Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: C+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Central Park Media
- MSRP: 19.99
- Running time: 49
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Spirit Warrior
Spirit Warrior Vol. #1: Revival of Evil
By Chris Beveridge
August 15, 2003
Release Date: August 12, 2003
Spirit Warrior Vol. #1: Revival of Evil
What They Say
© Central Park Media
Darkness is his destiny…
A young mystic without a past, Kujaku was born under a dark omen possessed of incredible supernatural powers. Raised by priests, he has learned to use these powers for good. But the evil Siegfried von Mittgard seeks to steal his birthright, and rule the world as the Regent of Darkness. He has dispatched bloodthirsty minions to destroy Kujaku before he can awaken to his destiny. Now, Kujaku must unravel the riddle of his past, before the power within consumes him! Contains episode 1. The Review!
Characters simply aren’t designed like this anymore, unfortunately.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The OVA series features a pretty standard stereo mix with only a few very minor moments of noticeable directionality across the forward soundstage, as the bulk of it is center channel based. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no technical issues with it at all.Video:
Originally released to video back in 1994, Spirit Warrior manages to look decent nearly ten years later. The show is pretty dark in nature and with it being traditionally animated, there’s some noticeable grain and breakup visible during some of the backgrounds. Cross coloration and aliasing are very minimal though, providing something of a balance. Colors look good without bleeding and there’s very little noticeable in the way of jitter.Packaging:
Going for the overly dark look while mixing in some violence and sex, the cover here isn’t all that eye-catching as opposed to easy to miss with the mixture of the colors. The central image is Kujaku with the dagger, but it’s so dark and set off from the center by the naked imagery that your eyes aren’t drawn in properly. The back cover provides a single character shot and gives time over to the summary and the basic features, technical and extras. The reverse side of the cover provides more artwork in black and white as well as chapter listings and the English cast list. Strangely, there’s no Japanese listings for actors as it’s listed as unavailable. Menu:
The main menu is a nice layered piece with animation playing in the background while the top level has the menu pieces, using the front cover in reverse but much cleaner and brighter. Selections are quick and easy to access and the layout works nicely with no transitional animations.Extras:
The extras are pretty minimal here, with just the US trailer, a 40 second video gallery of artwork that’s all screenshots except for one and then a 2 minute or so music video set to some mp3.com artist.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Spirit Warrior, also known as Peacock King during its VHS release a few years ago, is an OVA series that starts off with the big grand epic style, almost in the way Lodoss War did. We learn of the large battle between the gods of dark and light and all that went with it, which resulted in the entombment of some of them deep underground. But now, lots and lots of years later, they’re coming back to life and the darkness is ready to spread throughout the world again.
This brings three factions into play that want to deal with this. The first is the Nazi’s. That’s right, even in the 90’s, they’re still badass. Though we aren’t too sure what the deal is with them overall, they’re led by a rather charismatic leader who wants to avoid the problems of Hitler by not having the Dragon Orb that will guarantee him true power over the world. Another faction is those who have guarded the lair of darkness and require the Orb to be brought back for safekeeping. Then there’s the Chinese Buddhists who currently have the orb and are in the bad position of having one of their members years ago father twins that could house the darkness.
The show opens to a couple of nice chase and fight sequences between two of the factions before shifting to the main storyline, which is the twins themselves who are now in their late teens. We learn how the female twin has been missing and presumed dead for many years (though we obviously see her as a captive of the Nazi’s) so we follow the male twin, Kujaku, as he continues his training to be a spiritualist. Unfortunately for him, the forces of the Nazi’s are coming after him as they want to use him with the orb. Providing that he actually is who they believe he is, he could become the Regent of Darkness by going through the ceremony as only the twins can safely hold the orb. If his mind is “weak”, the Darkness can take over easily and then begin its new conquest of the world.
Throughout the storyline, we get some good action sequences as the Nazi’s and the other faction chase Kujaku and those who protect him, which leads up to a nice little sequence where everyone comes together. The animation for this series is pretty good, but it’s the character designs that really draw me with the large muscular men and the solidly built frames of the regular characters. There’s some great coloring and depth here that help the characters look more realistic and solid than a lot of other shows.
On the downside, this is the first of five episodes. The DVD release is nowhere near a good value due to this, since it’s likely subsequent episodes will come out at 50 minutes each as well, resulting in five discs at thirty bucks a pop. It’s easier to recommend finding the tapes and living with those and waiting for this to turn into an ultra cheap box set instead. This is a series that needed to be released in one package at a higher price instead of many package at a medium price. Even if you’re a fan, it’s hard to recommend due to the way it’s coming out.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Music Video,Art Gallery
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.