Go buy this!
David Lin | Berkeley, CA United States | 11/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This series ranks among my top four best along with Kenshin, Naruto, and Hajime no Ippo. This series has awesome fight scenes and also it has a series. Don't listen to anyone who tries to compare it with DBZ, because...well there is no comparison! It's an injustice even trying to categorize them as the same type of anime. The fight scenes don't drag and the story doesn't ever come to a dead stop for ten episodes (like in DBZ). Everything flows at a great pace. Overall, this is one of the best series I have seen. I highly recommend it.Now, about the DVD. I have no complaints about the box and the cards and pendants are great. The only real problem I have is that the poster is folded so many times...but it doesn't matter too much. I know there are import DVD sets with all 26 episodes mashed into 3 discs. Don't get those for any reason other than to watch the series before you collect it. The image quality is much worse than these releases.Well that's all I have to say. NOW GO BUY IT! ^___^"
Dragon Ball Z's Dark Alter Ego...What It Should Have Been
Chon-ny | 08/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not since the "Rurouni Kenshin" Kyoto Arc has a series created two arch-enemies so similar in nature, yet so violently opposed (Shishio Makoto and Kenshin's politically polarized characters). Think 26 episodes spanning the often-changing, always violent, and constantly emotional relationship between the two main characters of "S-Cry-Ed," the cold-demeanored Ryuho, and the fiercely reckless Kazuma. The two are products of a mysterious phenomenon that devastated the landscape of the Kanagawa Prefecture 22 years ago, making it nearly uninhabitable, and earning it the designation "The Lost Ground." Those born in the Lost Ground are endowed with Alter Abilities that allow them to manipulate matter around them into their own particular defense mechanism. This can be anything from floating orbs, stand-alone giant robots, or even various takes on watermelons. Other Alters are endowed with not so visible abilities, such as mind-reading, reality manipulation or power absorption. In the end, "S-Cry-Ed" comes down to Ryuho's stand-alone robot Zetsuei, and Kazuma's bullet fist, an armor shell that crusts over his arm. Both will evolve to higher levels as the series progresses.Everything about this series screams bipolar. The Lost Ground is divided into two regions: a walled city where life is normal, and order is maintained by the main police force HOLD and its special division HOLY, a group of Alters meant to control reckless Alters from the outside. Outside the wall is a veritable ghetto, where crime is rampant and life is at a subsistence level--construction, farming and markets are the only means of business. This, in essence, also symbolizes the difference between Ryuho and Kazuma. Ryuho is the son of a rich and powerful family, told to suppress his Alter ability since childhood, then driven to revenge by his mother and dog's death a the hand of a mysterious Native Alter. Kazuma an orphan, supports a young girl named Kanami, as an Alter-For-Hire, taking on dangerous jobs as his best friend Kimishima stays behind as a hostage in case he doesn't come through. Ryuho is nearly heartless, refined, and elitist; Kazuma is reckless, follows his heart, and has no concept of money or the social ladder: everyone is the same, no one is trash. The two clash constantly, with Ryuho and HOLY trying to subdue the Native Alters, with Kazuma as an ever-present obstacle.The beauty of Yosuke Kuroda's screenplay is its ability to eventually blur the line between what is right and what is wrong. Kuroda manages to make Kazuma and Ryuho both very much the same and undeniably opposite. The series is extremely flexible, with characters on either side often switching alliances, with constantly changing views on how Native Alters are being treated. Mimori Kiryu serves as the series' conscience, a rich mainland girl with deep feelings for Ryuho, that clash with her own feeling about how the captured Alters are treated.This is a mature "Dragon Ball Z," everything that series should've been but never tried to be. The battles are massively powerful, destroying everything around the fighters, who manage to take tremendous amounts of physical abuse. Like DBZ, some fighters have more than just one Alter stage; unlike DBZ, the fights aren't overly drawn out, and often conclude within the episode (in fact, you can even get more than one fight in during a single episode). The comedy is present, but at a minimum, and the tragedy can bring tears at its most poignant moments. Each character harbors a past filled with anti-Alter sentiment and discrimination; those in HOLY learn to hold in and control their abilities, those outside use them with relish as gang leaders or thugs for hire. There are a significant number of characters to keep track of, but they are all unique enough not to be confusing.This is a 2001 effort so the art is right at the borderline of older series like "Amazing Nurse Nanako" or "Dragonball GT" and the newer CG-heavy art in "Full Metal Panic" or "Gasaraki." It maintains the liney details, and starts to use computer graphics effectively for the most part. The in-series music is very good, while the opening and closing themes ("Reckless Fire" and "Drastic My Soul") seem to have borrowed Ricky Martin's band as backup. This series doesn't shy away from more abstract or philosophical ideas about what is right or wrong, or about human connection, most powerfully manifested in young Kanami's dreams. Its commentary on social prejudices and racism are pretty obvious and well-played. Like most 26-episode series, "S-Cry-Ed" experiences a major turning point around the 15th episode, and picks up the already hectic pace another notch. Viewers that allow themselves to emotionally absorb into this series will be taken to heights of anger and the depths of despair at the injustices inherent to mankind's prejudices.The series decides on a strange path to end on, but the final image delivers the message that Ryuho and Kazuma's relationshp ultimately is about. Highly recommended for anyone, particularly "Dragon Ball Z" fans who are ready to mature."
A conflict of interests
iso_allen | Irving, Tx United States | 07/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
This is a great anime. I love the complexity of personal issues that plays out in this series.Kazuma - the first of three main characters - is a street fighter. He doesn't like honest work but will do it when he has to. He prefers to take jobs from his friend Kimishima where his fighting ability (and his Alter) makes him money quick and (he hopes) easy. The first scene that you see him he's leaping from the wing of a flying airplane and taking out a entire (empty) building as well as a group of thugs who had kidnapped the new head of Hold. He has the careless reckless sense about him that a truly free spirit has. A type of no holds barred full throttle persona that accepts no compromise to his beliefs and ideals. Kazuma is seen a little later talking to a small boy who is working because his father is injured and as Kazuma walks away you notice that most of the money he had earned from the fight was secretly tucked away in the cart the little boy was pushing.
Kazuma lives in an old clinic with a small girl that may or may not be his little sister. The girl, Kanami, is about the cutest little thing. She's a child acting as mature as she can - working on the farm to help put food on their table and generally scolding Kazuma when he sneaks away from the farm to take on afore mentioned odd jobs. She also has dreams where she sees herself as Kazuma even though she doesn't know its Kazuma she sees.
I love the dream aspect but I don't know what it really means between the two of them.The next main character and main protagonist against Kazuma is Ryuho. Once a carefree child of a prestigious family his life is changed one day when a mysterious Alter appears and kills his mother (and his dog). Since then he has made it his mission in life to hunt down the Native Alters who disrupt the system and bring them in for either incarceration or reeducation. He is willing to look away from certain things the organization might do if, in the end, it's for the greater good of how he thinks society should be.
He values order and despises those who use their Alter powers carelessly or with disregard for the laws. And he really hates Kazuma who goes against everything he tells himself he believes.
Also, his Alter kicks serious butt!Mimori - character #3 - is a brilliant and attractive scientist who finished graduate school seven years early and who has a special interest in the Lost Ground and Alters. She had been child hood friends with Ryuho but gets treated like a stranger when she arrives and sees him for the first time in seven years. She is an idealist and believes that there is good in all people regardless of which side of the wall they may live on. She watches as Ryuho beats up Kazuma after his arrest and watches as Hold and Holy force the Inners (as the people outside the wall are called) into concentration camp like environments of forced labor. She can't accept the obvious differences in what is said and done in the organization. She also gets to see how Kazuma and Kimishima (Inners who are suppose to care about no one but themselves) are willing to put their lives on the line to save Kanami when she falls ill. There really is a lot to each character and the episodes bring them all together like a bullet to a stained glass window. The thing I like best about the series thus far is that the way the characters are introduced you see and understand why they feel the way they do and how they each see themselves as being right based on their point of view. And since no one is really wrong it will all come down to a contest of wills.
To keep this shorter than a novel I'll skip the episode details and just give an overview.
First through Third episodes have Kazuma getting captured by Holy, his treatment at their hands (literally), and his escape. This sets how Kazuma sees Holy and gives him a target for his anger against society.
Episode Four is Big Magnum. We see how Hold and Holy treat the Inners and Kazuma teams up with Kimishima and a (cute) Alter user as they try to break the forced laborers free from the work camp.
Episode Five starts with Kanami contracting an illness that can't be cured by the local doctors and Kazuma and Kimishima hunting down a medical transport that happens to have Mimori on board as well as a Holy Alter user for a guard.
The music is pretty good and the art is great. This is overall a great anime."