Betterman, Volume 4: Inhuman Nature

Matt Brown (Editor in Chief) — August 21st, 2003
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The brave man of better appears again in another round of action-packed mushroom flinging adventures! Volume four of Betterman is a welcome change, and almost bearable in the story department. It even has a completely likable character! Now before you accuse me of being a big fat liar, I assure you I am not fat.

Volume four would have improved the story greatly, if not for the fact that it gives us a solemn reminder of just how dumb Keita is. The 15th episode is a recap of sorts, courtesy of Miyako. There's also an extremely boring date between Keita and Hinoki going on in the meantime, but let's promptly forget about that. A third Betterman sprouts from the void to give our favorite Betterman (named "Lamia" in his human form) something to fight. Meanwhile, Shou and Kaede have their own difficulties against some robots - which are oddly pilotless.

"Hinoki, your transparent hair is so cool! I want some of that!" Is Miyako plotting something? Or does she just have a thing for women's behinds? Find out next time!

Then the unthinkable happens: the show takes a turn toward being an actual work of entertainment. The enemies are mildly intelligent beings at this point, and an old man shows up to fight evil - claiming to follow the way of the Chakra. The old man completely changes the dynamic of the cast, and actually makes things interesting for a short while. Even with his introduction, however, the story largely remains the same. Each episode finds one or more of the characters either being attacked by primal beings or losing control of themselves thanks to an overabundance of some chemical. Even though the writers obviously put some thought into the various threats the characters face, they still don't add enough to make things all that fun or interesting.

The extras of volume four are similar to the previous volume: a fourth installment of the Mode Warp File containing those ever-useful notes, and some production stills. The cover art is of my favorite character in the show (Kaede), so it gets high marks. (Yes, I am that simple a creature.) The reverse side of the cover is even nicer, which has been the norm. All in all, the presentation is still solid, and gains a couple points for the good cover art.

With the introduction of Old Guy (which I'll call him until the show tells us his name), the pain of watching Betterman has lessened considerably. It also benefited the show to replace the legions of insects and other ridiculous villains with something more mystic and humanoid. Keep in mind that the problems chronicled in my reviews of volume 1 and 2 are still present, but the show has just gained a significant amount of value despite that.

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