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Box Front Japanese Title: Kikaida Zero Wan:  The Animation (“Kikaida 01:  The Animation”)
Based On Works By: Ishinomori Shotaro (Masked Rider)
Original Release Year: 2001
Running Time: 107 minutes (4 episodes, approximately 25 minutes each)
Official Website:   http://www.kikaideranimation.com

DVD Released By: Video Animation (Hong Kong)
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: Japanese 2.0
Extras: Art gallery, storyboard-to-scene comparison
Subtitles: English (Engrish), Chinese
Closed Captions: None
Region: 0
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 24 (6 per episode)
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: Unknown
UPC #: 4988102822712
Catalog #: DVD-877-E
Status: Available


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: Jiro / Kikaider becomes the protector of a woman and child, Reiko and Akira, who are being pursued by DARK.  Akira is the young son of DARK leader Professor Gill, and Reiko is his guardian.  DARK is developing the Armageddon robot (a giant robot resembling Toho’s Moguera) for world conquest.  They need Akira because his unique brainwaves can power / guide the robot.

When a strange signal leads him to a temple, Jiro meets Dr. Komyoji’s teacher, Futen.  He also discovers his “older brother,” Ichiro / Kikaider 01.  01 ("zero-one") is a prototype android that is solar powered, and lacks a conscience circuit.  The two Kikaiders join forces to keep Akira safe.  As the DARK forces against them become more and more powerful, they will also be joined by
Kikaider 00 ("double-oh"), a powerful battle android built by Futen.

All 4 episodes of the series are included on this disk:

Episode 1:  Kikaider struggles to keep Akira and Reiko (misidentified as “Ming” and “Mitsuko” in the Engrish subtitles) safe from the relentless robots of DARK.  He discovers his brother Kikaider 01 hidden away in a temple.

Episode 2:  Jiro and Ichiro are attacked by the female android Bjinder.  They then have to deal with the revitalized Hakaider and three other Hakaider-type android assassins!

Episode 3:  The ranks of the good androids are bolstered by the addition of Kikaider 00.  DARK lures Reiko into a trap at her childhood home, where a devastating secret is revealed.

Episode 4:  With Akira powering their giant robot, DARK begins a campaign of destruction.  The final battle against DARK is one Kikaider will have to fight alone!

Kikaider 01:  The Animation is much shorter than the first Kikaider anime (4 episodes compared to 12).  It takes a different approach than its predecessor.  The first series was character-driven, and this series concentrates on action.  While the show is very entertaining, it really could have benefited from more character development.  Both of Kikaider’s brothers are likeable, but the show is over before they are given a chance to really grow and develop the way Jiro did in the original.  Also, poor Akira doesn’t speak once in the entire series!  Still, the animation is bright and colorful, the action is fast and furious, and the music is excellent.  It’s fun to watch.  Grade for the series:  B

Video: The fullscreen image is crisp, clear, and bright.  Color and detail are both excellent, which shows off the colorful animation to good effect.  Grade:  A

Audio: The Japanese 2.0 track sounds good, with all of the dialogue, music, and sound effects coming through loud and clear.  Grade:  B

Extras / Menus: There is an art gallery containing 24 images of conceptual artwork and character designs.  There is also a  storyboard-to-scene comparison covers four sequences.  A scene from the film is shown side-by-side with the storyboard sketches.  This allows the viewer to get an idea of how scenes are visualized before being animated.  Though not very extensive, these extras are certainly worthwhile additions. 

Most of the menus feature animation and music, and everything is very easy to navigate.  All of the text is in both English and Chinese. 
Grade:  B

Final Analysis: Kikaider 01:  The Animation isn’t as deep as the first Kikaider anime, but it’s still recommended.  This DVD’s Engrish subtitles aren’t nearly as bad as the first series’, and the disk includes a few minor extras.  Final Grade:  B+
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