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Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 3 (a J!-ENT anime DVD Review)

June 18, 2008 by  



“The third 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 INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 3

DURATION: Approx. 74 minutes

DVD INFORMATION: COLOR/NTSC / Japanese Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 ch and Dolby Digital Stereo / English subtitles

CATALOG #: BUDH0145

COMPANY: Bandai Visual/Honneamise

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: June 24th

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

STAFF INFORMATION:

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

VOICE ACTORS/ACTRESSES:

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

“I’m sorry but please don’t look at me for a moment…”

Akane takes her first steps as the Priestess of the Dragon God, while Akram and his Demon clan plot to stop her!

The third volume of “HARUKA ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ A Tale of the Eight Guardians” continues as the search for the remaining guardians continues.

The sixth episode titled “The Vice Minister and the Imperial Palace Demon”, we are introduced to Vice Minister of Civl Affairs Fujiwara-no-Takamichi who meets a dancer named Shirin.

All the nobleman are intoxicated by her beautiful figure and graceful performance (with the exception of Fujiwara-no Takamichi) but of course, it is all part of Akram’s plan as Shirin is a demon who will try to infiltrate the Imperial Palace.

While Akane is granted an audience with the Emperor, she overhears the hypnotized nobles talking about assassinating the Emperor. Will Akane be able to get help in time or will she be caught by Shirin?

Episode 7 is titled “The Night Cry of the Nue”, a white-winged vengeful spirit has appeared at Daimonji Mountain and threatening people there. For Yorihisa, he knows the “Nue” too well. The Nue, since as a child, has been Yorihisa’s target to kill but at the same time, because of their battles, he has looked at him as a friend. But the last living member of the Nue has never been violent? Why is it threatening humans?

Nevertheless, Akane and the vengeful spirit are sent to drive out the Nue and for Yorihisa, a last encounter with his friend/rival.

Episode 8 is titled “The Flame of Demon Hatred” and the storyline focuses on Inori (a character introduced in the first episode). We learn that Inori lives a tough life as an apprentice for a blacksmith and protects his sick elder sister. While delivering a sword to a samurai, Inori meets Akane for the first time but their meeting is interrupted when the demon Shirin returns.

The third volume of “HARUKA” continues to be enjoyable so far. The search for the remaining guardians continues and for this volume, two more are found.

If anything, the focal point in this volume is more on three of the guardians. Fujiwara-no-Takamichi, Yorihisa and Inori.

One of the things I wondered is how much character development can be done, with so many characters involved in the actual storyline. For episode 6, it was good to know Fujiwara-no-Takamichi’s side. Not necessarily a boring character but a character that seems dedicated to his work and keen on logic.

As for Yorihisa, again we see a sensitive side of the character. A dedicated warrior and guardian but obviously a man who very much wants to protect Akane.

As for Inori, he has witnessed countless murders of villagers by the demons that he is literally bent on ridding them.

But in episode 8, it was interesting when Shimon (Akane’s blonde and blue-eyed friend) is accused of being a demon. Reason being is that in Japan, a person with blonde hair and blue eyes is completely different from the norm and also the only person with blonde and blue eyes so far in the series outside of Shimon is the main demon himself, Akram. So, it is going to be interesting to see how Shimon deals with the prejudice towards him, as everyone is going to think he is a demon but also, how he is going to defend himself and even Akane since he is pretty much the weakest of the Guardians due to his fear and his emotions.

VIDEO:

Video is presented in anamorphic 16:9:LB and presented in 1:71:1 aspect ratio. I watched this DVD twice now on my 52″ inch television and on my 24″ iMac. And as I have mentioned before in my reviews, “HARUKA” has beautiful conceptual art when it comes to the backgrounds and just overall, how the whole land just looks lush. Colors galore! And I also enjoy the character designs. The men of course are quite Bishonen but the overall costumes to the colorful settings of the backgrounds mesh well with each other. Beautiful anime.

AUDIO:

As most of Bandai Visual releases, there is no English dub track and as most Bandai Visual releases, the encoding of audio for their DVD’s are top notch as audio is encoded at 448 kbps and clear audio. As for voice acting, I have been so far, very pleased with the Japanese voice acting for the characters.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The “HARUKA” DVD’s do not really come with many special features. Mainly featured on each volume is bonus footage titled “The Demon’s Soliloquy” which is more or less Akram’s voice and his rendition of the teaser trailers.

And as with each volume, there is a four fold, double paged booklet which features episode synopsis, images, character profiles, staff interview with Honda Yasunori (sound director) and a section titled “Anthology of the Eight Guardians – Poems Unraveled” which features the poetry shown at the end of an episode.

“HARUKA ~Beyond the Stream of Time~” continues to be anime series that has not disappointed me at all.

So, far the first three volumes have featured the search for the remaining guardians, if anything, the only thing we didn’t see on this volume, which I don’t mind so much at all, is Akram and Akane together.

What we do see is the demon Shirin who is dedicated to her master but jealous because he has so much interest towards the Priestess.

But it’s good to see how each episode has had some spacing, in terms of the search for the remaining guardians and in this case, more character development for Yorihisa.

All in all, “HARUKA ~Beyond the Stream of Time~” continues to be a beautiful, well-acted and enjoyable series to follow so far and look forward to how it’s leading up to the possible battle between the forces of good and evil. Not sure how it’s going to play out but I look forward to how the series is progressing so far.

A series worth checking out!

+ Beautiful artwork and character designs and continuing Bandai Visual/Honneamise quality for audio

+ Really entertaining storyline so far. I really dig the character development for the series.

+ 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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