Hey folks, Valkor. As I get closer to reaching my 200th film review, I forget that I've actually reviewed animation films, which would put me well over the top of that milestone. Ah hell, no matter. If I can keep live actor films reviews separated from the animated ones, then I'll do the same when it comes to how many on each side I've covered. With that out of the way, the folks at Sony Home know how to keep the anime/fantasy lover in me happy. And if you're like me, you'll get a kick out of "Legend of the Millennium Dragon", soon to be released in a Blu Ray Combo Pack.
Legend of the Millennium Dragon or Onigamiden relates around a young boy named Jun Tendo who is all of sudden taken 1,200 years into the past and gets caught in the struggle between two factions – Humans and Demons.
Quick Pause: so what about the dragon? Well Jun was born with a dragon tattoo on his chest, which holds the key to unleashing an eight-headed dragon called "Orochi". Enter Gen'un, a powerful wizard and the one who brought Jun to his era; he wants control of that dragon to use against the Oni. But when Jun meets Mizuho, his world gets taken for a loop, as it's revealed that the humans (who are also called nobles) want the Oni (who aren't really demons; they use sorcery and mask to give the impression they're demons) out of their way so they can rule. To sum it up, Oni are good, humans are bad. With the sides now reversed, Jun must search deep within himself, looking to his past to find the truth that will, hopefully, settle this long standing struggle and bring peace throughout the land.
Onigamiden is the story of courage and what one must do to obtain it. In this story, Jun looks to his father whom even as a child, always stood up for the weak, never backing down even when the odds were against him. In this story, Jun is faced with an even bigger challenge, however he must overcome his insecurities so that he may be the hero he needs to be.
This type of story is not uncommon, especially in the Japanese anime universe, but Legend of the Millennium Dragon holds its own charm, one we'll look into further as we jump into the TOV Breakdown.
Let me just quickly point out this is a Blu Ray combo disc, which means you not only get the BD disc, but also a DVD, as well as a digital copy to watch on your PC or portable device. There's also a character gallery and a link to more online content. Other than that, let's start with…
Legend of the Millennium Dragon, at the start, looks quite amazing. Not jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, or make your eyes pop out their sockets good, however the film is visually impressive to look at. The landscapes and backdrop will definitely catch your attention, moreso than the character animation. And for that I took two journeys into this film… one for that reason and the other so that I can watch the film in both English and Japanese. And that brings me to my second positive point, in both languages of the film, the voice work excels; and to me that's rare because I'd say about 90 – 95% of the time, the english dubbing is usually pretty bad (I'm looking at you Record of Lodoss Wars). But I was impressed how both the English and Japanese voices matched character for character – save for one, but I'll get to that later. Finally the action is well balanced with the story, I thought the pacing of the film was tight – I was definitely expecting a film that'd be slow and boring; kudos in that respect. And the cherry on this anime sundae goes to the ending, which was big and beautiful to watch; I was stoked when the "Four Heavenly Kings" came into play. Anime lovers (and even non-anime lovers) me thinks you'll enjoy this one.
First things first, Jun's transport into the Heian period and back… It was a little too quick. I mean he falls asleep at Gen'Un's temple (he stayed there to avoid an Oni) and BAM! He's 1,200 years in the past. No explanation, no weird spells or anything. He's just there and it was kinda disorienting; I actually skipped backed just to see if I missed something. Next is the animation, while visually impressive on the big characters like the monsters and dragons, not so appealing on the humans. It's just simple and its simplicity stands out. That's not really a negative, but it's something that you'll catch upon first viewing. Finally, while I liked the majority of the voices on the English side of the film, I thought the English voice of Raiko, might have been a bit to gruff for his character.
Without a doubt, Legend of the Millennium Dragon is a definite hit and a must buy when it's released on Blu Ray Combo Oct. 4th. Thanks Sony Home, you sure know how to pick em. And for that, I'm giving Legend of the Millennium Dragon 4 stars out of TOV 5 and it's been Valkor Viewed, TOV Approved!