KO Beast Vol. #1: Password to Treaure! - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: KO Beast

KO Beast Vol. #1: Password to Treaure!

By Chris Beveridge     May 10, 2003
Release Date: June 24, 2003


KO Beast Vol. #1: Password to Treaure!
© Nozomi Entertainment


What They Say
T-t-t-treasure?? Who cares about saving the world when there’s treasure to be found! When Wan and his voracious appetite hook up with bossy little Mei-Mer and playboy Bud Mint, they won’t let anything stand in their way (including each other) to find all that glitters!

Kidnapped by their mortal enemies, the Humans, our compatriots just happen to
stumble upon the Humans' secret password - Dr. Password that is. In exchange for freeing his granddaughter Yuni, Password hands the greedy little gang the key to the greatest treasure the world has ever known! Of course they have no idea what it is or where it is, but they’re not about to let the Humans get their grubby hands on it first! Now if they can only manage not to kill each other before they
can find it...

Contains episodes 1-3.

The Review!
Nearly ten years after getting a UK release, KO Beasts finally hits the US shores and brings back waves and waves of great memories and laughs.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show features a decent stereo mix with a good sense of directionality for some of the vocal moments, but otherwise a solid center channel mix with good use by the music of the stereo channels. Dialogue is nice and clear and we noted no dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally released back in early 90’s, 1992 if I remember correctly, KO Beast was a very good looking release at the time with great OVA animation quality. The transfer here manages to bring most of that to life, though there is some scratches on the print which are mostly visible during the first episode, though the other two episodes aren’t nick free. Barring that rather small issue, something I almost expect to see on anything from that time period and earlier, this transfer looks great. Nice vibrant colors, some minimal cross coloration along hairlines in places and minimal aliasing during some panning sequences.

Packaging:
A great vibrant cover, we get shots of the five main cast members underneath the logo (with Wan making his way into the new US logo). Lots of eye-catching color here and good classic character designs. The front cover and the spine both contain the volume number, which gets big kudos from us. The back cover provides several character shots and some shots from the show itself surrounding the solid show summary. Production credits are minimal but the special features are nicely favored and clearly listed. The insert has another shot of the front cover while the reverse side has boxart adverts.

Menu:
The menu is a nice energetic piece with lots going on while the opening theme plays along. Each of the selections has an animation piece playing below it, but this doesn’t slow down the load or access times at all since they aren’t transitional. The layout is pretty nicely done and things move nice and fast. The only slowdown comes in moving around in the trailers, as each trailer you move over causes a new logo to be loaded.

Extras:
There’s a great selection of extras here, far more than I expected from such an old show. The biographies are well done of the main cast, providing a little summary about them and then things such as their original Japanese names and what associations that may have plus other tidbits. The translators notes surprised us completely – the first three screens have a quick paragraph from the original Japanese voice actors for the three leads and they talk about their affection for the show and how it changed them. Very surprising! There’s also two more screens of basic notes about the show itself. A minute long video art gallery shows off various cels and other artwork. Also provided are the original two opening’s to the show. And, of course, there’s dub outtakes!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A long time ago, I had managed to see the first KO Beast Century OVA series. Not long after that, it was licensed in the UK and released. But sadly, no US release was forthcoming for many, many years. But now it’s finally come out and the circle to my early fandom days is nearly complete.

KO Beast Century, or simply KO Beast for the US release, is a rarity among shows brought over here, since it’s a heavily “furrie” release. The show takes place some 10,000 years in the future and the world is dramatically different. Most of humanity has changed into morphing races and lives in various tribes. You have, for example, a tiger tribe, bird tribes, mer-tribes, dog tribes and so forth. Each generally live on their own and keep their distance from each other and get along peacefully.

But then there’s the humans.

Always with the humans.

Still seeing themselves as the lords of all they survey, they’re working on a cunning plan to return the human race to the forefront of the world and get rid of all these nasty animals and then assert their true destinies. The leaders of what’s left of humanity are little more than shells, but they have at their service some power mage knights in the form of V-Darn and V-Sion. They’ve set this two (pretty boy and pretty girl) warriors off to capture the Jinn from various villages. The Jinn are large statues that are worshipped by the local tribes, but they’re also secretly powerful weapons that may hold the key to humanity becoming top dog again.

So with that mission, they set off to various villages to burn and pillage and take the Jinn. We see this happen quickly as they attack young Wan’s village and steal their tiger Jinn. Wan himself is captured and brought to the humans location, where he’s quickly jailed. But he’s not alone long as he meets Bud in there. Bud, a member of the Bird tribe, is one of the best anime characters EVER. His masterful use of the English language alone sets him apart, but that he uses it to pick up every woman he comes into contact with is hilarious. And his ways play great against straight-arrow Wan.

The two get along for a bit in trying to figure out what’s happening, as Bud’s Jinn was also stolen, and we learn of Bud’s link to royalty. It’s then not long before Mei-Mer, an attractive mermaid girl and friend of Wan’s, gets tossed into the clink alongside her companion Tuttle. Their time in jail is amusing as they all adjust to each others personalities, but no show can last just taking place in jail. So it’s not long before they’re freed by a young blonde human girl named Yuni, who it turns out is the granddaughter of the professor the human overlords are using to gain control over the Jinn.

Dr. Password has decided he’s had enough of this and gets the royals free by insisting they save him and Yuni and then help him try and find Gaia, a force that will help secure peace in the world with all of its power. They all agree, since they want their Jinn’s back, and the show moves on its merry way of escape and then searching and fighting against the humans, both on a personal level and in their giant Jinn robots that come about.

This series is pretty straightforward and moves along at a great clip with little real downtime. The times they do take a break, such as a celebration of Bud’s return at the Bird Tribe, is filled with new bits to learn. Plus lots of Bud picking up girls. The series is actually split into two parts, the original three episode release, which ends with “a” conclusion but still a larger plot to go, and a second four episode series. The first series here plays out wonderfully, with very energetic characters with a variety of quirks. Even though it’s been nearly ten years since I last saw this, it all came rushing back to me with a great fondness.

My only point of confusion with the show is with the opening sequence. When it started off, I knew immediately it wasn’t the opening that I was familiar with. Maybe this is an international version that the licensor had provided, or something else? Thankfully, the openings I am familiar with were also included, and it was like seeing an old friend when those popped up. I’m definitely glad they managed to include those.

Right Stuf’s release of this show is something of an evolution as well, as I think this is their best overall product release to date. With only a few releases each year, it takes more time for things to actually get shaken down, but this release was fantastic in just about every regard. The packaging changes that have been implemented are top notch – just pull out a copy of the first Tylor TV release and make the comparison. Dual subtitle streams, allowing for onscreen text for dub viewers is solid – and their onscreen text continues to use a variety of fonts and colors similar to what they’re doing with His & Her’s that in my mind makes RSI a real leader in this field. Add in the inclusion of trailers at long last (Comic Party!) and the first release with an insert and I’m a very happy camper. RSI is just about at the level I want to see every release from every company at.

KO Beast is a great fun show. It’s three OVAs are brisk, filled with laughs and action and a fun concept with lots of character quirks. The show also features a brand new dub, so anyone previously afflicted by the UK release will want to give this a new shot. While nostalgia certainly plays a part in it, this is one of those OVA series where you realize afterwards that they don’t make them like this anymore. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Outtakes,Character Bios,Translator Notes,Animated Art Gallery,Original Opening for Episode 1&2,Original Opening for Episode 3

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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