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Sands of Destruction – The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

February 4, 2010 by  



The anime series based on the Sega RPG video game, “Sands of Destruction” is a lighthearted, adventure anime series that maintains its humor and fun throughout.  If you enjoy Japanese RPG video games, definitely give this series a try.

Image courtesy of © SEGA/WD Project. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Sands of Destruction: The Complete Series

DURATION: 13 Episodes (325 MinutesP

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, Japanese Stereo, English Subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: January 26, 2010

Originally created by Sega

Original Character Designs by Kunihiko Tanaka

Directed by Shunsuke Tada

Series Composition by Masahiro Yokotani

Character Design by Keita Matsumoto

Music by Yoshihiko Ike

Animation Producer by Rui Kuroki

Anime Production by Production I.G.

Art Design/Background Art by Studio Biho

Featuring the following voice talent:

Maaya Sakamoto/Luci Christian as Morte Ashela/Morte Urshela

Mamoru Miyahon/Todd Haberkorn as Kylie Ilnis/Kyrie Ilnis

Daisuke Ono/Anthony Bowling as Naja Gurefu

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Eric Vale as Agan Madoru

Tohru Furuya/Robert McCollum as Toppi Topuran

Yu Kobayashi/Trina Nishimura as Lia Dragonell

Morte is a lonely beauty with an axe to grind and a grudge against the world. Her brother died in the war between men and beasts, and now she’s out to make everyone pay for her loss. That’s where Kyrie comes in. This wandering cook may hold the key to unlocking the Destruct Code: a mysterious orb capable of eradicating everything in existence. The fate of the world hangs in the balance, but these heroes are up to no good.

In the Summer of 2008, “Sands of Destruction” (aka “World Destruction ~Michibikareshi Ishi~”) was a TV series shown on television in Japan.  The 13-episode series and manga series was created to coincide and promote the Nintendo DS Role-playing game video game developed by Imageepoch, Inc. and released by Sega.

The series was directed by Shunsuke Tada (“Prince of Tennis”, “Hatsumei Boy Kanipan”) and a screenplay by Masahiro Yokotani (“Sgt. Frog”, “Himawari!”, Nodame Cantabile”).  Character designs are by Keita Matsumoto (“Bungaku Shoujo”) and music by Yoshihiro Ike (“SD Gundam Force”, “Kamichu!”, “Ergo Proxy”, “Blood: The Last Vampire”).  Anime production is by Production I.G. (“Blood”, “Ghost in the Shell”, “Eyeshield 21”, “Sorcerer Hunters”) and backgrounds by Studio Biho (“Magical Girl Pretty Sammy”, “Patlabor WXIII”, “Street Fighter Alpha”).

“Sands of Destruction” is an anime series that takes place in a world where the seas are all sand and the world is dominated by beasts (aka Ferals).  Humans and human-like animals are the primary beings on the planet with the humans being the life that are seen as lower and are oppressed.  With death and destruction for humans, a female warrior named Morte Ashera carries with her a large blade weapon and also a self-destruct device.  Her goal, to find the activation code and destroy the world.

She is accompanied by Kyrie Illunis, a guy who has been pretending to live amongst the animals with fake ears and is a fairly weak individual.  With Kyrie outed as a human, he decides to go along with Morte in hopes to dissuade her from destroying the world.  Also, joining the two is Toppy, a small one-eyed bear who is a true warrior.  And because the two have accompanied Morte, they are dubbed the World Destruction Committee.

Hoping to stop them before they get the activation code are the World Salvation Committee consisting of Naja Gref (half human and half wolf feral) and Lia Dragunel, a female dragon feral and the last of her surviving race (who suddenly takes a liking towards Kyrie).

With each village the World Annihilation Front visits, the more that people want them for reward money.  But can these three be stopped?  Or will Kyrie and Toppy find a way to dissuade Morte from destroying the world.

“Sands of Destruction – The Complete Series” features a total of 13 episodes on two DVD’s.  Here is a spoiler-less summary:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – There are Two Kinds of Heroes – How Kyrie and Toppy joined Morte on her mission and became the World Destruction Committee.
  • EPISODE 2 – There are Two Kinds of Worlds – The World Destruction Committee confront the World Salvation Committee.
  • EPISODE 3 – There are Two Kinds of Beastmen – The World Destruction Committee try to free a few people in prison.
  • EPISODE 4 – There are Two Kinds of Human – The World Destruction Committee battle the World Salvation Committee.
  • EPISODE 5 – There are Two Kinds of Men – Toppy confronts an old friend (who may also be his new enemy).
  • EPISODE 6 – There are Two Kinds of Summers – An elephant feral who has killed many humans has traded his weapons to help orphans but now the humans want revenge.  Will the World Destruction Committee help the beastman?
  • EPISODE 7 – There are Two Kinds of Companions – Imposters are pretending to be the World Destruction Committee.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 8 – There are Two Kinds of Smugglers – The World Destruction Committee and Agan has been captured.  Now Naja and Lia consider rescuing them.
  • EPISODE 9 – There are Two Kinds of Autumns – The World Destruction Committee end up in a village and Morte for some reason feels close to an owner of a book store.
  • EPISODE 10 – There are 108 Laws of Clockwork Robotics – The crocodile beast captures the World Destruction Committee and seeks the destruction device.
  • EPISODE 11 – There are Two Kinds of Power – The people responsible of hiring the World Salvation Committee is revealed.
  • EPISODE 12 – There are Two Kinds of Pasts – The history of Morte, how she got hold of the destruction device and why she wants to destroy the world.
  • EPISODE 13 – There are Two Kinds of Futures – Morte learns the truth about the destruction device.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Sands of Destruction – The Complete Series” is presented in 16:9.  The series doesn’t feature complex animation but for the most part, the animation works as a series targeted towards a younger demographic.  Artistic backgrounds are nicely done and shading for the characters are done well.

Audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and Japanese Stereo.  The voice acting are done well for both the English and Japanese audio tracks.  The acting is done well but I have to admit that hearing Toppy continually saying “kuma” (which means “bear” in Japanese) gets a bit too overdone at times.  But overall, voice acting is done well for both soundtracks.  As for the audio, the series does have a share of action scenes but I found the soundtrack to be primarily center and front channel-driven.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sands of Destruction – The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Interview #1 – Toppy – (5:56) Featuring an animated interview with Toppy the bear who discusses his experience of the filming of “Sands of Destruction”.
  • Interview #2 – Morte – (7:02) Featuring an animated interview with Morte. Morte and Lia discuss certain scenes from “Sands of Destruction”.
  • Interview #3 – DJ Nadja – (8:05) Featuring a segment with Nadja as a radio personality and talking about the World Destruction Committee.
  • Interview #4 – Agan – (4:04) Featuring Agan talking about winning “Best Newcomer” and showcasing his trophy and his part in “Sands of Destruction”.
  • Textless Opening Song – “ZERØ” by AAA
  • Textless Closing Song “Kaze no Kioku: To the End of the World” by Aimmy
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment Trailers

My first introduction to “Sands of Destruction – The Complete Series” was from the band AAA (who sings the opening theme song “ZERØ”) and I felt that the anime and video game tie-in looked pretty to cool at the time and wondered if both would ever receive a US release.

Fortunately, Sega is releasing the game in the US on Nintendo DS and the anime series is now here courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

The series is primarily targeted towards a younger demographic.  In fact, the video game was intended to be much darker as humans were food for the Feral’s but was changed by the creators realizing that the rating system may be too restrictive and thus decided to make the storyline appeal to a more broader demographic, including your players.  And thus the anime series reflects that.

Despite the big blade that the main character Morte carries, the act of violence is never shown.  We usually get cut scenes where it shows the battle but then cuts to another character trying to escape or change the tide of battle to their side and then a cut back where we see the opponent typically knocked out.  So, for the most part, the series is quite safe.  Because of the dialogue, it’s not exactly for children as they probably will not understand the reasoning of why Morte wants to destroy the world and probably may find more appeal to her anger issues, Poppy the bear’s cuteness/fighting abilities and the humor in Kyrie’s cowardice.

In a way, the anime series is like “Slayers” Lite.  No magical destruction or anything like that but the concept of warriors going village to village.  While these travelers are not searching for a way to be paid, they are going around in order to find the destruction device.

As for the DVD, it was cool to see find out that there is about a 25-minute’s worth of special features included.  Voice acting on both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-done for this television series.  For the most part, I’m quite happy to know that the creators didn’t drag this series  on for 26-episodes because most of the episodes are stand-alone.  With the exception of the first episode and possibly episodes where the World Destruction Committee confronts the World Salvation Committee and get into a battle with each other, it’s the final four episodes where the more dramatic moments starts to emerge.

Overall, “Sands of Destruction – The Complete Series” is an average adventure-based anime series.  The series has quite a bit of adventure and humor elements but if you’re looking for a series that is fun, but nothing too serious and lighthearted and a Japanese RPG lover who intends to pickup the “Sands of Destruction” Nintendo DS video game, then this anime series is definitely for you!

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