Art of Fighting -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 46
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Art of Fighting

Art of Fighting

By Chris Beveridge     July 06, 2003
Release Date: July 08, 2003

Art of Fighting
© Central Park Media

What They Say
The only witnesses to a mob hit, Ryo and Robert were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since then, they’ve been shot at, run off the road, and nearly blown to pieces-but now it’s getting personal. Based on the Hit Video Game!

The Review!
Resurfacing after several years of being out of print, Art of Fighting has come back to haunt me once again.

Since we wanted to minimize the pain, we stuck to the Japanese language track after remembering what the dub was like for this several years ago. The Japanese track is a pretty basic stereo mix with little in terms of directionality or depth. It is fairly decent though and has no issues with dropouts or distortions.

Originally released to video in 1993, the transfer here looks to be a touch more solid and problem free than the original transfer. The show is generally not all that bright or colorful, lending itself more to the dull colors and flat feeling for backgrounds which come out pretty well here. There’s still a fair bit of aliasing throughout but not much in the way of cross coloration or pixellation.

Using part of the original cover by keeping the two lead characters and doing a lot of blurring behind them, the cover here looks pretty good and is almost eye-catching with all the motion to it. The back cover provides a snippet of action from the show itself and a light summary of the plot. The discs features and basic technical information is all clearly listed as well. The reverse side of the cover provides the original releases full cover artwork in black and white on one side while the other has some sketchwork and lists the shows chapters.

The main menu is a nice little animated piece that has two chains of animation going on in the background, one with a large visual image of character artwork sliding right to left and the other a small chain of group shots going from bottom to top while along the top level you have Robert and Ryo sliding back and forth towards the shows logo all while music plays. Selections are simple and easily accessible with quick load times. The menus avoid one of my problems in that they don’t autostart if not used, but language selection still starts the program.

While the original release had no extras, there’s a couple included here. The first is a brief video gallery of artwork that’s mostly images from the show but also original cover artwork. There’s a small fight montage and then there’s a couple of text screens that talks about the shows video game origins and where it came from.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Since it has been about five years since I last saw this show, I wondered if time would have changed my feelings about it. One look at the cover though, even without the infamous “based on the hit video game” label, and I knew I was in for Yet Another Videogame Anime.

While there is some interesting history to the Art of Fighting series in terms of its videogame history and the things that each of the three releases did, pretty much none of that translates to its anime version. Essentially, the show here with its 48 minute running time could have easily qualified as a bad pilot for a US action/drama in the late 70’s or early 80’s. It plays out much like one.

We’re introduced to Ryo, a hard training martial artist, and Robert, an easy going laid back martial artist. The two are like night and day in some respects, such as Ryo always avoiding shoes since bare feet are part of the journey while Robert avoids having to walk by owning a Ferarri. Robert’s the heir to the Garcia Foundation, so he sort of lives things as he thinks he should while Ryo does his best to get by as minimally as possible.

That’s why he undertakes such simple jobs as retrieving a lost cat, which is how we see him for the first time as he’s crawling along a building ledge after the cat. Eventually, Robert helps him out some and the two chase the cat inside the building into one of the tenants room. While Ryo searches, Robert checks the place out and fixes himself some really expensive Scotch on the rocks. When the tenant actually arrives while being chased by goons, Robert and Ryo find themselves witnesses to a gang hit and subsequently being chased by said goons who now believe that the two martial artists have been involved with a very expensive stolen gem.

Add in Ryo’s sister being kidnapped and a mob boss intent on finding the gem and gaining more control over South Town and you’ve got yourself your basic action OVA. Watching this was much like the first time where I basically sat there wondering why I’m watching it and spending my time with it. I’m pretty sure CPM does this on purpose.

This release is definitely better than the original, especially in that you’ll be able to find this one and at a cheaper price. Add in some better authoring, a good menu and some extras, and the one or two fans of this show out there are likely to be in heaven.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles, Art Gallery,Fight Montage Video,Art of Fighting Trailer

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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