Great series, great DVD edition
Jenny Cadaver | Gotham City Sewers, 3rd Fortress of Evil on the le | 04/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know where all those reviewers have been coming up with the notion that Cheesiness, Angst, & Extreme High Melodrama are *surprising*-- or *unwanted*-- in a shojo anime. Come on! Really. This is for us. We want our angst and family tragedies and long-lost siblings and haunted pasts and Good Vs. Evil and unrequited love and knee-weakeningly beautiful boys... we want it all, and we want it bloody.That said, the Weiss Kreuz collection is one of the best things that you could possibly take home & watch on the sofa with your box of chocolates & your pink tissues. Four pretty young things, each one with a worse revenge-complex than the next, all with clashing personalities; an expansion on the buddy-cop concept, only better... four pretty young vicious bloodthirsty international assassin boys who run a flower-shop. And of course they're all straight. If you don't love an idea like that right away, then you shouldn't be renting this in the first place. But if you have to keep hitting Rewind because you drown out the dialogue with your own squeals, then you're one of us, and you should buy this DVD set.The DVD edition is fabulous, easy to navigate, crammed with features, sketches, interviews, you name it. I was especially (pleasantly) surprised by the outtakes. Recording all that drama had to be taxing-- so it must've been a great release to make that mutant-monster croon "Till There Was You" at Aya while smashing him repeatedly against a piano.I personally like the animation well enough; it's not groundbreaking, but it does not look like 1987, either. The dubs and subs are equally good here, in my opinion. They put a nice amount of effort into the setup. I think the English translation was pretty great, very natural-sounding; people's opinions on these tend to run hot & cold, but I can say that at least the English doesn't sound stilted, and the subtitles at least follow pretty much what the dub says. Bold yellow subtitles were easy to read, for when you're in the mood to follow in Japanese for awhile.The voice actors were often lackluster, I agree with everyone on that point. I privately think Aya could be even b*tchier, Omi even squeakier, and Farfarello even crazier... in both languages. Schuldig's erotically snide baritone is definitely the brightest point of the English dub, however. You may find yourself listening to him purr "ruined lives taste like honey" repeatedly until your Rewind button sticks.You can watch many of these stories independently of each other without worrying about the overarching plot, which is nice for those who don't want the full collection. The boys get a mission, they go out and find the bad guys, and much fighting & bickering ensues. Most episodes have at least some brokenhearted weeping, and they all have bloodshed (although the pedestrian fight-sequence style in this anime doesn't do much for me). If you're lucky, you'll get to see the gang of psychic/psychotic villain boys, who are even more interesting than the heroes. You can start watching to just absorb the cheesy missions, but soon be hooked on the tangled interpersonal relationships and vendettas. Which is, after all, the point in a bishonen anime. So addictive!"
Flawed But Worthwhile
A. Laughlin | Clinton, MS USA | 06/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The idea of Weiss Kreuz is rather better than its execution. The series doesn't make the most of its material, either in plot or in character development, and between that and the distinctly lackluster animation it gives the impression of not quite living up to its potential.That said, it's still worth watching, and I give it four stars for a good try and a great idea. Although they could have been explored more fully, the characters are intriguing, in part because although they are assassins who hunt and kill evildoers, they do not consider themselves particularly righteous men - they call themselves a necessary evil and expect to be held accountable for the lives they've taken. Each of the four main characters has his own reason for being in Weiss; each one suffers over the course of the series, and each one at least considers the possibility of quitting and has to choose whether or not to stay.Sometimes it works, sometimes it... doesn't quite. Yoji's first spotlight episode leaves one with the impression that he's not nearly as competent as the Weiss boys are supposed to be - but in a much later episode, he dishes up one of the most gutwrenching moments of the series in his final encounter with villainess Neu. And any episode featuring Aya is bound to be fascinating. Where the series fails to plumb the full depths of its main characters, it makes up for the lack by doing surprisingly well by its supporting characters. In particular, Weiss handlers Manx and Birman and the mysterious Persia acquit themselves better then you might expect from this kind of series.With a few exceptions, Weiss always get their man - or woman - but the series largely refrains from being repetetive. Plot points crop up for a few episodes, subside, and then pop up again to be developed a little further. The series is also, as will be made clear by the opening of the first episode, not afraid to kill people. Sometimes the heroes arrive in time to save the day, but just as often they can only enact bloody vengeance after the damage has been done. Even supporting characters who've appeared in several previous episodes are not sacred.The first season, aside from the episodes dealing directly with Schreient and their leader Masafumi Takatori, is mostly superior to the second; the Takatori clan makes for a more effective source of antagonists and evil plots than the second season's villain organization, which has a more supernatural bent.The DVDs include outtakes from the English dubbing sessions. The dub itself is typically bad and should be skipped if possible, but the outtakes are hysterical and nearly worth the price of the collection on their own.Then there's Gluhen. Weiss Kreuz: Gluhen is either the third season or the second series of Weiss Kreuz, depending on how you want to look at it. It isn't currently available in the US, but it looks as though it will be released starting in July as Knight Hunters: Eternity File. The animation is greatly improved from the original; however, because of legal issues, the designs of the four main characters were changed. Aya and Ken fared all right, but Yoji looks as though he had a fight with a weedwhacker and lost, and wears an awful hat to boot. Gluhen also introduces two new members of Weiss, who take up a lot of the focus of the series, to the point that Ken and Yoji don't even appear for about seven episodes.The story is also improved - sort of. In the first two seasons, the main villains have various operations which Weiss foil, so there's something of a sense of progress and there are distinct character arcs. In Gluhen, there are simply events which occur and which Weiss must face, and which frequently pass without much resolution. It's a better depiction of the covert-ops sort of organization Weiss is supposed to be - in the earlier seasons, the team was usually just given a target and sent out to kill them, with the intelligence work already done - but can give viewers the impression that they're missing a big chunk of the story, particularly when the other two members of Weiss finally show up and are just finishing a related mission. The first two seasons sometimes seem a bit rushed - Gluhen is the opposite.All told, Weiss Kreuz is worth watching. Don't go into it with high expectations; it's not perfect. But if you can accept it for what it is, it's solid entertainment."
Oo! Oo! Oo! I want it!
Marcy | dark side of the moon. | 05/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I absolutly love this series, this is going on my wish list! A friend of mine got me started by lending me "dead ringer" and I became pretty obsessed with it. I must have watched it 100 times before giving it back. My dad doesn't like anime very much, but I even got my uber-religious mom into it. It's that good."
Hunters of the Night, hunt the evils of tomorrow
kurai_kodoku | Massachusetts, United States | 05/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Besides the non-direct translation of Weiß Kreuz (white cross) I totally recommend the DVDs. The storyline is angsty in some aspects and having mainly bishounen's as the main characters are a plus. 4 guys: Aya (Ran), Ken, Omi (Mamoru Takatori), and Yohji who work in a flower shop in the day and are assassins at night, each with a sad past and reason for being Weiß. Toss in their wicked rivals: Schwarz (male group of assasins with powers: Brad, Schuldig, Farfarello, and Nagi) and Shrient (group of female baddies:Hell, Schoen, Neu, and Tot) makes this anime a must watch.
Having watched the series before it's release on DVD in the US. And watching the U.S. DVDs myself, the translations and conversion is great. Now if only they brought over the OVAs and Glühen. The manga is also a must get, with details on how Aya joined the Weiß group."