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DVD REVIEW: Kaijudo: Dragonstrike

DVD REVIEW: Kaijudo: Dragonstrike

Cinelinx duels it out with the new Kaijudo: Dragonstrike DVD!

THE SET-UP
Ray takes up his father's mantle as a master of Kaijudo - "the way of the creature" - to do battle with various villians in the underworld and other dimensions, including a mysterious group called the Choten. Features five episodes from the hit series seen on The Hub TV network.  

THE DELIVERY
This DVD collection features five episodes: "Into the Fire, Parts 1 and 2," "Heavenly Creatures," and "The Rising, Parts 1 and 2."  They are episodes 6, 7, 23, 25 and 26 (respectively) of the show's first season. The DVD release of Dragonstrike coincides with the Dragonstrike card game, which released in March.

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In my previous review for a Kaijudo DVD release ("Creatures Unleashed," read it here) I gave the show props for aiming squarely for the 12-and-under set, and hitting the mark with a entertaining show that's heavy on fighting monster action. For Dragonstrike, we get more of the same, but with more of an ongoing storyline that's fairly interesting. Character development is good, and the show's writers are obviously trying to do more than throw more fight scenes onscreen.

The episodes featured on the disc include the two-part season finale, and three other episodes that featured amjor plot points from the first season. The episodes feature betrayal and revelations for Ray, the show's young hero. Along with his friends Gabe and Allie (and some assorted creatures), Ray battles the Choten, an enemy that seeks to control all creatures and rule both Earth and the Underworld.

For a cartoon based on a card game, Kaijudo provides a nice over-arching storyline instead of pointless, self-contained episodes. It makes for some entertaining animated TV, and the colorful, stylized art direction does the show's creatures and dragons justice. Character design is a stylized anime-style, and the hand-drawn animation is nicely done. On the down side, the animation frame rate, like most budget-minded TV cartoons, isn't quite as good as you might hope for. Overall, however, Kaijudo is a quality show that your pre-teen boy will enjoy. 

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VIDEO AND AUDIO
The video for the standard DVD is good, but the transfer of the hand-drawn images lack some sharpness. Black outlines are often slightly jagged, but the colors overall are bright, boosting the image quality significantly. Audio is a rich Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, giving the dialogue and sound effects proper distinction.  

SPECIAL FEATURES
No special features are included, but an exclusive "Herald of Infernus" card for the Kaijudo game is included in the DVD box. It should make junior Kaijudo fans quite happy.

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THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?
Ratings (1-10 scale)

Show: 8

Video: 7

Audio: 7

Extras: 4

Overall Grade: 6.5

Kaijudo: Dragonstrike is a solid little disc, and perfect for the little Kaijudo fan in your life that needs to be entertained for a few hours. The technical presentation for a standard DVD is strong, and even though it does not have special features, the exclusive gaming card is a nice bonus. 

DVD SPECS
Release Date: April 30, 2013

Rating: Tv-Y7

Running time: 110 minutes

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: None

Special features: Kaijudo exclusive gaming card

Label: Shout! Factory

Click here to order Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters: Dragonstrike on DVD from Amazon!