Zenki Collection 4 - 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: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 39.99
  • Running time: 325
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Zenki

Zenki Collection 4

By Chris Beveridge     November 08, 2003
Release Date: September 30, 2003


Zenki Collection 4
© Media Blasters


What They Say
By implanting Seeds of Karuma within humans, the demonic Kagetora plans to awaken the true evil hidden in even the noblest heart. When he gathers enough power, the ultimate Evil Beast will be formed and the world will come to an end. Chiaki, Zenki, and Goki must fight against Kagetora and the evil Seeds of Karuma. Contains Episodes 40-51

The Review!
The second half of the final season of Zenki comes in busy and ends on a large chaotic note.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The audio on this disc is decent though it’s showing its age since it was originally a mono release. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions. The Japanese track does come across a bit louder than the English track, which is the only really noticeable difference I could find with it.

Video:
Originally airing back in 1995, the final half of the second season of the series stands pretty much as the previous volumes did. 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 during the first half, but shows up a bit more in the later episodes 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 the transformed and powerful Zenki, essentially busting through the background here. 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 but it manages to work pretty decently with some good colors to it. The back cover provides a number of screenshots and a small summary of the shows premise. The included insert lists the chapter marks for both discs.

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:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this fourth batch of episodes, the series comes to its conclusion with a total of fifty-two, a conclusion that’s large in its scale, going for the epic approach, but also ends in an amusing if typical way to keep the possibility open for more episodes.

With the second season, much is focused around the Dog Deity and his canine pal and their search for the Karuma seeds that will allow it to become the Evil Beast that will destroy everything. The first half of this season spent time getting to know Rho and some of his basic motivations as well as having him interact with Zenki and Chiaki. With the second set of stories, his story gets more complicated as he ends up becoming somewhat romantically involved with one of Chiaki’s school friends. This provides some basis for him to be grounded in humanity later on. But he also gets tied down in another way as this young Prince of the Dead also ends up meeting his human mother, something he wasn’t aware he even had.

While most of this is going on, another power in the realm of the Dead, the plotting and calculating Kagetora, has continued to push ahead his plans and has secured quite a lot of power there while Rho is off and about on his journey to find the evil seeds to feed the potential beast. Eventually Kagetora gets cocky enough to reveal what he’s really up to when he faces Rho, which leads the series to split into three fronts to deal with. Zenki and his group end up having to battle on two sides now depending on who shows up where first, which does make for a few interesting scenes.

But inbetween the revelations and the last few episodes where the storyline hits its epic level, the show doesn’t really feel like it’s progessing all that much outside of some battles and banter. Half of the cast feels like they don’t want to be there; when you watch the grandmother, the way she’s drawn looks like she’s someone who doesn’t even want to be in this show. I also continue to dislike the professor character as he seems to be just like the professor on Gilligan’s Island; always ready with some kind of invention that will do exactly what’s needed before anyone knew they needed it.

In a way, the cast has just gotten too large in this season. With Kagetora and his crew having a fair number of members to it and their own internal struggles, the Deity and actual dog group and then Zenki’s group, who managed to gain some schoolgirl followers and a growing number of priests, many scenes and fights just felt too crowded. With as much going on as there was, you’d have one person out of a dozen fighting while the dozen would just look on.

The animation for the show at least manages to keep steady, which is something in its favor. While it’s not hugely impressive, there are some good designs to it and I liked some of the monsters that’d come up in various episodes as well as the seeds when they opened their eyes. I spent some time listening to the English dub on this final set and just wanted to completely destroy the normal Zenki’s voice actor. I could barely stand listening to a few minutes of it with the pitch and style used. I kept flicking back and forth with the Japanese performance to see if he was trying to mimic something but I’m at a loss.

In Summary:
While I rather enjoyed the first season of Zenki and the way everything flowed during it, the second season continually felt very unnecessary. The first season provided some surprises as well as plenty of repetition with transformations and the like, but there was something intriguing about it. The second season started off decently enough but really faltered here at the end in my eye. With as many characters running around as there are, I felt less and less connected to them and what was going on. The early hook that had gotten me had slipped out and as it went on, my interest faded.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

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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