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Bastof Syndrome is a series that kids can have fun with, and parents don't have to worry about.
Fear and Lemons
Review by Matthew Anderson
26 Episode Korean Animation Series
Company: ADV Films
Running Time: 125 minutes (5 episodes)
Rated: PG (Violence)
The year is 2097. The city of Xenon is the pinnacle of technological innovation. Living there are the three best virtual gamers in the world; Bebefau, Mint, and Pseudo. The three of them have been "headhunted" by the famous programmer Moderado to help him with a little problem.
Nine years ago, Moderado created "The Lemon Game". While a breakthrough in cyber gaming, something went very wrong. He was forced to shut the game down, yet he hasn't given up fixing it. Moderado's hopes that the three members of his "Spearhead Dream Team" will help him fix the problem, from the inside. Once everything is cleared, he can present the "Lemon Game" to the world.
This is easier said than done. Someone or something has possessed the system. Damage from the battles fought in cyberspace are being translated to the real world. Players in the game can physically be hurt, as well as overcome by the sickly sweet smell of lemon. Is it the resurgence of the Bastof Syndrome that's causing this, or is it something more?
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: The video quality is well done. There are no pixels, wrinkles, noticeable edge enhancement, or color bleeds to be seen. Thanks to the show being recorded digitally, the transfer is free of defects.
AUDIO: Naturally the English 5.1 has a fuller sound and better directionality than the Korean 2.0. Yet, the 5.1 isn't nearly as loud as the Korean 2.0. Also the music is really muted on the 5.1, making it a little hard to enjoy the techno soundtrack.
EDITS: Clean open and close were used with English text. No edits to the episodes were noted.
EXTRAS: All we get is the clean open and close. You would think that with the first DVD, there would be a little more in the extras department.
STORY: This is a pretty "family friendly" title. Similar to "Code Lyoko", Young-Ah Choi's script is your basic "super smart kids save the world" type story. He also keeps you guessing on what exactly is going on, which forces you to watch each episode so you don't get lost.
ACTING: The Korean voice cast is pretty good. Won Hyung Choi has the right voice for the cocky and arrogant Pseudo. For the character of Mint, Do Young Song matches the screeching done by many Japanese voice actresses pitch by pitch. I like how Hyun Sun Lee plays the obnoxious Pudding like an old woman trapped in a 12 year old body.
The English cast decent as well. It's a surprise to hear Chris Patton give a little more energy in the role of Bebefau. Normally he plays uptight characters like Yushiro in Gasaraki. Cynthia Martinez is just as annoying as Do Young Song for the character of Mint. Sayuki fans can enjoy Greg Ayers playing the least obnoxious character of the series, Bomb.
FAN SERVICE: Not a single bit of fan service to be found here. Like I said, it's pretty family friendly.
A mysterious orb. The water of a sacred temple turning into blood. A girl with no memory, and the smell of lemon. What do these seemingly separate events have to do with the corruption of a video game? I haven't a clue, but it's going to be fun figuring it out.
This is "Bastof Syndrome", the first of ADV's Korean imports. It may not break any ground as far as story, it is an entertaining first step from the land of kimchee and "Volcano High".
Bastof Syndrome is a series that kids can have fun with, and parents don't have to worry about. The violence is all "robot vs. robot", with no one being killed or viciously maimed. The characters are not that far removed from shows like "Code Lyoko". There is the cocky skater, the tomboy brat, and the cool guy girls go for. While they may not like each other, they do respect each other enough to get along. Even the pushy brats Pudding and Bomb are good kids, who just want to do the right thing. Well, maybe not Pudding.
The computer aided animation looks great, although it moves a little choppy at times. I give them credit for not going the 100% CG route for the robots. Too many times, the CG will clash with the traditional artwork. The animation style also works well with the character and mechanical designs. The only thing I don't like is that the girls all look a little too butch for my tastes.
This is one series you can't just pick up at any point in the series. Each episode builds on the previous one, so sequential viewing is a must. There are also some references to past events that feel out of context. It's almost like BastoF Syndrome is the sequel to another series. I think they are trying to add an air of X-Files paranoia to the show. Instead it makes for a rigid narrative with missing pieces that may cause some confusion.
I was disappointed with the haphazard presentation of this title. As most US audiences know so little about Korean animation, you would think ADV would provide more information. Trailers, commercials, even a text history of Korean animation would have been better than the clean open and close and a 5.1 English dub. Usually, you don't see this weak of a presentation unless the company doesn't expect for it to do well.
BastoF Syndrome is a good first step into the world of Korean animation . While it does have it's hiccups, overall the series drew me in, and kept me interested. I will be looking forward to the next volume, and many more Korean titles from ADV Films.
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