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There are a lot of unanswered questions that are starting to get annoying.
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. Nine years ago, Moderato 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. He has gathered up the three best virtual gamers in the city of Xenon, Bebefau, Mint, and Pseudo to help him fix the problem. Once everything is cleared, he can present the "Lemon Game" to the world.
Some one has beaten him to the punch. A pirate cyber broadcaster has hacked into the game, and has told everyone about it. Now, all the kids in Xenon want to be in on the action.
The Mayor of Xenon has his own problems. The computer of an old nuclear power plant has been hacked. If the mayor can't figure out who is doing it, it could mean the end of Xenon.
What does the Lemon Game, the nuclear power plant, and Moderato's friend Dupe have in common with the mysterious hacker?
The truth may spell doom for all of Xenon.
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 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.
The search for the truth is getting more and more dangerous. Hackers are causing all sorts of problems. Agents working for the mayor are cracking down on anyone who has anti-Xenon feelings. Worst of all, the Lemon Game seems to be taking on a life of it's own, causing real world damage instead of virtual.
At the center of it all is Mayor Hadim. Like Gendo Ikari in "Evangelion" he rules the city with a gloved hand. He maintains total control with his secret police force and biochips that can track and identify any citizen. The citizens, too spoiled to care, view him as a benevolent leader, and support him as he cracks down on hackers and dissidents.
There is only one thing the Mayor is powerless to control, and that is a person he calls Pluto. We get very little information on him other than he is a brilliant programmer, has placed several computer locks on different operating systems, and has been dead for many years. I think that your arch nemesis being dead would make things a little more difficult.
For Pseudo, he could care less about all this drama. All he wants to do is flout authority, try to hook up with the quiet Cora, and prove that he deserves to play the Lemon Game. Well, if he hadn't refused to join the Spearhead Dream Team in the first place, then he could prove his skills. How he will factor into the whole "Lemon Game" mess is beyond me. I also don't see how anyone is impressed with his skills. In one of his battles, he totally looses, and everyone is still impressed? You suck, but you look good sucking! Like heck!
Why couldn't he be more like Bebefau? This kid has got it together. He's smart, he strong, got some serious skills, and most of all, he's stinkin' rich. He helps others not because he's trying to get some, but because it's right. He also has the eye of the mayor (10 to 1 Hadim is his father), who gets worried each time Bebefau plays the "Lemon Game".
There is a lot more going on, which shows you how complex this series is. There are a lot of unanswered questions that are starting to get annoying. Who exactly is Pluto? What are the locks that Pluto placed on computers? How do they affect Xenon? Why was the Lemon Game shut down 9 years ago? How come Dupe is such a dork? What does the mayor have to do with all this? What is up with the cult and the bloody water? What is BastoF Syndrome? Why is Pseudo such a dipstick?
I honestly believe that BastoF Syndrome is the sequel to some other show we don't know about. If it isn't, then there are a lot of plot holes that need to be filled.
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.
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 are a little too butch for my tastes.
Annoying questions aside, "BastoF Syndrome" is still an interesting first adventure into Korean animation. If they just would tighten up on the writing, then I think more people would get into it. Never the less, I'm going to stick with it and you should too.
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