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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Burst Angel 5: Line in the Sand
Burst Angel 5: Line in the Sand
FUNimation // Unrated // December 6, 2005
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted January 3, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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The Show:

The fifth volume of Burst Angel picks up the pace of the show with four action filled episodes.  Not only are there a lot of fights, but the plot is advanced as well.  More about Jo's background is revealed, and a major conspiracy is uncovered, and Takane, the Angel's friend from Osaka makes another appearance.  This is a fun filled volume.

Series recap:

In the not too distant future, Japan is a crime filled country where it is legal to carry guns. In this violent future lives Tachibana Kyohei, a young student who wants to earn some money so that he can go to France to become a chef.  He answers a want ad for a part time cook, and finds himself working for four attractive, yet mysterious women who live in a very large mobile trailer.  There's Sei, the leader, Jo, the grouchy fighter of the group, Meg, who doesn't seem to do much except become a hostage, and the youngest, Amy, is a computer expert.  They also have Jango, a "cybot" the Jo pilots.

It turns out that these girls make their money by preforming hazardous jobs for an unknown contract agent.  They are good at what they do, but it turns out that their mercenary lifestyle can also endanger their domestic help.  It isn't long before Kyohei is helping the Angels out on their missions.

This volume:
 
The first episode on this disc wraps up the story that was started on the previous volume.  Jo is fighting with a mute samurai who is guarding an abandoned old village against a powerful cybot.  Things take an interesting turn when the pilot of the cybot not only knows Jo, but has been sent to bring her back to the place she escaped from years ago.

The next episode is a little different from the other episodes in the series.  The Angels only make a cameo appearance in this story about a school friend of Tachibana's.  Kyo runs into his old buddy and discovers that he's running from the Yakuza.  His friend isn't a helpless victim though, having had much of his body replaced with cybernetic weapons, he's a formidable opponent himself.

When the Burst Angel's friend from Osaka, Takane, comes for a visit.  She wants to see her the last episode of her favorite TV being filmed, and they manage to get her in to see the taping.  She has a strange reaction to the show though, and ends up collapsing after attacking one of the actors.  It turns out that a shadowy organization is testing out a form of mind control with the program.  When the Angels discover this, Jo goes after the perpetrators, only to be trapped in a VR battle that she can't win.

In the final episode, has a decidedly Robocop flavor to it.  The Tokyo police test a prototype of a new cybernetic crime fighting unit.  When it goes a little haywire, the people in control try to reprogram it, but it's a case of too little too late.  The mobile unit decides that Takane is a wanted fugitive and that she needs to be executed.

This was a good mix of shows.  They bring up some more questions about Jo's background and origin, fill in some of Kyo's background and exposes a large conspiracy at work.  There's also a good amount of action and fighting, especially in the last episode, which gives the show its kick.

This volume picked up the pace from the previous one, which I was glad to see.  There are still a lot of questions left to be answered in this series, but in the meantime the ride sure is fun.

The DVD:


This DVD contains episodes 17-20 of the series and comes in a clear keepcase with reversible cover.  There is also a 16 page booklet that has character profiles and art from the series.  It was a nice insert.

Like most of FUNimation's DVDs, this one starts off with an unskipable trailer before the menu.  You can't fast forward, chapter skip or hit the menu button to get past it.  This is really annoying.

Audio:

This disc comes with the original Japanese language track as well as an English dub, both in 5.1.  I preferred the Japanese track.  Some of the voices in the English dub had stupid accents that were pretty irritating.  Both make use of the full soundstage with a good amount of directional effects.  I thought that the voices that come from the rear speakers were mixed a little high, but that wasn't a big deal.  There are optional English subtitles which sometimes overlap with text on screen, but only very rarely.

Video:

This is a recent show, and the anamorphic widescreen image looks really good.  The colors are strong with a good amount of detail:  Images waver as they are seen through the rising heat of a fire, and the glow of a CRT display lights up Amy's face.  The lines are tight and the picture is clean.  As far as digital defects go, I notice some light aliasing in the background, but it was very minor. A very good looking show.

Extras:

This disc has a nice amount of extras included on it.

First off is a commentary track to episode seventeen with ADR Director Chris Bevins (who identifies himself this time), and actresses Monica Rial (Jo) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (Maria).  For those of you who aren't interested in what the English cast has to say, there are three interviews with some of the Japanese production crew.  The cast is interviewed, there's an interview with the CGI artist, and one with the character designer.

Then there are two more 'Bakuten (Burst Angel) Radio' selections included on this disc, along with three more 'bonus tracks.'  Each of these runs about 15 minutes.  I'm not sure what to make of these.  They two of the Japanese voice actresses from the show (Jo and Meg) chatting about inconsequential things; their names, how old they think they look, their favorite food, and racing to say tongue twisters.  I found them really dull.  They are in Japanese, of course, with English subtitles.

The most interesting bonus item was Mr. Stain.  This 7-minute CGI short was pretty amusing.  The series is going to be released in 2006, and this is a great way to get the word out about it.  This episode is Vol. 4: Heavenly Bird.

There is also a textless opening and closing and trailers to other FUNimation series

Final Thoughts:

With this volume the pace starts to pick up a bit more and the story is becoming more interesting.  After a few so-so volumes (two and three) this show has started to improve markedly.  The mystery surrounding Jo and her origins is enticing, and the new conspiracy promises to give the rest of the series something to focus on.  Recommended.

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