Directed by Junichi Nishimura
Character Design by Hideyuki Motohashi
Story by Kikuhide Tani and Yoshihiro Kuroiwa
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Twisted humanity
- Nature represented as evil and out to get humans
- Supernatural animated violence
Released by: Anime Works
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Rent it.
Zenki Saga has moved past the first season’s villain, only to find that evil still walks, and Zenki is still needed. The seeds of the evil tree from the first season are still around, creating havoc as they merge with humans and warp those humans into monsters. The form the new monster takes depends upon the hidden desires and twisted obsessions of the person in question. In addition, as the Zenki crew hunts for these demon-possessed unfortunates, the crew grows, but so does the list of opponents; Zenki discovers that the son of the King of the Dead is hunting for the seeds, too, once they’ve been “used” and are therefore full of human spiritual energy.
The overall plot of this season will remind anime fans of various seasons of Sailor Moon, when we had the Cardian of the Week and so forth. The distorted views of human-monster-demons are not dissimilar to vintage anime “villains” with their thematic look that represents how they were born. Anime fans new to this series will be fine starting with this season, as the show essentially resets and spends enough time re-introducing the characters who made the transition from the first season.
The audio is solid, if not outstanding, and is comparable to other quality shows of the mid-1990s. Viewers should have little trouble with any distortions or crackling. Both English and Japanese casts are skilled, but the Japanese cast perhaps wins the edge on this release.
The video is similarly nice and clear, with brilliant colors, some fine detail, and good character designs, complete with effective facial expressions. The digital transfer was done skillfully and with attention to quality. The odd choice of color image is not representative of the show’s actual art, which is much nicer. The case makes the show look cheesier and cheaper than it is.
There are, disappointingly, no special features of any kind on this release, not even original TV promos or a clean ending.
Overall, if you enjoy episodic anime with an overall progressive plot, then you’ll enjoy Zenki. It’s not morally or spiritually challenging, but it is entertainment, plain and simple. The battle scenes are enjoyable and plentiful and will appeal to fans of such shows as Dragonball and Power Rangers, so this show’s target audience of 13+ should eat this up. The show is overall rather predictable, and the last half of every episode is given over to fights, a la DBZ, but that can be comforting to certain viewers and at least entertaining. If you like surprises and heavy-duty character development, you will be disappointed, but if you want titanic battles, then you will be pleased, with enough humor thrown in the sweeten the pot for all of us.