The ladies (Feb, April, Jun, Jani, and Mayo) are back after a long hiatus. If you're a fan of the original Sol Bianca series, you will recognize the crew and ship. Unfortunately, Pioneer decided not to continue the story line in the original 1990 OAV series released by ADV Films. For an old fan like myself, this was a disappointment. Sol Bianca 2 left many unanswered questions. As there is no reference to the original series, the episode can be watched without previous knowledge of the original OAVs.
In the opening scene of Episode 1 "El Emblema", April takes possession of the abandoned Sol Bianca and becomes the ship captain after discovering it drifting in space. (In the original Sol Bianca series, Feb, rather than April, was the ship captain.) No details are given on how or why the other crewmembers (Feb, Jun, and Jani) joined April. However, the series does provide a description of events that led to the crew's acquisition of Mayo, the newest crewmember.
Fortunately, the personalities of most of the crewmembers have not changed much from the original OAV series, each crewmember has a unique personality that compliments the personalities of the other characters. April is dependable and level-headed, Feb is laid-back and easy going, Jun is confident with an air of superiority, and Jani is the hyper-Rambo type. However, Mayo has changed from the bubbly, talkative little girl in the original series, to being quiet and withdrawn in this episode. This episode puts more focus on the personalities of April and Mayo than it does on any of the other crewmembers. The voice actors do a good job in portraying the personality of each crewmember, much better than in the original OAVs where I found the squeaky voice of Mayo and the super harsh voice of Jani as two of the major flaws in the series.
The animation in this series is stunning. The new OAVs contain the best combination of 3D computer-generated images and traditional animation that I have seen in an anime. In most animations and Hollywood movies, the 3D generated images seem to stand out like a sore thumb. In this series, however, there is a blending between the two techniques that is stunning and unmatched by any anime I have seen. The high quality animation is best demonstrated in the fight scene between the Terra Force and the Sol Bianca. The music is also exceptional with a combination of pop-music and synthesised tracks. The theme song "To be Free" is a catchy tune that gets better after each listening. I enjoyed the music so much I bought the soundtrack. An added feature on the North American DVD release is an Animetronic music clip that I found quite entertaining.
Being a big fan of the original series, and likely to be biased, I loved this movie. What I enjoy most about the old and the new Legacy series is the ladies (excluding Mayo). They are not the typical over-sexed women with grinding, high pitch voices found in numerous animes. The personalities are believable and they have this cocky self-assured attitude that comes out best when they start kicking butt.
- KM, 2001.03.29