Movie: Argentosoma, is set about 55 years into the future where an alien
menace in the form of a series of increasingly powerful large robots attacks Earth from an unknown point of origin outside of our solar system. In the initial volume, a scientist is working with a bunch of pieces from destroyed robots and creates the EX-1 (called Frankenstein or Frank by one of his colleagues). Something goes wrong and the robot destroys the lab, killing everyone else. The scientist changes his name to Ryu and becomes a fighter pilot to seek revenge on the aliens that ended the lives of all his closest friends, his fiancé, and what appears to have been his humanity. By a stroke of luck, a small girl, Hattie, can telepathically communicate with Frank and control his motivations, if not specific courses of action. Frank (The EX-1) becomes a valuable addition to a top secret military organization called Funeral, that is entrusted with protecting Earth from the alien threat. In Argentosoma 4: Outside Sanity, the members of Funeral deal with the aftermath of their heavily damaged base and the alien threat comes from within, causing a lot of dissension among the crew.
Phase 15: Chaos And Confusion:
The crew contribute to rebuilding the base with all but Ryu's SARG too damaged to fight. The Ex-1 is in what appears to be a coma and must be transported to a facility built to handle his condition. Ryu is sent to protect the transport plane with Hattie aboard to make sure nothing happens if the EX-1 awakens. The plane is attacked and Ryu finds himself in for a fight with an unknown foe that's intent on destroying the EX-1.
Phase 16: Confusion And Answers:
The transport plane, and Ryu's escort, land at the secret location and discover it's Morgue-the research facility that Ryu worked at before the tragedy. Ryu is overwhelmed by a sense of melancholy and recalls his past as the new scientists prove their ineptitude-not having learned from the past, nor having the imagination to think through the consequences of their actions, the scientists initiate a plan to revive the EX-1 based on what amounts to limited data. Can Ryu save the day?
Phase 17: Answers And The Past:
An old colleague of Ryu's makes a forced landing at the base, prompting Ryu to relive a number of painful memories but allowing the viewer to learn more about the cold, mysterious scientist turned pilot. In a turn of events, an orbiting alien is threatening all Earth satellites and Ryu's friend, Rick Steiner, makes an attempt to stop it. More is learned about the EX-1.
Phase 18: The Past And Crimes:
As the implications of the possibility of communicating with the EX-1 unfold, most of the team go on what appears to be a routine mission. The crew destroy an alien but soon come to realize that the SARG's they all fly have secrets of their own when Guenevere's machine goes rogue with her inside it.
I liked this volume enough to rate it as Highly Recommended since it found a good balance between the action most fans want and the inner struggles that some of us also appreciate. Enough knowledge of Ryu and Guenevere's past was made clear to further their development which was a bonus too. The anime style seemed a bit limited at times but the story was improving with age and I can only hope that the last couple of volumes continue to display the same level of intelligence.
Picture: The picture was presented in full frame 1.33:1 ratio color. It looked pretty good with few compression artifacts and accurate colors but a bit of aliasing was present.
Sound: The sound was presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo with a
choice of either English or Japanese with optional English subtitles. It was
a very clear Japanese track and the English track was pretty good too. The
vocals were particularly clear with a good balance on the music but not a
whole lot of separation in the channels.
Extras: They included a tech file which gives some background data on
the mechs and such, some Personnel files which show some sketches of crew
members, and some trailers. The dvd case had a paper insert detailing a
couple of characters and the credits for the series.
Final Thoughts: I liked this one more than Argentosoma 3 although I'd have preferred to have the extra episode that the first two volumes had. I can suggest this one for fans of military, sci-fi, and even peace loving anime genre's as being a cut above the pack.