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Holy Knight Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

8 min read

Holy Knight CoverVengeance is a dish best served in some decidedly disturbing ways.

What They Say:
Shinta is a student at an elite university in Tokyo, leading an ordinary and peaceful life. One day he meets Lilith, a beautiful girl from Romania who has just transferred to the school. This encounter changes Shinta’s life, as he soon finds out that he is the last living vampire slayer and Lilith is in fact a vampire, his eternal foe! In order for Lilith to live, she must conceive a child with the slayer, and then kill him. Faced with their inevitable destiny, what does the future hold?

Contains OVA episodes 1-2.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the show in its original Japanese language as well as a newly produced English language dub, both of which are encoded at 192kbps. The show is one that has a decent play of action at it, but it goes for a simple forward soundstage design so it doesn’t stretch itself much and plays a bit more to the full feeling rather than with a lot of directionality or depth to it. But it does come across well when it hits those notes with what it wants to do, fitting the material well. Dialogue is fairly standard with a center channel feeling with minor placement from time to time, but it’s not the most engaging of mixes as it’s going the simple route itself. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either language track.

Video:
Originally released in the spring of 2012, the transfer for this two episode OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78: and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Animated by Lyrics, the show works with a fairly simple animation design to it that in a lot of ways reminds me of the fantasy OVAs of old that were done with a budget. There’s a lot of dark colors to this in many scenes, especially at the start and through the opening sequence, but it does lighten up as it progresses and shows some decent scenery that has a good level of detail to it and color design that works. It’s not the most richly animated show, but the standard definition transfer brings it out well with some of the more vibrant colors and better animated sequences. There’s some mild banding in a few scenes and the darker areas feel a little rougher in terms of noise, but it reflects the look of the hsw itself pretty well and is free of problems such as cross coloration or line noise.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release is done up in a standard sized DVD case that holds the single disc that comes with it. The front cover has some good character artwork to it as it has Lilith in the center and rounds her out with the rest of the cast, but with such a dark and murky background to it, the whole thing just feels too oppressive in a way and less than distinct. While a white background wouldn’t work, this just comes across as too hard, especially with the logo that’s almost unreadable with the way the red and black blends together. The back cover works much better with a white background overall where the left half features the premise with red text and deals with the basics well, and it’s followed up by a good, if dark, image of Shinta and Lilith together. The right side has several large shots from the show along it, which actually allows you to get a look at the show unlike how so many others usually do it, and that just has the basic production credits below it. The bottom is rounded out with the technical grid that covers everything cleanly and clearly as well as accurately. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is one that I largely like in a sense in that it uses the whole screen rather than covering part of it up with a block for the navigation. That it goes with the darker shades of black and blue for it while using the blue roses and flowers along the right, I like less so because it’s just so bland and doesn’t do much to set the mood for it. The layout does work well in a sense as the navigation is kept to the left and doesn’t obstruct anything, though it’s mostly just there to set up the language options or go into an episode selection submenu. So navigation is simple and easy as it basically plugs you right into things without any problems.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the single volume manga by Maya Miyazaki that was published in 2010, Holy Knight is a two episode OVA series that was produced by Lyrics back in 2012. The show is a bit of a curious one as it has a small but vocal fanbase that has long wanted it to be released, especially since OVAs like this are kind of rare these days unless attached to an ongoing manga property. It got a bit more notice with its cover artwork from Japan and then getting picked up by Media Blasters as part of a return to releasing anime as well as the debut of their new dubbing studio through MB VoiceWorks, which drew on a largely new cast of actors to anime to work with. So a lot of curiosity abounds with it, though it’s admittedly the right kind of title to try all of this with since it’s a mostly mundane work at best that tries to be more sexual than it is.

The premise is focused all around the idea of revenge as we’re introduced to our lead of Lilith as a young girl who has witnessed her parents being killed because of who they are. That’s kept kind of to the side for awhile, but the trick of it is that they’re actually some form of vampire. With her mother blowing herself up along with a lot of the soldiers that were trying to capture them and then her father buying Lilith more time to escape, she has to see a lot of bad things go down without really understanding what it’s all about. So when we reconnect with her as a teenager later as she enters at an academy, we know she’s got an agenda. That agenda is blunt and amusing, if dark and creepy, as she’s in pursuit of another student there named Shinta with whom she wants to have a baby. Like, right now. So she can eventually kill it, bathe in its blood and get revenge upon the ruling family that he’s apparently a part of. Straightforward stuff that never really gets explored.

The show throws a bunch of things at us amid all of this as we get the vampire hunting force for the government that’s after Lilith and looking for opportunities, though they’re quirky as one of the guys speaks only in acronyms. Shinta has a childhood friend named Chizuru who is positively stacked as part of her gag and we see her frustrated by the way Lilith is all over him as she feels owed for having put in the years with Shinta. And there’s also the arrival of a pint sized girl named Cammot who speaks of larger things that aren’t explored, but she provides the loli aspect to it all with her design and cuteness in comparison to the more “mature” women running around here. There are some decent moments to the show as it unfolds just in terms of how certain scenes are set up, but it’s a very incomplete work that didn’t try to distill things down to what it could here and feels more like it’s just directly working off of the manga itself. The ideas are decent enough to be sure, but it’s put together as little more than a cash grab on the Japanese side.

It also just feels plain weird in how it blends the time periods together. The opening scene has it feeling like a pre-industrial kind of world with its simplicity, swords and all, but when it shifts to Lilith being older, it’s filled with modern day kinds of conveniences, from modern school buildings to cel phones and so forth. There doesn’t feel like there’s a cohesive aspect about its overall design and is instead just a mesh of different things. Made even more so when you add in the vampiric side, the soldiers and the government operatives that are at play. So much of it revolves around the school setting though that you really understand what it is. Just a big high school kind of pervy-weird fantasy thing. And in its own weird way, it kind of works if you view it through the lens of an early work by an inexperienced creator that didn’t know what they were doing and went with something familiar from which they had read themselves. It’s like a poorly done fanfic.

In Summary:
Holy Knight is an interesting title to get things back underway with overall for Media Blasters and it makes a lot of sense. It’s short, easy to work with in getting new talent on board, easy to encode and it has some appealing aspects to it for fans that have been curious about the title. It’s also priced on the cheap side, making it an easy sampler kind of thing, whether ordering online or getting curious about it while at a convention and seeing it on the table there. For the most part, the show falls apart easily as there’s not a lot of consistency to it, or any kind of conclusion, but it has a little nostalgia value for me as it feels like a lot of 80’s and early 90’s OVAs in that sense. The show is all over the place and it could have gone further with the fanservice in order to provide appeal there more. In the end, it’s the kind of title you want to kind of restart your company with in order to get the kinks and bugs out of the system.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

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

Released By: Media Blasters
Release Date: March 15th, 2015
MSRP: $19.98
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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