Knights of the Zodiac Vol. #6 (of 7) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Friday, September 17, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2004



What They Say
Sanctuary, once the trusted home of all knights, has fallen under the control of an evil force. Without their knowing, its new master has been secretly using his post to enact his plan to enslave the world. To do it, all he needs is the gold helmet to complete the gold cloth that grants ultimate power to whoever dons it. Will Seiya find a way to defeat this evil foe?

The Review!
Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

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 and action sequences.

Packaging:
Hyoga and Shiryu are featured against a purple background on the front cover. 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:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The onslaught from the new master of Sanctuary continues in this volume. Hyoga squares off against his mentor the Crystal Knight; the battle rages to the giant ice pyramid being built as a base. Seiya arrives on the scene, but Hyoga takes the battle on personally and manages to snap the Crystal Knight out of the master's mind control.

Gigas is displeased by these results and decides to use the Blaze Knight to burn down the coliseum and Princess Sienna's house. He hopes this will smoke her out and the gold helmet along with her. This ploy seems to fail until Tatsumi arrives at the burnt wreckage; a bit of torture has him showing where Shun and Sienna are hiding the gold helmet.

Shun does his best to beat the Blaze Knight and his fire screw (a little penicillin will clear that up) but finds himself succumbing to the intense heat. Out of the flames, a phoenix arises; Ikki has risen from the ashes (again) to save Shun and the gold helmet. Ikki extinguishes the Blaze Knight and Gigas' plans, and everyone shares a tearful reunion.

Despite the characters expressing sorrow and joy, the action and dialogue does little to have you connect to their feelings. The action plods along with a lot of repetitive animation and stale one liners. Most of the dialogue feels stilted and not suited to the action happening on the screen. It takes one out of the moment and sucks any life out of the scene.

The rest of the volume has Seiya facing off against three silver knights; these confrontations consist mostly of the silver knights claiming that Seiya is only a bronze knight and cannot possibly hurt them. Can you guess what happens? That is right; Seiya hurts the might silver knights despite being a lowly bronze knight. Helping him in this is the revelation that Marine is really Seiya's long, lost sister.

One other item made this title even more tiring; the beginning of each episode is given over to a recap of what has happened previously. This ranges from a recap of the past episode or two all the way to a two to three minute recap of the series to date. While recaps have their place, the audience does not need one every single episode; it takes them out of the flow of the series and detracts from the time given to weaving a compelling plot in an episode. It is frustrating to see a series assume that the audience has no long term memory.

There was one bright spot; the dialogue was not as bad as it has been. On the whole, the dialogue was just flat rather than a long stream of poorly written jokes. Overall, this volume continues the trend of turning me off of this series rather than adding me to the legions of fans around the world that enjoy the original, unadulterated version of the series.

In Summary:
Overuse of recaps and flat dialogue combine to form another forgettable volume of Knights of the Zodiac. This series is just way too late to the dance; if it appeared back in the early days of anime imports, it would have fit right in with them. Against its contemporaries though, it just does not hold up against the better production values and modern animation of other imported series. With each volume of Knights, Dic shows that they still do not seem to understand the market.

Features
English 2.0 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: 15 & 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