Based on a long running and popular manga by Yuzo Takada, 3X3 Eyes
has had a surprisingly uneven time on home video. The beginning was
originally animated in 1991. There were four OVA episodes created
with the last one ending in a cliffhanger. Anime fans in Japan had
to wait a while to see the resolution however as the series wasn't continued
until 1995. At that time another OVA series was created, taking up
where the first one ended, but it only lasted 3 more episodes. There
has been talk for years about a TV series, but it has never materialized.
Pioneer released the entire seven episodes on an incredibly expensive DVD
set ($65 MSRP) back in early 2001. Now Geneon (a subsidiary of Pioneer)
is releasing these OVA's once again, this time in a reasonably priced two
disc set. The first one contains the first OVA series in its entirety.
Yakumo Fujii is a pretty normal kid. He goes to school, works
at night, and enjoys working on his motorcycle and hanging out with his
friends. That changes when he nearly hits a girl on his motorcycle
while on way to work. The girl's name is Pai, and as luck would have
it, she's been looking for Yakumo. Pai is from China and met Yakumo's
father there. She took care of him when he was sick and dying and
now he's written to his son asking a favor. Pai is the person the
elder Fujii spent his whole life looking for: the last Sanjiyan Unkara.
She is from an ancient race of immortals, all of which turned themselves
into humans. For some reason the child-like Pai didn't undergo the
process and has spent the last 300 years trying to become human.
In order to make this change, Pai needs an object, the Statue of Humanity.
Reluctantly Yakumo agrees to escort Pai to Hong Kong where the ancient
object is kept.
Before they can go to China however, Yakumo is attacked by a monster
and mortally wounded. He would have died, but Pai merged his life-force
with his, turning him into a Wu; an immortal being who cannot be killed.
Yakumo will stay in this state until Pai becomes human. That isn't
such a bad state though, since there are a group of monsters who are also
after the Statue of Humanity. These creatures want the statue in
order to resurrect Kaiyan Wang an evil and powerful Sanjiyan who wants
to rule the world as a despot. It's up to young Yakumo and the innocent
Pai to make sure the world doesn't fall under this dark demon's grip.
This was a pretty entertaining show. One of the nicest things
about it was that the characters grew and changed over the course of these
four episodes. That makes the series more than just your monster-of-the-week
show. There's a good story here too, and the ending has me looking
forward to the next episode.
The program has a good mix of plot, action, romance, and horror, with
just a touch of humor added for good measure. The horrific aspects
aren't as gruesome as some recent shows, but arms do get severed and there
is a fair amount of blood.
This is an older series however and the animation style, though the
quality is good, has that old-school feel to it. It isn't as flashy
and smooth as more recent shows and even though these were OVA episodes
that had a higher budget than a weekly show would have had, it looks about
like a recent TV show.
The disc comes with the original Japanese soundtrack and an English
dub, both in stereo. I alternated tracks with each episode, and I
enjoyed the Japanese track a bit more, though the dub is very good too.
Both tracks are free from distortion and background noise and though the
more modern English track sounds a bit more polished, they were both very
It should be noted that this is the same dub that was released on DVD
in 2001, and not the earlier Streamline Pictures dub that featured Rebecca
Forstadt (Robotech's Linn Minmei) and Melanie MacQueen (Lisa Hayes).
That's a good thing, since that dub, though I haven't heard it in years,
was pretty wretched.
The full frame video also looked fine. The lines weren't as sharp
as they could have been, and the colors were just a tad on the dull side
but this wasn't a problem. There were a few specks here and there, but only a few. On the digital side things were pretty
good too. There was some minor aliasing and a bit of banding in a
few scenes but nothing to really distract from the show.
This disc also comes with filmographies of the English voice actors
and two art galleries.
This was an enjoyable set of shows. The plot was interesting and
the program itself had a nice mixture of action, romance, and dialog.
With a retail price of only $14.95, it's certainly priced attractively
too. Well worth picking up. Recommended.