(Partially taken from the DVD description at Rightstuf.com)
Prepare for the journey home.
To start off this review right, let me just say that there are many titles out there, both animated and not, that have a great deal of similarity to this title OTHER than the one that I see touted the most: Lord of the Flies. Honestly, that comparison almost made me not get this anime, a decision that would've been a big mistake, making me miss out on a very enjoyable title. With that said, we continue on:
I think this review must necessarily be devoted to two crowds: Those who have read Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and those who haven't.
Those who have read it will have a lot to relate to: Imagine the space training section of the book without the structure or the instructors, and the station in trouble. There is no Ender, no natural leader, only certain children who can temporarily control the population of the Ryvius long enough to be considered the "figurehead" until the children become restless, dissolving time and again into unrest and chaos.
For both crowds though, it is a very well-done show. The ebb and flow between stressfully urgent crisis and down-time antics is well spaced, timed just right to keep the viewer on the edge and wanting to know what comes next. The group psychology of this title is also very thought-out, with the initial incident causing the large group of children to split into smaller "cliques" in response to the stress, and then later the total dissolution into chaos until temporary leadership is established. It's a roller-coaster ride on the social/interpersonal level as you watch these kid's friendships and social structure wax and wane in response to situations, events, and each individual's sense of duty and loyalty.
Another aspect of this series is that there are so many characters in this series it's difficult to find one that you don't like, especially since all of these characters are human CHILDREN to the smallest detail. It gives the series a much-needed audience-relation point that not many stories like this have.
Now, the side elements to this series: The music is engaging techno/hip-hop that I found myself nodding to every now and again. It doesn't take away from the series for sure, and in sections is definitely pleasing to the listener. The animation quality is nothing to drool over, as it's mainly a medium used to convey the story, but it's nothing to scoff at either. The voice acting is also pretty appropriate, with no voices that I can remember being terribly out of place. If you have a favorite American V.A. though, you should check the cast list because with a cast this big, he/she's probably in there.
Last, but definitely not least, we come to my favorite: The DVD extras. Or, to be more specific, the Omake Theater excerpts! Now, I don't know how these were aired in Japan, if they were originally commercials, or mid-week teasers or what, but whenever a DVD in this series was just getting too heavy, the Omake Theater would be there waiting for you in the extras. Yes, I'll admit, it's a pretty shallow way to review the actual anime (by including a review on the DVD extras) but to be honest, I don't think that this anime would really be complete without these little blurbs. Think: Just when the main character has an episode where he gets especially whiny, on that same disk there would be an entire Omake section devoted to the chibi version of his brother beating the "whine" out of the chibi main character. (It's freakin' awesome!) That right there was worth the extra time needed to watch them (even though they're not dubbed like the rest of the series.)
Extras or no though, I definitely think that this title is worth a watch. And, while it may not be the best anime out there, it is still at the top of the barrel of "good" anime out there that are worth your time and money - though the length of the series may make it necessary to wait until it's on sale. : ) A solid, solid release.
Add one star immediately if you like Omake Theater excerpts half as much as I do, and don't mind a comedic break in your drama. They're definitely high-quality. — Isaac Cynova
Recommended Audience: No real adult situations or language to speak of, just the rating for some intensity.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual.
Review Status: Full (26/26)
Infinite Ryvius © 1999 Bandai Visual / Sunrise / TV Tokyo / Yomiko Advertising, Inc.
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