Funimation // 2009 // 300 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Steve Power (Retired) // March 3rd, 2012
In a desolate future, one man fights to escape his past.
In some far flung future, humanity huddles in large, mobile, glass-domed domed cities called Regios (Regioses?) that roam a desolate wasteland. Because this would be terribly boring, giant mutated creatures called "Contaminoids" attack the cities on a regular basis. Of course, it would still be boring if we didn't have an elite fighting force pledged with keeping these giant "Contaminoids" at bay, so enter the elite fighting force. Because this is anime, this fighting force looks to be comprised of 15-year-olds. Fifteen-year-olds with super powers and mastery over kei energies. Also because this is anime, one of these characters has a secret past, and is some kind of super-super power. Finally, because this is anime, this elite fighting force is referred to as "Military Artists."
Included in this typically generous offering from Funimation is the now standard 2-disc, 12 episode first half of the series, wherein we meet our reluctant hero, Layfon, who winds up drafted somehow into the 17th Military Artists group and winds up meeting a colorful band of misfits while reluctantly avoiding unleashing the full might of his own powers. It's all as rote as it gets, playing every basic anime trope for every nickel it can. There's no character depth whatsoever, and what few plot turns and character beats that are there, we've seen a dozen times or more, and, more fatally, handled in much better fashion.
Chrome Shelled Regios: Part One is not entirely bad, there are some cool action scenes when the characters face down these giant mutant things that keep attacking their incredibly stupid glass domed sandcrawlers, and there are a few mano a mano swordfights and whatnot thrown in there for good measure. The animation, by Studio Zexcs, holds up to the action quite well, though consistency is a bit of a problem.
Funimation continues to confound and amaze me. As guys like Pioneer and Bandai pack up their tents (and their top drawer productions) and scurry on back to Japan, Funimation not only continues to get their product into Wal Mart stores everywhere, at incredibly reasonable prices, but they continually manage to produce top quality transfers as well. The English voice cast works about as well as the Japanese, the visuals are sharp, clear, and free of any kind of noticeable errors, and the soundtrack fills the 5.1 stage quite well. If only they could land a few more properties that are worthy of the treatment.
Extras are your standard opening and closing tunes without all of the ugly production text cluttering up your purdy animation.
The plot of Chrome Shelled Regios, such as it is, borrows heavily from past series and features. Everything from Neon Genesis Evangelion to Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is picked through, and what we're left with is a clichéd pap of anime puree, something akin to prune flavored baby food.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Japanese)
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Textless Open/Close