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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Peacemaker vol. 5 - Spider's Web
Peacemaker vol. 5 - Spider's Web
ADV Films // Unrated // May 24, 2005
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted July 12, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

In the fifth volume of Peacemaker there are three episodes which continue the story of the Shinsengumi in ancient Japan.  This program has really been having problems finding its voice.  Though there are only seven volumes in this series, the fifth disc still doesn't reveal what the main story for the program is going to be.  The series started out with a lot of promise, but hasn't delivered yet.

In nineteenth century Japan, young Tetsunosuke joins a fighting band, the Shinsengumi.  (They were the antagonists in Ruroni Kenshin, and this series is one of the few that show them in a positive light.)  He does this in order to learn to fight and become stronger, so that he can avenge his parents death.  He's still not sure if he wants to become a killer though, and for the time he's a page one of the leaders of the group.

The Shinsengumi are not without troubles though.  There are several groups in Japan that would like to see the members of this group killed.  There are several factions warring, and the Shinsengumi are holding on to power, but just barely.

This volume introduces a new character, Kichisaburo.  He is a blood thirsty killer in addition to being a homosexual.  That's not all though, Kichisaburo also looks exactly like the Shinsengumi  sword master Okita.  One of the Shinsengumi's enemies use this boy to sow discord through the city.  Kichisaburo attacks local guards, leaving some alive to identify him as Okita, as well as trying th assassinate some of the higher ups in the Shinsengumi.  The Shinsengumi figure out what's happening pretty quickly of course, and go hunting for the doppleganger.  Finding him won't be too hard, but stopping him may be.

I was really disappointed in the volume as a whole.  I thought the Kichisaburo story got off to a very good start, but the ending was very anticlimactic and didn't live up to its potential.  They set up Kichisaburo as a great fighter and totally ruthless, but in the end Okita didn't even fight him.  He was dispatched without a battle which made me wonder what the whole point of this two part story was.

Looking back on the whole series, this program is a bit of a mess.  Tetsunosuke, who was the main character in the first few volumes and clearly the focus of the show, is hardly seen in these three episodes.  His journey to avenge his parents seems to have been forgotten.

They touch on mystical events and a powerful magician in a few shows, but that storyline gets dropped for several shows before being briefly brought up again.  Other subplots are similarly dropped so it hard to really see where this show is going.

As with the other volumes, make sure you sit through the FBI warning for an amusing voice over.
 


The DVD:


This volume contains another scant three episodes in a white keepcase with an insert.  Even with the credits, that runs to a bit over 70 minutes, which isn't a lot of content.  I really wish they would put at least four episodes on each volume.

Audio:

This DVD offers the viewer the choice of an English 5.1 dub or the original Japanese language stereo track.  I listened to both tracks, and I enjoyed the original language a little bit more than the dub track.  The dub track had some strange sounding accents that didn't really blend well with the show, though there were all minor characters.  Most of the Geishas had pretty awful accents.  The English track did make good use of the soundstage, with sound effects and some dialog coming from the rear.  The Japanese track made use of the front soundstage and was just as full.

Video:

The full frame image looked pretty good.  The picture was just a tad soft, with the lines not being as tight as they could be, but this was very minor.  The colors had a nice tone to them, and the contrast was good.  Digital defects were just about nonexistent.  A very nice looking DVD.

Extras:

This disc also includes clean opening and closing animations and a series of production sketches.  There are also a pair of two-minute long video "Character Collections" that give the background information of a character.

Final Thoughts:

I'm starting to become frustrated with the lack of focus this series has.  Just as soon as I get interested in one plot, they shift the focus to another, and then yet another.  The main character, Tetsunosuke, was barely in these three episodes, and they seemed to have dropped the main story all together.  If you've stuck with the series so far, it is worth watching this disc, but I'd make it a rental.

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