Plot: What’s it about?
Viewtiful Joe is back in this fourth volume of adventures and this time, we have three new tales of heroics to watch unfold. In the first episode, Viewtiful Joe finds himself face to face with a new enemy, a powerful robot whose sole mission is to destroy him. The robot was designed by Gran Bruce, Hulk Davidson, and Charles III, so the name of Bruce Davidson III is no surprise. But can even this mechanical monstrosity manage to defeat Viewtiful Joe, or is the robot without weakness? The second episode presents Joe with an unusual problem, as the town has robbed of its colors. Not just some colors either, as a group of baddies known as the Monochromataloids have stolen all the hues. These vacuum type machines have left the town in greys and shadows, can Joe somehow restore the vivid presence? In the final episode, Joe realizes a dream when he is face to face with Silvia, but romance isn’t in the cards. No, this Silvia wants to take his V-Watch and when he has to battle an enemy who looks like Silvia, can Joe put up a fight?
Viewtiful Joe should ring bells with most folks, as a video game of the same name was a smash success. The game was blast, a unique experience that was not only fun to play, but also had some imaginative, artistic visuals that stood out. Viewtiful Joe ran for fifty-one episodes in Japan, but we have slightly altered versions of the show here. In addition to the cuts, Geneon has chosen to give us only the English language version, so the original Japanese soundtrack isn’t present. As this is anime that both children and older audiences can enjoy, there is no reason not to include both soundtracks. But enough about the disc’s technical merits, the show itself is decent, but is by no means a masterpiece. As expected, this is a simple and often enjoyable show, even though the English translation leaves a lot to be desired. The focus is on fun, so storylines tend to follow the same formulas and offer minimal depth. But there is ample cheese factor and the off the wall characters make up for the repetition within the plots. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes silly, fun anime, but Geneon’s treatment makes it impossible to do so. The show has some good moments and could have been a fun release, but not in this cut and altered version we have here.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. This series uses a very basic animation style, closer to afternoon cartoons than typical anime, so don’t expect a lot. But the visuals are colorful and vivid, so the transfer is up to snuff. The hues are very bright and bold, with rich colors that never error and seem as if they could flow off the screen at times. I saw no problems with contrast either and as far as sharpness, the image looked clean and crisp throughout. A kind of simple visual design, but one that offers vibrant colors and thanks to this transfer, these episodes look terrific.
Audio: How does it sound?
As I mentioned above, I am displeased with the decision to only include the English language track. I’d love to have the original Japanese soundtrack on board and given Geneon’s past releases, I didn’t expect to find it left off here. On technical merits, the soundtrack is solid all around, with good presence and clear vocals at all times, so that is good news. I found the dub work to be passable, but some exceptions do spoil the fun. This disc also includes English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a pop quiz and some conceptual images.