Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sands of Destruction DVD Impression

Sands of Destruction Anime
Anime based on video games carry a checkered past. Tekken, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, Halo, Dead Space, Mario, Zelda and Mega Man are just a few of the series that have dabbled into the world of anime, animation, with mixed results. The formula fails when a series, Final Fantasy for example, uses a popular series name and puts behind it some god awful crystal story not based on any game … ever. It succeeds as a side story with titles such as Halo and Street Fighter, to expand an already rich universe. It also succeeds with a series like Wild Arms that lives and breaths the game world either in parallel or just before/after.

Sands of Destruction from FUNimation falls into this last category as it was created in unison with the game and does nothing but enhance the gaming experience by creating a more visual world, larger and more engaging than that seen on Sega’s DS title. So there are two audiences for this title, gamers who have played Sands of Destruction and regular old anime folk. Why should either group care, lets take a look at a few key areas from both point of views.

Story – A single young lady, Morte, holds the fate of the world in her hand. As the only member of the hunted World Destruction Committee she is hunted for the Destruct Code passed on to her by her deceased brother. Grieving, she seeks nothing but to gain the power to activate and end all life. She is reluctantly joined by one goofy human boy, Kyrie, and a very heroic … small, powerful bear (kuma, sorry kuma) named Taupy. Hot on their trail is a member of the long lived dragon clan, Rhi’s and her half-human, half-beastman partner Naja. As they journey and avoid capture the group grows, and the choice Morte was sold on when she was solo is no longer set dead in her mind.

That’s the jist of the story without giving away plot points. As a game the central desire Morte has, the locations she must get to and growth experienced all add up to a well rounded, sometimes predictable RPG but as an anime it stands alone. The characters are more anime, and seeing them come to life is a treat for anyone who spent the time with the DS cart and enjoyed said time. Twelve anime episodes allow for plenty of explanations even without playing the game and provide a solid anime for fantasy adventure fans. A good story for fans of anime and the game.

Animation – Rock solid. This is good, above mid-level animation. It’s not on par with a highly budget anime movie but it stands above long running, daily series. Care was put into re-creating each character and location and fans of the game will appreciate this while anime fans will not be disappointed in any way.

Ties to Game – They are there but won’t be spoiled. Even in an RPG there are areas that can drag on and still end up leaving story points untold, or emotions never fully realized. This anime helps make up for that with plenty of emotion and a great score to move those emotions along.

X-Factor – Created in conjunction with the game, not before, not after, with. This is huge as the integration between the two feels fresh, feels right. When Dead Space hit for EA and they looped in comic creators form the beginning it created not only a game to enjoy but a solid prequel story that added to the gaming universe. Sands of Destruction does the same but with a much more difficult genre to coordinate.

Overall, fans of the game owe it to themselves to pick up this series. Check out some episodes on FUNimation’s YouTube channel and see if it’s a gaming universe you’d jump into or an anime that will tickle your fancy. This is what anime is all about, action, adventure, emotion and a great game to go along.

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