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DVD Review

DVD cover

Blue Dragon
Volumes 5 & 6


Starring (voice): Daisuke Namikawa, Erino Hazuki, Keiko Nemoto and Kenyuu Horiuchi
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 21 September 2009

At the beginning of time both light and dark were created, finding that they could not exist together they went to war. The war would have torn apart the whole of creation, but the sudden intervention of the original shadow lords, the Knights of Light, threw down the forces of darkness and with the power of Shadow sealed the darkness away. Many years have passed and Nene, the ruler of the Grand Kingdom, wants to marry his power and technology to the ancient Shadows, but first he has to find them. Pitted against him is Zola, who has discovered that a young boy called Shu has within him the legendary Blue Dragon...

Volume 5 & 6 of Blue Dragon (2007) continues the adventures of Shu and his shadow alter ego the Blue Dragon and at this point the show has settled neatly into its Saturday morning format, with a fight a week and a general quest to keep things humming along.

The animation remains bright and clear, though detail is often lacking on the screen, the picture is still pretty good. Do I find myself investing any emotional content in the characters? To be honest, not really. The show is pretty average fare. It will appeal to fans or Naruto and other long running animes which revel in their formulaic approach, which means that the individual elements of each story are minimalistic and often only there to drive the fight of the week.

So, on with the motley with disc one which holds four episodes. The Informant sees the gang looking for an expert informant to help them track down the missing seven; this involves a convoluted story of death and identity. The Innkeepers Secret is a standalone story for Marumaro who stops at an Inn, but the inn keeper is hiding a secret. The Cave of the Pheonix shifts the focus to Kluke who is looking to recover her phoenix shadow, but finds that the power is inside of her. The last story on disc one is Decoy Mission and this time the gang are involved in a prison break.

Like I said, the actual quest moves at a snail’s pace but then, in a show like this, if the quest were to end so would the show. Both discs have the same audio options, a choice of either an English or Japanese 2.0 track, with optional subtitles. Both do a fine job of keeping the show light and breezy. Disc one contains no extras.

Disc two holds episodes twenty-one to twenty-four, which is about half way through the fifty-one episodes of the first season, so you know nothing is going to happen too quickly. The Informant's Quest: Conrad, now free, takes his troops off to fight the Gran Kingdom. Meanwhile the fight continues in the castle. Fading Beauty, and there is a bit of bitch slapping going on between Cynthia and Bouquet, whose beauty she is jealous of. Now, there's half an hour of my life I’ll never get back. The whole thing plods on with Mission Informant and the fight between Shu and the Gran Kingdom actually gets somewhere with some pretty good aerial shots as the group take on a group of airships. The disc wraps up with The Monsters in the Woods in which we follow the group as they chase down the remnants of the airship into a wood, oops now that’s just another excuse for a fight with woodland monsters.

There’s nothing much wrong with the show, but then there is little which pushes it above the plethora of other animes of this type. It will appeal to young boys, which after all are its target audience so in this sense its a success. Disc two also contains no extras apart from a couple of trailers.


Charles Packer

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