ADV Films presents
Devil Hunter Yohko Collection 2 (1990)
"Now, even the creatures of the night have something to fear."- Tagline
Stars: Aya Hisakawa, Yuji Mitsuya
Other Stars: Naoko Matsui, Mika Doi, Chieko Honda, Kappei Yamaguchi
Director: Tetsuro Aoki, Hisashi Abe
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (frequent nudity, sexuality, language)
Run Time: 02h:00m:00s
Release Date: 2002-07-09
DVD ReviewI found the first volume of Devil Hunter Yohko to be a bit of a letdown. I'd heard great things about it—that it was a fun series, with a great heroine, and that it had inspired the creation of my favorite TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I still think those first three OVAs suffer from formulaic plotting, weak characterization, and an over reliance on graphic violence and nudity, frequently wasting a great setup (Yohko is the reluctant latest in a long line of young girls forced to rid the world of demons).
It may be because it's not suffering under the weight of expectation, but I find myself warming to the series with this second release. The scripts are still fairly routine, but the characters exhibit a bit more personality. And the bloody battles and sex scenes have been toned down (though Yohko's trademarked nude transformation into the Devil Hunter remains). If the series continued to improve as such, it may have finally lived up to its excellent premise. Unfortunately, after episode 6, no more were produced.
At least Yohko herself has finally developed a personality. Last time around, she did nothing but whine and chase boys (when she wasn't, you know, stabbing things). Now, though, she gets to goof around with a friend (Hunter-in-training Azusa) and fight with her mother (who was able to skirt her destiny by getting pregnant). It doesn't hurt that her grandmother is back on the scene, either—the character was the best thing about episode 1, and she was basically dropped for 2, 3, and 4. She gets some particularly great material in episode 5, when she's transformed into a teenager by an ancient beastie, the "ultimate rival" of the Devil Hunters (the gag is that once he's dead, Grandma suddenly remembers that other lifelong foe of the Hunters). Episode 6 isn't bad either, revolving around the mysterious appearance of a rouge Devil Hunter, one who looks a lot like Yohko. Neither episode is all that original or exciting, but they're well paced and sprinkled with humor (more than welcome after the gruesome battles of the last collection). Note that episode 4 is actually a collection of both live-action and recycled animation videos set to songs inspired by the series. I found it excruciatingly dull, but J-Pop fans might be entertained.
I'm surprised to say that I'm sorry to see this series end so quickly, just when it was beginning to grow on me. Maybe I'll revisit volume one, and see if I missed something the first time around.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Devil Hunter Yohko looks decent, but the image quality is limited by the source material. The animation has an aged, somewhat faded look (likely because the series wasn't exactly a huge hit in Japan, and the animation budget was limited). Still, blacks are nice and deep, if lacking somewhat in contrast, and I noticed no artifacts or aliasing to speak of.
Image Transfer Grade: B
|DS 2.0||English, Japanese||yes|
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in a standard 2.0 mix for both the original Japanese and the awful English dub. Both tracks are quite lacking in dynamic range—dialogue sounds a bit tinny and harsh. Sound effects, however, are nicely spread across the front soundstage, and presented with limited directionality. The music fills out to the left and right mains, but it too is lacking fidelity. It's a decent mix for the material, but it's not always pleasant to listen to.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Burn Up Excess, Kimera, Excel Saga, Steel Angel Kurumi, 801 T.T.S. Airbats, Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland.
Packaging: Double alpha
- Clean Opening for Episodes 5 and 6
- ADV Animation and Live Action Catalogue on DVD
So why is this a two-disc set? Well, for some reason ADV decided to include a unique digital catalogue with this release, one that has a disc all to itself. But this is far from a simple advertising tool. You get detailed descriptions, along with a trailer for every title in the ADV catalogue. In addition, you can preview some of their unique bonus features, including a pop-up trivia track for Excel Saga and a "jiggle counter" for Burn Up Excess. And that's not all. You also get the entire first episode of the hilarious Excel Saga and the premiere installment of Steel Angel Kurumi. Not bad, huh?
Extras Grade: B-
Final CommentsThe second volume of Devil Hunter Yohko is quite a bit better than the first. ADV has done right by the DVDs, and anime fans will be happy to have the entire series on disc. The ADV 2002 catalogue is a nice bonus too.
Joel Cunningham 2002-11-14