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Manga presents
Virus #2 (1994)

"You lost the moment I arrived."
- Brain Lizard (uncredited)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: May 01, 2003

Stars: Shin'ichiru Miki, Mayumi Iizuka, Nobuyuki Hiyama, Keiichi Namba, Haruna Ikezawa, Ai Orikasa, Hirotaka Suzuoki, Joey Rapporte, Vibe Jones, Frankie Rome, Michael Schwartz, Angora Deb, Jessica Calvello, Bill Fowler
Director: Masami Obari

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Violence, brief nudity and language )
Run Time: 01h:36m:56s
Release Date: February 25, 2003
UPC: 660200409029
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B+BB C

DVD Review

With the second of three entries in the Virus Buster Serge series, things pick up a notch or two. Unlike the first disc, the focus of these four episodes is on the girls, Mirei and Erika. The seemingly monster-of-the-week direction noted in my last review makes way for character development and a substantial improvement in plot elements and some imaginative exposition. Having adjusted to the somewhat unusual design aspects, this show held my attention throughout.

In the opener, young girls are mysteriously dying in their sleep, and S.T.A.N.D. tries to unravel the series of unexplained deaths. Mirei tracks down a common software program used in their brain implants, suspecting that the virus is behind things, but comes under attack herself while investigating the incidents in cyberspace. Erika is forced to become a decoy, to attract the source while her comrades work to eradicate it, but things take an unexpected and deadly turn, requiring Serge to try to rescue her. Their exposure to the virus raises a number of questions about its origins, and what role the Zainell Corporation and the artificial satellite play in the case.

Serge comes face to face with an entity connected to the virus when the Brain Lizard appears in the dream state, whose powers and cunning prove a worthy opponent for S.T.A.N.D.. Mirei's past returns in the form of a fallen comrade, but her infection by the virus may mean her being removed from the team. A confrontation with the Brain Lizard is inevitable, with S.T.A.N.D. unable to defend against his well executed plans. Revelations may also implicate team members in the plot.

With the storyline becoming more complex and moving into the realms of cyberspace, Virus takes on a new interest. The characters gain some dimension, with back stories fleshing out how the team recruited its members, and dialogue takes the place of the testosterone driven posturing seen before. While there is some battling in their Variable Gear hard suits, most of the action comes in the form of increasing threats from the new enemy revealed, which affect the psyche of the S.T.A.N.D. team members in different ways. The character designs will still be a challenge for some, but if the show continues in the direction it seems headed, the final volume has the potential to provide some great surprises and action.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Consistent with the previous volume, this disc looks nearly identical in terms of quality. Appearing older than the production dates would suggest, the show has a muted color palette, a fairly grainy look, and general softness, though this doesn't really detract from the presentation. There are a fair number of minor source defects throughout, but aliasing is nominal, and bleeding or rainbowing pretty much nonexistent.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is available in both Japanese and English 2.0, with an additional 5.1 track for the English dub. While the music in this series is one of its strongpoints, this is a pretty average soundtrack quality wise, with a moderate amount of directionality and reasonable frequency coverage. No technical deficiencies were noted, though the opening theme continues to be a bit muffled. The 5.1 track is a bit on the sibilant side, but otherwise is fine.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
0 Other Trailer(s)Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Character profiles
  2. Episode previews
  3. Still gallery
Extras Review: The second Virus disc contains an image gallery with 23 images of the cast, some from the show, others more fan service oriented. All of these are letterboxed, which I hope isn't an indication the show itself is cropped.

The character profile section is a repeat from disc one, giving background on the S.T.A.N.D. members.

Once again there are previews for the upcoming Virus episodes on disc three, which mean spoilers galore. I'm not really sure what the point of these are. Available in English only.

The standard Manga promo section carries their usual features, including DVD catalogue, merchandising info and website listing. Along with the Manga promo reel, which covers a number of titles, are trailers for Ghost Sweeper Mikami and Rayearth.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

With this second installment, Virus gets a lot more interesting, as the plot thickens and the background information begins to surface. Characters are given additional depth, creating a more involving story, and the many twists and turns are creating the potential for a great payoff on the next volume.

 


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