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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Super Robot Wars: Divine Wars Vol. 9
Super Robot Wars: Divine Wars Vol. 9
Bandai Visual USA // Unrated // August 19, 2008
List Price: $44.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted October 28, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

The final volume of Super Robot Wars (Volume 9 for those keeping track) has arrived and with it the final battle with the alien Aerogaters. This concluding set of shows has a good amount of action and some nice resolution, but it ends up being too little too late. With a thin plot and a cast of over a dozen main characters and countless secondary ones, it's hard to really care about what happens to anyone.

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:

Things get under way right from the start of this volume as the climactic final battle gets underway. Things look bleak as the space fleet engages the aliens and are severally outnumbered. It seems to be all but over for Earth, until the SRX team arrives! The engagement is hard fought, and over the first two episodes we get to see all of the main characters (as well as most of the minor ones) doing their part for Earth. More than once I found myself wondering "just who is that person?" but it really doesn't matter. After a minute or two the show switches over to another fighter so that everyone gets their turn in the spotlight.

While this giant battle scene was a lot of fun to watch, I couldn't really get involved since I wasn't attached to any of the characters. There are just too many of them to keep straight, and because each person only gets a brief moment in the spotlight it's hard to relate to them.

This makes the last episode all the more aggravating. In the final installment the battle is over and we have an extended epilog where viewers get to find out what happens to their favorite characters. And the characters they dislike. And the characters they've forgotten about or can't recall. I usually like these wrap-up episodes, but the show was so shallow that it's really hard to care what does happen to any of these walking clich├ęs.

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:

While the previous volumes didn't offer any extras at all on the discs, this one has a clean opening and closing. There's also an 8-page insert. For the amount that they're charging for this disc, I was expecting something more.

Final Thoughts:

Watching the previous volumes 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 finale and to see how everything works out, but I'd make it a rental.

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