Legend of Himiko Vol. #3 - Mania.com

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  • 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: 29.99
  • 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     November 15, 2002
Release Date: November 12, 2002

Legend of Himiko Vol. #3
© Central Park Media

What They Say
An evil king conquers the land by transforming innocent people into monsters. Earth girl Himiko must use her newfound skills in magic to defeat this army of darkness.

The Review!
Himiko comes to a close and manages to play out much like you’d expect the game to play out. While it’s well done, there feels like there’s things that just didn’t get dealt with fully.

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.

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.

The cover sports the two remaining women to not get a cover shot set against a diluted image of the other cast members. The two chosen work well for their outfit colorings against the darker background, never mind the amount of nice skin showing. 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.

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.

There’s a good bunch of extras with this final volume. There’s a good three minute video gallery of artwork from the show, with some of it being captures from the show itself and some looking like they’re cel scans. The Meet the Cast section returns again, this time covering the two cover girls of Shino and Fujina. The Japanese ads section runs about four minutes and provides a few ways that show was advertised, but unfortunately doesn’t translate any of the text pieces, so it loses some of its power there. The most interesting extra from a DVD perspective is the interactive behind the scenes segment that features the DVD producer, Ross Lefko, taking you through it like a “Choose your own adventure” piece. At various points, you get a choice of things to do in regards to the questions asked. Choose poorly, and the game is “over” and you get comments like “I’ve seen you kick babies!” told to poor Ross. There’s at least a chance to continue and choose a different answer, but you just want to see all the filmed reactions.

This is a great fun extra. I love it.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
At times, I think I had more fun with that extra than I did the show itself. I’m pretty sure I had more fun watching the openings and ending sequences for each episode than the episodes themselves. Mostly because these final episodes do play out like final episodes, with all the clichés one would expect at this point of a show based off of a Playstation game.

After all the changes in the previous volume, the King has decided that he’s simply had enough of the Yatanai and their realm. With the treasures of the land on board his floating rock, he’s given orders to destroy the entire area and to kill all the people. Shikara realizes this is his key to take things into his own hands and uses the discontent of the Four Great Ones to his advantage. They’re upset at the idea of general wholesale slaughter, even if the people are only swearing fealty to Kune on the surface and don’t really mean it. But being the servants they are, and having seen a demigod lose his palace and privileges, they’re treading carefully in some regards.

The early thrust of the adventures here deals with the plans by the candidate queens to get their raised army into position to finally end the war. The last thing they need though is to free Fujina from the floating fortress, now that her true choice of sides has been revealed and they know that Shikara is going to kill her. This sets into a motion a rather fun piece of the classic breakout. Most of the leads end up going in to help free her, with Kutani insisting he comes along. There’s not a rift growing between him and the candidates, but they’re feeling is that while he has helped immensely, it is their own war and they must do more of what is required.

Kutani’s mindset is still one of doing what needs to be done so he can protect Himiko and to return home with her. So when Himiko ends up getting captured by Shikara’s folks and is intended for sacrifice in the black arts holy alter under the Yatanai palace, he’s all set to just do it himself. But rather than have that happen and then the war, the candidates all decide that it’s time to do both and to end things once and for all, setting into motion the multi-episode battle sequences and engagements that top off things nicely, if predictably.

In the end, the final battle made little lasting impact on me, so much so that I not only forgot the how of the resolution, but the entire last episode by the next day. In some ways, that sums up my overall feeling of the series itself. It was fairly fun to watch as it played out in front of me, but in the end it’s not one that’s going to be all that memorable. It’s one of the few shows that I think doesn’t deserve such a great opening sequence or opening song. That tended to be my favorite moment of each episode, watching the beautiful animation play along with the great song.

I’m probably in the minority, but Himiko left little in my to recommend beyond it being a decent serviceable short TV series. Those who’ve played the game may get more out of it, and this one fares much better than most game to anime translations, but for me it didn’t do all that much. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. Meh.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,English Language Behind-the-Scenes Video,Japanese ads

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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