Ronin Warriors Vol. #09 (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, December 29, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, December 17, 2002
What They Say
As the Warriors fight in Talpa's realm, Mia and Anubis track down the Jewel of Life, which has the power to destroy Talpa. During a heated battle, they're teleported to the Netherworld in time to join what appears to be the final battle. Kayura challenges Ryo to a fight while he's in the Infernor Armor, and during the fight, her necklace is broken. But what is the significance of this?
The penultimate release to this series, Samurai Troopers/Ronin Warriors closes in the final episodes and the action truly dominates.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Much like the previous volumes, the sound feels a bit low for this mix, but this is something we’ve noted on older shows in the past. There’s little in the way of directionality but everything across the forward soundstage sounds decent if a bit lower than I’d expect. Dialogue is nice and clear and we didn’t notice any distortions.
Things shake out in a similar fashion here as well, with lots of darks and almost soft appearance. There’s some color banding going on, most noticeably in still scenes with flesh tones, but otherwise things are in general decent if murky. With some grain and some cross coloration added in to some oversaturated colors, particularly the red of the Wildfire armor, you've got a show that's showing its age a fair bit here. It's not horrible by any stretch and still looks a lot better than broadcast. The one area that shows how bad the source materials likely were is the new eye-catch, which has a lot of nicks and scratches compared to the actual episode itself.
Providing another reversible cover which gives the buyer the choice between logos, Bandai keeps both sets of fans happy. The only real difference is on the front cover though. The back cover provides a summary of what to expect and some animation shots as well as the episode numbers and titles. The insert provides the same artwork on each side but with their respective logos and the episode titles, since the Ronin Warriors one used different names.
For both sides of the disc, the menus are pretty simple. You get episode selection right from the main page and the only difference with the Japanese side is that it has a selection for subtitles and the credits are several pages longer as they include the credits from the show itself.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With these four episodes, the show moves swiftly towards the concluding battles against Arago and his forces, as well as some good one on one time between Ryo and Karuya.
But with the end coming up and nothing really said as to how the Troopers intend to take down Arago once and for all, it means it’s now time to set up the deus ex machina! We spend some time with Naste and Shiten who track down some legends and old documents that lead them to discover the mysterious item called the Jewel of Life. Once the name is revealed, we learn from both the Netherworld folks as well as Shiten that this is the one powerful item that Arago fears, as it was used ages and ages ago to destroy, well, everything about the Netherworld.
So Naste, Jun and Shiten go off to find the Jewel while forces are marshaled on the Netherworld to do the same. The race to find the Jewel progresses from here while we continue to get the battle between the various Troopers, who are now a bit more scattered again, and Kayura and the other forces of Arago. There’s some rather good battles going on throughout, especially when we get to see more and more of the Netherworld layout, but the focus continues to be the straight battles. These get even more dangerous when Jun and Naste end up arriving in the Netherworld as well.
There’s lots of little things going on throughout these episodes, but the main focus as we go towards the end is the fighting, so there’s just a bit less to talk about than most other traditional shows. Things here are still playing out well, but I do wish the fight sequences had been tightened up a lot more.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: C
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 100/100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ronin Warriors