on April 2, 2003
Message is very different from the rest of Ronin warriors in the fact that they don't really fight...but instead...must overcome their fears and anxieties of being Ronin Warriors.
This OAV is 5 parts, with each of the Ronin's getting a 20 minute episodes to themselves, reflecting on past events in the series, and standing up to Suzanagi, a spirit that blames the Ronin Warriors for killing her family centuries ago.
The reason Suzanagi places the blame on the Warriors is because her family was killed while preforming a play, that surpriingly enough, tells of the Ronin Warriors fight against Talpa, and the events in the second OAV.
Finally, Bandai is bringing an English version, so ronin fans will be able to understand what exactly is happening, due to the fact that the only fights seen are from the series, and second OAV.
A brilliant piece of work, and a fitting end to Ronin Warriors(Samurai Troopers), you won't be dissapointed...if you can get passed the fact that their is no new fights, just reflections to the past of each of the five characters.
on August 8, 2005
Back in the early 90's, I had become exposed to several cartoons like He-Man, Thundercats, G.I. Joe, and many, many others. Transformers was the biggest force in my life at that point, and I suppose it was my first exposure to Japanese anime, despite the fact that the series was made here in the U.S. (it's considered an anime because it's based on the toy line which was produced in Japan). In the whereabouts of 1994-1995, I had become enamored with another series. In Japan, it was called Yoroiden Samurai Troopers. Being an American, I knew it as Ronin Warriors. The series revolved around five heroes that were selected to wield armor against the villain, Talpa, who wanted those particular armors back so that he can dominate our world. After Talpa was defeated (there were 39? Episodes total), I thought that that was the end. But it wasn't.
There were three OVAs that were never before released here, and in this volume I am reviewing the final OVA from 1990 (Chronologically, it takes place two years after the series). The OVAs were redubbed in 2003, and some of the voices are different. I find it very strange that Sage (whose voice is exactly the same as Dais) has a different voice, when the voice of Cye is still the same (he did Sage as well on the series originally). Maybe the actors were friends with him? Anyways, there are some noticeable differences which actually are quite appropriate and made me wonder why the American dub changed things around.
- Ryo is pronounced "Rio" now, like in the original Japanese.
- Rowen is back to being "Wisdom" like in the original Japanese, and Sage is "Grace." This makes more sense because I always thought Rowen was the genius of the group, and Sage obviously was the ladies' man of the group.
- I always thought Ryo's virtue "Virtue" was weird because it almost seems like an oxymoron to me, but as it turns out, it was originally "Righteousness," which makes a lot more sense (and especially since he used to say in the original series "My soul is righteousness!").
- The finishers are mostly different, which I liked most of the original sayings better. Rowen's is now Heaven Shockwave as opposed to Arrow Shockwave, Sage is Lightning Strike as opposed to Thunder Bolt Cut, and Cye's is Wave Crusher as opposed to Super Wave Smasher. Kento's Iron Rock Crusher is the only constant. Those changed above are not as "catchy" as the originals, I suppose, but the one thing I do like better is Ryo's, which is now Fury of Wildfire as opposed to the lame-sounding Flare Up Now.
When I first heard of the OVAs I had become excited about the adventures of Ronin Warriors (or Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, in Japan it was first called) in their continuing adventures. While I still was a little disappointed in the treatments of Rowen, Cye, and Sage, overall "Gaiden" and "Legend of the Inferno Armor" were decent entries which sported better action sequences and a lot less recycling of previous animation. However, the same CANNOT be said of "Message," with which is the last Ronin Warriors saga released. And boy, I was really disappointed.
It consists of 5 episodes, and a lot of it is just the Warriors' thoughts and experiences, told from all of their perspectives. The story---what little of it---involves Suzunagi (whom only Cye knows her name, which is strange), a mysterious, vengeful woman whose mother and father were killed in ancient times (her mother was killed protecting her in a fire, her father was beheaded for betrayal). She blamed the play they were watching, which just so happened to portray the Warriors fighting off Talpa, down to every detail. Rowen was the first to discover it by finding the ancient book, and was also the first targeted by Suzunagi. Turns out she's made -new- sets of armor for them, not only to save herself from a curse, but also to save them from potential death as with the previous owners of the armors (although she's quick to BURY them until her deceased mother's spirit interrupts her...). There's a lot of plot holes (like how the armors could've been used by others before the Warriors donned them, despite the fact the Ancient One had them locked and hidden, waiting for THEM, for example) as well. With each warrior (with the exception of Ryo), she confronts their deepest fear (or weakness?) and once again the characters are not treated well. Remember when Cye didn't want to fight anymore in the previous OVA? Now, ALL of them don't feel like fighting anymore, and it comes out of NOWHERE.
And to top it all off, this comes off as they though they "rushed" its production. The animation (the animation that's not recycled) comes off stark and uncharacteristic of the series, and definitely not as good looking. The characters are reduced to talking props, more or less, and there's two scenes in particular that really annoyed me to no end: 1) Episode 4, when Suzunagi's voiceover talks about how she loves the seasons, while we revisit footage of Sabrestrike's battles and defeat, which goes on forEVOR, and 2) The final episode, Ryo is listening to his answering machine and we hear four messages from the other Warriors individually, and it's STUCK on that same animation cell for over five minutes (like Charles Solomon of Amazon.com said above). I felt like the producers were either rushing this release, or simply churned out this turdwash just to make money.
Either way, this is a convoluted and depressing way to end the series, although it opened up new adventures with their new armors (which don't look as cool as their old armors, by the way). If you feel the need to see this thing, borrow it from a friend, or perhaps buy it, watch it, then sell it. This is not worthy of the legacy, and after watching it, you will feel like your IQ has dropped at least 30 points.
If you were a fan of Ronin Warriors, an anime series that aired in Japan in the late 80's to early 90's, this is a MUST have. This is the original anime version of the last real Ronin Warriors ("Samurai Troopers" in Japan) release. It's five parts, and like the previous reviewer said, each episode is dedicated to the individual warriors.
In this OAV, some time has passed since the battle with Talpa and the loss of the armor in the battle with Mukara's black armor. Suzanagi is a woman who has been cursed by the death of her loved ones, which she blames on the armors as a play was being performed which depicted the events of the Ronin Warriors future exploits and battles. Add to this that after so much time, the Ronin Warriors are still battling with their own demons and wondering why they were "chosen" in the first place to wear the armor, IMO this OAV was more about accepting fate.
I enjoyed it but not as much as the previous OAV. This one may not be for everyone - it's mostly dialogue and reflection. The previous reviewer said it before - there really aren't any new fighting scenes. In fact, this might be downright boring for some as half of one episode is like a poem being read to the background of the encounter with Saberstrike and Black Blaze. But one thing that was sort of interesting, not to give too much away, is that in the end I got the impression that perhaps this OAV wasn't going to be the end of the Ronin Warriors series and left the door open for a continuation. Since the original Ronin Warriors was really only to last to the first encounter with Talpa, obvious holes developed in the story. Especially when it comes to the Black Armor or the Dark Warlords. But I guess it's up to fans to use their imaginations.