Heroic Legend of Arslan (Mania.com)

By:Russ R
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, March 02, 1999

The Review!
To start off, I only have the standard TV speaker set-up, so I'm basing the audio off that. Also, I have the worst luck when buying DVD's and videos, and normally find one that has to be taken back. With that said, here it goes:

Arslan, or Arislan to those who have been with it from the beginning, is a top-notch series. I picked it up when it first came out on video, and thought it great right off the back. One of the things that got me was the clean, crisp animation, and beautiful artwork. This comes true to DVD as well, allowing me to enjoy this experience once again. However, when I listened for the music, it seemed barely there. Even with the TV almost up halfway, the music still seemed soft. It was there, you just had to listen a little. The Japanese track is fluid, and I heard no problems. Being a 4-hour series, I did not listen to the English track.

The video is okay. However, certain things seemed accelerated. In the first part, when Kharlan gets on his horse, he does it at near superspeed. There are a few other small things, but one forgets them because the story is interesting. That is, until the second DVD. In part 4, the picture glitches every so often. Most of these glitches are white, but one of them is red, which ruins the mood for the one scene. These glitches appear every few seconds in one scene, and every five minutes later on. But it's only for that episode, and therefore is forgivable. The other two episodes are pretty much perfect.

The story is very interesting, although some may find it a bit boring. One warning: it is filled with pretty boys. (I played the "Guess the gender game" when I first saw this, long ago.) But every character has a background, and a personality to boot. Even later in the series, details still pop up which surprise the viewer. Most characterization centers around Arslan and his role as the Prince, and how he matures along the way. (He's a bit of a bleeding heart, unfortunately, and relies too much on his supporting staff.) The basic situation is Arslan must try to get back his kingdom. While it may seem standard fantasy fare, the characters more than make up for it. Especially Silvermask, who might suffer from self-delusion. However, as the anime never went past the sixth episode on this tape, while there is a whole series of novels in Japan, we may never know. I'm not going to go into too much detail, as I tend to reveal important parts and that cheeses folks off.

The main gripe I have with this, though, is its presentation. The first two parts are beautifully animated movies, while parts 3-6 are OVA's. Parts 3 and 4's animation could have been better, but 5 and 6's animation makes up for it. It would have been nice if it could all have looked like the first two parts. Oh, well.

There are practically no extras, except for USMC's standard meet the cast and sneak previews. If you've seen 'A Wind Named Amnesia' or 'Takegami,' you know what I mean. The trailer I saw was in English, so no goodies there. What was useful was the inclusion of the name change primer, featured on both discs. This little helpful bit of info is good for clearing up confusion later on, as it tells you what names where switched to what, and why.

Some ramblings: The first DVD is dual-layered, and contains Parts 1-3. The second is a regular DVD, and contains parts 4-6. When converted to VHS format, that's Video 1, Video 2, and the first half of Video 3. The second DVD contains the second half of 3, and all of four. Personally, it would have been nice to see Parts 1 and 2 on the first disc, and the rest on the second, but that's just me. That way, the drop-off in animation isn't as noticeable unless you watch it back-to-back. Which you might not, because a lot of people just don't have the time to watch four hours of movie back-to-back.

In short, worth the price, as you get a solid story (although not all of it) and a good deal.

4 videos dubbed = At least $80.00

4 videos subtitled = At least $100.00 - $120.00

And then there's tax.

Thanks for listening.

Review Equipment

Mania Grade: NA
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Central Park Media
MSRP: 79.99
Running time: 240
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 for Volume 1 & 2, 1.33:1 for all else
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Heroic Legend of Arslan