11/22/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

ADV Films presents
Orphen #1: Spell Of The Dragon (2001)

"I've waited a year for you! No, for the five years since I left the Tower, I've SEARCHED for you. Azalie!"
- Orphen (Shotaro Morikubo)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: June 22, 2001

Stars: Shotaro Morikubo, Mayumi Iizuka, Oumi Minami
Other Stars: Kazue Ikura, Hekiru Shina
Director: Masahiro Aizawa

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence, occult imagery)
Run Time: 01h:06m:00s
Release Date: March 20, 2001
UPC: 702727011924
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B-AA- B-

DVD Review

Based on the Japanese manga Sorcerous Stabber Orphen, ADV's release of the Orphen anime marks a predictable turn of events. I say predictable, because the subsequent video game based on the series was among the first batch of titles released for Sony's Playstation 2 console. It would seem a very ideal time to release the anime, what with the new found press Orphen is receiving. This is also good news for the series which, until the release of the game, most people hadn't heard of. Fantasy fans should enjoy this simplistic, but well-orchestrated bit of magic and mayhem.

Set in a non-descript, medieval kingdom, young sorcerer Orphen finds himself teaching a young apprentice and taking things pretty easy. Although he's told everyone he's a member of a prestigious group of wizards from Fang Tower, his reasons for leaving that sect remain a secret. He and his apprentice often keep watch over a local manor where a young girl named Cleo now lives, having recently arrived back in this part of the landscape. When she sees Orphen, she assumes he's some sort of peeping tom, and we have no reason to assume otherwise. As it turns out, though, Orphen has been keeping an eye on this family, and he's being helped by two young friends who've gotten jobs as cooks inside the manor.

When a bizarre demon known as Bloody August makes its appearance, the reason for Orphen's activity becomes clear: this wealthy family holds in their possession a mystical sword that dark forces seek to control and Orphen has been looking after it. The sword, however, is also capable of destroying Bloody August and other evils. Unfortunately, despite his power, Orphen does not wish to kill August, but wants to 'heal' it (whatever that means). No one around Orphen quite understand his motivations, but they are invited to join him in a quest to locate this mysterious Bloody August (also known as Azalie). The other sorcerers at the Tower, however, have other goals in mind. They will seek to delay Orphen's quest and keep him from reaching Azalie.

As it may already be apparent, Orphen isn't terribly original; this isn't that bad, though, since the story is told generally pretty well. It's got moments of good humor, and moments of intensity, both evenly used to create a distinct atmosphere. It's all very entertaining, but the lack of originality is a little exasperating. The writing is fairly bland and, despite some good characters, you feel like the chassis for your average fantasy novel has just been re-painted with a new design.

Like any decent adventure story, however, it does suck you in and once you've seen these 3 episodes, you really want to experience more of the story. I know I did. For all of its faults, Orphen paces itself in a way I've never really seen an anime series do. It moves quickly enough to stay exciting, and whenever some action sequence shows up, it's handled with a level of major intensity and power. It's nice to see a show about a sorcerer where he really uses his powers a lot and is adept at combat. I'm sure some would argue that there's better fantasy anime than Orphen, but by the same token, Orphen isn't bad. It fits in well with other titles, but doesn't do much to make itself standout.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Despite having been made in 1999, Orphen looks much older. Not as the result of a bad transfer, mind you, but it uses very old-fashioned cel techniques which result in some examples of heavy grains and texturing in backgrounds. This is, of course, part of the source and the transfer itself is virtually perfect. Outstandingly sharp and clear, colors stand out brilliantly, and black level is extremely sharp. You can see brushstrokes in some backgrounds, the details are so fine. While the source technique definitely looks like something produced in the 1980s (I was reminded of Ralph Bakshi's work), the actual image quality is up to the standards I'm getting used to with ADV.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Japaneseyes


Audio Transfer Review: Both English and Japanese audio are in Dolby Pro-Logic 2.0 Surround format. The audio is generally impressive and presents a wide soundstage. Most sound effects go through all 3 front channels and really pack quite a punch. While there isn't a whole lot of directionality, most scenes use the audio as well as possible. The surround channels carry some good material, mainly ambient sound (thunder is a good example) and serve to enhance the music. The score, while a bit odd to me (jazz doesn't seem to fit in a fantasy program), comes out very well and very immersive. This one of those pleasant mixes that you can crank up and not be blown away, but rather 'dipped' into the sound mix very comfortably.

The English dub is nothing notable; it isn't horrible and it isn't terrific. However, it's quite literally unlistenable because so much of the dialogue has been heavily altered from the meaning and tone of the Japanese. I'm not really a fan of English dubs re-doing a lot of dialogue, but crucial story points are actually significantly changed in the dub, so that the motivations of the characters aren't as clear as they are in the subtitled version.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Farscape, Shadow Raiders, Samurai X, Spriggan, Arc The Lad, Sin
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Textless opening and closing footage.
  2. Promotional art reel.
Extras Review: Presented in a separate section of the disc, are textless versions of the opening and closing credits, which seems to have become a big deal with many anime fans, so it's nice to see it being implemented. There is also a reel of artwork, both conceptual and promotional in nature. Unfortunately, the artwork runs on its own and can't really be manipulated. The usual batch of trailers is there as well.
Presentation-wise, the package gets some high marks for some really stylish artwork and menus. Of course, the cover art is vaguely similar to the cover for the Orphen video game, with the same font. I hope people don't confuse the two (given that they're both in DVD-style cases).

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

I'm beginning to think ADV really ought to start making their anime series volumes a little thicker, as the 2 or 3 episode per-disc format is getting a bit frustrating. They do a good job, certainly, but I can't imagine even hardcore anime fanatics being able to afford all the great stuff they publish. That aside, Orphen is fun and entertaining, although simplistic. I can't really recommend a purchase, but for rental, it's a sure-fire thumbs up.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store