Knights of the Zodiac Vol. #2 (of 7) (

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Monday, April 05, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, March 09, 2004

What They Say
No one has ever gotten past Andromeda's Nebula Chains - that is, until his long lost brother Ikki, now known as the vengeful Phoenix, crashes the tournament - and he's not looking to play by the rules to claim his prize!

The Review!
The fight for the gold cloth continues in another four episodes, though I am hard pressed to find any reason to care.

As it was the only audio track, my viewing session consisted of the English language track. It does not suffer from any dropouts or distortion; the music, effects, and dialogue are sharp and balanced with none overshadowing the others. While not a very rich track, there are some decent effects such as the echo of voices in the arena.

For a series produced in 1986, the prints have held up fairly well. Grain is present throughout the episodes but is mostly noticeable only in the darker scenes. There seemed to be few nicks or defects in the print; the colors seem a bit flat when compared to modern anime, but they hold up well against other series from that time. While not the most vivid art, it does provide some nice looking scenes.

Seiya and Dragon Shiryu are featured on the front cover against a red background. The show's logo is at the top while a small volume indicator and title is at the bottom. Tiny ADV and Dic logos flank the sides of the volume indicator.

The back cover features the requisite synopsis, episode titles, screenshots, and disc details. The insert is a reproduction of the front cover image with adverts for other "ADV kids" titles on the reverse side.

The main menu features the wheel of the Zodiac while an instrumental loop from the opening theme plays in the background. The top of the wheel features the various menu items while the bottom has pictures of the main cast. Quick and functional, the menu fits the overall tone and style of the series.

You get a collectible game card inside. Does anyone actually play the game? Sound off in the forum review thread if you do.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When we last left our Greek-themed heroes, Seiya and Shiryu had shed their cloths and prepared to face each other bare fisted. After minutes of exposition and posturing, Seiya finally finds a weakness in Shiryu's defenses and puts the Dragon down for the count. This has the unfortunate side effect of causing Dragon's fighting spirit to fade.

As the dragon tattoo fades from his back, so does Shiryu's power as a bronze knight. In an inexplicable move, Seiya must use his Pegasus Meteor Punch on the tattoo to revive the fighting spirit within Shiryu. This must be the Greek equivalent of tough love. While Shiryu and Seiya recover and bond in the hospital, Jab the Unicorn and Andromeda the effeminate whiner are the next two knights to step into the ring.

Andromeda wields the might nebula chain, a living entity that protects him from any attack. The battle is cut short though when the chain senses danger near the gold cloth. Shiryu and Seiya sense the danger and rush from the hospital in time to see the danger reveal itself.

Andromeda's older brother Phoenix has returned from the Island of Doom and declares himself the most powerful knight. With this proclamation and ten black knights to back him up, he makes off with the gold cloth after giving the assembled knights a taste of his power.

The rest of the disc has the bronze knights chasing Phoenix and the black knights in order to prevent him from donning the gold cloth and becoming too powerful. The bulk of the episodes is narrative and exposition as we learn the back-story of how Phoenix and the rest of the bronze knights grew up. Unfortunately, the action that occurs in between does little to relieve the boredom of having to sit through the narrative portions. The plot has done little to explain why the contest is occurring and why the audience should care about the characters. It is a big mystery, but it has not been developed into a very interesting one at the moment.

Adding to the tedium is the awful English dub of the series; the dialogue is hokey and fits very few of the characters while the attempts at puns and jokes fall completely flat. Add to this the equally flat reading of the script by a good portion of the voice talent, and you have a dub that is painful for more mature viewers to listen to. Whoever is directing the voice talent should beg them for more emotion and start having the voices fit the characters. Is it really a good idea to have a Japanese butler speak with a bad Scottish accent?

Granted, I am clearly not the target audience for this series, but it would not take much effort to bring the script up to some level of mediocrity. While the lines can be equally hokey in shows like Yu-Gi-Oh, the dialogue in these other dubs sounds more natural and in tune with how kids today talk on the playground. Perhaps the scriptwriters are going for a nostalgic feel given the age of the source material, but it just does not work.

In Summary:
The story has yet to grab my interest, as there is no real sense of danger or urgency to the events surrounding the knights and their contest. Combined with a poorly written and acted dub, it was difficult to stay awake through the four episodes. Take the advice of the theme song and run, run so far away from this dub. Run all night and day.

English Language

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable

Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: All
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 14.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Knights of the Zodiac