Mania Grade: C
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- 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
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Ronin Warriors
Ronin Warriors Vol. #08
By Chris Beveridge
December 06, 2002
Release Date: November 19, 2002
Ronin Warriors Vol. #08
What They Say
© Bandai Entertainment
The identity of the Ancient is revealed. Ryo and Rowen, the two Warriors left standing in the fight against Talpa, continue their difficult quest. One of Kayura’s tricks backfires, and the two warriors find themselves in Arago’s realm. However, Arago servant Dara lies in wait for them. And to make matters worse, they’re plotting to possess the Inferno Armor! But during the battle, Kayura starts to wonder why she’s fighting so hard against Ryo…The Review!
Some surprising revelations crop up here, but the big brouhaha is that we finally get everyone into the Netherworld and ready to deal with Arago.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. The one area that shows how bad the source materials likely were is the new eye-catch, which has a lot of nicks and scratches compared to the actual episode itself.Packaging:
Providing another reversible cover which gives the buyer the choice between logos, Bandai keeps both sets of fans happy. The only real difference is 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:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this volume, the series leaps into the final arc of episodes, which means with the way this show plays out, we’re quickly moving into the lengthy final showdown. But before that, there must be… revelations!
While Ryo and Toma try and figure out exactly what they can do to free their friends who went to the Netherworld, without ending up captured themselves, we get to see some action between Kayura and the one purporting to be Kaos. While we’d seen Kaos pass on earlier, nobody is ever truly did in any storytelling medium, so I wouldn’t put it past them to bring him back. What is surprising (and given away on the back cover no less) is that Kaos has passed on his staff to Shiten, a former minion of Arago. Shiten has taken up the path after his lengthy fight with the Troopers and realized just what his life had become under Arago and how little future he really had left. Kayura tries to understand all of this while trying to bring him back to their side.
But even Kayura is conflicted, as we see during a sequence where she transforms to her normal self and almost seems scared of serving Arago and his dark purposes. It’s these few moments where the bad guys talk amongst themselves in ones and twos that tend to provide the most illuminating points. The good guys never have anything good to talk about other than their angst.
What ends up really setting Ryo and Toma into going to the Netherworld is when Shiten brings his revelations right to their home. While he does manage to make some amount of peace with his previous adversaries, they’re more concerned about their friends, but Shiten ends up giving them the right impetus to go forward. So with some brief quiet time in the empty city of Tokyo, we eventually move back to the Netherworld where the remaining Warlords have assembled to deal with them with some finality. But they aren’t aware of the plot being raised against them by Arago, which will change the balance of power between the suits, as not everything has yet been revealed about them.
This batch of episodes was very action heavy, mostly with Toma and Ryo taking it out on Netherworld beasties and getting the tar beaten out of them as well, all while Ryo tries to avoid going to the White Armor that will cause his friends pain. This is what I expect the remaining seven episodes to be like, with lots of action and a minimilization of the plot as we go through the rescue and attack phases of the series. It’s more enjoyably here at the end than at the beginning, since the Troopers have finally mastered most of their abilities though, so it’s not so much a repeat but a rematch.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.