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|Average Rating: 8.33|
Paranoia Agent's review
Paranoia Agent scored this with 6/10. Disagree?
Whilst I derided Stratos 4's lack of excitement in my review of volume one, I still found the show to be a pleasant distraction. With the prior volume ending on something of a cliff hanger there was plenty of potential to blow the plot wide open and really up the ante in regards to storytelling, for one brief episode it delivers on that promise, unfortunately it soon slips back into the cutesy, inoffensive style of earlier episodes leaving me once again largely dissatisfied.
After her catastrophic actions during the last operation, Mizake must answer to an enquiry committee whose sinister motivations could spell the end of her career. Meanwhile mischievous moggy The Admiral, causes trouble when she accidentally steals an important data-chip, causing a state of panic to descend on the base. There is also the small task of rebuilding an outdated space shuttle that Mizake is pinning all her hopes of space travel on.
Eschewing the warm, fuzzy sentiments found in volume one; the first episode on this disc sees the series capitalising on the dramatic twists that brought the opening volume to its savage cessation. A captivating trawl through the show's darker side, the mood is markedly downbeat, as the ill-tempered rivalries stemming from Mizake's catastrophic failure during the last mission, begin to take root and affect the team. These scenes inject the show with some dramatic authority sorely lacking in previous episodes, you really get the feeling there is a conspiracy afoot and there's a level of menace and uneasiness in this episode that makes it stand out.
There are also numerous succinct tid-bits that suggest some surprising developments are on the cards, I didn't think I'd have a tough time second guessing this show, but this episode dropped some intriguing hints that have left me in two minds over which direction the final volume will take.
Episode two heralds a return to the more demure, harmless pace of previous instalments. Despite this I found it extremely enjoyable and whilst it didn't advance the plot a single iota it was incredibly funny. Chronicling a chapter in the lazy life of the base's corpulent pet moggy, The Admiral.
This episode was a delightfully surreal detour that made a welcome change from comet blasting.
I seriously believe The Admiral is threatening to steal the show; I couldn't help but crack a wry smile when she employs some feline kung-fu to dispatch a few unsavoury cats, complete with subtitles accompanying the mews this episode was an obscurely entertaining slice of inanity with some sublime comic touches. You won't forget the sight of two grown men cat-hunting in giant mouse suits in a hurry.
It is in the final two episodes that this volume stumbles, the story is in real danger of going nowhere, I've seen Mizake staring off into space determinedly so many times I'm having serious trouble telling some of the episodes apart. The series also seems to have a habit of introducing interesting plot threads only to leave them hanging, I get the feeling the creators couldn't quite decide on what format this show was meant to take, threw everything at the drawing board and simply went with what stuck.
I still haven't fathomed the importance of the Comet Blasters, the svelte squadron of crack meteor sweepers who orbit the earth, apart from providing Studio Fantasia's requisite helpings of naughtiness they do nothing important. Their involvement is sloppily implemented and wholly superfluous, and it looks like Fantasia were in such a hurry to cater to the male libido they neglected to make these characters worth caring about. It's a real shame, this show has serious potential but as long as it's content to squander all that hard work with yet more derivative episodes it will never transcend its generic trappings.
This disc promised so much in its early stages but soon fell victim to the problems that plagued volume one, the first episode is a strong indication that when this series finally decides to flex its dramatic muscle it might be worth hanging around for. At the moment though it remains a tolerable if tame diversion, definitely worth a rent but not something I can wholeheartedly recommend.
|Score:||6 out of 10|
|Review By:||Paranoia Agent|
|Date Published:||Mon, 11 Jul 2005|
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