1 of 1 episodes seen
For a good percentage of this movie, up until the ending, this will follow the basic DBZ formula. I won't give away the ending, but all I can say is it does something very different and will probably be controversial amongst western fans of the franchise. The movie does a good job of justifying the way that it ends and I think this movie deserves credit for doing something different. On one hand, you don't really expect to see it coming, but on the other hand, it does make good sense. What you can take out of this ending is how we all interpret Dragon Ball and the spirit of it.
Overall, this movie brings back a good portion of the charms of this series. The humor, the action, the intensity, and so on. So hardcore fans may enjoy this but the ending is very disputable at this point. Birusu as a villain is very distinct from other villains in Dragon Ball. I won't get too much into him since they would be spoilers, but I do think he is rather unique.
The action is pretty much in tune with how Dragon Ball Z always has been. Very destructive, explosive, and hyper paced. I wish in terms of special moves it was more diverse but it is more centric on hand to hand and the flying combat. I won't get into too much of what I think should have been used since they would be spoilers. The CG used in this movie isn't top notch. It is PS3 DBZ game quality, but the imagination I feel is what it counts. It demonstrates the devastation and the intensity very effectively and that is enough for me.
As for Birusu's style, his posture is a lot like Freeza's where he will wrap his arms around his back but he will use hands while fighting. As for his mannerisms, he does remind me of Thanatos from Saint Seiya The Lost Canvas. He is very powerful and a bit of a show off when it comes to demonstrating his strength against the other DBZ characters.
As for the general animation and design, its very much in tune with the franchise overall so no other complaints.
The music from the TV series and old movies is not present and is mostly using new BGM tracks. The tracks are more techno and a bit more orchestrated. It brings a more fresher feel to the series and it works in its own way. The only ending spoiler I can give is that the ending song is a new rendition of Cha-La Head Cha-La which I thought was ok.
The voice acting is still in tune with the original TV series. Nozawa Masako still captures Gokuu and doesn't sound like she's aged. She also does Goten and Gohan very well, too. She still has a great grasp of the character. Horikawa Ryo still does a great job as Vegeta, but due to the writing in context of the story, it does allow Horikawa to show more of his other voice talents in this portrayal of Vegeta. Horikawa Ryo is a very versatile actor and he did a great job of playing Vegeta. I think this is probably one of his best performances with the character. Last, Yamadera Kouichi plays Birusu. Yes, it is the voice of Spike from Cowboy Bebop. I didn't recognize his voice at all throughout the movie and when I saw the credits, I was surprised it was him. His voice as Spike had this really distinct charm to it while in this one, he is also a playful character but also something of a sadist. I think he captures the character in his own way where he is scary and also has his own distinct charm. Other voice actors are back that are still alive and reprised their roles did a great job with re-capturing their characters. And there will be some surprise cameos from some other characters.
I say this movie is certainly a give it a shot movie for the fans. I say people not familiar with Dragon Ball Z will be slightly confused and some familiarity with the franchise should be a prerequisite before watching. Like I said, a lot of the things are still the same, and some things will be different this time around. I don't think it is as good as the first Brolly movie or the Cooler movies, but it does bring a refreshing feel to Dragon Ball at some capacity. I think when this movie is made internationally available, it will get people intelligently discussing about the movie and franchise based on the ending. I am still trying to in-take it but I do understand why the movie chooses to go with the ending it has but I do have some issues with it. But feel free to watch it when you can. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
The controversial CG in my humble opinion, has improved but still has its problems. I say the frame rate is more even and the frame size in proportion to the characters and foreground appropriately accommodates it. It still comes across as "gamey," but it is an improvement, but by no means perfect. The action is very violent and lives up to its bad ass title. There will be plenty of blood and gore. Even though Guts is the main character and a bad ass, I will admit when this guy fights, he scares me and this movie does a good job of making me scared of the main character. There's nothing to fear, but fear itself, but fear fears Guts. On a list of top anime bad asses, Guts has to be on that list no doubt.
I say what defines the art and animation is how it sets the atmosphere and brings you into the emotions. You feel Griffith's fragility. Even though you don't see him unmasked, the detail to the art on whatever you see of his face is enough to give you an idea of what he would look like if unmasked. You see the hesitation of Guts on whether or not he should leave the Hawks again. You feel Casca's frustrations. I feel that the raw emotions bring a sense of substance in conjunction to its R-15+ (the equivalent to an NC-17 in America) rating.
The voice acting, as I have admitted in previous reviews, has been an issue for me. I will admit that Guts' new actor has shown improvement and shown instances that he can capture the character. But I will openly admit as a purist and fanboy that Nobutoshi Canna is still Guts to me while Michael Bell will always be his English voice to me. The guy who plays Jedau does an ok imitation of the character's original voice actor, Ishida Akira. Maybe for people not familiar with the previous anime series and the games will not find this to be an issue and may like the voice actors.
Like the second movie, the soundtrack is more acoustics and orchestrated. My thoughts on that carry onto this movie as well. It suits the time period very well and knows how to suit the atmosphere. The orchestra in the ending credits was very impressive. Susumu Hirakawa still does the opening theme and is my favorite part of the soundtrack. Still, like the newer voice cast, fans new to Berserk who had not seen the previous anime series or played the games will probably not think of this as an issue.
The closest thing to a spoiler I can give is that after the ending credits, there is a post credits scene which isn't much for some people, but after that is over, there is a message in clear English that says "This is only the beginning" meaning we will get new Berserk movies. I say its only natural with the easter eggs in previous movies, this series deserves its shot where it really shines. For those not familiar with the Berserk manga, this new trilogy is a mere fraction of what Berserk has to offer. So I hope we hear more news soon if a new Berserk movie will come out this year or not.
After that, we get a bonus music video!!! So fans will most likely enjoy this. read more
Aug 3, 2012Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito 1 - Yokuryuu wa Maior... (Anime) add
1 of 1 episodes seen
So far I have only watched the first episode and will expand upon this review as more episodes are released.
This movie takes place within the timeline of the series . Despite that, at this point, I don't think any familiarity with the TV series is 95% at all necessary to get into this. References to events in the TV series are not at all referenced to. But due to the distinct geo-political geography of the world of Code Geass it would help a lot. If you watch this without any exposure, you will have some trouble putting some things into perspective in that context. But what is also great is that this movie/oav series touches upon something that wasn't really touched upon in the TV series in that much elaborate detail to begin with which was the EU.
The movie starts by briefly summarizing that in 2010CE, the Holy Britannian Empire invaded Japan, took over in a month, and renamed it Area 11. Then it cuts to what is going on in Europe, or EU, one of three super powers along with Britannia and the Chinese Federation. The story centers around two characters, Reira and Akito, two junior officers in the EU. Reira is a command room officer who gives the orders type while Akito is an exiled Japanese knightmare pilot who happens to have elite skills and together, they are fighting the complications that surround them.
The reason why this series is distinct from the original TV series not because of the setting, but because of these characters. The characters are very different from the cast and will make it easier for newcomers who no experience with the TV series to ease into. But I felt Akito and Reira lacked the charms of the original cast and don't feel any distinct from any other standard mech character. Akito to me is very cliched and stereotypical mech pilot for most of the movie. No, he's not the whiny type, but he is the quiet and anti-social homocidial type. For most of the movie, he is a mystery and hard to relate to and understand. By the time the first episode ends, they really start to flesh out his character. The only praise I can give Akito as a character in episode 1 is that he is super ballsy and will take wicked risks to get his mission done. Reira is strong, but she still lacks experience and understanding. By the time the movie ends, you do feel that these characters do have potential to grow and develop.
The movie also shows that after 2010CE, the Japanese also struggeled trying to live outside of Japan and were also discriminated against in the EU as well. Even though this was briefly touched upon in the movie for just a brief moment, I felt those scenes really stood out since you have a better idea of how the Japanese were not suffering not just inside in Japan, but all over the world as well, and how far some individuals were willing to go for their freedom. Also, Akito will have problems with other people because of his ethnic background.
The art is still in consistent to the TV series designs. The Britannian uniforms still appropriately reflect French and British imperial culture while the EU uniforms had something of a Nazi feel to it with the pants, the coats, the ties, and the hats. It's very hard to tell who is the bad guy in my opinion due to these particular designs.
What really shines here are the mech battles. In the TV series, the mech battles were more secondary, while the mech battles are more of the highlight. They are well grounded, strategic, violent, exciting and balls to the walls. I say in terms of action, I say it is equal to the quality of Gundam 08th MS Team so far.
The environment equally captures a futuristic look and at the same time also keeps in tune with the European background. You will see traditional French buildings like the Eifell Tower and the Arc De Triumph and the construction is excellent as well.
The music works well with the intensity and the dark mood, but isn't really as explosive as the TV series with songs like Colors.
I got no complaints about the voice acting. All the actors do a good job of capturing their characters. I don't have any familiraity with Akito's voice actor but he does a good job of being homocidal and anti-social and secretivie all at the same time.
In the end, it is just a first episode. It is introducing things and the trailer shows a lot of promise that things will be expanded upon and will be in for a few surprises. I think as a first episode, it is ok and should be open to anybody whether you're a fan or not. At this point, this Code Geass feels more like a mech anime as a opposed to a political thriller like the TV series. I felt what made Code Geass attractive to me wasn't really that well present in this installment so far but as a fan of mech, it pleases me enough. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
The animation feels more uneven in this than it does in the last movie. This is more prevelant in slow motion. It feels really choppy like a disc in your game system skipping at times. But it runs much more smoothly at faster speeds. The violence and the gore is very well graphically depicted and makes up for some of the flaws this series has. The violence is just manically massive which is of course the nature of the franchise. I really enjoyed the scene where Guts becomes the 100 man slayer. But to me, the series broody effects would be more immersing if it was more grainy like in the 1980s and 1990s animation styles.
The difference in soundtrack compositions is also more notable. It is more orchestrated and has more acoustic sounds as opposed to the grand chorus style of Hirakawa Susumu. I feel for some fans who have had exposure to the previous series and the games, it will feel unnatural. But to newcomers, I suppose it does work. Other than that, the soundtrack reflects the atmosphere pretty good but of course I'd rather have Hirakawa do everything again.
In this movie, I felt that the performance of Guts' new seiyuu isnt really that great. These are part of the story arcs was where the original seiyuu really captured Guts. Caska's new seiyuu I just don't feel. Sakurai is ok as Griffith, but doesnt have the coldness that Morikawa Toshiyuki has. I really don't feel the voice acting in this one. I thought the last movie was ok, but this movie really made me miss the original voice cast. I suppose newcomers without any exposure to the original series or the games will be fine with the voice acting. Nobutoshi Canna really defined Guts in the original series and in the DC and PS2 games. I feel that this new voice actor just doesn't capture Guts as intimidating or as a bad ass. To me, he comes across way too much as a sarcastic cynic and tries to bring too much humor to the character.
In the end, I feel the only way we can see the true potential of these new Berserk installments is when this trilogy is over. What the fans want to see is the post golden age arc animated. Quite frankly, I am glad we have these new installments, but I want to see the berserker armor animated and all the other bad ass shit. And get the old seiyuus and Hirakawa to do the series again. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
As for what it is covered, if you're already familiar with the source material you of course know what to expect and it's once again faithfully adapted (spoiler: there is no blackswordsman arc at the beginning). But I feel that for those already familiar with story, you want to see it with whole new animation which the original series was harshly criticized, then new animation is what you get and it's pretty awesome. But I suppose starting from the Golden Age, it can attract new audiences as well.
The action is very fluid and I feel that the postures and the weight of the armor and swords are properly depicted in the battle scenes. There are no still shots or any corner cutting. It really felt like an animated 300 but without all the trendy slow-mos and bullet time. What I really liked in the opening battle sequence is that the soldiers on both sides show fear in their eyes and that their arms and hands do shake when in battle knowing they could die. I like how more danger is more implemented with the battle scenes. Of course the battle scenes are violent, but I feel there is more psychology behind the battles as well. I like how Guts in his earlier days is portrayed as someone who fights off his experiences and instincts. When he's on that field, to him, it's just a day at the office.
I felt that the shaky camera angles you see in the Borne films was utilized too much. The panning both zooming in and out and the circular shots try to give it a live action feel. At this point, the fighting isn't drastically defying the laws of physics so the action does feel realistic.
What I felt somewhat upset that they changed the voice cast from the original TV series who were also used in the DC and PS2 games. I felt that the new seiyuu for Guts didn't have the same intimidation and that don"t fuck with me attitude that Nobutoshi Canna had. Sakurai Takahiro did capture some of Griffith's qualities but strongly lacked his charisma. Casca's new voice actress is nothing compared to the great Miyamura Yuko. If they could get those voice actors for the games, why not for something as big as this? Was this Miura's choice like masami's when they did the new Saint Seiya oavs?
Thankfully the music is once against compared by Hirakawa Susumu. To me, not having him for the music is like not having Kanno Yoko not doing the music for a Cowboy Bebop sequel and it would also be like Initial D without the Eurobeat. The style is still the same but brought to a whole new intensity appropriate for the epicness this project will bring.
For now, this movie does a great job of being just the beginning of what is to come. I understand this is supposed to be released internationally. I hope when it hits theaters or is on DVD wherever you are, you support this movie. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Obviously in comparison to the original series, Lost Canvas cuts right to the last story arc. Not only is it a prequel, it's a very excellent addition and extension to the original source material. I thought some things in the last Hades OAV arcs to the original series needed to be elaborated on and Lost Canvas expands on certain specific aspects. I'd talk about them, but they'd be spoilers to both Lost Canvas, and oavs to the original series. On the outside, Tenma is a lot like Seiya, but has his own unique distinctions and qualities. In the original series, Seiya is portrayed more as a leader and it was kind of more of a team concept. However, Tenma isn't exactly a lone wolf, but he does have some help. To compare the two characters in a nut-shell, Seiya is more like Son Gokuu from Dragon Ball, while Tenma is more like Ranma and Inuyasha with their personalities. They're both fighters, but they express it in those kinds of ways.
What I also found interesting is that the current incarnation of the Unicorn Bronze Saint, Yato, has a lot more use in comparison to the original series, Jabu. The relationship Yato and Tenma have is kind of like a Ranma and Ryoga/Inuyaha and Kouga kind of one. They are very similar and yet they are always at each other's throats. Despite that, I found it very surprising how their relationship develops in the course of this series from bitter rivals, to cooperative partners that will always have each other's backs.
The series for this season is pretty well evenly paced and I like how it focuses on certain characters in certain episodes, and it's not just exclusively about Tenma. Some of the Gold Saints have their own central episodes and you get to learn about them. Though they will only have short appearences, they do make a significant contribution to the progression of the story.
The villains are still pretty much the same from the Hades OAVs, but still have their own unique personalities and qualities in which they all stand out. The OAV ends at an understandable place and of course a sequel has been confirmed and the way it ends just makes you wish to watch that sequel already. I say this is a very good introduction in the same way the Hades Sanctuary Arc respectively was.
Art and Animation
As one can see, the original art design isn't done by Kurumada Masami. However, he allowed a Shoujo author, Teshirogi Shiori, to do the art for this respective title for the original manga. The anime respectively follows that art style faithfully from what I've seen of pictures on the internet and magazines, and I'm of course saying this because I have yet to read the manga of Lost Canvas. The anatomy of the characters are still for the most part pretty slim with some buff guys here and there. The costume designs are of course very faithful to the original material so nobody can fault that. The hairstyles are thinner in comparison to Kurumada's style, but it still works in contrast to the bodies, faces, and heads. The design of the villains are just as dark and yet still glossy as the Hades Chapter OAVs, but yet some of the characters have their own unique move sets and gimmicks.
As for the action, it's much more fluid and there is more emphasis on direct hand-to-hand combat as opposed to relying on special moves. However, with a much lesser character roster, the match up appeal isn't really that present here except in just a couple of fights. Of course Tenma will have the Pegasus Ryuusei Ken and it's presented in a different angle and not much recycled animation is abused in this. The action is still explosive and exciting, and like I said before, doesn't go to a point where it gets ridiculously over the top.
Music and Voice Acting
What really took me by surprised is the opening theme "The Realm of Athena" by EUROX. Of course in the tradition of Saint Seiya, it is rock with a good set of guitars as a hook, but the song itself is in perfect English. And the qualities in terms of lyrics in what made Pegasus Fantasy and Megami no Senshi so presentable and catchy, and reflects what the show is about, and it's not just some song that's promoting the artist or song, it's about the show itself, and Saint Seiya is one of the rare products to have music like that. It's a very good anyway and has its own distinct energy that relfects the overall atmosphere of the series. The general background music is of course new and is very intense at the right times and very acoustic during softer moments. A lot of the percussions and those acoustics used is also very appropriate to the setting in context to the time and place in a cultural sense so that's a nice touch.
As for the voice acting, I'm not at all familiar with the voice actors of Tenma and Alone. Kakihara Tetsuya, Tenma's respectice seiyuu, does a great job in making Tenma that arrogant but yet caring fighter. It really reminded me of Suzumura Ken'ichi's portrayal of Taitou from Jushin Enbu Hero Tales, a character very similar to Tenma. Shimono Hiro as the voice of Alone/Hades I think has to be the performance that has to get the most credit. You're playing who is supposed to be the most purest person on Earth, and then all of a sudden, becomes the God of the Underworld. He does a great job of a guy who for one minute is convinginly someone who believes in non-violence, and then the next moment is a God that doesn't care about life.
However, a familiar name that most new school fans should know is the voice of Hirano Aya, the voice of Suzumiya Haruhi, as the voice of Sasha/Athena. Of course in comparison to Haruhi, she is a leader and takes charge, but in a more serious situation, she is very authoritive and commanding as that character, but also compassionate and caring to Tenma. She's very serious, but yet calm. The influence of Han Keiko's original performance is also there, but of course the overall voice cast will still never compare to the original no matter how hard they try.
Well, to overall conclude, do you need any previous experience with Saint Seiya? It does help a lot. You can watch this with a fresh mind and still enjoy it. I say on the downside, it can potentially spoil the original series in some respective aspects. But as I said before, if you do have some familiarity, a certain aspect will be elaborated upon and I thought it was a nice touch. By the time you finish this part of the series, you feel like it's truly beginning. I can't say the characters develop tremendously in an individual sense, but this is made up for by the relationships the characters develop and try to maintain. The original series had a good balance between developing the characters individually and the relationships, but the original series easily had those opportunities. Hopefully when the next installment comes about, there will be a bit more emphasis on that.
6 of 6 episodes seen
Even though it's six episodes, the pacing is very even and all the characters are present and united. And during the final battle, there are some cool things that do happen that you have to see to for yourself like with what also happens in the previous oavs. And the ending is also pretty amazing and it's very rare that Shounen uses the ending that it uses, but it is kind of ambiguous, but yet respectfully satisfying. But I feel if you have some familiarity with some of the prior works to Kurumada Masami, specifically Ring ni Kakero, I thought the ending was very fitting to how he does things.
The anime demonstrates excellent themes on what it means to be a God and what it truly means to be human thus emphasizing on the value of life. Granted this can be done in just about anything, but I like how it includes the use of Gods of all beings in conveying this, and that even Gods are capable of making errors and falling to the same mistakes of human nature. And overall, most of the Hades oavs have a theme of what defines human nature in relation to sin, and judging people based on them whether man or God.
What I also like is how Athena is used in the end. This isn't really a spoiler considering that most of the time, the saints are trying to give her her cloth, meaning her armor. And of course she needs that for combative purposes, and it's nice to see that she has this role for once and has a different kind of use in comparison to how she was mostly used throughout the duration of the franchise. I feel her brief moment really outshines all of that. And I think throughout most of the franchise, her usage was also very faithful to the original mythology of Athena.
Thanatos and Hypnos, though their presences iare brief, they did have quite an impact as well by what they had to offer as villains. Even though Thanatos is the weaker and more brash of the twin minions, he does some things that none other villain of Saint Seiya has done which you also have to see to find out.
Art and Animation
Well, the quality of the animation still retains from the last oav, the explosiveness of the action is still fresh with the new two new villains and their moves are really cool. The designs of the villains are very intimidating with their pale skin tone, dark clothes, and non pupil eyes. The designs of the cloths are well detailed, very shiny, and still appropriately compliments the body frames of the characters and the execution of the action. The design of Hades' armor is excellently detailed with the joints, compliments his figure and gives room for his wild hair, and looks appropriately mobile. Try to combine the rough features of Guts' berserk armor and Griffin's dignified and shininess with his current armor in the Berserk series, but of course black and with some bigger wings, and that's the best way I can describe Hades' get up. And Athena's armor is also excellently animated and brightly colored, and the design accurately reflects the gimmick of the goddess she is inspired by.
Another quality that I kept on pointing out is the lighting. In this series, it takes place in a more Heavenly utopia like environment, so the place is filled with flowers and clear skies. The flowers stick out and the lighting in contrast to this just really sticks out to me considering that the villains are the lords of darkness, so I found a very nice ironic twist to that along with what was mostly presented in the previous oavs. So for this nice twist along with another unpredictable twist I appreciated which you also have to see to find out.
Music and Voice Acting
The new voice cast from the previous oav is also back. And I feel even though this series is shorter, I felt the newer voice actors for Shun, Hyoga and Athena were present enough to have me form my opinion on them. Hyouga's new voice actor is Miura Hiroaki. He actually does a good job of capturing the original performance of Hashimoto Kouichi, though I think his voice is deeper. I think the character lacked any significant dialog or soloquies that really defined the character to really make you evaluate him 100%, but I think he does a good job with what he has to offer. The only voice change that I could ever find justified is of course that of Shiryu since Suzuoki Hirotaka has passed on. His newer voice actor is Sakurai Takahiro, the voice of Cloud from Final Fantasy VII and Suzaku Kururugi from Code Geass. Suzuoki just has this really distinct voice that always brought a unique charisma and authority to his character. Sakurai really tries hard to emulate that performance but it will never compare to how Suzuoki did it. I think the new voice actors are good in their own ways, but they will never compare to the original performances whether they're 16 or 60.
As for the music, the background music is still the same from the oavs and TV series so nothing left to comment on that, other than it's still a nice touch in still trying to maintain the overall spirit and identity of the franchise. Megami no Senshi is still the opening theme and I already talked about the awesome qualities that song has in my review of Inferno. But the ending theme, Kami no En, is very impressive. It is one of the few songs that captures the Greek mythology inspiration, as well as the Utopia environment and atmosphere it takes place in, and also does what the Saint Seiya soundtrack does best, talking about the themes of love, hope, and unity.
Well, all I can say is you're going to watch one helluva an ending, though it is kind of open ended. But not many authors today are too ballsy in my opinion and the way it ends, it's just awesome. Granted there are some loose ends, but it ends to a point where you know the characters have all developed. I know there is a new installment of Saint Seiya called Next Dimension which is Kurumada's official work. I can't comment much about it yet but I would love to see where Saint Seiya can go from how it ends. I heard Kurumada wanted to make one more story arc, but disputes with publishers and declining sales had to make him end it at this point which is why I think it felt a little open ended, but despite that, it's well concluded since they fought one of the baddest Gods of all time.
12 of 12 episodes seen
It of course picks up exactly where the Sanctuary oavs leave off. This time as opposed to the Gold Saints being the central focus, the main featured characters in this series are Seiya and Shun as well as one certain Gold Saint I can't mention due to spoiler reasons in relation to the original TV series, though Hyoga and Shiryu aren't exaclty useless, they are still busy fighting their battles respective battles. And Ikki is still rarely present, but whatever presence he has will be overly significant to what happens in this story. The newer main villains that were introduced in the last oav such as Rhadmantys, are now part of the battlefield as well as a handful of other new characters. And who are some of these new characters? I feel that you have to see it to find out who some of them are, but I can tell you that some of these characters are bad ass.
What also makes this story very great is that it expands the darker tone and atmosphere and still uses intriguing plot twists as it did in the Sanctuary Arc, but I thought what this installment offers I never saw coming many cosmos away. And the ending I thought was a very fitting and suited the themes of bravery, sacrafice, friendship, and brotherhood very well in the tradition of Saint Seiya.
Art and Animation
Well, the qualities that made the animation and coloring in the first oav is still present here. The lighting is still appropriate and I can't say much. The only negative thing I can say about the animation are the dead bodies serving as slaves to Hades. They look super cheap as hell, but in the end, they really don't matter.
The new characters featured are really breathtaking to watch. Granted the diversity of the design for some of the main villains is getting weak, they all have their own unique traits and techniques. The features of the armors are appropriate with the underworld-hell theme. And of course there will be some interesting gimmick characters, though these charcters were kind of done before, they were featured in fillers of the original series, but this time, the characters with this kind of gimmick are a Kurumada-sensei original and he adds his own unique detail and feature to it.
The quality of the action is still pretty awesome and the moves that will be demonstrated by the newer characters are very cool and the namings sound kind of weird, but this is one of those instances where such bizarre Engrish phrases can be sweet.
Music and Voice Acting
The most controversial thing about this anime is the changing of the seiyuus from the Bronze Saints and Athena. Apparently, Kurumada-sensei wanted to change everyone except Furuya Tooru because he thought they were too old for their roles, but the only exception is Suzuoki Hirotaka who passed away between the releases of the Sanctuary and Inferno oavs. I heard he especially wanted to change Shun's original voice actor Horikawa Ryo. Furuya Tooru wanted everyone to stay aboard, and he decided to quit. The fans were very angry about this and tried to petition to Kurumada-sensei to not go with this change, and it got severe to the point where Kurumada-sensei got his legal team to speak on behalf of him to accept the changes.
As for the "too old excuse," I think it's flatout bullshit. Furuya Tooru still plays 15 year old Amuro in the new Gundam games and so on. Horikawa Ryo I thought still did an excellent job in playing Shun in the Sanctuary Chapter. I always loved the tone and the articulation he brought to the character. And I can't speak much for Shiryu's and Hyoga's new seiyuus since they weren't featured enough or gave a certain kind of performance in which I felt they could capture what I think is the essence of their characters. So who was replaced you might ask? Seiya is now played by Morita Masakazu, who might know as the voice of Kurosawa Ichigo from Bleach. But he was casted as Seiya because Kurumada-sensei had him casted as Takane Ryuuji, the main character in the anime adaptation of his first manga, Ring ni kakero. I can agree that Morita does sound appropriately youthful and brings a distinctive kind of energy to the role of Seiya in which it does suit his character, but I think he really lacks this dignified-heroic quality in his voice that Furuya Tooru has and I don't think he comes across as leaderlike.
But the new voice actor who really won me over was Shun's, Kazuya Yuuta. The performance that had me convinced was in the second episode about when he "testifies" to the judge about what sins he's committed and how sin is natural in human nature for such and such reason. He really showed the emotion and compassion necessary that defines the Shun character and I was able to embrace him with that. The only problem I have with the voice is his pitch. It's soft, but yet still high, while with the original performance by Horikawa, it had the low voice where you could tell that he was a man despite his very feminine appearence. Another performance I liked was Konishi Katsuyuki as Ikki. I thought he captured the character well in his own way by being the lone wolf who sticks out and being the "I do things my own way" kind of guy.
The new opening theme featured is Megami no Senshi by Marina Del Ray, who also sings Asu He No Toushi, the opening theme to Ring ni Kakero. The brief church organs that play is very dark and gets you hooked and then all of a sudden the guitars play and you see the saints running at the screen along with the title in the background and you got something that lives up to the original theme song, Pegasus Fantasy. In comaprison to that song, it's still pretty sweet hard rock, but it has a certain kind of diversity with the intensity that it has with being gloomy, but yet there is still hope. The imagery, the panning, and the sound effects that go with the panning just add so much to it and I must say that the quality sometimes makes me argue with myself of which is the better theme song between the old and new one. So the opening theme itself is an instant winner.
The background music is actually still the same so I can't say much about it that I haven't already have said in my previous reviews.
This OAV will have you pumped up for the next oav and the true ending to the original manga of Saint Seiya. If you want plot twists, then you got what I think is one of the best plot twists in anime history
13 of 13 episodes seen
Before I go onto the review part, I want to say for those who have not seen the original TV series, you will be unable to have a complete understanding to the significance of what goes on in this oav. Yes, the original TV series may be 114 episodes long, but it's worth watching to get to this point and it will make the story a lot more exciting. But if you don't want to go through the TV series or read the manga, I heard there is a recap special that summarizes the anime series and I suppose if you can find it, you can watch that instead.
But moving on, what makes this story great are the very edge at your seat plot twists. Things will keep you guessing, and things just come out of no where, and it's one of those moments where it's just really cool to the audience, and it's not one of those stupid lame ass deus ex machina out of no where twists. There is so much I want to say what makes the story itself awesome, but it'd be spoilers if I gave any significant examples, so it's one of those instances where I really have to say you have to watch it yourself if you want to see how deep and far the story can go. What I can also say is that the story compared to the other arcs from the TV series is much, much darker and very intense, but when you consider who the new main enemy is, the atmosphere is very appropriately reflective of that.
The pacing is very even and the presented characters each have their time to shine. Speaking of the characters, it's really cool that the Gold Saints are the featured characters of this part of the Hades OAV series. And one thing that I'm willing to reveal to give my opinion on why this installment is so awesome is the usage of the character, Aries Mu. You finally get to see him fight and I must say he has some pretty bad ass moves. I just have so much to say why I love this oav, but if you watch it with what I said, then hopefully, you'll love it too.
Art and Animation
The character design and art overall is still faithful to how the original series did it. Of course being made after 2000, the obvious things we call praise it for is more detailed coloring and more fluid animation. Also take in consideration of the story's atmosphere and it mostly takes place at night, the lighting is accurately executed. What's also distinct about this series is of course the inclusion of computer graphics with some of the buildings and techniques. This movie was released during a time when CG was still in the early stages of anime, and for its quality, its pretty excellent. For most of the series, the armor of the Bronze Saints will still show battle damage from the last fight with Poseidon and I like how it shows this consistency through the majority of the series.
And the fights themselves are very breath taking. It's still central around the usage of special techniques, but the new techniques presented are very mind blowing and like I said in my review of the TV series, they demonstrate a really kind of super cool destructiveness but not to the point where it gets ridiculously over the top. It still uses recycled animation, but it's not as abusing as it was in the original TV series.
The design of the newer characters presented are very deep and detailed in their own unique way. But these newer characters won't have much more presence until the later OAVs.
Music and Voice Acting
What's really sweet is that this anime uses two opening and ending themes. The new opening theme is Chikyuugi. It's not as in your face or intensive as the original song, Pegasus Fantasy, but it's softer tone reflects it's darker atmosphere, but also symbolizes the themes of hopes and dreams of this series overall. As for the other opening theme, after they play Chikyuugi, it goes to Pegasus Fantasy, and I can't complain about that and neither can any fan who loves Saint Seiya. I'm happy they didn't remix it. And not only is Pegasus Fantasy and Eien Blue part of the soundtrack, the original background music track from the old series is still utilized as well such as the orchestrated versions of Pegasus Fatnasy and Dream Warrior and so on. So it feels like even when there was a 10 year gap between the ending of the tv series and the release of this oav, that Saint Seiya still has this distinctive feature with it's soundtrack.
Also returning is the original voice cast for the Bronze Saints. Furuya Tooru, Suzuoki Hirotaka, Horikawa Ryo, Han Keiko and so on reprise their respective roles, but of course some of the characters from the original show were changed, but for the right reasons. Mu is now played by Yamazaki Takumi who replaced Shiozawa Kaneto who died a couple of years prior to the release of this. I think Yamazaki did an excellent job in emulating Shiozawa's original performance, and adds a great twist by making him sound more aggressive considering the situation he's in this series. Another character was re-casted due to the passing of another terrific seiyuu, but revealing that would be a spoiler. But one change that really got to me was the changing of Milo, originally played by Ikeda Shuuichi. This time, he is played by Seki Toshihiko, the voice of Mousse from Ranma 1/2, Duo Maxwell from Gundam Wing, and more interestingly, he also plays another masked Gundam antagonist, Lau La Cluset from Gundam SEED. I don't know why Ikeda Shuuichi of all people was replaced, but I thought Seki Toshihiko did a great job in capturing the character in his own way, though it doesn't compare to Ikeda Shuuichi's.
Like I said, if you have seen the TV series or read the manga, I say this is certainly a must see. I feel if you choose to watch this installment without any knowledge of Saint Seiya, I still believe that the audience can still feel the bond that the saints have with each other and you do get to know the characters in an individual sense. But I feel you'll get a better understanding if you've already seen the TV series. But as a Saint Seiya fan, not only I reccomend this oav, but the franchise as a whole.
114 of 114 episodes seen
What really appealed to me about this story was the inclusion of Greek mythology and the use of the constellations to each represent a guardian to Athena. As a modern day re-telling of those qualities, I find that it's adapted very excellently. I like how the concept of chains for lets say Andromeda is transitioned from the original mythology to the character Shun, and of course everybody knows what the legend of the phoenix is, and its used very conveniently with the character Ikki. If you pretty much know the original Greek stories on a basic level, I say it can add a bit more to the enjoyment. If you're expecting something very accurate and 100% faithful, don't bet on it. Keep in mind this is a semi-retelling of Greek mythology with some Asian cultural twists to it which add a unique element to it in that sense.
The pacing can be slow, but very spread out. The amount of episodes put into this series allows each character to have their own contribution to the story, as well as to have their own individual and relationship development. For example, the main character, Seiya, wants nothing to do with being a saint for Athena, and wants to find his long lost sister. But after awhile, he discovers that he can use his role to hopefully have his sister also find him early on in the series. But after a short while, Seiya comes to embrace his role as Earth's protector. But it's not only interesting that Seiya only develops, but the rest of the cast and even some of the villains have their own unique development as well. And when you get to know some of the characters in an individual sense, you do get drawn to them because of how well they are presented with their personal traits and background.
The personalities of the main cast overall can be considered stereotypical by modern day standards with Seiya as the act now/never think leader; Ikki as the lone wolf; and Shun as the more soft and feminine guy, but at least the chemistry is balanced and each character can be a foil to one another. Anybody can be a foil to Seiya in the group, and Seiya can be a foil to anybody and so on.
Of course being a Shounen Jump adapted anime, there are its share of fillers. The worst part about this series is certainly the Steel Saints. I felt their concept really negated what Saint Seiya was about with manipulating the cosmos in your body and really cheapened the value of that. But thankfully they are only in a few episodes and they disappear without a trace never to be seen again. But after the Sanctuary Arc, there is a filler arc called the Asgard Arc where the Bronze saints must fight the God Warriors inspired by Norse Mythology. I felt this is one filler arc that I found to be very productive and in some ways advanced and contributed to the development of the story, and finds a way to connect the last story arc of the anime TV series. I thought the respective characters were an excellent represenation of the myths they were adapated from and matched up very well with the Bronze saints.
Art and Animation
I have to say is that I really liked how the design of the characters and I find to be a bit better than the original manga version. I like how it feels more "cleaned up," and not as rough looking. Granted Saint Seiya is an action series, but the way Kurumada inks makes it difficult for me to follow sometimes. Then again, I got bad eyes. I like how the anime makes the characters faces a bit wider and more circular. In that sense, the characters come across more convincingly as teenagers. In the manga, I wouldn't believe that Seiya was thirteen, while in the anime, I believe he can. I also like how Ikki kind of looks like a Nagai Go design. It really makes him stick out and suits his big frame since Nagai liked to sometimes design characters like that. Sometimes I wonder if Ikki was meant to be a tribute to Nagai Go's style.
Of course what some people may have problems with is Shun's design. I'll admit that I first thought he was a girl looking at the pictures. His face, his figure, the design of his armor just makes you think he's a girl. Apparently thanks to this design of Shun, it pushed way for yaoi. Not only did Kurumada-sensei pave way for Shounen Jump with his original manga, Ring ni Kakero, his creation of Shun paved way for yaoi. Kind of interesting that Kurumada is the father of both Shounen Jump and yaoi. I don't know why I can forgive Shun for looking like a girl, I guess in series like these, you may not directly need a woman, but a guy with a feminine side and Shun fills that role very well.
What also makes this series very appealing is of course the various designs of the armor that ALL the characters wear. A good fraction of the armor isn't of course 100% accurate to what you see in Greek mythology, but I felt it works with the characters' individual builds, along the way the action and the individual techniques are performed with more emphasis on speed. The armors well represent their respective constellations, and I like when they don't wear their armor, the pieces will form the constellation they represent.
Another thing that sticks out to met before I talk about the action is of course the design of the God Warriors and the Asgard characters in general. Obviously they were not designed by Kurumada, and their coloring is a lot lighter and brighter, and their hair is much thinner compared to how Kurumada draws more wild and thicker hair styles. The designs reminded me of a Josei style manga. But I suppose it does allow more diversity to the style of Saint Seiya if you want to look at this more postiviely. But lets move on.
Another high and low point of this series is the action. A lot of recycled animation is used, but Saint Seiya of course isn't the only hit anime series guilty of this feature so I think myself along with a good amount of fans can forgive that. The fighting is explosive with some super bad ass techniques, but not to a point where it gets ridiculously over the top. Despite the more emphasis on special moves, the fights are still strategic, and I like how the concept of styles makes fights is applied here. For example, one character can't beat this guy because of such and such, but this character may be able to beat this bad guy because they have a technique or a feature with their cloth in which it gives them the opportunity to win. So in some ways, it makes you feel that this character isn't the strongest amongst the saints and so on. It's all about who matches up with who.
And I have to say that Saint Seiya has some of the coolest techniques I have ever seen in action anime. I think some of the techniques used in this anime are way cooler than what you see in Hokuto no Ken and Dragon Ball Z. So, if you want to see some cool action with some sweet moves and bad ass looking armor, then Saint Seiya is for you.
Music and Voice Acting
All I have to say is that Pegasus Fantasy by MAKE-UP is certainly one of the best opening themes of an anime in history. If anybody is going to make a top anime theme list, you are no true anime fan if this song is not on your list. The opening guitars just insantly grab you by the balls and the drum beats are catchy. The singing is very energetic and passionate, and the lyrics pretty much tell you the basics of what Saint Seiya is, and that it's about masculinity, the burning fire of youth being a hero,and kicking ass. It's just the talent of MAKE-UP just makes it sound so epic. If I were a pro-wrestler or professional fighter, this would certainly be my top choice of an entrance song just like how MMA fighter Josh Barnett comes out to Ai Wo Torimodose from Hokuto no Ken. The song is so awesome that this French guy went on French Idol, and actually sang it. Granted he wasn't a great singer, but I felt from his posture and his tone, that his inner cosmos igniting for the world to see made up for his lack of talent. Hell, I think he's far more talented than a majority of idiots who go on shows like that anyway.
The second opening theme, Dream Warrior sung by Kageyama Hironobu, who is also famous for doing the songs for Dragon Ball Z is also excellent in its own right though I don't think it compares to Pegasus Fantasy. The ending themes tend to be more relaxed and is a good way to cool the audience down after seeing the intensity of what this show has to offer, so it shows another good balance to the series. It still tells the same stories of living out your dreams and being a myth come to life.
The voice talent consists the best of what anime has to offer. I'll admit the one seiyuu who impressed me most was Horikawa Ryo, the voice of Vegeta from DBZ, as the voice of Andromeda Shun. With Vegeta, he's always angry and hostile and is ready to kick somebody's ass. While as Shun, he's very soft, feminine, and a pacifist. His acting is so convincing as this character, it makes it very hard to believe this guy would later voice Vegeta. It just shows how well talented he is. Another great name is of course the voice of Seiya himself, Furuya Tooru, who is world known as the voice of Amuro Ray from Gundam, and as Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon. His talent allows Seiya to be very young and yet masculine and hot-headed. The late great Suzuoki Hirotaka, famous for playing Captain Bright from Gundam, Kaifun from Macross, Kuno from Ranma, and Saitou Hajime from Rurouni Kenshin plays Shiryu. He makes him sound calm and contemplative. And I can't deny the presence of Ikeda Shuuichi as the voice of Milo, The Scorpio Gold Sait. This guy origially played the Mother Fucking Red Comet, Char Aznable from Gundam, and Hiko Seijuro from Rurouni Kenshin.
As for the many dubs out there, I can't speak much for them. I tried watching the English dub, but I found it horrid with the static acting, and the mispronunciating of names such as Shiryu as She-ru, Hyoga, as Hai-oh-ga, and Saori as Sei-o-ri. I just couldn't get past that. I know that Saint Seiya was already popular in Europe and Mexico, but I can't speak for the dubs of those countries. But as an English speaker and as a mediocre Japanese speaker, I can only speak for the Japanese and English version. But watch this in Japanese, you will get one of the best ensemble voice acting casts of all times. Not just for their names, but for their talents and how they bring their characters to life.
Sadly, despite it's popularity overseas, America was stupid 20 years ago and didn't pick up this series when it had the chance. It could have been a HUGE success and put anime on the map 100% worldwide long before Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z did. But for some reason, somebody just looked over this awesome classic and not many American fans have seen this old school epic, and it's one of the most influentional titles in the history of manga. But you know, that's the way it is. As for who I recommend this to, of course people who love old school for starters. And I say if you love Hokuto no Ken, then you gotta check out this baby. The basic premises are very similiar with using constellations and the presentation of the action is kind of the same but gives a different flavor with a different type of explosiveness. read more