The last story arc begins in The Third Volume 5, and it's a pretty
exciting adventure for Honoka, Bogie, and her associates. This time
the sword dancer isn't up against a monster or common criminal, but a rouge
member of The Third who has hijacked a weapon that could destroy the world.
With an intriguing plot, some fun characters, and wildly entertaining battles,
this show is ending on a high note.
A horrible war engulfed the Earth. It devastated the ecology and
killed 80% of the population. Now the planet is watched over by The
Third, human-like aliens who get their names from the third eye on their
forehead. They carefully regulate how much technology humans are
allowed to use and use mechanized robots, the Inspection Force, to enforce
Honoka is a 17-year-old girl who's trying to keep body and soul together
in this desolate future. She's a sword dancer, a highly trained fighter
who can do amazing things with a blade, and hires herself out to anyone
who has the cash. She'll do anything from delivering goods to cleaning
out a nest of giant spiders. She lives in the giant tank that she
owns which is controlled by an artificial intelligence named Bogie.
One night while traveling across the desert wastelands, Honoka encounters
a mysterious young man who is being attacked by giant ants. She quickly
dispatches the monsters and takes the hapless gentleman, named Iks, to
the nearest city. Once there however, the Inspection Force shows
up and demands that Iks go with them. He doesn't want to, and with
the help from some bar patrons, who have no love for the Third's enforcers,
manages to escape. Iks then pays Honoka to let him accompany her.
She's not too hot on the idea, but she needs the money and he certainly
has a lot. Now Iks and Honoka, equipped with a newly purchased battle
suit, try to keep one step ahead of the Inspection Force. But who
is Iks really, and what are his plans?
Though there are no wars on Earth, thanks to The Third, that doesn't
mean that the weapons of war have all been dismantled. There are
still powerful weapons platforms orbiting in space and when one of them,
The Wormhole Driver, is hijacked by a rouge member of The Third, Rona Fauna,
the Earth is in dire straights. Part of a mountain range is vaporized
to demonstrate that power of the weapon, and if its energy is all concentrated
at the Earth's core, it could destroy the planet.
This isn't the type of situation that The Third are good at handling,
and with another of their membership being held hostage by Fauna, Honoka's
friend Joganki, they are very hesitant to storm her stronghold. Instead
they take some extreme action: they hire Honoka.
At first she's hesitant. After all, she's not a mercenary, and
this isn't the type of thing she usually handles, but she also realizes
that with her abilities she's the best one to handle the situation and
agrees. Her friend Paife insists on going along, and when Iks shows
up unexpectedly and announces that he's going too the group is complete.
Working for The Third may pay well, but it's not all it's cracked up
to be. It is only after the group departs on a plane that will take
them to Fauna's lair that Fila announces that Honoka will have backup:
the robotic one-man-army Blue Breaker. This creation killed one of
Honoka's best friends and even if she did want him along, can she trust
They certainly raised the stakes in this last story arc, which is a
good way to wrap up a series. Not only is it a world-threatening
disaster, but the writers managed to make it personal by having Joganki
involved, which was a good move.
All of the characters are also putting forth their best, something that
really hasn't happened much in the series so far. Yeah there've been
some good fights, but you get the feeling that Honoka has been holding
back and Bogie, her sentient tank, definitely has been. A product
of the last war, Bogie hasn't really gotten into a full fledged battle
in the series yet. That is remedied in the last episode on this disc
when an Anti-tank Attack Chopper, an AI-driven helicopter designed to eliminate
tanks like Bogie, shows up to stop him. With some serious fire-power
and incredible mobility, the chopper is a serious threat to the tank and
their battle is one of the best that I've seen in a long time. Well
worth checking the disc out just for that.
As I mentioned in my earlier reviews, there is one aspect of the show
that has quickly become bothersome however: the omniscient narrator.
For some reason the creators decided that they had to tell the drooling
ignorant audience exactly why everything was happening. This is great
if your IQ is in the low 50's, but otherwise it's stupid and unnecessary.
This disc offers the viewer the option of the original Japanese track
in stereo or an English dub in both stereo and 5.1. I alternated
between the 5.1 and stereo Japanese track and enjoyed them both.
The English cast does a good job bringing their characters to life and
they didn't resort to phony accents or overacting. The female characters
don't talk in irritating squeaky high-pitched voices either. The
real advantage of the English dub is the 5.1 track. Though the rears
and subwoofer mainly come alive during the action scenes, it's worth listening
to the dub for that. I especially enjoyed Bogart firing his cannon.
The video looked very good on this disc. The widescreen anamorphic
image was crisp with sharp lines and fine detail. The colors are
solid and bright and the palate is fairly wide. On the digital side
things also look very good. There is only the most minor aliasing
present in a couple of parts. Cross colorization, blocking, and posterization
aren't present. This is a very good looking disc.
The only extras this time around are a couple of character biographies,
clean versions of the opening and closing (two versions), and a series
In this second to last volume in the series the creators opened up all
the stops and created a great story arc to wrap up the show. With
some great battles, an intriguing plot, and an unexpected surprise or two
this series has been progressing very well. I can't wait to see how
it all wraps up. Recommended.