Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: All
- Region: 3 - Southeast Asia
- Released By: Bandai Visual
- MSRP: 40
- Running time: 113
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Sakura Wars / Sakura Taisen
What They SayThe Review!
© Bandai Visual
The world is being attacked by demons known as the Koumas (which look like the aliens from, well, Aliens), and Iiki Yoneda of the Teigouku-kagekidan (Imperial Floral Assault Unit), begins to seek out people with psychic powers to do battle against them. His secretary, Ayame Fujieda assembles a team of girls from throughout the world, and Kanzaki Heavy Industries creates special steam powered mecha known as Oubus for the new psychic warriors. The main character in this show is Sakura Shinguuji, and it is for her that the show is named.
Sakura Wars is based on the successful videogame of the same name released for the Sega Saturn in Japan. I haven't played it, so I don't know much about it, although I do have a laserdisc containing all of the anime cutscenes used in the game. Considering the fact that the game contained animation itself, it doesn't seem much of a stretch to go all the way.
Going into this with the knowledge that this was based on a videogame (not usually a strong point for anime) I wasn't sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised -- the show is fantastic, with decent animation and), cute girls and a unique world. Character designs are by the great Fujishima Kousuke (Ah! My Goddess & You're Under Arrest). Unlike Kishin Corps, which uses mecha of World War II vintage, this show uses turn of the century technology to create their mecha. It winds up being very fun to watch, with lots of humor mixed in as well. The video quality on the disc is awesome, razor sharp throughout with no sign of degradation. Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and it's very clear. All four episodes of the series are collected on one DVD, making it quite a nice package.
The keepcase is beautiful, with the fantastic cover art pictured here. Liner notes are included inside on a separate full color foldout; a complete visual character guide with names printed in English.
The DVD menu is very pretty, with no unnecessary multimedia and filled with great artwork. You can easily select individual OVAs for viewing. Subtitles in Chinese are available (turned on by default, a slight inconvenience) and to boot, the disc isn't region encoded.
This DVD was manufactured and distributed in Singapore, and it looks like it might actually be a licensed title. The back of the disc contains extensive copyright information and applicable warnings, and gives the address of the distributor in Singapore (my Hong Kong gray market titles don't have any of this whatsoever). If this is indeed a gray market title, I'm amazed that they delivered such a quality product -- the video doesn't look like it was merely captured from a laser disc and pressed to DVD -- it's much too sharp.
Finding this disc may be a bit of a problem though. A friend of mine sent this to me as part of a trade direct from Singapore, so I'm not sure whether an international buyer can find this one. Perhaps some of the distributors and mail order houses that deal with Hong Kong imports will be able to order it. Price wise I believe it cost around $40 US.
With the announcement by AD Vision that they will be releasing Sakura Wars in the US, I'm sure many are wondering if this is one title that will make it to DVD domestically. Bandai Japan has also announced plans to release a Region 2 version of this disc December 18th for 9,800 yen, but this region free contender might be more attractive.
Japanese Language,Chinese Subtitles,Color liner note insert