L/R - Licensed by Royalty Mission File 03: Broken Angel Review
With Noelle safely under guard in the weeks running up to her inauguration Jack and Rowe are able to suspend their concerns over her possible link to the terrorist known only as "Angel" and continue with their work at Cloud 7. For the opening episode the action returns to a standard mission viewpoint that sees the inseparable duo charged with a mission to safely retrieve a valuable jewel belonging to the royal family. Taking place in the midst of the further conspiracies being woven around the DTI conglomerate, their power over the Ishtar state and possible influence over a member of Cloud 7 the mission L/R have been tasked with almost seems like the icing on the cake when in fact it is the main story. Resurrecting some of the subtle comedy seen in the opening volume the initial episode also sees Claire come in to her own as she goes on mission with the boys, putting her assets to fine use for the good of her country.
The last two episodes on this volume deal with the developing story arcs concerning "Angel" and the extent of the DTI conglomerate's influence upon the royal family and its protectors. One of the largest events in Ishtar history is the first baseball game to be played on local soil, where one of their very own citizens is playing. In the midst of the tense rivalry on display in this sporting event Rowe is stranded inside a cable car stuck mid-way several thousand feet up between the sky rise buildings it adjoins. Technical failure is soon ruled out when a present from "Angel" is discovered, while a diabetic inside the cable car sees those trapped inside pull together to ensure he does not succumb to his illness.
Creating a swirling air of tension this episode plays out in an expert fashion adhering to the age-old rules of strangers trapped in a small space, pulling together amidst some personal struggles to ensure they all reach safety. Of course with the L/R team on the case things are a little more exciting than usual while the presence of Noelle on the scene and the emotions she displays begins to convince the audience that our previous concerns over her true character were misguided, though well founded as the true identity of the terrorist is finally revealed in the final episode of this volume.
Despite bringing one plot strand involving the development of Noelle's character to an end the ongoing political tussles between the DTI conglomerate, members of the royal family lacking in backbone, and the royal guard are beginning to rise up through the woodwork. Most interesting is the slow re-mergence over the past two volumes of Ms. Camille and her links to Noelle through her lost brother, and indeed her links to the royal family while the questionable actions of Mister - the head of Cloud 7 - and his connections to DTI offer the viewer much food for thought and never sink in the complexities of the relationships being brought to the fore.
Episode 08: Out Of Phase
While Noelle is settling in to her new abode, Jack and Rowe are finding it hard to follow up leads on "Angel" due to a recent bout of inactivity on the terrorists’ part. Trying to put the obvious connection between Noelle and "Angel" out of their overly suspicious minds the two are sent on a mission to retrieve a royal jewel from a syndicate member who is blackmailing the royal family, and in doing so also plan to flush out the bad eggs working amongst them.
Episode 09: Suspended Game
On his way to one of the biggest events in Ishtar history Rowe finds himself stranded in a cable-car seemingly due to technical malfunction. While he tries to concentrate on the big game via radio coverage Rowe must also control the agitated passengers trapped with him and care for an elderly gent suffering from diabetic shock. Meanwhile at the big game Claire, posing as Noelle who is off with Jack trying to save Rowe, spots Mister with the head of DTI, furthering suspicion over his loyalties.
Episode 10: The Discard
Details concerning Ms. Camille's family history and her connections to the royals come to the fore while Noelle is finding her luxurious trappings to be more restrictive than she had imagined. Elsewhere Jack investigates the connection between his boss, Mister, and the DTI president while Rowe finally uncovers the truth about "Angel".
Volume three of a planned four this effort from Geneon Entertainment once again features some fairly lacklustre cover art but also features another of those beautifully presented inserts that opens up to reveal an A5 poster using far more attractive concept imagery.
Presented in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen L/R is a recent production that scores well in all departments thanks to a pristine source print that allows for maximum detail and solid colour reproduction. As with previous volumes the only negative comes in the form of some compression artefacts, mostly notable is the presence of some mosquito noise in amongst the processed background shots (the series frequently uses grainy filters to give a film like appearance).
Both the original Japanese language track and English dub track are presented here in crisp Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo offerings that do exactly what you expect of them. If you opt for the Japanese track (as I did) then you will find a set of high quality optional English subtitles to accompany the dialogue, while opting for the English dub will give you a decent alternative thanks to solid casting of the main characters, though you will most likely cringe from time to time with some dodgy secondary role choices.
Four Japanese television commercials showcase an obvious talent for putting together a good teaser, while the shows British influences are obvious even here with the use of an English voice over. Other than these all you will find is an 18-minute Geneon previews reel.
Despite not leading where I thought it would L/R continues to entertain, possibly more so than if the revelations hinted at in the previous volume had played out as their dark nature would have gone against the flow of the series. Instead there is a welcome return of a more comedy orientated approach while the continuing conspiracies being developed around the DTI conglomerate and the royal family’s history suggest the show is building to an intense finale.