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ADV Films presents
Sorcerer Hunters #1: Magical Encounters (Bakuretsu Hunter) (1995/1996)

"It is one of the Sorcerer Hunters' most important duties to enforce the gods' ban on prohibited magics."
- Big Momma (Sumi Shimamoto)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: March 07, 2001

Stars: Shinnosuke Furumoto, Madono Mitsuaki, Yuko Mizutani, Megumi Hayashibara
Other Stars: Sumi Shimamoto, Sakiko Tamagawa, Kiyoyuki Yanada, Banjou Ginga
Director: Keiji Goto

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (15+ for adult themes, violence, language, fanservice)
Run Time: 02h:44m:18s
Release Date: February 20, 2001
UPC: 702727008528
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-AA C-

DVD Review

On the Spooner Continent, powerful sorcerers keep a tyranical reign on the inhabitants, through the use of forbidden magics. Under direction from a beautiful and benevelant goddess, from the shadows come a group of Sorcerer Hunters, the only ones who can free the people from this dominance, and put an end to their magical overlords. Their mission is to seek out all abusers of magic, and make them atone for their sinful ways. This all sounds fine and well until we meet the characters that make up this legendary team.

Our cast of characters is headed by 17-year-old Carrot Glase (Shinnosuke Furumoto), a maniacal pervert out on the make for anything female. As a Sorcerer Hunter he doesn't possess any magic, but is able to absorb spells, and if you think he's a horny devil in his normal form, just cast a spell on him! He is joined by his younger brother Marron (Madono Mitsuaki), who is a mage and master of Eastern magic. Compared to Carrot he is really laid back, and wears long flowing robes, but if you want to see his dark side, just mess with his brother. Also along are Tira and Chocolate Misu, sisters who are both in love with Carrot. Tira (Megumi Hayashibara) is somewhat shy and understated, hiding behind mirrored sunglasses; that is, until she is called upon to battle a sorcerer, at which point the robes fall off, and she is clad in her revealing orange suit, doning a whip that serves equal purpose: to dispell enemies or put Carrot back in shape. Chocolate (Yuko Mizutani) is outgoing and considers Carrot her "darling" (giving me another Urusei Yatsura flashback), which drives Tira up the wall. She is constantly throwing herself at Carrot, who (unlike any other anime males: NOT) has a complete lack of interest in either of the sisters. Chocolate also has an alterego when she sheds her threads into her dominatrix mode, complete with her slice-and-dice garrote. Finally, we have Gateau Mocha (Kiyoyuki Yanada), the muscleman of the group, whose sexual orientation is somewhat questionable, despite being a hulking "manly man". Pulling the strings from behind the scenes is Big Momma (Sumi Shimamoto) and her daughter Dotta (Sakiko Tamagawa)—get it?— who direct the team to their latest assignments from afar... and they don't call her "big" for nothing.

Sorcerer Hunters (Bakuretsu Hunter) was adapted from writer Satoru Akahori (Saber Marionette J) and artist Ray Omish's manga as a 26 part TV series broadcast between October 1995 and March 1996. The series, while so far only hinting at some background plot, is primarily one episode after another of encounters with different sorcerers, which the crew is called on to dispatch, though we do have at least one character development episode here in the A Dreamy Girl At Lakeside installment, where Carrot is featured. If the premise of a couple of dominatrices and an oversexed lead character seems somewhat racey, the content carefully avoids getting too out of hand, though they do push the boundaries on occasion (the Lakeside episode has Carrot lusting after a very young girl, for example). There is plenty of fanservice available without getting too raunchy. For the TV series, Chocolate's manga outfit—which consisted of a pair of suspenders for a top (a la Charlotte Rampling in The Night Porter)—was modified to something a little less skimpy, and there are a couple of instances where the subtitles are bleeped out, though it's pretty clear what should be inferred. For the most part, we have a lot of silly fun, and so far not much in the way of an ongoing plot, which is great when you want to just dive in for a quick anime fix without having to remember some long involved storyline. This isn't for the kiddies, but I like it!

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Though the source material does have some noticable grain to it, that aside, the image looks pretty good. I have yet to see anime without some aliasing or line noise, and this is no exception, but colors are solid and vibrant, and the backgrounds are well-rendered. There is little that will detract from the viewing experience that isn't in the source.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Stereo audio is presented in Japanese and and English dub. The tracks are clean and distortion free, with limited directionality due to the primarily dialogue focused soundtrack. Nothing to complain about here, though I'd recommend staying away from the dub track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 35 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Original Dirty Pair, Gunsmith Cats, Blue Seed, Generator Gawl, Gasaraki, Martian Successor Nadesico
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Character bios Character bios
Extras Review: Like the soon-to-street Gunsmith Cats disc also reviewed here at dOc, ADV seems to be cutting out the forced trailers and putting them back in the menus where they belong. They also seem to be throwing in a new one to go along with others that have appeared on lots of their discs. In this case we get a preview of: The Original Dirty Pair and Gunsmith Cats, alongside Blue Seed, Generator Gawl, Gasaraki and Martian Successor Nadesico.

With seven episodes jammed onto the disc, there is little in the way of extras, though a set of (thankfully) non-spoiler character bios covers Carrot, most of the female cast and some baddies; the rest I assume will follow in subsequent releases. The show's original trailer is also present. The episode selection menu bites though, as the episodes aren't numbered. ADV has stated they will address this for the next disc in the series.

Though we do get a nice shot of Dotta and a tiny snippet of Tira on the front cover, I much prefer the artwork used on volume one of the VHS release, especially the style used for the logo (okay, I dig the fanservice poses too). You can never please me, can you? Fortunately, due to public outcry over this issue, ADV will be redesigning the cover for the second run of discs, and may include some form of upgrade later on. One thing about ADV is that they may make mistakes, but seem to be willing to address them to please the fans—you have to give them credit for that.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

If you want some zany antics, pretty boys, deluxe fanservice and not too much plot, The Sorcerer Hunters is for you. It is pretty silly most of the time, and much of the humor seems old hat by now, but it has its moments. ADV has done a good job of providing value with this disc clocking in a 165 minutes, so even if you don't put this in the top ten, you're still definitely getting your money's worth. I'm looking forward to more.


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