Mania Grade: C+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 3 & 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
Knights of the Zodiac Vol. #4
By Luis Cruz
July 25, 2004
Release Date: June 01, 2004
Knights of the Zodiac Vol. #4
What They Say
© ADV Films
The Black Knights are unrestrained by an attachment to anyone. The Bronze Knights find strength in what binds them together. Shiryu must risk his powers to save Seiya as he battles the Black Dragon. Andromeda seeks to redeem his brother Ikki after he succumbed to the evil of the Island of Doom.
Who wins the final Showdown with the Phoenix to claim the Gold Cloth will ultimately decide if greed is more powerful than sacrifice, friendship stronger than hate. To do so, the Bronze Knights must fight as one!The Review!
Friendship is the theme of this volume of Knights of the Zodiac
; let's all learn a valuable lesson from the Knights, as we lose two hours of our life once again.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:
Against a green background, Ikki dominates 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:
You get one playing card from the collectible card game for the series.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)Saint Seiya
has a strong following around the world, but watching Knights of the Zodiac
makes it difficult to understand why. But, this "kid friendly" version is not an accurate indicator. The script written for the episodes and the delivery of it is simply awful. The first episode on this episode is the prime example.
A weakened Shiryu faces off against the Black Dragon, while Shun attempts to save Seiya from the side of the cliff. All seems lost as Shiryu gives up his power to stop Black Dragon but fails to do so. However, Black Dragon gives his power (read his life) to replenish Shiryu's power, so Shiryu can save Shun and Seiya. Black Dragon does this because he is impressed by the power of the Knight's friendship. Any emotional power this episode could have had is lost; it is lost to poor dialogue that removes any sense of gravity from the scene. It is lost by the flat reading of the dialogue by the voice actors.
Things continue to slide downhill, as the Knights face Ikki for the final battle. Once again, friendship comes to the rescue, as Seiya is given the powers of the other three knights. Seiya knocks some sense into Ikki, snapping him out of the trance of hatred he had been in. Ikki then tells the knights how he became consumed with hatred on the Island of Doom.
The knights have no chance to absorb this, as the next villain wanting the golden cloth appears. Docrates, clad in a merman cloth, attacks the knights with his Hercules Punch. Hercules Punch? Shouldn't someone wearing a fish suit attack with something like the Poseidon Punch or the Kraken Krush? Must just be me; Ikki tosses the golden helmet to Seiyu and apparently sacrifices himself to stop Docrates.
Of course, Docrates still lives and eventually tracks the knights down at Princess Sienna's mansion. Docrates breaks off the attack and kidnaps Sienna when the cops arrive. Wait... You are a powerful knight in a merman suit able to create giant craters with your Kraken Krush, excuse me, Hercules Punch, but you bolt at the first sign of some Japanese cops? At this point, I do not know if this bizarre logic or the terrible dubbing is worse. No, I take that back; the dubbing is still the worst thing.
The dialogue goes beyond inane and does nothing to make the plot or characters enjoyable. The characters become caricatures, spouting lines that even B film writers would cringe at. Is the actual story worth watching? If you had to go by this version, the answer would be a resounding "no". My best advice is to turn off the audio and watch the pretty pictures go by.In Summary:
I am not sure who keeps giving the green light to these scripts, but they are clearly not in touch with their target audience. While the action might pull youngsters in, I cannot see them sticking around for dialogue that is better suited for series from the '70s or '80s. Is anyone picking this title up let alone collecting the cards for the game, when there are better produced shows like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh out there? I would be surprised if there were.
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable