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volume 3 issue 12

In This Issue

Contents 2
Features 3
Chasing Otakuism 8
Anime Briefs 9
Reviews 10
Web Showcase 23
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INFO FILE
Title:
Real Bout High School Vol.4: The Final Battle
Format:
Bilingual DVD
75 minutes
Production:
TOKYOPOP
Gonzo
Reiji Saiga
Sora Inoui/K-Fight Committee
Kids Station
Bang Zoom!
Comments:
A fitting conclusion to a series that almost lost its way.
Overall Rating:
74%

Animefringe Reviews:
Real Bout High School Vol.4: The Final Battle
By Adam Arnold

Somewhere between point A and point B, Real Bout's plot got totally lost in the mountains and had to be airlifted out. This volume is that airlift. Not only does it help save the show's out-of-control plot, but it also caps off the series in the nicest way possible - By taking things back to the beginning.

Yes my friends, the show returns to its first volume beginnings and gives the viewer all the glorious K-Fight action that drew them in to begin with. Episode 11, though serving as little more than a clips episode, does a very nice job of picking together the scattered bits of plot and packing them together into a coherent, though convoluted, package.

It seems that Ryoko has fallen into a bit of a depression. Though she doesn't want to go off and commit hari-kari, her turmoiled feelings are affecting her sword fighting. It's been weeks since Ryoko left the school play and the forces of evil in the fantasy world of Solvania are ready to make their move. The only question is when?

To say this show introduced too many characters too quick would be an understatement. Characters blindly mention names of people and I'm still left with the feeling that I should have some Cliff notes to go along with this show. It does help to read the manga alongside the anime, since some of the characters get fleshed out a tiny bit more in the manga.

When it comes down to it though, this is Ryoko's story - and no matter what characters you end up liking, they all have some small part in the final battle (make sure the emphasis is on small part). Other than that, the volume helps to round out the series and let it end on a high note. Unlike shows such as Pilot Candidate, which simply trail off into an unreleased OVA, Real Bout ties everything up in a satisfactory way and reassures the viewer that the characters will continue on as they were. Real Bout High School remains a series that has some great action with some hysterical slapstick and would make for some interesting video games.

Fans of DVD extras have a lot to get out of this volume, since it's packed. Things begin just as the three episodes end as the final installments of "Special End Corner" begin to play. They aren't like the "Café Escaflowne" segments that came with Bandai's Escaflowne DVDs, but they a nice touch that shows that the series does care if it has fans.

There are also some more outtakes from the dubbing session, which are quite funny. It'd be nice if more companies put outtakes with their releases since it helps to show that it's not easy to keep up with the lip flap. Some other extras include the final installment in the insightful "Interview with the Samurai Girl," a collection of opening and ending credit sequences, a line art gallery, and all of the pieces of color cover artwork.

The English dub is still rough in some spots, with bits of dialogue being strewn together to form insanely long run-on sentences. This show doesn't take itself too seriously, so this only adds to some of the comedic aspects as fighters ramble off long spiels before they bust a move. Keeping with the tradition of the previous volumes, a number of Japanese words such as 'senpai' and all the attacks have been kept in their original Japanese form. On the inside of the DVD insert is a set of liner notes that explains these terms and gives an English equivalent. Nice touch.

If you're looking for a lighthearted series with a bit of action, then be sure to check out Real Bout High School. It's more than worth your time, and Magical Girl Oyster Lulu will thank you for it.

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