Released by: Madman Entertainment.
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (anamorphic)
Just as you began to settle into the now almost normal tale of violence, betrayal and intriegue the narrative takes a left turn and reminds you that this is a science fiction story set in the near future. With the Organo, Salvation Union and the Racan all in decline thanks to the events set in motion by Yoshi there comes the new surprise - the Shapes. Sent by the Class these heavily armed texhnolyzed warriors begin to storm the city of Lukuss to devestating effect.
Few are in any condition to resist and it looks likely to spell the end of Lukuss as it has been for the last century. The overall feel of this volume is that of imminent implosion. All the major groups find themselves in turmoil - and a new power appears from behind the stage curtain to reveal himself. Exactly what his intentions are, why he is doing it and how Lukuss can survive it is unclear. Perhaps the dire predictions Ran has made, for Ichise especially, will come to pass.
But does a prediction dictate your future or is there room to decide your own fate? Ichise grapples with this even as it all comes apart at the seams...
As is the same for the previous volumes we have the same clear 2.0 English and Japanese soundtracks along with the strong 16:9 visuals. Intentional film grain and blurring features on this volume but what isn't affected is rendered with the accustomed clarity we have seen before. Technically there is little to grumble about beyond the usual two complaints. First, it would be lovely to hear this series with a good 5.1 mix. The ambience it creates through soundscape work alone would be interesting to hear with a properly directional mix. As it is this is a very strong 2.0 mix but y'always are hankering for that bit better.
Secondly I'd like to see more extras. Yes we have the audio outtakes which have been steadily getting longer and better as the series progresses. But I'd love to see more interviews with the creators of the show including some indepth stuff on meaning and interpretation of the symbology within the series. Especially given how densely layered this series is and it's very Japanese visual allusions. Something structured to help the viewers here would be lovely to have. Even just more interviews and commentary from the creators would be excellent. Instead the release comes across feeling a bit light. It is going to get worse with the next volume which has only three episodes on it and no increase in content despite the space being available.
Finally I have my speculations and observations for this episode online.