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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » S-Cry-Ed - Evacuation v5
S-Cry-Ed - Evacuation v5
Bandai // Unrated // March 16, 2004
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted August 1, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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Movie: Reviewing anime is often like reviewing a single chapter of a book with us reviewers hoping to get each chapter as they come out. Occasionally, we get a few here and a few there, making intelligent reviews impossible, just as if someone were reviewing a movie and every third and fourth chapter were missing from the DVD. To suggest this is difficult doesn't say nearly enough but we're a patient bunch and attempt to provide an alternative to the butt kissing, spoiler ridden reviews you'll find littering the internet landscape. Well, last month, our patience paid off and some older volumes or previously reviewed series came forth, including the last three volumes of S-CRY-ED, a series that I had mixed thoughts about a long time ago (S-CRY-ed volume 3 was the last one I saw before these arrived a week ago).The series deals with a group of young people who gain superpowers due to a naturally occurring earthquake that happened 22 years ago on an island off the coast of Japan. About 5% of everyone born there can use their power to either summon a weapon or enhance themselves in some way. As with all things, some of these people abuse their power and the rest of the world imposes order upon them in the fashion of an organization known as HOLD with a special division of enhanced humans known as HOLY. Here's what the first box said about the whole thing: "22 years ago, a cataclysmic earthquake destroyed the capital of Japan and threw the country into chaos. The damaged region was abandoned and labeled the "Muraji Special Economic District," more commonly known as the Lost Ground. After the earthquake, the Lost Ground became home to a rising number of Alter Users, those with the psychic ability to change matter and create Alters with unique powers. To control this lawless land, the special police force HOLD was created. Within it is an anti-Alter unit, HOLY, which was formed to combat the renegade Native Alters in the Lost Ground." The series got better with time, largely due to the pacing and way the story changed gears midway through, to go from a very narrow fighting show to one of liberation from governmental overlords. In Volume 4, the show continued in a brave new direction where the lead characters were made to realize that someone was manipulating them from afar in order to achieve some nefarious goal that couldn't be for the benefit of those stuck in the Lost Ground. With S-CRY-ED 5: Evacuation, the series really heats up as the cloak and dagger stuff is pushed even further into the background as the antagonist makes his move for total domination.

The episodes this time were 19) The Three Tokonatsu Sisters, 20) Kanami Yuta, 21) HOLY Eye, and 22) Martin Zigmart. As HOLY attempts to use the persuasive alter abilities of the so-called Three Tokonatsu Sisters to ensnare our heroes, the truth about Kanami's abilities comes out, making her a prime target for HOLY. The thrust of the later episodes was that Mujo made his move in trying to utilize Kanami's alter to take charge of the world. Kazuma is a shell of his former existence and Ryuho joins forces with his former enemy to try and stop the plan but finds it may be a little too little, a little too late when he confronts Muto at the villain's lair, formed by using his now incredible power to alter the space time continuum. Ryuho is forced to confront his powerful former boss, Martin Zigmart, but they all find the gambit is simply a means to an end for Muto's plan.

Okay, with only one more volume to go, the series really picks up the pace and starts running with the concept. Kanami and Ryuho become even more dangerous to their foes as they are pushed to continually use their alter powers, with the effects wearing heavily upon them. They were also being hit on an emotional level with the deaths of their friends and repeated attempts by the government to either capture them or eliminate them from the face of the Earth, as they leave the Lost Ground to regain their friend Kanami. For me, this was some of the best material of the series and I'm rating it as Recommended but the series as a whole (which can be bought as a set) is looking to grab an even higher rating if you catch my drift. The themes run deep on this one and the metaphors employed could be used just as handily elsewhere so check it out.

Picture: S-CRY-ED 5: Evacuation was presented in the same 1.33:1 ratio full frame color it was made in for airing on television in Japan several years ago. The colors looked good, the lines were clean, and my initial concerns about the limited amount of character movement (it's a cheaper method of animating so it's gotten a lot of play in recent years) remained true to form. In all though, it was decent looking and told the story well enough so expecting something to look like a high budget movie might've been a bit unfair. I saw no compression artifacts or video noise during two viewings of the DVD which was in keeping with past experience of the show.

Sound: The audio was presented in the usual 2.0 Dolby Digital with the usual choice of the original Japanese track or the English dub so many fans have come to appreciate (I've received several emails to that effect). The separation between the channels wasn't anything special and the lack of a 5.1 Surround track prevented my home theatre from getting a workout but during the fighting scenes, you could easily tell it was in stereo with a decent balance on both language tracks. I also liked the score a lot as it had a lot going for it but I didn't think either language track was significantly better than the other (except for a few background voices on the English dub track in episode 15 sounding slightly off).

Extras: The extras for the series are actually pretty plentiful, if short in length. They started out with the usual clean openings (all four of them), went on with the usual duo of character montages, this time centering on Kanami and Mujo, then there was the interesting Sound Comic #25: Radio Woman which uses the Manga version to full effect using Japanese voices and panels from the comic, a design gallery, some trailers and DVD credits. I really enjoyed the Illustration Gallery/Sound Drama #1, which was apparently taken from Newtype Magazine's January 2002 volume, several commercials for the series (Rental outlet commercials, television commercials, etc.), the usual paper insert, plastic collector's card, and Bandai guide to anime from early 2004 too.

Final Thoughts: S-CRY-ED 5: Evacuation showed the series hitting its stride and offering up something a bit more powerful than the usual fight a day scenario employed in the first part of the series. It made me think of the many "buddy" movies where the two leads of the show despise one another on one level but have earned the respect that comes only from fighting it out repeatedly and coming to a standstill. Their powers are so different and yet they manage to routinely fend each other off which had been unique to both of them up until that point in time so it's no wonder that their common enemy brought out the worst (and best) in them both. With just one more volume to go, I can safely say that a lot of us (myself included) missed out when this one was first released due to the weaker than average opening volumes.

If you enjoy anime, take a look at some of the recommendations by DVDTalk's twisted cast of reviewers in their Best Of Anime 2003 and Best Of Anime 2004 article or regular column Anime Talk

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