Secret of the Stellar Wars is
surprisingly one of the more under-appreciated
anime series to find a release in North America in the past several
is an anime that focuses mostly on character development and that
simply strive to emphasize one action sequence after another to
Many anime series spend too much time focusing on the action and to
lengths as to eventually become uninvolving and uninteresting. Anime
prefer having better storytelling and character development will find
aspects are crucial to Shingu, which
also tells a complete and well rounded story -- one that takes a
viewing of the
entire series to appreciate.
story focuses on a Japanese community where a lot
of strange things start to happen. Tokyo has an alien space-ship that
floating above the city and it isn't long before it's confirmed that
on earth. Hajime Murata, a rather intelligent student attending
begins to notice students who seem to have special powers. Everyone at
school in Tenmo is talking about aliens and space. The student clubs
discuss what the future might hold if people and aliens are living
Could these students need to protect our planet from aliens or is a
what lies in the future? The students of Misumaru will have a long
ahead of them as they work together to find out for themselves, and
Murata will have the most fascinating moments ahead as he seems
all the events and people involved in this alien business that has been
his small town called Tenmo.
Sato brings the series a pacing that is often
slow but always thoroughly interesting, because the characters are more
important to the storytelling by being given enough time to become
seems to have learned something from the works of Studio Ghibli and
Miyazaki: Story and Character are the elements most needed to make
care about the overall filmmaking experience. The series manages to be
blend of sci-fi action and personal drama with the skill that is rarely
short form storytelling. Shingu is one
of the more compelling anime series to tell a story-arc with only 26
animation is well produced and there are many
moments with captivating imagery of the wonderful landscapes - the
trees, the green grassy lands, and the bright blue sky. The
designs for the sci-fi elements are also
particularly effective with interesting art used for the space portions
uniquely staged battles (which are sparingly used but well crafted in
series). Character designs many not reach the heights of the greatest
series to be produced but they are also far from bland either and these
to make a lasting impression by being well made for each character.
That is an
impressive element. The bulk of the visually artistic choices made for Shingu become important and easily notable
in a variety of ways.
plays an important part in the series as well.
The opening theme to the series was the perfect way to help introduce
of the show having a greater focus on character and quietly reflective
which would become an essential element used throughout the entire
series. The music created a sense of
was quite beautiful and moving, far more so than expected, and it
create the right kind of mood for each episode.
overwhelming positive reaction to Shingu: Secret of the
Stellar Wars was pleasantly
surprising. The completed story arc was satisfying for viewers who
entire series. Animation was consistently beautiful and well done.
were important. This is a worthwhile show that is still deserving of
finding more of an audience to enjoy it's unique story and universe.
Secret of the Stellar Wars is
its original television aspect ratio of 1:33:1 full frame. The source
used seems as though it could be slightly dated. Colors appear to be
but they are still impressive for an older anime series. The black
not that strong though and this was one of the more easily noticeable
to the overall transfer. There seems to be some inherent softness to
the image but
this is still a reasonably sharp and clean looking image. The picture
perfect but it's difficult to imagine the overall quality disappointing
Owners of the original 2007 DVD release
of this anime series should expect similar (if not identical) picture
and are not encouraged to upgrade.
audio is available in 2.0 for both the original Japanese language dub
English language dub. Either option provided a pleasing audio
good directionality, and impressive clarity for both music and
would have been nice to hear a 5.1 surround sound mix for such an
series but given that the 2.0 tracks are true to the source material
to be that bothered by the lack of one. Subtitles are included in English for viewing
with the Japanese dub and in English for the Japanese text (and this
be experienced while viewing with either the Japanese or English dub).
voice acting was impressive for both the English and Japanese dub yet
series the English dub surprised by being somewhat more enjoyable than
original language track.
includes a small selection of extra materials.
Each disc in the set includes some character bios, a line art gallery,
production notes, English production notes, and a selection of
trailers for other anime DVD releases. The final disc also includes the
as a textless version.
Shingu was a
experience from beginning to end. Director Tatsuo Sato cared far more
developing interesting characters and having a consistent storyline
impressive ending than on trying to make a more standard sci-fi action
This helped to make it an especially worthwhile series that can stand
the crowd as something worth celebrating.
re-release box-set contains the entire series in one 14 mm 5-disc case
that is more manageable space-wise when compared to the art-box release
given to the series before. The DVD discs inside of the case are
identical to the previous edition, but you
lose the fancier packaging and a booklet containing
production notes, mini comics, and an interview with series
Tatsuo Sato. On the positive-side, you gain plenty of shelf-space and
you get a quality anime series for a good price. The DVD
release features good
PQ/AQ, and a small selection of extras. The high quality of this series
this easy to recommend to anime fans looking for something more
and with a slower pace. This overlooked series deserves a wider
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.