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Similarly Requested DVDs
Japanese animation with British flavor and a classy feel
Brian Camp | Bronx, NY | 09/05/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
""L/R: Licensed by Royalty" is Japanese animation with a heavy anglophilic slant as it offers the animated adventures of Rowe and Jack, two young and stylish secret agents working for Cloud 7, the clandestine intelligence service of the Royal Family of Engl--oops, I mean "Ishtar," an island nation that sure looks and sounds an awful lot like England. While Volume 1 had lightweight stand-alone stories with a minimum of action, Volume 2, "Targets," gets a little grittier with the introduction of actual violence and death and a storyline that's a little stronger and more intricate. With this volume we also get a sense of Cloud 7 squaring off against the giant corporation, DTI, whose sweetheart deals with the Royal Family allow it to exploit Ivory Island, a virtual colony of Ishtar, for its rare mineral ore, Ivorystone.
Episode 5 focuses on a sniper whose assignment to do a job at a banquet is discovered by Jack and Rowe. Episode 6 deals with a series of bombings aimed at DTI and Jack's reunion with an old flame who is now a security director for DTI. Episode 7 finds Jack and Rowe on Ivory Island continuing to seek the bomber and reuniting with Noelle Ardelade, the spunky 14-year-old girl we first met in episode 3 (Volume 1) when she brought her campaign to save Ivory Island's landmark clock tower to Ishtar. Episode 7 is a continuation of Episode 6 and has a welcome surprise ending involving the search for the "15-Year Princess," which we first heard about in Episode 3. Hopefully, the series will return to this continuing storyline in future episodes rather than fall back on the one-shot mini-adventures we got in Volume 1.
The smooth production design offers a nice recreation of the buildings and streets of Lond--oops, Ishtar--and the more rural regions of Ire--I mean Ivory Island--with its rolling hills and small town pubs. As a result, "L/R" recalls other recent anime series with British settings, most notably "Master Keaton" and "Hellsing," although it has a lighter tone than those series. The English dub is quite good since it seems to be voiced largely by performers with native British accents. It all sounds just right and marks a welcome change from other shows where the dubbers are forced to adopt accents they haven't quite mastered.