Cosmo Warrior Zero Vol. #2 - 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: 24.95
  • 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. #2

By Chris Beveridge     October 10, 2002
Release Date: September 24, 2002


Cosmo Warrior Zero Vol. #2
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Zero's unending search for Captain Harlock has brought him to the Wild West planet of Gun Frontier. But Zero isn't the only person looking for Halock. The gun slinging bounty hunter, Sylvia, is hot on his trail and won't give up her prize so easily. Warrius is determined to bring the pirate to justice and Sylvia never loses a bounty. Fortunately for both, Harlock loves a good fight.

The Review!
Warrius is back with another four episodes here and I again find myself intensely drawn to this universe and its characters.

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:
The transfer for this release continues to look very good. With it being such a recent show, the materials are in excellent shape and the authoring job doesn’t appear to have brought anything bad to it. Colors are great looking without being over saturated or bleeding, aliasing is very minimal and cross coloration is relatively non-existent.

Packaging:
Sex appeal is the selling point of this package, as the women grace both the front and back covers here. The front cover has a great picture of Sylvania set against the wanted posters of Gun Frontier. 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.

Menus:
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 extras this time around are a pretty decent, but are things you can get through relatively quickly. The character profiles section makes another appearance in this volume as well as the dub outtakes. The outtakes are fairly decent for some of them, but most tend to be simple gaffes as opposed to more comedic moments. There is one shining one in here though where Zero is pulling Marina up from the snow. As the two fall back onto the snow, it’s supposed to be quiet, but she does a really light and simple “whee” with it, it just had us rolling with laughter. It was too perfect. Also included is a textless version of the ending sequence.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After getting through the first volume of this series, and adjusting to the differences from other Matsumoto series and getting a feel for the character discrepancies, this volume lets us just move forward to the good stuff of fun and engaging stories in a playground I love to visit.

With their mission still the same, find and stop Harlock, Warrius brings his ship and crew to the planet of Gun Frontier. This is one of those areas in the galaxy where every ship eventually comes and passes through, with a nod to the Galaxy Express as well. The planet has its own rules, and they’re simple. They revolve around not messing with anyone else and especially not messing with their drinks. Gun Frontier is your classic western dive town. So with word of Harlock being there, Warrius sends down a group of four of his crew to find him and bring him back without upsetting the status quo.

Not going to happen.

Things are off to a bumpy start when one of the party is a Mechanized Man, so the group has plenty of internal strife. And with the group leader being against Mechanized Men and also wanting to capture Harlock, he’s just going against what Warrius intended to happen. His goal was to simply have them explore and get a feel for the universe that lays before them. But instead, they’re setting off to conquer it on their own. There’s some amusing parallels to reality.

There’s plenty of complications along the way too. One of them is in the form of a new character, the beautiful Sylviana. She’s one of the local bounty hunters whose after anyone she can get. When Warrius’ crew comes across her, she gives them some bogus information that keeps them away from what could potentially be her target. The other problem that comes up is Tochiro, whose arrival in Gun Frontier was supposed to be quiet, but gets all blown out of proportion by Sylviana as she tries to take him down and then to use him as bait to lure Harlock out.

The arrival of Harlock, as well as a tight-lipped Emeraldas, brings out some of the classic feel even more. When Warrius comes down to settle things out, you really get to see what makes Matsumoto’s stuff work so well, as these two archetypes face off and decide to simply have a drink with each other to see what they can learn. It’s these quiet revealing moments that play out the best. Thankfully, there’s more than just the Gun Frontier going on here, as we have some really excellent material involving Marina and the assault on one of the provincial colonies by Harlock. Marina’s material brings in her origin story, which ties in to the current happenings of the location that Harlock is attacking. There’s some really good stuff about choosing to become Mechanized Men to stay alive and lots of fun stuff with Harlock and the action sequences throughout these final two episodes here.

In the month prior to seeing this disc, I’d been listening weekly to a series on BBC radio about the Westerns and their evolution over the years and the way they’ve changed. Having had all this information fresh in my mind, having heard exposition on the genre by people such as Walter Hill and Sergio Leone, it’s definitely encouraging to see that the true essence of the Western is indeed still alive in film in some form, and that it’s done as well as it is in this interpretation of it. Between the anime and manga versions of the Western that are done to the Korean manga such as Priest where I’ve never felt more involved in the grittiness of that time, the Western is definitely very much alive and healthy. With Matsumoto’s unique visuals and stylizations, a great amount of life is brought into play with it. I love his take on it and how his material has managed to not only adapt to modern anime changes, but to come out mastering it in such a way that it feels completely natural.

I can’t get enough of this stuff, and with these episodes having the Gun Frontier segments, I’m looking forward to the Gun Frontier series even more now. This is probably a very overlooked series, which is one reason I give it such a strong recommendation for those looking for something new.

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

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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