DVD Review: Chrome Shelled Regios – Part 1

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It may have been released in America several years ago but it’s now our chance to experience the sci-fi styled anime series Chrome Shelled Regios, but what exactly did we think of the episodes contained within this first instalment and this DVD release by MVM Entertainment? Find out in our DVD Review of Chrome Shelled Regios – Part 1.

Synopsis:

The world of tomorrow is an arid wasteland; a forsaken place where nomadic communities take shelter within mobile, domed cities. Massive, mutant Contaminoid monsters swarm the planet’s desolate surface, and the lack of resources fuels constant conflict between cities.

In this bleak future, mysterious young Layfon struggles to escape his violent past. Unfortunately, his former life might be impossible to hide after he’s forced to enroll at the military academy – his special powers are clearly stronger than those of his comrades. As he joins his fellow student soldiers in the desperate battle against the Contaminoid scourge, Layfon must fight to keep the origins of his enhanced abilities a secret, because the truth could tear his team apart.

Our View:

Chrome Shelled Regiosis is an anime series that follows Layfon Wolfstein Alseif (or Layfon for short) and his escapades within the 17th Platoon, however despite his activities within the 17th Platoon taking up most of the screen it’s actually his past activities that are the hot topic of the series. You see Layfon was initially a powerful Kei user and was once a member of the infamous Heaven’s Blade organisation, a group which defends the metallic mobile cities from the onslaught of Contaminoid attacks. Fast forward several years (and into the present timeline) and we see Layfon in pursuit of a more traditional life-style by taking regular classes at the Academy City of Zuellni, however despite wanting to lead a normal life Layfon is soon tricked into joining a military arts class by the president of Zuellni, and as such Layfon’s joins the 17th Platoon.

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That’s kind of your brief overview of what happens within the first few episodes, with the remaining episodes showing the daily antics of Layfon and the 17th Platoon, all the while introducing the main cast of characters and laying down the foundations of the upcoming storyline. The episodic content within the series is mostly filled with Layfon taking part in training exercises and engaging with Contaminoids that are attacking the city, however every so often a person from Layfon’s past will appear and challenge him to a fight. You could say that Layfon’s indiscretions from the past are ‘drip-fed’ to the viewer, as they are never really fully explored until the later stages of this release. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it keeps you coming back for more, but with the series being all over the place it’s kind of hard to keep track.

For instance the series starts off with intense action and a bloody battle with Contaminoids, but by the second episode this pace has slowed down to a “casual-high-school” anime series whereby everyone wants to interact with the new kid. Fast-forward through to the mid-way section of the series and you’ll find yourself to be watching what feels like a harem series, whereby three girls are all wanting (but won’t admit to it) Layfon’s affection. Finally there is the inclusion of the “beach” episode, an episode which barely brings any fan-service and adds very little to the overall story making it feel more like a filler episode and a complete waste of time.

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These aren’t the only bits of randomness either as at random intervals in each episode you’ll be taken to an alternate location with a new set of characters, sometimes these characters are from Layfon’s past and you get to see their side of the story, but on the other hand there are segments which only last a minute per episode with very little in the way of explanation. These scenes usually follow on from each other with every passing episode but its unclear what exactly they mean, so I can only assume that ‘their’ tale will be told in full in the next instalment.

Like I said Chrome Shelled Regios is a mixed bag of content, at one point it can be a serious series with a story to tell, but on the other side it attempts to be funny and provides a few laughs. Even the storyline offers a bit of variety, with each episode offering a different topic of discussion – whether it be the alien attacks, training at the school or layfon’s past there is always something on offer and it can be quite hard to keep track of what’s transpiring.

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This ‘mixture’ is Chrome Shelled Regios biggest weakness, but if you can look past it (as well as the insane amount of filler styled content) then you’ll find yourself exploring a rather deep series that only gets better when you’ve re-watched it.

Extras:

The only extra content included with this release of Chrome Shelled Regios is several textless songs and three trailers for other MVM releases, all of which are currently available in the UK. As you’d expect all of the content is included on the second DVD disc.

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What’s interesting about this list of extra content is the fact that the textless ending has four different versions, three of which have been sung by the Japanese voice actors of key characters within the series. It’s nothing overly impressive but it is something different to the traditional ‘single’ textless ending son.

The trailers on the other hand are for Patlabor, Is This a Zombie? Of The Dead and Infinite Stratos, with Patlabor and Infinite Stratos just being the opening sequence in textless form. As you can see there isn’t anything ‘extra special’ included in the extras but at least we get something to watch after the episodes have ended.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time: 2:19:03 (Disc 1), 2:16:12 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448kbps (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Initial impressions of Chrome Shelled Regios suggest that it’s a series which tries to cram as much content into it as possible, but never fully succeeding, however give it another chance (and possibly even another watch) and you’ll soon find a series that has deep roots shrouded in mystery with more to be explored in the next instalment. Basically it’s a series that seems confusing the first time you watch it, but after re-watching it you’ll find yourself understanding whats taking place. I’m not necessarily saying the series is great, but it has some entertaining values to be found if you are willing to push on.

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In terms of this DVD release by MVM Entertainment, which is using discs authored by Madman Entertainment, it’s everything you’d expect it to be with a consistent picture and audio quality throughout the entire release. It’s not just the visuals & audio which remain consistent as the DVD Menu design is easy to navigate with options being clearly presented, further if you wish to change audio/subtitle options then you can do so as there is no restriction on them.

Speaking of audio options the English Dub has been produced by FUNimation, and as such you can expect 5.1 Surround Sound and a variety of voice actors. Whichever Audio option you choose both will offer a unique experience, although if you own a 5.1 Kit then you’ll get the better audio experience from the English Dub due to the surround sound effects and explosions.

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Overall Chrome Shelled Regios – Part 1 offers a mixed bag of anime entertainment, on one hand we have 12 episodes all presented clearly across two DVD Discs with minimal extras but on the other hand we have a series that offers a complex variety in it’s storyline with a cliché list of characters. If you are looking for something that offers action, comedy and a bit of fan-service with large aliens then Chrome Shelled Regios might just be what you are looking for, however if you are looking for a certain genre then sadly you may want to look elsewhere.

Score: review-stars-3

Chrome Shelled Regios – Part 1 will be available on DVD from the 21st April 2014.

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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