"Mezzo" Vol. 1: The DSA is On The Job!
The Danger Service Agency will handle any job for a price. It doesn’t matter if it’s tracking down a missing person (especially if your favorite weather woman is involved) or following a would-be adulterer (do robot duplicates count?), Mikura, her pals, and her orange spandex will get any job done right. But should you engage in the dangerous mission of picking up the first volume of this series?
Episodes included on this disc:
Episode 1: “Shell of Love”
Episode 2: “Shell of Stars”
Episode 3: “Shell of Fear”
Episode 4: “Shell of Lies, Posi”
Episode 5: “Shell of Lies, Nega”
To clarify the facts first off, yes, this is a spin-off of a hentai. Well, a semi-hentai. It was one of those weird ones that had a plot… I believe. Yes, I have never seen the original Mezzo Forte, so all of this is just culled from Googling and flashbacks throughout the show.
The ex-cop with an extraordinary love for ramen, Kurokawa, has assembled a ragtag trio of odd-job “heroes” called the Danger Service Agency. Mikura, the spandexed star of the show, is the most physically apt of the group, while Harada is the punked-out engineer who tends to stumble into the ladies. Set some time after the events of Forte, Mezzo sees the Danger Service Agency still performing their, um, dangerous services. Also involved in their adventures are an informant barber with permanent Jim Breuer eyes, a young girl who wants to train with Mikura, and more.
In each episode, the three receive a new mission. They range from solving ancient grudges between med students to averting the alien conquest of Earth. The first three “shells” are self-contained, but the last two episodes pull a pretty interesting trick. “Shell of Lies, Posi” shows one day from one character’s perspective while “Nega” shows the day from Mikura’s perspective. They both end up accidentally interacting and the results are illuminating. Also, continuing a disturbing streak, the “Shell of Lies” episode features, yes, a freaky zombie porn-bot. Well, not really. But a burned out robot bimbo’s close enough.
The show has some light humor interspersed with the main action, such as when Harada accidentally gropes the same girl multiple times during a chase or when we realize Mikura’s “speedy” way of entering an apartment involves a shotgun and hostility issues. She provides most of the fan service in the series, which is incredibly light, especially considering the show’s origins. For some reason, I kept getting this “As seen on late-night G4TechTV” vibe from the episodes; it seems right up that alley content-wise. I had no problems with the voice acting, but hey, I’m extremely lenient on dubbing. The animation, par for the course for such a recent release, is very bright (outside of the flashbacks).
Also available with a box to hold all three volumes, the first volume is slightly weak in the extras. Clean opening and closing are expected but fun, especially considering how catchy the theme song is. Production sketches run with music in the background, but as always, these sketches would’ve looked better in print. Given that there are five episodes on the disc, the lack of extras is tolerable, but commentaries would always be welcome. The box is rather light, but that’s normal for ADV three-disc releases. The spine features Mikura in a DSA-issued swimsuit, so I’m not complaining about how it looks on my shelf.
So, what’s the judgment on the DSA? Mezzo is mostly just a light series, not essential but still enjoyable. The “Shell of Lies” arc did kick it up a few notches, though, so I’m actually considering picking up the next volume as well. Grab it if you have some cash to blow, but hold off or rent first if light action and fanservice isn’t your thing.