Legend of the Mystical Ninja Vol. #3 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Legend of the Mystical Ninja

Legend of the Mystical Ninja Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     April 28, 2004
Release Date: March 23, 2004

Legend of the Mystical Ninja Vol. #3
© ADV Films

What They Say
Makuamuuge has unleashed a new threat! Dr. Mudanashi, the creator of the cyber tunnel, has been summoned up to match wits against Goemon, Tsukasa, and the rest of their friends!

The Review!
The adventures in the real world continue for Goemon as his rogue's gallery grows with a new villain coming into play.

With this being such a straightforward kids aimed TV series, the audio tracks for both languages are standard stereo mixes that are pretty heavy for center channel use but have some occasional fuller sounds throughout them. We listened to the English language track and had no problems during regular playback with distortions or dropouts. This is a pretty simple mix and not much to it.

Originally airing in 1997, the transfer is quite solid and clean looking, free of dirt and other elements. Cross coloration is almost non-existent and even aliasing is very minimal. The only noticeable problem with the transfer is inherent in the source material and that's some frame jitter during various scene transitions. It's not on the same level as some older Gainax shows or anything, but once you get attuned to the jitter you see it whenever it crops up. The colors for the show aren't terribly vibrant for the most part; sort of a muted level but not quite down to the real-world color palette used in a number of shows. The color palette used helps make the show feel older than it actually is, pushing it back to late 80's or early 90's.

The front lets you know exactly what to expect once more while providing a good cast shot of heroes and villains with some vibrant looking colors, though there's some heavy black lining along the good guys. The back cover provides more accurate color shots from the show itself along with a small paragraph of basic plot summary. The discs features are nicely listed along the bottom in my favorite grid style along with several production credits. The insert has an action pose of Goemon and friends done up against a sunset sky. The reverse side is mostly just a listing of what's on the disc and the previews.

The main menu has a purple tinted close-up of Goemon along the right while the left has a long list of selections as you can episode jump right from the top. With little on the disc outside of the show, there's not a lot of real options here to mess with, resulting in fast menu loads and quick access times.

Taking the lead from the last volume, there are some really good extras here for fans of the dub cast. The opening extra is a fifteen minute interview with the cast where they talk about the show some more, how their auditions went and some of the peculiarities of it in how they tried to approach their characters, especially while still trying to figure out the show itself. The other extra is a commentary track done for one episode where a good chunk of the main cast is there, a couple of people to a booth, talking about it as it goes along with tidbits about how they did things, the strangeness of the show and some of the crafty plans the director used to get some emotion out of them. This is another fun commentary track where they all really get into the show and the characters quite well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Goemon continues along merrily here with another five episodes of the usual madness and mayhem. While it isn't a unique type, there's a certain flair to it that makes the kind of mayhem here seem more Goemon-esque than anything else.

As such, there's little overall difference between this set of episodes and the last set in how things play out. The main difference occurs very quickly in the first episode here where Makuamuuge chastises Seppukumaru for his continual failures to establish the proper gateway between the two worlds so that he can take over. Seppukumaru tries to defend himself against the charges made, but his boss overwhelms him. Before he knows it, he's being sent off to be retrained so that he can perform his duties properly someday. In his place, Makuamuuge has decided to bring someone else into the game to take over, Dr. Mudanashi. Since he's the creator of the cyber tunnel, it's figured he has a vested interest in seeing it completed. So along with his muscle-bound slightly faeriesh sidekick Protein, they head to Earth the come up with the same weird plans to get the rage gauge going as Seppukumaru did.

Dr. Mudanashi is an interesting switch in villains to some extent. He's got the funky little doctor look down with the bald head and white fringes of hair along with the crazed look. His particular peeve is waste, something that humanity does in droves, so that when he sees it, it gives him all sorts of itching problems that he has to deal with. Protein's got his little quirks too, mostly in that he's a real show-off when it comes to his physique (though Mudanashi berates him for his wasteful muscles). There's one amusing scene where he comes across a trio of girls and decides to show them his muscles and starts flexing in front of them but they barely even notice him. Protein is obviously the muscle for Mudanashi's plans, but just as often he ends up causing problems during things.

There isn't too much of a difference between the approaches that Mudanashi and Seppukumaru use however. Mudanashi's have a slightly more intelligent feel to them, such as when he starts messing with time. Mudanashi's stuff just seems a bit more thoughtful and sometimes a bit more personal, but he has the same goals to accomplish in getting lots of people emotional and causing the rage gauge to go up so that the tunnel will open. And while he does have Protein with him, he's still using the four egg warriors as well, though they seem to have been given more grunt work and moved out from the forefront for a bit. This is unfortunate since they're a source of good comedy and their English actors turn out some really good lines with them.

Tsukasa continues his attempts to win over Asuka throughout these episodes, and just like in the past, Noburo always gets in the way somehow or other, usually through his family influence or just using his mother to throw gobs of money at things. He uses the Christmas holiday to try and buy off everyone to some extent but more so to impress Asuka as he gives her a present worth around 50,000 yen. During a later event where a large crowd is going to be gathering, he uses his mother to get her to get them a helicopter so that they can watch things unfold from up high and without any interference. I'm sure the city must love that? Noburo is pretty much the ultimate spoiled momma's boy who takes every advantage he can get, including having a toupee at such a young age.

The only other area that continues to be wickedly creepy is the "old man" Monoshiri character and his continual pursuit of the young cuties. The fact that he designs a hot belt to be worn around the stomach that will warm you up in the winter, but will actually burst into flames, and is something he tries to give to some cute girls so that their clothes will burn off, is pretty out there. His sending of Sasuke out to take pictures is one thing and fairly harmless in the long run, but his other attempt of using the time watch to find cute babies and follow them up to being cute girls is quite another. He gets beaten up fairly routinely but you'd think it'd happen even more with some of the things he does.

In Summary:
While there isn't a lot to say about the individual plots, since they are fairly generic and pretty kiddy oriented, there's plenty of adult humor thrown in at the same time and this is maintained in the English dub as well. Goemon's a check your brain at the door and just watch some entertainment kind of show, and it's yet another one that I get to enjoy with my eldest daughter. She loves the action and the pure wackiness of things while I get a number of good chuckles out of the script and the mildly naughty moments throughout. I don't expect this title to really make much of an impact with people, but I'm enjoying the hell out of it, but I also recognize it for what it is. Good stuff, very limited appeal, but something that'd probably squeak into broadcast TV somewhere where both kids and drunken college kids would see it, causing it to be a mainstream hit.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles, English cast interviews and commentaries

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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