Reviews

Oct 12, 2008
ParaParaJMo (All reviews)
Welcome to one of the original modern day cult classics of anime. The licensors originally intended to keep its true title, Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, but because of Saban Entertainment’s two big name titles at the time: Super Human Samurai Cyber Squad and VR Troopers having the names in their titles, they feared a law suit. I know it’s stupid, but this is America we’re talking about. But I think Ronin Warriors is also an appropriate title for our cast of characters. Despite the title and name changes, as well as some other ones in context to the story, it maintains a substantial amount of faithfulness in presentation with character interaction, development, and themes such as friendship and unity. But for what it’s worth, the story is appropriately paced and stunningly engaging. I was really captivated by how much Ryo values his friendship with his teammates, and it was also an anime that had death scenes and showed a naked woman on early after noon television. So some of those qualities were just unique to me during that one summer vacation of 1995. But beyond that, I also loved its approach to the concept of what defines good and evil in a way that my 11-year-old mind at the time could handle.

Of course some major flaws and issues people will have is that the team doesn’t have an official back-story. Such as how and why they got their armors. In the Japanese version, some of the characters are descended from samurai which does give some indication that they were bounded by blood or destiny to become so. But I heard there are some manga material and drama cds that do give some elaboration to this.

Well, to some people the style may not really be unique, but to me when I was getting into anime, seeing the art alone was enough to tell me that I should watch this show. To me, the art was fresh, sharp, original, and distinctive. And for some reason, I still have some of those same impressions to this day though it’s not as strong as it was 13 years ago. Granted the multi-color scheme was very Power Rangers-ish for that time period, I just thought the designs of both the Ronin and Dynasty Warriors brought out a really retro and original approach to the style. I was truly frightened with what the bad guys’ armors looked like and the power it had. And even though the attacks relied on recycled footage, I just love how dramatic they were and how much detail they put into the movement and expressions. The fights at the time were very exciting and high octane for me because like I said, it was something new and it just pulled me in. But I did notice the use of hyper space backgrounds and ever since then as well as in other anime, they still bother me to this day. I want to say more but I’ll leave what I say in relation to this topic for my overall commentary.

OK, the English opening theme was cheesy, but I just loved the guitars. Granted it didn’t have a Japanese feel to it, but I thought it was still hypnotic. But I do appreciate that the dub still kept the original background music soundtrack. I always loved the guitar edition of the first ending theme, Far Away, and I thought it was always appropriately used and it always stuck out to me, as well as other background mixes of the other songs such as Stardust Eyes and Samurai Heart. But when you hear the actual theme songs, they have this certain Japanese authenticity to the show.

The dub may sound cheesy and lame to some people, but I personally still love it to this day. I think the dub is appropriately 90s and I think the accents for some of the characters truly reflected their personalities. I liked Cye’s or Shin’s or whoever you want to call him’s British accent. I think it perfectly brings out his gentle and happy nature. I also loved Jason Gray Stafford as Kento or Xiu. He brought out his party animal personality and I also enjoyed Matt Hill as Ryo or Raioh or whatever pronunciation you want to use. I recognized his voice as Captain N the first time I heard it and I just simply liked him for the role. And the dub voices of the Warlords were excellent and they just brought out the true evil in them. But I also think the Japanese version is also excellent in its own right. I truly enjoyed Kusao Takeshi’s Ryo as well and brought out his qualities in his own right as well as being passionate and commanding. And Wakamoto Norio, who voiced Cell in DBZ I thought was also great as Kaos or The Ancient One, and the English voice actor, Michael Dobson brought a great charisma to that role as well. I say watch both English and Japanese versions not to see which version is better, but to just overall enjoy it.

Well, as you can tell by this review, every time I watch and talk about this anime, the inner child inside me who first watched comes out and talks about his impressions after watching it the first time. I was officially watching anime for barely six months at that point and I thought it was unique to see anime on TV at the time. Keep in mind that shortly after, DBZ and Sailor Moon would soon follow, but would have yet find any mainstream success. The reason why I feel I can’t be outraged over what was changed and edited is not really over the legal circumstances, but I felt that despite whatever changes were made, I personally felt that this anime still had all of its qualities that made it likeable as an anime. I mean, it’s not like any direct Japanese references were cut out. I was captured by how the story wasn’t traditionally episodic as I grew up with American cartoons. I loved the art, the action, the development, the characters.