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Tower of Druaga the Complete Collection
Reviewed by
Thomas Bracks
on
Tower of Druaga the Complete Collection DVD Review The Tower of Druaga the Complete Collection is a very sturdy anime release by Siren Visual that pushes all its buttons correctly.
Rating:
4.2

Feature 8.5
Video 8.0
Audio 7.9
Special Features 6.0
Total 8.4
Distributor: Siren Visual
Running Time: TBA
Reviewer: Thomas Bracks
Classification
: M15+

8.4


Tower of Druaga the Complete Collection

Anime doesn't get any better than this and the Tower of Druaga the Complete Collection released by Siren Visual is no exception. The premise behind this thoroughly entertaining series is that it is based in a sword and sorcery universe which features, action, drama and comedy in one truly accessible collection. This six-disc collection contains both series from the Tower of Druaga, The Aegis of Uruk and The Sword of Uruk with both supporting an English dub or Japanese for purists. Even though the English dub is quite professionally done, the introduction is pure Japanese and looks and even sounds more like a J-Pop video than a classic sword and sorcery epic. It's cute! One word of warning however is that the English subtitles does do not match the English dub... :\

In terms of story, the Tower of Druaga takes place 80-years after the valiant hero Gilgamesh destroyed the tower but unfortunately the taint of the demon lord Druaga still remained. Over the years since the destruction of the tower, the evil minions of Druaga rebuilt the tower and no one has ever been able to destroy it again... until now. This is the story of Jil as we literally see a level-1 RPG character come to life and if you're not hooked by the first episode, than you might want to get your anime love elsewhere. What may catch you off guard is that the first episode is actually a dream and the real action doesn't start for a few more episodes. It's definitely worth the investment though!

Episode Listing

Disc 1
The Great Tower of Druaga
Meskia, The City in the Tower
Before Departure
Band of the Hand
Disc 2
Ziusudra's Trap
Bridge of Lightning
Dance with the One-Winged Dragon
Tower of Legend
Disc 3
Eleven Nines
Summer's End
One Solitary Shield
You Zapped To…

Given that, If you have ever played Dungeons & Dragons or played the numerous Sword and Sorcery Role Playing Games available on your PC or game console, than this collection is definitely right up your alley. It should be noted that this story
first started life as an 1984 arcade game by Namco where you play Gilgamesh as you tried to defeat the beast Druaga to rescue the priestess Ki. This series basically follows the game and like the name, the series revolves around the Tower of Druaga that has become a beacon to treasure hunters and if they manage to explore the 60 levels of this tower, they could leave considerably richer. There is however a price and this tower is filled with dangerous monsters and traps which has caused many adventurers to fail in the past.

The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk

As mentioned, the first part of the series revolves around protagonist Jil, a truly bumbling yet kind hearted adventurer who soon finds himself kicked out of a band of explorers that look like they have come straight out of World of Warcraft. It doesn't help that the leader of that band was actually his half-brother Neeba. Fortunately for Jil and through a twist of Fate, Jil decides to do the unthinkable and attempt to thwart the tower by recruiting his own band of adventurers which could be considered the "B-Team" even though they almost fall into his lap.

Joining Jil, is the female warrior Ahmey, the inept and arrogant magician Melt and his lovely (eye candy) servant girl Coopa plus Kaaya, the cleric or healer of the group as is my favourite. Kaaya has some great one-liners and although she appears quite innocent, she is packing a mighty punch. ogether this group of adventurers make up the classic archetype role playing party. Jil's team is also quite explosive when it comes to their personalities but together, they actually might be able to succeed. However like most anime clichés, the Tower of Druaga features a healthy dose of comedy, especially with the inclusion old school computer graphics... what the? Nonetheless it brought a smile to my face!

Another plot point to the first series is that tower is easier to scale in Summer as apparently this is when the denizens inside the tower are at their weakest. It also doesn't help that King Gilgamesh, the ruling monarch of this region has his own secrets about the tower and these are slowly revealed to the viewer. There is some great characterisation in this series, especially with the diverse personalities such as the Mage Melt who is more powerful with his sarcasm than his spells or the stoic Ahmey who has her own reasons for entering the tower. Add in a rival group of adventurers and the probability of Jil and his team defeating the evil of Druaga and reclaiming the holy artefact is almost an impossibility... or is it?

The Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk

The sequel, The Sword of Uruk takes place a short time after the end of the first story which, six months to be precise <spoilers> saw Jil and his team victorious over the nefarious demon Druaga. Unfortunately their victory has caused a catalyst of events in the land and it seems that the corruption of the tower has spread across the realm and more specifically to their monarch, King Gilgamesh. Even more mysterious is that certain members of Jil's rival party led by Neeba who were betrayed in the tower have vanished.

In attempt to find Neeba and Kaaya, Jil teams up with Fatina, a sorceress from the opposing band who then being their own investigation. They literally bump into a young girl called Ki, a mysterious Priestess of Ishtar who is unfortunately being pursued by the Golden Knights of the king.

She tells them that if they don't face the tower again, their land will be in grave peril so not only are they wanted fugitives for helping Ki but they must risk their lives yet again. Together, a new band once again faces the challenges of the tower, however unlike the first series, The Sword of Uruk is a much more serious story but is thankfully still laced with endless comedic moments. Compared to the first series, I actually enjoyed The Sword of Uruk more as the dynamics have changed considerably, especially with Jil and Fatina and the various new plotlines such as the mystery of Gilgamesh. Definitely a must watch series!

Episode Listing

Disc 1
The Tower of Gilgamesh
Capital City Meskia
City of Dreams - Meltland
Into the Phantasm
Disc 2
The Land of Shadows
The Four Assassins
House of Eternal Spring
The Two of Them were Once
Disc 3
The End of the Dream
Last Resort
Slayer of God
Hand in Hand

Video, Audio & Special Features

The video quality of this release is awesome and is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. Even though I have been spoilt by Madman Blu-ray anime releases, the Tower of Druaga the Complete Collection boasts vibrant colours, sharp images and a minimal amount of artifacting.

The best aspect of the video quality is that it helps enhance the animation of the series but my only gripe is the incorporation of CGI into the series that does look a little out of place. Even so, the animation of the Tower of Druaga the Complete Collection is pure eye candy. Audio is equally as good with a Dolby Digital 5.1 for the English Dub and the original Dolby Digital 2.0 for Japanese. The voice acting is quite good, although a little contrived at times but when the action commences, so does your surround sound. For bonuses, there is a bonus episode with a multi-angle/alternative story and even an additional commentary track, although both nothing too special. Hopefully in the future, we can see some more content for all anime releases in Australia.

Final Thoughts?

The Tower of Druaga the Complete Collection is a very sturdy anime release by Siren Visual that pushes all its buttons correctly. Even though the plotlines are quite serious and a little dark at times, the comedy truly helps liven up the story, even if some of it was quite embarrassing to watch. Nonetheless, this is a classic story of boy to hero and good versus evil in a very engaging universe of sword and sorcery with some truly memorable characters. Recommended from start to finish!






 
 



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