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DVD Review

Saiyuki Reload
Volume 7


Starring (voice): Toshihiko Seki, Soichiro Hoshi, Hiroaki Hirata and Akira Ishida
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 07 January 2008

Shangri-La is a world where magic and science exists together. It is an unsafe land, a land in chaos. Experiments to release the demon Lord Gyumaoh have turned the world’s demon population mad. The only hope for the land is the Sanzo Party, four disparate adventurers who travel to India where they must stop the revival of Lord Gyumaoh. Along the way they have to contend with both angels and demons who have their own agenda...

Volume Seven of Saiyuki Reload brings this show to its final conclusion with the last three episodes. So far the show has been a bit of an uneven road movie with its Scooby-Doo, monster of the week, while at the same time being entertaining and a little frustrating. Entertaining as the comedic moments are handled well, as are the fight scenes, although the format frustratingly did not give the impression that the Sanzo gang was getting any closer to their goal. This has left the ending with a bit of a rushed feel to it, as if the director suddenly looked down and discovered that he had blown twenty of the episodes on pretty much stand alone stories and had only six to actually round the story off.

When we left the gang they were burying their differences in order to take on God and, bizarrely, do not come out of it well...

Episode twenty three, Our Way, and Sanzo has been stripped of his priesthood and when the gang regain consciousness they decide to have another go, but Sanzo is having none of this. The fight is only broken up when Goku turns up with a Mahjong set. Goku wins hand after hand until his point is made - that they can either give in and feel like losers or go back and kick some God butt. Well, with two episodes to go, what do you think they do? In this episode God is also revealed to be something other than he is, as he addresses an unseen being as master, and contemplates the scripture that he had taken from the injured Sanzo.

Episode twenty four, Rematch, and the gang are back at the temple ready to do the business. This and the following episode are one long protracted fight. The Sanzo gang fight their way through various trials and tribulations in their effort to finally face God.

Episode twenty five, Conclusion, and God is revealed to be a creature trained by another Sanzo monk. Well it’s no surprise that the gang win the day.

I guess by now that it’s obvious that this was never meant to bring the show to a proper conclusion, opening the way for a follow on show. The problem is it all feels like a little bit of a let down. Okay, so it’s essentially another road trip anime, which could conceivably go on and on, but it would have been nice to end the show on something that was a cut above the previous episodes.

Once more the extras are okay, with a textless opening (version 2) and the original opening sequence (version 2) as well as the usual line art, trailers and DVD credits. Audio, whilst nice and clear is equally restricted to English or Japanese - with subtitles - stereo, still the picture is good and is presented in 4:3 aspect ratio. You still get the little amusing bits in between the episodes so no fast forwarding or you’ll miss them.


Charles Packer

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