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Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 4 (a J!-ENT anime DVD Review)

June 30, 2008 by  



“The fourth volume of “HARUKA ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ features the seventh guardian and also a revelation that there might be a second dragon priestess. Also, a complete director’s cut of the eleventh episode never aired on Japanese television! A volume that is exciting, beautiful and continues to grasp your attention and leaving the viewer craving for more!”

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 4

DURATION: Approx. 75 minutes

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

CATALOG #: BUDH0146

COMPANY: Bandai Visual/Honneamise

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

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

Includes the complete director’s cut of the eleventh episode, featuring scenes never aired on Japanese television!

“Priestess… I want to see you…”

Once more, the demons’ curse strikes Akane, Priestess of the Dragon God. Each threat that befalls Akane pushes the Eight Guardians to further turmoil…

The fourth volume of “HARUKA ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ A Tale of the Eight Guardians” continues as Akane and others await to find out who are the remaining two guardians.

Just a quick recap of the first three volumes, Motomiya Akane and her friends Morimura Tenma and Nagareyama Shimon were walking home from school. Until a demon named Akram summoned Akane and brought her to their world.

It is revealed that Akane is the Dragon Priestess which Akram wants her to destroy the human world while the Princess wants her to use her powers for good and to find the eight Guardians to save humankind and destroy the demons.

So, the guardians found so far are:

  1. Minamoto no Yorihisa: A samurai who serves the Imperial Court.
  2. Morimura Tenma: Akane’s classmate and friend who has always had feelings for Akane.
  3. Nagareyama Shimon: Akane’s classmate. Has problems associating with others in this new world they are in because blondes and blue eye individuals are demons. So, far really hasn’t fought anyone.
  4. Abe no Yasuaki: A civil servant serving Japan to protect them from evil spirits. Noticeable for his somewhat lack of emotion and his face on the top left area all in gray.
  5. Fujiwara no Takamichi: Works in the government and a nobleman.
  6. Inori: A blacksmith’s apprentice who has a major hatred towards demons and even accuses Shimon of being a demon constantly because of his blonde hair and blue eyes.

So, with six of the Guardians protecting the Dragon Priestess, in volume 4, Akram’s demons start to make their move.

In episode 9 titled “The Eight String Harp (Part 1) – Tune of Enchantment”, an incident occurs at Toji Temple involving a young monk who dies after touching an eight string harp.

We are introduced to Eisen, the half-brother to the Emperor who has become a monk. He plays an instrument to mourn the monk who died and Akane is moved to tears by his music. But all of a sudden the evil harp starts playing from the Toji Temple and the Akane goes into a deep sleep.

We are introduced to another demon named Sefle who is a demon trying to prove his worth to Akram by using the harp and as the Guardians make their way to the temple, they learn from Akram’s aide Icktidarl that the only way to save the Princess is a Guardian must find the eighth string on the harp but a Guardian may have to sacrifice their life and it may or may not wake the Priestess.

In episode 10 titled “The Eight String Harp (Part 2) – Ripples of the Falling Flower”, the seventh Guardian is revealed and only this person can save Akane’s life by possibly sacrificing himself.

In episode 11 titled “The Cursed Priestess”, Tenma’s learns that his kidnapped sister maybe in this world. Also, another girl has called herself the “Priestess of the Dragon God”. Can their be two Dragon Priestesses? Akane and a few guardians search for this girl.

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 Hirano Yoshihisa (musician) and a section titled “Anthology of the Eight Guardians – Poems Unraveled” which features the poetry shown at the end of each episode. Also, an illustration by Mizuno Tohko (original manga creator).

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

So, far the first four volumes have more or less focused on how the Guardians step up and protect Akane and how we are introduced to new characters, a new Guardian and a new demon that serves Akram.

But after this fourth volume, I expect the eighth Guardian to be revealed and definitely curious how the series will progress afterwards.

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 and video encoding.

+ 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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