What They Say:
The world of tomorrow is an arid wasteland, a forsaken place where nomadic communities take shelter within mobile domed cities. Massive, mutant Contaminoid monsters swarm the planet’s desolate surface, and the lack of resources fuels steady conflict between cities.
In this bleak future, new military student Layfon is haunted by a violent past. While those in his platoon accept him as one of their own, the mysteries surrounding Layfon and his amazing special combat abilities continue to multiply. With the battle against the Contaminoid scourge growing more desperate and new threats appearing beneath the city’s dome, Layfon and his comrades live in constant danger. If they are to survive, he must face the truth of his former life – because the secrets he fights to hide could hold the power to save them all
The audio presentation for this release is the standard for FUNimation as we get the original Japanese language in stereo encoded at 192kbps the English in 5.1 at 448kbps. The stereo mix is pretty good overall with a fair amount of directionality across the forward soundstage when it comes to both the action and the quieter dialogue scenes. There’s very little in the way of dialogue overlap so there’s no issues with that in terms of placement but what we do get here of it works ell in letting everyone feel like they’re coming from that part of the stage. The English mixes generally enhances the action sequences and the music aspects of the opening and closing by giving it both a louder and fuller feeling that works well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2009, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The twelve episodes in this set are spread across two discs evenly with six on each disc. The show has a pretty clean look to it with a lot of vibrant and solid colors when it comes to uniforms and the backgrounds within the city that showcase some blue skies. Outside of there it’s all dusty and earth toned which works well as it doesn’t have the same kind of clean look. There’s little in the way of dark or night time sequences here overall with the majority of it during the day so background skies come across well with the light blues that have only some noise to it and little break-up. Colors are good throughout, vibrant when needed, while avoiding problems like cross coloration and aliasing.
The menu design for this series is very, very simple as it has a somewhat regal feeling to it with the blue and gold strips along either side while the center has the white concrete feeling to it that takes up about eighty percent of the screen. It’s in this that we get the very large logo that dominates it while below we get the basic navigation that’s clean and quick to use. Below that it lists the disc that you’re on and which part but also has a little nod that it’s part of the Zuellni University Military Arts section which is kind of cute, but leaves you feeling like they could have done a lot more. Submenus load quickly and access times are nice and fast while the disc has a bit of upbeat instrumental music to it that builds a bit of energy. The discs did not read our players’ language presets and defaulted to English with sign/song subtitles.
The extras for this release are pretty good as they cover the minor differences rather well. We get the standard clean opening sequence but we also get the separate clean closings which have pieces done by different characters within the show.
Chrome Shelled Regios wasn’t exactly a difficult show to watch with the first half, but it was the kind of show that seemed to have a lot of ideas that go together well in someone’s head but didn’t transition well to this medium. With a lot of source material in light novels and manga, numerous manga series in fact, there’s definitely a level of popularity to it. A lot of what the first half offered was intriguing, especially with the ruinous future where various mobile city states exist that have competitions with each other and do a lot of things to survive, but it also had almost too much going on with the size of the cast and the various issues that many of them were working through. It felt unfocused, especially when it hits a crescendo at episode ten.
With this set, more characters are introduced and again several storylines work through it with a couple of them coming to a head at the end when things get rightly dramatic and epic in the final episode, which keeps us from a potentially poorly placed epilogue episode. One of the early stories here involves the issues that Sharnid has with his previous group which comes to blows when the two different platoons get to go against each other. There’s a curious history there with why he left the platoon and the problems they had, but a lot of it comes down to the ostensible leader of it, a young man named Dinn. While there’s plenty involved here in exploring it and having his new platoon come to understand it and his personality, the real focus is on introducing the Fallen Ones more thoroughly as Dinn becomes possessed by one, his spirit overwhelmed by it which has him becoming violent and brutal towards just about everyone. He becomes a threat to the city itself.
The Fallen Ones are one of the more problematic parts of the show as it deals with the whole spiritual side of the city itself and the life that it has. It’s an aspect similar to the Electronic Fairies that we see as well, though they’re spirits that have lost their way and are generally dormant. When they awaken, they look to finish out what bothers them and it seems to generally lead to the end of a city. The Fallen One here takes to Dinn but only as a stopping point to something bigger, which eventually becomes Nina though she’s not what it really wants in order to go all the way with what it wants. While we do have these Fallen Ones, there’s also a mercenary training group that’s out there as well that’s hunting them down, lead by a man named Haia and he’s come to Zuellni to find it.
Of course, there’s some blood there between him and Layfon and that causes its amount of issues as well. With the history that Layfon has with Glendan, and Haia’s connection to it as well, there’s an adversarial nature between the two yet he finds himself having to work with him a few times in defense of the city at the student body president’s request. There’s a back and forth throughout all this and others come into play by entering the city that know Haia and it leads to more adversarial encounters. But because of the Fallen Ones, Layfon and Haia end up working together more often than not and it’s an odd relationship that gets played out where it doesn’t feel like it’s properly fleshed out.
All the various events do have small ties that draw together at the end, including the use of another city call Myrtha in which Nina ends up in that leads to her encounter with the Fallen One. The problem is that none of the subplots really develop enough to make you care and for a good chunk of this set, it feels like both Nina and Layfon are more secondary characters, but only because there’s such a growing cast of people coming into their lives. And this disconnected nature for the second half rings hollow in another way as well as they do push just a little bit of romantic interest in Layfon with May-cchi continuing to do what she can to woo him, but also some mild but never authentic feeling emotions from both Nina and Felli. Romance is thankfully minimal in the series overall but it’s handled poorly when it does nudge its way into events.
Chrome Shelled Regios has some really interesting ideas to it, almost too many when taken in combination with the cast at hand here. I’m intrigued by the world, wanting to know more of how it ended up this way and to see more of the various mobile city states and what allows it all to function. But what’s really frustrating here on top of the problems it has is that it’s a world that’s essentially run by kids as there’s practically no adults to be found anywhere. With the variety of things going on here with Contaminoids, school military arts matches, Fallen Ones, Electronic Fairies and a continually growing cast, it all reaches a big level towards the end that goes in strange and unusual directions that surprisingly fit in with the lack of a consistent nature within the series. The seemingly supernatural aspect to everything keeps you from feeling like things are really rooted anywhere and it’s all hard to put together in a way that feels cohesive. There are engaging moments to be had and some good action scenes and even a good bit of fun, but Chrome Shelled Regios felt more like a puzzler than anything else.
Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: February 8th, 2011
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
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.