Legend of the Dragon Kings Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Legend of the Dragon Kings

Legend of the Dragon Kings Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     June 21, 2003
Release Date: June 10, 2003


Legend of the Dragon Kings Vol. #2
© Central Park Media


What They Say
Until now, Kamakura no Gozen, the richest man in Japan, has trusted his underlings to bring the brothers under his control. But now it's time for more desperate action. First he'll kidnap the brothers' only living relatives: their cousin Matsuri and her family.

Then he'll force the brothers to stage a rescue attempt in the middle of an army of munitions rage. Lastly, he's planned one final bit of treachery: an elite combat team with the latest military hardware.

But the brothers aren't the type to give up quietly. The power of dragons sleeps deep within them. And if that power ever awakens - watch out!

The Review!
A year and a half after the first volumes release, the second installment arrives.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Being a somewhat older show, it's no surprise that even though it's a stereo soundtrack it sounds primarily mono with most everything coming through the center channel. Music sounded decent if a bit flat while dialogue was clean and clear with no noticeable dropouts.

Video:
While many OVA series from the early 90's sport some high production values, Dragon Kings has a bit more of a smaller budget based on its looks. Or if you prefer, it's more real-world in its design and coloring, giving it a less vibrant feel. Colors are nice and solid and there's a small bit of grain throughout the presentation. Some cross-coloration shows up in some of the more tightly animated areas but is otherwise pretty negligible. The shows look just isn't one that just shines in how its made.

Packaging:
With a lengthy title, the logo takes up a fair bit of the top space here with its dark design. The darkness spreads all over the artwork here as the central image of the two brothers is nice and grainy since it comes from two different scenes in the show, and they’re surrounded by drawings of dragons that add to the varying levels of opacity in the artwork. The back cover provides a couple of small shots from the show and a decent summary of what to expect. The discs features are nice and clearly listed here as well. The reverse side of this cover has the chapter marks for the two episodes and the English only voice actor credits with a note that the Japanese credits are unavailable. Of course, you may not notice that there’s a reverse side cover as the keepcase is black.

Menu:
The main menu is a rather nice piece that has the darkened image of the dragon set against an equally gray background while rain falls down over it as the sound of the rain and lightning plays along. The menus are easy to move around in and things are in standard style here. Load times are nice and fast, though the continual problem of auto-playing exists here in the main menu.

Extras:
The only extra included in this release is a brief video art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I appreciate the problems in getting a low selling title out into the marketplace, especially if it didn’t previously have a dub, the nearly eighteen month release window between volumes has definitely hurt the interest in this show with me at least. New fans make out like bandits however with the double pack of this release in that they get the first volume essentially for free while those who had previously purchased the first volume end up with a second (hopefully with the idea of giving it to someone else to try and hook them on the show).

With the amount of time between releases for me, the first volume is definitely fairly hazy. Much of it came back as I got into the show again and was re-introduced to the characters, but the connections I may have made during the first viewing of this series didn’t carry over, leaving me feel much more like an observer of events than being into the show itself.

The opening events of this volume has the four Ryudo brothers returning home after the events of the previous volume only to find that their entire street has been blocked off and that the news is running a story on them 24/7. Apparently the media has been informed that the brothers have killed their family and are on the run, as those who are seeking to control them use the media to manipulate things to their ends. After a foolish encounter with the police, the brothers head off to shake them loose and to figure out what’s going on.

This leads them to eventually shack up at a friends place where they eventually receive a call from the person behind some of the matters, but still only an agent. Being told to go to a nearby base and to seek out a red flag there, they’ll be able to be reunited with the “dead” family members that are being held in their custody. Though knowing it’s a trap, they have no recourse but to go and try to save them. This all ties in with the base running their war games that day as well as one of the more powerful behind the scenes figures coming to watch the games. As we learn, he’s the one seeking the brothers out and he’s brought them to this location to have them taken care of properly. He’s even brought in the 101st division to participate in the games with the express purpose of eliminating the Dragon brothers.

Once the setup is out of the way, and it does take a bit to get there, the show turns in some good action sequences as two military sides fight it out and the brothers try to stay alive, even as one of them transforms into the massive and powerful dragon. This all sets up and brings to an end the first arc of the series while the second episode brings in a new set of villains still after the same goal that were hinted at in earlier episodes. Suffice to say, there’s little real change in what’s going on here even though the bad guy players have changed because the good guys, i.e. the brothers, seem to be able to only run and defend as they’re continually threatened. They slowly gain some minor bits of information, but they’re still very much in the dark about what’s going on for the majority of the time here.

While the show does have some interesting points, I wasn’t unable to revive the interest I had in the title the first time around. Those jumping in from the start are likely to get a lot more out of it than I did.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

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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