N.D. (dont ask me what it stands for) and armed in hard metal suits and big guns, they go out and risk their lives to kill these viruses. On this volume we meet all the members of the crew, including the mysterious Captain Raven but also on this volume we are introduced to our title character. He is a mysterious young man who seems to have no history or record with anyone named Serge and while at first he is determined to kill Captain Raven, he eventually agrees to join him and become the fourth member.
The Good And The Bad
This series has turned out much better than I thought it was going to. The animation and storylines are both very well done and I have to say that I also really enjoyed the writing. What I dislike about it thus far though is that there has been almost zero character development thus far. After the first four episodes, I still feel like all of the characters are complete strangers to me which gives me absolutely no reason to care about them or their missions nor does it give me any reason to care if any of them happen to live or die. Adding in the fact that after one volume I have no idea what the viruses that they are fighting actually are and how they got here or where they came from and you have one viewer who is just killing time with anime.
The character designs in this series are great so far. I really like the way that the males are drawn so slimly, it really accents their incredible moves during the battle scenes. What I really dont care for though is how the females were drawn with incredibly thin hips yet they all seem to have breasts the size of watermelons. Now I know that this is anime and that girls with big breasts is nothing out of the ordinary (actually a girl with small breasts is much more rare) but in this case it just seems so disproportionate. I can only imagine how sore the backs of these girls are every morning when they get up.
When I watched the first episode I noticed that something about this series really struck me as familiar but I couldnt put my finger on it. Halfway through the second episode I realized what it was though which brings me to my next point. Im not saying that this is bad because I am a firm believer in the notion that there is no such thing as an original idea anymore but this series is such a knock off of Bubblegum Crisis. You have a party of four people in hard metal suits taking on things that take over machines
sounds pretty similar to me and really if it only took me a few minutes to figure this out, you can imagine that many people who are a lot smarter than me saw this a lot sooner.
While I thought that the opening and closing themes were interestingly done, I felt that the real strong point to the music in this series took place in the battle sequences. I really liked the tense feel to it and Erikas theme in the fourth episode in particular I thought was very well done and really helped drive home the emotion there.
Dub vs. Sub
I really enjoyed the dub track on this volume. I thought that the performances were well done even though I had never heard of any of the actors before. What really drove me nuts however is the terrible way in which the dub track was programmed. There were at least half a dozen times within the first couple of episodes I could clearly see that the dub track had been mistimed causing the words to not match the flaps (mouth movements) of the characters on screen which is something that really takes you out of the moment. I feel that maybe if the dub script had been written better or just timed better then this could have been improved but just that alone almost made me want to just watch the sub track.
In this case though Im going to give the dub track the edge simply because the actors did a great job. Standout performances go to Vibe Jones and Angora Deb playing Erika and Mirei respectively.
Not too many extras were included on this volume which isnt really that surprising to me. Included on this volume are character sketches and sketches of the mechs used within the volume but the best extra included on this volume are the character profiles which dont shed much info about the characters but really when you know absolutely nothing to begin with, even the littlest bit of info you can gather about the characters is helpful.
Overall this wasnt a waste of time. I thought that it was interesting to say the least but the lack of character development really didnt help me get into this one very much. Maybe if the future volumes shed more light on the characters and their dark pasts I could get more into this one, for now its just something that I enjoyed watching but wouldnt go out of my way to see again and more than likely, no one else should either.
Final Grade: 71% - C
©L.B. Bryant 2005
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older