Sorcerer Hunters Collection (Thinpak) (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Mark Thomas
Review Date: Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2007



What They Say
The Sorcerer Hunters are five extraordinary humans charged by the powerful entity Big Momma with the task of traveling the land in secrecy and hunting down evil Sorcerers who use powerful and forbidden magic to enslave the helpless masses. Sounds good, until you meet them! This band of misfits make up the most unlikely band of heroes you're ever going to see. Infused with comedy and loaded with action, Sorcerer Hunters is a sprawling epic recommended for anyone who likes a little slapstick with their sword and sorcery.

The Review!
The story of a group of five friends hunting down evil sorcerers in amusing, and many times sexy, ways.

Audio:
For this viewing, I watched the English dub, which along with the Japanese track, is offered in 2.0. The mix here is pretty good as each track shows up well with no dropout. There is very little directionality present, but that is not completely unexpected for an older show and really is not important for this anime. I found the music to work well with this show too; it always seemed to match the mood on the screen well.

Video:
Sorcerer Hunters is presented in its original 4:3 full frame aspect ratio. Since this is quite an old show at this point (1995), there is little here that is visually impressive. That said, this transfer looks about as good as it could. I did not notice any major technical flaws, and even the minor flaws were few. At times, I detected some blending and distortion, but it almost looked more a flaw with the originals then any transfer mishaps.

That said, I loved some of the character designs. Chocolate in her transform mode looks particularly good, though the large bust and the fifteen-sizes-too-small-shirt-with-most-buttons-missing probably help. The shirt later getting replaced by suspenders is a fairly nice touch. However, I was also impressed with the variety of the secondary characters. Each episode introduces a completely new set of minor characters important to that episode's story, and each one has a completely individual look. Considering that Carrot chases at least one new woman each show, if not five or six, this means that there is a fairly diverse looking cast.

Packaging:
Sorcerer Hunters gets the standard ADV Thinpak treatment, albeit with some mistakes this time. Both sides of the box feature "sexy" shots of some of the girls in the show. The front side has Chocolate in her transformed state along with Dotta. The back side had Chocolate with Tira also in their transformed states. Considering the dominatrix look of Chocolate and Tira in their battle modes, not to mention the pixie-cuteness of Dotta, it is obvious ADV is playing up the sex appeal nature of the show.

The thinpaks themselves each have a group picture on the front, most again playing up the sex appeal of the show. Chocolate, Tira, and Dotta feature prominently in these images. The backs of the thinpaks all have the same picture, a dramatic image of one of Marron's magic seals. The technical information for each disc is places along the bottom. I have always like the simplicity of the ADV thinpaks if for no other reason than they are nice and compact.

The problem with this set, however, is that there is a lack of quality control/fact checking with the technical details on each thinpak. There is faulty information on display throughout; for example, disc two is listed as having a runtime of 125 minutes, while disc 3 has 100 minutes. The reality is that these runtimes are opposite. The more major issue is with the listing of extras. Each disc has more or different extras than what is listed on its case. For example, disc one is listed as having Character Biographies and the Original Trailer, when in reality it only has a commentary for episode one. This certainly does not ruin enjoyment of the show, but it is a little bit disappointing.

Menu:
The menus are fairly simple, but well designed. Each feature the same picture that graces the cover of the case on the right with each episode listed on the left. There is no selection for Play All, but the episodes automatically move to the next one when watching anyway. At the bottom of the screen are selections for setup, extras, and DVD credits. The menu for the final disc, which contains the three OVAs, looks different than the rest, but follows the same idea.

However, much like the packaging, there is a little bit of faulty information on the menus. The episode listings include the episode titles, but a number of the titles listed on the menus do not match the title on the actual episode. Sometimes the differences were minimal, but others the title was completely different. Again, like the packaging, this is not a huge deal, but unsatisfactory.

Extras:
There is a decent amount of extras in this set, especially since ADV usually removes them from the Thinpak sets. The biggest deal is that there are commentaries with various cast and staff members for episodes 1, 10, 16, and 20. There are also character bios, clean versions of each variation of the opening and closing, various trailers for each installment of the show (i.e. the two seasons plus the OVAs), and previews for other ADV shows. Pretty decent haul, and a welcome one for a usually bare thinpak.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This set compiles both seasons of Sorcerer Huntersoriginally known as Bakurestsu Hunters in Japanwith the three OVAs that followed them up. In the US, the second season was originally marketed as Spell Wars: Sorcerer Hunters Revenge, but this set correctly considers it as just part of the Sorcerer Hunters story arc. The ultimate result is a show that does not try to do too much, but what it does, it does well.

The story of Sorcerer Hunters, or what there is of a story, revolves around five friends who have been hired by the Gods' representative, Big Momma, to hunt down sorcerers who use their powers for evil. On the surface, there is nothing particularly special about these five, and only two of them have any overt abilities. Gateau Mocha is the team's resident muscle-bound brawler, while Marron Glace is a master of magic. The other threesisters Chocolate and Tira Misu, and Marron's brother Carrotdo not appear to be all that extraordinary.

However, all five are infused with the spirits of five Gods. Gateau's abilities and Marron's magic are enhanced by their divine powers, while Chocolate, Tira, and team-leader/ultra-pervert Carrot have the ability to transform into more powerful beings. Chocolate and Tira can change at will, and become garrote and whip wielding dominatrixes with the clothing and attitudes to match. Carrot needs help with his transformation, but it is his transformation that allows the team to succeed so much: Carrot has the ability to absorb black magic, and when he does, he automatically changes into a giant destruction demon. More often than not, this is the result of the end. Unfortunately, however, for Carrot, the only method known for changing him back is the domineering violence of Chocolate and Tira.

For the majority of the series, the plot is pretty simplistic: the group learns of an evil sorcerer, moves into town, takes care of the threat, and moves on. A final plotline slowly builds, as an ancient threat reemerges to take control of the Hunters' powers. While this provides the final climax to the show, it really does not have much to do with the overall feeling of the anime.

At heart, this show relies much more on sight gags and perverted humor to get by as opposed to a strong story, and it delivers those gags in spades. Though the main series has no nudity, Sorcerer Hunters does not lack for hot and/or cute girls in small clothing or compromising positions. In particular, the battle forms of Chocolate and Tira are not lacking in the sex appeal, as Chocolate comes dressed in leather pants and boots and a tight shirt showing off a lot of cleavage, while the usually homely Tira changes into a colorful corset that covers little more than the most important parts. The two look as if they would be more in place in a bordello rather than a battle field.

However, even the minor female characters are given a lot of attention, and that is not a bad thing considering Carrot is continually finding new ones to chase. For example, Big Momma's helper, the fairy Dotta, wears and extremely short, very form-fitting dress that leaves very little to the imagination. What is interesting to note is that of the one-off female characters, only the truly evil ones are allowed to be sexy like Chocolate and Tira. The "good" girls are all comely in their own way, but none have the vixen thing going like the sisters.

Of course, with a show that openly touts it sexiness of its women, the humor that follows generally plays off these characteristics. A major running joke is the fact that both Misu sisters are openly in love with Carrot, but despite his desperate and perverted nature, he has no interest in them. He would rather pursue every cute girl he comes across, even though he continually strikes out in his attempts. It is interesting that he continually laments his ill-luck with women, and yet the sisters, Chocolate especially, continually throw themselves at him, only to be rebuffed.

The sisters always get their revenge, however. Although they are generally peaceful people, they get openly violent with Carrot. In particular, they relish the opportunities to calm Carrot down from his demonic transformation. Though it never happens on screen, the prospect of two dominatrixes whipping a demon into submission never ceases to be funny. Yet, their efforts do not slow Carrot down. As soon as possible, he is back to his old tricks, but that just opens more opportunities for them to beat him.

It is the relationship, or lack thereof, between these three that provides most of the comic relief. Though Marron and Gateau get their face time, the situation tends to be a bit more serious if they are taking the forefront. Thankfully, except for the final plotline, there is precious little seriousness in Sorcerer Hunters, as the final climax drags the show down a bit. Though there is some comedy over the last few episodes, the final fight itself has little to laugh about and tries to inject a little "importance" to the proceedings. Unfortunately, that importance is really out of place with the attitude of the rest of the show.

The three OVAs on the last disc return to the comic inanity of most of the TV series. Like a lot of OVAs for series of this type, though, it turns the perversion up. The jokes get more ridiculous, nudity is shown for the first timealbeit just topless scenes, and the 'plots' get even dumber. While this works for some shows, I found it ruined the charm of this one. In a take on an old question, what is more tantalizing: the hint of perversion, or perversion itself? The TV Series just hints at the ideas the OVAs present openly, and the overall effect is much better.

In Summary:
Sorcerer Hunters is definitely not a show for those more intellectually minded, but the sexy girls and virtually endless perverted humor, along with some decent action scenes, make for an overall fun series. While the final story arc feels out of place, it does not drag the show down too much. I also found the ramped up comedy of the OVAs loses the charm of the TV Series, but I can see it appealing to some people. It is not a show that will blow anybody away, but I think most people will find it a fun diversion. Recommended.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character bios,Commentary tracks,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

Review Equipment
Magnavox 37MF337B 37" LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (S-Video Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: TV MA
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 59.98
Running time: 725
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sorcerer Hunters