Sunday, 5 June 2011

Power DoLLS 2

It appears that there was a trend with OVAs; just as they spawned a sequel that seemed as though it was going to carry the story on with another sequel, the title stopped just before it could really take off. This could be for a number of reasons, be it lack of popularity or the possibility that a sequel may have been so bad it killed all chance of further OVAs for that series (I largely think this was the case with the second Riki-Oh OVA). The same could also be theorized for that of the Violence Jack OVAs; in 1986, this title saw its first anime incarnation in the form of an OVA, loosely based on part of the manga's story. It was an irredeemably bad OVA and the series would not return in anime form until three years later with the considerably bigger budget (and better quality) Evil Town and Hell's Wind; chronologically these took place before the events of the first OVA, but the ending of Hell's Wind hints toward a possible reboot of the first OVA, of course it never came to be. The first episode of Power DoLLS was mediocre at best, the second episode however, is damn near excellent with much better production values. So it should as well, coming out two years after the original episode.  

Power DoLLS is about how the colony world Omni has declared war on the oppressive Earth Government for their fascistic regime. The Omni Forces elite squad of mecha pilots were all female, known as the "DoLLS", Detachment of Limited Line Service, who piloted labour machines that had been converted into combat units, called Power Loaders. First taking place in the final months of 2540 A.D., Commander Fei Yao and her squad of DoLLS encounter a formidable new ally Loader piloted by a woman called Kelly, someone who Yao knew in Naval Academy. What Kelly was piloting was a product of Project Alpha, however, shortly after its deployment in that battle, a peace treaty granted Omni its independence and the war on Earth came to a close, thus retiring the DoLLS, and Project Alpha's Loader would never be seen again. Four years later though, a civil war has broken out, led by rebels known as the Jiasu, so the DoLLS have been called back into action. The DoLLS' mission is to destroy a Power Loader research facility that belongs to the Jiasu rebels, however, their informant has reported that the facility's defenses are made up of only one unit, which has seemingly wiped out previous Omni forces sent into the facility. There is a bit of governmental dirt at work here though, as whether the DoLLS fail or succeed, the mission will be covered up.

As the DoLLS infiltrate the facility, they learn the enemy's Power Loader is the same one from Project Alpha that appeared at the end of the war four years ago, except that back then it was on their side. Yao's girls catch up with their severely wounded informant, who is revealed to be Debra Hughes, the head of Project Alpha. She has bad news though; the Alpha Loader that appeared at the end of the war was only its ninth model, it's now up to its eleventh, all because her ambition got the better of her, worse, Kelly is still the pilot, but now without any of her humanity as she controls two additional units neurally. Hughes sees her butchery of a human test pilot as her greatest sin, and wants this information to be made public, so that it never happens again. However, she is quickly butchered by Kelly's Alpha unit, leaving it up to Yao to finish off Kelly's machines. At the end of the battle, Kelly is brought back despite pretty much being in a vegetated state.   

The story might be nothing new at all, but it's something I would like to see expanded upon (probably happened in the games, but as if I'll ever see those) as it's handled very well for something that's only 27 minutes long; it keeps things pretty concise, and while the people upstairs in it have the ignorant white-wash attitude that's quite typical, it's presented fairly well. You can't really feel for the characters at all given how short this is, but even if it was longer by about another 20 minutes, it'd probably deliver just the same.
Unlike the first  episode, which was a decent stab at characterization, this one is action-dedicated while serving up some good dialogue-driven scenes (few as they are in the short entirety of this thing's run), they aren't terrible at all but aren't trailblazers either, though that's to be expected.

Where this OVA excels is in its artwork and animation, both areas have seen a GREAT improvement since the previous episode that I can recommend this episode on animation alone: it's incredibly sleek and smooth, another good reason this is only 27 minutes long. Seeing as how this episode takes place four years after the first, it's good to see the characters look like they have aged a little. Even the music is a lot better this time, with the exception of the opening song, which a little ear-grating, but isn't horrible. Among all the impressive and smoothly-done mech action, there is only one instance of gore that's not in your face, but they do manage to make it seem quite strong by not focusing on it at all. In fact, the only thing that even slightly holds this OVA back is the poor CGI, but sparingly it's not on screen much at all. Like the first one, the dub is much more enjoyable than the Japanese audio track with some decent voice acting.

While the first one was a bit difficult to recommend, this one I can do more easily, it's a genuinely good OVA with some delectable action and should definitely get you interested in the games, too bad they're not very easy to find. Returning to what I said initially though, it's a shame OVA titles seemed to stop just as they got good, it would have been nice to have seen a third Power DoLLS as good as this one. 
  • Animation: 4/5
  • Mechanical designs: 4/5
  • Being a sequel that bests its predecessor in every area: 5/5
-James, 06 February 2010 (original date)
Review source: US DVD
Screenshot source: US DVD

    1 comment:

    1. I picked up a poster of this at a anime con in SC some months back, and i got the ADV dvd that had these two animes on it.

      Its like I wanted to like PD 1, but it just kinda falls flat. At least with this one it made more since regarding a plot and everything.