Bandai // 2004 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // December 15th, 2005
Action and excitement at every turn!
DICE is an anime project made for The Cartoon Network's younger audience. It's chock full of young kids saving the galaxy in cool spacecraft that turn in to mechanical dinosaurs when they battle. It looks Japanese, and the animation is certainly produced overseas in Asia under the supervision of Bandai. But there is no source manga, and the show is written and performed Stateside. It's a nice diversion for kids, but doesn't offer much for adult anime fans.
The story is about teenagers who comprise a unit of the DICE squad called F-99. There are many characters, but the show seems most concerned with a spunky, spiky-haired redhead named Jet. In this volume the members of DICE (DNA Integrated Cybernetic Enterprises) take on four separate assignments. We find out a little more about The Phantom Knight, but he only appears in one episode (odd for a DVD called DICE: The Phantom Knight (Volume Four)). Mainly the gang just solves problems on different planets, and we get glimpses of a larger back story involving Jet and his lost brother.
DICE fills a nice void for parents with young children who are not ready for the adult themes and violence that pepper most anime series. The art is brightly colored and simple, and the stories are usually more problem oriented than battle heavy. There's hardly any true violence, and the kids care about helping people in need and each other. I imagine this could be a useful title to hand to an elementary-school-age child to watch on a portable DVD player during a long car trip. This volume contains four full length episodes without any extra material.
Kids should be enthralled by the teenage adventures of the mecha robots getting people out of tight spots. DICE: The Phantom Knight (Volume Four) is fine entertainment for young fans who sport juice boxes and toys while sitting slack-jawed in front of the television. Serious adult anime otakus need not apply. The transfers are solid, and the stereo sound delivers enough punch to please the tykes. It's cute, harmless fun.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site
* DVD Verdict Review of Volume One
* DVD Verdict Review of Volume Two
* DVD Verdict Review of Volume Three