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Box Front Japanese Title: Jinzo Ningen Kikaida:  The Animation (“Artificial Human Kikaida:  The Animation”)
Director: Tensai Okamuro
Based On Works By: Ishinomori Shotaro (Masked Rider)
Original Release Year: 2000
Running Time: 276 minutes (12 episodes, approximately 23 minutes each)
Official Website:   http://www.kikaideranimation.com

DVD Released By: Animation Video (Hong Kong)
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: Japanese 5.1
Extras: None
Subtitles: English (Engrish), Chinese
Closed Captions: None
Region: 0
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 2 per episode
Packaging: 3 disks in 2 keepcases, housed in a box
MSRP: Unknown
UPC #: 4988102822712
Catalog #: DVD-802-E
Status: Available


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: Doctor Komyoji, a brilliant scientist, is coerced into building androids for a criminal organization known as DARK.  Led by the mysterious Professor Gill, DARK’s goal is world domination.  Dr. Komyoji attempts to set things right by endowing Kikaider, his most advanced android, with a conscience circuit.  Codenamed “Gemini” (an allusion to "Jiminy" from Pinocchio) this circuit gives Kikaider and his human alter-ego Jiro the power to choose freely between good and evil.

While attempting to activate Kikaider, Dr. Komyoji is abducted by DARK and his lab is destroyed.  Jiro, unsure of his identity and with no memories of his own, is found by Dr. Komyoji’s daughter Mitsuko.  Jiro / Kikaider becomes the protector of Mitsuko and her younger brother Masaru as they attempt to unravel the mystery of DARK and their father’s disappearance.

All 12 episodes of the series are included in this set:

“Lonely Puppet”:  Dr. Komyoji disappears, and his laboratory is destroyed, shortly after activating Jiro / Kikaider.  Mitsuko takes the android in, but remains skeptical and thinks he could be dangerous.

“Crazy Robot”:  Mitsuko realizes Jiro’s conflicted nature when he attacks her (under the influence of Professor Gill’s flute), then later saves her from Green Mantis.

“Stray Ship”:  Jiro aimlessly wanders the city streets.  Mitsuko hires Hattori Hanpei, a private detective, to help find him.  Carmine Spider wreaks havoc in the city before confronting Kikaider.

“Mirror”:  Jiro is challenged by Orange Ant.  Because people continue to react to him with fear, Jiro once again flees from Mitsuko.

“Raining Street”:  Jiro is taken in by a kind woman.  Meanwhile, the boyfriend she has been waiting for is working for DARK.  He plants mysterious devices around the city, under the watchful eyes of Yellow Jaguar.

Episode 6 (No Title Translation Given):  Mitsuko is kidnapped by a mysterious man who is also laying a trap for Jiro.

“Tragedy”:  Golden Bat, another tormented android with an incomplete conscience circuit, springs his trap and attempts to destroy Kikaider.

“Friend”:  Jiro and Mitsuko try to find Mitsuko’s mother, who may know something about Dr. Komyoji’s whereabouts.  Masaru follows them, and is escorted through the woods by several enigmatic new “friends.”

“The Frozen Knot”:  Mitsuko learns the shocking truth about her mother.  The dangerous Saburo appears, and claims to be the one who will finally finish Kikaider.

“Destructive Evil”:  Under the control of Saburo, Kikaider goes on a destructive rampage.  Can Mitsuko free him from his tormentor’s grip?

“The Dreaming Robot”:  Kikaider has a final showdown with Saburo’s alter ego, the android assassin Hakaider.  However, destroying Hakaider could mean the death of Dr. Komyoji!

“The End Of Dreaming”:  As Mitsuko and Hattori rush to save Dr. Komyoji, Kikaider infiltrates DARK headquarters and finally confronts Professor Gill.

This animated series, based on the manga by Ishinomori Shotaro, is quite different from
the 1972 live-action Kikaida series.  While this new animated version has the same plot and characters, the tone of the two series are very different.  The live-action series was limited by a low budget, but made up for it with energy and charm.  It was quite humorous at times.  This animated series, however, is a somber and serious examination of the role of artificial life and intelligence.  Played completely straight, it is very dark and moody at times.  It’s very artfully done, and perfectly captures the melancholy aspects of the character of Jiro / Kikaider.  This departure is not a bad thing.  It’s good that the two series take different approaches.  If they were the same, there would really be no point in making a new series.  The two series stand in stark contrast to one another, telling the same basic story in two different ways. 

NOTE:  The subtitles on this DVD are Hong Kong “Engrish” complete with awkward grammar and goofy new names for the characters (even though the correct names are clearly stated in the Japanese dialogue).  For your convenience, here are the character’s real names, and their Chinese-to-Engrish translations:

Jiro = ”Chi Long”
Kikaider = “Kayhoita”
Mitsuko = “Moon Muk Chi”
Masaru = “Ah Wai”
Dr. Komyoji = “Dr. Kong Ming Chi”
Hattori Hanpei = “Fubopupin”
Professor Gill = “Bruce Philip Kilo”
DARK = “Takhat”
Saburo = “San Wu Long”
Hakaider = “Pakhoita”

Engrish translation notwithstanding, this is an excellent series and is highly recommended. 
Grade for the series:  A

Video: The fullscreen image is mostly crisp and clear.  Some darker scenes (like night scenes) are noticeably “soft,” but this appears to be the way they drawn, and not a defect of the transfer.  Color and detail are both excellent, which shows off the animation to good effect.  Grade:  A

Audio: The Japanese 5.1 track sounds good, with all of the dialogue, music, and sound effects coming through loud and clear.  Grade:  B

Extras / Menus: All of the menus are still images with background music.  The Chapter Select menus are arranged oddly, making it difficult to navigate by.  All of the text is in both English and Chinese.  There are no extras.  Grade:  F

Final Analysis: This is an excellent series, and, except for the annoying Engrish subtitles, is well presented on these DVD’s.  There is also a follow-up series, Kikaider 01:  The Animation, which continues the story, but takes a more action-oriented approach.
Final Grade:  B
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Box Back Disk 1 Front Disk 1 Back
Box Back Disc 1, Front (Left) and Back (Right)
Disk 2 Front Disk 2 Back
The Total Package!
The Total Package!
Disc 2, Front (Left) and Back (Right)
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