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DVD Review: VR Troopers Season 2, Volume 1

May 14, 2013

Save Us From Obscurity received a review copy of this DVD before its release date. It is (obviously) identical to the retail copy.

Photo from Shout Factory

VR Troopers is one of the few Ameri-Toku shows Saban Entertainment created that wasn’t Power Rangers. The show was a hybrid adaptation of Choujinki Metalder and Jikuu Senshi Spielban… at least for its first season. For its second and final season, VR Troopers continued to adapt Jikuu Senshi Spielban, but replaced the fight footage/battle suit/enemies for Ryan Steele with footage from the third Space Sheriff show, Space Sheriff Shaider.

Now, as Shout Factory has finally reached VR Troopers Season 2 as they continue to go through the Saban Ameri-Toku library. The first half of Season 2, containing 20 episodes from the second season, brings a few new elements and characters into the mix, as Ryan, JB and Kaitlin continue their quest to defeat Grimlord. It’s time to dig into the back half of VR Troopers, and head into virtual reality once again!

Presentation: Box Art, Discs, and DVD Menus

Box Art/Discs: While I still think Season 1, Volume 2 is currently the best of the VR Trooper volume releases when it comes to the Box Art, this one is still nice to look at. I love the green spiral background, which fits right in with the whole virtual reality feel the show was trying to give off. Obviously, JB and Kaitlin’s photos are the same as Volume 1, but given that there’s limited high quality photos to work with (And the fact that JB and Kaitlin didn’t get new suits this season, which was always weird to me…), it’s fine. They did a very nice job with the cover, and I hope they keep this quality up for the eventual final volume.

The back cover is nicely done as well, with a nice photo of the cast behind a pretty cool yellow background. I’m always a fan of posting additional photos from the show on the back cover as well, but I’m somewhat confused by the choice to show Ryan’s old suit and a random MotW. Why not show another shot in show of the new suit, or Grimlord’s new look? But hey, it’s a minor nitpick.

The Discs, as per usual, feature one of the three heroes on each disc. As I’ve said before, I feel it adds a nice little touch to the discs, and can also help further distinguish which disc is which.

DVD Menus: Not going to lie, I’m not a big fan of this DVD menu. Granted, it’s not bad. There’s nothing that makes it horrible. But I really liked the menu for Season 1, Volume 2, which felt much more “alive” than this menu. It’s very similar to the first volume where the look of the menu doesn’t “wow” you. It’s basically a quick shot of a radar like background with the back side of the photos seen on the cover, which quickly flips over to the front side where the main menu is. There’s no video clips from the show playing in the menu either. Again, it’s not horrible, but it is kind of bland. I wish they approached the DVD menu like Season 1, Volume 2.

Special Features

None this time around. You may remember Season 1, Volume 2 had an Extended Promo as a special feature. Granted, VR Troopers doesn’t have a lot of extra content to work with. I do wonder if the Cybertron Pilot will be on the final volume. With less episodes per disc than Season 1, there is certainly a lot more space to work with if they wanted to add it as a special feature.

Episode Content

While I didn’t watch VR Troopers that much as a kid (besides an episode here and there), I was at least familiar with the first season and one or two things that happened during it. I know a few people outside of the fandom who still remember VR Troopers, specifically during the time Season 1 was airing. This season however, is one that I haven’t seen until I received this DVD release. This is the season less remembered by those who watched it. For those looking for more VR Trooper content they haven’t seen before, you’ll be getting your money’s worth here. I also believe that this is the first time Season 2 content has been released on physical media (Forgive me if I’m wrong). But it’s definitely the first time you’ll be able to see Season 2 episodes in the best quality possible.

I should mention though that the first three episodes do not feature Ryan’s new battle suit, new minions/foes, or any new weapons. If anything, it feels like three extra Season 1 episodes, rather than the start of Season 2. Disc 1 does feature a 5 episode storyline that shows the transition to Ryan’s new suit, Grimlord’s new look and base, and the new enemies/minions. If you really want to start off watching this volume with a “Season Premiere” vibe, I’d suggest starting with “Quest for Power Part 1”. This storyline is probably the highlight of the volume.

The Volume also features a two episode storyline called “Kaitlin Through The Looking Glass”, which… well… without spoiling, basically allowed the show to use additional fight footage from Speilban that they couldn’t use previously. I’ll let you watch the episodes to find out what I’m talking about.

Final Thoughts

If you are a VR Troopers fan, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this volume release. Once again, the best episodes to check out are usually the storyline episodes. I highly recommend you check out “Quest for Power”. That being said, I will admit the new enemies and base look a bit too weird for me. Yes, we’re adapting an older Toku show. They had to work with what the footage provided them. But I think the first season had much more memorable foes than season 2. Same goes with the battle suit. While I do like the Shaider suit, it is not as memorable as the Metalder suit. It’s also a shame that JB and Katlin didn’t get new suits either (although Katlin gets… something. See two episode storyline above.)

Shout continues to keep its standard of providing the best video/audio quality they can for shows like these. I am a little disappointed though that Season 2, Volume 1’s menu (Nitpicking, I know) is a bit blander than last time, which I had hoped would not be the case. I don’t mind the lack of special features (for obvious reasons), but I do hope Shout puts the Cybertron pilot on the final volume.

Bottom line, I think VR Troopers fans will be pleased with this release. Ameri-Toku fans/Shout supports may also enjoy it, but it may not “shine” as brightly in your collection as the Season 1 volumes did.

Thanks for reading my review! Please feel free to comment and critique, as it helps me out a lot.

For more DVD reviews and more, check out Save Us From Obscurity regularly! Also follow my twitter account @TSilentWatcher for additional news and ramblings of a mad man. Thanks again, and see you next time!

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