Orphen Vol. #2 (Mania.com)

By:Roman Martel
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2001

The Review!
Overall Rating: 3.9
(on a scale of 1-5)

-Technical Ratings-
Sound: 5
Picture: 5
Menu: 4
Presentation: 4
Goodies: 4
Overall: 4.4

-Content Ratings-
Animation: 4
Sound: 4
Plot: 3
English Acting: 4
Music: 2.5
Entertainment: 3
Overall: 3.4


Orphen continues on it's merry way. Jokes are cracked, trolls are punted, magic is cast and baddies are toasted. It's what you'd expect from you standard fantasy adventure. That must be why the scores have stayed the same.

-Technical Review-

The technical scores stay pretty much the same here. The picture and sound were both working great on my set up. The menu remained solid. You're still missing the channels of sound, and the volume number for this disc. I'm not sure why they are leaving out the volume number. It's going to be tough to keep these discs in order, especially since the episodes aren't even numbered on the back or the insert. The goodies remain the same. You get opening and closing animation, production sketches from the episodes done in a slideshow style.
-Content Review-

The journey of our three heroes pushes forward and various obstacles get in the way. Mostly it's all the fault of those wacky and goofy trolls. While the adventures themselves are pretty fun and entertaining, there is something missing from this blend of sword and sorcery.

In the first adventure Cleao, Majic and the goofy trolls decide to go on a little treasure/R&R hunt while Orphen sleeps. They go to a legendary resort town where treasure is supposed to be hidden. Now don't get all excited yet, it's too early to have a bathing suit episode, right? Well if there is a treasure then there has to be something guarding it. Things are not what they seem all over this episode and in the end we all learn that treasure means something different to everyone (and that's one to grow on). The second and third episodes are one continuous story. Majic goes off on his own (don't know why?) and he runs into a young priestess named Fiena. She's kind and sweet, so it Majic. You know these two have to get together. Well it seems that people of the village hate all sorcerers, even the goofy ones. Majic is nabbed and hauled off. Orphen and Cleao have to rescue their pal, but can they get around the villagers and their wild eyed leader? Will Fiena protect her new friend or side with her village? Was this plot inspired by Princess Mononoke? Find out in this disc of Orphen.

The animation remained the same for the most part. It looked a little less detailed this time around, especially some of the character animation. I don't know if I was remembering the last disc a bit too fondly or if the animation went down a bit in quality. Things seem to be less thought out, especially in the costume department. The main characters will often look a bit funky here and there. I was really wondering how large Majic's eyes were gonna get before they just devoured his head. The sound also remained the same. The spells are pretty well done both visually and in the audio department. All in all it's not a bad job.

Again this faired just like the other disc in the story department. I enjoyed the light hearted feel of the first episode of the disc. It was entertaining even if it was just a bit of filler. The next two episodes were much more serious. What made them better then the serious set in the last disc was the fact that we got to know a bit more about Majic. These episodes let him and his voice actor go through the range of emotions. It was actually a pretty good set of episodes when it's all said and done..

The dub action was very good. I really enjoyed Spike Spencer as Majic and I will also say that the woman doing Cleao was also doing a superb job. They both really seem to be having fun in the parts. The trolls are over the top but it's also done just right. The only one who I'm not too sure about is Orphen, and it's not the actors fault. He just doesn't have many lines in this set of episodes. He does a good job, but he's remained pretty serious for the most part. The dub script still seems a bit off. It's mostly in the forced feeling to some of the comedic bits. When this show has good lines they are laugh out loud funny, but most of the time the lines just feel out of place or unnatural. I think the actors do a great job with the script but as a whole it just doesn't quite seem to work. Or maybe that's the way it is in Japanese as well...

The opening and ending themes continue to be the best part of the music. The score itself is very cheesy and at times really seems to be over doing it. There was a moment when several hundred flowers open up and what we get is a second rate version of the Top Gun anthem on electric guitar. Ladycat and myself just looked at each other and started laughing.

When it comes down to it Orphen is pretty good. But it's not really drawing me in. I had forgotten that I had ordered the second disc and when it showed up I was a bit surprised. I just don't think it's pulling me in as a whole, and not for any particular reason. I'm not to crazy about any of the characters or the situation as a whole, but it's not bland or boring really. Orphen might work better for others than it worked for me, but I think I'll be passing on the next disc.

Roman J. Martel
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Review Equipment
Phillips Flatscreen (27 Inch), Sony Playstation 2

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: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Orphen