Knight Hunters Vol. #5 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: D-

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  • Audio Rating: B-
  • Video Rating: C+
  • 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: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Knight Hunters

Knight Hunters Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     April 10, 2003
Release Date: October 29, 2002

Knight Hunters Vol. #5
© Media Blasters

What They Say
The exciting series conclusion! The return of Schreient could mean the resurrection of Masafumi Takatori. Can Wiess stop them, or will the evil Schwartz get there first? Amidst tears of blood, the three most vicious assassin groups in Japan face off at once! The challenge that Aya, Omi, Ken and Yoji must finally face is still yet to come. The last mission of Wiess is to destroy an underground organization dedicated to nothing less than the end of humanity.

The Review!
Knight Hunters volume 5 – in which the end mercifully arrives, but not nearly soon enough.

The audio generally sounds like it did in previous volumes, which is to say under whelming, but clear. The stereo soundstage is underused.

Although the video is still drawn from a grainy, dirty print, the colors appear to be a little more carefully balanced this time around.

While the series itself hasn’t been worth much, the series packaging has been very nice. Once again, we get a dark, gothically styled cover with a gray keepcase. For the finale, we get the Weiß boys, the evil men of Schwartz, and a mysterious, naked girl (nipples removed), who the best I can tell, isn’t even in the series.

Menus are identical to previous volumes. I really don’t have anything more to say about them, the fifth time around.

The Japanese cast interviews and English dub outtakes make a return, though the useless art gallery has finally been put out to pasture. The Japanese cast interviews are again the highlight of this disc. This time, the guys talk about how they might fight against their Weiß alter egos and wax eloquent on the virtues of booze. I’m enjoying by how witty and self-deprecating these actors appear to be in real life. I find myself wishing that they had decided to make a lighter, funnier show, maybe something with cross-dressing, a girl’s dormitory, and lots of underpants. I also really enjoyed the dub outtakes this time around. They seemed more natural, rather than the elaborately scripted jokes of previous editions.

(Please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers.)

Have you ever tasted something so nasty that you gave a bite to a friend, and when their face got all contorted with disgust, said to them, “Wasn’t that awful?” with a smile, content that someone else had shared the experience with you? In a way, that is how I felt about the first four volumes of Knight Hunters. So incompetent, so incoherent, so implausible, that I just wanted to show an episode to somebody, grin, and say, “Wasn’t that awful?” It’s the kind of show that bitter, old, curmudgeonly otaku like myself can bellyache about for hours, drawing immense satisfaction in the smug, self-superiority of pointing out every single flaw in it.

Well, with Volume 5, the joke has gone too far. In these final five episodes, the series has become so oppressively weariful, that no amount of insult slinging will cheer me up. What had once been a kind of guilty pleasure has become a chore.

The first half of the disc resurrects Schreient once more as those naughty girls try to revive their dead lover, Masafumi Takatori. Meanwhile, Yoji freaks out, as he comes to believe that the sociopathic killer, Neu, just might be his dead lover, Asuka. When Neu suffers from amnesia, Yoji takes her in and attempts to determine her identity. In an earlier episode, we might have all had a good chuckle at how Yoji’s tenuous grasp of reality slips away, as he dresses Neu in Asuka’s clothes and takes her to Asuka’s favorite places. But here, the constant obsessiveness of his behavior becomes pathetic and even a little frightening. The story ends with an act of such brutal misogyny that the only emotion we can be left with is disgust.

The final half of the disc returns to the evil organization Eszett, and their plan to do something so utterly evil, it can’t even be properly explained in the show. All I know is that it somehow involves Aya’s comatose sister (also named Aya), the alignment of the planets, and the reincarnated spirit of their former leader. Meanwhile, ex-track star Sakura, she of the obsessive infatuation with Aya, has begun dressing and grooming like the comatose girl in a misguided attempt to win Aya’s affections. The bad boys of Schwartz kidnap sister and Sakura, which leads to much mistaken identity and a final showdown with Weiß.

What struck me about these episodes was how thematically similar they were to each other. There’s a certain dramatic irony to Yoji’s remaking of Neu (shades of Hitchcock’s classic Vertigo) contrasted with Sakura’s own identity crisis. We get more resurrections than you can shake a stick at (only one of which actually succeeds.) But it doesn’t feel like the writers are using the show to explore these dramatic concepts. Instead, it just feels like they don’t have any other good ideas and are determined to milk this one for all its worth.

At some level, part of me wants to just launch into a another wild tirade about the show’s gross incompetencies: the inconsistent character animation, the continuity gaffes, the illogical plots, the banal dialogue, the ubiquitous “Ken is gay” jokes, blah, blah, blah. You’ve heard it all before, and frankly, I find no enjoyment of it anymore. All the same flaws are here, only super-sized for the finale.

Anyway, if you must watch Knight Hunters, I’d suggest watching through the third volume in the Media Blasters release (episode 15) and calling it quits. That arc ties the story up quite nicely, and frankly, there’s very little that wasn’t done, and done better, in the first half of the series. And with that, the Sturm und Drang of Knight Hunters is finished, and so is this review.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic Panablack TV, Codefree Panasonic RP56 DVD player, Sony ProLogic receiver, Yamaha and Pioneer speakers, Monster cable. (Secondary equipment, Pioneer 105s DVD-ROM, ATi Rage Fury Pro, ViewSonic A90f, PowerDVD 3.0)


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