What They Say
1212 AD. During the crusades, an innocent soldier finds himself betrayed, and leaps to his death, vowing to return as a fallen angel. Present day. Reborn as a woman named Aiko, the soldier rises as the military leader of a new crusade, successfully unites the world and abolishes all religion. Haunted by memories of a past life, Aiko travels backwards in time, and finds herself caught in an incredible battle to save the future.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with an English language dub, both of which are encoded at 192kbps. The show has a pretty basic stereo mix with nothing going to the rear speakers at all. Dialogue is clean and clear without any distortions or dropouts. The forward soundstage has some minor directionality but for the most part everything feels like a center channel job.
Originally released in 1994, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. At the time of its original release this OVA series may have had some nice production values but with it now being eight years old as of this release, I can’t imagine it stacking up too well against some of the better ones of that time. Each episode runs just over forty-five minutes so they were likely stretching their budget a bit to get all of the story told. The transfer itself looks good with no cross coloration and only the usual bits of line shimmering during camera panning sequences. The animation itself feels fairly flat and somewhat dull, but it looks to be accurately represented here.
The front cover is probably the most attractive aspect of this release with a good image of Aiko in the center with her wings and the others caught up in them, either looking towards heaven or being ripped apart in blood. The back cover gives a bit of a group shot of the Female Crusaders and an extremely minimal two line show summary. Now that’s a sign of what to expect. The discs features and production information makes up the remainder of the bottom half of the cover. The reverse side provides a nice full panel black and white shot of several of the characters while the other panel provides the chapter stops and voice cast credits.
The menus make use of the image from the front cover by animating the wings and having Aiko float in after some nice text shimmery images. The full cover is then brought about and the actual selections slide into place. It’s a rather nice menu overall and looks good. Access times to the submenus are nice and fast and the layout is standard CPM style but with a little bit more flash than a lot of their other releases.
The only real extra here is the English trailer for the show.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Frankly, you know this isn’t going to be good when the first thing I do is compare it to one of the worst viewing experiences I’ve had in recent years with Earthian. It seems like the angel genre just can’t get a good shake.
The story starts back in 1212 where we have a boat full of people going to Jerusalem for the pope on a holy mission. Only thing is, the pope’s actually sold them into slavery. So what’s a good religious person do in this scenario? They jump overboard and suicide. The man-boy in charge, Hans, can’t believe his god has sold him out this way and vows revenge, sometime, somehow, somewhere. And he’s promptly overboard.
Enter the bizarre scenario where as he floats underwater, he sprouts angel wings. Uh, ok. Then they get ripped off. Now some silicone implants and removal of anything that may have been down below, and we’ve got your basic hermaphrodite. And still a vow of vengeance, because Hans goes through some sort of portal and arrives in the present day in a schoolgirl outfit.
It’s great when the first five minutes make absolutely zero sense.
Things go forward and backward here in the present day as there are two realities. The one that Hans, now known as Aiko, has been reborn into and then the reality she and her friends have created. Apparently, she finds herself in a strict nun type school where the man in charge and has a grand plan for doing something particularly bad. Aiko ends up recruiting several other girls who are tough enough into her group to form a Second Female Crusade or something. They then begin their domination of the entire world and eliminate all national borders and all religions.
All while wearing their school outfits.
During all of this, we spend time in the new real present, as they managed to rewrite history and peoples memories. Those who remember the real past are hunted down and killed. One of the people we spend time with is an ex-sister whose slowly remembering things about the assistant at the school, who in the other reality ended up dying in a war because of Aiko and her group. She uses some supernatural talents of others to try and regain more of her memories, but all of this just floods her and sets her up to take action. She gets one of the first members of Aiko’s group, who died early on, and travels back in time to stop Aiko when he was Hans. Only thing is her faith is completely screwed with as she meets the 1212 era versions of people that aren’t anywhere near as holy as they should be.
With the way this show is written and paced, none of it makes sense. You end up figuring out things by looking at the box copy to understand the plot. There’s no separation in any way of what’s taking place when and in which reality and no real characters to draw you in. There’s also a sizeable amount of moderately explicit sex scenes throughout which is surprising for a 16+ title. Then things move into a more horror context and just get bloody and violent. But this show is just an entire mess.
And frankly, this doesn’t even feel like the beginning. When the Japanese logo comes up, there’s an ominous “II” at the end of it, but not mentioned in the English materials at all. Is this actually a sequel to something?
Well, don’t show me the original. I tried plugging my way through this three times at different viewings because I thought I fell asleep during it and missed critical scenes. Nope, just very bad writing and I didn’t miss it.
Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles, Trailer
Content Grade: D
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Central Park Media
Release Date: April 9th, 2002
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
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.