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Divergence Eve:Welcome to the Watcher
Four busty babes out in the far reaches of space defending humanity from extra-dimensional monsters is the theme to ADV's latest series Divergence Eve. While this series does have some promise, there isn't really anything that hasn't been done before.
Four young female cadets are transferred to the deep space outpost of Watcher's Nest for advanced military training. Three of them are fully qualified and at the top of their class, but one, Misaki, isn't sure why she's there. Misaki hasn't had as much training as the others, and her test grades are pretty lousy, but for some unknown reason she was chosen for this elite assignment.
Misaki and her three companions are training, though they don't know it, to fight the Ghoul, monsters from another dimension that are trying to invade Earth's dimension. These giant beings can only enter our space though the wormhole at Watchers Nest, which soon turns this station into the first front in a war. The training is hard, and Misaki does rather poorly, but it's essential that they master piloting their space pods if this new group will have any chance against the Ghoul.
Divergence Eve is a B-grade series that should be a lot better than it is. This series starts off poorly, and never really recovers. The first episode is entitled "Second Mission" and is apparently the end of the story. Nothing is explained, and who these people are and why they are fighting is never explained. There is a lot of action, but the episode is ultimately unfulfilling since there is no meaning behind it. After this confusing and uninteresting half hour, the narrative starts at the beginning with the new cadets arrival at Watcher's Nest.
Apparently the main qualification for being stationed at Watcher's Nest is having watermelon sized breasts that jiggle frequently, since that what all of the cadets have. Aside from the color of their hair, the girls all look exactly alike (well, the 'tough girl' does have a couple of scars on her face.) Over the course of the five episodes on the first DVD, they don't seem to develop any personalities either. When the cadets are attacked in one of the last episodes on the disc, I didn't really care who lived or who died. I just hadn't made a connection with any of the characters. The lack of character development was really disappointing, since that has saved other 'girls saving the world' series like Battle Athletes.
While I understood the ill-explained nature of this universe; the worm-holes in space and parallel dimensions, a lot of the plot doesn't make sense if you think about it. The head military commander of Watcher's Nest is getting a promotion and has to pick her replacement from among the new cadets. What??? There isn't anyone who has any experience? For that matter, why is humanity being protected only by four cadets in training? Isn't there any other military in the universe?
To add another nail in this show's coffin, some of the dialog is really weak. Misaki muses at one point "I guess there are some advantages to being really beautiful." What a profound and enlightening thought.
The first episode does have some eye-popping 3D computer animation, but they aren't able to mesh it with the traditional animation very well. The scenes that have both styles of animation in them really stick out like a sore thumb.
The show offers the choice of a 5.1 English dub, or the original Japanese audio track in stereo. I alternated tracks while watching the show, and they were both very good. The English voice actors did a great job (though one of the cadets has a horrid accent) and they were able to match their speech to the mouth movements very well. There was a good amount of surround effects, especially during the (few) battle scenes. The Japanese track didn't have the punch that the 5.1 had, but it too made use of the soundstage. Hiss and other audio defects were nonexistent. A nice sounding disc.
The anamorphic widescreen transfer looked pretty good. The colors were nice and bright, and the lines were tight, though there was some aliasing in several scenes. Still, this is a minor complaint; aside from that, it looked very nice.
This disc includes a clean opening and closing, a Japanese promo spot, and a four minute reel of production sketches. There is also a mini-manga; eight comic book pages with the dialog printed to the left side so the print is large enough to read.
The most interesting extra was the commentary to the second episode. Director Carl Macek brings in several of the voice actors and explains just how an anime show is dubbed. He goes into a good amount of detail explaining the various options and techniques. Well worth listening to.
Try as I might, I just couldn't find a lot to like in this show. The first episode is so confusing and unengaging that I'd recommended skipping it, and it really doesn't pick up much from there. The four cadets all look like they have a glandular disorder with their enormous breasts (but thin waists and butts.) I usually complain about the fan service taking away from the story, but in this case it is more interesting than the story. The main characters have no personalities and at the end of the disc I really wasn't interesting in any of them. There are many series like this one out there, and most of them are much better than Divergence Eve. I say skip it.