Cosmo Warrior Zero Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cosmo Warrior Zero

Cosmo Warrior Zero Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     August 08, 2002
Release Date: July 30, 2002


Cosmo Warrior Zero Vol. #1
© Media Blasters


What They Say
A classic legend of honor among warriors by Leiji Matsumoto (Galaxy Express 999, Queen Emeraldas, the Harlock Saga). The time of freedom lawlessness in deep space is coming to a close. Men who have given up their souls to become robotic immortals have dominated Earth, and their cold grip is closing on the Sea of Stars. Warrius Zero, a battle-weary admiral, lost his family and his reason for living in during the war for Earth. Now serving the mechanized victors, Zero carries out his orders without the will to resist. Then, he received one mission unlike any other. Zero was commanded to travel to the farthest reaches of the universe to hunt down a single wanted man, a mysterious space pirate, once known to all as Captain Harlock and to Zero as his former best friend.

The Review!
Dipping into the vast Matsumoto universe again, Cosmo Warrior Zero brings another aspect of the playground Matsumoto lives in to life. And, much like every other series, there are cameos to be found.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The audio track here is a pretty standard stereo mix with some good moments of directionality across the forward soundstage, but otherwise a basic stereo mix. Dialogue was nice and clear and there were no noticeable dropouts throughout.

Video:
Though released in 2001, the overall look of the show isn’t very vibrant, instead trying to achieve a mix of both the old look and the new CG style. This works for quite a few scenes and the majority of the show overall, but there are a few areas that just look odd in general. Colors are rather good though as they play more with darks, and cross coloration is very minimal as well as aliasing.

Packaging:
The front cover provides a good image of the two main opposing forces, Zero and Harlock, set against the backdrop of space and Zero’s space cruiser. This definitely has the classic feel to it with a hint of new and looks great. The back cover provides a number of animation shots and a good summary of the shows premise. The episode numbers and production information is all clearly listed as well as the technical specs. The insert provides a mix of artwork from the back cover along with the chapter marks.

Menu:
The menu is nicely done, with the various ships from the series laid out across it in the grid format as well as having various destinations being dotted for the discs selections. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is very much in the shows style.

Extras:
The first volume gets a couple of good extras here, with a brief look at some of the character biographies over a few pages. The dub provides some amusing outtakes here and we also get a textless opening sequence, which does a good job of giving you a clean look at the artwork.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One thing I’ll say right upfront about the Matsumoto universe; I don’t know where each series fits into the continuity, and if I recall past conversations, it’s not really a tightly knit universe to begin with. So with each series and special, I simply try to enjoy it on its own and with the knowledge that some pieces may interlock.

With Cosmo Warrior Zero, we find ourselves following Warrius Zero, a captain in the Terrestrial Federation. We get a quick introduction to him when we see the Mechanized Men invading Earth and essentially turning much of it to rubble. It’s not long after that a treaty has been established and Earth is in the larger galactic picture. But there’s people just looking for any excuse to start the whole war up again. Humanity continues to live by a thin thread.

Warrius is revisiting Earth, the place where his wife and child perished, only to be ridiculed and harassed by those who survived. The ones that he knows he couldn’t protect, as much as he wanted to and tried to. Warrius is a wounded warrior, but one that someone higher up has plans for. After an encounter with pirates out in space, where he went the distance of defending the Mechanized Men that were being attacked, he gets brought into Command to be given the assignment of hunting down Harlock and his Death Shadow ship in the outer reaches.

Warrius gains his old battle cruiser back as well as bringing most of his crew over. The new addition is the only woman on board apparently, his new first officer Marina. She, of course, gets introduced via an accidental shower scene. Warrius is really unsure of having a woman serving in such a critical position, and most of the men take offense at her being there. The Mechanized Men tend not to, since she finds their work roster to be overly done and the humans getting off pretty light.

The amount of tension in this series so far, in just two episodes, between the humans the Mechanized Men who serve on board Warrius ship, is more than Star Trek: Voyager had between their two rival factions in their entire run. While things may get solved quickly or play out rashly, it’s done in a style that is definitely of Matsumoto. The conflict brings out the chance to play some good character study moments, especially with Warrius who is intent on having everyone work together as equals.

The show then moves forward to dealing with the various inter-crew issues and potential mutiny situation as well as getting the ship to move around that big old galaxy and bring aboard the first new crewmember after an away-mission provides some much needed action. Much like other Matsumoto shows, the characters are at times larger than life, act with odd motivations and in general, have a very different perspective on things. This is good in that it provides me with something I don’t see in many other shows.

On the downside, I had figured that this would be an easy show to watch with my daughter in the room, who sometimes looks up at the TV. It figures that during the opening moments of the show, with the destruction of Earth, one of the ships manages to shot a laser right at a cat, which promptly does an electrified jig and then explodes. You try and explain that!

Otherwise, I’m really looking forward to the next batch of episodes. I’m enjoying the crew and their tensions, the lead cast is good and Marina is a potentially interesting character. Harlock’s made an appearance and Tochiro looks slated for the next volume, so it’s not long before we’ll see Emeraldas as well. I’m a happy Matsumoto fan!

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Dub Outtakes,Textless Opening

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers

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