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volume 3 issue 9

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17 home / september 2002 / reviews Turn Page BackwardBack to HomeTurn Page Forward

Ronin Warriors Vol.4: The Shadow of Doom
Bilingual DVD
240 minutes
A good presentation of a show that may bring back memories for some, Ronin Warriors is nonetheless showing its age. Still, it can entertain the whole family without being sickeningly cute, which is always a plus.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Ronin Warriors Vol.4: The Shadow of Doom
By Patrick King

Many people remember watching Ronin Warriors years ago when they were growing up, giving it a nostalgic place of respect in the hearts of more than a few fans. Personally, until I received this disc in the mail, I'd never heard of the series before, or its Japanese counterpart, Legendary Armor Samurai Troopers. It's not earth shattering animation, nor does the story redefine the way I look at life or reality, but it is good clean fun, and sometimes that's exactly what we need.

Bent on taking over the world of the living with his undead legions, the dark Lord Arago has taken Tokyo hostage, forcing the rebirth of the Legendary Samurai Troopers, or Ronin Warriors, depending on whether you watch the sub or dub, respectively. Bandai made an interesting choice by deciding to put the Japanese version of the show on one side of the DVD and the English version on the other. The opening theme, commercial break bookends, and other aspects of the show vary quite a bit from one version to the other. While it's nice to have the two versions separated by a physical barrier, it's slightly annoying for those who like to switch between the dub and sub. Most likely due to edits made for American broadcast, the English version simply wouldn't line up with the Japanese version, and this way fans get the true edition of both shows. For that, I applaud Bandai.

At this point in the story, all five Samurai Troopers have been reunited and are finally ready to assault Lord Arago's castle and take back Tokyo. But the master of the underworld is not so easily defeated...

The story for this series is relatively simple. It's interesting enough to keep me watching, but nothing I'd want to pass on to my kids. There's quite a bit of the obligatory stock animation sequences when the Samurai Troopers don their armor, and there's more than enough stock dialogue. On the upside of things, the fight sequences are rather well animated and the weapons are detailed and come in a wide variety. Still, the plot doesn't go beyond that of a simple role-playing game. Not that it has to, but this show is what it is - a show for younger audiences.

The visuals are old, but not bad. Characters are distinct and the technical aspects of the series (such as background designs, armor designs, and weather effects) are all relatively impressive for the time. The sound isn't terribly dynamic, but the music actually isn't bad for such an old show. If I hadn't just watched Hellsing and a few other blazing new anime series, this show wouldn't look bad at all. However, in comparison...well, let's just say that things have come VERY far over the years.

Generally, this is a fun show without too much depth, but plenty of action to keep people watching. While I'd say it's ideal for kids, there's nothing that would keep adults from enjoying it if they don't mind shows like Pokemon or Speed Racer. It's good, harmless fun. (Though I'm sure someone will complain about the horrible use of violence in a children's show, but that person probably doesn't read Animefringe).

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