Geneshaft - Orbit (Vol. 3)
Pioneer // Unrated // $29.98 // September 16, 2003
Review by Don Houston | posted September 22, 2003
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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 Geneshaft 2: Halo, the story took a twist in that the governmental forces have declared the crew deserters and ordered their surrender. With a hostile alien race attempting to capture them and their own government after them on trumpeted up charges, the crew weighs their options in regards to what they should do. Events transpire that force them into a particular course of action and continue the growth of the show. In Geneshaft 3: Orbit, the crew is forced to abandon their past at the risk of being erased from the genetic databanks (the worst punishment possible) in order to fight the good fight.

8. The Moon Is A Harsh Master: The crew finds a saboteur and plots within plots unveil a common thread. There was some more background into Mir's past as well as her ties to Sergei (Lord Sneak).

9. Less Than Human: The IESA fleet surrounds the Bilkis and delivers an ultimatum. While time runs out, an ambitious sub-commander, Jean, takes over and decides to destroy the ship by any means necessary.

10. The Men Women Don't See: Jean, revealed to be a genetically superior man, attacks the ship after assuming command of the IESA fleet. His past is tied to Mario's (the current commander of the Bilkis while it's true Captain is in a coma) from their academy days. Mario takes desperate measures, including using a teleportation program that still had a few bugs in it.

The show continues to display solid writing and character development that made it well worth checking out. I was again disappointed that there were only 3 episodes but can't deny the appeal of the show. The music, except for the weak opening and closing songs, the other technical aspects, and the writing made this an enjoyable show to watch and the episodes, while better as part of the larger series, would be okay as stand alone viewing too. I'm suggesting this one as Recommended.

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 IEO and ruling body of Earth, The Council Of Elders.

Final Thoughts: As the series continued, I got the feeling that it will prove to make for an exceptional boxed set (as long as the price is appropriately adjusted) since the dramas and science of the show allowed for a lot of growth. If you want to get the most out of the show, watch the series sequentially and you'll likely find it worth showing off to your friends.

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