Soul Hunter Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Soul Hunter

Soul Hunter Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     April 06, 2002
Release Date: May 07, 2002


Soul Hunter Vol. #4
© ADV Films


What They Say
With the young princes away on Mount Kunlun, it seems the Yin
Dynasty may be finished for good. Taikoubou and Lord Ki Shou must forge a
new order before the entire nation collapses into chaos and anarchy. Can
they recruit the Northern armies into their cause? Or will their poor
diplomacy end up accidentally provoking them into a bloody battle?
Meanwhile, Bunchu hasn't given up hope for the future of the Yin. Foreseeing
an impending conflict with the armies of the West, he sends his four most
trusted minions to crush Ki Shou and his allies. Bunchu's Shisei are
dangerous immortals with fantastic powers over earth, water, and light.
Without the backup of the Western military, nothing stands between the
Shisei and the destruction of the West... nothing except Taikoubou and his
rag-tag crew of allies!

The Review!
Soul Hunters continues to focus on the smaller aspects of the overall picture and spends practically all of its time on just one area in particular with only a few mentions of something that shows up at the end.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Throughout this stereo track we heard some nice directionality across the forward soundstage but nothing thrown to the rear speakers. Dialogue was nice and clear and the overall feel of the track is what you'd expect from a late 90's TV soundtrack. We listened to a good amount of the English track and noted no issues there either.

Video:
The transfer for this volume pretty much matches the one for the previous release with its decrease overall in cross coloration, though you can still see enough of it in various places, predominantly in characters hair. Colors look good and there’s less of the layered CG look permeating these episodes.

Packaging:
This volume gets Genius on the cover and Ki Shou making a background appearance with some dark green imagery behind both. Having seen the Japanese covers, I’m appreciating just how much better a little background can be. The back cover provides a few screenshots and a couple of paragraphs about the show. He discs features are clearly listed as well as production information. No episode numbers or titles are here, but the volumes are labeled on the spine and under the main logo. The insert provides a shot of just Genius that we see in the R2 version but with the green background. The reverse side provides some new terms for this volume.

Menus:
Dakki takes over this menu and treats it like the video game that she has as we see her play it on the screen here (and this shows up in the liner notes as well). There’s lot of action going on in the screen with the music, but selections listed along the bottom are clear and easy to read the entire time. Access times between menus is nice and fast and moving about results in no real trouble at all.

Extras:
In the extras department, we get a mix of some of the same and some new. The relationship tree and glossary of terms keeps things rolling as we’ve seen in the past but in the voice actor department we get several new entries as we get new characters introduced into the story here. The big honkin’ extra continues to be the very in-depth translators notes that spans more screens than I’m used to! Good stuff all around here that’s definitely helped flesh the show out more than I expected it to be.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Soul Hunter has continued to move away from the frantic early episodes of lots of character introductions and lots of “proving” battles between characters that you knew would become allies as the series progressed. With all that behind us, it’s moved to a direction where the plot is moving forward, although somewhat sluggishly at times, such as this batch of four episodes where it tells one particular tale that could have been condensed up a bit.

The majority of these episodes take place in and outside of Seiki in the West. Ki Shou has mobilized his area and the city is ready for the coming conflict. They’re making preparations to move the army to the North where they hope to forge an alliance against the Yin with. The basic plan is that Dakki has just too far corrupted everything and the balance must be corrected.

Dakki isn’t going to let this go though. Bunchu’s off with Yin troops making their way to the North as well and his Shisei, or his group of immortals with paopei, have been sent to take care of the trouble in Seiki. There’s also some movement made in Mount Kunlun with Dakki’s spies gathering some interesting new information that doesn’t come into play during these episodes but sets the stage for the next conflict.

With the four members of the Shisei arriving in Seiki, the city gets thrown into chaos. Ki Shou’s heir-son wants to stay and defend the citizenry, but Taikobou has convinced Ki Shou that he must take all of the troops and head towards the North while he and his comrades will take care of things. With Taikobou recently named the War Minister of Seiki, Ki Shou must take his advice seriously and gets things moving fast. His son protests plenty, but resigns himself to the situation. Taikobou and the others have sword that Seiki will be protected though.

Seiki’s definitely threatened though as one of the Shisei has a paopei that lets him control massive amounts of water from the ocean, as there is a tsunami wall he’s controlling that’s risen just outside of the town. The other three Shisei seem to be fairly formidable as well, and the show breaks down into providing the battles spread across almost three episodes. This is the only part where I felt things started dragging a bit, though I enjoyed the way the battles played out and seeing Taikobou gain more confidence about himself.

The remainder of the episodes deal with the people of the North and their loss of their King and having his brother now take over as they get the news. That’s all complicated by the arrival of Ki Shou and his army outside their territory, which sets off some rather interesting and fierce battles.

These episodes overall do a good job of getting things working in a team-like fashion and focusing on the characters strengths. It’s slowly getting the story advanced as well, but with only eight episodes left in the series, it seems like it’s not going to encompass the “large scale feel” we got about it early on. While that’s not bad, I just hope the remainder doesn’t feel all that rushed.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Voice Actor Profiles,Translater Notes,Relationship Tree,Lingua Franca

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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