What They Say
An army of invading aliens attack the peaceful land of Lyon with lust and carnage on their minds. Only the combined forces of Swordsman Zeke, Swordswoman Neris, and the psychic Flare stand between the sadistic Glode and his total subjugation of the people of Lyon.
Then, the forest of Lyon becomes host to a malevolent force that consumes all who trespass its borders. When Lady Neris and her brother Eo disappear while investigating, it is up to Flare to discover what new evil lurks in the heart of Lyon!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language in stereo encoded at 224kbps. It wasn’t one that was dubbed when it came out on VHS and there wasn’t a dub produced for this DVD release either, which is unfortunate. There’s not much for the show to work with considering its age, but the full sounding mix comes across nice and clear and the dialogue is very distinct. There’s no real noticeable placement or depth to it but it’s a good presentation of what the show was like when it came out originally. The music is the area where it tends to sound more full in general, but there’s not that huge of a difference between it and the dialogue itself. We didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 1986, the transfer for this two part OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The OVAs were animated by Kusama Art Ltd. back in 1986 and then 1990 and have plenty of space to work with here. That said, the source materials for this are obviously fairly old and the transfer here shows off some of the flaws, particularly in the opening shot where you can see all the dirt and scratches that are in the animation itself as it moves. Once past that, it’s a pretty standard looking transfer for a show of this age in that there’s a fair bit of softness to it throughout and some basic line noise issues during various panning sequences. Some of the background noise is a little distracting at times but for the most part this is a decent looking transfer for a show that’s over twenty years old. Colors generally remain solid and the character designs come across well.
The cover art for this release plays up the light and dark side pretty well as the background is given over the evil aliens that come a pillaging while the foreground has the three lead characters, mostly with just their skin showing, which is much brighter and obviously more appealing. The character designs are definitely classic in their nature but they’re very appealing with the detail and overall look of them. The back cover is nicely laid out with a good serious shot of Flare along the top and a set of six shots from the show down the left and right side. The background is made up of a dark stone look that adds to the serious side really well while the central column has the detailed look at what the show is about. The bottom portion is given over to some basic production credits and a solid technical grid.
The menu design is very straightforward as it has a shot of Neris in her very thin outfit where we see her somewhat from behind. She’s set against an old stone wall with a bit of a design to it that gives it an old world feel. The navigation is along the left and is very simple as it has just the episode selection and the DVD credits menu. With this being a monolingual disc, there’s nothing to change so no submenu for that or for chapter stops. The layout is very simple and easy to use and works problem free, even if it doesn’t have a lot of flash to it.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When ADV Films launched their Soft Cel label, years before they spun it off to its own company and then sold the bulk of it to Critical Mass, the first title on their agenda was Legend of Lyon: Flare. Released in 1995, nearly ten years after its Japanese release, the series was practically never mentioned again by anyone from the company. Then, some twenty-two years after its original Japanese release, the title surfaced under the Happy Carrot label on DVD for a new generation of fans. Long considered by some to be too disturbing, how does it hold up in comparison to what’s been out in the years since?
Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty tame. The two-part series revolves around the simple idea of a group of violent and monstrous aliens who travel from world to world in order to find women to have sex with. Their interests tend to involve a lot of pain and suffering, more than most of their victims can withstand as they often end up killing them. This is demonstrated very quickly as the first woman that we see the leader of this group take ends up dying because he basically pulls her chest apart. It’s not hard to understand why this would be pretty disturbing – back in 1986. Just a few years later we were treated to Urotsukidoji and that took everything to another level, making this look tame. The aliens have found a new world that they intend to conquer and pillage called Lyon. Lyon is a very beautiful and peaceful world in tune with nature, the kind of classic fantasy world where everyone is happy. The main kingdom on the planet is in the midst of celebration as Prince Zeke and Princess Flare are married and feeling that they’re the luckiest place in the world.
Of course, that doesn’t last long as the aliens arrive, massive versions of themselves as well, and spread chaos and destruction over the world. And, of course, lots of sex happens too as they make their way through the lands to where the people are. And they take them hard and fast since the people have little in the way of defensive weapons beyond some swords. The aliens don’t use much either beyond what they have for their bodies, but with tentacles that seem like aliens themselves with little mouths on them, they’re able to make short work of anyone that gets in their way. Zeke does his best to fend them off, but he is just one man with a sword.
The opening episode deals with the invasion and the way that everyone tries to defend the princess. Zeke does his best as does her faithful servant, the warrior woman Neris. But they can do only so much against the sweeping evil going across their lands. Thankfully, Flare is somehow connected to the world at large and she’s able to set the stage for a second episode where time has passed and the aliens are intent on making sure their plan to destroy everything reaches fruition. The second episode delves more into Neris and her younger brother Eon who finds himself being controlled by the aliens and used against his friends and family.
The sex side of this release is really quite tame overall, especially since there’s nothing besides breasts shown for the bulk of it and generally naked bodies with no genitalia. When they start to show that area in the second episode, it’s mosaiced on the source itself so it couldn’t be removed. It only happens for one scene, but that’s as “hardcore” as the show could get back in 1986. The violence is more apparent than the sex, though they do have plenty of tentacle moments along the way. With the classic character designs, it’s certainly appealing to have something more from this era, but the show doesn’t really utilize it all that much in the adult way. But it is rather reflective of the times.
Legend of Lyon: Flare has long been requested by a group of fans who want to catch up on shows that never made it to DVD before. Thankfully, this one finally has and we have one more to cross off the list. It’s a really decent bit of classic adult anime from the mid ’80s, something that’s very rarely brought over, especially these days. It’s sort of quaint at times and very light on plot – are the aliens ever actually named? Happy Carrot has a decent release here that works with the materials that they have considering the age of the license. There are no surprises here and it’s a solid release overall that will make classic adult anime fans happy. Newer fans may wonder what the fuss is about, especially after hearing from people for a few years that they never wanted to see something like this again.
Japanese 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: ADV Films
Release Date: January 20th, 2009
Running Time: 60 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.