Appellate Judge Rob Lineberger wonders if they'll ever make an anime where two nations are at war, but a kid with a sword, special powers, and a harem of purple-haired waifs comes out of nowhere to save the planet.
Kill the God Hunter!
I was strongly tempted to write a one word review for the Eden's Bowy Collection and leave it at that: ponderous. Believe it or not, critics don't sit down to watch something hoping to loathe it. We'd rather watch something engaging and rave about it. Eden's Bowy didn't give me that option.
Eden's Bowy reminded me of the worst aspects of Windaria (known in the States as Once Upon A Time) projected onto a standard anime that heavily borrows from Star Wars. Aside from the whole "adopted farmer kid with a sword bones up real fast under the tutelage of a grizzled vet and fights dark robot dudes while trying to save the princess" angle, there's the borrowed shots. There's the borrowed characters. I even saw a dewback, I swear.
In Eden's Bowy, an organic and a cybernetic republic (both based on giant, floating continents) war with each other for some vague reason. Meanwhile, the proletariat drones stuck on the surface of the planet stare wistfully at the floating cities and return to their potato scrubbing. One such youngster is our hero, Yorn. But he's special. Yorn is actually adopted, and his real parents have names like "The Princess of Foresight" and "Yoruhan the Trandescendant God-Slayer." He has a sword that can kill Gods. Scores of organic, cybernetic, and demi-godlike warriors hunt him down, razing cities to the ground just to get their hands on him. Otherwise, he's just your average lunk-headed, insecure, whiny, bratty, and wholly unperceptive anime hero who has little interest in slaying Gods or saving the world.
In case you stepped out for a quick bite of Pocky and missed that plot point, don't worry. In the full course of Eden's Bowy's 650 minutes, you will hear the term "God Hunter" about 650 times. Much rarer are references to "The Princess of Foresight," which number in the mere 300s. This show doesn't just recycle themes; it recycles entire episodes and reams of dialogue.
This might be okay if the action were worth repeating. After all, I'll often rewind the scene from Samurai X: OVA Collection where Kenshin hacks the dude in half just because it is so damn cool (okay, maybe in half is an exaggeration—the point is, Kenshin blows Yorn off the map). Give me 650 minutes of that, I'm happy. Eleven hours of watching two robot buffoons cackle with glee and pursue Yorn, only to flap their arms in the air and fall off of a cliff—not so cool. At least in the early episodes, their arms flap. In later episodes, you're lucky to get a scene that has any animated elements in it at all. One particularly static episode (somewhere in the 20s) started out with a slew of static pans and zooms, finally showing two people talking with one set of lips moving around a little.
ADV has done a fine job with the packaging; indeed too good, because it makes me wistful for a better show. The transfer has some issues with twitter, faded colors, and cross-coloration, but otherwise is a solid effort. The nondescript soundtrack comes through cleanly, though without much oomph. I made an honest effort to listen to the 5.1 track, but the combination of American interpretation and the largely uninspired story was too much to bear, so I flipped back to the blissful babble of Japanese 2.0.
Somewhere in the middle of the Eden's Bowy Collection, the intro changes. The song gets peppier while the animation sparkles. Yorn is older and more capable, and he has an angelic, nubile, naked god floating around him and kissing him while he polishes his sword. That's good stuff. It shows you what the Eden's Bowy Collection could have been like in an alternate reality. If the show had delivered what the intro promises it would have been a vast improvement. But the show we got has such a tired and obvious path that I spent most of the time just waiting for the inevitable to happen. Finally the inevitable did happen: the last episode passed, and I took the DVD out of my player.
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