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Japanese schoolboy Ramune is a big fan of the computer game King Sccasher, until one day the beautiful Princess Milk jumps out of his screen and drags him back to the game-world of A'lala. There, he is hailed as the legendary hero Ramuness, come to save the world from the evil overlord Don Harumage. N[o] G[ood] Knight Ramune and 40 made a name for Satoru Akahori, who would reprise the formula ad infinitum throughout the decade. Resprays of the same setups and gags would dominate Beast Warriors, Maze, Sorcerer Hunters, and many others, while the bold, unshaded splashes of bright color, originally an attempt to simplify designs for less experienced animators in Korea, would appear in many other shows of the 1990s.
The series returned straight to video as NG Knight Ramune and 40 EX (1991), directed by Koji Masunari, in which Ramune, now at middle school, is approached by Milk once more in search of his aid because her world has been attacked by a mysterious giant robot. Before long, the series was back again as NGR&40 DX (1993), in which "Ramuness" and his band travel back 5,000 years in time. Adopting a Tenchi Muyo!-style formula of throwing in new cheesecake whenever it ran out of ideas, the series returned to TV as V[ersu]s Knight Ramune and 40 Fire (1996). In this incarnation, Ramune's help is solicited by three beautiful androids named Drum, Trumpet, and Cello. By this point, he is a full-grown adult, who Turns To The Dark Side, remaining there for the video sequel VS Knight Ramune and 40 Fresh (1997). The only part of the series to be released in English, under the title Knights of Ramune, it features busty babes Parfait and Cacao on a quest to bring back the legendary knight Ramuness, only to discover that he's at the helm of the lead ship in an invading alien fleet. With a poverty of ideas typical to late 1990s anime, many of which persist in believing that "zany" means "amateurish," this involves a bit of espionage, spell-casting, and a few gags about how underwear interferes with the power of magic, as they run around a big spaceship in the company of a mascot that resembles a talking tumor, waiting for the enemy to bring the plot to them.
However, despite being the fifth series in the franchise, KoR contains little to confuse audiences-the hours of backstory prove to be utterly inconsequential. New director Yoshitaka Fujimoto papers over gaping holes in the plot and action with perfunctory T&A; and a few incidences of halfhearted sauciness-because more "mature" viewers can apparently be appeased by a couple of nipples and a bit of suggestive panting. There are some frames of Gunbuster-inspired space warfare, and tantalizingly short bursts of excellent animation, but KoR is the kind of anime that leads first-time viewers to assume the entire medium is nothing but big eyes, explosions, and weary plot-by-numbers. The U.S. voice cast seem to think so too, contemptuously indulging in over-the-top pseudonyms like Ruby Seedless and Autumn Harvest. N