A mission to transport a priceless and allegedly cursed mummy kicks off the final part of the series as the DSA, now with a fourth member in the form of schoolgirl Asami, are faced with their biggest challenge yet. It appears that they have trodden on a few toes and there are some in authority who want to close the Agency down for good.
The second instalment was a rather underwhelming affair with too many filler episodes that added little to the story. Things don’t seem to have changed with the final outing either, as we are presented with two more self-contained episodes. However, a mission to protect a crime boss from an unknown assassin known as the ‘Phantom’ brings back a shady character from earlier on in the series and something of a continuous story arc draws the series to a close; those who can recall the events of volume one will recognise a nameless character who still seems to want Kurokara dead.
Because of this I was pleasantly surprised to see things pick up towards the end to give a finale that is explosive in more ways than one. The two self contained ‘shells’ that form the opener for this disc are above average in comparison with those that went before with some interesting and intelligently written themes, and the final subplot is introduced in great style. The animation quality picks up at the end too, which is just as well considering the energetic nature of the final scenes.
The Mezzo universe is a strange one, combining true-to-life elements with some sci-fi/cyberpunk and supernatural themes that are a little out-of-place at times. This incarnation lacks the hentai aspects of its prequel, the Mezzo Forte OVA, and as a result is a relatively inoffensive and entertaining show. The colour palette used in the artwork is bright and striking, and although some of the character designs are less than appealing they are certainly bold and distinctive (fortunate considering that the personalities of some of the supporting cast do not linger in the memory).
For all its faults though, Mezzo DSA wraps things up very well with a great pair of episodes that give some closure to the story while leaving things open for a follow-up series. Without giving too much away, all four of the DSA’s members get their fair share of the action and there are double-crosses and cliff hangers aplenty. This goes some way towards making up for the dull mid section, which could be equally attributed to lazy screenplay writing or budget/schedule issues during the show’s production. It might have been clumsy and miscalculated as an intelligent science fiction series but as a straightforward action-adventure you could do a lot worse.
The series ends with a bang in a very literal sense, striking a good balance between action, suspense and humour. The stand-alone episodes still do not fulfil their full potential but the show redeems itself by the end with some well-choreographed action scenes and resolution to the main story arc. A few subplots are left unresolved but overall it is a satisfying conclusion to the series.
There are countless action shows that feature girls with guns and/or martial arts moves along with other gimmicks and quirks but Mezzo DSA has enough to make it stand out: not in terms of quality perhaps, but certainly in some decidedly individual (read: odd) details woven into the characters and story. As we are presented with a roll call of forgettable bad guys the central cast is pleasant enough and although the missions miss the mark as often as they hit it they show some originality and the ending is above average. While it plays at being a high-tech/supernaturally-themed series Mezzo is and always was simple-but-effective action series and in that respect it is worth your time.
||7 out of 10
||Sun, 14 May 2006