Eden's Bowy Vol. #2 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, August 04, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, July 15, 2003

What They Say
Yorn, Elisis, and that strange old man are on a quest-and on the run! No matter how fast they fly, the assassins from Eden are one step behind and gaining fast. Maybe it's the technology: radar, hovercraft, and a submarine mecha you've got to see to believe! These killers sport as much horsepower as firepower. How can a kid with a funky sword, a shapeshifting girl, and an aging warrior hope to make it in one piece?

The adventures of Eden's Bowy continue! Yorn and his friends battle the enemy, the elements, and their own empty bellies in their quest to save the earth from the twin terrors of Yanuess and Yulgaha. What enemies lurk beneath the sea? What horrors haunt the desert cathedral? And what happens when an assassin tempts the God Hunter toward Eden?

The Review!
After an odd first volume, things only continue to get more strange as we move along here and more off-putting.

Since this series features one of my favorite male actors, we had no choice but to listen to this show in its original language of Japanese. Done up in a simple but effective stereo mix, Eden’s Bowy provides a nice bit of range across the forward soundstage with a few good moments of directionality, but otherwise a solid stereo mix. Dialogue was nice and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.

Originally broadcast back in 1999, Eden’s Bowy is a nice looking production that avoids much in the way of detail and goes for a simple look. The transfer looks good, though somewhat soft in a number of areas, causing some of it to look grainy. There’s some CG throughout it, and these areas tend to stand out not only because they’re CG, but because there’s a bit of cross coloration showing up in a lot of it. Aliasing is fairly minimal, but does show up in a few areas.

The front cover is a mixed piece, once again causing me to like some aspects of it but finding that it doesn’t really fit with the show. With the logo going sideways down the right side, the cover wraps all the way all the way around with a faded background image of a map of the world. The front cover has two of the women in nice Chinese-style dresses There’s a good summary of the shows premise and a decent listing of the discs technical specs, which are done sideways as well. The insert has a nice foldout mini poster of the very quiet girl and her alter ego that often saves the day. The reverse side has some information on various characters in the show.

The menus here are nicely done in an amusing way, as the main image is of two of the women in small super deformed form in a public bath, with the image of Fuji behind them to the end music playing. The episodes are all listed for quick access while everything else is nicely tucked away and easy to get to. Access times are nice and fast and the menus load quickly with no transitional animations.

The extras here are a bit on the short side, with only the opening and closing segments provided in their textless form as well as what looks like an original Japanese trailer for the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first volume of Eden’s Bowy managed to bring the potential of an interesting concept of a God Hunter who keeps the balance between the gods and humanity so that the gods don’t overwhelm everything. We saw the origins of this generations god hunter in the form of slightly clueless Yorn, a farming boy who loses his father early on and ends up on a journey with an Old Man and a young girl who doesn’t talk all that much.

While their tale is fairly simple as they travel from place to place, there’s a lot of other larger story items going on alongside it. With the big picture of a looming war between two nation states of the world, we get a lot of bits with various characters throughout them, especially as each side vies for power and control over what’s going on. There’s lots of backstabbing going on as factions within factions try to gain control of the God Hunter by using the other factions to their advantage while that one tries to survive the escapade that it gets thrust into.

Unfortuantely, since there’s enough of these characters scattered throughout and more often than not they’re never named, or named frequently enough to register, you quickly lose track of who belongs to what side and what they’re trying to do. It gets so bad at times that it’s the kind of stuff that you want to fast forward through to get to the good stuff. And unfortunately again, the good stuff is Yorn, the Old Man and Elsiss traveling along, ostensibly to find Yorn’s long lost mother, though she only surfaces in name once or twice in a most casual of manners.

There’s some interesting bits in here, from the absurb opening sequence where the enemy is using a robotic water buffalo as a two man submarine to track down and eliminate Yorn and friends to a storyline that takes up an entire episode where life sized human dolls have been fed the negative energy of the former residents there and are seeking more feelings from those who accidentally wander into their ruined lair. This provides a fair amount of creepy moments and gives the Japanese another chance to bring out their favorite horror pastime in the form of the lifeless dolls, but it just doesn’t do all that much for the overall storyline outside of moving the cast around or giving Elsiss a chance to transform and prove how clueless Yorn and the Old Man really are.

With two volumes, we’re ten episodes into the series and I’m nowhere near making heads or tails of what it’s really trying to be. The cast is large and confusing, the plot seems fairly aimless for the lead characters while the background storyline gets too chaotic with too many factions vying for screen time. Add in the strange things like the water buffalo and the religious aspects of the world and it’s a jumbled piece of…. Well, something I can’t make out.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,Original Eden's Bowy trailer,Printed insert with character bios,Mini-poster

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

Mania Grade: C-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Eden's Bowy