Tag Archives: victor entertainment

Review: Argento Soma (2000) Anime | My Reviews 28 MAR 2014

argento soma anime dvdIn 2054, an unknown alien life form fell from the sky. The destruction began and the United Nations government was forced reorganise the army to oppose them and to defend the Earth. This combat action was dubbed ‘The first encounter action’. In 2059, after five years, the battle is still going on.

Takuto Kaneshiro is a young scientist, currently completing his studies at a prestigious aerospace university. His girlfriend, Maki Agata, is also a young scientist, currently working with Prof. Noguchi to decipher more about the mysterious aliens. Their current project is a gigantic alien iron life form that fell from the sky. They finally managed to piece the patchwork giant up again and now hope to resurrect it.

But the experiment to awaken Frank, or Extra-1 as the military designates it, goes horribly wrong. As the facility known as Morgue crumbles around his ears, Kaneshiro can only watch in horror as the monster Extra-1 crushes his beloved Maki and Prof. Noguchi.

Somehow Kaneshiro’s life is sparred, but he is left horribly scarred and disfigured. As he lies recovering in the hospital bed, a mysterious man with red-hair approaches him. The man proposes a deal. If he gave Kaneshiro the power to destroy Extra-1, will Kaneshiro become his tool? With hatred burning in his heart, Kaneshiro accepts the stranger’s offer. He awakes to find himself with a new face, a new name and a new identity. Ryu Soma.

He joins up with the elite military anti-alien task force known as Funeral. Using their advanced weaponary such as the Sarg Mecha and the Mistel carrier, Funeral wage a non-stop war against the alien menace. Ryu fights alongside them, but his only real opponent shall ever be Extra-1.

Argento Soma is a very stylish artistic anime title. The stories are well told, the use of imagery nicely done and the music nicely presented. The ideas being portrayed are interesting and so you feel that this series should be a good package. Unfortunately it isn’t. It’s not bad, but the pace at which the story unfolds is so badly handled that you find yourself wishing the series would end already, that is, if you have continued watching it so far.

As mentioned before the story is relatively interesting. Aliens have invaded Earth and the military have scrambled to stop them. A special division called Funeral is established, and utilizing advanced mecha and machinery, are in charge of stopping the alien incursions. A pathwork alien falls in their hands and becomes their tool against the aliens. However, the main character, Takuto Kaneshiro loses his girlfriend as well as a part of his face when they revive the patchwork alien, known as Extra-1. Kaneshiro, pushed by a mystery man, assumes a new identity of Ryu Soma and joins up with funeral. The story focuses on the hate relationship between the two and how this is eventually resolved. The character, alien and mecha designs are all first class and the storytelling is very well done, but the series is let down by horrible pacing.

The animation on Argento Soma is very nicely done, with movements being very fluid and realistic. The aliens take on the same feel as those in Neon Genesis Evangelion, something instantly recognizable to Evangelion fans. The music is atmospheric and the anime has a beautifully melodic opening track. However, the end track sounds kind of out of place, so I usually skip listening to it.

Overall, you can see that the director was trying his best to put forward a polished and artistic piece of work. It would have succeeded too, if it only hadn’t been for the poor story pacing. If you enjoy a good drama and some mecha action, then you might enjoy Argento Soma. Just don’t expect to watch the series all in one go though.

argento soma anime

(Historical Note: This was written back in August 2003. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argento_Soma

Review: Noir (2001) Anime | My Reviews 31 JAN 2014

noir anime 1Present day Europe. Mireille Bouquet is Noir, one of Europe’s most deadliest assassins. However, her life is uprooted when she comes into contact with a young girl named Yuumura Kirika. She has no past, but she has knowledge of Noir. And she knows how to kill.

But it is the clock that she possesses that binds Mireille to her. Both have dark histories that shouldn’t be remembered. Mireille needs to find the truth of hers, while Kirika needs to discover just who she is. Together, they must make a pilgrammage to the past.

But they are being watched. There is an organisation so secretive, so powerful, that to know their name is to invite death. They control the world. And they hold the key to Mireille and Kirika’s search. They hold the knowledge of the true Noir.

They are… Soldats.

Noir is one of those must see anime titles. Set in Europe, Noir follows the story of two assassins who team up to uncover the secrets of their past. A mysterious and powerful organisation appears to be pulling the strings, and Mireille and Kirika find themselves going up against it.

The story builds up to a crescendo, the action is intense and the drama sublime. Always keeping you guessing, Noir is indeed a superbly crafted story.

The characters are all interesting, with both the villains and the heroes getting enough motivation and characterisation.

The animation is very good – stylish and fluid. Although there is a lot of death in this title, there is almost no blood. In an effort to keep the age restriction down, Noir depicts very little bloodshed, despite the massive amounts of violence. However, this is done in a way that doesn’t detract from the title at all. The backdrops of all the locations are beautifully rendered, with each country or location depicted perfectly.

The music of Noir is awesome. Keeping with more emotional and evocative music, Noir’s soundtrack draws you into the show. One song in particular is always used for the action sequences and when it starts, you can’t help but get goose-flesh of excitement.

Overall, Noir is a solid package. An intriguing mystery story, great action, brilliant animation and superb music, Noir is one of those classic anime titles that you simply can’t miss. A powerful piece of work indeed.

noir anime 2

(Historical Note: This was written back in February 2004. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noir_(anime)

Review: Dragon Half (1993) Anime | My Reviews 20 SEP 2012

The daughter of Ruth the Red Lightning, and the red dragon he was sent out to slay so long ago, Mink is what is known as a Dragon Half. Half human, half dragon and totally cute. Mink is strong, she can fly, and breathe out fire – but even after all of that, she’s still just a young, naive girl at heart.

The one thing she wants most from life is to be loved by the famous idol dragon slayer, Dick Saucer, but to get him to accept her, she will have to journey to find the magical potion in the hope of turning her into a full human.

However, trouble lies in wait for our young heroine in the form of an evil king who desires her mother for himself. Facing vile henchman after henchman, Mink is going to have to work hard to finally realise her dream in this fun-filled, mad-cap quest to become a human and capture the heart of the man of her dreams!

Dragon Half is a 2 part fantasy comedy anime OVA released back in 1993, directed by Shinya Sadamitsu, Masahiro Koyama, Takahiro Kishida and produced by Victor Entertainment.

This is a little comedy-charged romp through a fantasy world filled with dragons, swords and sorcery. The story revolves around the Dragon Half Mink and her quest to locate the magical potion that will enable her to become a human in order to woo the love of her life, the idol dragon slayer, Dick Saucer.

But she happens to fall in the sights of the evil King and his daughter Vina who move to eliminate her for good. The sets up the short two-part OVA perfectly for a few hilarious encounters that will leave you with tears in your eyes. The comedy is silly, the wit dry and the action absurd.

The characters for Dragon Half all fall straight out of any traditional swords-and-sorcery fantasy book, but what makes them stand out is the outrageous and cute character designs. The length of the series means that no real character development takes place, but then that really isn’t the goal of this little story.

The animation uses a very loose, deformed style that complements the comedy perfectly. The use of super-deformed characters, silly facial expressions and exaggerated animal designs are all well used throughout the OVA. The voice artists fit the tone of this OVA perfect, as does the soundtrack. Note: Dick Saucer’s attempts at singing are particularly funny to listen to.

There really isn’t much to say about this little OVA, except not to expect too much from it and just sit back and enjoy the fun. This title fits very much in the vein of Slayers, and fans from that series will really enjoy this little distraction.

(Historic Note of interest: This review was written back in 2004)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Half