Sadamitsu the Destroyer Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Sadamitsu the Destroyer

Sadamitsu the Destroyer Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     January 03, 2004
Release Date: December 16, 2003


Sadamitsu the Destroyer Vol. #1
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Tsubaki Sadamitsu is a high school student and gang member who loves nothing more than a good fight. But his troublemaking days take a unique twist when he stumbles upon two cybernetic aliens engaged in combat. When one of the extra terrestrials is destroyed, Sadamitsu "inherits" a helmet which grants him incredible supernatural powers and compels him to battle Rukeitai — ruthless, alien convicts seeking to enslave the earth.

The Review!
Earth’s only hope of stopping twenty million incoming murderous alien criminals is a robot police officer that just got his head cut off.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The mix is a rather decent stereo mix with some good moments of directionality during the action sequences but less so during the dialogue, which is more center channel based. We had no issues with either track during regular playback for distortions or dropouts.

Video:
Originally airing in 2001, Sadamitsu’s transfer is a solid looking transfer that utilizes a good mix of colors. Much of the backgrounds are done in standard colors, but there are some good mixes of lush colors in there as well, such as the grass during the first episode. Foreground animation is much richer in style and vibrancy, with the aliens getting some good colors as well as other areas with character designs. Aliasing is pretty minimal and only a few instances of cross coloration showed up making the end result an enjoyable experience.

Packaging:
Going with the dual image look, the front cover has Sadamitsu in the foreground with a split shot of him in his regular clothes on one half while the other is him in the robot mode. The background is made up of various characters from the show hued in red underneath the larger dark logo. The back cover has several animation shots and one of the more comical disc summaries I’ve read in a long time. The discs features and extras are split into two areas, both well laid out and easy to read. The insert is just a rundown of the chapters underneath the logo with a few shots from the back cover included while the reverse side is boxart advertisements.

Menu:
The main menu layout is heavy on the logo with it taking up a good chunk of the screen, though it does have animation from the show playing inside the letters to a red hue. Behind it is a series of black and white shots from the show itself. Selections are lined along the bottom and are quick to access and load times are fast with no transitional animations.

Extras:
Spread across several segments, there’s a lot of extras included here. The “Visiting Kawaguchi City” segment has VA Rie Tanaka taking the viewer on a tour of the city and showing where various shots came from and then showing them from the episodes themselves. There’s a lot of accuracy in these and I always love seeing more parts of Japan than I have before. A small segment presents various teasers and commercials for the series, revealing its original airtime as 6:30 PM on Wednesdays. The opening gets a textless segment and there’s a set of production sketches for the aliens. Yuji Mitsuya does a piece on how to be a voice actor and there’s a good chunk of staff interviews as well. There’s simply a lot to take in here.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sadamitsu the Destroyer is a title that sounds like a throwback to the early 90’s releases. Upon seeing the trailer for the first time, I almost fell over laughing from how it looked, complete with a badass gang member riding an alien like motorcycle. The show just screams bad.

Which makes enjoying it as much as I do all the more confusing.

The premise gets a laugh every time I think about it. For unknown reasons, the Earth is in the path of where some twenty million alien criminals are about to fall onto. In the galaxy at large, criminals are exiled to space in containment fields and sent along their way as punishment. But for some reason, they’re able to get free on Earth and start causing some trouble, which has just started up. We’re introduced to the single police officer from outer space that’s dealing with this problem as he goes after one particular nasty creature, but it proves to be much too much for him in the end.

The end comes just after he and the creature stumble across a miniature gang rumble under the bridges. The leader of the Corpse Gang, Sadamitsu, tries to stop the officer since the alien is fairly well beat up, but this only gives the alien a chance to recover and strike down the officer. All of Sadamitsu’s friends freak at the sight of the monster and head off in the van along with Chieko, the teacher who came out to chastise Sadamitsu for various offenses. But this creature has developed a taste for female human flesh in its time here and seeks them out. Before Sadamitsu can help track him down, he finds that the police officer has had it.

Feeling guilt over what’s happened, Sadamitsu and his badass gang ways causes him to take up the officers cause and takes the separated head, which is actually empty, and offers his help to the officer as his sentience is still in the helmet itself. Sliding it over his head, Sadamitsu finds himself with a new second skin all over his body and the power to capture the aliens and send them back to space. But he’s also got a lot to learn along the way.

Sadamitsu fits the role of a school gang member well. His look is similar to Kuwabara from Yu Yu Hakusho in the Dark Tournament era with the white pants and trench style jacket with the bandages wrapped around his waist. He’s got the style and attitude, carries around the wooden sword and has his own sense of justice that doesn’t fit with others most of the time. He goes to school but mostly to use it as a hangout to meet up with his friends. He’s not exactly the model student by any stretch.

But once he makes the commitment to help the fallen officer, a lot changes quickly for him. When he initially kills the first criminal, he’s wracked with guilt over it and doesn’t like how he feels at all about what he’s done. When he runs into his father later on, a doctor, while wearing the helmet and chasing down one of the criminals, he actually admits to his father what he’s doing and what’s going on. At most, his father doesn’t think he’s got the commitment to do what’s required. The show goes against several standard types for what characters do and act, which is a really nice change of pace.

The galaxy police officer, who Sadamitsu amusingly names Junk, is an interesting character in the show. Since he’s just a head really, and an empty one at that, takes on a different role in this series. Though he fills it as the guidance and mentor type, he’s still unsure of much about human culture and everything is very simple to him in the end. But he’s got some interesting uses, such as using his remaining equipment to allow him to speak through whatever radio is nearby or remote controlling cars. With his past experience and knowledge, he’s essential to Sadamitsu doing his job until the backup arrives.

There are some elements in this show that manage to work against type as well. One of them is the music, which has a cowboy western/Mexican feel to it, a true rarity in anime. There’s also a good mix of humor into the show, from some of the amusing things the aliens are like to the way the characters try to solve the situations. The secondary cast is minimal for the most part, but they play their roles well and added a nice element to the show.

In Summary:
Just about everything this show is says I shouldn’t like it, I even went into it with dread based on the trailer. But it’s really surprised me by taking mediocre material and really running with it, adding things that aren’t standard and playing against type. With only ten episodes to the series, I don’t expect much of a full out plot since there’s already 1.2 million aliens on the planet, but it looks like the ride will be fun. This was a real surprise and continual proof that anime manages to reinvent things where you least expect it.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Visiting Kawaguchi City,Voice Acting Lessons with Yuji Mitsuwa,Staff & Cast Interviews,Encyclopedia,TV Spots,Textless Opening

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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