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ADV Films presents
Power Stone #1: Mystery Of The Stones (2001)

"All I want is to be famous like Valgas and have ONE good fight in my life."
- Falcon (Robert Tinkler)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: October 29, 2001

Stars: Robert Tinkler, William Colgate, Stephanie Morgenstern
Other Stars: Robert Smith, Damon D'Oliveira, Maurice Dean Wint
Director: Takamiro Oomori

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild animated violence)
Run Time: 01h:39m:30s
Release Date: October 30, 2001
UPC: 702727019326
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Power Stone is an anime based on the video game series (Power Stone 1 & 2 respectively) originally released for the Sega Dreamcast system. The anime briefly ran on early morning American television, but was not terribly successful in the wake of other, more popular shows. Now the series is being released on DVD in 4 volumes (planned so far), but unfortunately, I'm not sure it's much cause for celebration. For a variety of reasons, I found Power Stone a bit disappointing, lacking any noticeable effort to make it something special.

To get into my problems with the series, one must first have a minor understanding of the video games. For those that haven't played them, the Power Stone games are extremely intense and crazy fighting games in which players are put into an arena and allowed to pummel each other in near any way possible. If there's a chair or vase in the room, it can be picked up and tossed at your opponent. Random items, like giant hammers, swords, flamethrowers, and rocket launchers, will appear and make things even more bizarre. Don't wince, though, the violence is extremely cartoonish and silly. Once a player manages to collect 3 Power Stones while running around flogging players, he temporarily transforms into some strange, wild enhancement of himself in which he becomes even more deadly. It's fast, furious, and fun. Hopefully, you get the general picture of what a fan of the games might expect from an anime based on it.

Sadly, Power Stone doesn't live up to it's potential, but rather follows in the footsteps of relatively run-of-the-mill adventure/comedy anime like Pokemon. Those expecting to relive the stylish madness of the game will instead find a pretty ho-hum approach. The show focuses on young Falcon (the character of Fokker from the video game), a fighter who aspires to be among the best in the world, able to compete with champions like the legendary Valgas. One day he receives a package from his father, an important archaeologist, and in it is a small rock. Falcon ignores what possible importance it might have, but when mysterious villains start pursuing him and trying to steal the stone, he becomes curious. Eventually, by accident, he discovers it is a legendary Power Stone that will allow its possessor to temporarily become immensely strong, defeating almost any opponent.

Falcon sets off to find his father and, hopefully, pursue the remaining Power Stones before they fall into the hands of enemies. As he progresses, though, he meets assorted people, some bad and good (most based on characters from the game), but all with their own agendas. None of this is very exciting, though. Most of the villians are portrayed as bumbling, comic, fools and Falcon barely has to break a sweat to outsmart or defeat them. When he encounters characters from the game, they have virtually no background and are simply "adopted" into the series to make a connection with the game. The action sequences are fairly tepid and usually contain more slapstick than impressive visuals. The animation is weak and without any kind of bold style (certainly not like the anime used in the video games). What confused me most was why this insultingly simplistic "Hey let's go on an adventure!" plot was substituted for the idea behind the game: a bunch of fighters compete to own the Power Stones. Sure, that's not very deep or complex, but it makes the perfect excuse to just have lots of action which this show could REALLY use.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Not surprisingly, the transfer is stellar. Although the animation is fairly low-grade, morning cartoon style, the image itself is rock solid with no print damage, compression problems, or any other noticeable flaws. This is pretty much standard fare for ADV discs.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: An English Dolby Surround track is the only audio track available. For those disappointed that there is no Japanese audio, from what I understand, ADV was not given any direct control over the full production of Power Stone, merely North American distribution rights to the American television version and no access to the original audio. That said, the dub is pretty bad. It lacks character and correct casting. However, it's all we have, and the audio in general isn't too bad. There's not much in the way of elaborate sound effects, but what is there uses good spatiality and stereo treatment. I don't recall any surround channel effects, though. The music score sounds the best out of all the elements.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Nadia, Sonic The Hedgehog, Orphen, Princess Nine, Tekken, Soul Hunter
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Similarly to the audio problem, ADV also had no access to any other bits of supplements or the uncut original episodes. There was probably nothing cut from the show, but who knows nowadays. Unfortunately, there is no chapter selection menu (only direct access to the start of each episode), so searching will have to be done while playing the disc.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

Power Stone isn't terrible, but it sucks all the life out of a great concept and turns it into a kiddie-toon with virtually no depth. Have over some friends and play Power Stone 2 instead, and you'll probably have a lot more fun.


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