Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B-
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 24.98
- Running time: 50
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Black Lion: Fear the Black
Black Lion: Fear the Black Lion
By Mark McPherson
September 14, 2003
Release Date: March 04, 2003
Black Lion. Yet another Go Nagai classic.
Audio: Pretty standard. It's not 5.1 like ADV's recent titles, but both tracks sound good. I'm not complaining.
Video: Given the age and budget of the anime, Black Lion looks pretty good. It didn't quite suffer all the slings and arrows that most old titles face when going to DVD. Video transfer is great.
Menu: Standard freeze-frame menus with the same audio track pulled over and over. Much like most of ADV's old titles gone to DVD.
Extras: Next to nothing. Just two ADV trailers for Black Lion.
Content: Go Nagai's work is always excentric. You never quite know where his story is going to go next. One thing is for sure. Go Nagai's ability to direct and write Japanese animation is not ordinary.
Black Lion is no exception. At first, BL looks like your tradtional samurai anime. A group of samurai stage an attack on a shrine, but then, out of nowhere, come metal samurais marching forward with machine guns, shooting at anything in their path while a mechanical drone cleans up the mess. So are we in ancient Japan or a futuristic sci-fi world? A little of both actually.
The leader of the advanced army goes by the name Ginnai, the so-called immortal man. Ginnai suffered massive injuries when ninjas broke into his home and killed his sister. Soon after, Ginnai is abducted into a spaceship and given a mechanical body. Now, Ginnai, with a thirst for ninja blood, targets the Koga ninjas. A man who suffered a similar fate as Ginnai by the name of Oda, wants revenge on Ginnai for killing his sister.
So we got two blood-thirsty warriors hungry for revenge. After that is all setup, the show pretty much turns into a Japanese version of The Terminator. No matter how hard the Koga ninjas try to kill Ginnai, he pops right back up and starts killing again. Stab him, slice him, blow him up and he'll still come back for more. The story ends with a quick slapped together ending involving the spirits of the dead helping Oda out.
While the ending seemed a little tacked on, on the whole, Black Lion was a quick and fun ride through the twisted storytelling and artistry of Go Nagai. There's enough action, blood and gore here to satisfy any Nagai fan or fan of action films. Of course, you can expect this from any classic tale of ancient Japan, but Nagai really puts a new spin on the whole plot.
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