Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.
Stratos4 Vol. 3
Distributor Beez Entertainment
Date 28 Aug 2005
The final volume of Stratos4 is a total change of pace from previous outings. Many of the minor visual references in volume 2 come to have a major influence on this volume as the series goes into full on alien invasion mode, complete with conspiracy theorists, a space station under siege and... a trip to the hot springs.
The final volume pulls out all the stops to impress - 5 episodes, an interview with the Director & voice cast and a free pull out booklet detailing the planes of the series, which is a welcome bonus.
We have one episode to give us some respite, with a trip to the hot springs providing a smattering of romantic interest and some comedic moments, as well as some interesting behaviour from Karin, the most reserved member of the group.
The rest of the episodes form an arc, with the orbital Comet Blaster base losing contact with Earth, a giant meteor on the way and a race to save Karin from military thugs, there's certainly plenty going on.
Despite notching up the action, the series is still distinctly average. Due to the sugary nature of the series it’s hard to gain a sense of urgency, and even the sinister officials lack any real menace. The alien invaders lack any clear purpose, but those under alien influence display eccentric behaviour, such as excessive eating and sinister glances...
Overall there’s nothing to dislike about Stratos4. The characters are all likeable enough, the production values are very good and the story is passable, but as mentioned in our review of volume 2, it suffers from superior competition. There’s certainly nothing to recommend it above truly outstanding titles like Gundam Seed or Paranoia Agent, but if you like fluffy and undemanding anime, Stratos4 will certainly serve you well.