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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Munto 2: Beyond the Walls of Time
Munto 2: Beyond the Walls of Time
Central Park Media // Unrated // April 4, 2006
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted April 3, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

An OVA sequel to the 2004 film Munto, Munto 2:  Beyond the Walls of Time is a very gorgeous looking show with wonderful character designs, detailed animation and some impressive battle scenes.  Unfortunately the confusing story and drab characters and uneven pacing do little to make the program enjoyable.

Yumemi is a young high school girl who has a special ability.  Ever since she was a young girl she could see a floating island in the sky, an island that no one else could see.  In the first movie, Munto, the ruler of this island known as the Magical Kingdom, came to Yumemi for her help when his kingdom was under attack.  Now, a year later, he needs her help again.

The Magical Kingdom is facing an alliance of it's enemies, and though they have some friends of their own, it's doubtful that they'll be able to survive.  After fending off some brutal attacks, Munto realizes that he needs Yumemi once again.

Then the narrative changes, and for the next half hour or so (out of a show that only lasts a bit over an hour) viewers get to see Yumemi as she stares off into space while she's at school, zones out at work, and gets lost in herself at an amusement park.  Finally, when the Magical Kingdom and the real world are about to collide once again, Yumemi realizes what she must do.

This was a very uneven show.  Though I didn't see the first installment of this OVA, released in November 2004, the recap in the extras section brought me up to date, and the beginning was pretty good.  Though I was confused as to the motives of the various factions that were warring and didn't know exactly who everyone was, I was able to keep up for the most part.  The battle scenes were very impressive and fun to watch and really grabbed my attention.

About 15 minutes in however, the show takes a turn for the worse.  When the narrative switches to Yumemi, it's like someone engaged the emergency brakes and wouldn't get off.  The pace slows to a crawl, something I wasn't expecting after the action packed start of the show.  Yumemi stares out into space and her friends worry about her, that's about it.

When you didn't think that the show could get any worse, it does.  As if the animators realized that they were running out of budget, the conclusion pops up abruptly.  A few things that don't really make a lot of sense happen, and then the credits roll.  Maybe it's because the middle part lulled me into a stupor, but the show didn't really reach a conclusion as just end.  Yes, there was some type of resolution to the main problem, but so much was left hanging, and so many things went unexplained that the ending is very unsatisfying.  I can only assume that the production company is planning a Munto 3 to resolve some of these issues.

I don't mind slow films in general when they take their time to examine a character or situation.  This film didn't however.  Yumemi's character was pretty much a cipher.  We didn't get inside her head or really see what it was like being the only one who could see this invisible floating island.  If there was any part where viewers could identify with her, the movie might have been better, but there wasn't.  Not only that, but we never learn about the politics of the Magical Kingdom or why they were constantly being attacked.  Maybe these were answered in the first OVA, but with so much time wasted in this one, I tend to doubt it.

The one area where this OVA does excel is in the visuals.  The character designs, especially Gass and the robots that attack at the beginning, are very creative and interesting.  The way that magic spells appear is very cool too.  Even the humans and street scenes have a lot of detail and look much better than your average anime fare.  It's too bad that the story isn't up to the same high standards that the animation sets.

The DVD:


Audio:

This DVD comes with the original Japanese stereo soundtrack as well as a stereo surround sound English dub.  The English dub was fine, though I enjoyed the Japanese track a bit more.   Both tracks were clear and free from defects, though some more bass would have been welcome during the battle sequences.  The show had a good amount of range but some of the explosions lacked punch.  Audio defects were absent.  There are optional English subtitles, and subs for only the signs and song lyrics.

Video:

The full frame color image looks very good.  Since this was an OVA, more money was spent on the animation and this looks better than most TV shows.  The colors are rich and solid and cross colorization isn't an issue.  There is a touch of aliasing, but it isn't major.  Overall an nice looking disc.

Extras:

In addition to a trio of art galleries, there's an 8-minute recap of Munto, the first film, which helps those who haven't seen the first film, like myself.  There is also the Japanese TV warning and a series of trailers.

Final Thoughts:

I was terribly unimpressed by this hour long show as a whole.  Though it started of strong, the program quickly loses it's momentum and becomes mired in watching the main character stare out into space.  The ending was very confusing and unsatisfying and didn't do much to conclude the story.  I'll be the first to admit that seeing the first movie may have made this sequel more enjoyable, but I doubt it.  The long and boring middle and the abrupt ending were just sloppy story telling.  If you enjoyed the first part, by all means give this one a try, but if you missed the first Munto OVA you should definitely skip this one.

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