Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B-
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Media Blasters
- MSRP: 39.95
- Running time: 325
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Zenki
Zenki Collection 2
By Chris Beveridge
April 20, 2002
Release Date: February 26, 2002
Zenki Collection 2
What They Say
© Media Blasters
Zenki and Chiaki encounter a new threat, as the evil Karma awakens Anju's true power. Only the mysterious sorcerer, Sohma Miki, is able to stand against Anju in her new form.
The secrets of Sohma and Anju are revealed as the final battle with Karma's forces draws near. However, to achieve victory, Chiaki and Zenki must travel back in time 800 years to challenge her own ancestors. Only then will Zenki's second transformation occur, giving him the strength to challenge Karma's ancient powers.The Review!
Zenki Collection 2 brings another 13 episodes of the 1994 series to DVD as well as bringing the first season to a close. This leaves just another 26 episodes from the second season which we hear will be presented the same way in two double disc set collections.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Being a TV series from 1994, there's not a lot of real directionality to get from this. Just about everything is center channel based, but fills the forward soundstage nicely. Dialogue was clear and undistorted and the music comes across nicely.Video:
Considering its age and budget, this is a pretty solid looking show. Outside of some jagged lines during camera panning movements, this is a good looking transfer. Colors are solid with a minimal amount of banding, cross coloration is practically non-existent and there were only a few scenes that looked a bit soft and out of place. While it's not a terribly vibrant show for the most part, this is much better than I expected it to be.Packaging:
The front cover for this double disc set has an image of Chiaki in the middle of weaving a spell, taking up the majority of the cover. The logo runs along the left, though fairly hard to read at first, and part of the spell that binds him runs along the right. The covers pretty busy overall, and seeing the images online first didn't help as it just looked a mess. It's a bit better in person, but not by much. The back cover provides a number of screenshots and a small summary of the shows premise. Unlike the first collection, there’s only one insert listing the chapter marks for both discs instead of two single sided inserts. Menu:
The menus are very basic, as there's little on the disc outside of the episodes themselves. Language selection and scene access are your major points to check out, and both are accessed fairly quickly and with a minimum of fuss. The menus suffer in the same way the front cover of the package does, with the logo/text being somewhat hard to read and just looking too busy overall. Some of the way the colors look is almost garish in nature.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the downsides of a double disc set struck again with this release, in that while we got it on street date, the amount of episodes were intimidating against all the small single discs we had with far less episodes. And down it got pushed into the pile, until we just went mad and watched it all in a couple of sittings.
This collection really does pick up where the other left off, which is in the middle of the first season. Most of the action is focused around Anju and Karuma’s manipulations of her and the increasing of her powers to deal with Zenki and Chiaki. A good portion of these episodes focused on the relationship between Anju and Souma as they got into the combat side of things and provided a decent amount of angst. The only real problem with it is, at this point in the storylines development, you just don’t feel that much for Souma as a character and end up just watching it happen as opposed to being involved in it.
Once this arc gets concluded though, things got really interesting for us. It’s revealed what the last and most powerful weapon is that Chiaki and Zenki need to defeat Kurama, that being the Golden Axe that the Golden Dragon has. Their journey to Mount Fuji brings them into an encounter with the bad guys again, but the twist is that during the right they get transported back in time nearly 800 years to an older version of the Guardian Village in the Heian period. And it’s here that we meet Chiaki’s look a like ancestor, which is a good bit of fun.
There’s about seven or eight episodes that deal with the Golden Axe and trying to get it from the Dragon, which meshes quickly into the season finale against Kurama. Things move very swiftly here as well as providing numerous opportunities for Zenki to grow in strength and powers. There are lots of little moments that work well with those from the future interacting with the past. The best part is that when they return to their own time, Kurama’s actually taken advantage of the changes made to the past and there is a Tree of Evil in the middle of Guardian Village, making everything much more desperate than they originally thought.
While we liked the first collection of Zenki episodes as a fun if repetitive weekly monster show, the second half moved strongly into the small arc format and worked harder and providing more character growth and development while moving the plot along as well. Actually eliminating characters helped it in our eyes as well since they didn’t shy away from it. This second half, especially once we got to the Heian period, really grew on us and we’ll definitely be watching the third collection much more quickly when it’s released. Being able to get thirteen episodes for under thirty bucks online makes this a very easy recommendation, especially for those who want a lot of show for their money.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.