Betterman, Volume 3: Seeds of Death

Matt Brown (Editor in Chief) — August 21st, 2003
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In order to avoid sounding like a broken record, I'll just say that the third Betterman volume suffers from the same general inadequacies of the first and second, but to a lesser degree. While watching this volume, I found myself somewhat liking a few of the characters - almost out of spite. Also, some elements of the plot are explained a little, and a more standard anime villain gets introduced. I dare say that the third volume improves over the second, albeit not significantly.

The third volume of Betterman begins where the second left of, which earns a bonus for continuity. The pink worm escapade of the previous episode is being investigated, and The Big Robot Club members are scared out of their wits. While the Akamatsu team takes a break (and contemplates quitting the Big Robot business), Miyako takes a trip to a lab called BPL to research a flower called animus (which grows the seeds that Betterman eats to transform). Naturally, she gets in trouble! The rest of the gang back home spends time contemplating the mysteries of the mysterious mystery fog that descended upon the land and yet lingers. The brave Betterwarriors (TM) then have their fill of swashbuckling (I wish) action against the evil mastermind of BPL to save Miyako from the clutches of slightly oversized white grubs. (Yes, I know it A: doesn't make any sense, and B: sounds stupid, but work with me here.)

Shou realizes the trouble he's in. "I have to get out of this show," he says. Even when Kaede's serious, her voice is relaxed.

The Big Robot Club members get their fill of the mastermind's army of henchbugs, and go inside to face the boss man himself. It is here that Betterman meets his match: mushrooms (I am not making this up). A second Betterman who looks like a normal woman, except plugged into a light socket (I know, "Huh?") shows up to beat the bad guy! And they all live happily ever after - until the next episode. At this point, it's hard not to get a weird sense of amusement out of the show, if only to retain some semblance of sanity. For what it's worth, I am beginning to enjoy two of the characters: Kaede and Shou (the pilots of the second robot). The show might even have been a bit more bearable with those two as the main characters.

The disc extras for volume 3 are similar to the previous volumes. Part 3 of the Mode Warp File (supplemental notes to the plot) is present, as well as some more production artwork. The cover art shows a new form of Betterman in the background, and Sakura in the foreground. It's not one of the more charming pictures of Sakura, even though the dress she's wearing looks nice. The reverse side of the cover sports the same pose, but the pink and red background show off the details of the dress (which makes the overall picture look nicer).

I have decided that it's possible to enjoy this show if one can completely avoid taking it seriously. I have not been able to do that, thus far, but admit to the possibility. Be sure to stay tuned for the next round of mushroom-chucking action. Just don't rub the shiny girl the wrong way, lest ye be shocked.

Video Quality: A
Audio Quality: A
Presentation: B
Content: C-
Overall: C