Movie: The story details a future where mankind has reclaimed it's place after almost dying out. After years of world conflict and strife, the citizens of Earth decided to start playing God and change the genetic code of people, in effect erasing the most problematic personality characteristics and greatly improving the human race's genetic possibilities. The series takes place in the middle of the 23rd century and women are the dominant gender (9:1 ratio to men). Certain emotions have been both bred out or otherwise socially discouraged and the human race is finally stable, making tremendous advances in science. People are assigned a genetic type by color and each color represents specific traits. As people hit puberty, their gene type manifests itself from the blank slate of "white" to a fixed color that remains with them for the rest of your life.
The background of the series is that as Earth enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in the sciences, there was a resistance movement growing that caused problems, including sabotage of innocents. Humans are established in space and have been excavating alien ruins on the moons of Jupiter. The leaders of Earth decide to assemble a team of talented and genetically superior military officers to go on a secret mission of finding the aliens responsible for an orbiting device known as The Ring and dealing with them as needed. The Ring was found to be a weapon, and in the first dvd destroyed a large portion of the world. An advanced prototype spaceship, the Bilkis, is built, partially using the technology of the aliens, and a robot mech is added on as a weapon, known of as the Shaft. The Shaft is piloted by several of the female crew, a couple of which fight to be the lead pilot. This infighting is a major portion of the internal struggles the crew faces as they battle the aliens from without.
In the first dvd, it was established that the Bilkis and Shaft were prototypes, which often had issues (i.e.: didn't work) when needed. Despite major genetic manipulation, the crew often displays hostile motivations and this hinders their mission. The mission, of course, is secret and even the standing government doesn't know about it which leads to problems when the crew attempt to dock at a station for repairs. Here's a brief synopsis of the three episodes included on Geneshaft 2: Halo:
5. Angels And Spaceships: A new kind of Ring attacks the ship and displays the ability to create clones of the crew. It attempts to take over the ship computer and hijack the Shaft with the crew all paranoid about one another.
6. Hotline From The Past: The crew uncovers a space anomaly that brings them face-to-face with a space shuttle and it's crew from the past. The crew treated their ancestors with distain since the shuttle crew came from a past when wars tore up the world and men dominated the world. Some of the crew worry that these pioneers will corrupt their supposed "purity" and the culture clash between both sides ensues.
7. Ring World: After a successful battle against a Ring by means unknown, Lady Mir questions Mika about her involvement in a new weapon that no one, including Mika, knows anything about. Accusations abound with everyone at one another's throats over who did what to cause the Shaft to use the weapon and the crew bolts when multiple rings attack them. The crew finds they're unwelcome at Ganymede base in a surprising twist of events.
The show continued to impress me on a few levels with the writing taking the forefront. The subtle nods to past science fiction authors and concepts were cute and except for some of the silly antics of the debugger characters (the puppet could've been lost and I'd be happy), each main character grew in this set of episodes. The voice acting was good and the direction contributed to the replay value too. I just wish there had been 4 episodes this time rather than 3 so I feel obligated to lower the rating to Recommended. I really like the show but value is important and losing 25% of the expected material without a corresponding increase in extras makes me more comfortable with the lowered rating.
Picture: The picture was presented in 1.33:1 ratio full frame format and looked very crisp and clear. During a few of the CG sequences it lost some of its clarity and there was an occasional soft focus but otherwise it was very well done.
Sound: The audio was presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo-with English or Japanese as choices. Both were solid and I liked them both but have to give the nod to the original Japanese track this time. The music and vocals contributed to the entertainment value of the show.
Extras: Trailers, character galleries, textless opening and closing, and another glossary as well as a double sided dvd cover and paper insert that focused on the men of the Bilkis were included.
Final Thoughts: Geneshaft is a series that has a lot of potential and I've enjoyed all the episodes released so far. I felt the same way when I reviewed Geneshaft 1 and hope later volumes in the series are as good or better. I just hope that Bandai increases the extras, lowers the price, or goes back to having 4 or more episodes per dvd in order to bring the value up again. The show was well conceived and had a lot of style so I'm willing to give Bandai the benefit of the doubt in this regard.