I just finished watching “Stratos 4” a 13 x 23 minute episode action, comedy, science fiction anime. And also the 2 episode OVA that takes up where the series leaves off. http://www.denbeste.nu/Chizumatic/reviews/Stratos4.shtml
It’s only a 4x3 presentation but it is 5.1. Most of the 5.1 in the series is just music but there is a lot of it going to the surrounds. In the OVA there is actually some LFE even below 40Hz.
Over all the animation is pretty good. And the backgrounds look very much like the real places depicted which are shown in some of the extras on the DVDs.
The story is fairly familiar with the young underdogs saving the day, but because the characters are so likeable the show is just plain fun to watch. One character of note is the cat which has to be the fattest cat real or animated I’ve ever seen. The cat, whose thoughts and communications with other cats get subtitled, plays the straight “man” for some of the best comedy in the show.
There is also a bit of an X-Files type mystery to the show that is slowly exposed. It goes so far as to have it’s own version of “The Lone Gunmen” one of whom can be seen holding a folder marked “X File” on it at one point. Another reoccurring character is patterned after “The Smoking Man.”
Like the review mentions there are also some fun extras worth watching on the series DVS including a filming of the Japanese voice actresses vacationing on Shimojo Island were the story is based. However, the best extra is a short animation of a stand-alone comet intercept where the animators go pull out all the stops and even parody an anime genre. The best part of this clip is the very end where the punch line to a joke running through the whole series is delivered. Well worth watching and good for a laugh. \
Like “Popotan” I watched earlier the science fiction and mystery aspect of this show is more of a vehicle for telling a story and not really the story it self. I’m glad they did it this way rather than try to do to much. It seems from the ending that they may have planed to flesh out the hard core part of the story in a follow up series but never got to it.
As much as I like this show I can only give it a B- or about 3.5/5 because there are a few to many filler scenes.