Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: C
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 135
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Legend of Crystania
Legend of Crystania: The Chaos Ring
By Chris Beveridge
February 20, 2002
Release Date: March 19, 2002
Legend of Crystania: The Chaos Ring
What They Say
© ADV Films
The land of Crystania has been at peace for some time. But like a shallow sleep, tranquility is shattered by nightmares born of the deepest, blackest night. The seals that protect Crystania are coming undone, and the Bell of Wakening tolls on terror after terror being unleashed upon the land and its people.
Tornados, basilisks and Dragon Lords roam, heralding the return of King Barbas. With every second the land is scarred more deeply. Village after village is destroyed, and the gods of Crystania are next. Only King Ashram, trapped in the World of Chaos, provides a glimmer of hope. But will Redon's innocence and Priotesse's love be enough to provide him with a portal home?The Review!
Legend of Crystania: The Chaos Ring OVA series is a follow-up three part series to the movie that had been previously released. The two are very interlocked, which may turn into a stumbling block for many people.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. For the majority of these OVA's, there's little in the way of directionality across the forward soundstage, with most of the audio being center channel based and just filling up the area. It's not terribly dynamic, but the show doesn't really make much demands in the audio. We listened to both tracks and had no issues with dropouts or other distortions.Video:
Keeping the style of the show separate, this is a good looking transfer whose only real problem is some line shimmering during camera panning sequences, where a lot of the black lines along some characters clothing and various background items tend to jump up and down. Colors are nice and solid, though the show lacks a real vibrancy to it, instead keeping itself more in the darker more muddled colors. Cross coloration is practically non-existent, which goes a long way in making this a pleasure to watch.Packaging:
The cover here is quite attractive looking with a gorgeous shade of blue that brings attention to Pirotesse in the center holding onto the sword of Ashram with tears streaming down her cheeks while other characters are done up in black line art in the background. It's definitely an eye-catching piece of work. The back cover provides a few various animation shots and menu shots with a summary of what the show is about. The discs features are all clearly listed as well as production credits and other technical information. The insert provides another shot of the cover on one side while the other lists the episodes and their respective chapter stops.Menus:
The menus here are simple but very nicely done. The entire screen is basically a piece of animation playing from the intro or the opening sequence with some simple selections listed across the bottom. Each menu features the animation and different pieces of music and moving around them is nice and fast. While not the flashiest in the world, they're very nicely done and fit the show well.Extras:
The extras are really minimal here, with only a trailer for the original movie and the opening for this show presented here. I would have really liked to have seen some text pages to bring people up to speed on things.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Taking place some time after the movie, the land known as Crystania faces itself a new challenge. With foreigners in the land having unsealed things previously, the Tribe of the Seal are hunting down Redon and his compatriots while others of his group from the battle against Barbas are off doing their own thing. Obier is repaying some debts, Sheru aka Pirotesse is hiding in a religious shrine and the Animal Fang group are trying to understand the damage done by these people.
Part of the focus is with the Animal Gods and their arguements over how the Cycle is coming to an end due to the interference and Barbas is doing his best to reawaken and become the king of gods. His manipulations are showing up throughout the land, which spurs a "sage old woman" to send Redon and his friends off to the Caves of the Sealed to rescue their friend, Lady Aderishia. They learn that to free her from the crystal seal that she's been placed in, they need to ring the Bell of the Seal, which is on the Black Island. The Bell is something that only those not of Crystania can ring, which proves to be a flaw in the Animal Gods creation of this land.
All of this plays out without really telling you who the characters are and their pasts or motiviations unless you have a very good memory or had just seen the movie. This is the one real failing in this series is that you have to go in with a lot of knowledge to know who is who. I can see a number of people seeing Redon and calling him Parn until they realize that's not his name.
That's not to say that the show isn't enjoyable. AFter getting reacquainted with the characters and the story picking up hard in the second episode as Crystania gets plunged into destruction, I found myself enjoying the way everything was playing out, even though it's fairly predictable. When Barbas is reawakened, as you know th big bad guy will be, he's immediately challeneged by a massive god-killing dragon that was also previously sealed. They play this out on a large scale of "godlike" proportions with the two looming over the entire island.
In regards to the art style, I still find myself liking it much like I did in the original movie, with its similarities to Mike Mignola's moody stylied artwork. The non-typical look of the dragons and the general unattractiveness of all of the characters gives the show a bit more of a gritty feel and keeps you from rooting for a particular character because they're pretty.
Though it took a few years between the release of the movie and the OVA's, I'm glad they're finally out and I've got the show in its entirety. And it's a definite value over the VHS, which had each of the episodes released separately.
Crystania's not for everyone, but it's a title that I found myself to enjoy quite a bit.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original Japanese Opening,Trailer for Legend of Crystania: The Motion Picture
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.