Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #17: Holy War - 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: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Rurouni Kenshin (aka Samurai X)

Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #17: Holy War

By Chris Beveridge     May 05, 2002
Release Date: April 30, 2002


Rurouni Kenshin Vol. #17: Holy War
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Amakusa Shougo took up the mantle of divinity after witnessing the murder of his mother. Calling himself the Son of God, he surrounds himself with an army of the faithful and starts his own revolution. As Kenshin lies blinded by Shougo's Rai Ryu Sen, Sanosuke ends up rescuing a spiritual woman known as Magdaria.

The war then turns doubly deadly as one of the faithful plans to make Shougo a martyr like his namesake. Despite his affliction, Kenshin must fight to end this new revolution before Shougo is crucified!

The Review!


Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The audio track here is basically what we've seen in previous volumes with a good forward soundstage based track with some decent directionality here but nothing going to the rears. Dialogue is nice and clear and we noticed no dropouts or other distortions.

Video:
The transfer continues to look pretty decent here without many issues on our setup. Cross coloration sneaks into a few areas here and there, but for the most part there’s just a light layer of grain throughout. Colors look good if washed out and ‘real world’ style for backgrounds and various foreground images. There were a few jaggies showing up during some panning sequences, but nothing terribly bad at all.

Packaging:
The cover for this volume has an interesting shot of Magdalia and Shouzo as children set against an image of the older Magdalia and Kenshin. It’s an interesting image with the more innocent look on the bottom and the harder look to Magdalia’s face in the background. The back cover provides a decent summary of the show while also presenting the discs features and production credits. Episode numbers and titles are also clearly listed. The insert provides some animation shots and chapter listings on one side while the reverse is just boxart ads for other shows.

Menu:
Continuing the look of this arc, the Meiji menus continue to look good and make good use of the original Japanese cover artwork in them. Using the front cover artwork and overall design, the look here is fantastic with some of the music playing along. Selections are quick to access and moving around is pretty simple as things are logically and consistently laid out.

Extras:
Some good extras are included with this release. This arc has featured a new ending sequence, so we get the creditless version of it here. There’s two brief pages on translation notes since there’s not much to cover during these episodes and there’s another segment of dub outtakes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The larger plot of the Christian Arc is provided here with Kaiou being given some screentime here as the one manipulating Shogo to his own ends. Shogo’s ideal of pushing forward for his people is a strong one, but it’s also something that blinds him to what others are doing around him. Kaiou, someone who has had a tortured past because of his religion, finds that he’s easily usable for his own master plan of turning Japan into a colony and becoming the one in charge of it. That, as it turns out, is the core of the entire movement that he’s managed to get Shogo to bring together.

Shogo, as mentioned, is oblivious to this as he tries to create something that his parents wanted to see happen. We get some extensive flashbacks to the day that everything changed for him and his sister. The way those who believed were purged was done not so much as methodically but as something that those who could do, simply enjoyed doing. The kind of people weren’t necessarily those who had a grudge against their religion, though surely they played up that aspect, but they were the kind of people who simply liked killing.

A good amount of time is also given to the conflict of personalities between Magdalia and Sanosuke, which provides the “heart” of this arc as she continues to learn that her way of living for the past several years is the one that she despises in others, with the fear and distrust of others. The two find themselves at odds early on, when it appears that she’s willing to go far enough to kill him, but watching their evolution in these four episodes is pretty interesting, though lacks any realism. I can’t imagine someone changing their beliefs so easily or seeing the light as quickly as she did.

Kenshin himself does make several appearances in these episodes, though for the most part he finds himself once again being pushed around by the current of events instead of controlling them. With his blindness still affecting him, he sees a bit less inclined to go do what’s necessary, but once he’s underway with the information Misao uncovers about Shogo, Kaiou and the entire colony deal, his steps move a bit more quickly. Things come to a nice head though with some good sequences between Kenshin and one of Kaiou’s minions as well as the attacking army. But all of this is setup for the final volume, where you know the final duel will be between Shogo and Kenshin.

This arc has continued to be interesting and provided some interesting new challenges. I’m particularly glad to see that Sanosuke is getting more time and the romance potential increased here and enjoyed the way the flashbacks brought a lot of information to light without it feeling too forced. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how they bring it all together with the next volume.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Liner Notes,Outtakes,Creditless Ending

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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