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BASToF Syndrome, Vol. 5: Past Echoes (2001) – DVD Review


Written by Young-An Choi
Directed by Jong-Sik Nam


  • Clean opening and closing animation

Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:

  • Mecha on mecha violence
  • Yet another V/R game gone wrong
  • Skipping children
  • Imperiled children

Released by: ADV
Region: 1
Rating: 12+
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Get it if you like mystery-adventure.

BASToF Syndrome concerns the world of 2097, where gamers fight each other in giant mecha…but in the vein of all cybernetic games, the game morphs into a mysterious “Lemon Game” and is bleeding over into the real world, where the city is being destroyed. To figure out what’s going on, the game’s creator calls upon the talents of the top three players: Pseudo, Bebefau, and Mint.

In this fifth out of six volumes, we learn a great deal more about the nature of the conspiracy, including some of what happened with the Mayor, Pluto, and PX-1. A number of battles in the various episodes each reveal another piece of the puzzle; between ghost-sightings, mysterious marks, surprising hackers, and biochips, this is one show that keeps viewers guessing and engrossed in the action. The battles are a bit too appended in some places; they seem choreographed and included merely to entice pre-pubescent boys too ADD to appreciate the mystery and the world-building. However, the show has a great deal of promise that is being applied better late than never.

The visuals are quite good, as the show looks great and the artistry is solid. The character designs are a bit different than some anime fans might be used to, due to the Korean origin of the show. There’s nothing wrong with the varied aesthetic, however, and it plays quite nicely with the style of the show and its contents. The Korean language track is of course skillfully done, with no annoying voicing choices. The English track is similarly quality, but for some reason, not all the voices seem quite mature enough. In either track, the sound is crisp, with dialogue balanced well with sound effects and music.

The special features list includes a clean opening and closing and some ADV previews. A text recap would be nice, or perhaps some character profiles. But we’ll go with what we can get.

If you like mysterious conspiracies, then BASToF Syndrome should please you. It will also appeal to fans of giant mecha, all-too-real virtual reality games, and general destruction of cities. It is a very interesting series that draws upon the best of a number of different genre—action, mystery, science-fiction—without ever losing its own identity. Definitely check this one out, but start with the first volume. Ah, if only the entire show had been this engrossing!

Buy it from Amazon.