AIC/SOFTX/TV Tokyo/Pioneer LDC, 1997-1998 Directed by Katsuhito Akiyama (Bubblegum Crisis 1-3, Sol Bianca). Rated 13-Up for some violence, slight nudity, suggestive HLA and strong language. by areaseven - http://areaseven.net/ The year is 4998. Thousands of years after countless wars and a shift in the Earth's axis nearly wiped out the entire human population, mankind has completely rebuilt society by disregarding war in favor of friendly competition through sports. Akari Kanzaki has just joined an all-girls academy in hopes of entering the University Satellite and becoming Cosmic Beauty - a title held years ago by her mother. It's not an easy task for her as fear, doubt and peer pressure get in her way, but friends, rivals and fans slowly encourage her to overcome her obstacles and become the best of the Battle Athletes. Story: B+ If you haven't seen the original Battle Athletes OAV series, that's no problem, as Battle Athletes Victory is a complete retelling of the story with better character development and a lot more humor. Plus, the TV series gets rid of most of the gay crap that marred the OAV. Animation: B+ While it isn't a milestone in AIC animation, Battle Athletes Victory boasts better artwork and animation than the first series. Character designs by Jun Okuda (Bubblegum Crisis, El-Hazard) and Ryuichi Makino. Soundtrack: B The music by Takayuki Hattori (Martian Successor Nadesico) is better than the OAV version, but not by much. Sub vs. Dub Reprising their roles from the OAV series are Rio Natsuki (Linna in Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, Nanami in El-Hazard) as Akari, Tomoko Kawakami (Revolutionary Girl Utena, Seeme in Betterman) as Kris, Akiko Yajima (Dorothy in The Big-O, Relena in Gundam Wing) as Anna, Aya Sakaguchi (Ura in El-Hazard, Elma in Macross Dynamite 7) as Tanya, Yuriko Yamaguchi (Ritsuko in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Reiko in Outlaw Star) as Lahrri, Akemi Okamura (Belldandy in Adventures of Mini-Goddess, Shu in Now and Then, Here and There) as Mylandah, Koji Nakada as Grant Oldman, and Miki Takahashi (Yuri in Galaxy Fraulein Yuna, Ayako in Tenamonya Voyagers) as Tomoe. Also featured are Aya Hisakawa (Skuld in Ah! My Goddess, Yuki in Fruits Basket) as Ichino, Yoko Sawami (Diva in El-Hazard, Dominique the Cyclops in Trigun) as Ayla, Miki Ito (Project A-Ko, Gally in Battle Angel) as Jessie, Taeko Kawada (Nene in Princess Nine) as Ling-Pha, Ai Orikasa (Ryoko in Tenchi Muyo!, Baikou in Saber Marionette J/J Again/J to X) as Dr. Karashima, Takehiro Murozono (Shigeki in Magical Project S, Takuma in Nazca) as Sergei, Junji Kitajima as Kannonji, and Yukari Tamura (Ranpha in Galaxy Angel, Ichigo in Please! Teacher) as young Ayla. The english dub by ZRO Limit/Animaze (Cowboy Bebop, Macross Plus) is better than the OAV version, but they really need to try harder. Featured voices include Lia Sargent (Dorothy in The Big-O, Milly in Trigun) as Akari, Wendee Lee (Faye in Cowboy Bebop, Kagero in Ninja Scroll) as Ichino, Marie Downing as Jessie, Julie Maddalena (Dita in Vandread, Lime in Saber Marionette J) as Tanya, Ruby Marlowe (Mahoromatic, Belldandy in Ah! My Goddess: The Movie) as Ling-Pha and Anna, Dorothy Melendrez (Naru in [Love Hina, Meryl in Trigun) as Kris, Mimi Woods (Motoko in Ghost in the Shell, Ruriko in Phantom Quest Corp.) as Lahrri, Debbie Derosa (Karen in Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Valeria in Outlaw Star) as Mylandah, Lex Lang (Ginias in Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Frank in Argentosoma) as Sergei, Jonathan Charles (Hibiki in Macross II) as Kannonji, and David Lucas (Spike in Cowboy Bebop, Roger in The Big-O) as Grant Oldman. DVD Extras: D+ Since this is one of Pioneer's first-generation DVD titles, Battle Athletes Victory just has a catalog on each disc. Nothing else. The Bottom Line If you were let down by the first Battle Athletes series, Battle Athletes Victory will more than make up for the disappointments. It's definitely worth a rental.