Legend of Crystania Movie (Essential Anime) - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 85
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Legend of Crystania

Legend of Crystania Movie (Essential Anime)

By Luis Cruz     May 09, 2004
Release Date: April 13, 2004

Legend of Crystania Movie (Essential Anime)
© ADV Films

What They Say
From the golden pen of Ryo Mizuno comes an all-new adventure set in the aftermath of the Lodoss Wars! Ashram, desperate to find a home for his people, is tricked into selling his soul. Three hundred years later, Pirotesse's devotion to her king remains unshaken.

In the sacred world of Crystania, amidst a civil war waged by shape-changing warriors, she searches for her beloved Ashram. She meets Redon, a young prince obsessed with avenging his murdered parents. Together, they confront Ashram's captor - the bloodthirsty Barbas, who aspires to rule Crystania as "The Gods' King."

The Review!
Repackaged under the "Essential Anime Collection" label, Legend of Crystania proves to be a decent entry in the fantasy genre but provides little reason to consider it an essential title.

My primary viewing session consisted of listening to the original Japanese audio track. Most of the track comes through the center channel, as the movie is dialogue driven. There are some token stereo effects during the action, and there were no noticeable problems or defects. As a whole, the audio track proved to be very listless, doing little to enhance the mood of the film.

However, the remastered 5.1 English audio track proved to be a marginally richer experience. While most of the action still comes from the front soundstage, the soundtrack contained more ambient effects to help liven things up. Add in a great job by the English voice actors, and you have a rare case where I enjoyed the English audio track more than the original.

ADV provides a solid transfer that appears to be defect free. Most of the film takes place at night or in otherwise dark settings; the colors are rich and deep allowing a lot of detail to come through. Lighter scenes look equally well and provide nice flesh tones and greens. Produced in 1995, the animation style and character designs feel more like a 1980s era production. Everything has a bit of a flat feeling to it and does not resemble any titles I can recall from that same time period.

Our group of heroes is gathered on the front cover though they are clad in clothes that they do not wear in the film. A purple "Essential Collection" banner is across the top of the front cover while a "Digitally Remastered in 5.1" banner is across the bottom. The back cover contains the requisite synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications. Inside is a one-page insert containing the front cover art on one side and a list of other ADV titles on the other side.

Simple and effective, the main menu features a static image of the priestess Aderishia while the theme music loops in the background. There are no delays transitioning between menus.

The main extra on the disc is a collection of character bios; they provide a decent introduction to the cast without spoiling the film too much. The other extra is a brief trailer for the film itself.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Redon is a young prince in a land that is surrounded by a mysterious "God's Wall". In typical fantasy genre fashion, his parents are brutally slaughtered by the resident power-hungry lord; with his back literally against the "God's Wall", he wishes he had the power to avenge his parent's deaths. To his and his companion?s surprise, a god answers and invites him beyond the wall into the land of Crystania to claim that power.

Once there, Redon and his companions find themselves in the middle of a war; the land of Crystania was created by a number of beast gods that divided the land and imbued their followers with the ability to change into an animal. One god named Barbas lured a mortal man into the realm and claimed his body; this allowed him to become the most powerful god of the realm. The inhabitants of the realm are now banding together in a last attempt to end Barbas' cruel reign.

Events rush along to the inevitable showdown with Barbas and the moment when Redon must choose between the lure of Barbas' power or finding true strength within himself. While it features some great visuals, the film does little to draw you into the plot or connect you to the characters. The primary reason is the length of the film; running just over an hour and a quarter, the viewer is rushed through the introduction of the characters and the setup of the plot.

The overall story could have been tightened up if the writers chose to eliminate some of the incidental characters and plot devices. Most of them added little to the plot and served only to annoy, as they were dropped without a suitable explanation or conclusion. Most of the cast are the typical fantasy genre stereotypes and are as flat as the cels they were painted upon. The only character worth watching is the cute and spunky girl Laifan.

The film does move at a good pace though; it never feels as if things are being dragged out. However, it fails to rise above a mediocre fantasy plot and provides only a modicum of entertainment. Perhaps if given more time or a few less characters, Crystania would have been a better entry in the genre, but it only ends up as a watchable title but hardly an essential one.

In Summary:
Crystania suffers a problem common to many anime films; it is simply too short. With barely over an hour to tell the story, we are rushed through character and plot device introductions. A parade of characters and plot points come and go but never really have a chance to make an impression on the viewer. While not a horrid title, it is not one I could recommend as an essential part of one's collection.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Spanish Subtitles,Character Bios

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable


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