Judge Mitchell Hattaway has a lifetime subscription to Big Robots Monthly.
Clean out your guns, dust off your mecha, 'cause this is one explosive experience you don't want to miss.
A new law has been passed in Tokyo: Ordinary citizens are now allowed to openly carry firearms. As you would expect, the crime rate has gone up, up, up. Into the fray comes RAPT, the Recent Armed Police of Tokyo, which employs the latest advances in technology to quell the rising crime rate. RAPT usually gets the job done (their preferred method of law enforcement is simply exterminating the perpetrators), but quite often they're just as corrupt—and sometimes more corrupt—than those they aim to stop. Who can you turn to in a time like this? An angel, of course. That's where Jo comes in. Jo is a mercenary, and a damn good one at that. No one is sure if she was sent by the forces of Heaven or the ruler of Hell, but she's quite possibly the only hope the city has.
The folks at Funimation have released the first four episodes of Burst Angel on a pretty spiffy disc. Here's a rundown:
• Episode One: "Hell Comes Silently"
• Episode Two: "The Heartless Gunfighter"
• Episode Three: "City Where the Beast Howls"
• Episode Four: "Brothers Die at Dawn"
I kinda like Burst Angel. The first two episodes are pretty sweet; the second two aren't quite so hot. The show is at its best when it's concentrating on Jo, and it's not too bad when showcasing Sei (who comes across as the stable one) or Amy (who's one of those young anime girls whose age and goofy giggle belie her computer skills). My problem lies with Meg, who too often acts like a silly twit, which means (for me, at least) that the show suffers when she is at the forefront. That being said, there's still enough here to keep me watching. The premise is interesting, the action scenes are fantastic, and the animation itself is generally top-notch (some CG animation, primarily in the vehicles and mecha, is mixed in with traditional cell animation, and this is some of the best integration of the two styles I've seen). On top of that, Django, whose name is in no way a coincidence, is just frigging cool.
I really like the show's presentation. This is my first exposure to a Funimation release, and if this is any indication, they really know what they're doing. The transfer is fan-freaking-tastic; to put it mildly, it's absolutely gorgeous. Audio options include a 5.1 English dub as well as—check this out—a 5.1 Japanese mix (woo-hoo!). Both are spacious and immersive, with excellent surround action. Unfortunately, the dub, which plays a little louder than the Japanese track, features some very poor voice acting. (You knew that was coming, didn't you?) Extras include a rather boring commentary on the fourth episode by members of the dub's cast and crew and ten minutes of footage in which the dub cast flub their lines. You also get clean opening/closing animation and previews for other Funimation releases, as well as what appears to be clips from Japanese radio broadcasts featuring the actress who portrays Jo and Meg. Unless you're into reading subtitled excerpts of two unseen women goofing off, I'm not sure what purpose this serves.
Burst Angel has its flaws, but so far the good stuff outweighs the bad. It's definitely worth a look.
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• Commentary on "The Brothers Die at Dawn"
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