Tag Archives: halo

Review: Halo Legends Anime | My Reviews 10 NOV 2011

2010 saw the release of Halo Legends, overseen by 343, the appointed managers of the hugely successful Microsoft Halo gaming franchise. It is a seven part anthology (eight if you count the fact that “Origins” is split into two episodes), consisting of episodes ranging in length from ten to twenty minutes each, and produced by some of Japan’s hottest anime studios and directors, including work by Studio 4°C, Production I.G., Casio Entertainment, Toei Animation, and Bones, never mind the fact that the applauded director Shinji Aramaki also wades in on the act.

So this is the marriage of the Western Halo gaming franchise with Japanese anime, a mix that doesn’t always work that well in practice, but which does actually stand a fairly good chance to successfully translate this time around, thanks mainly to Halo’s focus on mecha and space ships, one of the staples of anime design!

Anthologies are not my cup of tea as the short nature of the stories means that you don’t easily get sucked in, and if they aren’t linked up in a coherent storyline like say Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic or Green Lantern: Emerald Knights managed to do, it becomes somewhat of a waste of time in my opinion.

And this turns out to be very much the case.

Ignoring the slapstick “Odd One Out” episode which is completely out of line in terms of tone to the rest of the DVD, the short stories are all haphazardly placed in the Halo mythos, and apart from Origins which at least gives us a deeper look into the historic timeline of the franchise, the rest of the stories really matter very little indeed.

In other words, unless you are already a hardcore Halo fan, there really isn’t all that much for you here.

In terms of the animation, each studio uses completely different techniques, resulting in a very disjointed affair, reminiscent of the problems that plagued the poor The Animatrix anthology release back when it was originally published. That said, the animation employed by the various studios do all for the most part work and work well, with particular mention being made of the absolutely gorgeous and fluid CG used to render Shinji Aramaki’s The Package insert. However on a similar note, the horrid watercolor effect completely destroys Hiroshi Yamazaki’s The Duel piece, and while Toei’s Dragonball Z-like animation suits the tone of the “Odd One Out” story, it just serves to re-enforce how much this episode really doesn’t belong in what would otherwise be a pretty serious group of tales.

One thing that does however work across all the episodes is the great choice in voice actors cast to fill the characters’ shoes, as is the splendid music that often serves to provide a hauntingly beautiful and epic backdrop to each and every one of the stories being told.

All in all, Halo Legends is probably something best left to the fans of the series, especially those who are interesting in the single player storyline of the Halo franchise, and not those just in it for the multiplayer. For me it suffers from the same sense of pointlessness of the other anime-inspired anthologies that have come before it, in other words The Animatrix and Batman: Gotham Knight, meaning that I really can’t recommend it to anyone other than those aforementioned hardcore fans.

Still, it’s not like it doesn’t have its pretty moments though…

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

Review: Haibane Renmei Anime | My Reviews 31 MAR 2011

Softly intriguing and well worth the watch if you would prefer a little more fantasy drama to your more explosive mecha habits.

You dream and then you hatch, from a giant cocoon. You know you come from somewhere else but you can’t remember from where, or even your own name for that matter. You are given a name based on your dream, and then the wings painfully erupt from your shoulder blades, bloody at first, but ash grey once cleaned. A halo is set above your head. You are now a Haibane.

You live in a walled city with other humans, but you are governed under strict rules by the Haibane Renmei, not being allowed to own anything new, or earn actual money. Your purpose is to understand and prepare for the day you are deemed worthy and are called to take your own Day of Flight.

But if you have unresolved guilt or are bound by sin, your wings will begin to turn black and that day will never arrive…

Haibane Renmei chronicles the story of Rakka, who dreams of falling out of the sky and awakens as a Haibane in the walled city of Glie. The story tells of how she learns of and adapts to this new world, before delving into her own story and how she must overcome her guilt as well as help another.

Based on the work of Yoshitoshi Abe, Haibane Renmei is a 13 episode long anime released in 2002 under director Tomokazu Tokoro with animation by Radix. It is a beautifully mysterious fantasy drama that unlocks itself as it proceeds, extracting all the necessary emotions from a viewer to make a successful story.

Beautifully detailed animation with a soft, almost washed out color pallet drives the visuals, while the hauntingly melodic music courtesy of Kow Otani ties together the great voice acting from the seiyuu team.

Overall it is a stunningly beautiful and simple drama to take in and is difficult to fault on anything. Well worth the watch if you are able to enjoy a slightly slower (but far more meaningful and touching) story than the usual battling babe and mecha brawlers or school going, panty-flashing antics that so usually dominates the current anime scene.

Definitely recommended then.

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