ANIME STUFF +quot;Reviews and Information on Japanese Animation Software+quot; ISSUE 12 37

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

//////////////////////////////ANIME STUFF\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ "Reviews and Information on Japanese Animation Software" ISSUE 12 3/7/1990 This is the 12th in a series of files of comments and reviews of anime (Japanese animation) items that we have bought. Please direct all comments to us by E-mail or post us a message in the Forum. We also welcome any reviews, artwork, or comments you would like to have included in the next ANIME STUFF issue. Also please send us any comments about any incorrect information contained here. A correction will be placed in the next ANIME STUFF. The ANIME STUFF Staff... - Tom Mitchell : Editor, Writer, Graphics, CompuServe & GEnie Distributor CompuServe Address : 75156,1067 GEnie Address : TOM-M - Masaki Takai : Writer & BBS System Distributor CompuServe Address : 75106,3257 - Mike & Janet Naylor : Writers CompuServe Address : 76074,1631 - Rick Sternbach : Anime Modeler, Writer CompuServe Address : 74616,526 - Jude George : USENET Consultant, Writer CompuServe Address: 72307,1752 - Barry Brown : INTERNET Distributor INTERNET Address : >INTERNET:pa1200%sdcc13@ucsd.edu - Albert Wong : Writer, Index Research CompuServe Address: 72657,2103 - Dave Handy : Graphics CompuServe Address: 72017,1703 - Dave Seah : America Online Distributor INTERNET Address : >INTERNET:dseah@wpi.wpi.edu ////////////////////////////////QUICK NOTE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ With this issue of ANIME STUFF, we expand out to a few new systems. We will now be appearing on GEnie in the JAPAN RT, which features a new anime fan group. Hello to everyone on GEnie from you fellow fans on the CompuServe Anime Group! Thanks to Barry Brown, we now have a new home on INTERNET. And because of the efforts of Dave Seah, we are also appearing on the new AMERICA ONLINE system. Hi, guys! Also thanks to everyone who has told me how much they enjoy reading ANIME STUFF. You folks are the reason for its continued publication. Enjoy issue 12! - Tom Mitchell /////////////////////////////GIF GRAPHICS NOTE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ The following is a list of the CompuServe GIF graphics that accompany this issue of ANIME STUFF. They are in 320 X 200 X 16 color format. AS12G1.GIF - The GIF graphics cover for this issue of ANIME STUFF. It features a graphic rendered by Doug Quinn of Hikaru in his flight helmet from the MACROSS MOVIE. Cover design by Tom Mitchell. AS12G2.GIF - A GIF Macross poster for this issue of Hikaru and Misa as they embrace each other and watch the return of the Macross to Earth. Rendering by Doug Quinn. Color and layout by Tom Mitchell. AS12G3.GIF - Jigoro the cat runs away from Madoka's red hat in this painting by Tom Mitchell based on the popular TV show KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD. AS12G4.GIF - An illustration of Ranma in a tiger suit (in his female form!) and the logo for Ranma 1/2, the popular TV show and manga by Rumiko Takahashi. The illustration is scanned from some of the Ranma 1/2 manga. Additional elements and layout by Tom Mitchell. AS12G5.GIF - Here is a nice 16 color version of the FINAL TEACHER illustration that was used in the On-Line Today magazine article on the CompuServe Anime Group. Illustration by Dave Handy based on the Original Anime Video THE FINAL TEACHER. //////////////////////////////////VIDEO\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ DIRTY PAIR OAV SERIES ON LASERDISC - 5 LASERDISCS FROM VAP VIDEO... VOLUME 1 - 70046-78 (EPISODE 1 : The Prisoner's Troublesome Revolt - "We hate persistent people!" EPISODE 2 : "Don't get us involved!" - The Ultimate Halloween Party) VOLUME 2 - 70047-78 (EPISODE 3 : "We don't fear the wrath of god!" - The Challenge of God, EPISODE 4 : "So what if they're kids?" - Wargames Equal a Firing Squad?) VOLUME 3 - 70048-78 (EPISODE 5 : And Then No One Played, EPISODE 6 : "Are you serious?" - The Seaside Surprise Wedding Panic) VOLUME 4 - 70049-78 (EPISODE 7 : Revenge of the Muscle Lady - "Is a woman's stubbornness the flower of the ring?" EPISODE 8 : Sleeping Beauty - "The little girl is really an older woman! Perfectly Presurved!") VOLUME 5 - 70050-78 (EPISODE 9 : Red Eyes are the Signal of Hell - "Pursue the Slaughter Squad!" EPISODE 10 : Crooks Need Not Say a Word - "We are space truckers!") 7,800 YEN EACH As I mentioned in my review of the Dirty Pair TV series on laserdisc in issue 11 of Anime Stuff, I planned to collect the DP OAV series next. Well, now the collection is compleat. And until the new Dirty Pair OAV comes out on January 1st of 1989, my Dirty Pair LD collection is done. After the disaster of the first OAV, AFFAIR OF NOLANDIA, and the success of the Dirty Pair Movie another attempt at a made for video series was made for the Pair. Released on video tape and laserdisc from late 1987 to early 1988, this series of 10 new Dirty Pair episodes are the result. Before I comment on the episodes themselves, I would like to comment on the technical aspects of the videos. First of all, like the TV episodes on laserdisc, each laserdisc volume in this series costs 7,800 Yen. Or $55.71 at 140 Yen to the Dollar. So, if you want to collect the whole series, the cost will be around $278.55. Each laserdisc contains 2 episodes running at about 30 minutes each. All the discs are in the CAV laserdisc mode, so you can enjoy all available laserdisc special effects with them. VAP Video's video transfer is excellent. These episodes look better than the TV series both in animation and the quality of the prints used for the videos. In fact, the quality of the DP OAV episodes are pretty much like the unreleased TV episodes done as the special video release FROM LOVELY ANGEL WITH LOVE. One the other hand, the sound for these videos have a couple odd features. First, although the sound for the episodes themselves are in well recorded mono, the opening and closing title sequences are in excellent stereo! (The disc is labeled MONO too. It should have been MONO/STEREO...(grin)) Hmph! Why no stereo sound recording for the episodes themselves? Also, once again VAP video does not take advantage of digital sound on the laserdisc releases. The sound is only on the analog tracks. Not that it would make too much of a difference to use the digital tracks, but the sound could be made a little cleaner by doing so. As for the new episodes themselves, it's business as usual for the Dirty Pair. In fact, because of the length of the episodes and the types of stories involved, this series really looked and felt like a slightly upgraded extension to the TV series. And as in the TV series, the quality of the the stories varies wildly. Although, all of them are fun, some of them run from really stupid story lines...WARGAMES EQUAL A FIRING SQUAD?, REVENGE OF THE MUSCLE LADY, and WE ARE SPACE TRUCKERS for example...to some really outstanding episodes. The following are a list of the 3 episodes that I feel are the best of the OAV series, and are truly must-see episodes for the Dirty Pair fan... EPISODE 2 : "Don't get us involved!" - The Ultimate Halloween Party The Pair, in their not-so-subtle fashion, cause a transport craft carrying stolen military cargo to crash. They've stopped the theft, but their problems are only begining...The cargo is a new armed-to-the-teeth military robot. The crash has activated it, and it has been set loose on a nearby city that is celebrating Halloween! While the Pair struggle to find the robot among all the costumed people in the town, they also foil several robberies by costumed criminals using the Halloween celebrations as an opportunity for theft. As a comedy episode, this is one of the funniest Dirty Pair episodes I have ever seen. The slap-stick chase scenes and situations are brilliantly silly! And the whacked out Terminator-style robot is wonderful. How often do you get to see a killer robot really having a good time? EPISODE 8 : Sleeping Beauty - "The little girl is really an older woman! Perfectly preserved!" An interesting mystery story about the discovery by the Pair of a little girl kept in suspended animation in an escape capsule. The capsule was ejected twenty years before from the WHITE SWAN, a luxury cruise ship which was involved in a mass murder and robbery that remains one of the WWWA's greatest unsolved mysteries. The little girl, and her stuffed toy are the key to solving murders...as she is now the only survivor of the tragedy. Other than the murderer, that is. This episode is special for many reasons. First, we are presented with an interesting and straight forward 25 minute mystery story. You will probably figure it out before it's over, but the many details presented will keep you entertained. Secondly, we learn a lot about the Madame Barr, one of the WWWA's oldest agents. She failed to solve the mystery when she was originally placed on the case. Thirdly, the most entertaining aspect of this episode is the emotional pathos in Kei's attempt to reach out to the terrified young survivor of the tragedy. We see a new side of Kei's personality. EPISODE 9 : Red Eyes are the Signal of Hell - "Pursue the Slaughter Squad!" Probably one of the most brutal Dirty Pair episodes. The Dirty Pair arrive on a planet where peace talks between two warring sides have been destroyed by a group of commandoes posing as government soldiers. The Pair have been assigned the task of finding out just what these commandos are all about, since the government swears that they have nothing to do with the attacks on the rebels. When one of the commandos falls into their hands in an ambush, they find that the commando's are really cybernetically altered humans created by a weapons dealer who is hoping to keep the war going. Not only that, but he kidnapped the men and forced them against their will to become cyborgs. The captured commando swears that he will find and kill the man who took him away from his family and destroyed his life. But he dies, saving the lives of the Pair and group of children. When the Dirty Pair find out about the weapons dealer, they carry out the man's last wish, and kill the weapons dealer themselves. This episode featured excellent art, and good action scenes. But most importantly, it sports an emotionally gripping plot. And we see a side of the Pair that we have never seen before. Rather than bringing a criminal into the WWWA for his crimes (which they should have done...), or letting the situation kill the criminal (which often happens in Dirty Pair...) , we see the girls becoming so emotionally involved in a case that they actually plan to execute the criminal themselves. Most of the other episodes are very good to average in this series. And there are a few changes over the TV series and the movie. The Pair have new uniforms...silver-white...like those in Nolandia and the novels. Character designs are like those in the movie. They've got a slick new space ship, and the WWWA has a new HQ building (which looks like it's just ripe for being toppled over in a Dirty Pair style accident). Plus, there are a few new characters in the cast line up. And no more Nanmo. (whimper) I miss their robot Nanmo. On the whole, is was a good OAV series, and a wonderful time for any Dirty Pair fan. And of course, and true Mugi-red blooded DP fan will want to see and collect them all. If you are interested in the Dirty Pair OAV series, you should also take a look at ANIMAG issue #8. Inside is a wonderful plot synopsis of each episode in the series written by Yumiko Yamamoto. - Tom Mitchell THE BEST OF BUBBLEGUM CRISIS CDV 2 (Toshiba/EMI Video CTV24-112) Second of two compact disc videos (CDV) release by Toshiba/EMI on Bubblegum Crisis. These CDVs are basically collections of the music from the Bubblegum Crisis OAV series. With a total of five tracks, one video and four audio tracks. The video track is a music video played to the tune of KONYA WA HURRICANE. Basically, it is the same concert shown in Bubblegum Crisis 1 with extra video from later series added in to lengthen the video to a whole 4min 45sec. Following the video part are the four audio tracks. The first track is the song MAD MACHINE from Bubblegum Crisis 2:Born To Kill. The second song is REMEMBER from Bubblegum Crisis 1. The third song is ASU E Touchdown from Bubblegum Crisis 3:Blow Up. It's funny that Toshiba/EMI chose this song because it was also in the Best of Bubblegum Crisis Music CDV 1. Lastly, the fourth track in the ending song from Bubblegum Crisis 3:Blow Up. Overall, it's a nice addition to anyones Bubblegum Crisis collection. - Albert Wong STARSHIP TROOPERS OAV SERIES ON LASERDISC (EMOTION VIDEO, Volume 1 Bell-213 Volume 2 Bell-215, Volume 3 Bell-217, 9800 YEN EACH) Based on the book by Robert A. Heilein, Starship Trooper is the story about a young man with the name of Johnny Rico. Earth falls under attack by alien monsters. The story follows Johnny's life from his beginning training as a trooper to his final confrontation with the aliens. The first disc tells the story of Johnny's decision to join the starship troopers. Of how he learns to pilot the power suit effectively. This is also were the aliens show their destructive power. At one point in this disc, a small group of aliens manage to destroy a rather large spaceport. His mother dies when the aliens destroy the spaceport. The second volume follows Johnny to the moon, where he learns to fight under low gravity. During his trip to the moon, he learns of his mothers death. After completing his training, Johnny and crew get shipped to Mars for still more training. This time they'll be fighting another squad in a simulated wargame. Unknown to Johnny and the rest of the humans, the aliens have infiltrated the base on Mars and kills everyone. It is at the base, that Johnny gets a face-to-face look at a real live alien. Thanks to the squad sargeant, Johnny manages to survive to fight on in volume three. In the third volume, Johnny has successfully completed his training. He is now a full-fleged starship trooper. During a break before his assignment, Johnny and his friend Smith, get a chance to use their training when they beat up some local thugs. Johnny and the rest of the troopers finally get an assignment. They are to attack and destroy a large concentration of aliens on a jungle planet. The is long and hard. They finally reach the main alien concentration. After the deaths of members of his squad, Johnny makes a final attack on the aliens. As he rushes toward, the aliens with flamethrowers blazing, the aliens open fire point-blank and ... The character and machine designs for Starship Trooper were unusual in the fact that although the mecha and spaceship designs were futuristic, the other mechanics i.e. cars, houses, etc were based on the 50's Americas. The cars where big, classic with large tail fins, whitewalled tires, etc. The clothing also reflected the 50's era. Although the story and the mechanics were pretty interesting, one things I did not like were the character designs for the people. I guess, the animators also wanted the people to look "American". Most noticeable were the eyes. They just looked funny to me. The original Heilein aliens were supposed to be like giant spiders. In the laserdisc, the aliens resembled tall purplish plants. Standing on long tentacles, the aliens were quite gruesome. In closing, although the story was very interesting and entertaining, the character designs were just too different. Also, the action doesn't really get going until the third disc. The first two disc mainly focus on Johnny's training. The ending was vague. The story really doesn't show what planet the battle is fought on and doesn't show of the aliens were totally destroyed or are they still alive. If I had a preview of these discs, I wouldn't have bought all three of the discs. - Albert Wong RANMA 1/2 TELEVISION SERIES (FUJI TV), RANMA 1/2 MANGA (SHONEN SUNDAY COMICS) Takahashi Rumiko continues her sequence of hit comedy series (Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku) with Ranma Nibunnoichi, her latest. Like Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2 is a high school comedy/romance story with a twist. And this twist can account for some pretty bizarre situations. Whereas Urusei Yatsura had a bent towards aliens and the supernatural, Ranma 1/2 centers on martial arts and zany Oriental legends. Saotome Ranma is a boy with perhaps more than the normal share of teenage problems, not the least of which is the fact that he changes sex when he gets splashed with water. While kenpo training in a remote region of China, he and his father accidentally stumbled upon some cursed pools of water, the Juusenkyo. Legend has it that, years ago, something died in each of these pools, and whoever enters one will take the form of whatever creature died in it. Ignoring all warnings, while sparring among the pools, Ranma's father (Saotome Genma) fell into one in which a panda drowned, years ago. And Ranma fell into a pool which had taken the life of... a girl. Now, whenever they are splashed with cold water, they assume their alternate forms; only hot water will bring them back. Needless to say, this happens quite a bit in the series, and almost always when it would cause the most grief for them! The story begins when Ranma and his father return to Japan after their long stint in China. They arrive at the residence of Genma's long-time friend and fellow kenpo master, Tendou, and his three daughters: Akane, Nabiki, and Kasumi. Unknown to Ranma, the two fathers had made plans for some matchmaking. Unfortunately, the Tendou family did not expect a full-grown panda bear and a young girl to show up at their doorstep! Although Akane and Ranma-chan (Ranma as a girl) get off to a good start as friends, things change when Akane walks in on Ranma-kun taking a bath (in hot water), and discovers his little secret. Pandemonium results. This prompts Genma to tell them the entire story of what happened at the Juusenkyu. Genma, of course, is terribly ashamed that he has to put up with a son that's half a girl. And Ranma's not too happy about his situation, either! But Tendou takes it in stride, and proceeds to the business at hand: offering Ranma-chan her choice of his three daughters. As we discover as the series progresses, each has a very distinct personality: Tendou Akane: A charming young girl of 16, whose strength is as great as her temper is short. She doesn't like boys. Like Ranma, her own father is training her to be a kenpo master. Tendou Nabiki: A scheming, malicious wench. She's probably my favorite character, at least in the early episodes. Tendou Kasumi: The eldest. Professional Housewife. She's totally oblivious to all the mayhem going on around her, accepting everything with a cheerful smile, or a concerned "Oh!". Kasumi is either the most or the least sane person in this series. These three could well be the anime incarnations of cute, sexy, and pretty, respectively. In any case, Kasumi and Nabiki immediately decide that Akane would be perfect for Ranma, since she doesn't like boys, and Ranma's only half a boy! And so begins perhaps the wildest love/hate relationship since Lum and Ataru of Urusei Yatsura. In the manga, not a day goes by without Akane saying under her breath, "Ranma no baka!" (lit. "Ranma's stupidity," or "the stupidity of Ranma"). But they have their good times as well as their differences... Of course, Takahashi Rumiko provides us with a battery of other characters bouncing off of Ranma and Akane to add to the confusion. Literally, because they all practice various martial arts! There's Ryoga, Ranma's old childhood enemy who's been trying to hunt him down for years, but can't cross Japan without getting lost in two or three continents on the way; Shampoo, who's in love with Ranma-kun, but won't stop at anything to wipe out Ranma-chan; Kunou, who wants for himself both Akane and Ranma-chan, neither of whom is interested (poor Kunou; he always gets it in the face); Shampoo's ancient grandmother, who can teach Ranma a thing or two about kung fu; and too many others to describe here. I won't spoil the story with details, but Ranma's not the only kid in town with an identity problem! People not familiar with Takahashi Rumiko's brand of humor may find Ranma 1/2 to be quite candid and no-holds-barred. Takahashi is a master at portraying human relationships. She is also a very good artist, and her work has greatly improved since her Urusei Yatsura days. In her manga, she subtly pokes fun at a lot of the girls' manga styles while still carrying the not-so-subtle humor of her storylines. The artwork is very clean. And her understanding and use of facial expressions are unparalleled, in my opinion. The TV animation is also better than average, with reasonably smooth motion, and good voice acting. Finally, with a few things explained to the uninitiated, this is one of the easiest series for a non-Japanese speaker to understand. And needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), it's very entertaining! This review is based upon the first 12 episodes of the TV animation and books 1-6 and 8 of the manga. Each manga volume holds about a dozen serials from the Shonen Sunday magazine. With some exceptions, the two storylines seem to parallel each other, an episode covering an average of two serials from the manga. For more information: Check out the manga translations available from Hitoshi Doi on rec.arts.anime on Usenet. Ranma 1/2 ended with episode 18 in September. It was replaced by a new series, Ranma 1/2 Nettouhen, which continues the manga storyline where Ranma 1/2 left off (more or less). - Jude George ARMOR HUNTER MELLOWLINK OAV SERIES COLLECTION ON LASERDISC Volume 1 70075-78 VAP Video Y7800 Volume 2 70076-78 VAP Video Y7800 Volume 3 70077-78 VAP Video Y7800 Volume 4 70078-78 VAP Video Y7800 Volume 5 70079-78 VAP Video Y7800 Volume 6 70080-78 VAP Video Y7800 A six disc set released by VAP video, Armor Hunter Mellowlink is a story of betrayal, guilt and revenge. The story centers around Mellowlink, an Armor Hunter, a soldier whose job is to hunt down and destroy enemy mecha called Armor Troopers(AT). Joining Mellowlink is the talented and beautiful Lucy. An expert card player, she befriends and assists Mellowlink on his quest. There is also a blonde haired guy who goes by the name of Kiiku. A crack shot, he helps Mellowlink in some episodes. He is also very interested in Mellowlink's adventures. There are also a collection of sub-characters that Mellowlink meets along the way. Mostly officers and soldiers, there are only a few of them that actually survive more than one episode. The story begins near a military base, Mellowlink disables a transport and gives the driver a metal 'dog-tag'. He tells the driver to give this to Lockman, an officer at the base. Meanwhile, Lockman, Lucy, and Kiiku are enjoying a nice friendly game of cards. Little do they know that Mellowlink has infiltrated the base. After being discovered by soldiers Mellowlink meets Lucy and Kiiku for the first time. Lucy helps Mellowlink hide. After fooling the soldiers, Mellowlink steals a half-track and takes off into the desert. Lockman is in fast pursuit with his SCOPEDOG armored mecha. After a brief battle, Mellowlink dispatches Lockman and heads off into the next episode. The story continues with Mellowlink visiting a town. Mellowlink discovers that another officer, Galvin Fox, fights in the nearby "Destruction Derby". In the derby, two robots fight for sport. Mellowlink wastes no time in challenging Fox to a duel. The setting of the next story is in a jungle where resistance forces battle against the Armored Troopers. The resistance forces have a hard time surviving in a jungle full of armored mecha. A cloaked figure destroys a trooper with a well placed shot. Giving chase, another trooper is killed. After killing the cloaked figure, the troopers discovers that they did not kill Mellowlink. The chase in on again as Mellowlink faces xxx. Mellowlink gets himself trapped in a mud hole with xxx closing in. Using a few tricks, Mellowlink manages to kill xxx. The fourth installment takes place in a fallen spaceship. Mellowlink finds himself trapped in the spaceship with a killer after him. Wandering, Mellowlink discovers a docking bay full of abandoned mecha. The bay doors mysteriously open and the mecha and Mellowlink begin to slide out. Mellow saves himself by jamming his AT Rifle into the deck. He continues the chase with the killer, but ends up trapped in an airlock. Luckily, he finds an oxygen unit. After the all the air was pumped out of the airlock the killer leaves, thinking that Mellowlink is dead. Mellowlink meets up with Kiiku who is also after the killer. They set a trap for the killer in a nearby cargo bay. The trap is sprung and the chase continues outside of the ship, with the killer clinging for his life. After managing to climb back into the ship, the killer again is hanging for his life as Mellow prepares to launch a small scout ship. In the ensuing battle, the killer manages to jettison the scout ship with Mellowlink still aboard. Mellowlink makes a desperate jump for the main ship and is saved by Kiiku. The killer plummets to the ground below. The next scene begins with Mellowlink traveling down a dusty road. As luck would have it, his motorbike goes "on the fritz". He takes refuge in a nearby wreckage. As he waits for a rain storm to pass, he has a flashback to his earlier days. He is surprised to see all his friends are alive and well. It seems that Mellowlink and friends are defending against an approaching force of enemy mecha. It's man against machine as the battle begins. The battle progresses with losses on both sides. Mellowlink survives the battle by playing dead. After the battle, he discovers he is the only survivor. He vows to avenge the deaths of his friends. The flashback regresses to before the battle. Mellowlink and his squad are surprised that they have been demoted from Armor Trooper to Armor Hunters. The war, it seems, is going sour and Mellowlink is assigned to cover the retreat. It's a suicide mission but they have no choice. After the battle, Mellowlink returns alone to base. Where he is arrested and put on trial for being a traitor. During the trial, he escapes and the story continues... Due to his misfortune, Mellowlink finds himself among a group of criminals sent to a maximum security prison. The warden recognizes Mellowlink among the group. He has special plans for him. The warden pretends that Mellowlink is his friend. Later that night, the rest of the prisoners beat him severely for being a friend of the warden. Finished with Mellowlink, the prisoners continue working on their escape tunnel. The next morning, the warden takes great pleasure in torturing Mellowlink himself. In the afternoon, Lucy, who has joined a troop of entertainers, enters the prison to do a show for the prisoners. She has a close call when one of the guards decides to inspect the van. She manages to conceal Mellowlink's AT Rifle in the nick of time. The show begins, and soon it's Lucy's turn for her magic act. Out of her magic box, she produces birds, rabbits and lastly, hoping that Mellowlink is in the crowd, his AT Rifle! But Mellowlink is nowhere to be seen. Elsewhere some prisoners attempt an escape during the show. A general riot commences. Mellowlink is re-united with his gun and goes after the warden. The warden takes off in his police mecha and easily stops the escape. He is surprised to see that Mellowlink is not among the dead. The warden dies a grisly death at the hands of Mellow. Mellow rides off into the next episode with Lucy... A train passes in the night. As it goes by a junction, Mellowlink jumps aboard and stows away in a baggage car. As luck would have it, Lucy is also aboard. At the station, everyone is surprised to see the military is present. The passengers are informed that the military's armored engine will take them to their destination. Aboard the engine are Kiiku and The General. A roving gang complete with motorcycles and armored mecha ambush the train. As The General retreats to his armor car, Lucy attempts to shoot him but is gently stopped by Kiiku. Mellowlink sees the gang leaders red mecha and recognizes it as on of the people responsible for his squads betrayal. Some of the gang members manage to scramble aboard the train. Mellowlink commandeers a nearby motorbike and speeds toward the red mecha. Mellowlink manages to jump on the leaders mecha, but cannot get a good shot. The General orders the passenger and cargo cars jettisoned. The leader of the gang rams the his mecha and Mellowlink through the side of the still moving train, throwing Mellowlink off. The gang leader was about to shoot Mellowlink when suddenly, the car with Mellowlink breaks loose and cause the leader to lose his balance. Mellowlink takes this chance to shoot him with his AT rifle. Dying, the gang leader leaves Mellowlink with more unanswered questions about who was really behind his friends betrayal. The armored train continues toward its destination. Meanwhile, a special force of mecha with airborne carriers are training nearby. Lucy and Mellowlink manage to hitch a ride on the next train. The train is stopped at a Military roadblock. Soldiers board the train looking for Mellowlink. Mellowlink and Lucy, escape on an unattended motorbike. They head toward a tower-like structure. The Special Forces arrive at the structure and begin searching for Mellow and Lucy. Mellowlink finishes setting traps all through the tower. By using the carriers, the special forces mecha are lowered onto different levels of the tower. But, one by one, the mecha are destroyed. At the bottom of the tower, Mellow and Lucy discover huge tanks of fuel. He releases the fuel and the tower begins to fill up with the flammable liquid. Meanwhile, the search for Mellowlink goes on, Eventually, the special forces trap Mellowlink and Lucy near the bottom of the tower. Mellowlink and the leader of the Special Force square for a fight. As Mellowlink continues to fight, Lucy is kidnapped by one of the soldiers. As Mellowlink gains the upper hand, the leader escapes with his mecha using the carrier. Mellowlink manages to jump onto the leaders mecha as the mecha is lifted out of the tower. Another carrier sets the fuel on fire. The leaders mecha and carrier are engulfed in flames. The mecha emerge from the flames with Mellowlink nowhere to be seen. Note: In the next segment, I couldn't get the name of one of the characters, so I named him John Doe.(grin) The next segment takes place in a castle set in the serene countryside. The soldiers delivers Lucy into the hands of The General. With her is John Doe, a lowdown slimy officer. Lucy manages to knock him out with a conveniently placed statue. She escapes into the surrounding forest. John Doe is not far behind. John Doe corners Lucy and begins to choke her to death. Fortunately, Mellowlink shows up to save the day. John Doe runs off to get his mecha. He leads a team of four machines in search of Mellowlink and Lucy. Together, Mellow and Lucy play hide and seek with the soldiers. Eventually, the soldiers manages to trap Mellowlink and Lucy in a cave. Using a landmine (which Mellow just happen to have) he manages to escape the trap. Back at the castle, the General tracking the search like it was a game of chess. Suddenly, Mellowlink "drops in" on the General with a well placed grenade, but the General escapes. With the John Doe team returning, Mellowlink dispatched them with some burning oil drums. Kiiku quietly watches all the action from the edge of the forest. While, Mellowlink is out looking for more ammunition, Lucy is back at the castle still thinking about her earlier days. Mellowlink returns and knows that the Commander of the Special forces will be back. Mellowlink begins to set traps all over the castle. The Commander returns to the castle to deal with Mellowlink once and for all. Lucy wants to join Mellowlink in his fight with the Commander. But Mellowlink knocks her unconscious because he doesn't want to fight. The Commander also does not want to see Lucy hurt, so he agrees to lock her in the AT carrier for her own safety. Mellow and the Commander square off for the fight. The battle continues inside the castle. The confined space of the castle give Mellowlink an small advantage over the Commanders mecha. Lucy regains consciousness sees her castle being destroyed. Eventually, Mellowlink gets himself trapped at the top of one of the castles towers. Still locked in the AT carrier, she "hot-wires" the controls. Back on the tower, Mellowlink saves himself by blowing up the entire tower. The Commanders mecha is blown over the side and he is mortally wounded. As the tower collapses, Mellowlink saves the Commander from falling. Lucy appears in the newly acquired AT carrier and the three head off into the next episode as the castle crumbles into a heap of rubble. In the last disc, Mellowlink travels to the main military complex with the intention to find the person behind his betrayal. I won't describe the last episode because of a very surprising ending. I thoroughly enjoyed the Mellowlink series. The animation was very well done. The mechanic designs were similar to those used in the VOTOMS TV series. The basic form of the mecha were similar. Standing about 15' tall with a large head with a multi-lens camera the mecha were equipped with various weapons. There were minor additions add to the basic form. For example, in the prison episode, the police mecha were painted blue and white and came with a large plastic face shield. Galvin Fox's mecha was completely painted chrome. And John Does Armored Trooper had sleeves on the arms. Although, the plot became more predictable as the series went on, the ending surprised me. The background music consisted of mainly jazz tunes. The music covered a whole spectrum of themes. From the action scenes to the more mellow (no pun intended) and somber scenes. The disc themselves are encoded in the CAV format for static free stills and special effects. The soundtrack is encoded in stereo with CX digital sound. Overall, a winner of a OAV. Go see it! - Albert Wong MACROSS TV MEMORIAL BOXED LASER DISC SET (BANDAI/EMOTION VIDEO BELL245) This thing is HUGE!!! That was the first thought that struck me when I lugged it inside and tore off the shipping paper and cardboard. Eldon at LASER PERCEPTIONS had done his usual job of armoring my purchases against the vagaries of UPS. The package is very attractive. A black cardboard slipcase over a black cardboard inner liner that holds the 11 laser disks. The outer liner has a BEAUTIFUL foil print of the SDF1 in space, the Earth in the background and a vast cloud of aircraft surrounding the space fortress. The name MACROSS is embossed across the top in silver and MEMORIAL BOX is below the picture in smaller embossed letters. Inside are 11 disks. The total time is 918 mins. The first disk is 50 mins. while most of the others are 101 mins. with 2 at 76 mins. The last disk is only 9 mins. and it is one of the most interesting. On it are the TV ads and toy ads for the show plus the opening and closing credits AND a LOAD of stills that you step through in CAV freeze frame mode. These stills are bits of everything from character drawings and mecha designs to clothes and cameras....a little bit of everything. Most disks have four episodes complete with opening and closing credits. The first disk, which is in CAV mode seems to be what was released over here as BOOBYTRAP, a long time before the show ever hit the airwaves. I remember it being offered by mail in early copies of Heavy Metal Magazine. I didn't know what ANIME was back then or I would have sent for it. The sound quality is excellent but mono. I guess the show was not done in stereo. And the picture quality is (as one would expect) very very clear. If you can afford it and if you are a MACROSS fan this package is well worth the price. One thing I can tell you, and I've been asked about it a lot-- No, we do not see Min May nude in the shower like we did in the feature version. But don't worry.....there is a lot of entertainment here! - Tony Lane (SysOp ANIME LANE BBS) It goes without saying that for the MACROSS fan, this boxed set of the TV series on laserdisc is the ultimate collector's item. Bandai/Emotion video has done a great job with this deluxe package. Before I get to my comments about it, I'm sure you are all itching to know what it's like. Well, a Robotech fan would tell you it's "rad," but us Macross fans tend to be a bit more verbose. (^_^) So, I will describe it in detail for you. For about $400, you get a big handsome looking blue/black heavy cardboard two piece slipcase filled with 11 laserdiscs. The slipcase is embossed with handsome silver letters that proclaim in Japanese and English that this is THE MACROSS MEMORIAL BOX. Featured on the textured cardboard case is a wonderful color foil print depicting a painting of the MACROSS herself surrounded by masses of fighter craft. The painting is an unusual one for collectors as it shows the Macross in a configuration that we have never seen before...encircled by an almost hydrofoil like superstructure ringing the hull. In side the box, you find 11 laserdiscs and a sheet that describes the contents of the box and some of the history behind it. The first 10 laserdiscs contain the Macross tv series itself. All 36 episodes. The episodes are scattered over the discs 4 episodes per disc, with exception of a couple discs having 3 episodes on them. Though most of the discs are in CLV mode, a couple are in CAV. The discs themselves are superb. The sound is high-fidelity mono, and digital sound is featured on the discs. The video quality is the best you will ever see in consumer NTSC format, and the transfer of the episodes themselves look wonderful. The individual jackets that the discs are stored in are very interesting. The covers are dark blue and feature line art of some of the key Macross characters on each. (Sometimes mirroring their importance in the episodes you are about to see on that disc...) The line art is quite striking against the blue background of the cover as each cover has the line art in different colors. Mostly bright pastels. The back of each jacket features a detailed cast and crew list for each episode on the disc. The 11th disc is a bonus. Only one side of a CAV format disc is used. It features stereo sound versions of the opening and closing titles for the show, some interesting Macross model kit commercials, and a frame-by-frame flipbook of hundreds of detailed Macross line art examples. The cover of the disc is also different, it features a checker-board montage of small line-art illustrations from the show. I have only two criticisms with this wonderful presentation of the series on laserdisc. First, more CAV sides could have been used on the discs that just featured 3 episodes per disc. The final episode which has a side to itself should have been in CAV like the rest of the 3 episode discs. I think this was a mistake...someone probably forgot to master it in CAV. Second, the 11th bonus disc could have had some more interesting supplemental material on it. The material that is there was fine, but I would also have liked to have seen a still frame gallery of color art from the show, and perhaps some cast and crew interviews. Or perhaps a digital BGM collection of some of the popular music from the series. A bit more imagination here would have really capped the collection off. Well, I must say that it was a revelation to finally see the whole Macross series in it's pure form, unfettered by Robotechisms or cuts. The show has much more raw emotional power and brilliance standing on its own. I really felt sad to see it end. Another interesting this you will notice is the difference between the two animation crews that worked on alternate episodes in the series. All the odd numbered episodes feature a much weaker group of artists, and it shows. The look of those episodes gets shown up by the even numbered ones which feature sharp artwork and character designs that follow the shows Mikimoto character designs to the letter. Bandai started to release the series on individual discs a couple of years back, but stopped all of a sudden at the second volume. I always wondered why. Perhaps it was because they changed their minds and decided to do something really special with the series on home video. At any rate, this box is the result. And it is wonderful. - Tom Mitchell DOMINION ACT III OAV (ON LASERDISC, TOSHIBA VIDEO,SF048-1638) The first disc starts out with an art auction. The auctioned painting called "Innocent" is a picture of none other Bauku, master criminal. A little later, the real Bauku, accompanied by his henchwomen Annipuma and Yunipuma are traveling in the city sewers heading toward the art museum. At Tank Police headquarters, IT'S SHOWTIME! The Tank Police interrogate a criminal in their own special way. The Tank Police have placed the criminal on a large rotating wheel. Leona give the criminal one last chance to "spill the beans", but the criminal refuses. The police begin taking bets as Leona stuffs a live grenade into the criminals mouth. The wheel begins spinning, as the Tank Police throw knives at the spinning criminal! Leona throws a knife which causes the criminal to spit out the grenade. Meanwhile, upstairs, the police chief has just finished stacking a whole load of forms and memos. The exploding grenade causes all the papers to drop to the floor. Back at the museum, the Bauku gang is wandering around. Annipuma and Yumipuma are enjoying themselves with jewelry and expensive clothes. One of the pair, pulls out the picture "Innocent". Bauku seems very interested in the picture, not because it is a picture of him, but for some other reason. As Bauku admires the picture, above a shadowy figure draws a knife and surprises Bauku. The figure seriously wounds Bauku. Annipuma (just guessing here) recognizes the figure as an LED Commando. The Commando is also after the "Innocent". Anni and Yumi produce some large automatic weapons and begin blasting away at the LED Commando. Many artworks are destroyed in the ensuing battle. Back at Tank Police headquarters, the results of the grenade explosion can be seen. Tank Police strewn all over. Leona, being pissed because Bonaparte was damaged in the explosion, grabs a pistol and begins shooting at the criminal. Britten interrupts the shooting match between Leona and the criminal. The Tank Police are sent out to stop Bauku's gang. The battle in the museum continues. The LED Commando tosses are grenade into a vase right behind Bauku. Yunipuma (still guessing here) tries persuade Bauku to move by shooting at him! Bauku finally notices the grenade, complete with teapot noise and smoke, and gets away in the nick of time. Outside the museum, the Tank Police are enjoying the fireworks as the museum explodes. Britten tells Leona to go get Bauku. Leona and Bonaparte easily smashes through the wall and enters the museum. Inside, burned and tattered artworks litter the floor. An burned television monitor displays a message but is run over by the speeding Bonaparte. Leona stops Bonaparte and looks around. As luck would have it, she stops right next to Bauku's escape ladder. Leona and Bauku meet and Leona prepares to take him back to headquarters. An explosion causes Leona and Bauku to fall to the floor. As Leona recovers, Bauku places a "Bio-Dongle" around her neck. The Bio-Dongle activates and begins choking her. Outside, the Tank Police have started their attack. The museum disappears in a great explosion. Al recovers and is distraught to hear that Leona is missing. Back in the sewers, Bauku and the recently kidnapped Leona travel in a boat. Bauku explains that the Bio-Dongle cannot be removed and any disturbance will cause the Bio-Dongle to tighten. Weakened by his wound, Bauku falls into the water. At police headquarters, the chief is upset because Leona did not come back. A LED Commando appears on the balcony and tells the police about his mission to retrieve the "Innocent". Underground, Leona saves Bauku from drowning and binds his wound. Delirious with pain, Buaku has a flashback. Evidently, he was a part of an scientific experiment. Bauku is only one of a whole slew of subjects. The experiments starts and the subjects are electrocuted. Their collective "essence" are fed into another chamber. Inside this chamber is just a shadow. Bauku returns to present time and continues his journey. The LED Commando reports that the Tank Police will aid them in recovering the "Innocent". The Tank Police are presently out looking for Leona. As Leona and Bauku continue to drift down the sewers, they eventually come upon a "waste treatment" station. With whirling blades, any piece of refuse that falls in is instantly "sliced and diced". Leona and Bauku manage to fall into the water. Leona grabs a vine and snags Bauku. A big wave washes the "Innocent" and Bauku risks his life to save the painting. Leona lets go of the vines and catches a grating. Hanging on the grating and Bauku things seem under control for the moment. Unfortunately, the Bio-Dongle gets wet and begins to choke Leona. She loses her grip and falls, screaming, into the rapidly slicing blades. To be continued on Dominion Part 4... - Albert Wong KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD - THE TV SERIES (ON LASERDISC FROM VAP VIDEO, IN 12 VOLUMES, CATALOG NUMBERS 70061-78 TO 70072-78, 7,591 YEN EACH) The people at VAP have done it again! Their releases have always been great. Now, they have released the Kimagure Orange Road TV series on LD. And what a collection it is! Orange Road seems to follow a middle course between Rumiko Takahashi's Urusei Yatsura (incorporating its zaniness with its otherworldly powers) and Maison Ikkoku (incorporating its love triangles). It makes for a very palatable mixture. The protagonist, Kyosuke Kasuga, is an esper (in fact, his two sisters are as well). He is stuck deciding between two girls ... Madoka Ayukawa, a beautiful girl known to have hung around the "wrong" crowd for a while, very strong-willed, and Hikaru Hiyama, a very ditzy cute girl. As can be imagined, the combination of esper powers and the love triangle creates VERY interesting situations at time! This collection does the series justice. The collection stretches across 12 LDs, each approximately 100 minutes long and four stories. Each story has its respective OP and END as well as the eyecatch. The transfer has been done well, showing no sign of noise. On an aside note, I really liked the way that this series was released, one disc per month. I believe more TV series released this way on LD could make series purchases much easier on the consumer by stretching the payment over several months. I hope that more video companies take up this practice as it was the only way I could have afforded to purchase this series ... (grin) - Masaki Takai VENUS WARS (ON LASERDISC, EMOTION VIDEO, CATALOG NUMBER BELL255) Venus Wars has been much maligned over the grapevine. I'm not quite sure why. The movie was done well, I believe, and deserves more credit than it has been given. The story is about a young boy, Hiroki Senoo, who is growing up on Venus which has been colonized at this point. He is a member of a bikebowl racing team. Bikebowl is the craze of Venus, a sport combining motorcycle racing, football, and jousting. Hiroki lives in the capital city (Io) of a country called Aphrodia, which suddenly gets invaded by a neighboring country Ishtal. Due to various circumstances, he ends up being drafted into the Aphrodia warbike battalion, HOUND. The story and art is well put together, as might be expected from its creator YAS (Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, known for character designs for Mobile Suit Gundam as well as directing Arion, as well as many other things). However, that may have also been its fatal flaw as it is only good, not excellent as we would expect from YAS. People seem to expect more out of YAS than just "good". (grin) An interesting thing to note about production ... something new was tried during Venus Wars, the combining of animated subjects with real backgrounds. The jury is still out as to how effective it was in this film; however, it probably can be said safely that it was not entirely necessary (the background footage seems to have been taken from YAS' trip to the Arizona desert). Let's hope that YAS comes back with something better next time around. Too bad ... it probably would have been classified as an excellent movie by anybody else ... :) - Masaki Takai HI-SPEED JECY VOLUME 1 & 2 : PROLOGUE/MOBIUS (ON LASERDISC, VAP VIDEO, CATALOG NUMBER 70105) Character designs by Haruhiko Mikimoto (HAL) of Macross fame. Frankly, that's what drew me to this video series. The character designs are beautiful. That's for sure. But everything else is pretty average. The story revolves around a boy, called Jecy (pronounced Jessy). His special ability is supernormal speed. The story first starts with a man beating up a bunch of street thugs. He calls himself Father Fork of the Heartland religion. But Jecy prevents him from killing the thugs off. Another character, Jecy's "sister" Tiana, is introduced here. And somehow, Jecy and Fork become friends. Through a series of incidents, Tiana is kidnapped by a Mafia-esque family called House Bismark who wants to "hire" Jecy's talents for a certain job. It seems that there's a valley from which nobody has returned alive ... and there's some sort of new fuel source (lyzorium) located at the end of the valley. Controlling this new fuel source would elevate House Bismark to new levels of power, thus, their attempt to use Jecy to obtain the fuel source. As to what follows, I leave to those of you who see this video ... :) The ideas behind this series are interesting. Jecy's character is a pacifist, who hates weapons, wanting only to obtain revenge against the killers of his parents. And Fork's character is a right-wing minister, carrying a gun that causes extreme pain before killing its victims ("purifying" the criminals before going to heaven, so to speak). The problem is, is that the ideas don't click well together. In fact, Fork's character is more interesting than Jecy's character. While the protagonists are interesting in their characterizations, the antagonists are tried-and-true stock villains. It makes for a bizarre discrepancy. It is hard to judge a series like this from only the first two stories (the series is scheduled for a 6 volume [12 stories] run). Further evaluation will have to wait until more of the series is released. - Masaki Takai VAMPIRE PRINCESS MIYU 4 - THE TIME OF NUMBNESS (ON LASERDISC, PONY CANYON VIDEO, G52F0309) Director: Toshihiro Hirano Character Design: Narumi Kakinouchi A child's memory, a child's nightmare, which comes back to haunt many years later. So opens Vampire Princess Miyu 4: The Time of Numbness. In a quietly disturbing manner, the story of Miyu, Laba, and Himiko is finally brought full circle. Their history is concluded, by the telling of its beginning. Throughout Toshihiro Hirano's Vampire Miyu OAV series, he has maintained a softly spooky atmosphere, stories much more disquieting than horrific. The fourth volume, The Time of Numbness, continues in this manner. However, this time there is a variation on the theme. There are no fugitive deity-spirits, no lost souls seeking the Dark. This time, it is the story of Himiko and Miyuki, an introspective, rather than an external tale concerning the conflicts of the creatures of the night. The OAV begins quietly enough, with the spiritualist Himiko visiting a locale from her youth. Here, a nightmare from her own childhood still haunts her, one involving an old manor, and a dark figure. And here, she finds the sprawling home, and one who lived within its wood and rice paper walls. Miyu. While searching for answers to questions her own memory hides, Himiko is granted the story of another child. One tale within the framework of another, The Time of Numbness gives a glimpse into Himiko's past, by revealing that of the vampire princess Miyu. With careful pacing, the foundations of Miyu's life are one by one revealed, that of a bright young girl, slowly learning, slowly coming to terms with her existence. Not as a human child, however. But one within which the bloodline of the vampire flows. Her mother, the vampire. Her father, human, but gifted with life eternal. Like Miyahito, like Kei. Intertwined with the history of Miyu, there is a dark undercurrent. For beneath the events of this tale there is a fell commentary on the consequences of a vampire's gift, a treatise on the cost of immortality. That to live forever, perhaps, is as fell a curse as to die a mortal. Miyu's quiet father, who, without death to fear, loses his desire to live. He simply exists, immortal and fixed, like a beautiful painting. Miyu's mother, the vampire, now having to live forever with the guilt that it was she who cursed her husband with immortality. Miyu's mother desperately tries to shield her daughter from her dark heritage, vainly trying to save Miyu from the curse of being a vampire. Though in the end, she is but a tool to coerce the co-operation of vampire princess Miyu, to forever hunt those deity spirits whom interlope into the mundane world. And even Himiko cannot escape, her final revelation being that she too will bear the consequences of Miyu's soft vampire's kiss. Her childhood nightmare not a dream, but real. Hirano crafts a quiet tale of of horror. The pacing of the OAV is once again so very formal, each scene carefully chosen, each secret revealed at the correct moment. In Miyu 4 there is no overt conflict or battle, but the tension is still present. The story slowly builds to its climax, not from violent action, but from the step by step realization of dread inevitabilities. The animation matches this mood, being very precise, almost conservative. There is not a wasted movement, even the scenes with little or no motion are carefully and purposefully integrated within the story and direction. The OAV still maintains the artistic standards of the first three volumes. The animation is sharp and strong, the backgrounds a mixture of soft pastels. The same wonderful backgrounds which graced Miyu 3 return, the fine line drawings washed out in grays and blues. The consequence, however, of such formal direction, is that the film is very dialogue intensive. While the bare framework of the story can be determined from just the graphics, the finer points of the story are lost. Without translation, there is the definite knowledge that this is a very spooky story, but the exact circumstance, its exact nature, is concealed within what is spoken. Spoken by Miyu to Himiko. Himiko and Miyu are the two characters around which this story revolves. It is set in motion by Himiko's search, but concerns itself mainly with vampire Miyu. Finally, one is given a glimpse into what drives the young vampire princess. Miyu is a handful of contradictions, the wise and powerful vampire, the eternal little girl. In this final chapter, the reasons for this slowly unfold. It is almost as if Miyu herself had little choice in her manner, being trapped by blood and circumstance. One watches, as a little girl slowly has to deal with her heritage, that of being a vampire. A little girl, desperately trying to stay human, but being betrayed by the desires of her body and the demands of her ancestry. It is coming to terms with her circumstance which has made Miyu as she is. And in the end, the story returns to Himiko. The effects of Miyu's life upon the spiritualist are more subtle. For Himiko, too, now has to come to terms with herself, and the realization that her life has been forever touched by that of the vampire. Miyu's soft laughter echoes over Himiko's disturbing revelation. The background music for Miyu 4 is very sparse. Very purposely, there is little music in the film, which brings a hauntingly empty atmosphere to the OAV. Indeed, for more than half the film there is no music. There are sounds and tones, like the hollow tolling of the temple bells, or the pure crystal ring announcing Miyu's arrival. Very formal, each sound is carefully placed to support the story. Finally, within the OAV, the end theme appears. Usually saved for only the closing credits, this time it is slower, oddly peaceful, it provides a disconcerting backdrop as the film slowly builds to a climax. And then, when the story reaches its peak, the music is still quiet and soft, which only reinforces the gently dark nature of this OAV. In The Time of Numbness, Toshihiro Hirano concludes his chronicle of the vampire princess Miyu. All four OAVs are quietly spooky stories, their horror so very subtle, yet so very effectively haunting. This last volume in Miyu and Himiko's story resolves the last lingering questions, bringing their tale full circle. And yet, each answer is laced with dark eerie implications. To haunt one long after their tale is told. - Mike Naylor BUBBLEGUM CRISIS 6 - RED EYES (TOSHIBA/EMI LASERDISC AV098-1054 45 MIN 9,600 YEN) Wow, was I ever bowled over with this latest episode of Bubblegum Crisis. It is the first time I can say that a BGC episode has delivered everything that I knew the series had the potential to do. Heavy high-tech drama, and great animation provide quite a punch in RED EYES. The most emotionally dramatic and tense of all BGC episodes so far, this episode is a direct continuation of the events featured in episode 5, MOONLIGHT RAMBLER. Though it's only about 45 minutes long, RED EYES packs in a lot of plot...We find out who the mysterious boomer android Largo is and his ambitions to become a Christ-like leader for the boomers, whom he considers the next step in evolution of life on the planet...Leon discovers Priss' secret Knight Saber identity...Priss leaves the Knight Sabers because she is having trouble dealing with the mercy-killing of her best friend Sylvie in episode 5...and a pack of imposter Knight Sabers are out causing problems for the real Knight Sabers as Largo tries to distract and destroy them from his true plans of dominating the Genom Corporation and creating a place in the world for the boomer androids. Whew...and it all comes together in the end too. With this episode, the series may be hitting its true stride. The animation and art is outstanding. And drama and direction in RED EYES is top notch. After the horrible direction and plotting of episode 5, BGC fans were wincing over what course this series was taking. Now episode 6 makes up for all the problems and leaves us drooling to see what's next. I hope it was not an accident that this episode was so good...BGC as a whole is always good, but this episode meets all my expectations of just how good it potentially could be. Again, there was no preview at the end of this video for the next episode. Remember, they hope to do 13 episodes total. If and when episode 7 arrives, it will be a true test of just what we can expect for the second half of the series, which has been a choppy ride so far in terms of its plot and direction. - Tom Mitchell //////////////////////////////////AUDIO\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ BUBBLEGUM CRISIS 6 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK ON COMPACT DISC (FUTURELAND RECORDS, LD32-5111) Well, it finally happened. After a string of 5 excellent CDs of soundtrack music from Bubblegum Crisis, the series lays its first bad BGM egg with the soundtrack to Bubblegum Crisis 6 - RED EYES. Not one BGC fan I know of likes it. So what's wrong with this album? What's wrong are the songs. BGC has always been known for it's excellent above average rock songs, and ballads. They were always songs that reflected the mood and emotions of the BGC episode they were created for. This time out it's a different story. The songs on this album, with the exception of the very good ROCK ME, are nothing but bouncy cute candy sweet pop tunes with terrible squeaky vocals that are better suited for an idol singer with a one year career span. What's worse, of the 5 songs on the album, only one actually appears in the video itself. The word "filler" definitely comes to mind here. There are 11 tracks on the album...6 instrumental, and 5 songs. All of the instrumental appear in the video. Only one of the 5 songs does. So, I think I know what happened to this album. Before this, the BGC soundtracks produced a lot of original music. So much so, that a couple of the BGM soundtracks run even longer than the episodes they were created for! Of course this always guaranteed a nice BGM album release for each episode. This time though, the producers were caught with a shortage...only a half an albums worth of new material was created for this OAV. In fact, RED EYES makes use of a lot of music from some of the previous 5 episodes. Six new instrumental and one good song does not make for the type of BGM album that BGC fans have come to expect from the show. So, I imagine that the producers in charge of the album panicked. They got some of the girls who do the voices, rushed them into the studio with some rushed material and recorded some truly bad songs as filler to lengthen the album. This would not have been so bad if the songs and vocals weren't so terrible. After all, one song was created for the first BGC soundtrack album (called an "image song") that was quite good...the forceful emotionally charged ballad REMEMBER. It even fit the mood of the rest of the soundtrack music and video. The giddy pop tunes here on this album though, do not in anyway reflect the mood of the dark and suspenseful BGC 6 OAV. It's hard to associate a song like KIEE SEVENTEEN GIRL with scenes of Priss getting hell beat out of her. Three image songs done for this album are silly pop/dance tunes...JUMPING HEART, KIEE SEVENTEEN GIRL, THE NEUTRAL HEART...are totally inappropriate for the mood of the OAV. The 4th song done for the album called WITH fairs a little better because it is a sad ballad...but overly long with a monotonous vocal. These songs as a whole are so ill-conceived and badly sung that they drag down the otherwise decent new material that was produced for the OAV. Ok, so what about the new music that was done for the OAV? Well, after listening to it minus the 4 "image" songs...thank goodness for programmable CD players...I find that the new music is pretty good. I particularly like the new themes for the bumas. The music for them is haunting and mechanicly rambles. The instrumental music is not quite as inventive as other BGC BGMs, but it fits the bill for providing the proper atmosphere for the OAV. The only song from the OAV is called ROCK ME, and it is a throbbing Priss-style rock ballad with neatly explosive guitar and drum flourishes. I like it more everytime I hear it...My initial impression of it was spoiled by the other horrible songs on the record. Yes, this is a terrible BGC record. BGC has set high standards and expectations for its music, and until now, was able to meet or exceed them. If this were an album for any other show, you'd think it was good. This is an album only a true BGC fan should get, if only not to have a hole in one's BGC collection. When you think about it though, 5 great albums and 1 bad one is fantastic. But of course, we will be dying to hear was happens to the music of Bubblegum Crisis 7. - Tom Mitchell KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD - ORANGE STATION COMPACT DISC (FURTURELAND RECORDS, LD32-5069, 3200 YEN) I hope that my comments on this CD will help clear up the questions about what this CD is for those of you who are interested in getting it. Be warned that this is not the CD to get if you are interested in getting a disc of the BGM of the Kimagure Orange Road TV series, or owning a song collection from the show. For the BGM and songs, you should look to the excellent three volume Kimagure Orange Road Sound Color CDs. For songs only, get the Loving Heart series of discs. So, what does that make this CD? Well, Kimagure Orange Station is part song collection, and part voice drama. The concept behind the record is that Kyousuke, Hikaru, and Madoka are spinnin' the KOR hits in a radio station. So, not only do you hear the songs from the show, each one has some dialog and patter by the main KOR characters at the beginning and/or end of the songs. The 10 tracks on the record cover all the hit songs from the TV series. The voice actors from the show that show up on the record are in top form and the dialog is quite lively and funny. But of course, the dialog does get in the way of the songs so, if you are looking to get the hits alone, this is not the record for you. I rather enjoyed this disc myself because I think the voice actors for KOR were quite good and I love to hear them chat/argue/yell/laugh, etc. It's also great for practicing my Japanese as there banter is quite fast. And along with the songs for the show, it makes for some pretty light listening. Perhaps my only complaint about the record is its sound. It is a little compressed and mid-rangey. Not nearly as open and clear sounding as the sonics on the BGM CDs. It makes it sound a little like listening to the characters and music on a good FM radio transmission. Heh heh...I don't think this was the intent, but rather it's probably due to some problem in production like not having good master-tapes of the songs to work with. On the whole, it is a pleasant disc filled with lively dialog and excellent pop tunes. A perfect disc for some light listening and background noise. But if you want the shows BGM alone, don't make a stop at Orange Station...This disc is for us dumb-struck KOR fans. - Tom Mitchell RHEA GALLFORCE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (ON COMPACT DISC, CBS/SONY RECORDS, 15DH 5208, 1,400 YEN) One of the best OAV's of 1989, Rhea Gallforce was a neat running battle sequel in the GALLFORCE OAV series. And like most of the Gallforce series, this OAV also receives some fine attention in the area of its music as well! As you can tell from 1,400 Yen price, this must be a short CD. And it is. Its four tracks of music only run less than 18 minutes. I kinda hoping that CBS/SONY put this on a CD3 rather than a full sized CD because of the short length. It's funny they didn't since Sony is trying so hard to get software out on the tiny CD3 format. But that's a question for the music trades...So, just what is on the disc then? Well, two songs and two instrumentals from the OAV, that's what. First up is the lovely and purring song FLY ME AWAY which is featured during the final shuttle launch in the video. I think the song works much better on its own, by the way. It seemed too sweetly sentimental placed where it was in the film. Next is my favorite, the opening action instrumental COUNT DOWN ATTACK which was featured in the slick opening action scenes when we first see Soundy and her friends shooting down an MME patrol ship in the streets of the city. This track features a thumping and clunky multi-layered sound which is quite infectious. It also has a longer moody sound effects opening which was not featured in the OAV. The next track is another one of those Gallforce cast songs where the female members of the cast sing a tune. Titled THE RHEA GALLFORCE THEME, this is quite a beat heavy pop tune. A real toe tapper that sports some good vocals. Finally, the forth track is a moody instrumental called FLY ME AWAY (INSTRUMENTAL VERSION). Featuring a wandering electric guitar solo, and a spacious and exotic sound mix, this track makes for some atmospheric listening. It is interesting to note that this tune also does not sound anything like the music featured in the FLY ME A WAY song. This little album is a good value if you would like to get the music from the film. It represents all the major themes from the from RHEA GALLFORCE, though it does not include all of the instrumentals that where heard in the film. Music for the scenes of Soundy and her friends in the refugee camps is absent, for example. And this disc also sounds great! It's one of the few anime discs that is all digitaly recorded and produced. Or it's at least one of the few Japanese CDs that label the fact that it's an all digital recording! Oh, and the disc is also packed in a clear CD case that is meant to show off the CD's picture disc label of the cast. - Tom Mitchell URBAN SQUARE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (ON COMPACT DISC, MELDAC RECORDS, MED-13, 3,200 YEN) Although I had quite a few critical pickings with the 1986 OAV thriller URBAN SQUARE, (I have since mellowed on some aspects of the film I did not like, by the way.) one thing that always stood out in the OAV was its wonderful contemporary jazz fusion soundtrack. And now I have finally found the soundtrack on CD, and it's great! If you enjoyed what you heard in the OAV, then you will love this CD since its 13 tracks offer extended versions of all the instrumentals in the film. And what instrumentals they are! Composed and played by the Japan based group CHICKEN SHACK, these snazzy jazz tunes range in tone from lush and romantic instrumentals, to frantic fusion action numbers, with an emphasis on slick and evil sounding bad-guy themes. CHICKEN SHACK's technical skill, emotion, and humor really shines through on these tracks as well. The album could not sound any better. The album really makes me want to explore some of the group's other albums. It is interesting to note that CHICKEN SHACK features Derek Jackson (!) the fantastic vocalist and composer who wrote and sung most of the songs for the classic AREA 88 OAVs. He is listed as bass player and one of the composers on this album. Perhaps the albums only failing is that Jackson does no songs for the soundtrack. Although he does do some vocalizing against a guitar in one track. So, in short this album is a MUST for the BGM collector as it is by far the best anime jazz anime BGM produced to date. The music here certainly did its duty to provide most of the atmosphere in the URBAN SQUARE OAV, and it more than stands on it's own as a superior instrumental album. More CHICKEN SHACK, please! - Tom Mitchell /////////////////////////////ANIME NEWS FLASH\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ NO MEGAZONE 23 III LD ... YET Once again the folks at JVC have put pride before profits and are not offering a major anime video title on laserdisc. Despite what your video dealer may tell you, this title may not be available on laser disc for some time, if at all. The reason? JVC, although they make compact discs and 5" Compact disc videos, will not make laserdiscs of their popular software titles because they market the failing rival Video High Density (VHD) video disc system in Japan. In a desperate attempt to keep some influence in the LaserDisc dominated videodisc market in Japan, JVC has traditionally only offered choice titles from their video catalog on tape and the now heavily discounted VHD disc system. As a consequence, anime fans who use laserdisc as their choice medium for collecting original videos must wait months or go without some titles on discs compleatly. Megazone 23 Part III, and Yotoden are the popular current examples of JVC owned titles that fans would love to have on Laserdisc. Polydor Video came to the rescue a couple of years ago when they bought LD rights from JVC for Megazone 23 Part 1 and 2, Windaria, and Birth. As of yet, JVC has not made the rights to the new Megazone 23 episodes available to anyone for LD production. At a time when all other consumer electronics and video companies in Japan offer LD players and discs, VHS tape inventor JVC is loathe to join the camp because it would probably be seen as an admission that their VHD system has died a BETA-like death in the market. (They are now the only supporter of the format in Japan.) JVC should stop making hardware buying anime fans suffer, and take a cue from Sony. After years of resistance, Sony is now profiting from offering VHS tape products after the downfall of their rival BETA tape system. So for now, anime fans with laserdisc players must be content to spin their MZ 23 Part III soundtrack CD's from JVC in their machines. - Tom Mitchell SPEED RACER TAKES THE (VIDEO) TAPE! At long last, the English version of the classic Tatsunoko Production TV series SPEED RACER (known as MACH GO,GO,GO in Japan) will be available on video tape this month. Fondly remembered by a generation of fans, this 1967 anime series will be offered on tape by VIDAMERICA. Each episode will be available of $9.95, with the two episode CHALLENGE OF THE MASKED RACER available on one tape for $14.95. The first four cassettes have the catalog numbers 7199, 7200, 7201, & 7203. Keep those handy if you have to have your video dealer special order them for you. ANIMEIGO OFFERS SUBTITLED MADOX-01 OAV AnimEigo, one of the first authorized anime subtitling ventures in the U.S., is now making available their first software release. It is an English subtitled version of the animated armored suit action film METAL SKIN PANIC : MADOX-01. Scheduled to ship this month, the film is the first in what the company hopes will be a long line of English subtitled translations of popular Japanese animation films. I a press release dated 1/11/1990, AnimEigo wanted to assure anime fans everywhere that their releases would be of the highest quality combination of English translation and software. Company Vice-President Janice Hindle states that "AnimEigo is a cooperative venture of anime fans who are in the process of licensing and subtitling anime for release on video tape. We have recently executed a license for our first release, 'Metal Skin Panic - MADOX-01," and are about to go into the studio to make the master tape. We anticipate that MADOX will be $39.95 plus $3.00 shipping & handling, and discounts are available to qualified dealers and animation clubs. "AnimEigo is dedicated to quality. Since we license out films from the copyright holder, they are 100% legal, authorized editions of the original films. We use an original 1" videotape master (obtained from Japan), digitally overlay subtitles, and produce another 1" master tape that is then professionally duplicated. The result is a VHS tape of the highest possible fidelity. Our subtitles are specially kerned and shaded for maximum readability and minimum obtrusiveness. Out translations are from the original written shooting script. We even subtitle the credits." This is the first time that such anime product has been available at such low prices and featuring quality English subtitling. Fans interested in ordering MADOX or learning more about AnimEigo should write them at P.O. BOX 989, Wilmington, NC 28402-0989. Or call 1-919-799-1501. FAX is also available. //////////////////////////////MAIL ORDER INFO\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ The following is a list of businesses where the ANIME STUFF staff members shop for our anime stuff. They are highly recommended sources for anime and provide excellent service. All of them provide mail order so you can write to them for catalogs. SIGHT & SOUND NIKAKU ANIMART LASER PERCEPTIONS 1275 MAIN STREET 615 North 6th. St. 3300 JUDAH STREET WALTHAM, MA 02154 SAN JOSE, CA 95112 SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94122 PHONE: 1-617-894-8633 PHONE: 1-408-971-2822 PHONE: 1-415-753-2016 ANIMAGIC P.O. BOX 1235 RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA 91729-1235 PHONE : 1-714-941-9750 WOK TALK/SIGHT & SOUND and LASER PERCEPTIONS specialize in domestic and imported laser video discs. Nikaku & Animagic sell magazines, books, compact discs, laser discs and other anime goods. Tell 'em ANIME STUFF sent ya! IOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOI BBS SYSTEM INFO IOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIO Here is a list of some of the more notable BBS's around the country that are dedicated mainly to anime chatter. > VALLEY OF THE WIND BBS, the official ANIMAG BBS Phone 1-415-341-5986 (CALIFORNIA, 300/1200/2400 BAUD) > ANIME LANE BBS Phone 1-818-762-3694 (CALIFORNIA, 300/1200 BAUD, Starlinkable through Van Nuys Node) > Cowtipper's BBS Phone 1-818-893-7259 (CALIFORNIA, 300/1200 BAUD) > Fantasy World BBS Phone 1-513-878-8404 (OHIO, 300/1200 BAUD) /////////////////////////////////END NOTE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Coming in issue 13 of ANIME STUFF...A Mail Order Special! Plus more reviews! \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Date of original publication: 3/7/1990 ANIME STUFF Copyright (C) 1990 Tom Mitchell & MIDORI COMMUNICATIONS All rights reserved. This publication originally appears on CompuServe Information Service's Comic Book & Animation Forum. Original Copyrights to the material reviewed, articles written and graphics presented are reserved by their respective owners. The contents of Anime Stuff may be reproduced in any form of media so long as the names of the authors are preserved, articles remain intact, and ANIME STUFF is mentioned as the source. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in publications for sale without the permission of the copyright holders listed above. Articles & computer artwork in Anime Stuff may be re-published in newsletters so long as a copy of the publication in which the articles appear are sent to: MIDORI COMMUNICATIONS c/o Tom Mitchell 474 Chowning Circle Dayton, Ohio 45429 U.S.A. "GIF" and "GRAPHICS INTERCHANGE FORMAT" are COPYRIGHTED (C) CompuServe Information Service an H&R BLOCK company. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank