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Chrome Shelled Regios: Part Two
FUNimation // Unrated // February 8, 2011
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
The second half of Chrome Shelled Regios begins where the first set left off -- with the main storyline seemingly building into a grand and exciting continuation of events. The Zuellni University Military Arts Section continues to battle with giant bug-like creatures (referred to as 'Contaminoids') which the team hopes to help defeat for their domed-city survival with the power of team-effort and good ol' fashioned superhero abilities. That's not really the case (exactly), but it sure seemed that way at the beginning.
Have you ever seen a movie where you enjoyed it for the first half and then were horribly disappointed by the way things turned out in the race to the conclusion? I'm sure most readers would choose to answer a resounding 'YES.' to that question, but just in case the answer is 'NO!' -- Welcome to that horrible feeling. Only with Chrome Shelled Regios, it is a full length anime series made for television, which honestly makes things multiply in level of disappointment and frustration. Where was the calculated resolution that I was expecting? Am I a fool for hoping that this series could have a somewhat sensible final act that pieces together the seemingly convoluted plot elements that continually had me scratching at my head the further along I watched? Perhaps I should have seen the pitiful outcome as inevitable. I had some doubts about where the storyline was heading with the first collection of episodes, but I also believed things could turn out quite well if the writers could weave together the story. Apparently, I was wrong.
For a series that started out as enjoyable entertainment, the writers prove they had no idea what they were doing -- or at least that they didn't care about the story enough to bring new viewers a sensible resolution. This anime was based upon a series of novels which may have held some concrete answers and explanations to the many narrative questions the series leaves viewers with upon conclusion. I honestly wouldn't know though. Those novels aren't even available to readers within North America.
Despite my harsh criticisms, the main plot-line of the story ends well enough. The reason I say "well enough" is primarily because it actually followed a basic, albeit unremarkable path to a semi-coherent conclusion that would work within the framework of the show. Yet the conclusion doesn't work. In fact, it doesn't even come close to working. The major downside with Chrome Shelled Regios is that everything surrounding the main storyline is entirely useless to the main narrative, and that leads to a high level of indifference to what actually happens within the series when it attempts to be straightforward entertainment and not an example of bad storytelling 101.
This series has a long laundry list of problems with it, and these problematic matters become increasingly apparent in the second half.
A Checklist of Disturbing Chrome Shelled Regios Story Issues
1) Poorly introduced side characters? Check.
2) Plotline elements that go absolutely nowhere? Check.
3) Flashback sequences that are confusing and make no sense at all? Check.
4) Was the humor that brought a unique charm to this apocalyptic series almost entirely removed? Check.
5) Were the humorous elements replaced by a ridiculous sense of seriousness that nearly destroys previous charms? Check.
The unfortunate thing about watching a potentially fun and fulfilling series completely derail in storytelling is that this doesn't necessarily equate to all the other elements of the show collapsing. This series is proof of that. It makes the entire effort feel like a bit of a tease. The animation is still gorgeous, the direction is relatively solid throughout, and characters that were introduced in the first box-set are still relatively enjoyable to spend time with. None of this matters with a weak story though; none of it at all. What a wasted effort.
The 1:85:1 anamorphic transfer is equally as good as the first box-set release for this series. The colors are relatively rich and the animation is generally smooth. The transfer is a tad soft, but it is pleasing on the eyes. There is occasional aliasing at work here though. The visual presentation is still quite solid overall.
Chrome Shelled Regios is presented with 5.1 surround sound for the English-language dub and in stereo for the original Japanese-language dub. Either option would work. However, the 5.1 mix has some better dynamics in the soundstage, and the Japanese dub is slightly better. Either option presents the audio with easily definable dialogue and solid music.
This is another disappointing aspect of this release. The extras are almost non-existent with only textless opening/ending credits and trailers for other Funimation releases.
In the end, Chrome Shelled Regios doesn't amount to having much more than a muddled and downright incomprehensible plotline. The entire production feels rather rushed and uninspired (certainly from a storytelling perspective) during its final run of episodes. Skip It.
Here's a visual representation of how I felt after finishing the series:
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.