Sorcerer on the Rocks -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Sorcerer On The Rocks

Sorcerer on the Rocks

By Chris Beveridge     January 22, 2002
Release Date: January 22, 2002

Sorcerer on the Rocks
© ADV Films

What They Say
It's Shibas' job to rid his kingdom of powerful sorcerers and demonic monsters - for a price of course! In short, Shibas is a bounty hunter – a very well paid bounty hunter! Although he may be debauched, debased and a real bastard at times, his services don’t come cheap. He’s that good!

So good, that when a local nasty needs a powerful sorcerer to serve as a sacrifice, the "honor" goes to Shibas. It's just his bad luck that Shibas has no intention of cooperating...

The Review!
Sorcerer on the Rocks, originally titled Chivas 1-2-3 but changed for legal reasons, is a two episode OVA series that takes place on the Spooner Continent, much as Sorcerer Hunters did. Thankfully, this group of characters is actually fun to watch. The TV series would have been much better with this crowd, but I guess what they're doing wouldn't go over as well on TV.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Though released in 1999, this is a pretty basic stereo soundtrack. The show doesn't have a lot of aural overlapping moments, so dialogue is nice and clear and mostly center channel based while the music does a nice job of filling up the forward soundstage. The sound effects from the battles and whatnot comes across well though there's little in the way of directionality there either.

Being so recent, the materials for this show are great looking. While a number of areas in the show take place in darkened skies with reddish brown backgrounds, the colors in general look quite vibrant, especially character animation. Some of those sky scenes look a touch hazy but no noticeable macroblocking. Cross coloration looks to be very minimal to almost non-existent as well. After the Sorcerer Hunters TV discs with all the grain, I wasn't sure what to expect here, but I'm very happy with how this looks.

Though the show is a mixture of comedy and action, the cover used focuses on the darker and almost meaner side of things with one truly gorgeous piece of artwork. While there's a ton of cheesecake in the show, none of it shows here as even the female lead is shown with the nasty look. The style here is just great and one I'm tempted to say I'd love as a poster or wallscroll. The back cover provides a couple of small animation shots and a more fanservice oriented picture of the woman on the front. The summary goes a bit into the history of the world and the setup of the story. The insert on the top side presents even more fanservice images while the back shows even more fanservice along with chapter stop information.

The menu is setup with the same type of border as on the cover with the logo in the center. While there's music playing, there's no animation to go along with it making it a fairly static if nice looking menu. Episode selection is right off of the top level with everything else quick and easy to get to.

It looks like no real extra material was available, but they've cobbled up a little "hunt" game where you go through three options for a couple of levels in trying to hunt for the beast. Go in the wrong way and you get a nice piece of color artwork telling you that you chose wrong and you start from the beginning. A creative way to be sure of showing off some character art and having fun at the same time.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I figure I'll catch flack for my enjoyment of this show over the TV series. But I can't help it. While that generated a couple of chuckles in each episode, this one had me laughing through a lot of it and genuinely interested in what was going on. After all, any show where the lead character is just a bastard to those on his team is one that will generally get some extra attention. It's just rarely done and rarely done so well.

This team of sorcerer hunters is an interesting one. It's lead by Shibas Scotch, a purplish-white haired hunter whose got a heart of gold. Gold in that it's the money he's thinking about. He's accompanied by Gin Fizz, a Sister in the order of the Gold Cross. She's in an outfit that's almost nurse-like in nature, but she's the one that will play up the innocence factor. She's traveling with Shibas to help cleanse his soul and make him good. Shibas insists she calls him master however, which would seem appropriate since he has a chain on her. He also tends to call her a *beep*. Yes, a *beep*. Their banter is hilarious and Monica Rial really nailed this role perfectly.

The group is almost made up with Kiss the werewolf, a younger girl with green hair who, you guessed it, is a werewolf. She's got the perky bouncy energy of youth and optimism to bring to the team and doesn't seem to be controlled by Shibas. The last member of the team is Genmi. Genmi fills the role of the redheaded warrior whose madly in love with Shibas, making sure our yaoi factor is covered. Once we're introduced to everyone, we also get an introduction to....

Million Dollar! This blue haired business lass is after Shibas for money that he owes her. To help, she's found him a new job in a town nearby that'll pay 70,000 gold. So with evil in his heart (get the money, kill the wench), the group heads off to the town to see what they can do. The town is quite interesting in that it's filled with just nasty people. Bad people. The towns aura is so bad that Fizz's stomach can't handle it, which is part of being a Sister of the Gold Cross.

With Million Dollar making sure that they're headed off to talk to the guy posting the reward, she heads off on other business. Shibas and crew end up in the mansion of Cuttlefish, a rather classic style sorcerer for this town. Shibas takes advantage of this and demands 10 times the payment to fight the monster that he wants killed. Eventually Cuttlefish gives in and Shibas heads off with half up front.

Only to lose it all in the casinos. So plan B is to make some extra money for hotel rooms. Plan B? Why, that's Fizz and Kiss doing table dancing! Oh yeah...

There's some twists and turns in the show with whose after who and the action is pretty nicely done. There's an amusing scene early on when Shibas faces the Roki monster and ends up cutting its arm off. The next day we see "Roki Teriyaki" specials all over the town as the people have cut up the arm for food. There's a really amusing secret between Shibas and Fizz that makes the second episode hilarious and gives rise to a number of great situations.

This show really succeeds on all counts. Great story, great animation, lots of laughs, concise storytelling and characters with style. And I'll even say that I really enjoyed the entire dub cast here. Performances on both tracks are fantastic and made this show something really enjoyable to watch. It's a short and quick show with only two episodes, but I really have to recommend it to those who like some humor and naughtiness in their adventure fantasy shows instead of the same old same old.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Hunt

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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