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ADV Films presents
Sorcerer On The Rocks (1999)

Kiss: Commiting that little evil deed made you feel better, didn't it?
Shibas Scotch: Got that right.
Fizz: I can't believe this.

- Chinami Nishimura, Kazuki Yao, Yuka Imai

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: January 10, 2002

Stars: Kazuki Yao, Yuka Imai, Chinami Nishimura, Nobutoshi Hayashi, Fujiko Takimoto, Jay Hickman, Monica Rial, Hilary Haag, Brett Weaver, Emily Carter
Other Stars: Yuri Shiratori, Ayako Kawasumi, Katsutoshi Hoki, Jurota Kosugi, Kira-Vincent Davies, John Swasey, Mike Kleinheinz
Director: Kazuhiro Ozawa

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (15+ for nudity, adult themes)
Run Time: 00h:55m:04s
Release Date: January 15, 2002
UPC: 702727017629
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- BB+B+ C-

DVD Review

Shibas Scotch is a real bastard, and he knows it. His heart is so dark that even the presence of the beauty of nature is enough to make him sick. He is a bounty hunter, a man for hire, and on the Spooner Continent there are few others who are as formidable a foe, especially when he has a legitimate motivation, like obstructing him from the bar or a pocketful of cash—and pay they will, to rid the land of monsters and evil sorcerers that terrorize the citizens. Shibas may be rude and lacking any sense of morality, but he also gets the job done. And done well. On the other hand, (Gin) Fizz, a Sister in the order of the Gold Cross, has a heart of gold, believing somewhere in Shibas' soul there is a hint of goodness, and her mission is to help him find it, regardless of the humiliations she must endure in the process. In the mean time she remains shackled and dragged around the countryside, submitting to his will, and when funds run short, performing table dances in strip clubs to finance his drunken debauchery. She hates it with a passion, but she has no choice.

Along for the journey is Kiss, a cheery, green-haired girl who is proud of Shibas' wickedness, which perfectly suits her animalistic instincts, and Genmi, the stalwart male companion, whose sexual attraction to Shibas makes his master's skin crawl, but his dedication comes in handy. Shibas also has to deal with Million (Dollar), a tenacious bill collector, who will make good on Shibas' debt however she can. To help him pay down what he owes, she tells him of a job in the offing to rid a seedy gambling town of the monster which lives in the depths beneath it, and here Shibas is in his element, with opportunity for some hard drinking and plenty of fast women. He's not going to let a little monster stand in the way of a good time, especially when there's a fast buck to be made.

Sorcerer on the Rocks was originally titled Chivas 1-2-3, but was renamed due to trademark issues. Written by Sorcerer Hunters author, Satoru Akahori (who also penned Saber Marionette J and Maze) with Miku Yuki, and directed by Kazuhiro Ozawa (Battle Athletes, Tenchi Muyo OVA), this two-episode OVA is set in the Spooner Continent—the same world as the Sorcerer Hunters—but they are nowhere to be found here. The character designs by Hisashi Abe (Petshop of Horrors, director of Vampire D: Bloodlust and the Cardcapter Sakura movie) are distinctive and stylish. Compared to the Sorcerer Hunters TV series, these OVAs are far more risqué, with plenty of non-concentual bust grabbing and moral violation, making the tone a lot darker and more adult-oriented than the fun-loving and free-spirited TV show. It is, however, pretty hilarious throughout, and while being fairly short, there is still a decent story developed. This includes ample introduction to the characters, who each get well defined personalities early on, with a few surprises left for later, which increases the fun factor exponentially.

It is rare to see a lead character who is as much of a, in the words of the the cover, "bastard for the ages" to his companions as Shibas, and his interaction with his team makes for much of the enjoyment of the show. Both voice casts do an admirable job, with the Japanese track edging out as expected, with a little more heart in the performance. There are a number of laugh out loud moments, especially when Shibas gets under the Fizz's skin—literally. This is a riot. The two parts make up one overall story arc, which has a definite conclusion, but also allows for further expansion in the future. It is great fun on a different level than Sorcerer Hunters, and one can easily see why the original was on TV and this one wasn't. Bottoms up!

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: The transfer is clean and despite being drab by design, colors are fairly vibrant with solid black levels. There are a few interlacing issues, which seem to pop up during the transformation sequences, and a bit of aliasing here and there. Grain is minimal, and there are no signs of compression problems.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: 38?37?o is clear with no sign of distortion or hiss. Dialogue is uncluttered and easily discernable. There is some use of the field extremes, however this is primarily reserved for the score and the odd ambient effect. Frequency range has marginal bottom end, but still feels balanced. The dub track is just slightly lower in volume.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Spectral Force, Sorcerer Hunters, Arc the Lad, Soul Hunter, Gasaraki, Dai-Guard
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Hunt for the Beast game
Extras Review: A selection of standard ADV trailers for Spectral Force, Sorcerer Hunters, Arc the Lad, Soul Hunter, Gasaraki and Dai-Guard is included, along with a Hunt for the Beast game, which contains some character artwork. Since I suck at these things, all I'll say about it is remember where you've been, or you'll be "shaken" off the trail.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

A fun and raunchier offshoot of the Sorcerer Hunters universe. A despicable hero, some hilarious circumstances and a good plot keep the entertainment factor high. Not for everyone (heed the rating), but a different angle on our friends from the Spooner Continent. I like mine neat.


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