Legend of the Dragon Kings Vol. #4 - Mania.com

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: D+

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  • 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: 19.99
  • Running time: 90
  • 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. #4

By Chris Beveridge     January 02, 2004
Release Date: December 02, 2003

Legend of the Dragon Kings Vol. #4
© Central Park Media

What They Say
Owaru is a super-powered teenager with an attitude – and lots of problems! He transforms into a dragon when he gets mad, his neighbors are trying to run his family out of town, and the diabolical Dr. Cranshaw has dispatched an army of cyborgs to destroy him!

The Review!
After the events of the previous volume, the show slows down a bit and moves away from large scale action to more one on one pieces.

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.

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 are otherwise pretty negligible. The shows look just isn't one that just shines in how its made.

The front cover shapes up a bit better this time around with one line dropped from the title, keeping it to two lines that don’t take up what feels like half the cover. With a nighttime shot, we get the powered up Owaru chasing after the newest villain incarnation over the rooftops of the city. 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.

The main menu is a good looking piece that has all the selections in the center surrounded by a colorful animated layout while below all of it animation from the series plays along to some of the action theme music. The menus are easy to move around in and things are in standard style here. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is what we’re used to with CPM releases.

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)
The third volume of the series did a decent job of bringing something of a bigger scale to the show with elements of danger and action playing out across the screen with the two forces at play going against the Ryudo brothers. Of course, things did not work out in their favor and once the brothers put their heads together and acted, they can seemingly beat back anything. So there is little surprise that there’s some friction between an already less than amicable relationship that the Mulligan Foundation and Tomozawa.

Since things have calmed down a little, some of the brothers try to get back a normal life for a few minutes and attend a local festival with Matsuri. That doesn’t last long at all before Owaru starts to notice something different about one of the attendees, a suited man wearing a fox mask. After realizing that he’s luring Owaru out of the open, he finds him scaling the wall of a tower with ease. Owaru can’t back down from a challenge and ends up in a duel with the seemingly zombie-like enemy on the rooftop, but isn’t able to complete the fight as his enemy is picked up by a helicopter.

When the rest of his brothers and Matsuri show up though, he’s able to use his vantage point to realize that the Kyowa school grounds are on fire. Though it’s only the University side that’s going up in flames, the brothers uncle is in tears and trying to figure out what’s going on. The brothers see him as something of a fake still and try to find out who is really behind it, figuring that the Mulligan Foundation may be trying to use the school to capture them since their use of their uncle failed as well as it did. While not beating the information out of them, they have enough to go on to try and get some answers.

But this happens at the same time that Owaru is attacked again by almost a dozen of the fox masked men and ends up captured, now a toy of Dr. Tomozawa. This leads into a series of action moments from when he’s captured and woken up to being strapped down on a medical table where Tomozawa is all joyful about a live dissection to the arrival of the other brothers as they try to get a sense of what’s really going on. To make matters worse, Lady L has arrived as well and is using the situation to test out Tomozawa’s Augmented Humans with her own new androids that the mad scientist in her employ has created. The Mulligan Foundation continues to be irritated that Tomozawa gets himself involved with the Ryudo brothers and looks for ways to end the problem once and for all.

Sadly, this series continues to only induce me towards sleep as it plods along in many scenes. With the forty-five minute runtime per episode, there’s more fluff and long drawn out moments here than necessary, allowing for things to slow down to a crawl much more often than it should. There are some elements to the show that are interesting, but they appear so few and far between that it’s easy to start forgetting about them. The larger storyline starts to suffer under the weight of this after awhile and it becomes very easy to forget what was going on earlier.

In Summary:
While I find myself enjoying numerous novel to anime conversions over the past couple of years, this is one that hasn’t worked well for me at all. Something with its pacing and style just doesn’t click at all, even though there are some interesting ideas contained inside an otherwise formulaic storyline and setting.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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