Sunday, April 25, 2010

Video Backlog: "Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars"

Publisher: Right Stuf (USA)
Format: Region 1 DVD, NTSC, Japanese Dialogue with optional English Dub and English Subtitles
Length: 26 Episodes x 25 minutes
Production Date: 2001
Currently in Print (as of writing): Yes

Story Outline: In May of 2070, an alien ship appears above the skies of Tokyo. Although seemingly not a threat, a strange giant being appears beside it and destroys it, leaving a trail of what seem to be cherry blossom petals in its wake, much to the surprise of Tokyo’s inhabitants. Strangely, no one seems to be really shocked about the incident. People assume the government has been hiding the fact aliens have existed for some time now. In the small town of Tenmo, a new student named Muryou Subaru is staring high school. Unlike the rest of the class, he is wearing an ancient school uniform from a century ago and seems a little strange, though is popular with his classmates. However student council vice president Kyoichi Moriguchi decides to challenge Muryou on the rooftop of one of the school buildings. Class rep Hajime Murata tries to stop them but is caught up in what seems to be a psychic battle. Hajime soon discovers not is all that it seems in Tenmo, and the residents have been keeping a secret; they defend the world against alien attack.

Mini Review: This show was a bit of a surprise. I can recall seeing some adverts for this show in Animage and Newtype years and years ago, but never heard any buzz about it. While it might be advertised as a sci-fi adventure, it’s more like a slice of life show with a sci-fi sub plot. Although it’s meant to be 2070, it’s more like 1970 at some points. It’s got this weird nostalgic view, yet it’s futuristic and family friendly at the same time. The key to this show is its characters which are quite well rounded and really likable. The whole alien invasion plot really takes a back seat most of the time. So much so you sometimes wonder why they’re so laid back when they know some sort of invasion is happening. The Right Stuf’s name change from "Record of School Wars Muryou" to “Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense really. Substituting one Japanese name for another. Sure Shingu has a bigger role than Muryou, but what is the point? Couldn't figure out why the character design was so familar looking. It's Takahiro Yoshimatsu who did "Future GPX Cyber Formula" and "Trigun". Fun show, even though it felt a bit slow at points. Oh, by the waw the picture above is the original Right Stuf box that came with volume one. Ugly isn't it? Good thing I picked up all five volumes for US$8 or less. Bargin. Totally worth it. 7.5 out of 10.

Remaining Backlog: 20 months (it's much easier this way than listing the number of discs).

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