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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Super Robot Wars: Divine Wars Vol 8
Super Robot Wars: Divine Wars Vol 8
Bandai Visual USA // Unrated // July 8, 2008
List Price: $49.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted July 5, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

The penultimate volume of Super Robot Wars:  Divine Wars (Volume 8 for those keeping track) continues in the same vein as the previous installments.  There're a lot of cool mecha battles, fights between giant robots and giant aliens, and many action sequences.  The plot is pretty much an afterthought, and with a cast of over a dozen main characters and countless secondary ones, it's hard to really care about any of the cast.

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.  With more advanced weaponry than the Earth government, the odds are definitely in the DC's favor.  Even if the DC can be defeated however, there's still the alien Aerogaters to deal with.

This volume:

At the end of the last volume, the remnants of the Divine Crusaders launched a last-ditch effort to conquer the Earth Federation Government.  This sort of Battle of the Bulge attack nearly worked, but ultimately they were crushed by the Hagwane, and its allies.
There was little to celebrate however because just as the DC were defeated the Aerogaters attacked with space-based weapons and attacked Geneva, the capital of the government.  The city was wiped off of the face of the Earth.

With the war against the Aerogaters now in full swing, a plan to swiftly end the war by destroying the Aerogaters base, White Star, is hatched.  For the Earth forces to have a chance however, they PT mecha have to be significantly modified.  While testing the new units, Ryu and the Hagwane encounter a huge Aerogater ship that's spewing froth hundreds of attack mecha.

The battle is fierce (and long) but the Earth's defenders are in for a cruel surprise.  At the end of the battle their leader, Ingram Plissken, betrays the Earth Federation.  It turns out that he was a spy, sent by the Aerogaters long ago and he was just waiting for the right moment to revel his true nature.  He shoots Aya, grabs Kusuha and flees back to the White Star.  The Aerogater ship wraps back to its base, leaving the defenders unable to retrieve their kidnapped comrade.   With the aliens stepping up their attacks, it looks like there's little hope for Earth.

This can be an enjoyable series if you look at it in the right way.  It's all action, pure and simple, and the show does that pretty well.  The battle scenes feature CGI mecha in front of some nicely detailed backgrounds, and if you're looking for just that and nothing more, this is the show for you.

Unfortunately I find it hard to watch the show without having my mind wander.  Yeah the eye candy is pretty, but it's hard to enjoy it when there is no emotional attachment to the characters fighting.  The cast is so large it's really hard to keep track of them all, much less care about them.  Even when someone is hurt or dies, I have to think back "which one was that?  Is that the guy who likes the nurse?"

There doesn't seem to be much logic to the battles either, with the tide flowing one way or the other just to suit the writer's whim rather than because one tactic or another worked.  One PT can fend off 50 aliens with no problem, only to be nearly destroyed by the 51st.  Why?  Because the writer needed that character in trouble, and that's about it.

Even with only 26 episodes in the series, this is lasting way too long.  This volume takes us through episode 23, and it feels like it's much too long already.  The action is just too random and there's little to hold one's interest besides the flashy battles, and they get old quickly.

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:

Watching the previous volume I realized I didn't care who lived or who died, or who the story eventually turned out.  This volume only reinforced that opinion.  Yeah, the show looks nice, but there's nothing there besides the epic fight scenes, and they get old after a while.  With events seemingly happening at random and a cast of characters so large it's impossible to remember who is who, this show is sinking fast.  If you've stayed with the show this far, this disc is worth picking up for the battle with the Aerogater that takes up a lion's share of the running time, but make it a rental.
 

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