Plot: What’s it about?
It seems as though Rico and his fellow Roughnecks have battled every kind of bug there is, but as they soon discover, a new kind is about to be born. The squadron is shocked when Lieutenant Zander is infected with a strange bug virus, which doesn’t just sicken him, but instead begins to mutate his cells. The result is a genetic freak, a half human, half bug creature with enhanced senses, including immense strength. Although he once fought beside the Roughnecks, Zander now seeks to demolish them and as such, follows them to Klendathu to do so. Of course, Klendathu is the home world of the bugs and that means impossible odds for the Roughnecks. The landscape is certain to be crawling with insects of all varieties, in addition to being fortified against their invasion, so the odds of success are simply not on their side. This is especially true with Zander on their trail, since they have to battle the bug menace and keep him at bay, but all while keeping him alive, since they don’t want to murder their former leader. This is easily the toughest assignment yet, but can even the Roughnecks overcome these kind of odds?
As each new volume of this series has been released, I’ve been waiting for the next and now, we’ve come close to the end of the series. The Klendathu Campaign is a great arc in all respects, with some nice plot twists, tons of cool visuals, and of course, some of the best battle scenes we’ve seen to this point in the series. The angle with Zander adds even more tension to an already intense series of episodes, since we’re now on the bug world of Klendathu. It is a real shame this series never took off during its original broadcast, as it is one of the best animated television shows I’ve seen, without question. But the reason for the failure falls with how the series was aired and promoted, as it was stuck in early hours of the morning, when hardly anyone was awake to soak it in. I’m pleased to see Columbia take notice of the show’s sizable following however, giving us these terrific discs. I hope that the success of these releases will result in the completion of some unfinished episodes, as the show deserves a proper finish. In the meantime, these discs from Columbia are highly recommended, without hesitation.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame transfers, as intended. This series has looked great on all DVDs to this point and Columbia continues that tradition here, as the episodes come across in clean, impressive form. The animation does lend itself to some jagged edges & shimmering, but aside from that, I found no real flaws in the visuals here. The black levels are quite dark, as dictated by the material, but detail remains as intended, so no worries there. As always, the colors in this series aren’t too bright, but the hues look as they should here, which means they’re a little drab, as per the intended scheme. Although a few minor flaws force me to lower the score, this is another round of terrific looking episodes, good work from Columbia here.
Audio: How does it sound?
I was pleased to see Columbia once again utilize a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, since this series has plenty of audio potential. The mix won’t be your new reference track, but it enhances the battle sequences and adds to the atmosphere, which means more suspense in some scenes, some good use of the surrounds. As I said, not the most powerful 5.1 option on the market, but a good one that ensures the material sounds terrific. I found no errors with the dialogue either, as every word sounds clean and crisp in this presentation. This disc also includes Spanish and French audio options, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A pair of audio commentary tracks serve as the main attraction here and if you’ve previous Roughneck sessions, you’ll know what to expect here. The first track is a filmmaker’s session and features producers, the story editor, and other members of the cast & crew, while the second track is members of the animation team. As in previous sessions, everyone seems to have a lot of information and behind the scenes insight to provide, which means both tracks are well worth a listen. This disc also includes some talent files, as well as promo trailers for other Starship Troopers releases.