Legend of Himiko Vol. #2 - 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: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Legend of Himiko

Legend of Himiko Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     September 15, 2002
Release Date: September 10, 2002


Legend of Himiko Vol. #2
© Central Park Media


What They Say
Produced by Ouji Hiroi (creator of Sakura Wars and Virgin Fleet)!

War ignites among enemy camps, and both sides desperately seek Himiko, an Earth girl with the power to save, or destroy them all. But even as a fugitive, Himiko has found allies, fierce warriors of great magic and swordfighting skill. She’ll need all the help she can get to survive this alien world, and discover her true power!

The Review!


Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. A fairly recent show, it sports a decent sounding stereo mix that deals with the minimal forward directionality nicely. Dialogue is clean and clear and there were no noticeable dropouts or distortions. I did play around briefly with the English 5.1 mix, but didn’t notice much in the way of differences in the areas I hit.

Video:
The budget feel of Himiko continues with this release in how the animation looks and the source material itself. The transfer for the show is decent. The main area where things fail in the transfer is during a number of the night blue sky sequences, where things are just very grainy looking. Other colors during these sequences also tend to suffer, such as lights and reds. Where the transfer doesn’t fail but the source material does is in the very inconsistent coloring, such as faces that go from normal to red and back. The animation also tends to be rather inconsistent in quality.

Packaging:
The front cover features a nice shot of Tadami and Koran in the foreground and in full color while a variety of headshots are blended into the background. The back cover has a brief summary of what to expect and a nice clear listing of the discs features and technical information. There’s some more artwork throughout here as well. Since this is in a clear keepcase, the reverse side has some nice black and white character artwork displayed as well as the main credits for the production team and the voice credits for both languages.

Menu:
The menu for this release is pretty nice, with some animation playing through the center opening with green flame like imagery playing around it. Selections are quick to access and moving around is pretty easy. My only dislike is the lack of episode numbering in the chapter selection area.

Extras:
There’s a good selection of extras for this volume. The art gallery provides animation shots from the episodes on this disc set to the opening music. The meet the cast section is pretty much what you expect with Tadami and Koran getting the nod this time, each with a brief blurb and then a little video of them. The music video is the end song played against video footage of the Japanese cast going and performing their parts intermixed with the singer around town. It’s an amusing little piece, though it’s fun to pick out who you know. There’s also a brief selection of English dub outtakes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a mixed first volume, with some things we liked and a lot of things that just felt far too predictable and mishmashed, these episodes manage to move beyond a good portion of what I thought didn’t work before, mostly because we’re past all the character introductions and adjusting to the settings of this new world that Himiko and Kutani find themselves in.

There’s a few layers of things going on, but the main feel is that we’re in a world where the war that’s lasted several years is coming to a head and a final decision to fight is going to come soon. That will either lead to the destruction of the bad guys or pave the way for them to completely rule everything. The arrival of Himiko and Kutani is starting to be seen by the freedom fighters as a sign that their time is getting close to strike. With Kutani living with the good guys, he’s itching to go rescue Himiko. While she’s not too sure of what’s going on, living with the enemy hasn’t been all that bad. But once they learn that the higher ups are coming to take Himiko back with them, Kutani convinces everyone that they must free her. This sets the stage for the big battle.

The Kune upper command is in an interesting state of affairs now as well. While in Yamatai, you have the candidate goddesses spread about and working towards the larger goal, the various powers that make up the top tier of Kune under the Emperor is hard at work sabotaging itself. A lot of this is done by one particular general whose quite good at manipulating those around him. Through some careful political playing, he manages to set the other powers against each other while he comes out on top in the Emperor’s eyes. And through this, he manages to get the traitor Fujina to be brought into the biggest place of power. There’s plenty of squabbling going on among those who are supposedly in charge, so it’s little surprise that the entire structure could collapse easily.

To balance out the politics and action, there’s two subplots that work well in providing both more information and some welcome comedy. The subplot following Tadami and Koran continues to be amusing as they search out the ultimate weapon with which to win the war. Their encounters with pirates was definitely laughter inducing as well as their subsequent acquisition of a flying craft. The other piece balancing things out is time spent talking of the past, of what happened after the baby disappeared in the green light during the Kune attack. We see the scattering of the candidates and of the plans they put forward to bring Yamatai back to power.

The story flowed better throughout these four episodes compared to the first volume, but mostly for reasons mentioned earlier such as not having to introduce everything. This let the characters move forward without having to do a whole lot of explaining, but when it’s done, it’s actually useful information in service of the existing story. The show itself doesn’t look all that much better than the first one, so there’s some bad looking characters in a number of places and an overall uninspired look to the world. The opening song continues to be one of the main attractions of this show.

With only a few episodes left, the story is definitely going to be fairly easy to tie up, with at least the main issues. There’ve been interesting bits, several in these episodes, but Himiko still seems better as a rental than a purchase.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Music Video,English Outtakes,Meet the Cast

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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