Anime DVD Review: Armored Fleet Dairugger XV Volume 1

Armored Fleet Dairugger XV Volume 1 is a three-disc set that contains the first 18 episodes of the series; this series is the original source for what ended up becoming Vehicle Voltron in the United States. All of the episodes only have Japanese audio, and you choose whether or not to have subtitles. All three discs of the set include six episodes; however, the third disc includes trailers for releases that Media Blasters was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

Armored Fleet Dairugger XV Volume 1
English Publisher: Media Blasters
Format: DVD
Release Date: February 3, 2010

My biggest disappointment with this DVD set is the audio levels. The volume level on all three of the discs is rather soft, so you have to turn up the volume quite a bit in order to hear anything.

For me, the best part of watching this DVD set was to see what the actual story for the series is. In Vehicle Voltron, situations were changed and enough shots were edited, that it created a very different storyline. Also, since the episodes in Vehicle Voltron did not air in the original Japanese air order, this caused the story in Vehicle Voltron to be much more muddled than what appears in the original Japanese. Ultimately, the original Japanese story makes more sense and is much stronger.

When it came to changing situations, one of the biggest changes was in an episode where a couple of Galvestons lead an assassination attempt in the Japanese version. Not only did they try to assassinate a leader, but shots of people being shot and blood coming out, as well as a shot of one of the people leading the assassination attempt committing suicide, are shown. In the American version, this was toned down to simply being a coup attempt, and the suicide never happens. The blood was also removed.

Another major change occurred in an episode where in the Japanese, it was being framed more as a mystery story, with the full story coming out in a flashback sequence. In the American version, the flashback was removed, and the footage from the flashback was added on to the scene that cuts off before the flashback. The only other change in the footage I can think of between the Japanese and American versions is that footage of a Galveston leader’s nude art was removed from the American version. The political aspect of the series also tends to be a bit more heavy-handed in Dairugger XV than it is in Vehicle Voltron.

While Voltron would be acceptable for kids to watch, I can’t say the same thing about Dairugger XV. Between the violence and the politics, it really isn’t being aimed at a young audience. This set is definitely being targeted at and marketed to the adults who had watched Voltron when they were children over 20 years ago; however, older teenagers might also get some enjoyment out of this set.

Even with the audio level issues, I would still recommend this set to a Voltron fan who is interested to see what this series was like before it became Vehicle Voltron. However, if you do purchase this set, be sure to watch it when younger children aren’t around or after they’ve gone to bed.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Armored Fleet Dairugger XV Volume 1 that my husband and I purchased.

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