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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Android Kikaider - Silent Past (Vol. 4)
Android Kikaider - Silent Past (Vol. 4)
Bandai // Unrated // February 3, 2004
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted February 23, 2004 | 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 fourth, and last, DVD of the series, Android Kikaider 4: Silent Journey, the characters learn all the secrets they had been chasing since the beginning of the series. While there were a couple of loose ends that weren't completely tied up, this volume really did a lot in finishing the show up. Here's a look at the three episodes provided on this DVD:



Episode 11: The Destroyer:

Mitsuko, having found the blue prints to the Gemini circuit, feverishly works on helping it evolve in order to save Jiro from Saburo's mind control device. As Jiro destroys the city he eventually gets to confront his foe face to face. Will the Gemini circuit prevent him from losing control again or will the townsfolk attack him to preserve their way of life?



Episode 12: The Machine That Dreams:

Jiro and Saburo fight to a standoff but an amazing secret prevents Jiro from attacking his foe to finish the fight. Jiro must also confront his feelings for Mitsuko since he's a machine and she's alive.



Episode 13: The End Of The Dream:

The evil Dr. Gill sends his large army of androids to combat Jiro when Dark's headquarters is infiltrated by the young android. Gill attempts to use his mind control device on Jiro but finds its effects have less impact than they previously. Can Jiro fight so many androids and save the human race from the evil doctor or will he become another cog in the machine for evil to triumph?



Looking back on the series as a whole, I think it would be a prime candidate for release in a boxed set, preferably at a lowered MSRP. This volume had enough going for it that I could overlook the three episodes and rate it higher than Rent It if there were some better extras included. I liked the show, I just think that it should've had a little more value to the DVD sets since it was released on cable television before the DVD's were released. How much footage was cut from the cable showing? Not much from my taped episodes, although I'll admit it looked and sounded a lot better. If you like anime, check it out, just keep in mind the retro style of the show is not exactly high tech.



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 href=http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=8855>Volume Three so it was a no-brainer to get this volume. Anime fans may like the themes here and the style of animation was interesting so check it out. I'm still wondering, however, why some decent extras weren't included here since the value ratio was so low on what has become a pretty good series.

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