Powerstone Vol. #1 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2001



What They Say
When young Edward Falcon’s adventurer father entrusts him with a mysterious stone, Falcon would rather pursue his dream of being a world famous fighter than baby-sit a rock. But if it’s just a simple rock, why are thieves, ninjas, and crazy rogues are chasing Falcon to get it?

Soon, Falcon realizes this isn’t an ordinary rock. It’s one of the legendary Powerstones, magical gems that possess awesome powers-even the power to transform a young fighter into a rocket-powered robot warrior!

Join Falcon and his friends as they travel to far off lands on a magical journey to collect all the mysterious Powerstones!

The Review!
Overall Rating: 3.1
(on a scale of 1-5)

-Technical Ratings-
Sound: 5
Picture: 5
Menu: 3
Presentation: 2
Goodies: 1
Overall: 3.2

-Content Ratings-
Animation: 3
Sound: 3
Plot: 3
Acting: 3
Music: 3
Entertainment: 3
Overall: 3


-Intro-

If the phrase, "Based on the Mega-hit Video Game" thrills you check this out. If you (or someone you know) is a huge fan of Pokemon, Digimon, or Monster Rancher, then you might like this. If a dub only release doesn’t bother you, go for it. If you are into anime that pushes forward into new artistic realms with each new scene... stay away from this one.

-Technical Review-

As far as technical stuff goes this disc is pretty good. Nice clean picture and undistorted sound, but we expect that from ADV. The menu is static, without motion or music. It works quickly and accurately, so that good. The keepcase includes region coding, rating length of disc, and number of episodes. It does not have a volume number or number of channels of audio. There are no extras on this disc, just pure show.

I don’t usually have to tackle this, but I did lower the presentation grade for the simple fact that there is no Japanese language track. I’m not sure of the reason behind this, but for most of us, dual languages is a key feature. It will make this disc a tougher purchase for many people because of the lack of the original language.

-Content Review-

All you have to do is take a quick look at the cover and you know who the target audience is. Is that the Pokemon font I see? Couple that with the fact that while watching this you can feel the "Saturday morning" or "After School" qualities seep off the television. Hmmmm. You know what you’re getting right off the bat and it isn’t great art. But for what Powerstone is, it’s not bad. So I’m gonna try to judge it as a video game spin off, it’s not trying to be more than that, and I think it succeeds in that endeavor.

The plot revolves around Edward Falcon, aka Falcon for short, receiving a mysterious stone from his father/archeologist. Now that Falcon has the stone all kinds of crazy freaks come out of the woodwork to take it from him. Will Falcon accept that his father has entrusted this to him, and can he deal with the fact that he turns into a goofy looking robot when the stone’s power shines forth. It’s magical mayhem in the overly goofy Powerstone!

The animation and sound are just what you expect. It’s all pretty clean looking, and gets the job done. Looks like most of the detail from the design came from the game, and while watching it you can just feel the "gameness" of it all. Sometimes that works and sometimes it just makes it feel a bit cheesier. The sound design is of the Saturday morning variety. Nothing too complex, but it works with the visuals.

Don’t come here looking for depth of plot and characters. You can feel the video game essence in the series and I kept checking to see if I needed to save during the course of the game... I mean show. It’s very straight forward, quasi-fantasy fare. You can see how it’s going to play out from episode one (at least I’d be surprised if it took any real twists). Some of the characters or the situations are entertaining and that makes up a bit for the cliche story line. There was also a bit of cheesiness that made the whole thing entertaining in a goofy way.

The English cast does a respectable job. I believe they took a tip from other shows of this feel and genre and played it a bit over the top. It works well with the bright happy animation and general cartoony-ness of it all. Not a bad job in the bunch, but nothing earth shattering either.

O.K. I was laughing my butt off at the opening theme. It was so, so, so cheesy. It’s just so... I don’t know. It was funny. I can see it getting annoying after a couple discs, but I was really enjoying the goofiness of it all. Beyond that, the score itself is what you expect. Nope, no Warsaw Philharmonic for this series, but again it all works together with the rest of the show.

This is not my type of show at all. In fact I think Pokemon pulled me in more than this did. It is very much a cartoon and less an anime (in tone and feeling). The lack of Japanese track just enforces this whole aspect as well. I think this will work for some light children’s entertainment, but most adults will be bored. For something similar, try Nadia. It will appeal to everyone, and is just better all the way around. Powerstone is not a total loser, but there was nothing about it that made me want to see more. But I think there is some audience for this, mostly in the younger anime crowd. For what it is and what it’s trying to be, well it hits it’s marks. But for me there are other, better ways to spend 100 minutes.

Roman J. Martel
Tell me what you think! E-mail me at...
roman@animeondvd.com

Features
English Language

Review Equipment
Phillips Flatscreen (27 Inch), Sony DVP-NS300



Mania Grade: NA
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Powerstone