The Ronin Warriors continue...,
This review is from: Ronin Warriors - OVA Volume 1 (DVD)
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, there are the first two. They were originally made in 1989 and 1990, one or two years after the series was completed in Japan. They 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.
The first OVA is only two episodes long, and it involves a sorcerer named Shikaisen (which is voiced by the same actor of King Kai from DBZ!) who captures Sage and uses his armor. He wants the other armors as well, and has a trapped laid out for them (and on Ryo's birthday). There is also a little subplot involving Runa (whose brother was killed), and originally wanted to kill Rowen, but ends up falling in love with Ryo instead (once again, the main character is focused more). I didn't like the idea of Sage being captured again, but it's a fairly decent two episodes. Cye has a lot of good lines in these, and makes fun of Kento a lot.
"LEGEND OF THE INFERNO ARMOR"
This one is four episodes long, and this time, the story's a lot more developed and less silly than the previous one (and a MUCH more formidable adversary). Rowen is off visiting Mia and Yuli and Cye is surfing with Kento. Ryo and Sage are nowhere to be found. Suddenly, an African landscape mystically appears in town, and a warrior named Mukala appears. Ryo arrives and battles him. Turns out he wears the Black Inferno Armor, and both white and black inferno armors want to go at each other (a yin vs. yang type story). The subplot with Cye no longer wanting to fight really bothered me because once again Cye gets screwed. I was really glad to see Rowen do more in this, however, and there's a slight romantic underplay between Rowen and Mia (there's also mentioning of Kento having a crush on her in this OVA). All in all, not a bad story, as the Warriors figure out they must defeat the two armors instead of Mukala himself.
I found that the animation is a lot better in these, and there's a lot less recycling of animation cells. The fights were a lot more fluid, and I liked how the storylines didn't drag as much as in the original series (not that that was a terrible thing, mind you, I like DBZ after all). I'm not sure if I should recommend this to any anime fan because most of you may find it outdated... to the Ronin Warrior die-hard, however, this is a must.