Knights of the Zodiac Vol. #3 (of 7) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2004



What They Say
Now that the Black Knights have stolen the gold cloth from Princess Sienna's tournament, there's no more time for games. The only way the Bronze Knights will get it back is to fight for their lives. Only this time, more than a tournament trophy is at stake -- the fate of the Earth rests on who emerges victorious! To succeed the Bronze Knights will have to face their greatest enemy yet ? evil doppelgangers armed with the same powers as themselves. This is the match that shows who has the real star power!

The Review!
The fight continues for the gold cloth against the black knights, and I continue to fight off the black knight of utter boredom.

Audio:
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. Most of the action comes from the front soundstage, but there are some decent ambient effects present through the rear as well.

Video:
For a series produced in 1986, the prints have held up fairly well. Grain is present throughout the episodes, and there were a few nicks and 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 scenery.

Packaging:
All four bronze knights pose on the front cover against an orange 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
I refuse to count trailers for other titles as an extra anymore; move along then. Nothing to see here...

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It has been difficult attempting to sit down and write this review. I find myself with little to say about this title mainly because there is little I am finding that is entertaining. The four episodes on this volume can be summed up in a few sentences.

Phoenix sends out the Black Knights to harass Seiya and the Bronze Knights; each Black Knight is the identical, evil twin (minus the suave evil twin goatee) of a Bronze Knight. Eventually, Phoenix challenges them to a "winner take all" duel for the Gold Cloth. The Knights accept though Seiya must go to the battlefield without his cloth.

Shiryu, meanwhile, has journeyed to meet Mu; Mu is the only person capable of repairing Shiryu and Seiya's cloth. However, the repairs require a sacrifice of energy from Shiryu, a sacrifice that might leave him unable to fight. Both cloths are repaired, and both Seiya and Shiryu are able to join the fight. The Knights and their twins do battle as Phoenix's trap begins to close around them.

Aimed at kids, it should come as no surprise that the "sacrifice of energy" by Shiryu is actually a blood sacrifice. The blood flowing from him is clearly altered to look green. This does not bother me though; these sort of content changes are to be expected when the show is targeted for a TV audience. What makes the show unbearable is the dialogue.

Each episode is a continual stream of hackneyed puns and bizarre stereotypes. For example, Swan hails from Siberia, something he mentions quite a bit in these episodes. Because his hair is blond, he automatically is made the "surfer dude" of the group. When exactly is surfing season in Siberia? Even more irritating is the continual attempt to make the Japanese butler sound Scottish despite having a very obvious Japanese name.

Dialogue is meant to draw the audience into the story and make them care about the characters. The endless stream of quips and jokes that were not even cool or amusing when I was a young adult make it very difficult to do so. Most of the time, I find myself fighting to stay awake. There are a few signs of life though in the actual plot; a recorded message from the grandfather of the Princess reveals a bit more about the tournament. Its purpose was to draw out the evil forces in the world and then have the real battle begin to purge them.

Sadly, this tiny bit of intrigue does little to compensate for the dreadful dialogue and checklist action plot. Saint Seiya has been translated into many languages and has obtained a large following around the rest of the world through them; however, this translated version is not likely to add many new fans to those ranks.

In Summary:
The dub for this show continues to be the major factor in my lack of interest in this title. The inane puns and lame dialogue makes each episode a chore to get through and gives me little reason to be absorbed by the plot. Perhaps the original dialogue would be more engaging, but the more I see of this version, the less I want to see the original.

Features
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: 13 & Up
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