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[ café reviews ]

Episode 1: Waga na wa Orphen

Copyright: © (Japan),
Length: 25 minutes
Rating: NR, parental guidance suggested
Format: Original Japanese LD/VHS

[ plot summary ]

Years ago, a young lady saw a mysterious man standing atop a ruined tower gazing upon the surrounding area searchingly. Who was the strange man and who or what was he searching for?

The story starts off on Kyesulhima Continent in Totocanta, one of four major cities on the continent. In that city, over one year ago, a sorcerer by the name of Orphen landed upon the town. Since his arrival, Orphen has not done any work and indeed seeminly does very little except while away his time every day watching the mansion "Everlasting". What is it about the mansion that has captured Orphen's attention for so long? Could it be that he's merely a peeping tom watching the young lady of the house or are there other motives to his "bird watching"?

Cleo after over one year has finally returned home to visit only to discover that her elder sister has developed a crush on a strange figure who stands in a tree watching their house and has done so for well nigh a year. After discovering the same individual peeping on herself, Cleo grabs the sword Baltoandeles and confronts the strange man only to discover that it was the same person she had seen a long time ago standing atop a ruined tower when swimming...

[ capsule review ]

This first introductory episode to Orphen starts off fairly slowly as it works to introduce the various characters that we will meet throughout. Because of the number of characters being introduced either fully or through brief cameos, there is very little early on in the way of action. There are however enough hints of a story to come as well as potential conflicts to hold viewer attention.

Likewise, the music helps to build and augment the overall atmosphere to the episode as well as for the main character Orphen. Interestingly enough, most of the voice characters seem to be fairly comfortable with their roles right from the beginning and the portrayals are well done with the exception of Cleo. Somehow, Iizuka Mayumi's voice itself seems somewhat limited in scope or perhaps in inflection which makes Cleo's character seem a touch flat. Time will tell whether this will improve or if Cleo's character is just 2-dimensional, annoying and rather lacking in depth. Volka's character as well as his younger brother's is hinting at becoming the comic relief pair for this series. Why every series needs a comic relief character or characters is somewhat beyond me. The one saving grace for this twosome in this episode however is that there personalities don't seem to be so much feather-brained, as greedy and spiteful of Orphen. How well this duo will do as comic relief however is something that will have to be seen in later episodes. It could be that they will merely detract and annoy viewers due to their total lack of relevance to the story, or it could be that they will add a touch of jaded irony; time will tell.

Perhaps one of the odd points to this show is the animation quality. Certain scenes are nicely done with very good attention to detail and scroll fairly smoothly, while others are decidedly lacking in the same with very little detail particularly in distance shots. Also, there is judicious use of still pans usually with good detail on the cel. I don't think I've ever seen a first episode with such variety in the quality of detail and scroll rates. However, most of the more detailed seens were those which detailed Cleo's form and figure. Perhaps a treat for the males watching the series? After a good first 30 seconds to 1 minute of animation, the animation quality dropped noticeably which doesn't make for a good overall impression.

While the story moves slowly in this first episode, we have hints of the story to come which will undoubtedle grab viewer attention and lure them into wanting to watch the next episode. Indeed, because of the number of characters being introduced here, there is little chance to get into any major conflicts or action-packed scenes leading therefore to a bit of a cliffhanger ending. Time will tell whether the hints that we are getting now will indeed pan out or flop. While the hints in this first episode are interesting, I'm not entirely sure how things are going to go as the series continues. There introductory bits do pique the imagination and interest me, but Cleo's character as well as the two brothers are a bit off-putting. -JYN 00.08.03

[ café rating ]

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

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