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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » E's Otherwise Vol.2 - Mind Bender
E's Otherwise Vol.2 - Mind Bender
ADV Films // Unrated // April 12, 2005
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted April 9, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

The second volume of E's Otherwise takes a bit of a dip in quality.  This disc consists mainly of stand alone shows that really don't move the plot forward much at all.  Kai is still in Gald, and he's teamed up with Yuuki.  Together they have a few minor adventures, but nothing substantial.

In the future, the whole world is controlled by 12 large corporations.  Even governments are under the thumb of these powerful conglomerates.  One of them, Ashurum, has been collecting people with psychic ability to form a fighting group.  Their latest acquisition is Kai, a quiet young man who is a pacifist at heart.  Ashurum has created this group in order to protect other psychics, who are feared and hunted throughout the world.  Or so they claim.  While that's a good story to tell the young E's, Ashurum is only using the psychics for their own ends.

In the first volume, Kai and the other E's are ordered to attack the city of Gald in order to route out some rebels.  During the attack Kai gets knocked out and separated from the rest of the group.  He's found, wounded, by Yuuki, a sort-of private eye who takes on jobs other people turn down, and his young friend Oska.  They nurse him back to health and Kai decides to stay with them.  He's never been in the outside world and it's new and exciting.  So Kai and Yuuki team up and start taking on some real tough assignments.  But Ashurum hasn't forgotten about Kai, and they want him back at any cost.

The first episode on the disc has Yuuki and Kai in a difficult situation.  A 'branded,' a cyborg killing machine, gets on their trail and starts chasing them.  A branded will never stop trailing until it kills its target.  Although the branded is mostly a machine now, it was once human, and because of that Kai refuses to try to kill it.

Next, Yuuki and Kai get a good paying job that should be a cake walk:  To guard a rare comic book in a museum.  The museum has received a warning from someone calling himself The Purple Mask saying that he'll steal the comic.  When the Mask shows up however, it turns out that he has psychic powers and it will be much harder guarding the comic than they thought.

In a throw away comic episode, Yuuki, Kai, and Oska go to a popular Ramen restaurant for lunch.  Yuuki doesn't think that the food is that great, and he bets the owner that he can make a better meal.
Kai has promised himself that he'll never dress up as a girl again (as he did in the first volume.)   However when Yuuki discovers that a businessman will pay a lot for a single date with the 'female' Kai, he talks Kai into dressing in drag one more time.  They have a nice time, until the police try to arrest the man.  The next thing you know, Kai is on the run from the cops.

The last episode switches the narrative to the Ashurum corporation and their group of E's, and the plot finally gets moving along.  Shen-Lu has awakened from her coma, and the company has assigned her and her twin brother Shen-Lon to a new fighting team.  This one consists of new characters, some that are very powerful, and Shen-Lon has a tough time dealing with the fact that he's not the top dog anymore.

The main plot wasn't advanced very much in this volume.  After the rapid pace of the first disc, I was a little surprised, and disappointed, that four of these five episodes were devoted to stand alone stories.

The shows themselves were okay, but not great.  Some of the plot points were a little dumb.  For example, while Kai, Yuuki, and Oska are running from the branded, she starts crying when Kai climbs up a ladder after her.  This is because he could look up her skirt.  It didn't seem realistic that she'd be worried about something like that while being pursued by a robotic killer.  I couldn't relate to Kai and Yuuki's pacifistic philosophy either.  Kai's unwillingness to kill the branded, who has attacked many innocent people already, seemed just stupid, and Yuuki's statement that he couldn't kill anyone even if they were trying to kill him didn't fit in with the hard life he's lived in Gald.

This show still isn't very strong on characterization.  Maybe if they explained why Kai and Yuuki felt that way I'd be able to swallow it better, but as it is, they don't go into their reasons at all.

Overall, this is an average show.  I enjoyed watching it, but I had to turn my brain off and just accept everything at face value.  If you started thinking about the shows too much, especially the resolution to the story lines, a lot of it didn't make a lot of sense.

The DVD:


This disc contains an ample five episodes in a white keepcase.  There isn't an insert.

Audio:

Like most anime that ADV puts out nowadays, this disc offers the choice of a stereo Japanese track with optional English subtitles or an English dub in 5.1. I alternated between tracks as I watched the show, and I had a slight preference for the original language track, but thought the English dub was fine. The English track was a more full, but the Japanese track wasn't flat at all.  Both tracks sounded fine, with no distortion or other defects.

Video:

The full frame video quality for this DVD was good.  There is some aliasing in the background and some of the fine lines shimmer, but this is a minor issue.  The colors are bright and the lines are tight.  A very nice DVD.

Extras:

Extras on this disc include a non-credit opening and closing, an art gallery of production sketches, and some text actor profiles for the English dub cast.

Final Thoughts:

E's Otherwise seems to be suffering from the sophomore slump.  A lot of anime shows have unspectacular second volumes, and this show falls into that category.  While the stand alone episodes were entertaining, they didn't move the plot along or increase our understanding of the world that this series takes place in.  You could probably go from volume one to three, without missing anything of importance.  For that reason, I'm giving this show a Rent it.
 

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