Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mirage of Blaze Box|
Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Takaya is a street-smart high school student, protective of his friend Yuzuru. The two are wrapped up in an ancient and tragic war. The psychic powers of long ago find new life in Takaya and Yuzuru, but their rivals will s... more »
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Bishounen, yaoi, and a history lesson to boot
Becky Sexton | Six Mile, SC USA | 07/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Honestly, it surprises me that this series is not more well known than some of your other yaoi alternatives. Out of all the anime I've seen (and there have been alot of them) Mirage of Blaze still strikes me as one of the most well-written and better animated ones out there.
Originally a long running manga series that is, unfortunately, only being published in Japan (as of now), Mirage of Blaze is a 13-episode series with a promised 3-episode sequal (which Amazon has already listed). At first glance, Mirage is just another supernatural anime, revolving around a team of, to put it crudely, ghost hunters. As the story progresses, however, and new characters are introduced and old ones developed, it is made clear that this isn't your run-of-the-mill anime.
For one, the story is a complex alternate history, which revolves around the reincarnations of real Japanese historical firgures from the feudal era. (Extra knowledge of this would be helpful, but one of the characters is always kind enough to explain things to you, though this can be somewhat confusing at times.) Basically, the war between these men didn't just end with their deaths, but has carried on into the present in the Feudal Underworld. The captains and warlords still battle for territory and control by taking over (posessing) human bodies.
The anime follows one of these posessors, the famous Lord Kagetora. The only hitch is, famous Lord Kagetora doesn't remember who he is. Instead, main character Takaya believes himself to be a normal teenage boy, albeit a teenage boy with a rough family life and very few real friends. Which is precisely why he's so protective of his best friend Yuzuru. When said friend begins to fall into fugue states and witness legions of undead, Takaya has no choice but to accept the help of Mysterious Stranger, Naoe, who turns out to be a posessor himself.
It is Naoe who realizes who Takaya really is. And therin lies the main conflict: Takaya doesn't want to be anyone else but himself. What follows is a gradual revealing of the inner desires and conflicts of both men, which culminates midway through the series and is never entirely resolved. (Until the sequal, presumably. Accursed cliffhangers.)
However, aside from the above stated cliffhanger, the anime is one of the best you'll ever come across. Amusing and complicated characters are plentiful, and the story and animation are near-perfect. The english dub is also one more thing worth mentioning; it's really, really good. The voice actors can be recognized almost immeadiately. More than half are from Rurouni Kenshin and InuYasha, but nearly all are really good at what they do. For once, a dub is not painful to listen to.
Overall, you can't go wrong with this anime. It's got yaoi and bishounen for the fangirls, and history and violence for everyone else. Mirage is also darker and more serious than some of your fluffier yaoi titles (such as Gravitation); so in case sugar coating isn't your thing, here's something truly different."
Kalila Tsuru | California | 01/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mirage of Blaze (Honoo no Mirage) is a four-disc show based on a series of novels of the same name by Mizuna Kuwabara. Unfortunately, the thirteen episodes only scratches the surface of Kuwabara's work: the novels number into the forties and the series is still going strong in Japan. Nevertheless, Mirage of Blaze is simply amazing. If you mix boys' love, fantasy, and Japanese history, add excellent animation, and throw in stunning voice actors, you might get this anime.
The novels lend their strong plot to the anime. In short, a battle of the feudal era is continuing to this day in another, spiritual plane, and the ringleaders on either side, called "Possessors," continue said battle with spiritual, supernatural powers. The main character, a high school student by the name of Takaya Ougi, is the reincarnation of Kagetora, one the the Possessors who continues the battle across lifetimes. Unlike usual, though, Takaya doesn't recall his previous lives or anything that happened, unlike the other Possessors. So when Naoe, a fellow Possessor, comes along and explains, Takaya doesn't believe him. It turns out that Naoe and Kagetora have a rather twisted history and an equally twisted relationship, one that's stretched across four hundred years and hasn't resolved itself. And as if their relationship problems aren't enough, Takaya has to save his friend Yuzuru and continue the battle in the Feudal Underworld without even remembering anything in the first place.
Needless to say, the plot can be rather confusing at times; you have to think in order to understand this anime. Each of the Possessors has two names, the plot always has several parts to it, and you get a lesson in Japanese history that you have to remember if you want to know what's going on.
Fortunately, it's not as difficult as it could be. Whenever something starts getting confusing, someone takes the time to explain it to poor Takaya, who's often just as confused as the viewer; a few well-placed flashbacks serve to further elucidate events, both past and present. You may have to actively think while watching this, but it's not incomprehensible.
The characters are fascinating and are what truly drive the story. There's the confused but well-meaning Takaya, who's dragged unwittingly into this mess; there's Naoe, who seems to be protective but is slowly slipping into desperation and, some might say, madness. Their interactions and extremely long history are incredible to watch, especially when you see each of them struggling with themselves - Takaya with memories and feelings he should but doesn't have, Naoe with his own desires and the knowledge that Takaya doesn't know their history like he does. When you add in Yuzuru, who has some sort of power that makes him the perfect target, and the other Possessors - Nagahide, who has been dealing with the feudal battle and the other Possessors on his own terms, and Haruie, who has been in a woman's body for the past two hundred years - and throw them into the Feudal Underworld to continue the fight, it becomes truly outstanding.
The animation is top-notch. It's often in muted hues - there won't be many overly bright colours in this - but it's beautifully done. The art is vaguely CLAMP-esque, bringing the groups' series X(/1999) to mind. It's never jerky or off, and it's quite consistent. The effects used for the spiritual battles contrast nicely with the rest of the animation, but not enough to make the difference jarring.
The voice acting is also very well done. The Japanese voice actors were outstanding: Hayami Sho brought Naoe to life, while Toshihiko Seki portrayed the defiant Takaya perfectly. Surprisingly, the English dub was not terrible - while not on the same level as the Japanese voice acting, the English voice actors weren't flat and generally voiced the characters fairly well. The subtitling was not perfect, but not terrible, either.
The series spans thirteen episodes and is 300 minutes long. It is rated 13+ for homosexuality, suggested sexual themes, cigarette use and mostly bloodless violence. It also has a sequel in the OVA (original video animation) "Mirage of Blaze: Rebels of the River Edge."
This anime is, simply put, one of the best I've ever seen. It is fairly dark and intellectual, and the boys' love element is somewhat mild, if pervasive. I recommend it highly."
Different, emotional and character driven!!!
Niko | 07/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To begin with, if you are looking for Mechas, CB or stuff like that etc. than you you should avoid this anime.
Also, if someone of you does not like a series that includes, in the broader sense of meaning, man to man `attractions' than you better should skip this one as well.
Well, a few words about the story:
The two main characters (protagonists) are Kagetora and Naoe. In order to understand the story, you should keep in mind that although the main story resolves in our times you will get information and `flashbacks' of earlier times as well. The reason is that:
a) Re-incarnation of souls
b) The two main protagonists used to live in feudal time-periods when war was going on and they are re-incarnated today with `new' names: Takkaya is Kagetora and Yuzuru is Naoe.
c) The war that used to be at earlier times continues still today (by psychic powers etc.).
d) War occurs in both our world and the spiritual world.
e) Power games between Clans etc.
The problem: The warriors do remember their past lives etc. but Kagetora does not (in order to fully awaken his powers he needs to remember). This will lead to an explosive mixture of `switching' emotions; for instance, you will see that Naoe loves and hates Kagetora as well (may sound confusing but when watching it you will understand. Apart from it, when watching the continuation of this series, called `Mirage of Blaze: Rebels of the River Edge OVA' you will see the reason why).
Furthermore, the story is also very character driven. It does indeed introduce you to a lot of information and various other characters but I personally believe that once you watch it you will be able to sort it out.
Unfortunately I cannot write much more about the story or otherwise I would start giving things away which could ruin the suspense when watching it (sorry guys).
As for the story it is very good, interesting, and solid with many twists. Moreover, it is very emotional and has a great character development; therefore, if you are the sensible type than prepare for an emotional rollercoaster. The series could be categorized under the genre of fantasy/action and romance.
The dub is very good as is the music as well that accompanies the story (starts with something like a rock/pop song and finishes with a melodic song); not to mention the fact that the animation is very good, too.
As for bad guys and action you will have more than enough like the Fuuma Ninjas etc.
As for extras: Well the typical stuff like trailers etc. (The second one comes with more fan service and so forth).
The story is based on supernatural facts, believes etc. Meaning that the explanations they provide belong to the category of supernatural (something like Anthroposophy or Theosophy 'teachings' and in addition with implication of Christianity, Buddhism, exorcism and all of it combined with magic). Furthermore, the fights that take place belong to the supernatural plane as well but affect tremendously our material world. For instance, if someone sends out to kill an opponent with a psychic fireball (I apologise for the `weird' terminology that I just used) than it will hit our world like an explosion etc.
To sum up:
Is it worth buying it? My answer would be yes, the price is good, and I do recommend them. Apart from it, if you have not yet included a different show in your anime collection than this superb show is worth owning.
I hope I could help you ^_^