Mania Grade: B-
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: Central Park Media
- MSRP: 34.99
- Running time: 130
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Takegami: Guardian of Darkness
Takegami: Guardian of Darkness
By Chris Beveridge
January 19, 1999
Release Date: January 19, 1999
Takegami: Guardian of Darkness
What They Say
© Central Park Media
Deep within the earth, an ancient evil has awakened. According to legend, three dragons shall re-emerge from the earth to wreak havoc upon the land. Preying upon the weak-willed, the dragon spirits grow stronger as they devour the souls of their chosen hosts. Only the power of an ancient warrior-god can fulfill the prophecy and defeat the growing evil. But will his chosen host be convinced to fight?The Review!
The video, much like A Wind Named Amnesia, is extremely clean and clear, very impressive. The three episodes on the disc are presented with full opening and ending credits and just simply look gorgeous. The outfits on some of the priests look over saturated in some scenes, but this is more due to the original color choices of the cel painters. A black surrounding background, with a deep blue outfit with red bands would produce the same image, especially with the purplish color mixed in. Whether intended or not, it created quite a neat looking effect.
Presented in a keepcase, the cover artwork looks great. Much better than some of the earlier covers done, though one would think upon looking at the cover that it's about giant space robots, but reading the back cover will definitely clear that up. While I liked the Anime DVD brand on past DVD's, I do admit to liking them more without it now having seen some excellent cover artwork being used.
The menu experiences the same slowdowns we've been used to since the beginning, nothing new there. The graphics chosen for the menu is good, and the general layout and icons are showing a growing level of maturity and experience for the authoring company. While not on the high-end Warner level of menus, they're getting there and are certainly better than those old early Sony menus.
While doing a small amount of research about the product, I found that I could not find a subtitled version of this show on several online retailers. All that was available was the brick version of the three in a box for 50$ or the three individual tapes for 20$ each. But all were dubbed.
No subtitled version available except on DVD? Hmmm, I'm sure that would annoy some people, but it's going to happen again in two weeks when Tekken comes out. And I'll take whatever "exclusives" I can get on the format.
Speaking of such things, the DVD also contains a brief (3-4 minute) chat with the creator and his feelings about the show. It sounds like there was intended to be more than three episodes, and the chat seems to come just around when episode two was being made. Either that or it's based on a longer manga I'm not aware of, but it was interesting to hear a bit from the creator.
As for the show itself, it was pretty good. It's not earth shattering entertainment, but it's pretty solid. The first episode does the set up, introduces the characters, and moves forward pretty well. The second episode suffered from some poor pacing in my opinion, though things did pick up towards the end and well into the third episode.
Masami Ohbari does some outstanding work with the dragon designs for the show, insomuch that I think they are much better than what was seen in the Lodoss OVA's. The character designs in general were pretty standard fare with nothing truly amazing, but they weren't poor either.
There's really only one problem I have with this release. It's the complete and utter lack of the Japanese voice cast. While I know it's not important to others, it's something I always look for and see if I know anyone who did something. The English voice cast is listed in the credits, as it is the English dub video master, but it would have been nice to have put them on there somewhere. They're not even on the liner notes on the reverse of the cover. That gets a boo from me.
From a price perspective, this is definitely an easy purchase. 130 minutes for 34.95 list compared to 50-60 for VHS. All on one very nice looking disc to boot. An interesting albeit confusing at times storyline, mostly due to the extensive and deep histories of Japan and China that are touched upon, but very interesting. It's not a disc I hate having in my collection, but it's not a pinnacle either.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Meet the Creator
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.