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ADV Films presents
Shadow Raiders #4: Alliance Attacks (1999)

"I hope you swallow the spirit of this world and choke on it!!"
- Grand Vizer (Jim Byrnes)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: April 10, 2001

Stars: Paul Dobson, Matt Hill, Gary Chalk, Mark Oliver
Other Stars: Donna Yamamoto, Tasha Simms, Jim Byrnes
Director: Colin Davies, Mark Sawers, Mark Schiemann

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild animated violence)
Run Time: 01h:30m:00s
Release Date: May 22, 2001
UPC: 702727011023
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+A-B+ B-

DVD Review

Disc 4 of Shadow Raiders brings us to the second season of the show, where things are much more urgent, thanks to the fact that the feared Beast Planet is now on the loose. Although Season One ended on this down note, there is hope to be found and we see it being to emerge here. Things kick off with World Within Worlds, which continues right from the very end of the previous story. As the Beast Planet unveils itself and attacks our brave alliance of four planets, there seems little hope of survival because it's literally unstoppable. Tekla, however, believes in a force hidden deep within Planet Ice that will change all that. As the alliance is driven to the brink, Tekla manages to discover weird, hidden "world engines" that will allow Planet Ice to actually move around, thus dodging the attack of the Beast Planet.

In This Is The Way The World Ends, Planets Ice, Rock, and Bone have all learned to use these World Engines to their benefit. Unfortunately, Planet Fire hasn't found theirs yet, which puts them right in the path of danger. As warriors like Graveheart and King Cryos search for a solution to the problem, their options are cut short by time. Unfortunately, the people of Planet Fire and their Prince, Pyros, will have to make the ultimate sacrifice to help the rest of the galaxy gain more time.

Not all in the second season is depressing, however. On a lighter note, Period Of Adjustment is a mildly humorous break from the horrors of the story, telling about how Emperor Femur (of Bone) decides to rejoin the Alliance because his servant, Pelvis, is still trying to assassinate him. The Alliance discovers they're running low on food, so something must be worked out about how to replace the food with supplements, and although no one wants to deal with the cowardly Femur, he could solve the food problem. Things, as usual, will work themselves out, but not before some much needed apologies are said.

Blaze Of Glory sees a brief moment of calm enter the lives of Graveheart, Jade, King Cryos, Emperor Femur, and Prince Pyros. Using the World Engines to escape the Beast Planet, they have not been attacked for weeks. Sadly, the silence is broken when Prince Pyros' elite warrior guards decide to take over one of the precious Battle Moons in an attempt to go after the Beast Planet alone, hoping to become heroes. Getting back the Moon is priority since they're needed to fight, but at the same time, they cannot simply re-take the Moon without threatening Emperor Femur, who has been taken hostage.

Despite the few distractions found in the previous volume, the show gets back to its pure action and storytelling roots here. It also gets very heavy-handed and serious, and pretty much keeps that tone throughout. These are all good things as the writing began to weaken in the last few episodes, almost as if the show stopped taking itself seriously; but that changes here and the flow becomes more linear. The action is pretty constant as well, with slower moments being rare.

If Shadow Raiders was ever good, it certainly gets better here. Unfortunately, this also marks the downward spiral of the show, which ends in 9 more episodes. In fact, this season never aired in the United States, only in Canada. This War Planets show seemed to be a disaster in terms of ratings and popularity. Perhaps it was just too mature for the Saturday morning audience to really get into. Regardless, it stands as a fine creation by Mainframe Entertainment, who currently produce Action Man for television.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Repeating the performance of past volumes, Shadow Raiders is virtually perfect. Other than some minor fuzziness and movement in very specific moments, this is another pristine disc. You might as well be watching the animation as it's rendered, because that's what it looks like.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround audio is pretty much like previous volumes. It's not quite as active in the surrounds, but it still provides a very broad, rich soundtrack that matches the space action well. Nothing is obscured or harshed-out from any of the action; it all sounds perfectly balanced and oriented.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Getter Robo, Robotech, Blue Seed, Neon Genesis Evangelon, Ruin Explorers, Orphen
Packaging: other
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Fictional "bios" of series characters
  2. Test render footage
Extras Review: The bios and database on this disc are based around characters and ships from Planet Fire, along with some test render footage of Fire characters and world locations.

Other features include the series trailer for Shadow Raiders and other ADV releases and upcoming titles, including the much awaited Robotech series.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Shadow Raiders gets a bit closer to its end, but still provides a solid, entertaining story. You can't go wrong renting this collection, or owning it. Be sure to check it out.


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