Sakura Wars (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, October 26, 1999
I was a little hesitant to go out and buy Sakura Wars. After all, everyone else on the internet seemed to have dissed it completely. They claimed that the story was boring and the characters were undeveloped. Well, this is partially true, but I sure am glad I got this DVD because it was quite a lot of fun for the money.
The packaging was attractive, especially because it features the wonderful character design of the Ah! My Goddess animators. The menu was similarly well done. The only problem was my having to visit the menu and set up the subtitles every time a new episode started. That was slightly irritating.
The basic plot: In an alternate, steampunk 1919, 5 girls are assembled into Tokyo's "Flower Brigade" so they can battle demons. They are from all over the world and have a strong tendency to bicker among each other. When they are joined by the sixth, most powerful girl, Sakura, they bicker even more. As you might expect, not many demons get fought. Therefore, the director of operations decides the only solution is to focus the 6 girls' minds on something else: a suitably horny male.
These OAVs leave a lot of strings untied. As an adaptation of a console game, they are meant to be eye candy, and end up being largely that. The reason Sakura Wars feels a little disappointing is that the characters are generally well done (with the notable exception of 2 of them!), the steampunk is enjoyable, and frankly it's fairly humorous. Basically, we have a well done anime that doesn't finish what it started. It feels more like half (or a third) or a series rather than a full OAV series. But after having seen it, I realized that it could be quite good if we assume there will be a sequel (I think it is planned).
As a DVD, I think Sakura Wars is quite good for an anime collection. It's cheap, it's fun, and it's beautiful artwork. I'm not usually a big fan of shoujo, but anyone who is should definitely get this.
Pioneer DVD-103 slot-loading PC-DVD-ROM drive, RealMagic Hollywood Plus decoder, Asus V3800TNT with video-in, KDS 19" Visual Sensations flatscreen monitor, Soundblaster 64, Altec Lansing ASC490 3-piece PC multimedia speakers.
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