The feature adaptation of this long-running continuity has been pumped up with redesigned characters, computer-generated mecha, jazzy special effects, and flashy tracking shots. Unfortunately, all this visual razzle-dazz... more »le doesn't add up to much. Director Mitsurou Hongo doesn't bother to introduce the characters or the set-up, and Ojhi Hiroi's story has a jingoistic edge. Brent Furlong, the head of the American Douglas-Stewart company, plots to replace the Operetta Troupe Flower Division with his unmanned mecha Japhkiels. His real objective is the conquest of Japan, but he underestimates the young women of the Flower Division, who defeat his mecha and demons. The flat, drawn characters and the 3-D CG mechanical devices look like they're taken from two different films, and the leaden pacing makes the film feel much longer than 85 minutes. The TV series is less flashy but more entertaining. (Unrated: suitable for ages 12 and older: considerable violence) --Charles Solomon« less
Superb soundtrack adds great value to this wonderful video.
Jim Parshall | Seattle, WA USA | 02/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have heard the negatives of Sakura Wars and I have heard the positives. I for one think it is a wonderful video. The soundtrack by Kouhei Tanaka is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of hearing and I have a most extensive collection of over 150. After ordering the soundtrack CD from Japan and listening to it at length I find I enjoy this DVD more than ever. Without a doubt it sports one of the best opening songs ever (at least as far as the get you up and going factor) and the track used for the big ending battle in the 4th chapter is truly a work of art. It is a great piece that is woven expertly into the fight. An excellent arrangement which brings home the strength and power of the series. I recommend the soundtrack most highly as well as the DVD. That battle in the 4th chapter would make an excellent demo of an audio video system as well. The story is also great. Granted it is not always the smoothest thing going and yes it does have its silly moments as well, but it is a compelling story which is presented well. One caution though-do NOT listen to the English dub! It is horrific and changes what are decent lines and sometimes really good lines into fodder for toddlers. Here is an example from the 4th chapter, "Let's get those evil nasty Demons. They are bad." Ugh! Bear with the subtitles and you will be much happier for it. It is sad that companies feel they have to dumb things down for American audiences. I love Anime and it physically hurts me to see such great movies like Mononoke and Windaria as well as this one ripped from the guts by English lines that are infantile or delivered with the enthusiasm of a rock. Passion is an ingredient in many Anime movies and it is one often removed in the English edit-not always (Grave of the Fireflies) but often. As long as you don't listen to the sometimes insultingly bad English dialog this will pan out to be a wonderful movie to watch. Get it! I love it!"
I actually liked this title....
Amber | Georgia | 02/27/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a pretty cute show. It has excellent animation, a good story, and good music. My beef with it is that the show ends after a couple of episodes--it just stops.This is an OVA, and the Sakura Wars TV series comes after it. And both come after the game. I think I should have had a little knowledge of the games before I watched this, since it just picked up with the Demons. It didn't give ANY background on the Demons at all, which had me lost for the first episode or two. But as it went along I stopped worrying about how and why the Demons existed/were there and focused on the show itself.The dubbing in both versions is top notch. I personally prefer the English version. Since the girls are from various countries, not just Japan, they cannot be expected to speak Japanese all that well, and without an accent.But in the English, we get to hear the girls in their "native" tongues and with "native" accents. What I mean is this: The French girl *sounds* French (and she even speaks in French when we first meet her). The Russian Maria has a definitive Russian accent, which comes across very well even though we never get to hear her speak in Russian. And the Chinese teenager talks with a Chinese accent, and also speaks in Chinese. So, watch this. You won't regret doing so, but you might want to watch the TV series just to get a little better idea of what is going on. Or get (or at least see) the games."
Masterpiece of animation
Jim Parshall | 09/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 4-part OAV/OVA is spiritual swordfighting steam mecha action/comedy set in the early 20th century. What I love the most are the lovely characters designed by Kousuke Fujishima (Oh My Goddess!, You're Under Arrest). The story, which revolves around Sakura, progresses slowly from one episode to the next, and teaches about group unity and the "can do" attitude. I haven't played the game, but I think I understand the plot quite well. While the Flower Division is not fighting demons (that look like Aliens), it performs a theatrical show. The 3rd and 4rth episodes don't have Aliens as enemies but other steam robots from the "Black Roots of Evil", and I don't get what their motives are at all. Oh well. What appeals more to me are the character interactions. The humor is among the most tasteful I've seen in any anime - very innocent, not overdone. The music is tops, especially the orchestral accompaniment. The animation? Flawless. Almost Disney-like in brightness and smoothness, but better because of the shading. The DVD is done very well, but sometimes disobeys when I set the language and subtitles (Preferred: subtitled; a lot of humor loses its effect when dubbed)."
The Sakura Taisen saga begins...!
Jim Parshall | 11/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These four episodes (about 120 minutes) are very nicely done, and they serve as the perfect prequel to the very popular Sakura Taisen import game series. The story is interesting with well designed main characters, and it incorporates many elements of the Japanese culture on war and romance with a touch of Western influence... well maybe more than just a touch... ^_^; The soundtrack is really beautiful, and the animation style is very smooth and vivid, resembling in part the Wings of Honneamise with a bit of GunBuster. Note: If you like the music you may want to hunt down the official Sakura Taisen 2 Soundtrack CD: (Japanese import, MJCA-00021, released on 1998/4/29 by Marvelous Entertainment, Inc.) It has 14 beautiful tracks sung by the different voice actors (seiyuu) Also, hopefully Sega will release Sakura Taisen 3 for the Dreamcast in the U.S. as well, so more of us can experience this excellent strategy/sim. Write to them asking for it if you want this so they don't make the same mistake as they did with Grandia. One final note: If you can, buy the DVD version but barring that, get the subtitled VHS version because the Japanese voice actors are much better. The English voice actors are also decent, but the original voices seem to suit the characters much better and the subtitling translation is also more accurate. All-in-all Sakura Wars (Sakura Taisen) looks like a well balanced series, worth watching, and I for one look forward to seeing the next four episodes on DVD. I would highly recommend both this DVD and the original game series. Enjoy!"
Beautiful animation, not enough storyline
Jim Parshall | 11/30/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The anime, Sakura Wars, is based off a game for sega saturn (I think, I could be wrong). I've never actually played the game before I bought the anime, so I'm not sure how true the anime stays to the plot of the game.With that out of the way, I might as well start listing the pros and cons of this anime. Pros: beautiful animation, bright colors, cute characters, light humor sprinkled throughout the 4 episodes. The humor in this anime is not hentai, and there are no hentai scenes whatsoever in this, so if you are a hentai fan, stay away! Cons: IT'S NOT LONG ENOUGH! Four episodes aren't nearly enough for this story. The first two episodes start out slowly, which isn't bad because the information given provides a base for the rest of the episodes. However, right when the enemy of the story is revealed (during the fourth episode), the episodes end! It's a disappointment.... it leaves the viewer craving for more.Other information to mention: This is an action anime with a cast of mainly girls. If you prefer an anime with guys as the main characters... well, at least give this a chance. There are a few main guy characters, after all, and the Sakura Wars cast is a wonderful mix... the characters grow on you.I gave this anime 3 stars only because the story is compressed into four episodes. Although the animation is lovely, this could have been so much better than it is."