One of our pastimes at DVD Verdict is torturing judges. See the results of one such session in Judge Joel Pearce's review.
"This silly game is giving me anxiety attacks." -Mayor
Despite all of my attempts to avoid it, I have returned to review this fourth volume of BASToF Syndrome. My editor rejected my attempt to submit a three-word review: "it still sucks." Instead, I present this full review, which you can read if you feel so inclined. [Editor's Note: I may allow it next time. No reason to needlessly punish our judges.]
Exposition is the name of the game. None of the characters ever stop talking, even during the rare and generic action sequences. It takes them five minutes to strike during these action sequences, because the player has to ask for a weapon. Then, the computer controller needs to say what weapon the player has requested. Then, Moderato instructs the computer controller to transfer said weapon to the player, after which the computer controller discusses the power of the weapon. After a minute, the operator actually does transfer the weapon and the fight commences. They never show what the evil robots do during these times, but I assume they just stand there picking their digital noses.
It still makes no sense whatsoever why a game programmed by one of the good guys would be connected to an evil computer system that affects reality. I also still don't understand why they need to be fighting at all. If they didn't play the game, the city wouldn't be destroyed. End of story. The Lemon Game doesn't seem to have any impact when they aren't playing. If they really wanted to keep playing, maybe they could disconnect from the Internet. Whatever.
The relationship between Pseudo and the game is starting to get filled in, which seems to be the major thrust of the plot this time around. So, I suppose if you've watched the rest of the series to this point and even remotely care about that anymore, you'll be glad to start getting some hints. And don't worry, they give you the same freaking hints over and over and over again, so you'll be sure not to miss them.
If there is any saving grace, it seems that Bomb and Pudding (who wrote these names?) are getting less screen time, which has made the viewing experience slightly less painful. Instead, it's just getting increasingly bloated and dull. The mystery of the game might have worked in a several episode OVA, but there isn't nearly enough material here to fill a full television season.
The transfer is good, at least. The video is nice and clean, showing the gradually deteriorating quality of the animation perfectly. The sound, whichever language you choose, is nice and clear. The Korean track has a slight advantage, because the characters sound like annoying teenagers, not 28-year-old actors trying to sound like annoying teenagers as in the English track. Thankfully, there weren't any extras on the disc for me to wade through.
Ultimately, BASToF Syndrome is just a bad Saturday morning cartoon with aspirations to be an epic cyber-adventure. I say stick with whatever shows on your local station, because you don't have to go out and buy it.
Yup, it still sucks.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
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