Sakura Wars (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, October 26, 1999
After reading the reviews, I felt that I had to add in my own review as a huge fan of the Sakura Wars (Sakura Taisen) series for the Sega Saturn. I have played both Sakura Wars 1 and 2 and have finished them several times. I also have the Hanagumi Columns game. After watching the DVD, it made me want to play the game again but, the series is being released on the Sega Dreamcast and I will wait until then. My knowledge of the Japanese language when I played Sakura Wars was nil. I could not understand Japanese nor read a character. However, I really enjoyed the game and was able to figure out what I had to do. Anyways, on to my review.
The audio on this disc is very good. Nothing like 5.1 but, it does its job. Most of the audio comes from the center channel and the background music in "surround". The only problem I noticed was in the fourth episode opening. The music was definitely louder than usual and I had to turn the volume down.
I found the Video really clear and crisp. This is one of the best transfers I've seen. I watched Mulan previously and it was not as crisp as Sakura. I guess Disney does not believe in doing proper transfers but, I'll save that for my review on Mulan. I'm watching my DVDs on the Toshiba TW40X81 and on Theaterwide mode. Sakura Wars is 4:3 but, it looked very good in 16:9.
The packaging is very nice. I had to look the DVD carefully when I received it. I really like the cover art but, the DVD itself is rather plain.
The menu was decent in comparison with a lot of DVDs. It's no Matrix but, it does its job. The language selection was confusing at first since I pressed enter and nothing happened. However, I did not experience the same problem as most people had. I only set the language and subtitle once when I popped the disc in and it stayed that way throughout the 4 episodes. I wish some info on the Sakura Taisen Game would have been included as this would definitely help those who did not play the game.
The first 3 episodes occur before the game. This seems to be a background to each of the characters in the game. One problem that I see is that there are several instances in the OVA that rely on the game. If you did not play the game, you will definitely not understand what is happening. When Ohgami becomes the commander, he goes around and helps each girl. He helps Sakura clean the stage when a mouse shows up, he helps Iris pick a dress, saves Sumire from drowning, etc. These events are mini games from the game! The first one is you have to manuever a broom around the stage and try to avoid mice to reach Sakura. Then you play a slot machine type game where you match the top, mid and bottom of Iris. There are other several instances that require knowledge of the game to understand. I was watching the DVD with my girlfriend who also watched me when I was playing the games. Therefore, she also understood what was going on. However, her sister did was clueless throughout the show. I had to explain to her what was going on. If you are lost and want to know more about the series, I suggest you to visit this site. This is the site that has the most complete information on everything about Sakura Wars. I was sligthly disappointed after watching the DVD. I think that the series was rushed and missed a lot of important points. I really hope they make a TV series as the OVAs just left me wanting more. However, I really enjoyed the OVAs and glad I made the purchase.
Toshiba TW40X81, Sony STR-DE925, B&W 601s Front, Sony Center Channel, Bose 301 Series III for Rears and RCA 5220P DVD player through S-Video.
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: All Region DVD
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 120
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sakura Wars / Sakura Taisen