Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Anime & Manga, Animation
The year is 1919, and armies of mechanized soldiers are advancing on the capital. Luckily, Kanzaki Heavy Industries has developed a new weapon that is to be piloted by a group of courageous young women assembled from arou... more »
War in the Cherryblossoms
James F. Neel | Texas, USA | 09/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although I liked this DVD very much, it suffers from the same problem as a previous item I reviewed, Galaxy Fraulien Yuna: Being based on a video game series, it assumes the audience is already thoroughly familliar with the basic plot/premise of the story. It mainly serves to "flesh out" the characters already established by SEGA in their popular series of Japanese games. If you have also seen the 25-episode TV version, the considerable differences in characterazation may also seem confusing.
This OVA is the first of several, and deals with the establishment of the Imperial Flower Troupe/Division of supernaturally-endowed maidens who oppose the Forces of Darkness in their ill-defined attacks on Imperial Tokyo. The six principal characters are introduced and given barely enough screen time to tell them apart in the 4 different episodes that make up this DVD. The Forces of Darkness are virtually ignored and their motive is murky at best. The original episodes were released separately in Japan, and the loose story line and connection between the segments was somehow not thought to be a shortcoming, supplementing as it does the storyline of the games.
Although the characters are rather sketchy in the OVA, some manage to stand out; I particularly liked the main character, Sakura, voiced by Chisa Yokoyama, probably best known as Sasami in the various incarnations of the Tenchi Muyo! world. She is the "new girl" in the combat/theatrical troupe, and has to go through the familliar routines of trying to fit in, after mastering a difficult sword technique which reminded me very much of that used by Motoko in Love Hina. As I mentioned, the characterizations here differ considerably from the longer TV series; I find that I actually prefer these: they're not as tragic, dark, conflicted, and neurotic, allowing more room for natural humor and interactions between the girls.
As usual for an OVA, the animation is far superior to that in the regular TV series, which has been harshly criticized. The music is also very good. The main claim for this particular reissue is the 5.0 sound on the english dubbed track. I find this first version of Sakura Wars ( Sakura Taisen in Japanese ) to be an enjoyable expansion and alternative view of the characters established in the games and popularized by the TV series."