Eden's Bowy Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Eden's Bowy

Eden's Bowy Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     June 02, 2003
Release Date: June 03, 2003


Eden's Bowy Vol. #1
© ADV Films


What They Say
Yorn gazes up at two massive cities-"Edens"-floating in the sky and dreams of discovering their mysteries. Without warning, those mysteries come looking for him! Edenic assassins murder his father and Yorn is next on the hit list. Only a nameless old man and a mysterious young girl can help Yorn on his quest to find his long lost mother-and the truth. But killers are hot on their trail! Follow Yorn and his companions as they race to save the world from the dark designs of the technological overlords who watch from the sky. Can Yorn find his royal mother before the murderers do? Who is the strange girl who stays by his side and why won't she say anything? And why does everyone keeping calling him the God Hunter?


The Review!
What a strange yet intriguing series, though one that moves rather slowly for this first batch of episodes.

Audio:
Since this series features one of my favorite male actors, we had no choice but to listen to this show in its original language of Japanese. Done up in a simple but effective stereo mix, Eden’s Bowy provides a nice bit of range across the forward soundstage with a few good moments of directionality, but otherwise a solid stereo mix. Dialogue was nice and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions. We did spot check the English track, listening to a couple of episodes and felt really uneasy about some of it. The character of Yorn and some of the others sound very strange, and it’s hard to tell if it’s intentional to give them some sort of accent, since to me it sounds like they’re in a recording booth with a light echo to it. This doesn’t affect everyone, which is why I’m unsure if it’s intentional.

Video:
Originally released in 1999, Eden’s Bowy is a nice looking production that avoids much in the way of detail and goes for a simple look. The transfer looks good, though somewhat soft in a number of areas, causing some of it to look grainy. There’s some CG throughout it, and these areas tend to stand out not only because they’re CG, but because there’s a bit of cross coloration showing up in a lot of it. Aliasing is fairly minimal, but does show up in a few areas.

Packaging:
The front cover is a mixed piece, as I like parts of it but can’t put my finger quite on why it doesn’t appeal to me overall. With the logo going sideways down the right side, the cover wraps all the way all the way around with a faded background image of a map of the world. The front cover has the lead character and one of the more mysterious ones, while the remainder of the back cover has little animation bubbles scattered about as well as some super deformed character art. There’s a good summary of the shows premise and a decent listing of the discs technical specs, which are done sideways as well. The insert has a nice foldout mini poster of the very quiet girl who shows up in these episodes as well as some more cute super deformed artwork. The reverse side has some information on various characters in the show, though I’ll be damned if I remember them actually speaking their names in these episodes.

Menu:
The menus here are nicely done in an amusing way, as the main image is of two of the women in small super deformed form in a public bath, with the image of Fuji behind them to the end music playing. The episodes are all listed for quick access while everything else is nicely tucked away and easy to get to. Access times are nice and fast and the menus load quickly with no transitional animations.

Extras:
The extras here are a bit on the short side, with only the opening and closing segments provided in their textless form as well as what looks like an original Japanese trailer for the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Eden’s Bowy, a series I had been reading about but not in detail for quite a few years now, has finally arrived and I’m able to at last take a look at it. The few bits of animation and artwork I had seen provided the interesting image of the floating cities above the world, reminiscent of other classic shows that deal with the haves and have nots.

The series opens by talking about the way of the world, in that there was once a single God, and given to that god was the ability to work with human destinies. Over time, said God became much too particular in what He was doing, and disliked having people do things they shouldn’t be doing. Over time, it became so problematic that something new was born into the world, that of the God Hunter. Using a specially crafted sword, the God Hunter eliminated God.

This resulted in multiple gods now existing in the world, but all of them fearing the return of the God Hunter. Above the world floats two cities, each of them vastly powerful and quite advanced, as from a distance they look like a modern day city floating by with all their lights. Within these cities, life is very different from the rest of the world, as nobody is truly wanting and things are good. On the ground itself though, people work hard for what they need and little exists in the way of the “good life” outside of what little you can make for yourself.

This is obviously a time of change, and several events start working their way into the series quickly here. One of the key events is the kidnapping of the Princess of Foresight from one of the floating cities, taken by one of the cities protectors and hidden away from those who would search for her. It turns out that he’s helping her by request, as she is searching for the son she’s never known. The other key event that happens is the tracking of a brilliant light that has appeared on the planet, and has great portents of the beginning of the God Hunter saga occurring again.

The lead character in this series is a young man named Yorn, a hard working lad of the fields who does all his father asks and lives his life right. His only dream, like many people, is to ascend to one of the floating cities someday to see what it’s like and to enjoy the lifestyle open to people there. His father tends to say little about this, but they’re a happy family and have a fairly good farming property going on. All of this changes though when forces from the floating city arrive to eliminate Yorn as he’s believed to be the upcoming God Hunter.

Yorn’s battle with them, using a sword he’s made himself, goes poorly. He’s nearly about to die when a mysterious non-talking girl shows up and heals his broken sword and transforms it into something more powerful. A great deal of energy comes from this and causes concerns back at the city, forcing a retreat by their forces until they can figure things out. This is when the old man arrives and informs Yorn about his mother and that he can take him to her, which starts off Yorn’s journey to discover who he really is and what’s going on in the world.

With the five episodes here, the story moves at a rather slow pace to bring the various elements together. This works both for and against the show, since it allows you to get to know the characters well, for the main ones at least. It works against the show in that since there’s so many other characters, things get bogged down pretty fast. One of the things that really hurts it, at least from my perception, is that so many of the characters come and go without even being named that you just start saying peoples names by the clothes they’re wearing.

The concept itself seems intriguing, with the past history of a single god that was slain and the formation of multiple gods and the prophecy of a return of the Hunter. The show manages to nicely mix the seriousness of such a setting with humor, mostly in the form of Yorn and some of the supporting cast. Yorn, played by Kappei Yamaguchi in the Japanese track, is definitely well cast here as he seems to be playing a nice variant of Ataru from Urusei Yatsura, with his focus being on the cities as opposed to women. The character of Yorn is definitely one of a bright hopeful youth, but also one that expresses himself in a series of wildtakes that are perfect, and often cause others to have similar reactions to his.

One of the other aspects that is intriguing but makes it hard to get into the show this early on is the young woman Yorn keeps coming across, the cat-like Elisiss. She’s cat-like due to the ribbons in her hair, but also due to the way she just keeps watching everything and not saying a word. She shows up frequently before things really start off, giving hint of being a key player to everything. But having her say nothing at all only adds to the frustration, since you don’t even get her name. The other woman in the show, the much taller and attractive Sieda, shows up when Elsiss isn’t around and has the same markings on her forehead as Elsiss, though a different color. The relationship between her and Elsiss is fairly obvious but not handled all that well by these episodes as her arrival and disappearance just feel clumsy.

After we watched the disc, we definitely wanted to see more since there’s so many questions being asked early on, as well as having a very intriguing setting and premise. The downside is that for the most part, the cast just isn’t terribly interesting yet, with more than half of them unnamed and the other half not really saying all that much for the most part. There feels like there’s some real potential here, but the opening volume only gives the promise of it and doesn’t quite deliver a real grabber right from the start.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,Original Eden's Bowy trailer

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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