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Burst Angel: Vol. 5 (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000086630
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 8/9/2006 00:48
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    Review of Burst Angel: Vol. 5

    7 / 10


    Volume 5 of Burst Angel arrives packed to the gills with more futuristic Charlie`s Angels style action. Gonzo puts together a series filled with characteristically scantily clad girls, brandishing powerful guns, and battling dark demonic menaces in a hi tech neon lit Tokyo.

    It`s one of those futures where society has fallen to pieces. In Tokyo, the ownership of guns has been made legal, and as a result crime rates have skyrocketed. Arrests however are down, as for the new RAPT (Recently Armed Police of Tokyo) it cuts down on paperwork when there isn`t a living prisoner to process. When just stepping outside your front door means taking your life in your hands, someone needs to do something. Fortunately there are four girls willing to do what is necessary to ensure peace for the citizens of Tokyo. Operating from a hi-tech trailer and receiving their instructions from the Bailan, Sei, Amy, Meg and the enigmatic Jo set forth, armed to the teeth and ready to battle the toughest of villains, aided by their trusty chef Kyohei. When it gets too tough, they can fall back on the services of the awesome Cybot Django, but there is more to Jo than meets the eye. She sports a strange tattoo that glows when she fights, and the rumour is that whoever sees it is destined for Hell.

    This volume of Burst Angel has four episodes and they are presented on this disc with only the Japanese credit sequences and the Japanese episode titles. I only get the check disc for review, so I don`t know the episode titles printed on the final packaging.

    Ep 17. A Clash! The Two Angels
    Concluding the story left precariously at the edge of a metaphorical cliff in Volume 4, we find Jo and a mysterious warrior about to face off against a giant demon. This demon turns out to be the cybot that had been previously pursuing Jo of course, but this cybot`s pilot is someone startlingly familiar. Maria knows Jo, although Jo has no recollection, and they are equally matched when it comes to their fighting abilities.

    Ep 18. Immortal Classmate
    Kyohei is out shopping for groceries when he runs into an old schoolmate. He and Akio were both bullied at school, and found common cause in standing up to their tormentors. Reminiscing over old times is always fun, but Akio has not been having an easy time of it of late, is in trouble with the local Yakuza, and is a homicidal cyborg intent on mass slaughter.

    Ep 19. 24-Hour Plot
    Takane pays a visit from Osaka, and persuades the gang to take her sightseeing in Tokyo. She`s a fan of a particular soap opera, and jumps at the chance to take a tour around the studio while they are shooting an episode. She takes the performance a little too seriously though, mistaking fantasy for reality. It isn`t because she`s from the sticks though, as someone has something ominous planned for the denizens of Tokyo, mind control through the TV!

    Ep 20. Massacre Highway
    RAPT unveil their latest weapon in traffic law enforcement, giant Cybot law enforcement units. It`s just another aspect of RAPT`s social engineering, weeding out the lowlifes from the city streets with lethal force. But when one of the new units picks on Takane and her friends, its time for Jo to take a stand.


    Gonzo have created an elaborate future world for Burst Angel, and it comes across clearly on this anamorphic widescreen transfer. There are the usual problems associated with anime, digital banding, and the odd compression artefact, but these are minor concerns with a transfer that presents the animation to good effect. It is an elaborately designed future world, and the anime blends traditional 2D animation with 3D CGI quite effectively. It`s a dynamically animated show, with the action scenes impressively realised. The character designs are excellent, as you would expect from Gonzo. There is plenty of eye-candy to be had with this volume, and plenty of fan service too. In other words, given a cast of four scantily clad girls, performing athletic feats of bravado, there is enough flesh and pneumatic anatomy to satisfy many a teen.


    You get a choice of DD 5.1 soundtracks in English and Japanese, and the choice of the signs translated or the translated English subtitles. The Burst Angel audio experience is quite explosive, with plenty of action and some toe tapping tunes, along with some incidental music that owes a fair bit to Ennio Moriccone. The dialogue is clear throughout, and it`s an enjoyable experience on the whole.

    There is a minor flaw with the subtitles this time around, as the occasional grammatical error (usually a stray full stop in a sentence) creeps in.


    There are even more extras to enjoy with Volume 5 of Burst Angel. There are trailers for Tenjho Tenge and Gantz, and as usual there are the customary attractive menus and jacket picture.

    There are more radio dramas to enjoy, with voice actors Akeno Watanabe (Jo) and Megumi Toyoguchi (Meg) providing the light hearted fun.

    The regular Bakuten Radio On Air Selection gets two instalments this time, lasting 10 and 19 minutes respectively. They follow the usual formats of tongue twister showdowns, as well as the actors creating skits featuring the show`s characters sent in by fans. However in a change there is no skit in On Air Selection 12, instead the show has a Halloween air to it as we get to hear some ghost stories. There are also three further bonus segments coming in at 9, 5 and 5 minutes, which continue the pandemonium with a couple of helium voiced characters. These are all audio tracks presented against a static caption card and with subtitles throughout. These are fast paced segments and the subtitles are hard pressed to keep up, but they are entertaining and frivolous pieces that make a nice accompaniment to the show.

    The commentary this time around accompanies Duelling Angels, which is evidently the English language title for the first episode on the disc. Voice director Chris Bevins, and actors Monica Rial (Jo) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (Maria) supply the comments. It`s a light-hearted track that is entertaining to listen to. They talk about the story and the characters, mostly with tongue in cheek.

    You`ll have noticed the absence of the textless opening and closing sequences this time. They`re no great loss, as they are available on the first four volumes. Instead we get a set of interviews. Mai Morishita interviews the Japanese Cast for 16 minutes. In it Akeno Watanabe (Jo), Megumi Toyoguchi (Meg), Mikako Takahashi (Amy), and Rie Tanaka (Sei) talk about their respective characters and the show. The Character Design Interview lasts 4 minutes, and Ugetsu Hakua talks about the characters he created for the show. Finally there is a brief CGI Artist Interview where Kaneko Tomoaki gets to show off some lively computer screens.


    Burst Angel is a light and enjoyable series that is heavy on the eye-candy and action and none too taxing on the intellect. The stories are fun too, with plenty of action, strange unexplained monsters, and girls with guns in skimpy costumes. In the previous volume, it had seemed that Burst Angel had dispensed with the mini-story format to concentrate on the bigger picture. In fact that perception is quickly dispelled with Volume 5, as although it begins by resolving the cliffhanger of the previous volume, it`s followed up by three distinctly stand-alone episodes.

    This isn`t the only reason that this disc disappoints, as the stories this time around are somewhat worn, familiar and clichéd, lacking the originality and verve that I have come to expect from Burst Angel, although the lively characterisations go some way to mitigating this. The first episode as mentioned concludes the cliffhanger from the previous volume, and sees Jo facing off against a mysterious cybot aided by a mysterious warrior in a strange nether world. As promised, this does provide a tantalising glimpse into Jo`s past, with the introduction of a nemesis with similar abilities and almost identical tattoos. However, this episode lost me somewhat when their appearance in this limbo world was explained by the fact that their intense fighting abilities literally opened a gateway in the fabric of space.

    The next episode is a Kyohei story, a character that has barely registered in this series and makes little impact here. Here, he gets sucked into a reinterpretation of The Terminator, as his old school friend has been turned into an indestructible killing machine. It`s a flashy 20 minutes that does entertain, but it adds nothing to the story, and fails to move the character along. Next comes the Mind Control episode. An evil mastermind wants to control the populace by sending out a hidden signal in the television transmissions, creating a horde of zombies to do his bidding. Cue hallucination sequences as our heroes are assailed by the signal.

    Seen it a dozen times! Next!

    And finally, we get Robocop redux. A traffic cop was killed in the performance of his duties, and for his troubles got resurrected as the RAPT`s latest weapon against crime. Now a powerful cybot, he seeks revenge against all the little miscreants that made his life a misery when he was alive, but this time he has the weapons to do something about it.

    I don`t want to sound like a whinger, and honestly I did enjoy every minute of this volume. It`s just that given four volumes of originality and freshness, seeing three or four episodes in a row that settle for recycling familiar concepts that have been done to death in cinema and in other anime series, makes my heart sink. It feels very much like filler, as if the writers have given up. That said, the episodes are enjoyable, the characters are still fresh and lively, the animation is sublime and more importantly, the overarching story still chugs along in the background. Hopefully there is still enough time in the final episodes to give this story a satisfactory resolution.

    Burst Angel is a blast that doesn`t tax the brain, and is fun from beginning to end. I`m quite fond of its frivolous nature, and the clichéd characters are done with such verve and energy that they feel quite refreshing. This disc is good for extra features, with the radio dramas making a nice humorous addition to the relatively serious stories. Burst Angel simply is fun, and there is something to be said for that.

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