Sorcerer Hunters Vol. #3 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2001



What They Say
Carrot and the others have been hunting sorcerers for a while now, but lately things are getting decidedly strange. Just who is the mysterious man that’s been cropping up repeatedly? And what does he want with the Sorcerer Hunters?

To make matters worse, Big Momma hasn’t exactly been herself either. But while it may not be ALL fun and games anymore, that’s not going to stop Carrot from having HIS fun. Or Chocolate and Tira from trying to stop him!

Contain 6 exciting episodes!

The Review!
The second half of Sorcerer Hunters really gets underway here, with more hints and movement with the actual storyline, but also a fair amount of self-contained episodes with plenty of general silliness.

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to this disc in its original language, Japanese. The show for the most part is still very dialogue heavy with only a few moments of each episode really devoted to the action sequences and the accompanying music. The opening and ending sections sound quite good though and make up for the quieter feel of the episodes themselves.

Video:
The video for the third volume here does improve a fair bit, with noticeably less grain in a lot of the episodes, though there still is some. The dark blue sky scenes look a bit better as well with less artifacting. Rainbows continue to be non-existent, and just some grain related color banding being the only other really noticeable problem.

Packaging:
How can you go wrong with Chocolate and Tira on the cover? Well, frankly, you can't. This is a nice looking cover with the two ladies of the show in their "transformed" outfits and looking just right. The back cover provides a bunch of nice pieces of artwork as well as a menu s hot. The summary is fairly brief, but summing up six episodes isn't easy. As with earlier volumes, the lack of episode numbers, titles or a volume number is annoying. The insert provides a nice looking picture of Carrot in a dark serious mood, while the reverse side of it shows the episode titles and chapter stops with a small image of Gateau.

Menus:
The menu layout is identical to the first two volumes, which looks good and has a nice amount of music and animation playing along them. Access times between the menus are pretty sweet and moving around is pretty straightforward and problem free, though sometimes you may not move exactly where you want in the episode selection menu.

Extras:
With one less episode this time around, I wasn't sure if we might see some different extras, but the only real different one we have is the Spell Wars trailer that ADV created to promote the show. The character bios continue to provide decent information (if you watch after the episodes), otherwise there's potential spoilers in there.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this batch of six episodes, which we watched in one sitting, I found myself to begin to really get into the show during the first couple of episodes. The backdrop plot from the earlier episodes, with Zaha Torte becoming the obvious main foe to Big Momma. She takes some time during one of the episodes to physically confront Torte, and the animosity between the two just weighs down the scene perfectly.

What's unfortunate is that the episodes that really bring Torte into play are so minimal, making up probably less than half of this discs episodes. While that may work earlier in the series, this disc brings episodes 15-20 into play, which is where the storyline is supposed to get really going. But we end up with a couple of episodes again that are nice and self-contained, but don't forward things at all.

But the Torte episodes themselves certainly make things worthwhile if you've made it this far. The first two discs were mostly made up of self-contained stories, so the introduction of the final conflict storyline may actually seem out of place to some people. Torte brings an interesting style of villain to the screen, one whose firm in his belief of being as powerful as he can be, but willing to try different things to gain more power and to bring about the destruction of everything.

There's an interesting period, during which Big Momma gives the crew some vacation time, she ends up planting them down in an area where Torte has just been through. Carrot, being some sort of pivotal person in the balance of where the world will hang, goes about his usual tricks in trying to date women (in a very Ataru like fashion, which does get some chuckles from me). Big Momma has kept the entire Torte affair from the crew, so when Carrot ends up "saving" Torte at one point, and neither man knows who the other is, their exchanges on life-views is one of those excellent moments in anime that's just perfectly scripted.

Though this isn't to say the self-contained stories are bad. The episode with the local area hospital, with the Nurse Ohno and Dr. S'Okay was great, though I have to wonder what was up with the translations since some of it seemed a bit weird. Of course, that episode won me over with the cute soft spoken blue haired nurse wielding a chainsaw...

Things definitely do pick up here in the storyline department, but I think some people are going to be disappointed to some extent. The final volume will hopefully bring more of the arc to light and bring the opposing sides together for an actual confrontation with full knowledge of what's at stake. But if you've enjoyed what you've seen so far, you'll likely enjoy this batch of episodes as well.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Bios,Spell Wars Trailer

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 140
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sorcerer Hunters