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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Zoids - The Battle Begins
Zoids - The Battle Begins
Pioneer // PG // April 9, 2002
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Loren Halek | posted April 29, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

Zoids: The Battle Begins can easily be categorized as an animated series whose only purpose of being is to sell action figures. Funny thing is that this is actually the second iteration of the Zoids universe. This one has different characters and is a hybrid 3D/2D animated series. It is certainly geared toward children, but I actually enjoyed it. It reminded me of the cartoon series of the 1980s when selling action figures was as prevalent as it is today.

The first DVD of Zoids presents us with what I can only guess is the first 4 episodes of the series. Sometimes American companies have the habit of editing Japanese produced series. It seems like you just jump into the series with no history of exactly what the Zoids battles are and why the heck everyone is involved in them. I certainly have not seen the old series, so I have no basis for this series. Maybe this will be explained later though.

Episode 1: Commense Battle: Attack Liger Zero - The episode begins with Zoid junk parts trader, Bit Cloud, looking for spare parts. He notices a Zoid battle is about to begin and he turns his truck invisible. The judge scans the area and finds no one, so the sanctioned battle starts. Eventually one of the Zoids runs into the invisible truck and the battle is cancelled because Bit is in the field of battle. The Blitz team ends up taking Bit back to their base, and this is where things start to heat up. Here we meet Doc, the funding behind the Blitz group and the members that make up the Blitz group: Doc's son Leon and daughter Leena, greedy Brad and Gemmy, the young technician of the team. It seems the Blitz team has a useless Zoid called Liger Zero that will not allow anyone to drive him. Zero takes a liking to Bit and allows him to control him. Bit ends up joining the Blitz team and wins his first match.

Episode 2: New Partners Versus Naomi the Red Comet - Liger Zero seems to only have one weapon available at this time: his laser claws that slice through opponents. Everyone thinks it will take time before other weapons are uncovered on Zero. Bit wants to put some long-range firepower on Zero so that he can participate in a battle against the Red Comet, Naomi. Naomi is a sharpshooter and has never lost a Zoid battle. She is so good that she usually picks up random girls just to fill out her Zoid team. The two girls she picks here have not piloted a Zoid before. Bit has some problems aiming the long-range gun and he and Zero end up jettisoning it because it hinders the speed of Zero. They end up defeating Naomi with the laser claws in a close-quarters battle.

Episode 3: The Prince Arrives: Harry Champ - This annoying guy Harry Champ seems to always like to say, "I am Harry Champ, the future king of the world" for most of this episode. Harry has a thing for Leena, but she feigns interest in Bit just to get Harry riled up. Harry challenges Bit to a duel and says whoever wins gets to take Leena for their own. Bit sees this as just another challenge and accepts, although Brad tells him exactly what he is fighting for…which is Leena herself. This battle is enclosed in what looks like an abandoned city environment. In the end Leena ends up beating everyone, including her own team, and therefore she wins herself in the end.

Episode 4: Unsanctioned Battle: The Mysterious Backdraft Group - A renegade group of Zoid pilots, who do not adhere to the Zoid battle rules, kidnap Leena. Bit happened to walk in on her while she was taking a bath (not shown) and she chases him with Gemmy's flying Zoid. The Backdraft kidnap her after bringing the Zoid down. They use her as collateral to challenge the Blitz group to battle. The Blitz group eventually defeats them against unfair odds, such as them being invisible. We also get a glimpse of someone looking at a computer screen and talking about the Blitz group. I would guess this is a glimpse of the Big Bad for this series, but who knows.


Video: This TV show is presented in Full-Frame. This is not hard to overlook considering this was originally conceived on TV. The 2D/3D amalgamation presented her looks pretty good, although obviously not as good as a full-feature movie with 2D/3D effects would be. I did not notice any shimmering or any sort of video defects in the presentation. Overall I was very surprised by how good the presentation was. Viz has been poor in the past with a few releases, but this certainly looks good.

Sound: Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. This is not a big surprise given it is a TV show. Nothing really special about the sound and there were a few things that came through in the rear channels, but nothing to write home about.

Menus: The menus are static and very poor. There are only 3 choices on the main screen, so you certainly are not going to get lost.

Extras: This disc has little extras on it

Zoids File 01: This just has a picture of the Zoids for Bit, Naomi and Harry along with information and a picture of the pilots themselves. Nothing too exciting.

Hasbro Promo Piece: A short promo piece that is selling the Hasbro line of Zoid action figures. It is not really an extra, but it is in the Bonus Materials section nontheless. This is the extent of the bonus material on the disc.

Final Thoughts: Zoids: The Battle Begins is not half bad. It certainly reminded me of the cartoons of the 1980s that I used to watch like Transformers and GoBots. It is obviously geared toward children and I can see them liking it a lot. The extras are poor on this release though, but this is not surprising given this is a children's release. For children this seems to be a great start for a series, for older people it is probably better to skip it. The middle ground between the two is Rent It, and that is what I am suggesting.
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