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[ café reviews ]

The Hakkenden
Episode 2: Dark Music of the Gods

[ production info ]

Copyright: © 1993 AIC / Pioneer LDC, Inc.
Length: 30 minutes
Rating: NR, Recommended for mature audiences
Format: English Dubbed/English Subtitled (VHS)

Director: Anno Takashi Screenplay: Aikawa Noboru Character Design: Ochi Hiroyuki Art Director: Waki Takeshi

[ plot summary ]

VHS jacket

The Year is 1458. A child is born in the village of Otsuka, in Mushi Province. His name is Shino Inzuka. After coming of age, he is entrusted with a legendary sword, the Murasame, by his father Bansaku. Shino's father, however, commits hara-kiri after losing face when his brother-in-law, Hikiroku Otsuka, tries to trick him into giving up the sword. Then Shino, devastated by his father's death, somehow comes into possesion of a small bead. On this symbolizing filial devotion, mysteriously appears.

[ capsule review ]

The story told so far in The Hakkenden differs substantially from Takizawa's original story in many regards, yet this doesn't detract greatly from the flow of the series at this point. The main character of Nanso Satomi Hakkenden actually plays a relatively minor role in The Hakkenden, which, in its first volume, focuses mainly on Shino Inuzuka, a young man of the samurai class, after dwelling briefly on the curse of the Satomi clan.

The main problem with the second episode, however, was the highly variable quality of the animation. Through the course of the episode the level of detail plummeted drastically and the number of colors per frame also decreased. At certain points the animation was so bad that one could hardly tell some of the characters apart.

Again, the vocal talent assembled was fairly adequate for the job, however, some of the minor characters grated at the ears, but hopefully that will pass as they become non-factors in terms of the plot. The character design for Aboshi is also disturbing, his unhuman appearance sharply contrasting sharply with the designs of the other major characters. Like the supernatural incident in the first episode, this may be a plot device, but I doubt it.

Aside from this, the character designs for the major roles were done very well and the landscape animation was some of the best I have ever seen. I can only wonder what this episode could have been like if it had been animated with the budget of an OAV series.
- JH, 99.02.15

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A N/A 4 stars
Direction: N/A N/A 3 stars
Acting: N/A N/A 2 stars
Animation: N/A N/A 3 stars
Music: N/A N/A 4 stars
Translation: N/A N/A N/R
Overall Rating: N/A N/A 3 stars

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Page last modified 1999.02.08