“You have to let me fight! I’m not a baby; I can pull my own weight!”
It is the year 2031. Mysterious, humongous insects called the Blue have destroyed civilization. With the use of mechs called Armored Strikes, a militaristic group seems to be the only people on Earth. Their goal is to get back into outer space with their recently acquired “sleeper,” Yuji Kaido. He has no idea what’s going on in this world, and frankly, is scared to death of it. His savior is Marlene, a supposedly stone-cold soldier whose only mission is to make sure he gets to Second Earth alive.
Adult Swim Action had aired this series in 2003 and I enjoyed it greatly. As it’s a rather old release (late 2001), is it worth picking up or is it as dated as Yuji?
The Show –
Episode 1: “Oneday”
Episode 2: “Cry”
Episode 3: “Trial”
A lot of people compare this to “Starship Troopers,” a movie which I can regretfully say I still haven’t seen. It’s definitely a grim look of the future and pulls no punches when it comes to killing off characters (Hint: Don’t get attached to ANYONE). In these episodes, Yuji is awakened, completely oblivious to what had happened in his time in storage. The gang makes their way to an airport to launch into space, but thanks to the Blue, their plans are derailed. Feeling rather useless, Yuji demands that he gets a crash-course in bug-smashing to pull his own weight.
This is a relatively good start to the series. Naturally, as they’re the introductory episodes, there’s not much character development outside of Yuji going from coward to rookie soldier. Trust me, it gets better in future episodes.
The Audio –
I’m no technical buff, but I really had to raise the volume up to hear the dialogue clearly, much more so than, say, broadcast television. The voice acting is fine, but having seen DBZ years beforehand, I keep on hearing shades of Trunks. That’s not a problem by any means, just noting the same VA. Music fits the show well. Sometimes it’s tense, sometimes it’s subdued, sometimes it screams “sci-fi”. Outside of the volume levels, no problems here.
The Video –
The animation seems to be fairly recent, from the end of the last decade. There’s a lot of use of green and blue in everything from armor to suits to, well, the aptly named Blue. Outside of the occasional spec of dust, the transfer is clean.
The Extras –
Commentaries are always nice and they are a special surprise considering you rarely see them on animé. While it only covers the first episode, it’s better than no commentary at all. The two main voice actors and the voice director comment on dubbing in general. While some of the comments might fly over the heads of those who haven’t seen Dragonball Z (Yuji and Marlene’s VA’s played Future Trunks and Kid Trunks, respectfully.), it’s still an entertaining look into FUNimation’s dubbing. The character bios are nice, giving the standard facts on the characters (while slipping in one or two spoilers, so beware) and the voice actors. The Rough Sketch Collection shows a few colored sketches, presumably during the designing or storyboarding phase of production, set to some music, which runs less than a minute.
The Packaging –
This disc comes in a black Amary case. The artwork is fittingly dark (wouldn’t make sense to see Yuji and Marlene in a happy setting) all around. The insert goes over the three episodes included along with an ad for some FUNimation releases of the time. Outside of some hard to read text on the back, I have no qualms with it. FUNimation has also released this as part of a Box Set, but I know not of the quality of the box.
All in All –
I’m kind of split. Three episodes isn’t a lot for the money but the addition of a commentary track shows that FUNimation did something special. If the commentary track was on all three episodes, I could see this as a great release (despite the episode count). The good audio, video, and decent extras elevate its grade, but three episodes is rather sad.
A standard Playstation 2 hooked up to a Samsung TV of unknown age (mid-’90s or later). No special stereo hookup or wide screen TV or anything.