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Still a lot of rough edges
By Marc Ruby™
One thing you can say about the Neo Ranga series is that it is the quintessence of erratic. This DVD is not exception to that. Animation varies from crude to finished, and the script can't decide if it's serious or comic. The art direction can't decide if fan service is more important than plot advancement... The list is long, to say the least.
In the first pair of episodes the Kyoshinkai maneuver Ranga into a confrontation with an immense jelly-like kyoshin. The fight takes place in Osaka, which people ADV has decided to portray as southern country bumpkins for English speaking audiences. A decision that turns the story into a parody of itself, making the Osaka government sound like used car salesmen instead of a direct people willing to try anything to save their city from a disastrous conflict.
The next pair of episodes are interesting in that they deal with the celebration of Christmas, the epitome of Western holidays, in Japan, where it is essentially a secular celebration. The Kyoshinkai move to stop the celebration of Christmas and reinstate tradition Japanese observance. Mix in the appearance of a giant ivy Kyoshin and Yuuhi's intense hatred of Christmas and you have a tormented story that reveals much of the Japanese conflict over traditional and western values.
The remaining episodes expand on one or another facet of this theme of cultural conflict, traditionalism vs. modernism. One of the key questions is what is reasonable behavior in a conflict that some participants have made into a war. Ranga himself is torn over what to protect and what to oppose when it comes to decide if a young woman is a child killer or a political refugee.
The final episodes deal with the return or Masaru Shimabara, older brother of the Ushio, Yuuhi, and Minami. But is it Masaru, or something evil, a Suura, returned to start a process that will finally reveal Ranga's true nature and bring an end to the cycle.
While the art of these episodes is of mixed quality, the story itself gradually shifts into a more introspective mode. Several characters, in particular Haseoka the ex-film director, show unexpected depth as the story marshals itself for the run to for the conclusion. The dark side of the rebirth of Ranga - Neo Ranga - has begun to unfold.
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Oh man, leaves me wanting more!
By Chase Marshall
Okay, so most of the disc was fun, interesting and all, but didn't contribute the the questions in the story. But the last 2 episodes created more questions, and now I can't wait till dec. for the 6th! It's not fair. I don't want to ruin anything, so you'll have to watch it and be surprised. Neo Ranga is coming to an end, and I can tell by these last two episodes, it'll be great!