Burst Angel
Volume 4 - Hired Gun

Starring (voice): Akeno Watanabe, Megumi Toyoguchi, Mikako Takahashi, Rie Tanaka and Yuji Ueda
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 24 July 2006

The city of Osaka is under Siege. Takane finds herself against a wall, unable to defend the lives she's sworn to protect. With Meg serving as bait, Sei finds herself on a short leash dealing with the newest gun in town. Meanwhile, Meg and Jo are sent to stop a cold-blooded killer, but something unexpected occurs. Jo begins to suffer mind-breaking visions. Suddenly routine exercise with Leo and Jango becomes a fight for survival as a violent attack leads Jo face to face with a ghostly warrior staring her down for the duel of a lifetime...

Showdown in Osaka - The city of Osaka is under siege by Iriki. With Meg being held hostage, Sei finds herself having to watch her step when dealing with Iriki, as the wrong move could result in the death of Meg.

This episode harks back to the day when fighting robots were all the rage. For me that was a bit of a disappointment. I'd grown to love this series for it's humour, strong story lines and sparkling whit. Very little of that shows itself here. There's a lot of fighting and that's your lot really.

Wild Kids - This episode follows a young woman, who lives on the streets with three other homeless children, who finds an unconscious woman lying in the river. Convinced that this unconscious woman is an angel the young woman alerts her gang - who have been forced into petty theft to stay alive. When the unconscious woman awakes she claims not to know her name. She cannot remember anything, until she is placed in a dangerous situation - then it seems that she automatically knows how to defend herself.

This is the best episode in this collection. While it's impossible not to work out who the unconscious woman is, I thought that one of the other characters looked familiar - but put that down to the anime style. However, once the episode had finished I realised how clever the writers were. By not signposting what kind of episode it was, or when or where it was set, a certain amount of mystery was allowed to play out.

Slingin' Oil - Sei and the gang are enjoying a relaxing break at a huge new adventure island which is packed with water park themed rides. Things go bad when someone decides to sabotage the official opening of the park.

This is a fairly average episode. It starts off promising but soon runs out of steam. It made me realise how much I miss the comedy dynamics of Kyohei and the girls he is employed to cook for. It's obvious he has a crush on at least Sei (as this episode illustrates) and who can blame him? And those awkward moments are priceless. This show seems to work best when the team are together - the banter is much more fun than seeing Jango kicking some robot butt.

The Man With No Name - When Meg and Jo are sent on a mission, Joe starts to experience painful visions. A routine Jango session with Leo leads to a violent attack and Jo is on the run. A formidable foe and a ghostly warrior send Jo into a battle for her very soul.

Hmm. The jury's still out on this episode. Whilst there are some interesting moments here, I found this episode, on the whole, a little bit boring.

Extras include audio commentary on Showdown in Osaka with some of the American cast. This is worth listening too, but only just - as they spend about 70% of the time laughing at the show and saying: "Wow! That's cool." When they do stop and poke fun at each other, or talk about the show there are a few interesting titbits worth learning. Also included are the usual radio sketches; textless opening and closing titles; and trailers.

So, not what I was expecting - considering how excellent previous volumes have been - but still worth exploring.

Pete Boomer

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