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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Super Robot Wars - Divine Wars: Volume 7
Super Robot Wars - Divine Wars: Volume 7
Bandai Visual USA // Unrated // August 27, 2007
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted June 14, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

Thing start to heat up with volume seven of Super Robot Wars, but the show also jumps the shark.  In this volume the Aerogaters launch their attack on Earth (finally!) and at the same time the remnants of the DC plan a counter attack against the Earth Defense Forces, putting them in a tight situation.  While all this is going on however, the show still has very little substance and an insane number of main characters.  There are so many people it's hard to keep them straight, much less care about them or their problems.  That becomes very apparent in the first episodes on this disc.  Everyone has a little time to relax, but there are so many people that viewers will have a hard time remembering who they all are.

Series background:

In the future the earth is a very different place.  After being hit by two giant meteors and going through a series of wars, the Earth Federation Government united all the peoples of Earth under one flag and restored the peace.

Then the third meteor struck, but this one was different.  Inside was a cache of alien technology and proof that invaders were coming to take over.  The technology that was discovered was harnessed by the EOTI (Extra Over Technology Institute) Organization and used to create mecha, called Personal Troopers, in order to defend Earth.

Ryusei Date is a teenager who is crazy about Personal Troopers and is very good at the popular game Burning PT where opponents fight mecha in a virtual reality world.  Little does he suspect but Burning PT is actually a training ground to find likely Trooper pilots.  When aliens attack just after a PT tournament, the government sends out an unmanned Trooper that Date climbs in and uses to defend his girlfriend.  Of course playing in virtual reality and real life are two different things, but with his life on the line, Date doesn't have a lot of time to adjust to the differences.

Quickly pushed through training, Date is made part of a team that includes the experienced pilot Raidiese Branstein and team leader Aya Kobayashi, who is insecure in her ability to lead the small fighting group.  The group soon expands to include other PT teams, random fighters with powerful mecha, and enemies who change sides.  There's definitely a full roster of characters here.

While the cast is growing, the EOTI Organization has decided that the Earth Government's peace talks with the aliens are actually the powers that be selling out Earth for the sake of their own skins.  The EOTI has renamed themselves the Divine Crusaders (DC) and with their new, very advanced flying PT are determined to take over control of Earth.  The Earth Space Stations and Moon colonies quickly align with the DC, which leaves the Earth Federation Army fighting a war on several fronts.  Out gunned and out numbered, they really only have one chance left:  the Noah-class space ship Hagwane.  Armed to the teeth and able to function in the air, water, or in space, the Hagwane is loaded with the latest PT craft, including a few experimental models that can fly.

Even if the DC can be defeated however, there's still the alien Aerogaters to deal with.

This volume:

With the DC apparently defeated, everyone has some time off.  One group takes the princess (who was rescued at the end of the previous volume) out shopping, other go fishing, and then some decide to get more practice time in on the simulators.  Their vacation is cut short though when something appears at the L5 point near Earth, a strange energy signal that might mean trouble.

When the Hagwane gets out into space, they find a single mecha, challenging the other PT's to combat.  It's piloted by the daughter of the DC leader, and she wants revenge for her father's death.  The battle is over quickly and ends in a way that would only fly in anime.

The mecha wasn't the object causing the strange energy readings however.  Just as that brief fight ends an impossibly huge vessel warps into Earth space:  the Aerogaters are starting their invasion of Earth.

The Hagwane, knowing it's out-gunned, pulls back and the Aerogaters attack several places on Earth.  What's worse is during the confusion the Princess is kidnapped and given to the DC, or what remains of them.  They plan to use her psychic powers and to launch a counter offensive against the earth forces.

Okay, I think I've given this show a fair shake.  It started out as a pretty good, if fairly typical, mecha show.  But then they started adding characters.  More and more and more.  Since this is based on a video game series, I can only surmise that they wanted to make sure that everyone's favorite person from the game was in the show too.  Unfortunately most of the Super Robot Wars games have never been released in North America, so there's little chance that anyone in R1 is familiar with this huge cast.

With this volume, where they continue to add more characters, it just gets to be too much.  I no longer have any idea who a lot of these people are and even less understanding of their motives.  Date was supposed to be the main character, but his part is so small now that he's little more than a supporting character, and not a very interesting one at that.

The battle scenes are still done well and are exciting, but a large part of me wants more than that.  Twenty episodes into a series I want to be able to see that sticking with it is going to pay off in the end, and I can't really see that in this series.  I predict that the last two volumes will have some large battles between shiny mecha, and not much else.

The DVD:


Audio:

Once again Bandai Visual has released a disc without an English dub.  For the amount they are asking, you wouldn't think it would be too much to provide an English soundtrack for those who prefer watching dubbed anime.  As it is the original Japanese audio is only in stereo but it sounds pretty good.  The track had a fairly wide dynamic range and the impacts when two mecha were fighting had a fair amount of bass.  Of course a multi-channel mix with a dedicated subwoofer track would make the fights more exciting, but you take what you can get.  Overall this is a nice sounding disc.

Video:

The video quality of the 1.78:1 anamorphic image was very good, much better than the OVA that was released earlier.  The image was pretty sharp with lines being tight and well defined.  The colors were bright and solid and the blacks were deep.  With only two episodes on the disc compression artifacts weren't a problem.

Extras:

Zip.  Nada.  Ziltch.  Nothing.  Just an 8-page insert.  For the amount that they're charging for this disc, I was expecting something more.

Final Thoughts:

I've gotten tired of this show after seven volumes and 20 episodes.  I have enjoyed the fight scenes and the large battles are very cool, but there's no substance here.  I have absolutely no connection with any of the characters because none of them are on screen long enough to identify with them.  I counted a dozen major characters while watching this volume, and that's just way too many.  If you've stayed with the series this far, you might as well continue, but make it a rental.

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