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Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 7 (a J!-ENT anime DVD Review)

October 21, 2008 by  



“The seventh volume of “Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~” continues the adventurous storyline of the eight guardians searching for the Sacred Talisman and this time storylines focused on guardians Eisen and Takamichi.”

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DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 7

DURATION: Approx. 74 minutes

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

CATALOG #: 61493

COMPANY: Bandai Entertainment Inc./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

“I’m glad that you are the princess.”

The Eight Guardians continue to hunt for clues to the Sacred Talismans’ locations, while the demons mock their determination with an unending onslaught of curses.  The only force capable of bolserin their spirits remains Akane’s heartfelt smile.

With volume seven of “Haruka -Beyond the Stream of Time”-, the storyline continues with the adventures of Akane, the Dragon Priestess and the Eight Guardians as they try to search for the Sacred Talismans.

In the last volume, one was found but three more are out there.

In Episode 18 titled “The Chamberlain and Maiden Akane”, I admit that I was surprised to see this episode because with so many of the previous episodes explaining the histories of each of the Eight Guardians, we get an episode that really seems more of a filler episode.

The storyline is that the Chamberlain of the Fourth Order is in love with Maiden Akane (who bares a resemblance to Akane and has the same name).  Because of his nobility and that she is not high in the social class, they don’t have a relationship and for Maiden Akane, she needs to marry another man that her uncle has setup.

Of course, the Eight Guardians must help the Chamberlain and Maid Akane and sure enough, the Akane hatches a plan to get the couple together and the Chamberlain to tell her his true feelings for her.

This episode was so odd, because personally I can see it happening earlier on in the series but so late, with so many episodes focus on the talismans and the fight between the Eight Guardians and the Demon Clan, this episode was out of place.

Granted, it’s fun to get an episode light-hearted and humorous but with its current pacing, just seemed odd to have this episode so late when things are getting more serious.

In episode 19 titled “Unstoppable Feelings”, Eisen who has studied a life focusing on Bhuddism and now part of the Eight Guardians is fighting his feelings.  Eisen doesn’t understand these emotions that he has for Akane.  And discovering that he may be truly in love with her.   While the Demon Clan now determined to cause more problems and their goal is to put a curse on the whole village.

While the others fight the demon, Eisen must protect Akane from danger.

In episode 20 titled “Light Endowed by a Lady”, the demon Shirin appears before Takamichi and shows him that she has captured the spirit of his foster mother.  The Guardian is conflicted.  Save his step mother’s spirit or protect Akane.  Akane is determinted to help Takamichi, the best that she can in order for him to save his foster mother.

A very good episode and finally an episode that covers part of Takamichi’s life growing up and a cool battle betwen Takamichi and Shirin.

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 Honneamise releases, there is no English dub track and as most Honneamise 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 episode director and storyboard creator Hiroshi Haraguchi and a section titled “Anthology of the Eight Guardians – Poems Unraveled” which features the poetry shown at the end of each episode.  Also, included is an illustration by Tohko Mizuno (original manga creator) with comments on the Chamberlain of the Fourth Order.

I really enjoy the adventure with the Eight Guardians pursuing the Sacred Talismans.  I definitely would like to see the Eight Guardians work as a team and we do get that with episode 18.

But not in a way that I was expecting.  With the episodes now getting darker and focusing on the guardians trying to protect Akane, find the Talismans and do battle with the demons, for this episode, the storyline was too lighthearted and again, I would have pictured this storyline before the Talisman storylines.

With episode 19, finally we get a story based on Eisen and it’s great to see him feel these emotions of love for the first time.  Problem is that many of the guardians it seems are developing something towards Akane.  So, not sure if we will see any romantic drama from that or everone will just bite their lip and do their job to protect her.  I guess we would have to wait and find out.

With episode 20, definitely a good story as we learn more about Takamichi (yes, finally!).  And how he and Shirin go one-on-one.

All in all, a good volume but episode 18, seemed a bit off on pacing.  But nevertheless, it was a fun-lighthearted episode.  The other two were what I expected and look forward to watching more episodes based on the histories of the other guardians.

All in all, not the strongest volume but the episodes are still entertaining and as much as episode 18 was questionable for its lighthearted episodes, the other two were great to watch as we saw more character development for Eisen and Takamichi and their relationship with Akane.

If you have been watching this far into “Haruka – Beyond the Streams of Time”, then like me, you are staying it for the long run and just enjoy and watch the adventures of Akane and the Eight Guardians.

With only a few volumes left in the series and so many solo-based storylines, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out in the upcoming episodes.

+ 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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