For those people who are familiar with Rumiko Takahashi's OAV works, this is probably the weakest of the lot released in North America. Unfortunately, the video has been released only in dubbed format to date. The story itself is decent and has a nice twist a la Takahashi to keep viewer interest and indeed takes the viewers a touch of guard later on as more detail is revealed. Likewise, the action towards the end of the video keeps things interesting for viewers, however the weaknesses to the video outweigh the strengths. A good story, yes as well as a good musical score which strengthens the overall viewing experience. However, even with the musical score, there are problems. The mixing of the music compared to the vocal track is just a bit too misbalanced such that after scenes with strong action, it's difficult to make out the dialogue. Either that or you get blasted out of your seats from the music following a quieter scene. A shame really since the music is rather decent.
Indeed, the first thing to strike viewers as they watch the opening to this OAV is the musical score. Well scored, the music sweeps viewers along into what sounds like will be a grand adventure. Decidedly reminiscent of the musical score to Arislan Senki, it brings images of beautiful ocean and landscapes to mind. No real surprise considering that the same composer is responsible for scoring the music for both OAVs.
Personally, I don't tend to watch many dubs as I find that the voice acting is often rather painful to listen to. Unfortunately, while this isn't the worst I've heard, it isn't all that great either. The voice acting is much weaker at the beginning of the OAV as the voice actors seem to have little if any understanding of their characters personalities. This lack of direction for the voice actors makes the earlier parts of the OAV rather dull and the acting decidedly lacklustre. Some of the awkwardness in line delivery however, is also due to the translations and the script. While I don't have the original version to compare the dialog with, it's quite apparent that there are some cases of very literal translations. (Make a good bride? Not a good wife, or a lovely bride?) This along with some looser translations makes for an overall somewhat awkward dialogue. While there are a few instances of stronger language, it didn't entirely fit with the overall dialogue making the end result rather strange; it was hardly necessary to add them in as the rest of the dialogue was decidedly on the clean side.
The animation itself is much weaker than what would be expected of an OAV series with judicious use of pan and holds as well as lots of still backgrounds. Likewise, the smoothness in animation isn't as good as we've come to expect especially for OAVs and the amount of detail in the scenes is also decidedly lacking here.
All in all, this OAV would make an okay rental but personally, unless you're a die-hard Takahashi or Rumik World fan, I'd give this one a pass. If you can ignore the voice acting, and are desperate for a dark adventure, then this might be for you.
- JYN, 00.07.10