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ADV Films presents
ReBoot #4: The Viral Wars (1997)

"When Bob went face to face to face to face with Hexadecimal/
his chances for survival shrank from small to infinitesimal."

- The Marvelous, Magnificent, Mainframe Strolling Players

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: April 01, 2001

Stars: Sharon Alexander, Paul Dobson, Kathleen Barr, Ian James Corlett
Other Stars: Long John Baldry, Tony Jay, Shirley Millner, Louise Vallance, Donal Gibson
Director: Andrew Ducan, Stephen Cooper, Steve Ball, Mark Shiemann

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (fistfighting, mild sci-fi violence, ages 6 and up)
Run Time: 01h:29m:36s
Release Date: March 13, 2001
UPC: 702727013621
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AA-A- D+

DVD Review

The creators of ReBoot definitely saved the best for last. Despite great writing and quality animation, the show struggled to find an audience in the crowded Saturday morning market, and initially the ABC network had no plans to dub the third season for American audiences (and needless to say, there would be no fourth). I guess kids didn't find a computer animated show about the inner world of a PC all that interesting. Luckily, Cartoon Network stepped in and picked up the rights for the unaired shows. Thanks to them, the best season was made available to a new audience, and it became very popular. In fact, a TV movie entitled ReBoot: Daemon Rising is in the works!

It is clear why the show really found its fans on Cartoon Network. The third season is far more mature and complex than the first. An episodic format was trashed in favor of a continuing storyline. Characters were developed and given identifiable personalities. What had been a novel premise finally evolved into a truly entertaining TV program. The last four episodes, contained on this DVD, are the finest in the series. Each blends humor, character, and action into a frenetically-paced and wholly amusing 22-odd minutes. Included are: MegaFrame, Showdown, System Crash, and End Prog.

As if the storyline itself wasn't interesting enough, as the series progressed, the animators got more and more ambitious with their creation. There is quite a lot of action, and the amount of detail in the battle scenes is staggering. Sure, the character design and animation can look a little clunky, but it has a certain charm that is very endearing. Especially cool, however, are all the in-jokes and animation goofs slipped into the background. In past episodes, most of the "in" humor was directed towards computer users. This time, however, the animators went all out. Episode three is a shining example. One sequence features references to Sailor Moon, The X-Files, Indiana Jones, Star Trek, and (coolness) Evil Dead.

And who doesn't love a show that sends off the characters with a rousing musical summary of the entire season, set to the tune of I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General? This absolutely hilarious clip runs four minutes, features some inspired choreography, and is catchy to boot. It's unbelievably amusing to see the spritely little block characters all dressed up to look like the humanoid main characters. This is worth the price of the disc all by itself.

If you are a fan of ReBoot, don't miss this disc. If you aren't, rent a few volumes and see what you've been missing.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Once again, ReBoot looks simply fabulous on DVD. Colors are extremely bright and vibrant, yet there is no discernable blooming or bleeding. Black level is excellent as well. Digital artifacts are non-existent. The only minor nit-pick I have is that whites textures still seem to look a bit grainy (I can't say why), and there is a touch of aliasing here and there.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: This is a very enveloping surround mix, especially for a TV show. Sound effects and dialogue are always clear and crisp, and there are plenty of directional and panning effects. Sure, most of the action is in the front, but the soundstage is very wide and the surrounds do kick in quite often.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Gunsmith Cats, AD Police, Princess Nine, Nadia, Arc the Lad, Farscape
Packaging: other
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Early concepts/Season III toy promo
  2. Concept Designs
  3. Character Gallery
Extras Review: As with the last volume, extras are a bit thin. Aside from the usual ADV trailer gallery is a brief "toy promo," which is really just a few computer animation shots of the characters striking poses. Not seeing the toy connection. The Character Gallery and Concept Designs section each consist of one still image. I'm not sure, but isn't the word "gallery" indicative of a number of objects?

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

ReBoot succeeds because of its involving plot, complex characters, and sense of humor. It certainly isn't as complicated as most anime, but it is light years ahead of almost all children's programming. The Viral Wars is the show at its best. I can definitely recommend this disc, and the whole series.

 


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