SCRYED (2001)

 

Format: 26 24-minute episodes on 6 DVDs

Rating: PG-13 (AL, GV)

Type: Super-Powered Action

American Production: Geneon Entertainment

English Dub Production: Bang Zoom! Entertainment

Japanese Production: Sunrise

 

Grading

 

Premise:

C+

Story:

B

Writing:

B

Character Design:

B

Mecha Design:

B

Animation:

B

Artistic Merits:

B

English Dub:

B+

Musical Score:

B+

Opener:

A-

Closer:

B-

 

 

Humor Content:

C

Action Content:

A

Drama Content:

B

 

 

DVD Presentation:

B

DVD Extras:

B

 

 

OVERALL:

B

 

Synopsis

      22 years ago a catastrophic upheaval near Tokyo created a new island called the Lost Ground, which is divided into a developed city and an undeveloped sector which dominates the Lost Ground and is widely-inhabited. The most notable feature of this new land is that some of its inhabitants are born with matter-manipulation powers called Alters, which manifest in a wide variety of different ways. To keep the Alter users from getting out of hand, an organization called HOLD is created to police them, within which is a special unit called HOLY which consists entirely of sanctioned Alter users. It is their job to track down the native Alters (as those who haven’t joined them are called), invite them to join HOLY, and deal with them if they resist and pose a threat. Chief among the HOLY members is Ryuho, a stern young man passionately devoted to his duty.

      Some native Alter users have no desire to have anything to do with HOLD or HOLY, however. The biggest problem case these native Alters is Kazuma, aka Kazuma of the Shell Bullet, a fiercely freedom-loving young man who opposes Ryuho at every turn. Their conflict is destined to shape the future of the Lost Ground – quite literally.

 

Quotes

      “If there’s something you can do, you do it. That’s how you embrace your destiny.” (Straight Cougar) 

 

The Long View

      First, I should explain that there is considerable discrepancy over the correct romanization of the name of this series. I have chosen to use “Scryed” because it is the simplest form of the name, but you may see it written differently in some places.

      Scryed is predicated on the gimmick that certain individuals born in the Lost Ground have the ability to access and manipulate energy from an extradimensional realm, which allows them to manifest powers whose forms are dependant on the psyche of the individual. Generally these Alters take physical form as some form of automaton, weapon, body armor, or body enhancement, but this is not always the case. (One Alter user, for instance, has a power that is purely mental and thus never takes physical form.) The power of the Alter is directly related to the individual’s mental prowess, though intensive training, scientific refinement, and certain external triggers can increase Alter power. Each Alter has a specific name and (often) a specific named attack form, which can sometimes get quite outlandish. The net effect of this is to turn Scryed into a superhero story done anime style.

      Although Scryed will never be accused of being complex, sophisticated, or original, it has more than enough merit to be worthy of a strong recommendation. You’ll find more refined artwork elsewhere, but it is a colorful and visually appealing series which sports good technical merits. A sharply-written English script captures both the energy and extensive philosophical underpinnings of the series – yes, I know how odd that sounds for an action series, but it’s true. Though the plotting occasionally gets seriously dramatic, the main focus and strength of the series is in its action sequences. It features the most exuberant and dynamic action I have seen in quite some time, with battles that are dramatic, well-paced, and capture a rare level of energy and intensity. Part of the credit for this belongs to the characterization of the two central protagonists: Kazuma and Ryuho. One is a determined individualist who believes wholeheartedly in living by no one’s rules but his own, while the other is a self-righteous law-and-order type – attitudes that would seem to make them philosophical polar opposites. They are more alike than they care to admit, though, as each one is fueled by a passionate devotion to his beliefs and a fierce determination not to be stopped by obstacles in his path. That the “obstacles” are often each other is fuel for most of the series’ best battle scenes.

      The supporting cast for Scryed is a large one populated with many distinctive characters; you’ll never have trouble telling them apart. Among the major ones:

Straight Cougar - A HOLY member whose Alter power is Radical Good Speed and usually manifests as a super-fast car or rocket boots. This is a man for who “fast” is a way of life; he moves fast, talks fast, and thinks fast. He is very verbose, philosophical, practical, and somewhat of a rascal, and has a bad habit for constantly mispronouncing people’s names. He is one of the most original characters to come along in an anime series in quite some time and the brightest spot in the supporting cast.

Scheris - A teenage HOLY member whose Alter power, called Eternal Devote, is rarely seen since it is difficult to use and involves an interaction with other Alter powers. She is hopelessly infatuated with Ryuho, who saved her from a bad life and recruited her into HOLY, though she is reluctant to admit it openly at first. She is also a bright spot.

Kanami - An orphaned “Inner” (as inhabitants of the Lost Ground are called) who has formed a brother-sister relationship with Kazuma. She is the practical, responsible foil to Kazuma’s slacker attitude and the only one who can truly get away with scolding him. Her dreams serve as a framing device for the series, and it becomes apparent later on that she may have an unrealized Alter power herself.

Mimori - A young woman who fell in love with Ryuho when they were both kids and has come back to the Lost Ground, as a scientific researcher for HOLD, to try to reestablish a relationship with him, only to find that he is a changed man. She is a stereotypical touchy-feely character who’s rather uninteresting and unoriginal for as important as she is in the story.

Kimishima – An entrepreneurial Inner and friend to Kazuma who employs Kazuma in many odd jobs suited to his particular talents in the first half of the series.

Martin Jigrmarl – The first Alter user to manifest a power, he is the commander of HOLD and a man of many ulterior motives.

Kyoji Mujo – A diabolical, conscienceless refined Alter user who becomes the chief villain in the second half of the series.

Urizane – A chubby HOLY member obsessed with watermelons whose Alter power takes on various watermelon-related forms. He is a fair, laid-back, and very loyal character.

Unkei – A loony HOLY member whose Alter power is Mad Script, the ability to manipulate reality to a script he has written.

So Kigetski – A conceited and narcissistic HOLY member whose Alter power takes the form of three flight-capable sisters (his ideal women), who can put people to sleep and generate fire when they combine their efforts..

Biff – A Native Alter whose Alter power, called Hammer, manifests as a robot with a giant, clublike fist. He is a thug early on who becomes a stooge for the mainland in the second half of the series.

Asuka Tachibana – A HOLY member whose Alter power, called Eternity Eight, manifests in the form of eight glowing, floating balls that can be used for offense, defense, or to control a target’s mind. He doesn’t distinguish himself in personality.

 

      Scryed is also highlighted by a sometimes-jazzy, sometimes-driving musical score that effectively sets the tone throughout. The English dub is also excellent, especially in the lead roles and those of Straight Cougar and Scheris. The opener does a superb job of setting the tone for the series, while the closer is a respectable wrap-up.

      The graphic content in Scryed is limited to considerable and occasionally very intense (but not bloody) violence and some harsh language. A mature 10-year-old could probably handle it, however.

      Scryed is a dynamic action series that is well worth a look. Try it; if you’re an action fan, you won’t be disappointed.

 

DVD Extras

Extras are many, assorted, and vary somewhat from volume to volume. Each DVD case includes some or all of the following:

·  sticker-card featuring series artwork

·  liner map of the Lost Ground and surrounding land (vol. 1)

·  sketches of equipment and Alters that appear in the series (vol. 2-6)

·  English translation of credits, including all voice credits

 

Extras on the DVDs themselves include:

·  Company trailers

·  Design Gallery

·  Textless Openings/Ending

·  Character Videos – each displays scenes of the featured character while theme music plays. Usually two per volume.

·  assorted commercials for series-related content (DVDs, video rentals, songs, soundtracks, etc.)

·  Lost Ground Express (vol. 1 and 2) – encyclopedic entries concerning the series setting

·  Musical Score Collections (vol. 3 and 4)

·  Illustrated Sound Drama (vol. 5 and 6) – These are silly vocal bits, about six minutes long, set to various poster and cover artwork.

·  Sound Comics (vol. 3+) – A very unusual feature, these take issues of the manga on which Scryed is based and display them in creative and dramatic fashion set to a voice-over. The story presented here varies markedly from what is seen in the anime.

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Kazuma

Steven Jay Blum

Ryuho

Jason Spisak

Kanami

Carrie Daniels

Mimori Kiryu

Dorothy Elias Fahn

Straight Cougar

Crispin Freeman

Martin Zigmarl

Jamieson K. Price

Scheris

Lara Jill Miller

Asuka Tachibana

Dave Wittenberg

Urizane, Narrator

Kirk Thornton*

Kunihiko Kimishima

Lex Lang

Kyoji Mujo

Michael Lindsay

Ayase Terada, Keika

Michelle Ruff

Unkei, Tadanori Kiryu

Michael McConnohie**

George Tatsunami, Masaki

Steve Prince

So Kigetski, Elian, Kurusu, Ikawa

Tony Oliver

Banka, Ms. Yoshii

Barbara Goodson

Chuka, Fani

Julie Ann Taylor

Shoka

Philece Sampler

Biff, Carlnen

Paul St. Peter

Ryu Dairen

Steve Kramer

Akira Terada

Mona Marshall

Chief

Tony Pope

 

* - also ADR director and co-script writer

** - also a co-script writer

 

 

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