Red Hawk -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: D

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

Red Hawk

By Chris Beveridge     August 31, 2002
Release Date: June 25, 2002

Red Hawk
© Manga Entertainment

What They Say
Terror and chaos reign in the land of Chungwon. Camellia Blossoms, the most powerful of the Warring gangs, use this time of unrest to wrestle control of the country from ailing peoples government, while producing counterfeit gold coins to cripple the struggling economy.

Within the Camellia Blossoms gang a group known as "Five Dragons" is being trained to kill in martial arts. Two brothers, Danlyong and Muklyong belong to the group but Danylong, with the aid of his elder brother, escapes...

Three years later, the innocent townspeople are too afraid to move against the evil Camellia Blossoms. The government has now been overthrown by the most powerful of the gang's martial arts expert, Lord Seobong, and there is no one left to oppose him.

In the countryside, smaller gangs continue to flourish, causing death and mayhem in the villages. Honglyung, seeking revenge for her father's murder, sets out with her friends to find the only person who can save the country, Red Hawk. But to be victorious, Red Hawk must face and kill Camellia Blossom's most powerful weapon - his own brother.

The Review!
Once again, Manga manages to completely mismarket one of their products.

For our primary viewing session, we attempted to listen to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Unfortunately, even though some retailers list Japanese and even the Manga site lists it as being in Japanese as of the original writing of this review, there is no Japanese language or subtitle track available on this disc. There is an English stereo and an English 5.1 track available. Both tracks sounded good, with the 5.1 track giving the dialogue a bit more of a crisp and better separated feel.

Originally released in 1995, and more of a Korean release than a Japanese release, the transfer here is decent, but suffers from some poor elements. Presented in its original letterbox aspect ratio of 1.85:1, colors tend to make out the best in this transfer, though there’s a number of fluctuations throughout it in terms of light and darkness, causing some scenes to be significantly darker. There’s a bit of gain throughout as well as some dirt and other minor print damage. Cross coloration is almost non-existent and aliasing is also very minimal. The show just feels older than the seven years that it is.

A somewhat bland front cover, you have the lead character with arms outstretched and clinging like a hawk while the red hawk is flying behind him, as if going in for a kill. It’s good imagery, but it juts looks a bit plain against the orange background. The back cover provides a few animation shots, mostly character stills, from the show itself as well as a very lengthy summary of the show. Technical information is clearly listed and just a few of the Korean production people are listed. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while the reverse side is a poor quality animation capture with the chapter listings in the lower corner.

Done up in a letterbox format as well, the menu has animation from the show, a very soft version of it, playing below the menu selections while some music plays along. The Manga logo in the corner is flaming away during all of this. Moving to submenus is nice and fast and access times are solid.

There’s a small number of extras included in this release. The first is the rogues gallery, which provides a look at several of the characters and provides some text on each of them. There’s an image gallery with twenty seven pieces provided, all of them captures from the show itself. The Manga version of the Red Hawk trailer is also provided. This appears to be in its original language, with the dialogue masked out with the exception of the ‘kiya!’ sounds.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The story of Red Hawk can really be summed up by the overflowing summary that’s provided on the back of the box (and above this review itself). My expectations going into the show weren’t all that high to begin with, knowing that it’s less of an anime production than a Korean show done in a mostly anime style. That’s not to single it out for its origins, but my experiences in Korean cinema haven’t been all that good so far.

The show plays out much like any movie where brother goes against brother and the hero has to save innocents across the land while extracting his vengeance. Within anime itself, I’ve fallen out of the entire martial arts genre, preferring the live action material more. And that’s really the main attraction here, as there is a lot of fighting throughout with different styles and a couple of good lead characters to pull them off. If you’re into this material, you’ll likely enjoy the visual aspect of it, but the show does again look older than its origins.

Of course, we were also severely off-put by the lack of a Japanese track. Or if there is only a Korean language version, I would have preferred that. I’ve grown a severe distaste for Manga dubs over the years, and this one is a reminder why with it’s overly foul language added in (and yes, we’re assuming it’s been added in, since Manga has added in vulgarities to what is essentially a children’s title in the past). It simply doesn’t fit the material that’s being presented visually. But it’s also the marketing aspect that really put me off, with both retailers and Manga’s “new release” section listing a Japanese track.

The whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth.

English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,Rogues Gallery,Image Gallery,Redhawk Trailer

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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