Ronin Warriors Vol. #04 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 100/100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ronin Warriors

Ronin Warriors Vol. #04

By Chris Beveridge     July 12, 2002
Release Date: July 23, 2002


Ronin Warriors Vol. #04
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
The Warriors have begun their assault on the castle, but without a strategy, how can they possibly meet with success? Meanwhile, the evil Talpa, having separated them, begins to plant seeds of doubt into the minds of the warriors about their armor. And one of Talpa's men begins to doubt his master's cause. Is it possible for a warrior of Talpa's to join the forces of good?

The Review!
Revelations abound here, but how many of them can you trust when they come from Arago? For Samurai Troopers, apparently quite a few of them.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Much like the previous volumes, 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:
Things shake out in a similar fashion here as well, with lots of darks and almost soft appearance. There’s some color banding going on, most noticeably in still scenes with flesh tones, but otherwise things are in general decent if murky. With some grain and some cross coloration added in to some oversaturated colors, particularly the red of the Wildfire armor, you've got a show that's showing its age a fair bit here. It's not horrible by any stretch and still looks a lot better than broadcast.

Packaging:
Providing another reversible cover which gives the buyer the choice between logos, Bandai keeps both sets of fans happy. The only real difference on the front cover though. The back cover provides a summary of what to expect and some animation shots as well as the episode numbers and titles. The insert provides the same artwork on each side but with their respective logos and the episode titles, since the Ronin Warriors one used different names.

Menu:
For both sides of the disc, the menus are pretty simple. You get episode selection right from the main page and the only difference with the Japanese side is that it has a selection for subtitles and the credits are several pages longer as they include the credits from the show itself.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this batch of four episodes, there’s two thrusts of storyline moving forward here, and mostly action throughout. There’s some downtime for discussion in one episode for a bit, but otherwise it’s mostly sword swinging action.

In an effort to better defeat the Samurai Troopers, the ploy of separating them one by one and picking them off becomes favored again. We get an instance where during a subway attack, Shu gets separated and ends up under the influence of Arago. Arago takes advantage of this and manipulates things so Shu sees the history of their armors through the armors perspective. There’s some interesting bits to it, but one has to wonder how much you can trust it.

This eventually leads to the next confrontation with the Demon Lords and their armor, and a rather pitched battle with Shiten. With some seeds of doubt now planted in their minds about their armor, things don’t go quite as well. But with the intervention of Kaos, Shiten manages to be brought down. It’s from this that we learn that the Demon Lords possess the same kind of armor as the Samurai Troopers, which is why they’re also able to grow and gain strength as they battle.

It turns out that the armors are neither good nor evil, but aspects of human virtue, and build upon that. So long as the minds and hearts of the Samurai Troopers stay pure, they’ll be able to fight against Arago. But if they lose faith in themselves, there’s a chance that the armors and thereby the trooper could fall under Arago’s sway. With the defeat of Shiten, Kaos starts talking about how they may be able to sway him over to their side and take up the fight against Arago. With Arago being the one who struck down Shiten, it certainly seems like a good bet.

The revelations with the armor definitely helped picked things up a bit here, though the show continues to be very heavily action based and in a sense repetitious with the ongoing battles between the same characters. The minor tweaks made here, particularly with Shiten and having Kaos actually reveal stuff, helped to offset things a bit. But with so many episodes left, I have to wonder whether there’s enough real story to keep it going.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Reversible Cover

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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