Otaku Corner #11: Mezzo Vol. 1

Mezzo com­bines gun­play, team­work in mystery-drama

Bran­don Beatty, editor-at-large

Hello, my fel­low otaku, wel­come back to Otaku Cin­ema. This is the sec­tion of Otaku Cor­ner where GI brings you the best anime this side of the ris­ing sun. In a pre­vi­ous issue, I pre­sented the clas­sic anime series Robot­ech. Don’t worry, good otaku, I will do another review of this mas­ter­piece in a future issue. Right now, I’m review­ing a “new clas­sic” series where you can get “Kill Bill” plus your favorite PI TV all rolled into good anime. The result of this con­coc­tion: Mezzo: Dan­ger Ser­vice Agency from the good folks at ADV films.

In this mystery/adventure series, Mikura Suzuki, Kenichi Kurokawa and Tomo­hisa Harada are a team known as the Dan­ger Ser­vice Agency, an inves­tiga­tive agency known to take up any job, no mat­ter how dan­ger­ous. And, in the first vol­ume of Mezzo, the DSA deliv­ered no-holds barred action in the first five episodes rang­ing from stop­ping a venge­ful lover to uncov­er­ing Mikura’s past life. The DSA gets though unscathed all the while bust­ing a few heads and get­ting paid in the process.

As far as action goes, I’m impressed by the

Photo cour­tesy of Amazon.com

per­fect mix of mar­tial arts, arse­nal of guns and bul­lets and the ref­er­ences to clas­sic mob movies pro­vided by the Mezzo project team under the direc­tion of Yasuomi Umetsu. I also liked that in each Mezzo episode, you can get to know more about the team. Mikura is the combat/expert marks woman of the team who is VERY trig­ger happy and will deal a healthy amount of fear into those who cross her. She also has a unique abil­ity to see into the future in brief glimpses. Kurokawa is an ex-police detec­tive who is a pasta fanatic with con­tacts in set­ting up the team’s assign­ments, inside knowl­edge of the crim­i­nal under­ground and get­ting much-needed ammo, mak­ing him top banana.

Finally, Harada is the team IT guy/inventor who’s a genius in robotic tech and whose love for use­ful gad­gets has pulled DSA out of many a scrap. ADV has added good stuff to the first vol­ume of Mezzo such as clean opening/closing ani­ma­tion scenes, pre­views of future ADV releases and sketches of each episode from per­son to object. Also, what I really like about this DVD is that the Eng­lish and Japan­ese record­ings were processed in Dolby Dig­i­tal Sound. Finally, the ADV cast of voice pro­fes­sion­als really sealed the deal for me. Luci Chris­t­ian, Andy McAvin and Jason Dou­glas per­formed the Eng­lish dub per­fectly. I would really be a com­plete idiot if I did not include Vic Mignogna, whose per­for­mance of the vil­lain­ous bar­ber Mugiyama was enough to make me want to back­ground check my own barber.

Fel­low otaku, Mezzo is a series that is ESSENTIAL to your col­lec­tion. Unfor­tu­nately, at press time, ADV is not in busi­ness, and Mezzo’s own­ers has not autho­rized a reis­sue of the series state­side. But, if you do see a copy, pick it up, get com­fort­able and enjoy it. Or, Mikura and com­pany will employ ways to ensure that you don’t live long enough to eat dinner.

Bran­don Beatty is editor-at-large of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. Con­tact him by email at brandonb@gaminginsurrection.com

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