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The WINGS of REAN Vol. 2 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

August 23, 2008 by  



“In the second volume of Tomino Yoshiyuki’s ‘The WINGS OF REAN’, The King of Hojo, Sakamizu is revealed to be a WWII Kamikaze pilot that has somehow ended up in another world. A very intriguing volume and possibly one of the best, spontaneous kissing scenes to ever be featured in an anime series!”

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: The WINGS of REAN Vol. 2

DURATION: Approx. 48 minutes + 9 minutes (special features)

DVD INFORMATION: COLOR/NTSC / 16:9 LB / Japanese Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 ch and Dolby Digital Stereo / English subtitles

CATALOG #: BUDH0108

COMPANY: Bandai Visual/Honneamise

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

STAFF INFORMATION:

DIRECTOR: Tomino Yoshiyuki

VISUAL CONCEPT CREATOR: okama

CHARACTER DESIGN: Kudoh Masashi

MECHANICAL DESIGN: Shinohara Tamotsu, Sakura Takumi

COLOR DESIGN: Yokoyama Sayoko

ART DIRECTOR: Ikeda Shigemi

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Oogami Youichi

MUSIC: Higuchi Yasuo

SOUND DIRECTOR: Wakabayashi Kazuhiro

PRODUCED BY SUNRISE, BANDIA VISUAL, BANDAI CHANNEL

The blind ambition of King Sakomizu has been unleashed. With a premonition of impending war, Aesap and Lyukus reunite on the battlefield!!

King Sakomizu prepares for his invasion of the Upper Realm. Meanwhile, rebels within the US forces make contact with the Hojo Army. Amid premonitions of impending chaos, Aesap’s Aura Battler, Nanajin, takes to the sky!

It turns out that, just like Aesop, the King of Hoo, Sakomizu is also from the Upper Realm. And he was a kamikaze pilot in the waning days of World War II in the Pacific theater. Now that he’s acquired weapons in the Upper Realm, Sakomizu at last sets in motion his dream of invading his former home. Meanwhile, Aesap and Lyukus get separated and Aesap rides Aura Battler Nanajin in search for her. In a scuffle with the Hojo Army and resistance force, Aesap and Lyukus reunite in dramatic fashion. “I wanted to see you, Lyukus!” “Aesap!” They finally fell the warmth of each other’s embrace… but can they stop King Sakomizu?!

Tomino Yoshiyuki is a director and writer that is a person who I highly regard his talent for creating such series such as “Mobile Suit Gundam” (and many more series under the Gundam monicker), “Heavy Metal L-Gaim” and “Aura Battler Dunbine”.

With the latter, Yoshiyuki introduced to viewers back in 1984, a new world known as Byston Well (a world that exists between the land and ocean) and from the 49-episode series of “Aura Battler Dunbine”, in 1988 with the three episode OAV series “Aura Battler Dunbine: The Tale of Neo Byston” and an OAV with the 1999 “Tales from Byston Well: Garzey’s Wing”.

In 2005, Tomino returned with the six episode ONA (Original Net Animation) series titled “The WINGS of REAN” which is based on a light novel of his published back in 1983 through 1986.

Now here we are with volume 2. With volume 1, I felt that there was a big chance that viewers could have been led to a state of confusion with so many characters being thrown into the mix and there was just so much featured in terms of battles and various oppositions and really, things got too confusing.

It’s one thing to have breathtaking backgrounds and cool animation but when the storyline is hard to follow, it makes things a bit difficult.

So, let’s do a quick recap:

Aesap Suzuki – Half American and Half Japanese and the main character of the series. His father is a commander of the US military base in Iwakuni City. He lives with Rori Yahan and Heiji Kanamoto and it appears the three were going to do some terrorist activities against the American base.

Lyukus Sakomizu – The other main character who ends up being saved by Aesap. She is the daughter of Sakomizu, King of Hojo. She is rebelling against her father and takes “The Wings of Rean boots” and somehow the battle in her own world ends up in the upper realm (where humans and modern time takes place).

Amahlgan Rudol – Created a country along with the help of Sakomizu but the friendship ended with Sakomizu continued to expand his domination to other lands and now Amahlgan leads a resistance force against his former friend.

In episode 3 titled “Groundling Aura Force”, after the last confrontation between Sakomizu’s forces, Amahlgan’s forces and Aesop and Lyukus, Aesop ends up on Sakomizu’s side and doing what he can, so he can get close to Lyukus. Lyukus on the other hand is now with Amahlgan’s village. If anything, what is known is that a battle between the King of Hojo Sakomizu and Amahlgan is going to happen.

But the most important reveal was that Lyukus’ father Sakomizu was from Japan as well. And in his mind, wants to take his weapons from the new world and destroy the Americans and even the Japanese and take the war back to the Upper Realm.

In episode 4 titled “The King’s Designs”, the Hojo army has captured Amalghan and Lyukus. Both are imprisoned but for Aesop, he will do what he can to find Lyukus. And the war between the Hojo Army and the Resistance goes into full force.

VIDEO:

Since this DVD release is from Bandai Visual, and BV releases are known for its quality, the video is 16:8LB and presented with a framerate of 1.78:1. As for the animation, the animation was very colorful and the character designs are by Kudoh Masashi, known for his work his character design work for “Aquarian Age”, a few episodes of “Planetes” and “Witch Hunter Robin” but mainly for the popular series “Bleach”. The mechanical designs were done by Shinohara Tamotsu (known for his live action work with the “Kamen Rider” series and creature designs for “Samurai Deeper Kyo”) and Sakura Takumi (who has worked for Tomino in series such as “Turn A Gundam” and “Brain Powered”).

AUDIO:

With the amount of battles happening in the first episode, that is where you start to enjoy the audio from Banda Visual releases. Again, known for their quality for encoding at 448 kbps, “The WINGS of REAN” sounds very cool ala Dolby Digital 5.1.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The special feature includes Tomino’s Aerial Research Documentary “Over Tokyo 2006”. Pretty much Tomino Yoshiyuki goes on a helicopter ride and takes pictures of Tokyo from above. Scouting areas that will be seen in the battle in the Upper Realm for OAV episode 5. Storyboards are shown and animation as well in this 17-minute special feature.

This was pretty cool and good to see how the scouting location paid off for Tomino and crew as evident in episode 5.

And similar to the previous volume, there is “The WINGS of REAN” behind-the-scenes book with another in-depth interview with Tomino Yoshiyuki and his approach to the second installment. The interviewer does a great job asking questions in regards to scenes, setting, storyline and more.

Yoshiyuki does talk about the difficulties he had with these ONA’s because he was working on the Zeta movies at the same time and thus when he was working on these episodes, he approached it as a movie version and mentioned that he should have taken a single, self-contained episode approach instead. And how he had regretted that.

Also, another interesting reveal is when asked why the content on the ONA’s are different from the novel, Tomino tells the interviewer that he does not like to take something from the past and doing it again. He wants to create something original and in this case, from the vision of a new generation through his young staff.

Also, because many people are not familiar with the novels or have seen “Aura Battler Dunbine” or “Garzey’s Wings”, it was really cool to have Bandai Visual to explain things from the novel and certain areas that may have been cloudy for those unfamiliar with Tomino’s works.

And of course there is so much to the interview that it is worth reading. Also included is another interview but with okama (Visual Concept Creator), rough sketch gallery, storyboards and more.

Again, Bandai Visual does a great job of supplying a booklet that really features a lot of information!

With episode 3 and 4, I actually enjoyed it because now things are a bit settled down, you can focus on the characters and get a little bit more of character development than too many images and battles from the first volume.

I really do feel that “the WINGS of REAN” is a story that needs more than six episodes to tell. With so many characters and so many things happening, it’s really easy to get lost with this anime but unlike the first volume with fighting and characters all over the place, you get to see character development. How Lyukus and her mother don’t get along. How Lyukus is really compassionate towards Amalghan and how he shows the same thing back for his former friend’s (and now enemy) daughter.

If there is one highlight from this series, it’s episode 4 and it’s one of the most spontaneous kissing scenes you will ever see in an anime. I was quite surprised of how much was put into that kissing scene but nevertheless, I enjoyed it.

Again, the series is beautiful to watch. Great background, cool mecha and space ships galore but at the same time, so many characters that it’s easy to get confused. Not as bad as the first volume but fortunately, episodes 3 & 4 is much easier to follow and I found it quite enjoyable.

Again, the booklet that has come with these first two volumes are just amazing. Very in-depth interview with Tomino and he speaking his mind especially sharing plus and negatives of his experiences in working o this animation series and things that he wish he had done.

This series is not going to be for everyone especially those who want an well-written, in-depth storyline. The truth is that you have a world created by Tomino and a storyline that probably worked so well in the novel but there is only so much you can do with six episodes. Give him 50 like he has done with Mobile Suit Gundam and I would be curious to see how different the series would have turned out.

But nonetheless, again, I enjoyed this second volume and I definitely look forward to the next and final volume.

+ Another story from “Aura Battler Dunbine” written and directed by Tomino Yoshiyuki

+ Cool video and audio

+ an informative booklet provided again by Bandai Visual/Honneamise. Gives you appreciation of the work of the director and character designer.

+ I really enjoyed the special feature of watching Tomino on scout location via helicopter around Tokyo and taking pictures and seeing the storyboards and eventually how it all played out in episode 5.

+ Very good voice acting

+ A very cool interview included in the booklet. Full of information!

– No English dubs for those who need that

This anime series is not for everyone. A lot of characters and a lot of storyline that is pretty much made into six 20-minute OAV’s on a world and storyline that probably could be effectively told in a dozen or two dozen (or more episodes). The focus is more on the battles, character philosophies and not so much on character development.

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