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Burn Up W
DVD - On the case & in your face
"In the future world of Neo-Tokyo a "Virtual Drug" is being developed and introduced to unsuspecting consumers. Crime Lords fight for distribution rights; criminals reek havoc and utter chaos and direct assaults are carried out against the police. A team of especially skilled women code named "Team Warrior" is deployed to deal with this growing rash of outbreaks. Armed with high-tech weaponry, funded by the Police Chief himself, and filled with mischievous antics Neo-Tokyo is about to receive a well needed "clean-up."
Team Warrior is composed of five members. Among the team members is Maki. Maki is the team's leader and brings to the unit that air of level headedness, precision, and tactical wit. Although she never takes part in field operations she controls the action most of the time via headsets. Next is Maya. Maya, who happens to be my favorite character, is the team's sniper/sniping specialist. Throughout most of the series Maya inquires as to "When Can I shoot somebody!" or "When can I blow something up?" Obviously Maya is a cross between a female Rambo and Indiana Jones. Then we have Rio. Although the name is quite odd in common anime her design concept and attitude is not. Rio, like her fellow female teammates, is quite attractive and very well endowed. However, unlike the rest of the team, she's actually quite seductive in some scenes (in a playful manner) and still dangerous on the field. Her and Maya are the only team members ever fully active in the field.
Nanvel and Lilica are basically the electronics backbone of the unit. Nanvel handling weapons development and Lilica hacking and maintaining the Police mainframe. The last member, Yuji, the only male in the group, really has no role except being the team's pilot/driver. Otherwise, he's the center of a lot of cracks and comical scenes.
ADV Films is well known throughout the Anime community. To the newest members of the genre ADV Films most probably produces images of EVA, Gasaraki, Sailor Moon, Slayers, and Ninja Resurrection films. To the veteran Otaku ADV Films most probably produces images of the First VHS release of Devil Hunter Yohko and Blue Seed. (Remember those?) But recently this long-standing company has begun to launch a massive horde of VHS titles gone DVD. This is a good thing.
The subtitled version is flawless even down to the manner in which the text itself is displayed. This is most notable in the ending credits when the subtitles are displayed both in English and romanji (Romanji on top and English at the bottom). Here my hat goes off to ADV.
Now the dubbing is entirely a different story. Although it's usually bearable and done moderately well there are some scenes where you feel like choking the character (particularly Rio and the virtual idol Maria) because of their high pitched voices and or the manner in which they gripe. I don't recommend watching the dubbed version unless you want to relive your middle school days when classmates would claw the blackboard and make everyone screech and squirm in pain.
The music itself is alright but not memorable enough (AKA Bubblegum Crisis, Neon Genesis Evangelion, cert.) I feel this is what makes Burn Up W fall short compared to other anime's which put more effort into its musical score. Allow me to elaborate. Music plays a key role in most films regardless of whether they are live-action or anime. Videogames also require music. Certain music amplifies certain scenes (IE: Braveheart, Final Fantasy Tactics, Bubblegum Crisis, and Gundam Wing). In Burn Up W most of the scenes rely heavily on dialogue, action, animation, and very little musical effort.
Besides the music, this DVD has more audio problems to complain about. ADV could drastically improve the audio quality of their DVDs. To often I find myself siting through this disc and leaning close to the speaker like Leona looking for a scratch on Bona part (Tank Police for those who don't know or remember). It's a haphazard task and one I don't think any fan wants to ceremoniously perform.
My other complaint is the character depth. The characters never seem to truly develop until file 4 and by then the DVD is over. You're left not truly knowing the nature of each character. The characters only seem to diverge in vocation; hair styles, and in some instances their behavior. But if your looking for character development like in Lain (I know confusing anime but good) you best steer clear of this one. I also recommend staying clear if perverted scenes (not rated X or remotely close) or brief nudity offends you.
The plot line itself is moderately original. But you'll find you can predict most scenes before they happen. I would offer examples but I do not want to spoil any portion of the film. Comedy wise the movie seems to have been divided into two separate sections. The first two files are comedy while the last two perform a quick 360 on you and enter a morbid state of affairs with no comedy offered what so ever. Although this may look good on paper it doesn't work in reality. The film should have incorporated comedy into all its episodes.
Finally we arrive to the Disc itself. The outside cover art is quite eye catching and beautiful compared to the rather sluggish artwork of the last two EVA DVD releases. Its special features include your standard language options, 12 featured ADV previews, Web connect, Image gallery, Alternate angles, and the highly interactive menus. However, it falls short on the image gallery (barely any images of the characters) and is lacking a bio of each team member. The sound quality is all right but you'll find yourself raising the volume often.
Unlike ADV's initial DVD releases (of other titles), This DVD seems to have no glitches whatsoever. All in all if you are an Anime fan who enjoys seeing chicks with guns blowing things up and looking to add another anime to your collection I recommend this one.
Overall (dub) : C
Overall (sub) : B+
+ Funny (1st 2 episodes), Nice looking character designs, good action scenes.
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