DVD REVIEW: Kaijudo: Creatures Unleashed

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THE SET-UP
A young boy named Ray learns the ways of Kaijudo (“The Way of the Creature”), and becomes a warrior in a battle with monsters in another realm. Based on the popular card game. As seen on the HUB-TV network.

THE DELIVERY
This DVD set contains five episodes from the animated series: “The Natural, Part 1,” “The Natural, Part 2,” “The Natural, Part 3,” “Om Nom Nom,” and “The Hunted.”

As someone unfamiliar with both the Kaijudo card game or animated series, I went into viewing the “Creatures Unleashed” DVD with an open mind. With five episodes on the disc, I wondered if Kaijudo was a legitimate animated show worth watching or just a 30-minute commercial to sell a card game.

I have decided that after watching the five episodes (that cover all the essentials you need to know about the story), Kaijudo will work for young kids because it is full of monsters. Creatures of all kinds, including a few creepy ones, inhabit the world of Kaijudo, and it makes the action cool enough to be interesting. It isn’t fantastic, but to really enjoy the show, you apparently really need to be into the card game. Otherwise, Kaijudo is entertaining, for the 12-and-under set.

Although it is based on a fighting premise, the cartoon does espouse positive character development, including honor, loyalty, and kindness to others. Sure, the characters may be a bit annoying at times, but they aren’t the sarcastic, materialistic brats we often see in children’s programming. 

The traditional, hand-drawn animation is standard, nothing flashy, but it is nice to see a non-CGI animated shows still being made. The characters are voiced by some outstanding actors, including Scott Wolf, Freddy Rodriguez, Phil LaMarr, John Dimaggio, and Oded Fehr.

Kaijudo may not be the best cartoon on television, but for the young kids it is aiming for, it is just about right. The action moves along quickly, the art direction is bold and bright, and the characters are appealing. Yes, it is designed to sell cards, and with every new ceature thrown on the screen, kids will likely go clamoring for the accompanying game card. However, it manages to be entertaining enough to make it all worthwhile.

VIDEO AND AUDIO
The standard DVD features decent color reproduction and a bright image, although the sharpness is not what it should be. Minor jagged images can be seen on a number of characters, so it appears the animated image was scanned at a lower resolution. For a television production, it is a good transfer, but not the best. The sound, however, is quite good, with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix providing excellent clarity and a nice surround sound.

SPECIAL FEATURES
The lone special feature is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show. It is quite good, as most anmated shows do not provide a decent look behind the scenes. Interviews with many of the actors are also included.

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THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?

Ratings (1-10 scale) 

Show: 6

Video: 6

Audio: 7

Extras: 5

Overall Grade: 6

Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters: Creatures Unleashed is entertaining for young kids who play the associated card game, and the roster of fighting monsters will likely keep older kids interested. With this “best of” DVD priced to sell, it is worth picking up for a young Kaijudo fan to watch anytime. 

DVD SPECS
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Rating: TV-Y7
Running time: 110 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: None
Special Features: A Look at Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters featurette

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