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Geneshaft #1: Ring PDF Print E-mail
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R4 DVD Reviews
Tuesday, 04 May 2004 00:00
Geneshaft - Volume 1Paying something of a homage to classic 20th century science fiction & adding a huge dollop of style (easy on the substance...), here's another new series for you - Geneshaft...

1 - Inherit the Stars
It's the 23rd century, and Earth has become something of a genetically engineered idyll - with males restricted to just 10% of the population, the desire for war and domination has been effecively removed, leaving the populace to live in peace. Genetic engineering ensures that everyone has their place in society. Into this world comes the Ring, an alien artifact that appears in orbit around the Earth. Mika Seido (a unusual White genetype - meaning her genetic Skills haven't been determined yet) has been assigned to the S-Mission - none of those summoned for the mission have been told what it's about yet, but it's assumed it's got something to do with the Ring. Hiroto Amigawa is also part of the mission - Mika holds himresponsible for the death of a friend - "I'll kill him if I get the chance". Meanwhile, there are other people with killing on their mind - those who object to mankinds's dependence on genetic engineering. Their attack on a survey group at the Ring triggers a reaction from the Ring - an attack on Earth and the Maracanan, the station Mika & her colleagues are on...

2 - The Ship who Sang
The Maracanan, badly damaged by the Ring's attack, is falling out of orbit. Standard procedure is to self-destruct the station to prevent any disasters from pieces falling to Earth, so the S-mission team only have limited time to get off the station. They're summoned to the Bilkis, an experimental battleship docked at the station. Bad news for Mika when she finds out Amigawa's the Bilkis' captain - and he doesn't endear himself by refusing to rescue a stranded escape pod, reminding Mika of the death of her friend. After confronting Amigawa, she gets her chance to try & save the escape pod - and finally finds out why she's on this mission: the Shaft, an experimental mecha that she's been training to pilot. Now if only the Shaft's control software wasn't as buggy as Windows, life would be a lot easier... Later, the remaining Shaft driver candidates arrive - including one Mir Lotus, alleged to have perfect Skills, and the most arrogant b***h you could ever hope to meet...

3 - Rendezvous in Space
Following its attack on Earth, the Ring sent a signal to the vicinity of Jupiter - suspected to be something to do with ruins found on Ganymede. Commander of the S-mission, Lord Sneak, has decided that the Ring must be destroyed - but he seems to have ulterior motives and some plans of his own up his sleeves. He also seems to have a special relationship with Mir Lotus... Mika & Sofia are assigned to the Shaft for the first attack on the Ring, but the Shaft's OS is still far from being reliable. To add to their problems, a military fleet are approaching the Bilkis, accusing Amigawa of acting against orders & threatening to take action...

4 - The Sentinel
With the Bilkis on its way to Ganymede, the Shaft candidates get the chance for a briefing on the Ring's true nature - an observation device, sending information on humanity back to its creators. Lord Sneak seems to suspect that there's something on Ganymede that was controlling the Ring and wants to destroy it. Meanwhile, Mika confronts Amigawa about the circumstances around her friend's death, just as a Ring appears around Ganymede - and so Mika & Sofia are pressed into action again with the Shaft, despite her objections to being apparently used as cannon-fodder by Amigawa...

Like a lot of recent shows, Geneshaft is another example of style over substance, with a lot of the characters being decidedly shallow (I'd be quite happy for Mir & Remmy to disappear in short order). So far, so bad... What the show has going for it, though, are some really good character designs, some interesting design work in other areas, a damn good soundtrack, and enough references to other science fiction works that you can have great fun simply playing 'spot the reference' without worrying about any other aspect of the show. Being a techie, it's also quite funny watching their OS problems & debugging scenes - I swear they're using Windows 2498 or something... :)

There is an ongoing story that's being built up under the surface (origin of the Ring, threat of Oberus, Lord Sneak's plans...), but it's almost secondary to the 'woah!' effect of some of the scenes. If you're looking for depth, this probably won't be your show - but as a way to pass a few hours & end up with a grin on your face, it's hard to beat...


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