What They Say:
A renegade scientist in San Francisco has found a way to create a new creature called a Neo-Aragami without the power of Susanoo. When these monsters start to terrorize California, the U.S. turns to the old members of the Terrestrial Administration Center (TAC) for help.
The audio presentation for this series is done up in its original Japanese as well as the English language dub, both of which are encoded at 192kbps. The show is certainly showing its age, both in original materials and encoding, but it’s also one that doesn’t have a lot to really stretch with in general even with the action. Both tracks feature a pretty standard stereo mix that’s not terribly heavy on directionality but has a few good moments of it during the action sequences. There are some good moments of back to front directionality though. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.
Originally released in 1996 through 1998, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The three episodes animated by Production IG are all on one disc. The OVA series features the same designs and style as the TV series but with a bigger budget and much smoother looking animation. The transfer here does a good job of bringing that out and showing off the additional detail that was done here. Colors are solid and look very good throughout with some really nice areas of vibrancy. Cross coloration is very minimal, showing up only in a few scenes.
Using a similar logo to the original release but something of a different layout, the cover here looks good with its three primary characters showing different angles and personalities. The artwork looks quite good with the added layer coloring that was missed out on during the TV run. The back cover provides a few shots from the show itself and lists the three episodes along with a basic summary. The discs features are nicely listed in a grid along the bottom and the basic production information is also included. The insert uses some of the art from the cover on one side, nicely expanded while the reverse side has some fanservice shots along with the episode chapter listings and disc features. The cover to the release is dual sided with the back side being very attractive in its minimal style with one side featuring a couple of simple shots from the show while the main side features Momiji from the cover in a full shot. For some reason I can’t explain, this side just works very well in how it’s done.
The menu layout is done in-theme with the menus from the TAC’s computer systems being mimicked with animation from the show playing it as well as having the selections in other pulldown style menus all to the beat of the opening song. It’s a very catchy menu with a nice if somewhat dated look to it. Access times are nice and fast and submenus load quickly.
The extras are fairly minimal, but they’re both good ones. The first is a five minute or so omake theater piece that has us following Momiji at the school festival where she’s trying to get her special someone to do the cheek dance with her. The other extra is a textless version of the opening sequence.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the end of the original TV series, OVAs weren’t all that common back in the 90’s as follow-ups but some were produced. Taking place over three episodes, though only two of them are directly dealing with the main story, we’re brought back into the world of TAC and its employees as they continue to monitor Susano-o’s slumber. Their job appears to have been fairly quiet in the two years since we last saw them in the TV series, with the only real change being Momiji and Kusanagi having some trouble with their relationship.
With Susano-o still asleep, they’re quite surprised to learn that the Aragami have arisen again, this time in the San Francisco area of California. These new Aragami aren’t quite like the original ones that have been fought in Japan, but they’re close enough and quite strong. So, instead of just watching from a distance, the TAC crew loads up and heads off to the US to take over the operations. This doesn’t go over well with the Naval commander we meet early on, especially since he can’t believe such young kids could be able to do anything about this. Once the Aragami starts taking down his ships though, he quickly lets them do what they want since they assume responsibility.
The two episode storyline brings in an interesting new character to get the relationships up in the air. Valencia is quite like Kusanagi in that she has a Mitama embedded in her as well and can do much of what he can. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s stacked and attractive. The jealousy level starts rising in Momiji over this, especially in seeing how close the two of them get so quickly, something that’s definitely part of her American charm I’m sure. Valenica brings in some extra power to the group but manages to not upset the balance previously created with Kome and Sakura. In the end, the story plays out a bit like an afterthought, but also as a nice way to bring everyone back for one more adventure.
What makes you remember this series fondly is the third episode, which is your basic hot springs episode. While still in California, the women head down to a local hot spring to check out how things are done there. It’s an interesting one that’s a bit hotter than they seem used to, plus it has monkeys that live around it and use it themselves. So as everyone gets in, all sorts of jokes are made and fanservice is a plenty. But before Takeuchi can get in, she gets a phone call indicating that there’s a bomb in the spring and if the level changes too much in either direction, it’ll blow up.
Yeah, the film Speed is basically done to a hot spring here. I would never have thought of it either, but it works out well here. While Takeuchi works with the others to get the bomb problem solved, we get to chuckle and enjoy the fanservice and interpersonal relationships that are on display by those in the spring, especially when combined with monkeys. Monkey’s make everything better.
Blue Seed Beyond took some time to make its way out originally back in the day and was one of those early problem shows that fans had to learn about in regards to licensing differences with TV and OVA runs. Those problems still exist, but the length of time between such projects is much shorter or non-existent at times. As an add-on to the TV series, it doesn’t feel anticlimactic with what it does but rather puts a nice cap on things and brings it all to a close in an epilogue kind of way. One does wonder if this is something that we’ll ever see a reboot or continuation of as more shows from this time period are being mined.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Omake Theater, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: ADV Films
Release Date: September 23rd, 2003
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.