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volume 3 issue 12

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Silent Möbius Vol.3: Dark Destiny
2 Bilingual DVDs
200 Minutes
Bandai Entertainment
Asamiya Kia
The final eight episodes of Silent Möbius end the show the way it should be ended, with a great multi-episode climax. It'll have fans biting their nails all the way to the finale.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Silent Möbius Vol.3: Dark Destiny
By Patrick King

There's a number of emotional ups and downs to be found in this, the final collection of the Silent Möbius TV series. Maybe that's one of the reasons it is so watchable. This is a huge cast for a single television season, and to be able to get viewers to care about each of the characters - let alone one - is a challenge worthy of the greatest storytelling masters. Yet, the creators pulled it off, and rather admirably at that.

This disc aligns mostly with the seventh and eighth graphic novels, published by Viz. It actually covers more than what the domestically released manga do so far. The story of Silent Möbius is only complex insofar as its characters are concerned. Years ago, a few members of mankind opened the gates to a parallel world, called Nemesis. Populated by demonic beings, termed "Lucifer Hawks," this world was not an ideal place to live and thus its inhabitants were rather keen to bail out of Nemesis and head to Earth. Fearing the destruction of human life on our planet, the gate was sealed at great cost to those who blocked off the Lucifer Hawks. Roughly one generation later, the seal has weakened to a state where more and more Lucifer Hawks have been able to slip through to Earth. A special all-female task force was formed, called AMP, in order to battle trespassing Lucifer Hawks and to eventually seal the gate, this time permanently.

Some drastic changes are made within these two discs, including but not limited to the death of certain characters, the destruction of large buildings, and (most shockingly!) Katsumi's hair color. Seriously though, Asamiya really wants to make sure we know that this is the final battle between two forces for the fate of the Earth. Plotwise, things tend to jump around quite a bit due to the sprawling cast of characters. However, so long as you can keep the multiple plot threads untangled, the series presents a pleasant pattern rather than a tangled knot of confusion. There is an obvious theme of "living life facing forwards, not backwards" as Lum Cheng says. Even though it's blatantly stated, it's a valid point and something many people don't really think of until they hear someone suggest it. Many of the characters have dark pasts, ghosts that have followed them most of their lives. Each one of them must confront their troubling histories and learn to live for the future, rather than for nostalgia. To avoid spoiling things, I'll just say that this makes for some excellent drama that adds a depth to each of the characters that I really appreciated. In the last few episodes, we also find out the reason why AMP is an all-female force, and an interesting detail concerning Ganossa is revealed. I was rather content at the end, though there is still room for more Silent Möbius.

The Japanese voice acting is good. There are some lines with plenty of opportunity to be corny, but the actors and actresses pull things off rather well. For a show that mixes a lot of humor, romance, action, and tragedy, there are quite a lot of bases to cover vocally. The voice acting didn't really ever distract me. And then there's the English dub. I can't list every example, but here's a few examples showing the difference between the subtitles and the dubbed dialogue. In the English dub, Roy says, "What's...the...matter?" with enough of a pause between words to count to two. That is, "What's (one two) the (one two) matter?" Also, during a fight, Roy says, "None of (one two) the above!" This pause during a dramatic moment really ruins the mood, but hey, at least the words match the lip movements. I'm not a fan of Ganossa's voice at all in English, either. He sounds way too effeminate. Aside from the timing of words, or the tone of voice, there are some odd additions to dialogue that just make everything clunkier. For instance, instead of saying, "It's quiet," in English, we have to hear, "It's quiet...too quiet." Another change was altering the dramatic "I have a great role for you to play" to the awkwardly long "You'll be given an important lead role in the play." Ah well, I suppose dubs just aren't for me.

This is a visually appealing show to watch, and not only because it was produced relatively recently, either. Asamiya Kia's character designs are very different from other artists', and it makes for a nice change. The cast remained distinct despite its size, and there are some neat weapons and technological artifacts thrown in for good measure. This is a fairly clean transfer, as well. The subtitles are legible and the menus are attractive. I'm not sure if the cover of the case presents a good image of what the show is about, but it's not bad to look at by any means. In general, this is well-animated for a TV series, but not as smooth as an animated feature would be.

Extras are rather skimpy for this release, consisting of karaoke versions of the opening and ending theme songs as well as previews for other anime. Previews, however, should not count as extras. Sure, I like to see them, but they're nothing more than advertisements. I'd really like to see character profiles, plot summaries, translation notes, or other technical details. There's plenty of space to add text files, but I suppose that takes time to compile. One day, I'll have things my way...

For the price, this isn't a bad deal at all. From time to time, this set can be found at about half it's MSRP (check out if you don't believe me) and that's not bad for one third of an anime series. If you're looking for some good mystical science fiction action with humor and drama, this is a great show for you to get into. There are only three sets to pick up and you've got yourself a year's worth of Silent Möbius goodness. Sure the extras are sparse, but the series is worth the cost at any rate. If you like it enough, there's a boatload of manga and other animated incarnations available either now, or soon, depending on what you're looking for. It's not a bad world to visit, even if I wouldn't want to live there...

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