Basilisk Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: ¬£19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Basilisk

Basilisk Vol. #2

By Bryan Morton     September 26, 2007
Release Date: August 06, 2007


Basilisk Vol. #2
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
Their passion will be their undoing!

The passions of the past quickly reignite as one scroll seeks to undo two powerful tribes. Death is on the wind, and the storm continues unabated.

The Iga set out to rewrite the rules of deceit, made possible by deepest affection, as Gennosuke and Oboro stand facing one another across a river of animosity. But as reason is lost to hatred, ambition tips the hand of the treacherous.

Kouga warriors in disguise delve deep within the enemy stronghold to unearth the truth, revealing both innocence taken and innocence lost. As the darkness pervading the sky seeps into the souls of men, blood lingers in the rain and the flood is unlashed. No mercy will be spared to the enemy.

Episodes Comprise
5 " The Surprise Attack
6 " Longing in the Rain
7 " The Bloodsucking Seductress
8 " Cage of Blood

The Review!
The Kouga clan finally realise that the truce with the Iga is over, although by this stage the Iga already have the upper hand. With Gennosuke still in the Iga compound, will his clansmen be able to get word of the renewed hostilities to him before his "hosts" do away with him..?

Audio:
Audio is provided in English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 versions " I listened to the Japanese track for this review. It's a decent stereo mix, with good use made of the available channels to properly place dialogue and effects " particularly useful as there's usually quite a bit going on on-screen. There were no obvious problems.

Video:
Presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect, the picture quality on this release is pretty good. There's heavy use made of dark colours, with a lot of the scenes being set at night or in darkened forests, but it's still usually quite easy to pick out the detail in the scenes. Daytime scenes are bright and colourful. There's some visible banding on colour gradients in places (usually during the darker sequences), but that's about all that can be criticised.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
In keeping with MVM's usual style nowadays, the menu is a simple affair, providing direct access to the episodes from the main screen with submenus for language selection and extras. Yashamaru features on the main screen, off to one side, with a menacing expression and his web ready, while a piece of the show's background music plays. There are no transition animations, so it's all quick and easy to use.

Extras:
<>Along with the usual creditless opening & closing sequences, this disc features a half-hour long "Behind the Scenes" film, looking at the production of the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Back at the Kouga compound, news of the renewed hostilities with the Iga clan still hasn't arrived, in no small part thanks to Tenzen's efforts to keep them in the dark - although some members of the clan aren't taking news of Gennosuke's planned marriage to Oboro too well. As they're planning what can be done to put an end to their relationship, the compound comes under attack by the Iga. With the Kouga now aware that the Iga are active again - although still not knowing why - Tenzen decides that the Iga's best course of action now is to eliminate Gennosuke immediately. As they return to the Iga compound, they come across Okoi, and on discovering that she's one of the ten on their list of targets, battle is joined. Meanwhile, the Kouga in Manjidani meet to decide what to do next after Tenzen's abortive raid. Suspecting correctly that the anti-war pact between the clans has been nullified, they decide it's time to pay a visit to the Iga compound, where Akeginu's having to cover up Josuke's disappearance, and Gennosuke's beginning to realise that something's not quite right...

I was beginning to wonder how long it would take for Gennosuke and Oboro to realise that their clans were back at war " after all, the hostilities started again right back in episode one, and they've remained blissfully unaware ever since. Gennosuke seems to have figured it out by episode 7, while Tenzen finally breaks the news to Oboro around the same time " although even by the end of the disc she still hasn't accepted that the return to war is a fait accompli. Even if the pact had been annulled, she reasons, there's still no reason for them to go back to war when a permanent peace is so close at hand " but unfortunately for her, she's in a minority of one amongst her clan, and it doesn't look likely that she'll be able to talk her clansmen out of their bloodlust.

In the meantime, the carnage continues. Up until now it's been the Iga who have had the run of the luck, but with the Kouga having finally recovered their roster of targets, the battle begins to become a little more even. As with the Iga, each of the Kouga warriors has their own unique, mystical ability that sets them apart and makes them a lethal killing machine. I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of that style of combat story, so the fighting scenes tend to wash over me a little, but there's also plenty of scheming and manoeuvring for advantage going on as the two clans try to outwit each other and gain the upper hand again, and that side of events is very enjoyable to watch.

With the truth now being out in the open, the next question to be asked is what are Gennosuke and Oboro going to do next "follow their hearts and at least try to bring the fighting to an end, or follow Ieyasu's intentions and allow their clans to fight to the death. The series' tagline " "To the one I love, prepare to die" " is probably a fairly big hint towards the answer, while most of the clansmen on both sides seem quite happy to fight it out, but I'd like to see them try and avoid repeating the mistakes that their grandparents made, and learn the lessons of the past. As characters, they both come across as strong and determined in their own ways (Oboro may seem the quiet, obedient type, but every so often there's a flash and a coldness in her eyes that says otherwise), and there are some good story possibilities that could be opened up if they tried to take control of the situation.

They're about the only characters worth watching, though. Sometimes it seems that no sooner is a character introduced than they're on the receiving end of a nasty death, with Okoi being the case in point on this volume. She's introduced as a fun-loving girl, shown to be a serious and powerful fighter, then put in a situation that sees her out of the show before you really got the chance to get a feel for her. There's a potentially large cast in Basilisk, but the war is moving so quickly that, outside of obvious leaders like Tenzen, there's just no opportunity to get to know any of them, and to me that's a shame.

In summary:
This volume of Basilisk is much like the first " plenty of scheming, plenty of impressive fighting, and Gennosuke and Oboro caught in the middle and, now they're aware of the end of the truce, wondering what to do next. Impressive visuals and plenty of gore make it a treat to watch on one level with the manoeuvring of the two sides keeps the brain ticking over while you watch " it's good as far as it goes, but I can't help but think that it would be better if more of the fighters actually meant something to the viewer, and they're not really developed enough for that to happen. Still, no series is perfect, and despite its flaws Basilisk still manages to be enjoyable to watch. Well worth a look.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,"Behind the Scenes" Feature,Textless Songs

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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