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Leviathan Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

8 min read
Leviathan -the last defense- Complete Collection Anime DVD Review
Leviathan -the last defense- Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

Cute girls in skimpy costumes use magic to protect the world of Aquafall against evil bugs coming from meteorites.

What They Say:
The lands of Aquafall were a paradise, where life in all forms flourished in peace and abundance. But then the meteors began to fall, each impact hideous monsters sent by an enemy that wants to claim the entire green world for itself. Fortunately, the fairy Syrup is on guard and knows exactly what to do. Working quickly, she began to recruit an extraordinary team of young women to form the base of the Aquafall Defenders. There’s the incredibly strong and athletic Jormungandr, the fire-conjuring Bahamut, and Leviathan, who has the ability to bend water to her will.

Unfortunately, none of them is exactly ideal warrior material and syrup will have her work cut out for her when it comes to forming them into a team. And even if they do manage to survive bonding during adventures involving things like lovesick dragons and aliens attacking barbeques, can three lone girls really turn the tide of an alien invasion?

Well, it might help that they’ve all got a little big of Dragon in them! The scales of fate will turn as the future of Aquafall hangs in the balance in Leviathan -the last defense-!

Includes all 12 Episodes on 3 Discs.

The Review:
Audio:
The single audio track, the Dolby Digital 48 kHz 224 kbps 2.0 Japanese track is clear without any notable dropouts or distortions. I didn’t notice any real directionality to the sound during playback. While there are action scenes, a great deal of the show is just talking between the characters, so most of the work is done by the center speaker.

Video:
Originally airing in spring 2013, the show is presented in its original aspect ration of 1.78:1 in MPEG-2 480p video. While the video is upscaled so I can’t judge what the true HD version looks like, the DVD version seems a bit flat in places, as well as featuring some noise and distortion, especially in dark areas, with the noise being very apparent if you change your viewing angle from dead center to viewing the screen at a slight angle on either side. The colors also seem slightly muted, though as I did watch some of the simulcast episodes when the show originally aired, this doesn’t appear to be an aberration, as it seems largely the same in the simulcast as I recall.

Packaging:
Flipper-hinged 3-disc DVD keepcase of standard “single” width. The cover features a picture of the main girls, Jörmungand, Leviathan, and Bahamut, with Syrop floating above and to the left of them. The designs feel slightly different as if this were taken from a piece of original artwork by the original character designer and not from a piece of standard promotional art. The back of the case has a large image of Syrop (larger than what would probably be life-sized for her) along with the normal mixture of catalog copy, a group of screen captures arrayed below the text description and the regular info grid below.

The disc art uses images of Leviathan, Bahamut, and Jörmungand, all looking rather sad or pensive, in that order.

Menu:
The menus feature a static image of one of the characters, with the episodes listed opposite them, directly accessible from the main menu. Segments of the opening and ending themes on a loop play in the background, changing in the different menus. Load times are quick and the menus serve their purpose well enough.

Extras:
Very little. The first disc contains only the usual selection of trailers and the disc authoring credits. The second disc holds the clean versions of the opening and ending animation. The third disc has no extras at all.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based upon a mobile phone game by GREE featuring dragon-girls as characters, Leviathan -the last defense- is a thirteen episode adaptation animated by Gonzo under the direction of Kenichi Yatani (who previously has directed Doujin Work and co-directed the later portions of the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki OVAs). Considering the source material for this work, a free-to-play mobile phone game, one could be excused for not having the highest expectations for the show.

Those low expectations are largely met by this fairly competent, but never really much more than that, show. The one line description I gave at the start of this entire article is pretty much all one needs to know about the show. It features three girls who would probably equate to the last year of middle school or first year of high school in the real world of Japan. All of them are cute in the way that female anime characters are, with Leviathan and Jörmungand (the way the name is consistently spelled in the subtitles) being on the bustier side while Bahamut is completely flat and underdeveloped looking in comparison (and could well simply be younger than the other two girls). As the setting is a kind of generic fantasy RPG land (even made fun of slightly as the town the girls live in, Haruna, is introduced as having your basic stores for a small town: a weapons shop, an item shop, and a place to eat. Note: “weapons” shops and “item” shops don’t appear so much in the real world), the girls don’t go to school so it is hard to know their exact ages.

The show is not entirely without some touches of creativity. To get around the usual problems of censorship for fanservice, the fact that the humanoids in this world appear to be part dragon is used inventively to give the girls “scales” in strategic places, removing the need for magical steam, sudden flashes of light or other standard methods of providing censorship in order to meet broadcast standards. That the appearance of scales is entirely arbitrary and solely to take place of other censorship becomes clear when one gets to the beach episode, where the swimsuits provide all the required coverage and areas which clearly had scales drawn in before when the characters were unclothed suddenly show no signs of them.

In terms of plot or characters, however, there is not much here which has not been seen before. After a series of meteors land on Aquafall, monsters appear to come out of them, spreading destruction. Called Toripu, these creatures largely seem to be insect-like. The small ones are largely nuisances, but the larger ones are quite dangerous and destructive. To face the threat of the alien invaders, a small fairy named Syrup goes in search of powerful magic wielders to form a response team to the threat. In the small and peaceful village of Haruna, she finds three likely candidates: Leviathan, a fairly stoic girl who can use water magic and has a backstory involving her missing brother which never gets resolved in this season; Jörmungand, a rough and powerful girl who wields an axe and lives with her adopted family of miners who took her in as a child; and Bahamut, a fire wielder whose father is a mage and leading citizen of Haruna. Yes, all three are named after famous mythical creatures, generally giant serpents of some sort, which we’d likely consider varieties of dragons.

The girls happen to meet by chance one day when a lone small Toripu annoys them (by smacking into their heads; it otherwise seems incapable of doing any lasting or serious damage). Following their encounter, they meet again on several occasions and then go on an extended vacation (Bahamut decides to go on vacation, hires Jörmungand to carry her heavy luggage, and Leviathan chooses to tag along since Bahamut is going to the ocean and Leviathan had a dream featuring her missing brother which told her to go to the ocean). During this whole time, they meet the more powerful Toripu and also gain two powerful allies, real dragons who serve as guardians of certain locations.

As can be easily guessed, while they all seem rather reluctant to do it, over the course of the series the three eventually agree to Syrup’s suggestion that they join the Aquafall Defense team to counter the threat of the Toripu, who intend to wreak havoc and threaten the keystones of the world. The decision to take up Syrup’s request to protect the planet full time is made final by their defense of Haruna against a massive enemy creature, the formation of the team ending the show in a way that could easily have been built into a sequel, though there is currently no sign of one being on the horizon.

The show is not pure action. A fair amount of comedy suffuses everything that occurs. The balance between action and comedy works for the most part, though this show isn’t really an outstanding example on either front. There are no real laugh-out-loud moments, just a number of brief chuckles. The action animation is not particularly impressive.

Considering how limited the source material is, you have to give the production staff some credit for making as much as they did out of this, though only some credit. For Leviathan is fairly predictable, filled with stock characters and situations, and lacking in either execution or innovation that could have made it stand out from the pack.

In Summary:
If cute magical beast girls accompanied by a small wise-cracking fairy fighting evil alien insects is your thing, Leviathan should be right up your alley. If none of those elements sound like they hold any appeal, while this is not a bad show, you might not get much entertainment out of it, since it features competent over exciting or innovative story and character development.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation

Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: June 10th, 2014
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 325 minutes
Video Encoding: 480p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL-32S5100 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Sony Bravia DAV-HDX589W 5.1-Channel Theater System connected via digital optical cable.

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