BLUE SEED BEYOND (1996/2003)

 

Format: 2 25-minute and one 28-minute OVA episodes on one DVD

Rating: PG-13+ (BN, AC, AL, GV)

Type: Action (Supernatural)

American Production: A.D. Vision

English Dub Production: ADV Films

Japanese Production: TV Tokyo/ING/Movic/Production IG

 

Grading

 

Premise:

C

Story:

Writing:

C

Character Design:

C+ 

Animation:

C+ 

Artistic Merits:

C+

English Dub:

C

Musical Score:

Opener:

C

Closer:

C

 

 

Humor Content:

Action Content:

C+

Drama Content:

C

 

 

DVD Presentation:

C

DVD Extras:

C

 

 

OVERALL:

 

Synopsis

      Picking up the story two years after the events of Blue Seed (reviewed here), we find out that Momiji and Kusanagi are still a couple (albeit a somewhat troubled one), while Komi and Yoshiki did become a couple for a while but broke up when Komi accepted a new job. The entire old gang and a new member are drawn back together in a reformed TAC when Arigami start popping up again – only these are artificial beasties spawned from a biotechnology project in San Francisco, where they must go to resolve the issue.

      Once that is done the female cast members all segue off to an isolated mountain hot springs, only to be plagued by a bomber demanding ransom.

 

The Long View

      The technical merits are a little better this time around, but the first two episodes of Blue Seed Beyond are nothing more than a standard monster-bashing action story. The one new complication is Valencia Thomas, a sexy teenage American girl who has also been implanted with a mitama, which allows her to change into a combat-capable form similar to Kusanagi’s. She joins the TAC to help combat the new threat, which comes from the same source as her mitama, and is immediately seen as a romantic rival by Momiji because she can empathize so closely with Kusanagi’s status. There’s also a bit of development about the relationship between Komi and Yoshiki, but character development is a definite secondary priority to the action. The new TAC uniforms are a sharp design, however.

      The main story wraps up in the first two episodes, so the third episode is nothing more than an add-on fan service extravaganza loaded with suggested nudity and pervasive scenes of the female characters in their lingerie, although the way they work around the bomber is somewhat interesting. (The one neat thing about the episode it is the astute observation that Americans are much more likely to be modest about public bathing than Japanese, for which it’s part of their culture.) Aside from the fan service, the one other reason for fans of the original to watch this episode is because it provides the only instance in the entire franchise where we get to see the entirety of Ryoko’s face. (For those not familiar with the original, the right side of her face is perpetually obscured by her awkward hairdo.)

      The only actual nudity in Beyond is a very brief shot in the first episode, although a little bit of the occasionally racy humor in the original does pop up. It’s also worth noting that Momiji, whom Kusanagi poked fun at in the original series for being a bit “underdeveloped,” has filled out quite a bit in the last couple of years. Other graphic content includes a minor amount of harsh language and some graphic violence.

      The openers, which feature a new song but are composed of animation clips from the original series and earlier episodes, are not an improvement over the original, although the closing song is slightly better. All of the English voice actors for the supporting roles are back from the original, but the roles of Momiji and Kusanagi have been recast. The new castings would be fine had they also been the voices throughout the original, but they are different enough from the original performances that the disconnect is jarring.

      Those who have not seen the original Blue Seed series can probably still make sense of this one, although it is definitely written with fans of the original in mind.

 

DVD Extras

      The extras on the DVD include company previews, a clean opener, and a continuation of the Omake Theater bits included with the original Series. This time the bit is a 5-minute short titled “Dance Little Love,” which features Momiji and Kusanagi and is apparently set sometime in the middle of the original series. Animation and artistic quality is more in line with the original series than the OVA episodes.

      On the downside, the DVD does not include a “skip to chapter” option.

 

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Momiji

Monica Rial

Kusanagi

Matt Kelley

Valencia Thomas

Kira Vincent Davies

Kunikida 

Rob Mungle

Azusa Matsudaira

Sharon Shawnessey

Ryoko

Marcy Rae

Komi

Tiffany Grant

Yagashi Yoshiki

Kurt Stoll

Sakura Yamazaki

Allison Keith

Sunichi

Brian Grandvelt

 

 

 

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