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Mecha is a load bearing pillar in the anime genre.  While there are classics like Robotech and Gundam, one of the most underrated mecha anime is the Tekkaman-Blade series.  Tekkaman-Blade II kicks it up a notch.

While the OVA of Tekkaman-Blade II was originally released back in 1994, it wasn’t until 2001 that Urban Vision (the company behind classics such as Biohunter, Twilight of the Dark Master, and Vampire Hunter D) released the OVA onto DVD.  Set 10 years after the original series, TBII follows a new generation of Tekkaman, with Blade (the main character in the first series) playing an integral role in the new team’s development.  Some would argue that Tekkaman-Blade II is closer to Guyver instead of a traditional mecha series, but there are enough mecha elements to place it in the genre.

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There is a fairly large cast of characters, although it is easy to keep track of them all.  Their interactions make up the primary focus of the story, with the ongoing war serving as a setting to learn more about the characters rather than the other way around.  There are some humorous bits, but overall there is a fairly serious tone.  Yumi, the youngest and newest addition to the team, changes the most throughout the series.  Starting out as a nervous and clumsy girl, she quickly steps up to the responsibility and honor bestowed upon her.  Her part in a love triangle adds a romantic element to the series, and her interactions with the other team members provides depth and realism to having a new recruit in the ranks.

Like any other mecha anime, the highlight of the series are the battles.  There are battle scenes involving hundreds of adversaries of all shapes and sizes, however the fights that pit the Tekkaman team against a handful of highly dangerous opponents are the best.  Battles are presented in a style typical of the mid-90′s, however they still amaze even today.  Colours on the DVD transfer are slightly muted, however the video is otherwise well preserved.  Sound quality and design is top notch, with a rousing score and exciting effects.

Tekkaman-Blade II doesn’t present anything particularly unheard of in the genre, but what is there is fantastic.  It has been forever and a day since I saw the original series so I can’t provide a detailed comparison, however if you liked the original series you will love this second entry.  Make sure a copy of this DVD is on your shelf, and if you have never seen it, make sure it is in the playlist for your next animethon.