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Columns



Solty Rei and More Anime Bargains

AnimeTalk

a bi-weekly column by Todd Douglass, Don Houston, and John Sinnott

Alright boys and girls! Once again we have a shorter than average column for this installment but we're due to have a much larger one next time around. Here are a few capsule reviews for shows that you may have missed and some of Wen-Tsai's incredibly helpful Anime Bargains. As usual there's also a list of upcoming anime releases and this time around there's also something fun stuff at the bottom of the page just for the heck of it.


The Latest Anime Reviews:
(Click on the links to read the full review.)

If you haven't checked Noein out yet now is the time to do so. This surreal and intelligent series will most likely break your preconceptions for what anime is. It features a twisted tale about a young girl who finds herself being pulled from one dimension to another in order to stave off the destruction of an alternate reality and future time. It has all the fixings for a profound animated headache but is handled masterfully in every conceivable way. From the show's wild sense of style to some fantastic work done on the DVDs by Manga Noein's second volume continues the trend of excellence and will leave you wanting more.

Tactics is yet another Manga release is garnering high marks all around. This show is one part Japanese folklore and another part exorcist. The result is an anime that is both poetic and dreamlike. From the way that Tactics works the development of its characters to the stories that it tells, it's something fresh. The concept has gotten a tad stale to the point of this third volume with very episodic content but some continuity this time around helps spruce things up. We basically get introduced to a main villain of sorts and there's finally someone to hate, which is a good thing. If you haven't seen it yet this is another series to keep an eye on.

Everyone loves a fun science fiction show. Just take a look at how successful Cowboy Bebop was if you want proof of that. Coyote Ragtime Show is yet another shining example that stands as testimony to my original claim. On its surface is a show that doesn't do anything entirely new. There's a ship called the Coyote and a bunch of outlaws fly around in it while they're looking for riches and avoiding the authorities. Hidden beneath this generic shell is a band of interesting characters, entertaining stories, and a world that has been well realized. If the rest of the series turns out as nicely as this first volume did we could be looking at a cult classic for years to come.

Be sure to take a look at other recommendations by DVDTalk's twisted cast of reviewers in their Best Of Anime 20032004, 2005, and 2006 articles.



Upcoming Releases

 


Scheduled for release on January 23, 2007
Baki the Grappler: Complete Collection 1 (1-6) FUNimation 49.95 
Heat Guy J: Complete Collection Geneon 59.95
Solty Rei, Vol.1 FUNimation 29.95

 
Scheduled for release on January 30, 2007
Black Cat Volume 2 FUNimation 29.95
Bleach Volume 2 VIZ 24.95
Hikaru no Go Volume 6  Viz 24.95
Moeyo Ken TV Volume 1 ADV 29.95
Trinity Blood Volume 4 FUNimation 29.95

 


Wen-Tsai's Anime Bargains
Presented by Wen-Tsai King

Ongoing Deals!

Cheapest Thinpacks & Box Sets

Note: Please check these lowest prices against the ones over at DVD Price Search before making any final purchases as some may become outdated since their initial posting. Thanks!

Best Buy (B&M) / BestBuy.com
Titles marked B&M can be ordered through the Best Buy store kiosks via BestBuy.com!

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Original Dirty Pair: OVA Collection (Thinpak): $6.99 (B&M)
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Samurai X: OVA Collection: $14.99 (B&M)
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Super GALS!: The Iron Clad Collection - Season 1 (Thinpak): $14.99 (B&M)
Wedding Peach: Complete Collection - Season 1 (Thinpak): $10.99 (B&M)
Wedding Peach: Complete Collection - Season 2 (Thinpak): $16.99
Wild Arms: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $10.99 (B&M)
Yu Yu Hakusho: Chapter Black Saga Boxset: $39.99 (B&M)


Deep Discount.com

All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku: Dash! Complete Collection (Thinpak): $26.99
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G-Gundam: Complete Collection 1 (Anime Legends): $30.24
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Gunslinger Girl: Complete Collection: $30.24
His and Her Circumstances: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $32.66
Jing: King Of Bandits Collection (Thinpak): $23.99
Kino's Journey: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $23.99
Koi Kaze: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $39.59
Lain, Serial Experiments: Complete Collection (Signature Series): $39.59
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Mars Daybreak: Complete Collection: $30.24
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Najica Blitz Tactics: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $23.99
Naruto Uncut Boxset 1: $33.26
Naruto Uncut Boxset 2: $33.26
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $53.99
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Orphen II: Revenge Collection (Thinpak): $23.99
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Please Twins!: Complete Collection (Anime Legends): $24.19
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Sakura Wars TV: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $29.99
s-CRY-ed: Complete Collection (Anime Legends): $30.24
Shadow Star Narutaru: Complete Collection: $29.90
Shinkai Collection: $23.99
Star Ocean Ex: Complete Collection: $59.88
Super GALS - 2nd Season: Complete Collection: 27.23 (Release Date: 01/16/07)
Tenchi Muyo GXP: Complete Collection: $54.44
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Tokyo Undergound: Complete Collection: $59.88
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Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $28.21
Galaxy Railways: Complete Collection: $33.85 (Release Date: 2/6/07)
Get Backers: Complete Collection - Season 1 (Thinpak): $33.85
Ikki-Tousen: Complete Collection: $49.65
Infinite Ryvius: Complete Collection (Anime Legends): $28.21
Jubei-Chan: The Ninja Girl: Complete Collection: $22.56
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Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $28.21
Naruto Uncut Boxset 1 (Special Edition): $43.44
Naruto Uncut Boxset 2 (Special Edition): $43.44
NieA Under 7: Complete Collection: $49.65
Ninja Scroll Series: Ultimate Collection: $27.91
Noir: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $50.78
RahXephon: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $50.78
Robotech: Protoculture Collection: $73.36
Saiyuki: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $56.43
Samurai X: Complete Collection: $56.43
Sister Princess: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $28.21
Starship Operators: Complete Collection: $37.25
Steel Angel Kurumi: Complete Collection: $33.85
Trigun: Limited Collector's Edition 1: $55.86
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Wolf's Rain: Complete Collection 2 (Anime Legends): $22.56


DVD Planet / Digital Eyes

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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Season 1 Complete Boxset: $59.97
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Mouse: Complete Collection: $19.47
Neo Ranga: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $36.95
Shrine of the Morning Mist: Complete Collection: $18.95
Zone of the Enders: Complete Collection (Thinpak): $31.95

Boogiepop Phantom: Complete Collection: $17.90
Hellsing: Complete Collection (Signature Series): $19.99


Overstock.com

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Cyber Formula GPX: Complete Collection: $36.99
FLCL: Ultimate Edition: $41.12 (Release Date: 01/24/07)
Galaxy Angel A: Complete Collection: $21.02
Geneshaft: Complete Collection: $13.39
Gantz: Complete Collection - Season 1 (Thinpak): $41.14
Gantz: Complete Collection - Season 2 (Thinpak): $41.14
Get Backers: Complete Collection - Season 2 (Thinpak): $35.39
Gundam Wing: Complete Collection 1 (Anime Legends): $29.64
Gundam Wing: Complete Collection 2 (Anime Legends): $29.64
Kiddy Grade: Complete Collection: $52.64
Love Hina: Complete Collection (Anime Legends): $46.89
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: Complete Collection (LE): $57.89
Now and Then, Here and There: Complete Collection: $21.82
Outlaw Star: Complete Collection (Anime Legends): $29.64
Steam Detectives: Complete Collection: $29.64


Expiration: Unknown

Credit: justbarelymovin, modified by WTK

-----
New Weekly Specials! from RightStuf.com

Negima (LE) Vol.1, 2, 4 are restocked!

Ongoing:
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- Assemble Insert DVD (Hyb): $3.99
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- Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence Music Video Anthology DVD (S) Special Edition: $9.99
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- Overman King Gainer DVD 1 (Hyb): Yapan's Exodus: $4.99
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- Nuku Nuku Dash DVD Collection (Hyb) (Thinpak): $19.99
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- Zone of the Enders DVD Collection (Hyb) (Thinpak): $23.99


For more anime deals, please check out the Official- ANIME Bargains! - ThreadUpdated daily by yours truly! Please Note: Product Availability & Prices are Subjected to Change!
 


Anime Spotlight:
by Todd Douglass

Solty Rei:

I first heard about Solty Rei at last year's Anime Boston. I hadn't heard a lot about the series and after investigating I found out that it was another science fiction series by Gonzo which immediately my interest peaked. This 24 episode show ran in Japan from 2005 to 2006 and has finally arrived on DVD with a whopping six episodes.

After sitting through all six episodes on the first disc I can honestly say that Solty Rei does a lot of things uniquely. The concept carries quite a bit of intrigue and the characters are likeable enough, though somewhat stereotypical upon further examination. You have the moody bounty hunter, the perky girl who doesn't know her past, and quirky enemies that don't really appear to be enemies at all. Yes, in many ways Solty Rei is similar to many shows that have come before it but there is still enough stuff here to make it worth watching no matter how seasoned an otaku you'd consider yourself.

In a distant future there is a city with a tragic past. You see, this metropolis is covered by something called the Aurora Shell. This multicolored barrier keeps the atmosphere intact though it has played a bigger role in the lives of those who live beneath it. Twelve years ago there was an event where the Shell struck lightning down on a tower that was built too high. The result; called Blast Fall, was cataclysmic and nearly destroyed the city. Thousands died and much of the area needed to be rebuilt.

Roy Revant lost his daughter in the event and quite honestly he hit rock bottom after that. With his wife passing away due to illness Roy had no one to turn to and nothing else to look forward to in life. He hit the bottle and became a bounty hunter working under his sister-in-law Miranda Maverick. After seeing Roy in action across these six episodes he really comes across like a Dirty Harry-like character. He's played with a heavy dose of anger and depression all rolled into one volatile package. Good guy, really.

One day while Roy is out on a case he's ambushed by a thug looking to get revenge for his buddy. Roy's mindful tactics and skill with a gun is unparalleled but when he's up against this Resemble (person with prosthetic implants for heightened abilities) he is arguably outmatched. Things looked grim for Roy until a green-haired girl fell out of the sky and landed on his foe.

Stricken with amnesia and obviously not human, the girl takes a liking to Roy when she comes to. Before long she's discovered as being a non-register person and Roy has to name her (Solty Revant) and become her guardian in order for her to keep from being arrested. In the world of Solty Rei there is an underground section where unregistered people live. It's illegal for them to come to the surface without someone vouching for them. This really gives Solty Rei a lot of social undertones and a springboard for commentary on the class structure in society.

At any rate, Solty, Roy, and the Mavericks go on one episodic adventure after another. Between each episode there isn't a lot of development. The mystery surrounding Solty's past is definitely interesting and seeing Roy soften up a little bit definitely adds weight to his character. Along the way though some recurring enemies show up in the form of the RUC, which is a militant policing group. There are other scumbags as well because after all this is a bounty hunter show but frankly there's nobody else in this volume other than a thief who goes by the name Rose. None of these characters really added anything to the six episodes here and they really just felt like filler action scenes.

Of the episodes here there are only a few that are notable. The best in my opinion involves an unregistered man stealing some P10 crystals from a high tech lab. Roy takes the case and goes to track the man down but finds a girl with his daughter's name in the process. He discovers that while she isn't his daughter she is a victim of Blast Fall and the event left her eyes and legs unusable. The unregistered guy turns out to be her father and is stealing the goods in order to buy her resemble eyes and legs.

Another episode on the polar end of the spectrum features a day at a spa/pool place. Rose appears and hides an emerald at the resort while Solty, Roy, and company are there trying to relax. Things get crazy when Solty tries to help Rose out and in the end the RUC gets involved with trying to recover the emerald. Out of every episode here this one offers the least redeeming qualities. There really wasn't much of any development here and the plot was entirely a time waster.

Overall the first volume of Solty Rei certainly does offer a wealth of episodes. With so many to watch right away we get a pretty good feeling for the flow of the series. The relationship between Roy and Solty is arguably the most dominant feature and part of the joy of watching the show is seeing Solty's discovery of the world around her. It's entertaining but in the end not a road we haven't been down before with other anime. Still, the concept is interesting enough and the episodes are mostly good. This is one to check out but not go head over heels for; at least not yet anyway.

The DVD:


Video:

With the recent production date Solty Rei receives an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The show's production looks stunning when you get right down to it. Vibrant colors and crisp animation absolutely pops in every frame. Unfortunately the picture quality doesn't holy up quite as much as you'd hope it would. Due to the compression of episodes here there are many flaws to point out from grain and pixilation to aliasing. They aren't entirely prominent but when they pop up it's definitely hard to mis them. In the end this is a good looking show that receives a decent transfer but the capacity of the DVD hinders some of its presentation.

Audio:

Three audio tracks make their way to this release of Solty Rei. The original Japanese track is presented with a 2.0 stereo output that is about as limited as you'd expect though there is some slight directionality with sound effects and music. English gets a similarly styled stereo presentation but it also receives a 5.1 track that is much more dynamic. Sound effects, voices, and music is spread across all channels and has a very good presence when you get right down to it. The sense of immersion could have been better but it was still decent enough.

Extras:

A meek supplemental offering is available for Solty Rei's first release. Clean opening and closing animations, a few trailers, and some cast auditions are all that you're going to see. The auditions are a nice inclusion as they always are but a commentary track or interview would have been much nicer.

Final Thoughts:

Solty Rei is one of the most buzzed about anime shows to come out in recent months. The science fiction atmosphere, decent character development, and mysterious nature all come together to make an interesting show. There isn't as much depth as I would like (not yet anyway) and the technical presentation of the show is hindered by the fact that six episodes were packed onto the disc. This makes the first volume of Solty Rei kind of spotty in terms of quality. I liked the show enough to recommend it but nothing that is here is unique or memorable enough to warrant a high recommendation.


Name That Anime! :


Ok, let's try to pick your inner otaku's brain a little bit. Take a look at both of these screen shots and see if you can identify which shows they are from. Just to make things interesting we'll refrain from giving clues this time around…..


 
 


What do you think about the column?  Like what you see?  Don't like it?  Have a comment or suggestion?  Drop us an e-mail and let us know!
 
 

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