It gets better and better with each release
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I have the whole series in vhs, and am buying the dvds as they come out, and whoever I show this too, promptly loves it, so now I'm buying the complete set when it comes out 5/11/04 for my sister, and also the last of the 2 dvds for me. Please see my review on the first volume for why I love these so much, and why these dvds were what kept in interested in anime (Spirited away introduced anime to me).
This time, the series focuses on second brother Tsuzuku and what happens when he gets physically stressed to the max - he transforms to a fire breathing dragon. The plot here starts getting complex but stays very understandable and logical. The writer of this series of manga from which this anime is based is, Tanaka, Yoshiki and I have bought his other anime (Arslan, legend of the galactic heroes).Per another lover of Sohryuden - he is still continuing this series and realease one novel each year updating this series - so it is not done yet!
Tanaka Sensei makes constant commentaries on his views of world politics in his anime and they are detailed in history lessons-such mind candy - especially when paired with great storytelling and likeable characters.
Anyway, there are 4 brothers who are dragons, and by now they are fully aware they will transform when under extreme stress into dragon form - and the second brother's greatest fear is that he will lose his humanity, or his understanding and self-presence once he finds himself inadvertently transformed into dragon form.
The best part of this is the Seiyuu, or the voice actor who plays the second brother - Tobita, Nobuo, This actor's voice sounds like silk (I have been buying japanese anime dvds just because his voice is used!)! His voice matches the personality of the seemingly laid back, loyal,noble and infinitely polite second brother, Tsuzuku. There is a hilarious scene (I'm not sure which volume) where he is powerfully dispatching all the bad guys (in an armored tank-who are shooting at him and his brothers) but as he is removing each bad guy from the tank, he is very graciously saying with great sincerety to each person he removes (as the enemy represents men of authority (soldiers)with very formal salutations such as,"how nice to meet you for the first time", "I look for your favor", "deep apologies" etc etc. This is totally hilarious. I play this scene back repeatedly for my friends, and they find also it so funny.
I believe this sort of anime will appeal to anyone who likes dragon mystique (yay!) and who like their characters basically positive, noble, and self-sacrificing. Another reason why I like this volume so much is that in episode 5 (I think), Matsuri - the 4 boys female cousin (who in previous life was the eldest son's great love)is dressed in a dark blue summer kimono as they go to a bon dance festival- hearing the scratchy recorded sound of the old bon dance songs is so nostalgic.
This is a very traditional Japanese anime - not for everyone at all, but for those who like anime with a strong Japanese flavor, this is so much fun!!!!"