Tekkaman Blade II - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Urban Vision
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 150
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tekkaman

Tekkaman Blade II

By Chris Beveridge     November 06, 2001
Release Date: November 06, 2001


Tekkaman Blade II
© Urban Vision


What They Say
Ten years have passed since the original series (Tekknoman to fans of the U.S. TV series) as a new breed of Tekkaman face off against their powerful enemy- Radham. Our heroes must struggle to overcome the shadows of their past even as they scramble to rebuild their team.

Yumi Francois, a young mechanic, is recruited into the group of space knights and must conquer her fear and inexperience. In a freak accident, Yumi receives a powerful weapon, the Volteker Reactor, and becomes the jealous target of Natasha.

Thrust prematurely into battle, Yumi finds that her ultimate test will be the perseverance of her values and innocence in the face of war. As the young warriors deal with their own demons from the past, they prepare to battle against extreme odds with the fate of humanity at stake.

The Review!
Having not seen the original series that this is a sequel to, I was some hesitant to just jump right in. But with the story several years removed from the original and a mostly all-new cast, it's fairly easy to get into things.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The audio for this track is pretty solid, with some nice moments of directionality across the forward soundstage and a good amount of depth to it. Dialogue was nice and clear and the music and sound effects played out nicely. I gave this a good run through the English 5.1 track as well, but found it to be excessively distracting, such as during the early ship combat sequences, so much of it just sounded hollow when trying to give it an "in the spaceship" mode.

Video:
With a running time just under three hours, this is a pretty decent looking transfer. Colors are nice, cross coloration is practically non-existent and there's not a lot of shimmering during camera pans. There's a fair number of soft sequences though that stick out a bit and some of the background skies artifact up a bit with some macroblocking. And for those of you who have problems with Macrovision, don't even bother picking up this disc, as they've gotten their fangs into Urban Vision.

Packaging:
The front cover gives us the standard cast shot below the logo, with a fairly 70's/80's ish looking character design (designs I really like). The colorings a bit flat and a little lifeless unfortunately and not very eye-catching. The back cover gives a shot of one of the Tekkaman and gives a summary of the six episodes here. Features are plainly listed, though languages are impossible to discern (listed only as Remastered in 5.1. No mention of English or Japanese). The insert provides another shot of the front cover while it folds out to go over in some detail Aki's Tekkaman design. The back of it lists the chapters for all of the episodes.

Menus:
The menu design is very simple, with the main menu giving you instant access to each of the episodes and an option to play all of them. Going into an episode gives you the chapter list for all of the episodes, making jumping around easy. There's little depth to the menus since there's not much here beyond the show itself, but access times are nice and fast and we had no troubles getting around.

Extras:
The only extra included is a fan art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As mentioned earlier, I've not seen any of Tekkaman in its previous incarnation, but with just a few minutes of background presented here, it's easy to see why it was pretty popular among its fans. It's at its core one of the basic kinds of 70's alien anime, with the overpowering invaders and the one man who has something that can stop them.

This OVA collection takes place a number of years after that, with Earth and the solar system building up defenses against the Radam enemy. Instead of only one man being a "primary body" that can transform into an armored warrior, a wide variety of people have been given this ability during the time between, though apparently only three at any time can be considered official Tekkaman Space Knights, which is the group that is based off of what the original Tekkaman wanted to do.

Our re-introduction to this universe is through the eyes of Yumi Francois, a young girl whose barely able to handle her job as a mechanic for the ships that transport the Tekkaman around. She's young, slightly ditzy and a decent anime stereotype for this kind of character. She's also a primary body, which means she has the ability to transform at any time into a Tekkaman. While bringing some items to somewhere deep inside the Earth base, she stumbles upon a strange room where a single man has a nearly hidden office. She falls instantly for him.

And much to her surprise, it's no long thereafter that she becomes the third needed Tekkaman to bring the team up to full speed. This infuriates Natasha, one of the existing Tekkaman, and it just amuses David, the other of the trio. The support team people are fairly noncommittal except for her friend whose now going to become her support. Of course, he has a big crush on her, ends up squaring off at times against David, while both realize that the real love of hers is the original Tekkaman, Blade.

The first three episodes, called Stage 1, go through the introductions of everyone and the first couple of missions for Yumi. We get to see a decent amount of action with the invaders swooping in and destroying lots of stuff, as well as Yumi messing up and causing plenty of destruction. But being an OVA series, she catches on quick and ends up becoming the most powerful member of the group.

But things take a turn for the worse, and the enemy has decided to slam a black hole into the Earth to be done with it. This forces the original Tekkaman to come out of his mysterious disappearance retirement to join in the fight to save everything. The first half ends up coming to completion nicely, and lets the second arc of a new set of dangers arrive. These episodes are pretty decent, but I felt they just lacked a certain oomph to carry on. It's almost like if they had left it at just the first three, it would have been a solid story.

Tekkaman was interesting to see, but it hasn't inspired me in the least to go and check out the original series at all. It's got some nice production values for an OVA series and some of the retro-ness is cool to see, but a good portion of the episodes felt like they just didn't need to be made.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Hearing Impaired Subtitles,Fan Art Gallery

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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