Written by Masami Kurumada and Takao Koyama
Directed by Kozo Morishita
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Goofy villain voices
- No subtitles–only dub is available
- Scary blue blood
- Questionable mythology
Released by: ADV.
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Rent it if you like ensemble hero shows
The first story arc has ended, and with this new volume, we are left tying up a few loose ends and making our way into the second arc. Hyoga returns to his Siberian home, but his old master, the Crystal Knight, has been brainwashed and attacks him, demanding that Hyoga reveal the location of the Golden Helmet. Hyoga learns that the villagers he left behind are being used as slave labor to build a huge ice pyramid, but why?
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The problem here is the same problem the show has shown all along–the edits and cuts to save our gentle, little American children from blood and violence butcher the show’s plot. Nearly anything with a hint of blood has been cut, and any remaining blood is still colored that weird blue-green color to make it look less threatening. The result is that here and there, the plot makes little sense. People win and lose and it simply makes no sense; it seems as if it would be easier on the kids to see good winning and evil losing for a reason.
The audio and video quality seems to have perked up a bit, too, after the last volume or so. The colors are clear and bright, with no visible problems. Both the English and Japanese voice casts are solid, though the Japanese cast seems to take the tale a bit too seriously at times. It is, however, singularly odd to hear Bowling for Soup do a cover of “I Ran” for the show’s intro theme song.
The show is starting to be a bit more entertaining with this new story arc, so we can always hope for the future that the next episodes at least aren’t as butchered as the earlier ones were. But I’m not holding out a lot of hope. Still, if the upswing can continue and some real character development take place, then Knights of the Zodiac just might become a series to watch. If you like the idea of a proto-typical gaggle of pretty young men who wear shiny armor and fight villains, then give this a shot. If you hate the idea of each person having a special quality to devote to your team or just don’t like pseudo-mythology, then give this one a miss. Either way, you should be pretty happy with your decision.