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volume 3 issue 12

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INFO FILE
Title:
Zoids Vol.4: The Supersonic Battle
Format:
Dubbed DVD
88 minutes
Production:
Pioneer
Comments:
Another entertaining (if incomplete) entry into the Zoids video library.
Overall Rating:
72%

Animefringe Reviews:
Zoids Vol.4: The Supersonic Battle
By Patrick King

In the future, people have plenty of spare time. No longer content to play video games, read books, or go to school, many people are now interested in Zoid battles. Zoids are gigantic biomechanical beings with animal-like intelligence that allow themselves to be piloted by people and pitted against one another in large-scale battles. I'll leave the burning question of Zoid sentience to the philosophers. After all, they have plenty of spare time, as well.

Our primary characters include the headstrong Bit Cloud, pilot of the Liger Zero. For those of you who may have missed the review of previous discs, I'd like to point out that such an animal actually exists. It's the hybrid offspring of a lion and a tiger, and they tend to be almost twice the size of either of their progenitors. These imposing predators only appear in captivity where cross breeding is unnaturally induced. Now that we have that point cleared up, let's move onto the actual review, shall we?

At the current point in the story, Bit is traveling with the Blitz team as he tries to become the greatest Zoids warrior he can be. Blissfully cheerful (like a happy puppy), Bit easily accepts challenges that might frighten other pilots, but due to his skill and the talent of the Liger Zero, he hasn't had to worry much about losing a single battle...yet. In this collection, we witness the return of Leon, the son and brother of two of Bit's fellow teammates, and quite possibly the first real challenge the team has faced. Of course, we'll need to see the next disc to find out more of what may happen as a result of the reunion between the Blitz team and Leon. There are some odd moments in the series, but I think Jamie's change from an insecure whiney brat to the manly Wild Eagle has to be one of the most bizarre. I couldn't help but wonder where the writers pulled that one from. However, I appreciated the information revealed about Jamie's family, along with the introduction of his father. The addition of depth to characters always cheers me up.

With each disc, I find this series more enjoyable. There are some really funny moments in the show, and despite an average English dub and a complete lack of Japanese, this is very watchable stuff. It's also rather heavily edited, which is to be expected since it was originally aired (in English) on the Cartoon Network. Personally, I'd love to see the original Japanese version, but chances are my only hope for that would be to get an import disc or a fansub, for now. This is a visually appealing show that uses quite a bit of computer graphics to render the Zoids. Every piece of machinery is cel-shaded to allow for greater detail on the Zoids while keeping them in sync with the clean animated look of the show. In general, I like the visuals quite a bit in Zoids, though they tend to be a little on the plain and ultra-clean side of things.

There are some good sounds floating around for this show, and despite the occasionally repetitious sound effects, my ears were rather content to experience the latest volume of Zoids. The music is pretty good, as well, coming across as high-quality video game music. The voice acting is a bit on the silly side, but this isn't really a show that's aiming at a sophisticated audience. I'm not saying it wouldn't appeal to a more mature group, but the content has obviously been downgraded a bit to look better to the youngin's rather than us older folk. This show is undeniably a marketing vehicle designed to push the long-running line of Zoids toys, but that's not necessarily a concern so long as the series is entertaining.

Once again, we have an entertaining but feature-light volume of a show that has more potential than we're allowed to see. Sure there's a foil card included, but with only an English dub available, the hardcore crowd might be instantly turned away from Zoids. Really, though, I find that to be a shame, for there is plenty of fun to be had in the Zoids universe, so long as you have appropriate expectations. I'd suggest that readers at least check the show out on TV, and then one day we can all happily purchase the special uncut Japanese language version of Zoids with exclusive surround sound remixing and a free Zoids toy.

And to think, some people say I'm not an optimist.

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