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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Sakura Wars Vol 1
Sakura Wars Vol 1
ADV Films // Unrated // October 8, 2002
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Loren Halek | posted November 3, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

Sakura Wars is a thoroughly confusing disc for someone like me. I have had no experience with the Sakura Taisen world, not in anime or the myriad of games that have come out in Japan. It is obvious from this first disc, which is evidently the 2nd OVA in the series, that I know nothing about this series and that you really need to know the characters before jumping into this. I know there are many Sakura Taisen people out there, so my review will mean little to nothing anyway.

This seems to be very character driven and with no clue on the history of these characters I feel pretty shut out. The first episode deals with Maria. It seems her Mafia past is catching up to her and a person she used to fight for is trying to exact revenge on her. It's all thoroughly confusing to me of course.

The second episode deals with Iris, who is the youngest of the group. She wants more out of her life than the same old same old. This also affects Reni, who does all he can to support Iris.

The last episode deals with Sumire and delves into spiritual matter. It seems the ghost of a dead actress wants to exact some revenge and Sumire is trying to stop it.

I am of course thoroughly confused about this series, but that is because I have no history with the subject matter or the characters contained within. It really is too bad as this OVA series looks very nice and is probably one of those niche titles for those that follow the Sakura Taisen anthology.


The DVD

Video: The video is quite good through the full-frame presentation here. I did not notice any defects and this has to be a relatively new program.

Sound: Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and in English and Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese. For one of the few times ever I listened to the Japanese mix because of its 5.1 goodness. The sound was quite good and the rear speakers were used quite a bit for ambience and things like that.

Menus: Laid out like the front and back cover with music in the background.

Extras:

Clean Opening: The opening with no text and a different logo.

Character Bios: Bios on the characters, but does not give enough information for those that do not know much about the series.

Production Sketches w/commentary: Runs about 11 minutes with some commentary here and there.

Original Japanese DVD covers and inserts: It is neat to see these on anime stuff always. The Japanese usually have better DVD artwork than we do over here on anime titles.

Video Promo: A 6-minute video promo of all the anime in the Sakura series as well as some selections from the musicals (they have musicals for this?)

Final Thoughts: Sakura Wars is hard to recommend to the newcomers to the series. I had a hard time understanding what was going on most of the time and it is obvious some background is needed before watching this. The graphics on this disc were nice though and that is what kept me interested. I recommend this, but I would highly recommend it for any Sakura Taisen fan out there.
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