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 fiancÚ, 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, which is entrusted with protecting Earth from the alien threat. In
Argentosoma 6: Annihilation, the series comes to a close after the various plot threads were tied up. Frank's origins now clear, the threat to Earth is now more present than ever. A giant alien, one with the mass of the entire planet, is coming to Earth and his mere presence will spell the end of the planet if something isn't done. Here's a breakdown of the three episodes as well as the bonus episode included on the DVD:
Phase 23: Destruction And Courage:
The crew of Funeral, now on the run from their own government and the commander under arrest, plan to do something about the giant alien threat. To do anything, they must first free the Commander and Frank by attacking Funeral Headquarters. With the combined might of the entire military closing down on them, not to mention an advanced SARG unit, will they accomplish their mission or just delay the inevitable?
Phase 24: Courage And Love:
As the Earth forces attempt to use Ulysses, a powerful space platform, to deflect the oncoming giant alien, Ryu and the crew rescue Frank and Hattie. Knowing that only Frank has the ability to save the world at this point, the cast confronts their own feelings about what has transpired to date and hope that they can be saved from their own ignorance.
Phase 25: Love And Rebirth:
In the aftermath of the alien threat, the world calms down long enough for everyone to catch their breath. The cast all goes their separate ways after some loose ends are tied up.
Bonus Episode: Alone And By Myself:
A new threat, in the form of an alien nebula seems to be enroute to Earth. The cast is now six years older and old friendships are renewed with a number of retired crewmembers joining in the effort. Hattie is now a PhD graduate and will be assisting her old friends in their mission.
With the show now over and the story finished, I think it's a good idea to look at the big picture, not just this DVD. In sum total, it was an enjoyable ride and aside from some silly vocals over the ending credits, it was well worth checking out. I'm going to rate this DVD as Recommended since the anime style tapered off at the end but if you've watched to this point, you're going to want to see it. It was a lot of fun but the pacing left large chunks of exposition to the aftermath and that made it feel like it was just padded.
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. Some of the anime style seemed like less detail was used and corners were cut (as with several other series that ended recently) but if you've watched the show to this point, you're not going to skip this one, yes?
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: The best extra was the inclusion of a bonus episode, set six years into the future after the show ended. It was a very interesting look at the remaining cast and a potential new threat to Earth. The other extras included a tech file which gives some background data on the University where Takuto (later to become the lead of the series under a different name) studied the original properties of Frank, 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 the show even though I came in after the first DVD. It dealt with a number of themes of interest and handled many topics with intelligence and thought (not typical in the world of anime although not completely foreign either). While the technical issues weren't as well handled this time, the show wrapped up the series nicely and I hope Bandai releases other solid enterprises like this in the future.