Bandai // 2000 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Mike Pinsky (Retired) // October 16th, 2003
"Ryu, you're always saying scary and mean things!" -- Hattie
I could swear I've seen this before. Oh, yes, now I recall. I have my notes right here. Argento Soma Volume 4. I only reviewed this one month ago, and already I've forgotten it. And now we are up to Volume 5.
In the opening scenes of episode 19, Ryu screams over and over, "Smile for me!" Ostensibly he is brooding over the failure of his relationship with Maki and expressing his frustration over the taunts of the irritating Hattie and psychic alien mecha Frank. But the pleading cuts right to the heart of what is wrong with Argento Soma. It seems to be begging me to like it. The mere fact that even a month later I cannot remember anything about the previous volume of this series should give you some indication of how deep an impression it makes.
Anyway, in episode 19, Funeral investigates a fragment of alien technology found by a farmer, only to be attacked by other humans. The other humans turn out to be (in episode 20) a rival military division whose goal is to trump Funeral and seize control of its operation -- including Frank. In episode 21, Ryu reclaims his identity as Takuto, Frank reveals his identity as a lost astronaut, and Mr. X reveals his identity too. In frustration, I change my own identity and buy a small artist's shack on the outskirts of Madrid.
Episode 22. I would tell you what happens here, but it really was not clear to me. The cliffhanger from the previous episode gets resolved offstage, so that everyone can stand around having conversations. It is not that their conversations are obscure or cryptic. Just intractably dull, to the point where I found myself not only forgetting what happened in earlier episodes, but what was actually happening in the scene I was watching. Even now, minutes after completing the disc, I cannot remember how the episode ended. No, really.
I usually wind up trying to say something clever here, but I am at a complete loss with Argento Soma. I do not anticipate anything happening in the final volume that would suddenly turn my head. If, for some reason, you have committed yourself to this series from the beginning, it is probably too late to turn back. I wish you the best of luck. Just don't drive any motor vehicles or operate heavy machinery under the narcotic effect of this show.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
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