Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: D
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 175
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Sorcerer Hunters
Sorcerer Hunters Vol. #1
By Chris Beveridge
February 27, 2001
Release Date: February 27, 2001
What They Say
The cold and cruel Sorcerers have ruled the people of the Spooner Continent for too long, and it's up to the Sorcerer Hunters to end their tyranny! Join Gateau Mocha, Marron Glace, Chocolate, Tira Misu and Carrot Glace as they brandish swords, wield whips, wear scanty costumes and put up a sadomasochistic fight for freedom!The Review!
Sorcerer Hunters is another in the line of "bang for your buck" releases from ADV that are slowly increasing. The first of four volumes, it contains seven episodes on a dual layered disc. For fans of the show this is indeed a good value, considering the first half dozen VHS tapes of it was released with only two episodes per tape. And for people unfamiliar with the show, it's definitely something that will hook you in.Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to this disc in its original language, Japanese. Being a late night TV series from a few years ago, it's unsurprising that the soundtrack isn't more than a simple stereo mix. The majority of the shows dialogue is center channel based with a few left/right bits scattered here and there. Music and effects make the most use of the stereo channels, but overall it sounds good. Dialogue is clean and distortion free.Video:
From an encoding standpoint, this is a very good looking disc. Where the problem lays is in the source material. Going by the first episode alone, you have a very good looking clean opening sequence. Once the episode content itself starts though, there's a lot of grain. The grain does tone down in later episodes, but it's still fairly persistent throughout. Many people tend to not notice the grain, so it's affect on your viewing may vary greatly from mine. It didn't bother me immensely, but when my wife notices it right off the bat, it's got to be noticeable to a lot of people.
Otherwise, this is a very good looking disc. Colors are solid with no noticeable bleeding, very few jaggies throughout and line noise was minimal. Even our hated rainbows were practically non-existent.Packaging:
For most people, the main reason for a low scoring packaging grade is due to the front cover, which uses the original (super sized!) logo from the show and two smaller pictures of two of the female cast. Due to the high number of complaints about it, second pressings will feature a different cover and volume two may include a mail-in for those who got this one to get the new one. Barring the front cover, this is a pretty good looking package. The back has some nice moody pictures of the show and a good rundown of it. The insert (which can double as a temporary front cover for those who just can't handle the current one) has some nice character artwork on one side and the chapter listings on the second. The disc itself is also silkscreened with this image and looks great.Menus:
Much like the packaging, there's plenty of things done well here, but one thing just makes me cringe and boggle. While the main menu and most of the other sections work perfectly fine and look and sound good, the episode selection menu makes me want to pull my hair out. I fully admit to not keeping the DVD case by my side when watching things, or looking at the insert. But trying to select an episode shouldn't be a challenge. We watched the first episode the night prior to moving and picked up again after we finished moving. So we went to select episode 2, but there's no episode numbers of straight logic to the layout of the section. It was simply luck that we got the right one, and then just paid attention to the next episode preview titles when we finished for the night. Extras:
The two extras included is the original trailer for the show as well as the character bios. Having been burned in the past with character bios, we tend to not read them until the series is over.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sorcerer Hunters revolves around a group of folks whose purpose is to... hunt sorcerers! Get it?
The series takes place around fifteen years after some conflict that occurred that changed various things in how the world is run. One of those whose hand was apparently sizeable in orchestrating these changes, Big Momma, has been doing her best to set things straight by using a group of secret warriors named the Sorcerer Hunters. She and her assistants identify various sorcerers who are abusing their power and send the Hunters off to deal with it.
The Hunters are a pretty varied group, all with cute names. Carrot is the lead male who seems like an older slightly more mature version of Ataru from Urusei Yatsura. He's good looking, wants to date every woman he can find and has two great looking women who are in love with him. The first woman is Chocolate, who is quite upfront about her love for her Darling. She also has quite the outfit when she changes into her Hunter mode and uses her wires. The other is Tira, who in her normal outfit is quite demure and hidden by her flowing cloak and her large glasses which don't allow you to see her eyes. When she changes into Hunter mode, she has an even more daring looking outfit (and cleavage revealing) and an almost completely different personality. Her love for Carrot is less pronounced but appears to be more serious.
Early on, the other two members are more bit players than anything else, with Carrots magic using brother Marron and the obligatory strong man Gateau. They do get some good lines throughout, but they're not the primary focus of the early episodes.
About half of the first seven episodes focus on various hunter jobs, with the group going after sorcerers abusing their powers or tapping into forbidden magic. The others, while maybe considered filler, are actually pretty decent character building episodes where you learn more about them. There's one episode where Carrot meets a girl by a lake, named Lake, who lives her entire life in just a day. The episode is very reminiscent of one of the best Star Trek: Next Generation episodes and provided a good look into the personality of Carrot.
My only real complaint with the show is in the "throw you into things" tact taken in the first episode, where most of the characters don't get introduced by name until the end if at all. The first episode almost made us wonder if we started with the wrong one. Other than that, it's a pretty enjoyable show and it's always fun to see an Ataru-like character in other settings trying to get away with things.
The animation is pretty good with nice character designs and good backgrounds. There's nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary here, just some good clean fun and adventure fantasy-styled anime. Hints of a bigger plot are sprinkled throughout though, to keep the attention of those looking for something a bit deeper.
Sorcerer Hunters is a good bargain no matter how you slice it, and one of those kinds of discs that makes even the casual purchaser inclined to pick it up. If you're in need of a pseudo-fantasy fix, this'll patch you right up.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original Trailer,Character Bios
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.