KO Beast Vol. #2: V-Darn Strikes Back! - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: KO Beast

KO Beast Vol. #2: V-Darn Strikes Back!

By Chris Beveridge     July 19, 2003
Release Date: August 26, 2003

KO Beast Vol. #2: V-Darn Strikes Back!
© Nozomi Entertainment

What They Say
Who knew treasure hunting could make life so miserable? After constant battles with the Humans, our rowdy band of heroes is in quite a mess. With their Jinns badly damaged, they’re off to Atlas City to find Don the Repairer who’s rumored to have the ability to fix anything – for a price of course.

But with very little pocket money and their Jinns out of action, they could be in for some serious trouble! V-Darn’s been waiting for them in Atlas City and he’s determined to finally have his revenge on our little band of treasure hunters! With Mei-Mer on the verge of death, Wan is determined to grant her last request, even when it could cost him his own life. More laughter, tears, and off-the-wall surprises in this second great volume of K.O. Beast!

The Review!
After the success of the first OVA series, it was little surprise that a second one would be commissioned nor that it managed to keep up the fun and frantic pace.

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.

Originally released back in early 90’s, 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 are some scratches on the print in a few areas. 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.

Designed much like the first volume in layout in coloring, this release is nicely eye-catching with the three principle characters getting nice pose shots underneath the 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.

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.

Also similar to the first volume are the selection of extras. The biographies covers characters that didn’t make it in the first volume, such as Tuttle and the Professor. The original opening sequences for OVA series 2 episodes four and 5 are done here as well. The outtakes section, which has a few cute moments, comes in very short at just under a minute. The translators notes section starts off with a few comments from Hiroshi Negishi that were included in the Japanese DVD release back in 2001 as well as some brief translation notes for the fourth and fifth episodes. The video art gallery runs a minute in length and has some nice still shots from the series itself.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After getting reacquainted with the first series and enjoying it quite a bit, I was definitely eager to settle into the second OVA series as I had never seen it before. The characters, settings and general feel of the original series was something that I really enjoyed, and much like Negishi, feel a certain amount of nostalgia about.

The second series essentially picks up where things left off but in the usual comical style as we have our four favorite beasts stuck inside of a collapsed cave where they’ve been for the past five days. After a particularly vicious game, it turns out that the loser is the one who will be eaten by the rest to survive. This lets all the fun start off particularly well, with all of them going after Bud who’s spouting off his English while changing into his bird form in a panic.

This is just the way to kick things off as after the opening it moves into everyone riding one of the Jinn in transformed mode as they complain about hunger while searching for a town. While they’re in desperate need of food, they also are in search of Atlas City where the famous Don the Repairer lives. They’re much in need of his services to get their Jinn fixed up and working again. This leads them to two fun sequences when they do arrive in Atlas City; the gorging of food and then the introduction of the Repairer, a hilarious creature who looks like a Boar version of the “elders” in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – except that the board is made up of two boars but is trying to keep it secret.

Naturally, things can’t go smoothly for them in their negotiations. While trying to seal that deal, V-Darn is set to cause them much trouble. He initially tries to get help from the other humans, but they’ve written him off. Trying to get help from V-Sion is pointless as she’s spending all her time trying to revive a Jinn of her own. So V-Darn goes off and tries to handle it all on his own, which leads to a lopsided battle at first, but then something not as much fun when V-Sion is successful in her quest.

Each episode here stands alone but moves the story along. The second provides a look at one of the more visually interesting areas of the Beasts universe as the group travels to Outlantis. Mei-Mer has fallen ill and slips in and out of consciousness so they opted to take her home to try and find out what’s wrong with her. Mei-Mer is feeling close to deaths door and laments about never having tasted the special Sweet-sweet fruit that’s on a connected island some ways away. So Bud and Wan naturally set off to find it and get it for her, only to run into their own form of trouble (as well as the two humans again).

The human overlords talk much in the background and they bring in their own new villain, S.P. Icegal, to help them find their objective as they all follow the beasts along in their journey. While this covers the first half of the second OVA series, and I don’t really expect anything really huge in the second half, I’m definitely enjoying these episodes a lot. I love the cast and I continue to seem to enjoy most things Kappei Yamaguchi performs in so this isn’t much of a surprise. The elements that made the first series fun and enjoyable are very much present here but just avoid having to do the whole introductions and setup material.

This show is a lot of fun and I’m excited to have finally seen it and add it to my other fond memories of this show. Good clean fun anime!

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Outtakes,Character Bios,Translator Notes,Animated Art Gallery,Original Openings for Episodes 4&5

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD Recorder, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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