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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Android Kikaider - Unveiled Past (Vol. 3)
Android Kikaider - Unveiled Past (Vol. 3)
Bandai // Unrated // December 2, 2003
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted December 25, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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Movie: Once upon a time, there was a story in Japan about an android
boy who had a heart of gold and saved the day from evildoers. His name was
Astroboy (Tetsuwan Atom) and the anime series was set in 2003. There had
been elements of Disney's Pinocchio in the story and it was highly regarded
by kids everywhere (including myself). Imitation being the sincerest form of
flattery, in 2000, a new series based on similar themes was developed,
Android Kikaider.



The show centers on a young male, Jiro, who has amnesia and wanders around
the countryside with a guitar strapped to his back. Remarkably strong, the
guy is discovered to be a highly evolved form of android that was made by a
scientist who's daughter becomes his sole friend (when the scientist dies in
what was initially thought to be an accident). It quickly becomes evident
that evil forces are at work and even the girl, Mitsuko, isn't sure if the
android is trustworthy or not. It appears he has a specialized computer
circuit, the Gemini, which makes young Jiro act in a law-abiding manner. If
the circuit is broken or becomes defective, there's no fixing it and the
android must be destroyed.



In the third DVD of the series, Android Kikaider 3: Unveiled Past, the characters learn more about their past as they relate to Professor Gill. I had originally thought the series lasted a full season but with the next DVD, it'll all be over so you can properly assume that the events are going to start tying up a lot of threads now, or least preparing for them to be covered in some depth. Here's a look at the three episodes provided on this DVD:



Episode 8: Blue Moon, Red Dreams (Compilation):

This episode recapped the previous seven episodes fairly well, hitting all the major events that had transpired to this point in the show. I usually like recap episodes since they allow new viewers to be brought up to speed but the series wasn't long enough to have such an episode and it came off like a cheap way to exploit the consumer.



Episode 9: Friends:

Mitsuko gets what could be interpreted as good news and joins Jiro on a quest to find someone from her past in order to confront Professor Gill about it. Masaru, wanting to go along since the trip concerns his past too, tries to catch up to them but meets a couple of twins that befriend him. They have a cute pet bear and are willing to do anything he wants them too without question. When Jiro and Mitsuko run into these new friends, it becomes obvious whom they work for and what their goal is. Jiro is put in a tough spot about how to deal with them, not wanting to lose his friendship to Masaru.



Episode 10: Frozen Bonds:

Mitsuko, Masaru and Jiro eventually find the person they're looking for with mixed results. They learn more about their past (collectively) than they care to but the results are bittersweet when Jiro must defend all four of them from a new menace.



Okay, I hate it when anime companies only put three episodes on a DVD but I admit to liking this set more than the first one. I just get irritated when I see a full third of the content as a rehash of the prior shows, knowing full well that the show is almost over. Is anyone likely to buy the next to last DVD without watching the ones that came before it? I'm keeping the rating at Rent It and hope the final episodes are good enough to make me re-visit the entire series (it happens) but I'm not overly happy with the lack of value this time. The stories were simplistic but the themes borrowed heavily from other literature, which helps address common topics, however dressed up in the futuristic setting.



Picture: The picture was presented in it's original 1.33:1 ratio
full frame color. For the most part, the limited anime style, called "retro" by some fans, was clear this time with few major problems. There were a few moments of color bleeding and grain but not like in the first volume.



Sound: The sound was presented with a choice of either 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo English or Japanese, and optional English subtitles. The Japanese track was the
better of the two but neither was especially well developed. Most of the
vocals came from the center channel with some of the explosions coming out
of the side speakers.



Extras: The extras consisted of a neat fold out paper insert that
detailed the three included episodes, a few rough sketches of the artwork and
a few trailers.



Final Thoughts: href=http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=6893>Android Kikaider 1 left me a bit cold, but I liked the href=http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=8148>Second Volume and the content of the last two episodes of this volume were pretty well done. I'm wondering why some decent extras weren't included here since the value ratio was so low on what has become a pretty good series. I sure hope the final volume of the show has something special in terms of number of episodes and value added extras but as it stands, I think a boxed set of all four discs at a really low price might make me want to recommend the show more.

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