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Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 5 (a J!-ENT anime DVD Review)

August 1, 2008 by  



“The fifth volume of “Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~” continues the storyline as the Dark Dragon Princess Ran as she puts a death curse on Akane.  The seven guardians come together to protect Akane and the final eighth guardian is revealed!  Another riveting, climactic volume in the series!”

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 5

DURATION: Approx. 74 minutes

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

CATALOG #: 61479

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

At last, the final Guardian makes his appearance for the thrilling climax of the first half of the series!

“Priestess, welcome to my splendid garden”

Akram’s sinister plot engulfs Akane, disturbing the fates of the Priestess of the Dragon God, her Eight Guardians and Ran, the girl who holds the key to Akram’s snare!

In episode 11 (of volume 4), it was revealed that Tenma’s sister Ran (who has been missing and assumed kidnapped) is in this world and she is working with the demon Akram and is possibly also a Dragon Priestess.

Nothing makes sense as of yet but at the end of the episode, Ran made a visit to Akane during her sleep and released a curse that would kill her.

In episode 12 titled “Demon Lurking Darkness”, the seven guardians come together to find out out how to rid Akane of the death curse.  Tenma is wondering why his sister has not recognized him and why she has become this dark entity.  Abe no Yasuaki works quickly to prepare for the cleansing of Akane and return the curse back to Ran, while Tachibana no Tomomasa (Lt. of the Left Imperial Guard) realizes that Guardians share this special bond and yet, he’s just a civil servant that feels a bit of loneliness because he isn’t a guardian.

In episode 13 titled “Release Your Heart”, Abe no Yasuaki is successful in ridding the curse but what he does with it, surprises Akane.  Meanwhile Tenma wants his sister Ran back but the demon Akram tells him that if he wants Ran, she can be exchanged for Akane.  Akane feeling pain for Tenma’s loss, decides by herself to exchange herself for Ran and the Eight Guardians must do what they can to save her from Akram.

The eighth guardian is revealed and the Guardians take action to retrieve Akane but also Ran.

In episode 14 titled “The Rainbow Prophecy”, a rainbow has shown up and in this time period, rainbows are sign of evil and that marks a day of abstention.  Thus Akane is put in a room for protection and to prevent her from traveling to an unlucky direction.  While waiting in the room, a rainbow incarnation comes to delivery a warning to Akane that a war is coming soon and that they must prepare.

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 Morita Seiji (editor) 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 Morita Nanae.

“HARUKA ~Beyond the Stream of Time~” continues to be a beautiful anime series that has been slowly building up for its first half of identifying the eight guardians and how each have become a guardian.

This volume’s first two episodes (episodes 12 and 13) focus more on the character of Ran and what has happened to her during the time she has been missing.

Episode 14 is more like a bridge for the second half of the series which I would imagine with all eight guardians having been found, now things will possibly become more serious or even darker and eventually leading to a major battle between good vs. evil.

All in all, I’ve enjoyed the series and you get to see various sides of the guardians not seen from previous episodes.

Such as Tachibana no Tomimasa getting a bit jealous because his friend Fujiwara no Takamichi (Vice Minister of Civil Affairs) has not even known Akane that long but yet yearns to be with her and protect her and yet Tachibana, who has been there since the beginning for Akane looks at his life as almost quite boringly.

Then you have Yasuaki no Abe, a character that shows no emotion, almost cold due to his lack of emotions and doesn’t understand Akane’s emotions at all.

Then you have Tenma, who wants to protect Akane but struggles as he is told to decide between his sister Ran or Akane.

Everyone has this sense and purpose to protect Akane and for some, it seems as they are discovering more about themselves and the emotions they feel.

On the other end of the spectrum, you get to see more and more of how evil a person Akram is.

But volume 5 overall is enjoyable and I’m glad to see the first half of finding the guardians now over with.  Now, it’s going to be interesting from here on in as the buildup between Akane and her eight guardians versus Akram and his evil demons.

All in all, an enjoyable anime series thus far.

+ 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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