Ronin Warriors OVA Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ronin Warriors

Ronin Warriors OVA Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     June 10, 2003
Release Date: June 03, 2003


Ronin Warriors OVA Vol. #2
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
A 300-year-old book is discovered which chronicles the adventures of the legendary Samurai Troopers… centuries before they happen! But what does this mean? Are the Troopers merely puppets in some cosmic play, acting out parts?

Who is this mysterious Suzunagi, a mysterious girl who entices each of the warriors with their hearts’ desire - salvation, new armors, freedom from a life of fighting. Why is she so interested in the troopers and their armors?

The Review!
The third and final OVA series for the series is a much more reflective piece than one would expect… or care for.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Much like the TV series releases, the sound feels a bit low for this mix, but this is something we’ve noted on older shows in the past. There’s little in the way of directionality but everything across the forward soundstage sounds decent if a bit lower than I’d expect. Dialogue is nice and clear and we didn’t notice any distortions.

Video:
The transfer here looks a bit better than the TV series in general due to better quality animation and probably some masters there were in better shape. That’s in the new original animation at least, since the bulk of the show is made up of footage from the TV series itself. Colors are nice and solid, cross coloration is non-existent and there’s little in the way of serious aliasing. The main problem of all the grain in the TV series also is pretty much absent from this release.

Packaging:
Providing another reversible cover that gives the buyer the choice between logos, Bandai keeps both sets of fans happy. The cover has a nice image of the heroes ringed along the bottom while Suzunagi is in a sorrowful look above them. The only real difference is on the front cover with the logos. The back cover provides a summary of what to expect and some animation for each of the two series here. The insert provides the cover artwork on one side while the other has a nice pretty-boy shot of the cast and a quick contents listing.

Menu:
The menu layout is fairly similar to the TV series with the exception of having actual audio selections since it’s all on the same piece this time. One really nice addition is once languages are set, you can select the episode you want to play from that menu without having to go back. Access times are nice and fast and the loads between menus is short.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the previous OVA release, which had two separate stories to tell, I was unsure whether I would enjoy this final release all that much since I couldn’t imagine there being much good story left to tell.

For the most part, I was right. The bulk of the five episodes here is made up of flashbacks or still screens with a whole lot of dialogue. For example, in the fifth episode, you have a shot of Ryo sitting next to his bed listening to the phone where one of the other troops recounts what’s happened in earlier episodes to him. This goes on for five minutes. The only thing that changes is the blinking on his answering machine. And then another person calls and the scene repeats itself…

It’s not all bad though, but it seems like the bulk of this story could be done in two episodes or even less once you get to the nuts and bolts of it. It kicks off easily with Toma going through a mental dialogue about what he’s feeling as there is a pull on him to deal with the armors again, the armors they no longer have. In his thoughts, he starts to recount everything from the TV series that happened to him.

This happens across the next couple of episodes for each of the respective troopers as they all try to figure out their feelings and emotions about being Troopers, as well as the realization that it’s something that they will be until they die as it’s an integral part of them now, even if they don’t have the armor itself. Some of the suits powers have been retained and imbued into them.

There’s a few things to sets things into motion here for the very minor story that’s taking place. The first is the discovery of a 300 year old book that tells the tale, in detail, of the TV series as prophecy. The Troops have differing opinions on how they feel about this, since it, as they say, makes their entire battle feel almost comical and useless as it was all predetermined. The other aspect is the arrival of Suzunagi, a red headed woman who died back in Edo period when the government raided her house and destroyed everything and killed everyone.

She ended up lingering on in this form though with her hate growing over the years, a hate that focused into the armors she believed were responsible. So now in the present day, she takes down each armor one by one as the Troopers try and deal with their own internal problems and the simple fact that none of them seem to really get along anymore.

The story itself isn’t bad, and it is extremely dialogue heavy. The focus here is not on the action or events, but to allow the internal monologues of characters we saw fight continuously to have a chance to simple express themselves. This may or may not be a disappointment depending on how you enjoyed the series itself. What it does work as is a good recap of the entire series key points and key moments for the characters.

The only people that this will really appeal to are the die-hard fans and those of Ronin Warrior fandom who crave any kind of new material to check out. Just be prepared to see a lot of footage you’ve already seen and to have a whole lot of exposition brought out to play.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

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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