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Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 6, 2014 by  



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A gritty, dark and violent film adaptation of Tow Ubukata’s light novels. “Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust” is a film that gives closure to fans but like previous films, while visually creative, storywise, it may be too gloomy or too short of an animated film for some, while others may find it to be quite smart and moody and appreciative of its approach of not being like any other traditional animated film in Japan.   But if you managed to follow the previous two films, then “Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust” is recommended.

Images courtesy of © 2014 Sentai Holdings. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust

DURATION: 81 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

RATED: TV MA VSL

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RELEASE DATE: March 25, 2014

Directed by Susumu Kudo

Screenplay by Tow Ubukata

Music by Conisch

Original Creator: Tow Ubukata

Character Design by Jun Nakai, Shingo Suzuki

Art Direction by Masanobu Nomura

Chief Animation Director: Jun Nakai, Shingo Suzuki

Mechanical Design by Hiroshi Okubo

CGI Director: Tetsuro Kodama

Director of Photography: Toru Fukushi

Anime Production: GoHands

Featuring the voices of:

Megumi Hayashibara/Hilary Haag as Rune Balot

Norito Yashima/Andy McAvin as Œufcoque Penteano

Hiroki Touchi/David Matranga as Dr. Easter

Kazuya Nakai/Kalob Martinez as Shell Septinos

Tsutomu Isobe/David Wald as Dimsdale Boiled

Takaya Hashi/Andrew Love as Ashley Harvest

Toshiko Fujita/Susan Koozin as Bell Wing

Rescued by Doctor Easter from a deadly assault on their headquarters by Dimsdale Boiled, Rune Balot finds temporary shelter in “Paradise,” a high-tech laboratory where the Scramble 09 protocol originated. While the severely injured Oeufcoque regenerates in a healing vat, Rune struggles to find the answers within herself that will let her equally injured psyche find some measure of peace. But as the search for clues to the location of Shell’s hidden memories continues, Boiled finds them again, and Rune and the Doctor decide it’s time to carry the war to the enemy.

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In 2003, Japanese sci-fi light novel, manga and anime creator, Tow Ubukata (“Le Chevalier D’Eon”, “Heroic Age”, “Chaos Legion”, “Sokyu no Fafner”) created the light novel “Mardock Scramble”.

For Ubukata’s “Mardock Scramble”, originally the series was planned as an OVA series release but instead, would first receive a manga adaptation and then later was released as an anime film trilogy courtesy of GoHands Studio and produced by Aniplex.

With the first film “Mardock Scramble: The First Compression” released on DVD back in September 2011 and followed by a Director’s Cut version released on Blu-ray in March, the second film of the trilogy titled “Mardock Scramble: The Second Combustion” was released on Blu-ray on New Year’s Day 2013.  And here we are now with the final film in the film series “Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust” which includes both the theatrical version of the film and the Director’s Cut.

“Mardock Scramble” is directed by Susumu Kudo (“Mizuiro Jidai”, “Hoop Days”, “Captain Tsubasa J”) and features creator Tow Ubukata as the screenwriter of the anime films. Character designs are by Jun Nakai (“Tokyo Majin”, “Samurai 7”) and Shingo Suzuki (“Shanghai Dragon”, “Witchblade”, “Baccano!”) with music by Conisch (“Linebarrels of Iron”, “ToHeart2” and art direction by Masanobu Nomura (“Obvliion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror”, “Patlabor WXIII”, “Blue Exorcist”, “Gad Guard”, “Gurren Lagann”).

What  is “Mardock Scramble” about?

“Mardock Scramble: The First Compression” was a film that took place in the futuristic city known as Mardock City and focuses on a girl named Rune Ballot who was taken by a renown gambler named Shell Septinous, notorious for using girls for slavery.

One day, Shell has his bodyguard Dimsdale Boiled take Rune out in the middle of nowhere and murders her in a poisonous gas explosion and also in the process, has Shell’s memory was erased, so he can’t be arrested.

But not far from where Rune was killed was a scientist named Dr. Easter. Easter is able to save Rune’s life but to keep her alive, he rebuilds her as a killer cyborg and together he and along with a robotic mouse named Oefcoque helped Rune survive with the latest in cyborg technology to try and search for Shell Septinous, the man who killed her and the man who also happens to be Dr. Easter’s enemy.

But when Shell and Dimsdale find out that Rune is still alive, they will do anything to stop her from testifying against him.

For the second film, “Mardock Scramble: The Second Combustion”, the film began with a fight between Rune and Dimsdale Boiled who will do all he can to kill Rune.

But she is rescued by Dr. Easter in the nick of time and he takes her to Paradise, where she is introduced to the Scramble 09 Technology. And the secrets of Mardock City is revealed.

Meanwhile, Shell who can’t remember anything because his memory is erased, can’t understand why he desperately wants to kill Rune so badly and orders Dimsdale Boiled to kill her now!

This leads to Dimsdale Boiled and another assassin to infiltrate Paradise to kill Rune and some of Dimsdale Boiled’s history is revealed and why he hates Paradise so much.

But as Rune wants to get her revenge and get Shell tried for his crimes, she along with the help of Dr. Easter and Oefcoque, go to a casino where Shell his memories in casino chips. But to obtain the chips, they must find a way to win at gambling without creating any suspicion.

For the third film, “Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust”, as Rune and Oefcoque go to a casino in hopes to win Shell’s memory chips, will they have any success in winning at Black Jack?  What happens when Rune comes across both Shell and Dimsdale Boiled?

Find out in the conclusion to the film series, “Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust”!

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VIDEO:

“Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust is presented in 1080p High Definition and as mentioned of the original film, one thing that the film has is grittiness. A good use of blues and greens and also blacks to set the landscape of a dingy city. In fact, there was a good amount of grain purposely added to the animation to add to the grittiness.

But for the second film, what is noticeable is the use of colors primarily in Paradise where pastel to blue and green colors are used effectively to create a dreamlike world.

The character designs are cool as you have the main character Rune looking the most purest character in the whole film while everyone else look disgusting or evil. Also, this is a bloody anime series with a lot of violence but not as excessive as the first film.

AUDIO:

As for the audio, “Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Both vocal tracks are well done, especially well acted. The Japanese soundtrack benefits from using seiyuu legend Megumi Hayashibara (“Ranma 1/2”, “Slayers”, “Love Hina”, “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, “All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku”) but while the Japanese soundtrack was well-acted, the English dub soundtrack makes up also in grittiness with its use of profanity. So, for a Westerner, the dialogue seemed much more appropriate for this anime series and so I preferred the English dub over the Japanese soundtrack.

And there is a good amount of violence and gun shots galore, so this is not a dialogue driven front and center channel type of anime series. There is a good amount of audio coming from the surround channels but it’s not as immersive as I would have liked. I was hoping to hear a lot of LFE and directional sound effects but for the most part, the anime series sounds very good in HD.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust” comes with the following special features:

  • Mardock Scramble: Path to the Premiere – (30:37) From the Ubukata Summit Nico Nico event held two weeks before the premiere with the crew of “Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust”.
  • Mardock Scramble: Blackjack Showdown – (30:02) Blackjack showdown at Ginza Benoa at the Ubukata Summit.
  • Mardock Scramble: Memorial Talk – (33:05) Interview with Tow Ubakata and actress Megumi Hayashibara.
  • Director’s Cut Promo – (2:53)
  • Narrated Promo – (2:32)

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For ten years, Tow Ubakata’s “Mardock Scramble” has been a long-running project.  From the time it began in 2012 as a serial novel and having a manga series and then an anime film series that was canceled in 2006 and brought back again in 2010, the conclusion to “Mardock Scramble” is finally here with “The Third Exhaust”.

I mentioned in my review of the first film of how I felt it was one of the grittiest, darkest, violent anime film I have seen in a long while.

The final film is a bit interesting in the fact that possibly the first half hour, the film kicks off with Rune Balot and Oeufcoque playing Black Jack at the Eggnog Blue Casino in order to win the golden chips to bring back Shell Septino’s memories.

The black jack portion is quite long but it’s the exchange between Rune and Ashley Harvest, which I found quite intriguing.  In some ways, it’s an understanding of life in the city that both Ashley and Bell Wing try to get across to Rune.

So, we get to see some finality with Shell and also the battle between Rune and Dimsdale Boiled but on the Blu-ray release, you get the theatrical cut and the director’s cut.  The latter which is much better for its storyline and probably should have been the final theatrical edition.

But overall, “Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust” ends in a way that is best for the series.  If you want traditional endings, it’s not what one will get with “The Third Exhaust”.  Personally, the ending fits for this film as the film was never about happiness.  If anything, it was sort of gloomy and sad from beginning to end and each film remained consistent with each other.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good, colorful and looks great in HD and this time around, we get three lengthy special features including a fascinating interview between Tow Ubukata and voice actress Megumi Hayashibara and she was quite blunt of how she felt after watching the film.

Overall,  a gritty, dark and violent film adaptation of Tow Ubukata’s light novels. “Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust” is a film that gives closure to fans but like previous films, while visually creative, storywise, it may be too gloomy or too short of an animated film for some, while others may find it to be quite smart and moody and appreciative of its approach of not being like any other traditional animated film in Japan.

But if you managed to follow the previous two films, then “Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust” is recommended.

 

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