Anime Briefs image.Divergence Eve vol. 2: Core Mission

ADV films / USD$29.98
Rating: 3/5

Wow, I must say that once again Divergence Eve managers to surprise me by staying on course with an interesting story that adds some nice twists, though you do get loads of ďampleĒ fan service, but you wonít hear me complaining about that. This volume offers quite a bit of information to keep everything moving along at a nice pace.

After the last volume the cadets know about the existence of the Ghouls; however the Ghouls are still being kept a secret from practically everyone. Out of the four girls Suzanna is selected to become the new commander, but canít seem to handle the new training involved and asks to leave. She has to have her memory erased because of what she has scene. I found that this also demonstrated one of the flaws of the first episode of the series, because you basically knew this was going to happen from the fact she wasnít in that episode. The biggest part of this volume is the uncovering of Misakiís past. We finally get to find out, why exactly she was sent to Watcherís Nest and picked to be in Seraphim. Misaki is also able to uncover the mystery of her fatherís death while uncovering some of her own past and some of the secrets locked within Watchers Nest, even if uncovering the truth hasnít made anything better.

Divergence Eve continues to be story driven and rely more on dialog then action, though you get a few moments, itís certainly not the main focus. While the show has continued theyíve done a good job of uncovering some secrets while introducing new ones. Guilty pleasure might have been coined because of this show and with it only being 13 episodes on three DVDís it makes it even more appealing. --JL

Anime Briefs image.Gundam Seed Vol. 10: Day of Destiny

Bandai Entertainment / USD$29.98
Rating: 5/5

The final volume from this epic tale of naturals vs. coordinators comes to a blistering end. In the final five epiosdes they leave no stones unturned. Action, drama, and death awaits in the final volume and all I can say is, Thank you for making me a GUNDAM fan. This volume will leave you with emotions such as sadness, anger, and rejoice.

Kira and Athrun are making their final attack in stoping zaft from unleashing the weapon called Genesis on the earth. After an inital test run that wipes out half the earth forces, ZAFT points the weapon toward earth and only Kira and Athrun can stop them from firing it. Standing in their way is Ray Le Cresuet who will stop at nothing to see the Genesis fire again.

The final volume of Gundam Seed is nothing short of spectaular. The action seqences are great and the story is still moving along. There are parts that make jump up and scream "YES!" and then there are parts that make you go "NO WAY". Thatís what anime should be, involving the watcher and grabbing emotions from them. Gundam Seed is one of the best AC Gundams series I've seen and is easily rewatchable. --AC

Anime Briefs image.Shadow Star Narutaru Vol. 1

Central Park Media / USD$29.98
Rating: 3.5/5

During a trip to her grandparents, Shiina Tamai's life was changed forever. After nearly drowning to death, she was rescued by a star-shaped creature named Hoshimaru. But as it turns out, Shiina's new pet is much more than it seems. It can shape shift and fly. What's more is that there are others like Hoshimaru that have formed even stronger bonds with their hosts. And now, these psychic children have begun to seek Shiina out!

Covering four episodes, volume one of Shadow Star starts off quite light-hearted and takes but a single episode to grow quite dark. Luckily, the series starts off by following the manga it's based on quite faithfully. Even the character designs themselves retain all the richness of the manga. The original Japanese voices have all the quarks one would expect from reading the manga, but the English dub comes off as quite stiff and jerky with Akira's character suffering the most from the constant need to fit her stuttery dialogue to the on-screen lip flaps.

A well-rounded amount of extras are included with the star being a series of storyboard comparisons. An art gallery, a series of character designs and three series trailers are also included. The DVD cover art is slightly underwhelming, which is bound to make it a title some might overlook. But despite it's dark storyline, Shadow Star is a sure winner for anyone's collection and one no fan of the manga should be without! --AA

Anime Briefs image.Star Ocean EX Vol. 2: The Dragon's Teeth

Geneon / USD$29.98
Rating: 3.5/5

This volume continues the retelling of the Playstation game, Star Ocean: The Second Story, however, new twists are added to the story in this volume. The last episode of the four included on this DVD centers around a ghost ship that doesn't appear in the video game, but the plot fits well into the main standard story.

Ashton Anchors is introduced in this volume, along with Opera, who makes more of a cameo appearance than anything. Ashton is a two-handed swordsman who becomes possessed by two dragons, whose heads appear on his back. He seeks the help of our main party, Claude, Rena, and Celine, to exorcise the demons, a plot which spans the majority of this volume. If you've played the game, you know how that ends. A new twist was added to the character of Ashton, with the dragons actually possessing him and driving him into feasts of swordsmanship, with the dragons breathing fire and ice. In the game, the dragons are merely glued to his back, contributing the odd cute comment.

As a fan of the Star Ocean series, I'm finding myself really enjoying this series, but if you're unfamiliar with the series, your level of enjoyment may be limited, but it is a good fun series. I'm looking forward to the third volume, which introduces girl genius Precise. It looks that the anime plans to stay true to the love interest between young teenaged Precise and young adult Ashton, so this should be...interesting. --JC

Anime Briefs image.Stellvia Vol. 4: Foundation IV

Geneon / USD$24.98
Rating: 4.5/5

With the Great Mission successfully completed in the last volume, it's time to see what lies in store for Shima! The sky is now red, instead of green, and UFOs have been spotted around the Ultima... Can anyone else see where this story might be going?

I was very pleased with this volume, as I saw this as a make-or-break volume: will Stellvia remain as just another Gunbuster clone or will it manage to move beyond? The story moves quite naturally into a love story between Shima and Kouta, her quiet knight in shining mecha. I've seen my share of kisses in anime, and I really like how this side story is being presented alongside their winter vacation on Earth. I still love the animation quality and the bright, solid colors!

On the other hand, I thought the side story involving Ayaka was boring and irritating. It did not serve to endear the character to me. I'm hoping that as the story moves away from the Stellvia spacestation, we will see less of the obsessively perfectionist Ayaka. --JC

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