R1 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 00:00
Ever read TVTropes? You should - spend a few hours digging through the anime tropes there (you won't even notice the time pass), and you'll find a lot of them in play over these episodes of Cyberteam. Unfortunately, I don't mean that as a compliment, as the series draws to an end that simply failed to keep me interested...
23 - The Altar City
There's panic in Tokyo as Metatron's flying fortress settles itself above Akihabara. The area is being evacuated, while the military are preparing for battle with whatever may come to face them. For Rozenkreutz, it's the culmination of years of planning (and for some of those who have worked with him, time to realise that they've been played for fools), and he's playing it for all that it's worth as he looks forward to his reunion with Crane. Unfortunately for him, though, Hibari and Tsubame seem determined not to let him have his own way...
24 - Paradise Lost
Crane emerges from his fortress, with Rozenkreutz fully expecting him to call for him first - but no, the first person called forth to his castle is Hibari. Rozenkreutz doesn't take this at all well, and does his best to put obstacles in Hibari's way, even sacrificing his partner along the way - it's enough to allow him to reach Crane's side first and explain the plan he's been working on since Crane left earth, so many years ago. Hibari, meanwhile, is running out of strength to maintain her transformation - will she be able to reach Crane herself before it's too late..?
25 - Departure
It's been five months since Crane's fortress left Earth again, and life seems to have gotten back to normal for the girls - well, apart from the press horde that's been following Hibari around since it became known that Crane would be coming back to get her and the other anima mundi. Crane has demonstrated his power to the world, and it's a power that the world's leaders find deeply worrying - and unable to counter. That makes the girls their best chance of dealing with Crane - but as the day of their departure draws closer, Hibari begins to have doubts about what she's about to do...
26 - Birth
Hibari's doubts have led her to decide that she won't go with Crane when he returns for her, a decision that the other girls have decided to support - and so, when Crane's fortress returns, it's to face Hibari and Tsubame in their transformed state, ready to send him back on his way. It seems that Crane isn't willing to just go peacefully, though, and so battle is joined, with Crane using the captured Divas of the other three girls for his own ends...
Right. I'm going to engage in a little bit of spoiling here, so be warned - but it'll help make things a little clearer. If you remember back to mid-season, when we had a flashback episode that first introduced Crane: he was upset at the carnage being wreaked on the world (this was in the time of World War One), saw technology as the cause of humanity's ills, and left the Earth to look for a better way forward. So far, so good. Rozenkreutz seems to have been suffering a bad case of manlove for Crane, and all his planning over the intervening years has revolved around creating a world that Crane would be happy to come back to - and he's based his plans around using technology to create that world, perhaps in the belief that Crane would appreciate that approach, being the scientific genius that he was. Crane, though, has decided that the Earth needs to go the other way, to abandon technology and return to simpler times, and that's what he's planning on using his satellite to bring about.
Got all that? Good. There are good things a bad things about this setup. On the good side, there was at least some decent setup for this conclusion earlier in the series - the flashback episode that introduced Crane didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense at the time, but it all fits together now and give an ending that could have actually impressed - if it didn't simply trash the plotting and scheming that Rosenkreutz has been up to all series in the process. I have a simple expectation at this point in a series: if someone has been painted as the Bad Guy - and you can't deny that Rozenkreutz was - then he should be the person who needs to be dealt with in the final battle, not someone else who descends from the heavens to spoil his life work and take his place. What we get here just feels like cheating, in a way, and isn't particularly satisfying to watch.
Which maybe explains why the main storyline draws to a close at the end of episode 24. The remaining two episodes feel very much as though they were tacked on as an after thought, and while the scenes of Hibari agonising over whether to take up Crane's "invitation" or not are interesting and realistic enough - she's a 13-year-old girl, remember - it still doesn't feel as though the story is really going anywhere. Even Crane's return, which initially seems to hold the promise of some real confrontation, just fizzles out without really going anywhere. And that's the story of the whole series of Cyberteam, if truth be told - it just never seems to go anywhere, wasting 26 episodes of airtime treading water with a story that can never be bothered to explain itself or give us a reason to really connect with it. Hell, the best characters in the series only ever had occasional bit-parts.
No single volume of Cyberteam so far has gotten better than a "meh" out of me, and this volume - for all this it's meant to be the climactic final battle, and all that - doesn't fare any better. It's not even a case of wasted potential, as the way the series was structured there was never much potential there anyway - it's just a string of happenings with little to tie them together, and only rarely is it not a chore to watch. One to pass on.