Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 2 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
May 11, 2008 by Dennis Amith
“The second volume of “HARUKA ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ continues to draw me in with its beautiful, lush settings, beautiful animation, interesting characters and whimsical storytelling.”
DVD TITLE: Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 2
DURATION: Approx. 74 minutes
DVD INFORMATION: COLOR/NTSC / Japanese Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 ch and Dolby Digital Stereo / English subtitles
CATALOG #: BUDH0144
COMPANY: Bandai Visual/Honneamise
DIRECTOR: Tsunaki Aki
SERIES PLANNER: Okazaki Junko
CHARACTER DESIGN: Ohnuki Kenichi, Kotani Khyoko
ART DIRECTOR: Sakamoto Nobuhito
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Arakawa Kousuke
COLOR SETTING: Ario Yukiko
SOUND DIRECTOR: Honda Yasunori
MUSIC: Hirano Yoshihisa
EDITOR: Morita Seiji
Original Story by Tohko Mizuno (serialized in LaLa and Lala DX by HAKUSENSHA)
Opening Song: “Haruka Kimi no Moto e” performed by Morimura Tenma (Seki Tomokazu), Inori (Takahashi Naozumi), Nagareyama Shimon (Miyata Kouki)
Ending Song: “flowin’ -Ukigumo-” performed by Sefle (Akikawa Yuu), Ran (Kuwashima Houko)
Animation Created by YUMETA COMPANY
Motomiya Akane – Kawakami Tomoko
Minamoto-no Yorihisa – Miki Shin-Ichiro
Morimura Tenma – Seki Tomokazu
Nagareyama Shimon – Miyata Kouki
Fujiwara-no Takamichi – Nakahara Shigeru
Tachibana no Tomohmasa – Inoue Kazuhiko
Eisen – Hoshi Soichiro
Abe-no Yasuaki – Ishida Akira
Princess Fuji – Otani Ikue
Akram – Okiayu Ryotaro
Ran – Kawashima Houko
Abe-no Seimei – Matsumoto Dai
Little Tengu – Shimakta Junko
Tengu – Taniyama Kisyo
“You can’t just go around hurting others… That’s unforgivable behavior for anyone!”
Chose as the Priestess of the Dragon God and transported to the capital of an alternate world, Akane now finds herself overwhelmed by the power bestowed upon her by the Dragon God. Until all of the Eight Guardians fated to protect her are assembled, she remains stranded with now way to return to her home world. As if seeing right through Akane’s anxiety ridden heart, Akram head of the Demon clan, lets out a smile…”
The second volume of “HARUKA ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ A Tale of the Eight Guardians” continues with its whimsical storyline as Akane, Tenma and Shimon are reluctant about their new found powers and their desire to return back to their own reality.
The third episode titled “The Sorcerer” features the appeal by the princess to please save their capital but the trio just want to return back to their reality. Akane is unwilling to accept that she is the Priestess of the Dragon and Tenma just think everyone is trying to make them stay in their reality.
During the argument, Akane suddenly feels ill and during her sleep, she is somehow whisked back in the area where she met the demon known as Akram.
But this time, she meets a sorcerer named Yasuaki. Who is Yasuaki and why is Akane dreaming about him? Or is it a dream? And also, a fourth guardian is revealed.
The fourth episode titled “The Flower Purifying Ceremony” is where you learn about the ominously red-stained cherry blossoms. The impurities of the capital are contained in those red cherry blossoms and if by any chance the petals would flow through the city, it would be lead to pure chaos. Thus a flower purifying ceremony must take place and in this ceremony, Yasuaki and Akane will take part, but a mysterious figure awaits them.
The fifth episode titled “The Dewdrop Lodge” is where you learn more about Tenma and his love for Akane. You learn about Tenma’s past and how he and Akane became friends and why Tenma will do whatever to protect her.
I found the second volume equally entertaining as the first volume. With three episodes, really to learn more about the characters and almost similar to anime such as “Fushigi Yugi” and “Hakkenden”, you have a curiosity to how Akane will meet the remaining guardians.
But unlike the two anime, one thing that you get a glimpse of is the devotion of towards Akane, as well as the jealousy of Tenmon. And the devotion by the guardians of wanting to protect Akane, is it because its their duty or perhaps they are also falling for her. That is something that I look forward in seeing played out as the storylines continues.
But most importantly, Akane and her feeling towards Akram. Can the Priestess of the Dragon be falling for the demon? That would be interesting.
Similar to the first volume, I’ve found the animation and the art of the scenery of that period to be breathtaking and vibrant and for a television show, I have been pleased so far with the overall production for this anime. There is a darkness with episode 3 and 4, which I found the animation very cool in covering that atmosphere. It’s not a horror anime but it was well captured in the scenes where darkness and evil emerge. Also, the anime is presented in 16:9LB Anamorphic.
As for the sound, Bandai Visual/Honneamise releases have continued to release their DVD’s in a high bitrate and are setting the standard for quality and thus, everything sounds great. The dialogue is clear and well heard and there are quite a good number of battle sequences for this second volume.
And the Japanese voice acting is well done with Kawakami Tomoko doing a spectacular job as capturing the emotions of Akane. Especially Tomokazu Seki who does the voice for Morimura Tenma and capturing that jealous rage but yet a tender, admiration for Akane. And of course, Okiayu Ryotaro for his voice work as the demon Akram. Well done!
As for special features, included is “The Demon’s Soliloquy” which features Akram doing the teasers for the next episode.
And what is becoming my favorite part of a Bandai Visual DVD is the inclusion of a booklet. The booklet or in this case, more of a double sided, quad fold piece that features a synopsis of the three episodes, character profiles, staff interview with producer Yamaguchi Satoshi and series planner Junko Okazaki and an anthology of the Eight Guardians – Poems Unraveled.
“HARUKA ~Beyond the Stream of Time~” is an enjoyable anime with a storyline that manages to be straightforward and definitely doesn’t skimp on the character development.
Volume 2 definitely shows new sides of the characters that were introduced in the first two episodes and the camaraderie of the group and how they play out like a dysfunctional family. Willing to protect each other but at the same time, watching their emotions get the best of them.
If you enjoyed anime series such as “Fushigi Yugi” or “Escaflowne”, this is one of those anime that has its similarities to those series but yet is very different.
All in all, I found volume two to be entertainingly addicting and I can’t wait for volume 3!
+ Beautiful artwork and character designs and continuing Bandai Visual/Honneamise quality for audio
+ Really entertaining storyline so far. I Dig the character development.
+ Really good voice acting from top talent from Japan and easy to ready English subtitles
– Unfortunately no English dub for those that need their anime with that option.
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