Anime DVD Review: One Piece Season Three Third Voyage

One Piece Season Three Third Voyage is a two-disc set that contains episodes 170-182 of the One Piece anime series. The first disc has seven episodes and a commentary on Episode 171, while the second disc has six episodes and the set’s bonus features. You can watch the episodes with either the English dub or the original Japanese audio with English subtitles. It should also be noted that in addition to watching episodes or using the “Play All” option, there is also a marathon feature, which allows you to watch all the episodes on a disc back-to-back without interruption. In the marathon feature, the opening credits only plays once, there are no next episode previews, and the ending credits are not included.


This set continues the Skypiea arc, and the arc is still going at the end of the set. During these episodes, Zoro takes on the Shandian warrior Braham, Luffy fights Wyper and falls during the fight, Eneru takes out Usopp and Sanji, Chopper takes on Gedatsu and then later is attacked by Priest Ohm, Gan Fall and Nami take on Kotori and Hotori, and Robin takes on Yama and then discovers the legendary city of Shandora,

Eventually, Zoro, Gan Fall, Wyper, Nami, and Aisa make it to the upper ruins where Priest Ohm and a giant python are. Nami, Gan Fall, and Aisa are swallowed by the python, and this is where they find Luffy. Zoro ends up being the one to take down Priest Ohm. And everyone except Luffy and Aisa make it out of the python.

Conis and Pagaya encounter Eneru, who reveals the truth of his goal to them. Then, Eneru goes to the upper ruins, where he takes down most of the people who are assembled there. To protect herself, Nami pretends to follow Eneru. Luffy finally makes it out of the python, and Luffy and Eneru begin fighting right at the end of this set.

After I finished watching this set, I found myself thinking that while a lot seems to happen over the course of these episodes, the story itself really doesn’t seem to progress much. Since I haven’t read this far in the One Piece manga yet, I don’t know if the anime took the manga material and simply stretched it out to make it last longer. But from the way the final episode of this set ends, I expect that this story arc will likely end before the end of the next DVD set.

And it appears some of the main characters are critically injured and one could potentially be dead. I’ve read much later chapters in the more recent issues of Weekly Shonen Jump, so I know that most of these characters will be returning. But there’s one who I haven’t seen in these recent chapters, and this is the character who seems to be the worst off here. I really hope that this character hasn’t been killed off! If they have, I’ll be really sad.

It looks like Conis is going to try to warn the other people of Skypiea about Eneru’s plan, but I’m afraid that her warning will fall on deaf ears, since she and her father are both seen as “bad guys” for helping Luffy and the others earlier in the arc.

As for the DVD set itself, there are two selections for bonus features on the second disc: “Textless Songs” and “Trailers.” The “Textless Songs” feature includes “BON VOYAGE” (the opening song that appears in this set) and “A to Z” and “Moon to Sun” (the two ending songs that appear on the set). There are also trailers for other properties that FUNimation was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

If you’re a One Piece fan and are trying to collect the episodes on DVD, you can purchase this set for episodes 170-182. More recent DVD collections are packaging 24-25 episodes per set, and those releases would also be worth considering if you want to add One Piece to your home video library.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of One Piece Season Three Third Voyage that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime DVD Review: Tweeny Witches Volume Three

Tweeny Witches Volume Three is a two-disc set that includes six episodes of the Tweeny Witches television anime series. Technically, each “episode” included on this set is made up of two 8-9 minute episodes, so there’s actually 12 episodes here. Both discs include three “episodes.”

A human girl named Arusu who is a fan of witches and magic, mysteriously enters the world of witches. She meets two witch apprentices named Eva and Sheila, and discovers that they are capturing sprites. Arusu doesn’t like this, and she sets them free; this gets her branded as a troublemaker. Sheila is put in charge of Arusu, and Sheila and Eva are given the job of trying to reclaim the sprites. It’s quickly revealed that Arusu has the ability to do magic; in fact, a book she had with her in the human world that came with her into the world of witches turns out to be an important book from the witches’ world.

This set opens with Arusu trying to get away when the warlocks invade the Witches Realm, and how the True Book of Spells reacts to the anger she feels about magic being used to hurt people. In this set, there’s a strong emphasis on both the True Book of Spells and the concept of the magic of light. I was able to figure out early on in this set that somehow, Arusu would discover how to use the magic of light in order to save the day.

Atelia summons Sheila, Eva, Arusu, and Lennon. Several revelations happen at this point: Lennon is human, his mother is Atelia, and his father is Arusu’s father. Of course, I’d figured out that Lennon had to be Arusu’s half-brother back in Volume Two, so that didn’t catch me by surprise. And due to a scene with Atelia that takes place shortly before Lennon’s parentage is revealed, it was obvious that Atelia had to be his mother. Tweeny Witches has had a habit of being heavy-handed and obvious, which really destroys any surprise value that these revelations should have had.

At first, Lennon is angry with Atelia because he thinks she abandoned him and his father. But after the Magical Realm is threatened with destruction later in the set, he decides he needs to spend as much time with Atelia as he can in order to get to know her. Unfortunately, Lennon’s change of heart comes across as being forced because of how soon it seems to happen. But at the point we’re at, there’s not many more 8-9 minute length episodes left to tell the story.

Arusu’s father, who’s being held captive with Sigma in the Warlock World, tells Sigma about how Lennon and Arusu are both his children. At least this scene between them wasn’t as choppy as some of the scenes of the two of them together earlier in the set had been. “Choppy” and “rushed” are words that best describe the writing that’s used in these last 12 episodes.

The story ultimately climaxes with a group of witches overthrowing Atelia and allying with the Warlocks after Arusu ends up giving them the True Book of Spells. This alliance gives someone that no one in the series expects the ability to use dark magic to try to bring about the destruction of the Magical Realm. The leader of the Warlocks seems to be under the impression that destroying the Magical Realm will allow him to create a new world that he can rule over. It’s up to Arusu to figure out how to use the magic of light to save the Magical Realm.

As I said earlier, the storytelling in these episodes ends up being choppy and rushed, to the point that there are jumps in time where we suddenly see characters in what appears to be the middle of a scene. Because of this storytelling, it could be a little hard to follow what was going on at times. It also didn’t help that the series seemed to change tone and storytelling direction at least twice during its run. Honestly, I have to say that the episodes that appeared on Volume 1 were the best of the entire series; after that, the storytelling and animation just started falling apart. And when the series came to an end, I found it to be an unsatisfying ending. It was like, “I watched the entire series for this?”

When it comes to the animation, there were sections where very little details were includes for characters, and the cheating methods that were used in Volume 2 re-appear here (such as having characters talk while their back is turned, for example). There were even a couple of times where the animators were trying to create an interesting effect; but instead of enhancing the story, these attempts at effects drew too much attention to themselves and took me out of the story. And I have to say that Sigma probably got some of the worst animation in these episodes. Some of the animation on him looked so rushed that the animators made his outfit much more puffy than it was supposed to be. I could imagine Sigma looking in the mirror and asking, “Does this make my butt look fat?” I also had the thought that the overly-puffy outfit also made Sigma look like an Oompa-Loompa from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

In the end, I have to say that Tweeny Witches has an interesting concept, but the execution of that concept just wasn’t very good when all was said and done. I never thought it was a great show when I first started watching it, but it was at least interesting in those early episodes. And while I’m glad I can say I finally saw this whole series, it’s one I won’t be rushing to watch ever again, that’s for sure.

As for the DVD set itself, Media Blasters used one menu design and used it for both discs; the only difference is the disc number changes. Both menus claim to have trailers and bonus features; however, if you choose “Bonus Features” on the first disc, all you get is a splash screen that tells you the bonus features are on the second disc. And if you try to access the trailers on the main menu of the second disc, you get a splash screen telling you the trailers are on the first disc.

The first bonus feature is an almost 13-minute long interview with Yoshihara Ashino, the director of Tweeny Witches; the interview is in Japanese with English subtitles. He talks about how he got involved in the project, as well as the evolution of the project. This interview also includes a little bit of the first ever actors’ recording in Japan.

The other bonus feature is an 11-and-a-half minute interview with Daisuke Nakayama, the person who helped develop the characters and the story concept. Again, it has Japanese audio with English subtitles. He talks a little bit about the original personalities of some of the characters and how things changed after he came on board. We also get to see him going over designs with Yoshihara Ashino.

Some interesting things could be gleaned from these interviews. Ashino had made a reference to “the first 40 episodes,” which makes it sound like this project was initially meant to be longer, but was cut short for one reason or another. If there’s any truth to that thought, it would probably help explain why the storytelling became so choppy and rushed later on in the series. If the amount of episodes they were given was cut down, they had to find in ways to cram in information and plot points that were meant to appear much later. Also, Nakayama admits that the secondary characters were developed before the main characters; in fact, the main characters still weren’t entirely finalized when the main voice actresses came in to record their parts. After seeing these interviews, I couldn’t help but think that Tweeny Witches should be used as an example for how not to create an animated television series.

In the end, I can only truly recommend this DVD release to viewers who are already familiar with Tweeny Witches, enjoy watching the series, and want to add it to their anime library.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Tweeny Witches Volume Three that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Box Set 19

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 19 is a two-disc set that contains episodes 232 through 244 of Naruto Shippuden. The first disc contains seven episodes, and the second disc includes six episodes and the set’s special features.

The vast majority of the episodes in this set are filler material. In fact, out of the 13 episodes included on this set, 11 of them are filler. Only the final two episodes include canon material.

When it comes to the filler material, a lot of more of it focuses on what’s happening in the village while Naruto is away, and less of it focuses on Naruto’s journey at sea. The filler that takes place in the village includes stories that focus on Hinata, Shino, Tenten, Sai, and Kiba. Of these stories, my favorite is “Sai’s Day Off,” where he goes for a stroll through the village and he thinks about the bonds he shares with Naruto and Sakura. For a filler episode, this one did a fantastic job of providing some character development for Sai. He’s definitely not the character that we first met at the beginning of Naruto Shippuden, and I liked how reflective he got in this episode as he seems to realize for himself how much he’s changed.

For the comedic filler episodes, my favorite was “Kiba’s Determination.” Kiba’s frustrated over how much a loser like Naruto has improved and become the village hero. After being chided by both his mother and Shino, Kiba decides to train to become stronger. When he tries to get Kakashi to help him, Kakashi summons his ninja hounds and has them work with Kiba. The training with the ninja hounds was really amusing, especially when the ninja hounds bite Kiba as he’s trying to defeat them to get a scroll from Pakkun. The funniest part of that is when Big Bark Bull bites the top of Kiba’s head and almost looks as if he could devour Kiba.

Most of the Naruto filler stories weren’t that good, except for “Naruto’s Vow,” which was the final filler episode before returning to canon material. Here, Naruto meets Akatsuchi and Kurotsuchi from the Hidden Stone village, who have an assignment to deliver a letter from the Tsuchikage that’s addressed to the Mizukage. This filler episode provided some background for the conflict between these two villages, and I was almost convinced that it was actually canon material from the manga. However, after doing some research, I discovered that this was actually a filler episode. It ended up being a well-done filler episode, and it definitely ranks up there as one of the better filler episodes to appear in this section of Naruto Shippuden.

And then, we finally return to canon material when Naruto arrives at his destination and meets Killer Bee. When Naruto learns that Killer Bee is the jinchuriki of the Eight Tails, he asks Bee to help train him so he can learn to control the Nine Tails. Bee refuses because he’s on “vacation.” After Naruto gets to know Motoi, he is taken to the Waterfall of Truth, since this is where Killer Bee started his training to control his tailed beast. Naruto meets another version of himself, the part of him that exists that still harbors ill will toward the people of his village for shunning him for so long. The final episode in the set sees Motoi telling a story about himself and Killer Bee when they were growing up, which gives the audience a glimpse into Killer Bee’s backstory and what his life was like before we met him in the series.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, there are four bonus features included. The first is storyboards, which contains three pages from Episode 238 and three pages from episode 239. This feature is pretty much what’s shown up in previous box sets for Naruto Shippuden. However, I was surprised to see that there wasn’t an Art Gallery included.

“Clean Openings and Clean Endings” includes three versions of the opening and the closings that appeared on this set: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. The English credits are also available.

“More From Viz Media” includes links to a lot of trailers for properties that Viz Media was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

After watching this set, I would primarily recommend it for the canon material that appears right at the end of the set. There’s also the occasional filler episode that’s decent to watch, but you can skip a lot of the filler and not miss terribly much.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Naruto Shippuden Box Set 19 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime DVD Review: Tweeny Witches Volume Two

Tweeny Witches Volume Two is a two-disc set that includes seven episodes of the Tweeny Witches television anime series. Technically, each “episode” included on this set is made up of two 8-9 minute-long episodes, so there’s actually 14 episodes here. The first disc includes four “episodes” and the second disc contains three “episodes.”

A human girl named Arusu who is a fan of witches and magic, mysteriously enters the world of witches. She meets two witch apprentices named Eva and Sheila, and discovers that they are capturing sprites. Arusu doesn’t like this, and she sets them free; this gets her branded as a troublemaker. Sheila is put in charge of Arusu, and Sheila and Eva are given the job of trying to reclaim the sprites. It’s quickly revealed that Arusu has the ability to do magic; in fact, a book she had with her in the human world that came with her into the world of witches turns out to be an important book from the witches’ world.

This set sees Sigma helping Arusu, Sheila and Eva enter the Wizard World; unfortunately, he’s actually trying to get the True Magic book from the girls. On their way there, they are attacked by warlocks. Sigma claims the Arusu and Sheila are afflicted by a curse that will kill them in 24 hours. Eva hears him mention something about a flower, and musters up her courage to go find it to save her friends. She finds it, but it’s revealed that they weren’t really cursed.

Sigma then leads them into the Wizard World. Unfortunately, they are discovered and captured by the wizards, but they manage to escape. But before they do, Sigma shows Sheila the truth at the Sanctuary. And while Arusu is in the Wizard World, she learns that another human had been there years earlier, and that he says things that are similar to what Arusu says when it comes to magic. Unfortunately for Sigma, he is imprisoned for his failure to obtain the book.

When they return to the world of witches, Sheila talks to the Grand Master and tells her about what she learned at the Sanctuary; the Grand Master then tells Sheila the rest of the story. Later, the Grand Master collapses; other witches begin collapsing as well and an epidemic of witches losing their magic begins. This is all being caused by the destruction of the magic world.

One night, after Arusu falls asleep, Sheila takes her to a ship to cross the Interdimensional Sea and return to the human realm. Unfortunately, the ship is attacked by a pirate named Lennon. Arusu helps to protect the ship, and she discovers that what she’s been fighting are apparitions sent by Lennon, and that Lennon is actually sick. Lennon also declares that he is Arusu’s “mirror.” The other witches on the ship find Arusu and Lennon and declare that they’re all going back to the magical realm.

Arusu finds her way back to Sheila and Eva with Lennon, and they heal him. At the same time, Eva is starting to gain a little more courage and confidence in herself when it comes to magic. Sheila is also given a mission to find a traitor among them who performs Black Magic.

I have to admit that the story of Tweeny Witches starts getting a little more interesting; unfortunately, the storytelling gets rather choppy at times. This part of the story also starts incorporating the parallels with the novel, Through the Looking Glass, because this is a book that Arusu’s mother read to her when she was a little. She is starting to wonder if there are parallels, and also wonders about the similarity between her name and Alice’s name.

The animation in the episodes in this set deteriorates drastically over the course of it. It starts out by simply seeing the animators using less and less detail on the characters, and then it progresses to various cheating methods; these include having characters speak when their back is turned to the camera and suddenly pausing the action as a character is speaking. All I can figure is that either the production budget had been cut at this point or the animators were in a rush to get episodes produced on time. To be honest, I’m rather scared about how the animation will look in Tweeny Witches Volume Three.

As for the DVD set itself, Media Blasters used one menu design and used it for both discs; the only difference is the disc number changes. Both menus claim to have trailers and bonus features; however, if you choose “Bonus Features” on the first disc, all you get is a splash screen that tells you the bonus features are on the second disc. And if you try to access the trailers on the main menu of the second disc, you get a splash screen telling you the trailers are on the first disc.

The first bonus feature on the second disc is a Round Table with Sachiko Kojima, Houko Kuwashima, and Ryoh Hirohashi, the three main voice actresses for the series. It runs for about 14-15 minutes, and they talks about recording the voices, what they would do if they had magic, and what they find interesting about the series. The three of them seemed to have quite a sense of camaraderie, so that helped to make this an enjoyable viewing experience.

There’s also two-and-a-half minutes of test animation, as well as a three minute promotional animation feature.

I can only truly recommend this DVD release to viewers who are already familiar with Tweeny Witches and want to add the series to their anime library.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Tweeny Witches Volume Two that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 10

Bleach DVD Set 10 is a three disc set that contains 11 episodes. The first two discs in the set have four episodes and bonus features, while the third disc has three episodes and bonus features. The episodes on these discs can be watched either with English dialogue or with Japanese dialogue and English subtitles.

The set picks up right where Set Nine ended, with Uryu in the middle of a battle with Cirucci Sanderwicci. He’s able to use an energy sword called Seele Schneider, which he uses to defend himself against her attacks; by the end of the episode, he is able to defeat her.

Chad is also in the middle of his battle against Gantenbainne Mosqueda; during his battle, his full power awakens and his right arm turns into a giant shield called Brazo Derecho del Gigante. He then transforms his left arm for offense, and he calls it Brazo Izquierdo del Diablo. With his new strength, Chad is able to defeat his enemy. Unfortunately, he then encounters the Espada Nnoitora Gilga, who overpowers Chad and seriously wounds him.

Renji, along with Dondochakka, run into the Espada Szayel Aporro Grantz. When Renji tries using his bankai, it shatters due to Grantz designing the room so it would negate his bankai. Just as it seems Grantz has the upper hand, Uryu and Pesche arrive; Uryu uses his ability to surprise Grantz. This ultimately leads to Renji and Uryu teaming up together to try to take Grantz down, but Grantz is a tougher opponent that they’d bargained for.

I have to say that the battle with Grantz was probably the most frustrating one to appear in this set. There were a couple of times when it seemed like Grantz was finally defeated, but then he stands back up and is still able to fight. This definitely gets the award for being the most drawn out battle in the set, and it doesn’t even finish in Set 10!

Rukia is able to finish off her battle with Aaroniero, but she’s also injured pretty badly; in fact, she’s injured enough that the Arrancar believe she’s dead. When Ulquiorra informs Ichigo that Rukia had died, he doesn’t believe her. The two of them battle, but Ulquiorra gets the upper hand and leaves Ichigo for dead. Grimmjow sneaks Orihime out of the room she’s being kept in and orders her to heal Ichigo so he can fight him. Before she can finish, Ulquiorra arrives and gets into a fight with Grimmjow. Grimmjow uses a special device to trap his opponent in an alternate dimension for a few hours, and Orihime ends up healing Ichigo.

Then most of the remaining episodes in the set focus on the battle between Ichigo and Grimmjow, and it also includes a flashback of Grimmjow remembering the time that he was a Hollow. The way the flashback was introduced was a little abrupt, so I wasn’t quite sure what was going on at first. However, once I realized that what I was seeing was a flashback that provides some character development, I was okay with it.

By the end of Set 10, we get to see eight different battles, and all but one are brought to a conclusion by the end of the set. The battle with Grantz, which is the one I was the least interested in, is still going. I’m sorry, but Grantz come across like a major “prissy boy,” especially when he decides he needs to leave to change his clothes because what he was wearing got so tattered and torn during the fight with Renji and Uryu. And I also found myself wondering why Renji and Uryu don’t try to make a break for it while Grantz is gone. But then again, Grantz had his Fracciones around, so they were probably concerned that the Fracciones would attack them if they tried to leave.

Overall, this story arc is still progressing slowly, and it didn’t help that a lot of the episodes on the set relied on a significant amount of backtracking from the episode that precedes it in order to fill time and stretch out the story. Hopefully this story arc will progress a little more in Set 11.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the omake continue to be cut off from the end of the episodes and only appear as part of the “Omake” special feature that appears on each disc. I’m still disappointed by that, since that means that technically, the episodes on the set aren’t uncut. Hopefully this will be rectified in one of the future box sets for Bleach.

Each disc has Production Art, which is line art of the characters and locations that appear in these episodes. The first disc has 17 pages of art, the second disc has 10 pages, and the third disc has six pages. Each disc also has a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features.

Each disc also has omake, the exact same “sneak peeks” appear on all three discs, and the “Manga Preview” on each disc has the same six pages of advertisements for Viz Media’s manga releases.

If you’re a Bleach fan, then you need to get a hold of this set in order to have the episodes that start the new story arc in your anime home video library.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Bleach DVD Set 10 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime DVD Review: One Piece Season Three Second Voyage

One Piece Season Three Second Voyage is a two-disc set that contains episodes 157-169 of the One Piece anime series. The first disc has seven episodes, while the second disc has six episodes, a commentary on episode 166, and the set’s bonus features. You can watch the episodes with either the English dub or the original Japanese audio with English subtitles. It should also be noted that in addition to watching episodes or using the “Play All” option, there is also a marathon feature, which allows you to watch all the episodes on a disc back-to-back without interruption. In the marathon feature, the opening credits only plays once, there are no next episode previews, and the ending credits are not included.

This set continues the episodes that make up the Skypiea arc. At the beginning of this set, Chopper, Robin, Nami and Zoro are abducted by a giant shrimp while they’re on the Going Merry; they’re being taken to Upper Yard for judgment. Conis escorts Luffy, Sanji, and Usopp to get a boat to take them to Upper Yard; when they reach the boat, she admits that this is a trap and she’s almost hit by “Heaven’s Judgment.” Conis is saved by the Sky Knight.

Luffy, Usopp, and Sanji enter Upper Yard and make it to the Ordeal Gates, where they enter the Ordeal of Balls and encounter the Priest Satori. At the same time, the group on the Going Merry arrives at the sacrificial altar. Chopper is left on the ship while the others go to explore. After the others leave, Chopper is attacked by the Priest Shura; just when it looks like Chopper will be defeated, he is saved by the arrival of the Sky Knight. When the Sky Knight (who is named Gan Fall) is defeated by Shura and falls into the water, Chopper jumps in to rescue him, not thinking about the fact that he can’t swim. They are both saved by a bunch of giant Southbirds, who tell Chopper that Gan Fall is God.

Luffy, Usopp, and Sanji defeat Satori and head to reunite with the others. Meanwhile, Nami, Zoro, and Robin discover that Upper Yard is actually part of the island of Jaya that was sent up into the sky instead of falling into the ocean. After both groups are reunited and share what they learn, they discover that the Going Merry was repaired by a mysterious benefactor. Also going on in the background is a group known as the Shandians launching an attack on Upper Yard to defeat God Eneru and reclaim their ancestral homeland.

Phew! Due to how the story progresses in this set, there ended up being several storylines going at the same time. For the most part, they converge together near the end of the set. The main one that doesn’t entirely converge with the others yet is the Shandians and their fight. It turns out the Shandians are the ones who attacked Luffy and the others when they first arrived in Skypiea, but their paths only cross once on this entire set.

Of the new characters introduced in this set, the one that stands out the most is God Eneru. He’s this muscle-bound guy who wears pants that look an awful lot like Hammer Pants and has a lot of decorations around him that look kind of like the Sharingan from Naruto. He’s definitely a rather lazy, pompous, and gaudy-looking person. I’m looking forward to seeing when the eventuality of God Eneru being defeated happens. The other memorable character introduced in this set is Priest Satori. His extremely rotund figure and his speech patterns definitely left an impression on me as a viewer.

The next set will definitely continue the Skypiea arc, and it’ll be interesting to see what direction this story heads into.

As for the DVD set itself, there are two selections for bonus features on the second disc: “Textless Songs” and “Trailers.” The “Textless Songs” features includes “Hikari E” and “BON VOYAGE” (the two opening songs that appear on the set) and “FAITH” and “A to Z” (the two ending songs that appear on the set). There are also trailers for other properties that FUNimation was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

If you’re a One Piece fan and are trying to collect the episodes on DVD, you can purchase this set for episodes 157-169. More recent DVD collections are packaging 24-25 episodes per set, and those releases would also be worth considering if you want to add One Piece to your home video library.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of One Piece Season Three Second Voyage that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime Film Review: X: The Movie

X: The Movie is based off of an apocalyptic manga series by CLAMP, and it was released in Japan on August 3, 1996. In the United States, the film received a limited theatrical release on March 10, 2000, and was released on DVD on September 25, 2001. X was directed by Rintaro and co-scripted by Nanase Ohkawa.

In X: The Movie, the end of the world is rapidly approaching, and people with superhuman powers gather in the city of Tokyo and take sides for the final battle. The protagonist of the story is Kamui Shiro, a powerful esper who is believed to be the one who holds the key to the fate of the world. He returns to Tokyo after a six-year absence to protect his childhood friends, Kotori and Fuma Monou. Kamui is also trying to fulfill his mother’s dying wish.

When Kamui returns to Tokyo, he is contacted by The Dragons of Heaven. They are a group of people who are guided by Hinoto, the dreamgazer for the Legislature of Japan. The Dragons of the Earth are also trying to court Kamui to join their side. The Dragons of the Earth are on a mission to unleash death and famine, in order to “cure” the Earth of the “plague” of humanity; this group is assembled by Hinoto’s sister, Kanoe. As the film continues, it becomes clear that Kamui and Fuma are destined to fight each other during the final battle.

Unlike the manga, the film focuses on the roles of Kamui, Kotori, and Fuma, and the roles they play in the Apocalypse; however, this abbreviated story reduces the Dragons of the Heavens and the Earth to minor characters that the viewer never really gets to know. And since so little character development has been done for the Dragons of the Heavens and the Earth, it’s hard to feel any sense of loss as each of these characters are killed off during the film.

There is also very little done in the film in the way of plot development, which can make the film hard to follow if you don’t already have some familiarity with the property through the manga or the X anime series that was produced several years later. However, I have to give the film credit for its animation; unfortunately, the animation doesn’t make up for the lack of plot and character development.

When it comes to the DVD itself, there are five special features included on it. The first is labeled as, “Tarot Cards.” There are three sets of cards: The Seven Dragons of Heaven, The Seven Dragons of Earth, and The Dream Watchers. Under each section, you select a name, and you see a picture of a character in a “tarot card,” and information about the character is provided. For many of the characters in the film, you get much more of their backstories through this feature than you ever get in the film.

The next feature is a photo gallery, which just includes some stills from the movie. Next is the “Director’s Interview,” which is 23 pages of text that the viewer reads through. There is also a theatrical trailer for the film in English. The final extra is labeled as “Manga Extras”; this includes video previews, Manga Entertainment’s DVD catalogue, Manga Entertainment’s Merchandising & Catalogue information, and links to websites for sputnik 7 and Palm Pictures.

If you like blood and gore and very little in the way of plot or character development, then you might find some enjoyment in this film.  However, if you prefer more substance for plot and character, or if the sight of animated blood makes you queasy, then you should avoid X: The Movie.

I wrote this review after borrowing a copy of X: The Movie from Blockbuster.