Legend of the Dragon Kings Vol. #5 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Sunday, February 08, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2004

What They Say
The dragon-boy Owaru is kidnapped by the mysterious Lady L! A double agent who was horribly scarred in a dragon attack, Lady L means to use the teenager's super-powers to gain world domination. Alone and desperate, Owaru loses control and transforms into a monstrous wind dragon. Can his family rescue him before he annihilates the city?

Contains episodes 9 and 10.

The Review!
The Mulligan Foundation continues their efforts to claim the Ryudo brothers for themselves and engineer various events to cause at least one of them to fall into their hands.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Being a somewhat older show, it's no surprise that even though it's a stereo soundtrack it sounds primarily mono with most everything coming through the center channel. Music sounded decent if a bit flat while dialogue was clean and clear with no noticeable dropouts.

While many OVA series from the early 90's sport some high production values, Dragon Kings has a bit more of a smaller budget based on its looks. Or if you prefer, it's more real world in its design and coloring, giving it a less vibrant feel. Colors are nice and solid and there's a small bit of grain throughout the presentation. Some cross-coloration shows up in some of the more tightly animated areas but are otherwise pretty negligible. The shows look just isn't one that just shines in how its made.

One of the more interesting covers of the series, it provides a nicely illustrated backdrop of the white and black dragons fighting each other under the smoky skies while the four brothers make up the foreground together in a group. The back cover provides a couple of small shots from the show and a decent summary of what to expect. The discs features are nice and clearly listed here as well. The reverse side of this cover has the chapter marks for the two episodes and the English only voice actor credits with a note that the Japanese credits are unavailable.

Split into four sections, the menus are laid out so that various clips play across each of them and when you make a selection; one of the areas shifts backwards so that the new menu can load. It's fairly chaotic looking and overly busy. The menus are easy to move around in and things are in standard style here. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is what we're used to with CPM releases.

The only extra included in this release is a brief video art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Legend of the Dragon Kings is a series that's rather rare in my library, as being one that I find less and less interesting as it continues on. Often a series starts with something tantalizing and builds upon that or at the least stays flat on the old interest meter. Dragon Kings started out somewhat interesting and has continually declined in keeping our interest with each subsequent volume, regardless of the wait between them. There's simply something about the plot and pacing as well as the story itself that just seems to fail in keeping our interest.

This volume continues with the new idea of having the Mulligan Foundation continuing their interest in the Ryudo brothers, so much so that things work in a such a way that Owaru is captured by an American helicopter and kept away from everyone else. With all sorts of laws and legalese on the books about what American's and those with them on their bases can get away with, it's an obvious ploy to get at least one of the brothers someplace that's more easily controlled. Lady L, with her vengeance still very much in mind, engineers her plans so that she's getting closer to controlling at least one of them so that she can move on to bigger and more important things.

With Owaru captured, it becomes up to the other brothers to find a way to rescue him, such as befriending and American soldier, stealing a tank and fighting their way in and out of the base. Much like when we watched Spirited Away, it took several stops and starts to get through the first episode alone, never mind the second episode. Within minutes of starting it up each time, no matter how awake we were, bam, it just put us right into a blank state of mind and lulled us right off. This hasn't happened with many shows over the years. But there is simply something about Dragon Kings that just doesn't hold my interest enough to even let it be on in the same room.

In Summary:
With only one volume left in the series, it's down to the small group of die-hard fans who are watching this now or people like me who are sort of watching it. The plots continue to feel as contrived as the earlier ones and the way the characters act don't make much sense. Those who are enjoying the series are going to like who its going I'm sure, but if you were like me and had any issues with it from the start, you'll like it less and less as it goes on I'm sure. There are few shows that require effort to watch. This is one of those.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Mania Grade: D
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C+
Menus Rating: C+
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Central Park Media
MSRP: 19.99
Running time: 94
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Legend of the Dragon Kings