Mania Grade: B-
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- 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: 29.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Soul Hunter
Soul Hunter Vol. #5
By Chris Beveridge
May 19, 2002
Release Date: June 18, 2002
Soul Hunter Vol. #5
What They Say
© ADV Films
Two potent forces are locked in a frightening standoff. Leading the allied forces of the North and West, Taikoubou and crew attempt to establish a new ruling dynasty. Across the battlefield, noble Bunchu heads the Emperor's army, reinforced by the sudden return of the Yin princes - now immortals augmented with incredible powers! Will either side back down from the brink of a catastrophic final battle that no one can win? Meanwhile, as her enemies fight each other, Dakki uses her twisted magic to create a gigantic, ravening monster! As it rampages out of control in the capital, Taikoubou must drop everything and play the hero once again. Now the power of immortals locked in conflict rages unchecked through the deserted streets of the doomed city. By the time the battle is done, will China be left for the alliance to rule? Find out in the City of Fire - the fifth exciting chapter of Soul Hunter!The Review!
Getting through the first major arc of the storyline, Soul Hunter brings things to a conclusion but with the information that the fun’s only really beginning. Though that in itself is somewhat annoying, there’s enough interesting stuff to still watch.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 is relatively on par with earlier releases, with the first episode looking the best. Subsequent episodes have a bit more cross coloration going on as the animation gets a bit more detailed and has a lot more tight line work. The third episode on the disc suffers from the fact it looks like it wasn’t done by the regular team as the designs look off a bit and the color palette doesn’t quite match. Barring that, there’s some aliasing throughout that doesn’t interfere much but is noticeable.Packaging:
This volume gets Tenka on the cover with some birds and some Chinese text behind him. The back cover provides a few screenshots and a couple of paragraphs about the show. The 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 another look at the front cover artwork while the reverse side provides some new terms for this volume. Menu:
The menu this time around is a massive use of flames, as it shows burning ruins with a nasty creature walking towards the screen while flames rush about. 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. What’s interesting to note is just how many debut’s there are in the actors listing this time, from both the child roles to the adult roles. The big 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)
There’s a lot going on here, but a lot of it tends to be action. Out of the four episodes, practically three of them are spent in a battle that goes on and on, but at least has enough revelations throughout it in the form of memories to keep it interesting and from being too reminiscent of certain other series.
With the return of the Prince’s from Mount Kunlun, the armies aren’t quite sure what to do. The Prince’s demand fealty to them and to the Yin so they can restore the dynasty from Dakki’s doings. Bunchu isn’t sure he can turn over his army and Ki Shou, the former Lord of the West, is definitely not ready to do any such thing. Taikobou, still acting as War Minister for the Seiki, isn’t quite sure what’s going on. With the Prince’s being fairly older from their original form, he’s not sure what kind of involvement there is from up above.
Both Prince’s are decked out in some extremely power paopei and that concerns just about everyone. They’re not quite arrogant, but they’re sure of what they need to do and that everyone else should see it that way. This situation plays out in an interesting and unexpected way, or at least one I didn’t expect.
The end result is the push to finally take down Dakki in the capital. Only a small group heads off to achieve this goal, with Taikobou shifting his allegiance from being a War Minister back to his original goal of stopping Project Soul Hunt. The resulting battle is a pretty well done series of episodes that focuses on will against will in addition to using a variety of new and power paopei. The thing that makes it interesting is that via Bunchu, we get a series of flashbacks.
I may have missed it somewhere early on, but Bunchu has served the Yin dynasty for many generations and has helped educate quite a few of the emperors in addition to defending the nation. We see some of the earlier ones here as well as the parents of Emperor Zhou and his birth and the births of his own sons, the two Prince’s we get reacquainted with here. These are the enlightening moments that help give Bunchu more of a reason for doing what he does, even if it is forced in a sense happening at this stage.
With more action than dialogue, these episodes flow by pretty fast and the battle sequences were pretty nicely done. I have a hard time getting into them mostly since the paopei that continually get introduced feel like they can handle any new issue that’s come up, giving the characters an easy out, but getting a nice powerful battle between them all was fun to see. With only one more volume to go, I’m looking forward to seeing how it ends, but realizing that the journey hasn’t been terribly gripping.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.