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Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 9 (a J!-ENT anime DVD Review)

December 25, 2008 by  



“The enchanting and beautiful anime series ‘Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~’ has come to an end with this final volume.  The long awaited final battle between Akane and the eight guardians versus the Akram and the demon clan begins.  A volume full of action and also an interesting ending, giving the viewers the final choice of how they would like to see the series end.”

DVD TITLE: Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ – A Tale of the Eight Guardians Vol. 9

DURATION: Approx. 101 minutes

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

CATALOG #: 61516

COMPANY: Bandai Entertainment Inc./Honneamise

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

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

“Please, lend me your powers just one more time.  I’m going to summon the Dragon God.”

Akane sets forth into the final battle in hopes of putting an end to the long struggle, the resolve to summon the Dragon God firm in her heart.  Can her actions restore peace to the capital? And where will her heart lie in the battle’s end?

The final volume of “Haruka~Beyond the Stream of Time~ A Tale of the Eight Guardians” is here and the final battle between the Guardians and Akram and the demon begins!

In Episode 24 titled “The Released Four Gods”, Akram and the demon clan have tained the Four Sacred Talismans and now turning them against the Guardians.  With the assistance of Ran’s power of the Black Dragon, the kingdom stars to become more evil.  But the Eight Guardians are not going to let things continue without a fight and the battle between the Guardians and the Demon clan begins.

In episode 25 titled “The Parting of Clouds”, the war now begins and to make matters worse as a few of the Guardians are pit against a demon and a tainted Talisman.  Yasuaki has no choice but to free Little Tengu to help fight against the the demon controlled Tiger talisman.  As for Akane, she calls upon the Dragon God within her and begs for its help.  But the Dragon God answers back with a decision Akane must make.  She can save the capital, if only she will sacrifice her life.

In episode 26 titled “Into the Distance, into Your Heart”, the battle now concludes with the battle against Akram.  Akram sacrifices his body and unleashes the black dragon and Akane decides to call upon the Dragon God to save the capital.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

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. The video is quite soft, and has a cloudy feel to it.  Which is more intentional.

As for the audio, audio is provided in Dolby Digital Stereo.

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.

But this volume is special in that the final episode is tied into the DVD.  Right when the story of Episode 26 ends, Akane is seen waiting for someone in her current reality.  Suddenly, you are taken to a screen  in which you are given a chance to choose one of the Guardians and thus giving you an ending of your choosing.  After selecting the Guardian and watching the storyline end, you are taken to the final credits.

You can access the character selection through the menu titled “The Romance of the Eight Guardians”.

I’m not quite sure if the TV series ended with that cliffhanger but on this DVD, the final decision of how the series ends is left to the viewer and by choosing one of the Guardians, you get a separate storyline for each.

And as with each volume, there is a four fold, double paged booklet which features episode synopsis, images, character profiles of Princess Fuji and Little Tengu and Tengu.  Also, included is a final interview with Director Aki Tsunaki, and a few of the voice actors/actresses and an Anthology of the Eight Guardians – Poems Unraveled.

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With the final volume comes the close of the “Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time” anime series.  For 26 episodes, we watched the long journey of the introduction of each character, meeting new characters as they evolved to a guardian or those demons who wreaked havok against Akane and friends.  But most of all, what I will miss is the journey of Akane and these characters.

I often wonder how difficult it was to come up with an ending because the manga series continues to be ongoing.  The series had 26 episodes but you get this feeling that there is still quite a bit more story to tell and that the series could have gone on even longer.

But in the end, we do get a conclusion to the series that ended but you are left with wanting more.  I guess you can say that the series ended but you are left without the closure.  Fortunately, the creators of the series allowed for an ending that the viewer can choose on their own.

In this final volume, we have each of the Guardians each being touched by Akane and wanting to express their emotions to her.  Suffice to say, most of them have fallen for her.  So, depending on the viewer, they can choose the ending that would suit their taste.  Akane finding love and the viewer having control of who Akane will be in love with.

So, it was an interesting way to end the series by giving the viewer the final choice.  But all in all, this enchanting and beautiful anime series has come to an end.  The final battles were good but where anime series can really drag out a battle between good vs. evil for several episodes, the battles between let’s say a Yorihisa and Icktidarl or Shimon and Sefle end quickly in a single episode.  But granted, I understand that episode wise, the creators only had these final three episodes to conclude this series  and what they were able to accomplish does work.  But again, an interesting way to end the series by giving the viewer the final choice.

Overall, the final volume of “Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time” and the entire series in general featured a lot of heart, action and beautiful scenery.  I’ll definitely miss this series and its characters!






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