DVD Review: Mardock Scramble – The Second Combustion

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The second instalment of Susumu Kudo’s cyber-punk sci-fi thriller, Mardock Scramble, is finally here, but what does it offer compared to the first film? Find out in our DVD review of Mardock Scramble: The Second Combustion.

Synopsis:

Balot and a severely injured Oeufcoque seem to be at the mercy of an obsessed Boiled. Dr. Easter comes to the rescue and the group escapes to Paradise where many secrets of Mardock lie and where Balot will need to come to a decision herself about what she will and can do. (via Fetch Publicity)

Our view:

Continuing on from where the first film left off, the second combustion begins with an intense pistol stand-off between an injured Rune Balot and a half-dead Oeufcoque against a seemingly unstoppable Boiled, however despite this seemingly unwinnable situation help arrives in the form of Doctor Easter in the egg-shaped flying militarized vehicle, Humpty Dumpty, whereby the team manages to escape to their next destination, Paradise.

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It’s an eventful, action-packed, start to a movie, however it’s at this point where the second film starts to differ from its predecessor and slows down to an informative pace. That being said the information is needed, not just for the viewer to understand what has happened so far, but so that the main heroine of the film can decide for herself what needs to be done next.

The whole process of ‘discovering what needs to be done’ takes place throughout the, uniquely coloured, and appropriately named, Paradise, a facility created as a safe haven for people in similar circumstances to Balot. It’s here that Balot is introduced to a variety of interesting new characters as well as learns the secrets surrounding Oeufcoque and Boiled’s abusive past.

Moving on from Paradise, the film takes us to the Casino owned by Shell, It’s here that Balot, Easter and Oeufcoque must earn enough gambling chips to gain access to restricted areas, however it’s also the location for intense stand-off’s between con-artists and legendary roulette host, Bell Wing. To some this part of the film will feel slow and unbearable, however to others it provides an intense cinematic gambling sensation that can usually only be seen under stressful circumstances.

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Just like the first film Second Combustion is over sixty minutes long – with several minutes added to the length in the director’s cut edition, however unlike the first film, which featured gritty flashbacks, behind-the-scenes shenanigans and twisted characters beaten to a bloody-pulp, the second film features more vivid, brightly coloured environments, intense gambling situations that could rival any Las Vegas Casino and the odd lunatic with a knife.

Despite the Second Combustion being lighter on violence and disturbing sexual topics, this anime is still aimed for the mature audience as not only does Balot appear naked throughout most of the film, but Boiled’s lunatic of a side-kick commits several brutal acts within Paradise, that being said there is more on offer here than just naked fan-service and brutal killings as the most intriguing part of the film takes place within the walls of the Casino, whereby Rune Balot and Bell Wing have an intense showdown on the Roulette table.

Extras:

Unlike most Manga UK releases, Mardock Scramble – The Second Combustion includes a variety of extra features that should please most anime fans. Included extras on the disc are the original theatrical version of the film, a japanese (english subtitled) documentary that follows the writers and cast of the film at different Japanese press events, a promo video for the second film and a promo video for the third film.

mardock_scramble_movie_2_extras

In addition to the extra features shown above the disc also features two trailers for other Manga UK (Kaze UK) releases, these include a trailer for Beserk Movie 1: Egg of the King and Persona 4: Part 1. Both trailers appear before the main menu and can be skipped, if needed to, but its nice to see other anime titles being promoted, even if they were released last year.

Overall:

Mardock Scramble – The Second Combustion picks up exactly where the first film left off and continues the ever intriguing story of Rune Balot, however while the first film succeeded in being an intensive action-packed cyberpunk thriller, this film slows down to share the full story of its supporting characters Doctor Easter, Oeufcoque, Boiled and Shell. This isn’t entirely a bad thing, it just makes the film feel rather long-winded at times.

Despite this slow-paced approach, the film features a variety of intensive moments, such as the Casino showdown between Rune Balot and Bell Wing as well as the invasion of Paradise, however its the artsyle and music that makes the film really shine, as beautiful surroundings and classical piano based music creates the perfect backdrop to any moment in the film.

In terms of this UK release, Manga UK & Kaze UK have done a splendid job, as not only does the disc feature both the original cinematic and directors cut editions of the film, both of which are available in 5.1 Surround Sound English or Japanese, but it also features a short behind the scenes styled look at the film. Futhermore the film looks visually stunning on standard definition DVD, so i can only imagine how good the High definition version will look.

Score: review-stars-4

Mardock Scramble – The Second Combustion will be available on DVD & Blu-ray from the 25th March 2013 within the UK.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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