Judge David Gutierrez confuses canines with cartoons.
"Boy, does this dog smell!"—Reporter
Yes, this dog does indeed smell and it smells like things are finally trucking along. The series abandons the gladiator arena and moves the fight outside. The lagging Knights of the Zodiac finally get some kinetic energy going in Knights of the Zodiac: Out of the Arena (Volume 3). But is it enough?
Facts of the Case
A tournament sponsored by Princess Sienna is held where 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.
Third in the series, this entry features the following episodes:
"The Black Knights Appear"—The Andromeda fights the Black Swan who looks just like the regular Swan only he wears black armor. Princess Sienna holds a press conference and admits the Golden Cloth is missing. The Phoenix assigns his Black Knights to take on the Bronze Knights and recover the missing pieces of the Golden Cloth. Best line this episode: "I'm not Swan. They call me Black Swan." Does it get any better than that? (Grade: 10)
"Dragon in the Graveyard or Knights"—Dragon Knight visits his sensei and is sent on a Degobah-like rite of passage to restore his cloth's powers. During his journey he encounters the strangely femme Moo and Moo's annoying partner Kiki. Dragon Knight also takes a lesson in Glengarry Glenn Ross salesmanship when he learns to "Always move forward." This is the weakest episode thus far. (Grade: 5)
"Seiya Battles the Black Pegasus"—There's something about the closeness the Dragon Knight and Moo share. Oh, and Seiya battles the Black Pegasus. (Grade: 10)
"The Nebula Chain of Friendship"—The Bronze Knights do some racial profiling when they take on their black armored counterparts, the Black Knights. In the cut and dried world of the Zodiac, evil doppelgangers always dress in black. The Swan and Phoenix engage in a psychic battle and the Bronze Knights regain their cloths. (Grade: 10)
I am growing numb to the flashbacks. I think every episode has a flashback quota. In the third installment, the story focuses a bit more on character. Oddly, the series seems to focus more on the Dragon Knight than on the Pegasus Knight and it's not a good choice. Seiya, the Pegasus Knight and series protagonist, gets the short end of the development stick. One thing the translators need to learn is that constant exposure does not necessarily equal character growth.
Whenever it seems the story takes a step forward, it yanks itself several steps back. Indeed, the story progresses, but not organically. I often found myself hoping the episodes would quickly end and that the stories would reach some resolution. The story keeps relying on family ties as a way to make the viewer feel an attachment to these characters. Sadly, it doesn't work. Seiya's quest for his sister (which really takes a backseat) and Nebula's search for his brother's old personality don't execute well enough to illicit pity or hope—only apathy.
What's worked against this series from the beginning is the dialogue. I can't emphasize enough how pathetically written this series is. I wish it were done better. I haven't mentioned it in either of the first two reviews, but at the heart of this series I believe there is something salvageable—I just haven't found it yet.
As usual, the picture quality for this DVD is not impressive. This series hasn't aged well. As I've noted before, the Knights of the Zodiac is nearly twenty years old and looks its age, complete with fuzziness along the edges. It sounds fine. Since the dialogue was recently re-recorded in English, it sounds better than it looks.
Nothing special has been added to the DVD. We get some previews of other ADV releases and a commercial for Knights of the Zodiac action figures. Included within the package is a Knights of the Zodiac card for its companion role-playing game.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Two steps forward and one step back is still progress. It's a slow and retarded progress, but movement nonetheless. At the very least, this series does try to tell to a greater story, and at least it sometimes ends on a cliffhanger. The title song isn't so bad, either.
If you're really invested in this series, give the third volume a look. If not, don't waste your time.
Have the producers of this series watched this DVD? That's my ruling: the producers are forced to watch Knights of the Zodiac: Out of the Arena (Volume 3) again and again for the rest of their lives. Case closed.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
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