Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Shadow Skill Complete Collection|
Genres: Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Adv Films Release Date: 04/28/2009 Run time: 650 minutes
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Shadow Skill: Complete Collection
B.O.B. | Kingston, NY USA | 07/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a pretty big fan of action animation. A while ago (probably 9 or 10 years), I saw an OVA entitled "Shadow Skill", which I thought was a very impressive looking anime. I hadn't seen anything about it since then, until I saw news of a TV version of the show coming to the US. Unfortunately, I did now aquire it until recently. So, here is what I thought of it.
*I'm going to say right now that the following is my opinion only!*
*Also, be forewarned, SPOILERS MIGHT BE PRESENT AS WELL!*
(grading is lettered----A down to F)
The Shadow Skill anime takes place in a land called Karuda. It follows the tale of Elle Ragu, the 59th Sevaal (also known as "Shadow Skill"), her adopted little brother, Gau Ban (who is actually training to become a Sevaal), Faurink Maya, a talisman sorceress, and Kyuo Lyu, a beast-catcher. Together, they take on an assortment of odd jobs, whenever there isn't prize money to be won at a tournament. Whether it's transporting supplies, serving as a barmaid, or hunting demon beasts. Along the way though, they face an range of adversaries (most, if not all from the same nation) who believe the Sevaals, and even the city of Karuda are a threat to them.
The story, when I try to compare it what little I remember from the OVA, seems to take a somewhat light tone then what is seen originally in that version. From Elle's drinking habits, Gau's inability to see that he is admired by Kyou make for some funny scenes early on. Part of the way threw, however, we start to see a more serious and somewhat darker story unforld, which makes for some very dramatic and impressive fight scenes (especially the last one).
Deep down, I want to say that the true story focuses of Gau and how must eventually must grow up and become the great fighter that he was born to be.
I suppose the only thing I do not like about the story is that most of the villians, and even some supporting characters, don't get much backstory. The villians don't like the country of Karuda and want to destry it. Thats it. No real explanation on where they originate from, how they came to hate the city so much or how they learned their styles of fighting. I just think that info gives more to their character.
In terms of its look, at least in the episodes where it really counts, Shadow Skill delivers some impressive scenes of action. The emotion in the characters' faces and the detail seen in their body movements really adds to these scenes.
In those scenes where action and fighting is not taking place, the animation isn't something to talk highly of. But of course these scenes where that much detail is not really needed.
The one thing you have to remember about this anime was made in 1998, and while that may have only been a decade ago, don't go expecting quality animation like that seen in Gundam SEED or anything recent. If you want a comparision in animation, look at Yu Yu Hakusho (its somewhat similar).
The characters of this show are also ones that will be remembered. A few characters I'll focus on include Elle. Its her devil-may-care attitude early on that is fun to watch (along with her ever present short-temper). But it is her sense of protecting those she cares for and her warrior spirit that makes her truley loved character.
Gau is another who stands out. While he is portayed as something of a weakling in the beginning, his transformation(though a slow one) into a powerful warrior makes one reailize why the story kind of focuses on him.
The last character I'll mention is Kyou. From scared girl to brave hunter, she shows how that believing in oneself and the drive to protect others can bring out the best in someone.
If you are looking for an action packed anime and don't mind older style animation (which you should not) then Shadow Skill is right up your ally. With dramatic fights, comedy and a great voice cast, it is the ultimate addition to any action animation fan's collection