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Guin Saga: Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

March 25, 2011 by  



Kaoru Kurimoto’s epic “The Guin Saga” receives its anime adaptation and what a wonderful anime series it has turned out to be so far!  If you love adventure epics, “Guin Saga: Collection 1” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © Kaoru Kurimoto/Tenro Production/Project Guin. 2011 Sentai Filmworks. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Guin Saga: Collection 1

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:8 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 2.0, Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14V

Release Date: March 29, 2011

Originally created by Kaoru Kurimoto

Series Composition by Shoji Yonemura

Storyboard by Atsushi Wakabayashi

Music by Nobuo Uematsu

Original Character Design by Natsuki Sumeragi

Character Design by Toshiharu Murata

Art Director: Junichi Higashi

Anime Production by Satelight

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kenyuu Horiuchi/David Wald as Guin

Shintaro Asanuma/David Matranga as Istavan

Mai Nakahara/Emily Neves as Rinda

Tsubasa Yonaga/Blake Shepard as Remus

Illich Guardiola as Duke Norisse

Yuya Uchida/Jay Hickman as Naris

Tooru Ookawa/Justin Doran as Lunan

Sayuri Yahagi/Hilary Haag as Suni

Akeno Watanabe/Elizabeth Bunch as Amnelis

Makoto Ishii/Chris Patton as Astrias

Shintaro Asanuma as Istvánerrorsource

Unsho Ishizuka/Chris Hutchison as Marius (Marus)

Taketora/Mark X. Laskowski as Vlon

Chikara Ousaka/Kalob Martinez as Irrim

Takayuki Kondo/Biff Wrangler as Tangard

Shigenori Soya/Leraldo Anzalduaas Garanth

Takashi Ohara/Justin Doran as Eku

Keiji Fujiwara as Valerius

Kumiko Higa/Luci Christian as Rana

Masaki Terasoma/Jovan Jackson as Vanon

Nobuhiko Okamoto as Oroerrorsource

Sayaka Ohara/Jessica Boone as Ema

He awakens in the dark forest of a mythical land with some type of leopard mask that he cannot remove. The only thing he remembers is his name – Guin – and that he is a warrior of unimaginable power. And when the two twins of Parros, innocent victims of a civil war, arrive, Guin knows what he must do. But the journey to save the children means much more than just slaughtering a few hundred well-trained Mongoul soldiers. Victory means he must battle magical desert tribes, assemble forces that have fought each other for hundreds of hears, and divine a mysterious plan that he is central to.

In Japan, Kaoru Kurimoto’s “Guin Saga” is among one of the most popular and best-selling fantasy novel series. Translated into English, German, French, Italian and Russian, “Guin Saga” has captured the hearts of many who have read the novels.

“Guin Saga” was first publicized back in 1979 and was originally planned for 100 volumes but in 2009, a total of 126 volumes have been published but unfortunately in May 2009, Kaoru Kurimoto, at the age of 56, Kurimoto passed away from pancreatic cancer and was currently writing the 130th volume.

With over 30 million copies sold and a storyline that has spanned 126 volumes, Kaoru Kurimoto was given a special award posthumously by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Japan.

Before her death, “The Guin Saga” was made into a 26-episode anime series.

The series was directed by Atsushi Wakabayashi (“Flame of Recca”, “Captain Kuppa”, Ninku”) and a screenplay by Shoji Yonemura (“Glass Fleet”, “Berserk”, “Figure 17”).  Character design is by Toshiharu Murata (“Ah! My Goddess”, “Ninja Cadets”, “You’re Under Arrest”) and the series would mark the first anime TV series composed by musician Nobuo Uematsu (“Blue Dragon”, “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children”, “Final Fantasy Unlimited”).

And now the first half of the anime series of “Guin saga” will be released in a 3-DVD collection from Sentai Filmworks.

The anime series begins with the destruction of the country of Parros by the Mongauli army, their enemy.  Before the king and queen were slaughtered, both put their twin teenagers, Rinda Farseer and Remus Farseer in an evacuation device.  As the Parros army tried to hunt and kill both children, both twins escaped and landed in a jungle land.

But the Parros army is there as well and as both try to hunt and capture the Farseer twins, they are rescued by a mysterious being with a body of human and a head of a leopard.  A mysterious being named Guin.

With awesome fighting skills and amazing strength, he is able to destroy soldiers of the Parros army with ease.

It is learned that Guin has no memories of his past, nor why he was in that jungle.  Wanting to know his past and who he is and why he has the leopard head, he decides to join the twins and protect them from danger.

But as the three travel outside of the jungle, they are captured by the Parros army.  While captured, Rinda befriends a monkey-like being named Suni from the Sem barbarian tribe.  Meanwhile, they are also befriended by a young mercenary named Istavan Spellsword.  When Istavan was born, he held a jewel in his hand which a seer predicted he would one day rule a kingdom and marry the Princess of Light.  A woman who Istavan believes may be Rinda.

As these five escape from the Parros army, they become the hunted. Will they survive under the leadership of Guin?  Will Guin find an army to fight the Mongauli army?  And will Guin find out the truth of his past?

Here is a brief spoilerless summary of the episodes 1-13 of Guin Saga:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – The Leopard Mask–  The destruction of the kingdom of Parros, twins Rinda and Remus escape.
  • EPISODE 2 – The Keep of the Black Count – Guin and the twins are captured by the Mongauli army and are brought to the Black Count.
  • EPISODE 3 – The Crimson Mercenary – Guin and Istavan are ordered by the Black Count to fight.
  • EPISODE 4 – Over the River of Death – Guin, the twins and Istavan try to escape from the Mongauli Army.
  • EPISODE 5 – Meeting of Fate – The Mongauli Army capture Guin and the twins.  Will they be able to escape?
  • EPISODE 6 – Assembly of the Sem Tribes – Guin takes on the Mongauli army but with the help of Suni and the Raku tribe.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 7 – The Battle of Nospherus – The battle between the Sems and the Mongauli army.
  • EPISODE 8 – Encounter with the Wolf King – Guin and Istavan hatch a plan for Istavan to infiltrate Lord Marus’s men.
  • EPISODE 9 – Prisoner of the Lagon – Guin is taken prisoner by the Lagon.
  • EPISODE 10 – The Frontier King – The Mongauli army find the hiding place of the Sem and plan to attack them.
  • EPISODE 11 – Warriors – When lady Amnelis arrives back home, she finds out that her father has arranged for her to get married.
  • EPISODE 12 – A New Destiny – Lord naris has been captured by the White Knights, meanwhile survivors of the Parros Royal Family prepare for war.
  • EPISODE 13 – To the Sea – Guin and the others arrive at the Town of Ross to prepare to cross the Sea of Lent.

VIDEO:

“Guin Saga” is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen.  The first thing that you noticed from the series is how beautifully the backgrounds are.  There is plenty of detail painted on the backgrounds.  May it be of the forest, the desert or the ice valleys to the blue clouds or the mountains, there is plenty of detail.

As for the characters, while not as detailed as one would expect from a TV series, the closeups are well done and if anything, it is the backgrounds that compliment the character designs and because there is so many characters featured onscreen at a given time, especially the vast army of the Mongauli, “Guin Saga” is a beautiful looking anime series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, the audio for “Guin Saga” is presented in Japanese and English 2.0.  I have to admit that I was surprised that there was an English soundtrack as many of the Sentai Filmworks anime series new releases do not carry an English dub.  But for the most part, as I did enjoy the Japanese soundtrack, the voice acting for the English dub track is very well done.

As for the audio, although an action-driven adventure anime series, the soundtrack is front channel driven and if you have a receiver capable of outputting the track to stereo on all channels, you may prefer this as it gives more of an immersive soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Guin Saga: Collection 1” comes with the following special features on disc three:

  • The Men Who Searched Their Own Star – (29:28) Featuring an interview with Kenyuu Horiuchi (Guin), Tsubasa Yonaga (Remus), Shintaro Asanuma (Istavan) and Yuya Uchida (Norisse)
  • Another Guin Saga – (11:51) Featuring an interview with Kiyoshi Imaoka (Guin Saga Novel Editor)
  • Japanese Premiere Event – (13:11) Featuring the Japanese premiere event of “Guin Saga” back on Feb. 18, 2009.
  • Japanese Trailer Collection – Featuring the extended trailer (8:12), Japanese trailer (5:00) and English trailer (2:30).
  • Clean Opening Animations– Featuring the textless opening theme.
  • Clean Closing Animation – Featuring the textless closing theme.

An anime series that has adventure, action and intriguing characters, “Guin Saga” is an anime adaptation of one of Japan’s most beloved fantasy novels and the series doesn’t disappoint.

I have to admit that part of me was quite giddy upon watching this anime series because mainly, it has the essence of the non-rushed, well-conceived storyline that I enjoyed from ’80s and ’90s anime series.  Because many anime series tend to have a banality of sharing similar qualities with each other, especially many that are quickly rushed for the purpose of having something continually aired, it helps when you have an established storyline that has been around since 1979.

The first half of “Guin Saga” is pretty much straightforward, two children (the heirs of the Parros kingdom) who were rescued from annihilation are sent to an unknown planet to escape the kingdom’s enemies (the Mongauli Army) and while these two children are being hunted, they find themselves being saved by a leopard headed warrior.

And for those of us today, we have seen similar type of characters in wrestling to video games and not to say that everything is a homage to “Guin Saga” but the concept surely did originate from the main character.

So far, the first half of the series has been nothing but exciting and quite enjoyable to follow as there have been twists and turns with characters and plotlines that I really look forward to the second half of the series.

Also, for this DVD, for a new release, I was pretty surprised to find an English dub soundtrack included.  So, it makes me wonder if this series will also receive a Blu-ray release in the near future.

If you enjoyed adventure or anime epic series like “Lodoss”, “Banner of the Stars” or “Utawarerumono” of even enjoyed “Lord of the Rings” with plotlines that not only deal with human struggle and action but a storyline that incorporates military strategy, “Guin Saga” is a fantastic series worth checking out!

Highly recommended!






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