Judge Mitchell Hattaway once worked at Area 57, but they didn't get cool jet planes, just golf carts.
At Area 88, there's no such thing as a normal day.
The life of aerial combat continues for the mercenary pilots of the desert airfield known as Area 88. As was the case with the previous release, three episodes of this anime series are included on this disc. Here's a brief synopsis of each:
• Episode 4: "The Treacherous Sky"
• Episode 5: "An Unyielding Spirit in Lipstick"
• Episode 6: "A Lonely Crossing of Paths"
My primary criticisms regarding the first three episodes of this anime were aimed at the threadbare plotting and episodic nature of the installments; having said that, I felt the dynamic flight and combat scenes compensated for these flaws to a certain degree. Well, the episodes presented on this volume tend to advance the storyline better than their predecessors, which means the aerial sequences take a back seat this time around. In other words, I enjoyed this volume just as much as I did the first release, albeit for different reasons. While I do believe the series has taken a step in the right direction, it's not a large enough step for me to hike up my rating. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how things progress.
The technical presentation here is just as impressive as that of the previous volume. The anamorphic transfer is absolutely stunning; the traditional cel animation and CG-enhanced sequences both shine. The audio options are just as impressive. The 5.1 English dub is expansive, immersive, and brimming with low-end activity; as I mentioned in the earlier review, though, some of the dub's voice acting works and some of it doesn't. The Japanese stereo track is densely packed; I once again applied Pro Logic II decoding and was once again rewarded with an aural experience almost as dynamic as the 5.1 mix. Extras include the standard clean opening/closing animated sequences, previews for other ADV releases, and a brief preview for the next release in this series. There is also another gallery of production sketches, technical specs for two more of the fighter planes employed by the pilots of Area 88, and short text bios for five of the characters. You also get two creator interviews this time around. Each runs about 27 minutes in length, and, as was the case before, each contains massive spoilers (I once again watched a few minutes of each before bailing).
There are only six more episodes to go, so I'm hoping the latter half continues to build on the modicum of promise exhibited in these three episodes. Area 88 is once again most highly recommended.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
• Clean Opening/Closing Animation
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