Reviewby Bamboo Dong, Jan 25th 2003
DVD 4: Supersonic Battle
The Blitz Team continues to wage battles against the Back Draft Group, fighting their treacherous antics and unsanctioned fights. Along the way, Jamie gets a new Raynos Zoid that used to belong to his father. Things also heat up when Dr. Toros's son returns and challenges Bit with his Blade Liger.
Airing in America on Cartoon Network's Toonami block, Zoids is now available on dubbed DVD from Pioneer Entertainment. Providing countless marketing opportunities, Zoids is a show that is fun and exciting for kids, and mildly entertaining for anyone else. The fourth volume of this series includes four episodes, and a few extras. Among those on the disc include a miniature character profile, with pictures and scant descriptions of a few of the Zoids and their respective pilots. There's also a score book that keeps track of all the battles, and also the winner of each. It's no surprise that the Blitz Team has won virtually every battle, so this extra is rather useless. Also, to no surprise, one of the extras on the disc includes a Hasbro commercial for Zoids action figure model kits. Perhaps the only worthwhile, and extremely cool, special item is the shiny insert-sized sticker that comes with the DVD that features one of the Zoids, and also a few specs on the machine. The weight of the disc rests on the contents of the disc, and with the scraggly story line, it's one that can only be watched one episode at a time.
While each of the episodes are interesting on their own, the overall story line of the series makes no logistic sense. No explanations are given as to why Zoid pilots fight battles with one another in the middle of nowhere for no reason, or even why the bad guys in the series are even bad. Also, there seems to be no continuing plot line whatsoever, as the tidbits that seem to connect with each other are often interrupted by random episodes. The story can more or less be described as a set of multiple plot lines that are continued once every volume or so. When watched continuously, this can be dull, but when watched once a week, or daily, as television episodes were made to be watched, it can be rather entertaining. It's easy to see how it would enthrall children, and even mecha-loving anime fans when watched on TV.
Even though the disc is dubbed only, this doesn't hamper the series much. The dub works well with the characters' personalities, and although sometimes the girl in the series can sound incredibly annoying and screechy, the acting is commendable. The problem with the characters is not their voices, but their personalities. The natures of some of the main characters are frustrating to watch, especially the cowardliness of one of them, and the annoyingly self-absorbed hyperactive egotism of another. With the exception of a few side characters, the people are the bane of the series. They hardly interact with one another at all, making the main feature of the series the battles, which, given its young male target audience, makes sense.
On the positive side, the animation in the series is fluid, which is a nice touch. Surprisingly, the parts that have a tendency to get choppy are the battle scenes, where it sometimes looks as though the animators tried to cut as many corners as possible. Instead of clear cut fights, the scenes are oftentimes just fiery clouds of vagueness. They serve their purpose, but are disappointing sometimes, especially when a character is set to use a special attack, which is hidden by fogs of fire. The art in the series is smooth and clean, and gives it a crisp look. The only issue with the art is the oversimplified character design, which sometimes gives the people a fake look.
It's unfortunate that the Zoids DVD includes the television edit, as there is no opportunity for viewers to see the original opening and ending themes for the series. This isn't anything too heavily important, given the target marketing audience, but it's still a shame they didn't include it as an extra just for kicks. The other music in the series is pleasantly heroic, as would be expected from a mecha battling series. It doesn't stand out apart from the series though, as none of the tracks are particularly memorable.
Overall, the series is one that is exciting to watch—only on television. When viewed in sequence, however, it loses its appeal and its flow. It's a great DVD for kids though, who will love the chance to pester their parents for countless numbers of Zoids toys. The animation is fluid, the art is clean, and each individual episode is fun to watch. This DVD is best to be enjoyed in moderation, and it's a pity that it's the dubbed only television edit. If you enjoyed it on Cartoon Network though, then here's your chance to get it on DVD.
Overall (dub) : C+
Story : C-
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : C
+ Shiny sticker on the inside!
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