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