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Back to the Future, Divergence Eve Style: Misaki Chronicles Vol. 2

Divergence Eve is one of those series that I always feel gets a bum wrap. Part of it is its own fault; the cover art and promotional materials for the show make it out to be this air-headed, boob-filled fanservice fest, when in reality it’s a very serious story with very few dedicated “moments” in those departments. Is it perfect? No, but I found myself overlooking many of its flaws and getting engaged in the unraveling plot.

ImageWhen we last left the story, Commander Lyar Von Ertiana was traveling through time to stop the mechanized Ghouls, who had been passing from their dimension to ours and staging a takeover. Whereas the first volume was heavy on Ertiana’s exploits, this second volume brings the focus back to Misaki, as we witness her desperate attempts to alter the course of history just to see her family and friends once more.

In episode six, we get a glimpse into her father’s military life on a naval ship. Even though he was supposed to be killed, a disruption in the time barrier causes him to live, causing two completely different dimensions to mix with each other. This spells trouble for everyone on Watcher’s Nest, and with rescued Misaki a part of the crew again, there’s the tension that the Ghoul which threatens to engulf her soul could be unleashed yet again.

ImageIf all of this sounds confusing, it is. Divergence Eve isn’t the kind of show that is easily explained in written form, due to its hard sci-fi material, complex plot twists, and existential concepts like the multiple incarnations of Misaki’s spirit. Nevertheless, the story remains compelling in this volume, perhaps even more so, since these two universes are colliding in a dangerous way and the villain from the previous series, Jean-Luc Blanc, is back to reveal even more backstage secrets.

As I said before, the show isn’t perfect. Animation, while mostly fine, occasionally ventures into subpar territory, as if half the crew took the day off or something. Just watch a background crane in episode six to see what I mean. It may not be significant movement, but boy if it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. It’s like there’s five frames total and they stretched it out over five seconds.

ImageAlso, despite the series building towards its climax, Misaki Chronicles is relatively low on action, which is a slight disappointment. Now the previous series was never about hi-octane action either; it more emphasized the mystery aspect of the freaky incidents that happened. But even so, the Ghoul battles are few and far between and oddly short-lived. So far we haven’t had something as tension-filled as Luxandra’s death scene from the original series. It’d be nice if the final volume presents more of that off-screen gruesomeness, which was arguably the former’s high point.

Despite these flaws, and of course the continually perplexing story, Misaki Chronicles continues to be a series I look forward to with each volume. With the crew back together (well… except for Luxandra, who’s dead), we even get a few fun recalls to the previous series, such as Misaki’s constant saluting with the wrong hand and her love of a certain noodle dish. Here’s hoping that the show wraps up the disastrous problem of the two realities and the invading Ghouls in the final volume.

Dub fans will be happy to know that the superior work in this sequel continues with this volume. If you recall, the original show suffered from a subpar dub. Part of it wasn’t the VAs fault; the mouth movements often chopped up sentences into stilted speech in English. Thankfully that’s far reduced in Misaki Chronicles, and some of the acting is quite good, especially when the cast has to emote and scream.

ImageVery few special features are present, which seems to be the norm for the series. All we get is an on-screen mini-manga (which is more humorous and full of funnier drawings than the actual series) and the usual trailers. Well… yes, there is an additional “special feature” listed on the back of the box, but it’s not on the DVD itself: It’s quite the revealing picture of the Divegence Eve gals in veeeeeeeery skimpy swimsuits, on the reversable DVD cover. Technically that shouldn’t count, since it’s not on the DVD, but… erm, it is special nonetheless.

Logic says I shouldn’t like Misaki Chronicles. After all, I don’t usually like slow-paced shows with rocket scientist dialog and little comic relief. But the show pulled me in with the plot, characters, and time paradoxes. It hasn’t let me down so far. So even if this kind of show isn’t usually your thing, give Misaki Chronicles a try. And hey, it’s only 13 episodes and three volumes, it’s not a huge commitment.

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