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[ café reviews ]


Crystania no Densetsu
(The Legend of Crystania)

[ production info ]

Copyright: © 1996 Kadokawa Shoten/Group SNE/Marubeni (Japan)
Genre: fantasy / action
Length: 100 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Suggested
Format: Original Japanese Dialog (LD)

Original story by: Mizuno Ryo

[ rated pg ]


Parental Guidance Advised - Violence. Several fairly violent battle scenes, but no worse than what you'd see on prime-time TV.

[ plot summary ]

Ashram and Priotess have found their ocean-going fleet dead in the water. A mysterious voice from nowhere lowers the barrier of land which stood before them, to reveal a vast, lush island. But the owner of the voice has designs on Ashram...

300 years later, a young Leydo finds himself in serious trouble. His father and mother killed by treachery, he and his small party finds themselves on the run from the unfriendly army. All hopes seemed to be dashed when they run into the great wall which sequesters their land... But as the enemy nears, the wall parts like a curtain, and Leydo hears a mysterious voice, inviting them into the mysterious lands know as Cystania...

[ capsule review ]

OK. I admit it. I've fallen asleep when trying to watch this thing -- twice. I can't believe that Kadokawa Shoten and Group SNE, who also produced Lodoss To Senki, would allow the use of such obvious "similarities." Worse, I can't believe that the original story is by Mizuno Ryo (also did Lodoss to Senki). Let's see if I've got the "plot" right: 300 years ago, Ashram, Pirotess and their fleet are dead in the water, when a mysterious god drops an island on their laps. Move forward to "present-day," when our young hero, Leydo (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Parn), finds himself on the run after his father and mother are killed by the army. Their accursed island (Alecrast?!?) is surrounded by vasts oceans and a insurmountable wall. Backed against a wall (literally), a mysterious voice invites Leydo and his party into the mysterious lands - Crystania.

I'm still not sure what the story is supposed to be about. Balbas has been playing puppeteer, but we're not really sure why. Why is Adelicia in the party? Why does Leydo save Ryo's life? Why has it taken Priotess 300 years to be able to try to free Ashram? And why does Leydo's horse jump a ridiculous distance (on its own accord, no less!) to get Leydo and Priotess into the grounds? Better still, how did the two survive? Lots of questions, no answers. I sniffed trouble from the very opening scenes -- a live shot of a gaming convention, which then fades to a table around which sit a party dressed in fantasy costume, all staring at an over-exposed dining room lamp. This has got to be the worst show I've ever watched -- er, tried to watch. There's no real story, and there's no real flow. Characters are thrown into the script indescriminately, as if some poor dungeon master in an RPG started getting more players joining his dungeon quest. Animation quality is mixed -- surprisingly realistic in some scenes, Saturday-morning cartoon quality in others. (I wonder if there's a stock footage library of animé?) Background music and opening themes are thankfully non-descript, as is the acting, with the exception of Leydo (try to imagine a male version of Noriko from GunBuster. Only Leydo will start bawling at the drop of a hat, kill half a dozen swamp creatures, and then start bawling all over again.) The final scene when Balbas' influence over Ashram's body is held in check, and Pirotess has to kill Ashram with his own sword was inspired by the Eveready Energizer commericals: it goes on, and on, and on... If this ever gets dubbed in English, I hope it's totally re-written. In the meantime, there are apparently two more installments... - AN

Oy. We should probably have known better when there were errrr similarities drawn between Crystania and Lodoss. Not 5 minutes into the movie I was questioning "why". Why was I sitting there watching this drivel, why is the main character acting like a total idiot, and why oh *why* was I still watching the thing?! The voice acting was, to put things mildly, pathetic. Overacted in some places, just plain *awful* in others. I couldn't really get into the movie whatsoever, and was instead aware of the painful usage of two characters from Lodoss Wars: Pirotess and Ashram. Worse, I think I was aware of every minute that I sat there watching the thing (and yes, asking WHY?!?). The er... story was quite simply weak. There was no *real* storyline or plot, which sometimes really makes me wonder if it was some RPG session put into animé form or something.

The animation quality is very odd. There are some scenes where the animation is *fantastic*, usually with background scenery. Very early in the movie, you have a fantastic bit of footage with very detailed creek and it makes you think that the actual animation will be quite good (too early to tell entirely about the actual story at that point though). And then there are the people... Then it looks like a high school production with everyone and anyone having been drafted into the project. Needless to say, this makes things difficult to properly rank the animation quality which we averaged here instead.

While I managed to sit and watch the entire thing, *others* seem to be having some difficulty sitting through it at all. I understand that there is now a third LD out for Crystania, however, I think it's *very* safe to say that we will not likely be following up on this series. I can think of a lot of different LD's that we'd rather have picked up than this one. Truly this LD deserves to be buried in soft peat. The only question is whether it would stay there. - JYN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: 1 star N/A N/A
Direction: turkey N/A N/A
Acting: turkey N/A N/A
Animation: 2 stars N/A N/A
Music: 2 stars N/A N/A
Translation: N/A N/A N/A
Overall Rating: turkey N/A N/A

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Page last modified 1999.01.26