Reviewby Mark Sombillo,
Burst Angel: Infinity
Jo and Meg find themselves wandering the city streets looking for the next job to take on when they learn that their child friend Shirley is attacked by a mysterious villain along with other people in the city. The police seem powerless to get to the bottom of the case and higher powers seem to be pulling the strings from the background making things a political mess. But this is where Meg and Jo come in as they don't care whose feathers they ruffle. All that matters to them is that their friend was harmed and you don't get away with that in their books.
Single half hour OVAs aren't very common. Personally, when I first heard of the idea I had thought it absurd. How can you present an entire story in half an hour (or 24 minutes to be exact) when time and again, I know of even movie length features failing to achieve this? A basic story needs time to establish characters, show settings and initial impetus to the story, then some actual progression in the narrative and capped off with a climax that would tie all lose ends. Sounds hard right? But you know what? Burst Angel: Infinity has done it!
And in the process it failed miserably to impress me.
This however might be my fault, I expected too much. My idea of the odd half hour single OVA got shaped by masterpieces like Voices of a Distant Star or Pale Cocoon. These inspirational titles break away from the standard concepts of storytelling and concentrated more on exacting an emotion from their viewers. In a sense, they're more like viewing the painting of The Last Supper and absorbing the story by the overall feel of it rather than reading a comic where the story is spelled out for you. Burst Angel: Infinity is no da Vinci.
Simply put it feels more akin to a filler episode that ended up getting its own release. The stories in it are inconsequential; the whole thing starts and finishes pretty much as if none of the events in the middle ever happened. For someone who has not seen the original series first, they will also find the motivations and mannerisms of the characters to be coming way out of left field (I still don't get why a supposed mercenary like Meg can crumble apart in the midst of danger the way she did). Viewed on its own it's really hard to get excited about it.
But wait! There's more!
The fact is I'm here to review not just the main feature but the entire DVD and this I believe is where Madman's release redeems itself. One of the extras included is a collection of snippets from the series itself which have been used to establish the character of Jo and in the process some of the side characters as well. It's a very helpful resource to figure out why they act as they do in the main story of Infinity.
More exciting than this, there's actually an even longer extra, complemented with full aspect ratio and even dual language (when was the last time you saw a DVD extra have more than one soundtrack!). This particular special presents all of the action scenes from all 24 episodes of the series. That's right; it's all of the adrenaline pumping action with none of the fat. Even then, it's also not just a pure eye candy fest; enough story material is spliced through to at least get a vague idea of why they are fighting. On top of this, all of the more risqué fan service that was shown in the original series is well and truly represented compared to the more “ad-friendly” version shown in Infinity.
Monica Rial's voice acting of Jo is superb and certainly more menacing than her Japanese counterpart. Animation style is on par with the original TV series which is a tad disappointing considering that OVAs are the expected realm of higher-than-normal quality due to them being one-off projects. This just further illustrates to me a niggling suspicion that this was created just for promotional purposes (e.g. to pop in to a DVD player next to your merchandise, press play, and let customers flock as the visual treats unfold).
There's really two ways to see this release. One is from the perspective of the main feature which is sadly nowhere near as exciting or satisfying as the full series. Even if this were part of the series as one of its episodes it certainly wouldn't have been memorable so as a stand alone OVA it's hard to really recommend it. The other way to see this is from the context of the full DVD release with all of the extras included, in which case it's definitely not a bad thing to have in the collection. Indeed I might even be so bold as to say marketing the action scene compilation as the main feature and including the OVA as an extra might have proved a more effective and gratifying alternative. I've only seen bits and pieces of the original series and I had really hoped this OVA would have given me the perfect platform to more thoroughly plunge myself in Burst Angel heaven but in the end all I got was perhaps a burst bubble.
©2003 GONZO/Project BAKUTEN All Rights Reserved
Overall (dub) : B-
Overall (sub) : B
Story : C
Animation : C
Art : C
Music : C
+ Nice DVD extras that may actually be worth more than the feature.
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