Judge David Gutierrez's horoscope was strangely silent about the quality of this anime.
"Oh! What's not possible is that you're still a crybaby!"—Phoenix
Flashbacks, memories, recounting experiences, new enemies, and more recalling the past pepper the latest Zodiac Knights installment in Knights of the Zodiac: The Fight for the Gold Cloth (Volume 2). Yes, the men with polychromatic hair, legwarmers, pink armor, and pretty boy faces are back—and this time they mean business.
Facts of the Case
A tournament sponsored by Princess Sienna is held in which the world's greatest armored fighters do battle for a set of armor. One warrior, Seiya, fights to win a chance to see his long lost sister again. Channeling the power of the Pegasus, Seiya makes his way up the tournament ladder. Unfortunately for Seiya, other warriors with motives as equally pure or darkly evil stand in his way. Seiya makes uneasy allies with other Bronze Knights.
Fight for the Gold Cloth, the second release in the series, features the following episodes:
"Miraculous Rebirth and Cosmic Friendship"—The continuation of the Seiya the Pegasus Knight/Shiryu the Dragon Knight battle from Knights of the Zodiac: Battle of the Bronze Knights (Volume 1) concludes as both warriors strip and fight in a ring. But it's a kid's cartoon, so rest assured the fighters merely remove their armor to do battle. Packed with more flashbacks of training and life, the battle ends with a victory and a great loss on both sides. I'm not sure where the rebirth thing happens or if it even did. (Grade: 10)
"The Return of the Phoenix"—Andromeda, the soft featured, girly-man heartthrob in the pink armor and green hair, takes on the arrogant Unicorn. Unexpectedly, the Phoenix emerges from the Gold Cloth box. At the hospital, Seiya recovers from his battle with Shiryu. This episode stands as the best one to date—though that's nothing to brag about. (Grade: 20)
"Theft of the Gold Cloth"—It's all in the title. As it turns out, the Phoenix is Andromeda's brother. Raised on the Isle of Doom, somehow Phoenix holds a grudge against Sienna and swears revenge. Phoenix's Black Knights make off with the Gold Cloth. I'd expected better behavior from a guy raised on the Isle of Doom. (Grade: 15)
"Battle for the Gold Cloth"—The Swan, the Dragon, the Andromeda, and the Pegasus hunt the Phoenix and battle his minions for pieces of the gold cloth. Shiryu starts his quest to repair his and Seiya's damaged cloths. (Grade: 15)
Slightly better than the first volume, Knights of the Zodiac: The Fight for the Gold Cloth (Volume 2) still doesn't resonate with me. The dialogue is hackneyed, the characters are barely two-dimensional, and I'm completely lost on the point of this series. If the prize cloth is stolen, shouldn't everyone be after Phoenix? And, my lord, why so many flashbacks? I'm taken out of the story every time I'm magically transported into one of the character's heads.
The whole point of visual storytelling is showing and not telling. Many of the character's motivations and feelings are explained to me in great, numbing detail. It's not as though the characters were complicated and I needed a peek into their psyches. It's just bad writing (or translating).
The acting is consistently horrid. Anytime I see or hear the Swan, I want to throw something at my television. His surfer dude from Siberia voice grates quickly. The actor providing Andromeda's voice has a problem spitting out sentences in a timely fashion.
The sound and picture aren't terrific. The series originally aired in Japan almost twenty years ago and its age shows. The audio is fair, but at least it's consistent this time around.
Same as Volume One, no extras were included, with the exception of trailers for other ADV anime titles and an ad for the Knights of the Zodiac figures. As an added bonus, ADV has stashed away a free card for the Knights of the Zodiac role playing game.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The good thing is this batch of episodes actually improved. Much like the kid who failed one semester of classes with a ten, then failed the next with a fifteen, you can call it an improvement…but it's still a failure.
I can't even call this good cheese. It's a terrible string of episodes that no one should be forced to watch.
Knights of the Zodiac: The Fight for the Gold Cloth (Volume 2) needs to be put away for life.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
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