Ikki Tousen Dragon Destiny Vol. #2 (of 3) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2010

If ever there was a show that went and forcefully shut my brain down, this may be the one.

What They Say

Ryomou's visit to the cemetery turns into an inevitable fight, and a new face from Seito arrives at a critical point to change the stakes and derail Ryomou's hidden agenda. Meanwhile, Kan'u searches for the Crouching Dragon, with Ryuubi and Chouhi concerned and close behind her.

Their concern is justified, as Kan'u is forced to surrender to Kyoshou soon afterwards. This brings an unexpected rematch with Sonsaku, who shows up seeking justice from Sousou for Kakouen's Nanyou rampage. Their two dragons collide, and only one is left standing.

Contains episodes 5-8.

The Review!

Audio:
Media Blasters has created a decent bilingual mix for this series that utilizes a stereo mix for both language tracks encoded at 192kbps. Ikki Tousen isn’t all that much of a surprise with what it does with its audio since it is a fairly straightforward action show which utilizes that soundstage well and effectively. There’s a bit of directionality across the stereo channels throughout the action sequences and occasionally with some of the characters dialogue when there are multiple people moving about the screen. We skimmed the English language track and found it to be essentially the same in presentation and both tracks are clean and clear of any noticeable problems such as dropouts or distortions.
 
Video:
Originally airing in 2007, the transfer for this twelve episode series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. With only four episodes to a disc, there’s plenty of room here to breathe and the transfer looks good overall, though one or two of the night scenes show a bit more noise shifting around in the background than I would have cared for. It’s a generally vibrant show with lots of colors that stand out and they look very good here with minimal issues all around. Line noise is non-existent as it cross coloration, leaving a very pleasing looking presentation overall, especially when it gets to the busy action sequences.
 
Packaging
Ikki Tousen lets it all hang out with its front cover as it features Kan’u, twisting around, so that we can see the underside of her shit as well as a bit of her posterior as her skirt whips around her. She’s always worn a flimsy little outfit so there’s no surprise here at all. The framing of the cover is really appealing, as the graphics designers at Media Blasters often do very well at this, and the blue shadings in the background allows the character artwork to stand out really well. The only dislike is the logo which makes an already difficult title even more difficult. The back cover plays it a little subtle in a way as it has a large circle in which there’s the basic summary of the show and a listing of the special features. In the middle we get a strip of shots from the show which are almost all fanservice oriented, something you may not notice at first. The bottom of the cover makes a brief nod towards the episode count and lists the production credits as well as the technical grid which is accurate and complete. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
 
Menu:
The menu design for Ikki Tousen uses the background layout design from the front cover to good effect here as it spreads it out a bit and gives it room to breathe. Inside it we get a different piece of character artwork of Ryomou in her maid outfit as she turns to face the viewer which means we get some nice side shot material and plenty of leg. The colors are very appealing as is the overall framework added to it. The navigation strip is along the bottom with everything nicely laid out and quick to access. Submenus load quickly but the disc doesn’t read our players’ language presets and defaults to English with sign/song subtitles.
 
Extras
The extras here are amusing, though we do start off with the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences. The fun comes in the second two of six OVAs (Which some places seemingly list as full episodes, even though they’re four minutes – with separate English credits). These are fun, silly fanservice pieces with no redeeming value beyond seeing boobies once again as we get more hot spring material for example. In addition to these two pieces, we also get a series of TV spots that runs just under two minutes.
 
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Similar to watching the first volume of this series, I’m really at a loss with Ikki Tosen: Dragon Destiny. The second season of the series didn’t do itself any favors when it kicked off as it avoided doing anything significant in bringing the viewer up to speed on what the franchise is in general before it jumped into introducing new characters and getting the story going. With the amount of time between seasons, which is even worse for US viewers, hardly anything from the original series was memorable beyond some really fun fights and a whole lot of fanservice. The second disc doesn’t do much in the way of serious plot or story either because it has such a sizeable cast at this point that’s running around, a cast who all have past lives no less, that it’s almost impossible to keep track of who is who and which school they belong to as well as what past rivalries may be playing into the present storyline.
 
With all the shows I’ve watched since getting into anime in the mid 1980’s, this is one of the few that really had me essentially giving up on it. With the various schools and all the characters that are in it now, Ikki Tosen: Dragon Destiny feels like a very fanservice heavy combination of Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon. The whole plot concept that I can get from this is that select people are looking for the Dragon Bal.. er, Gems as they’re the items that will lead them to power. Moutoku is using his people as he sees fit which is par for the course for the series villain of this franchise and he’s employing whoever he needs to in order to do it. We see this from the start when Ryomou, who is close to acquiring one of the gems, has to deal with an arrow flinging junior high school girl that’s intent on brutally killing her for it.
 
Ryomou does manage to survive through the help of a mysterious benefactor who gets her out of the pinch and places her at Koukin and Hakufu’s place. Putting her there brings to light where she’s been for the last month and has Hakufu ready to get involved and kick ass wherever she needs to since she doesn’t want to see her friends her. At the same time, Kan’u decides she needs to head off to see someone called Crouching Tiger so she can determine what he true path is and that leads to a lot of action and uncertainty. Add in Ryuubi and those around her who are trying to get her to become the next big thing, even though she’s pretty mellow and laid back, and there’s a lot going on here. It just doesn’t make a lick of sense even after watching it twice. 
 
Ikki Tosen: Dragon Destiny became a show that was all about watching the attractive characters pummel each other as their clothes got shredded. It does this extremely well as there’s plenty of nudity and a lot of suggestive material as tops get shredded in just the right way and skirts fly up all over the place during the action itself. There’s a lot to like about the show from this perspective and it sells it well there. There’s a bit of a loss to it though since there isn’t any strong connection with the characters, and there really doesn’t feel like there’s a stand out character either that’s really leading the series, so you don’t identify with someone as the one you want to see follow things through. There’s so much that feels chaotic and out of place, where you wonder why they’re doing that or what their past relationship is, that it all turns to mush as it progresses. Building on the previous four episodes made that a foundation of jello and this just collapses on top of it.
 
In Summary:
I don’t know what to make of Ikki-Tosen: Dragon Destiny. I really liked the original series as it worked through the explanations of who was who and worked with a more coherent story. Here, even with the break between seasons, it throws you into the middle of it and doesn’t bring out the exposition well enough to ensure you know what’s going on and what the point of it all is. The show has so lost me in terms of an actual plot or point that it’s now just about the pretty pictures moving around. Which is sad because I really enjoyed the first series for what it did. I had hoped that the second volume of this season would tighten things up but instead it felt like it expanded it by being even more nonsensical. Dragon Gems, gotta catch ‘em all.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Textless Opening & Closing, TV Spots, OVA Episodes 3-4

Review Equipment

Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer



Mania Grade: C-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ikki-Tosen