Anime: Saiyuki Reload DVD #3


imageSaiyuki Reload takes place in a modern age fantasy world where heroes wield everything from magic and polearms to six shooters. They have a pet dragon with them, but they ride in a jeep; a grand juxtaposition of the two world standards. The hero’s team consists of four regular members. Goku almost a child, but a fierce warrior regardless, Sanzo the travelling priest and keeper of a sought after scripture, Gojyo a fighter of the same spirit as Michealangelo from the Ninja Turtles, and Hakkai, a bookish magic wielder with an adorable pet dragon. Saiyuki is definitely a fairly child oriented series. Though there is some cursing, and adult type activity, the themes and dialogue are very Saturday morning. Though this is not to say it is without it’s share of fun. The heroes are on a mission, and with the help of Sanzo’s scripture they must prevent the summoning of a powerful demon. Their task is no secret, however, and the scripture that they carry is the object of desire for many a villain. The most adamant of these are, of course, the servants of the demon they hope to keep banished from the world who will not rest while the scripture lies in the hands of those who oppose their demon lord. The story’s heroes must fight through hordes of lesser demons, individual assassins, thieves, and monsters, and overcome the inevitable tension within their own number to achieve their goal.

Episode 9: Invincible Castle
In crossing the desert, the group’s jeep breaks down. They are fortunate enough to have broken down near a large desert fortress, the Invincible Castle. The leader within is very strict with the codes of the law, and it takes the irreverent action of Goku to force him to recognize the fallibility of his cherished laws.

Episode 10: Demon Genjyo Sanzo
Riding with the group, Goku finds solace in his dreams, but they end up being quite the nightmare. At their next destination Goku dreams that his friend Sanzo has turned into a demon, and fights against their group.

imageEpisode 11: A Kind Visage
The group finds themselves in a new town, where Goku discovers two young boys in the forest who make daily sacrifices in hopes that their mother will some day return to them. Goku must realize the danger of false hopes before he can succeed in this most difficult task.

Episode 12: Forest of the Spirited Away
Goku finds himself in a mystical forest where the feeling that something is wrong cannot be escaped. The strength to fight will not be enough to escape this fate, and he must call upon the aid of a new friend to free him at last.

The series itself is quite well done, with impressive animation and filling audio. The style of animation is quite bright, where even the darkest of scenes, such as the demons storming the castle, is still almost glowing. This gives quite the pleasant feel to the series, despite the sometimes inappropriate light and airiness of it all. This is the Rainbows and Sunshine of the demon slaying genre.

The sounds, though not quite awe-inspiring, were very well done for this disc. I can’t say I was a fan of the theme song for the series, but you can’t win them all I suppose. Within the episodes the sounds did a wonderful job of filling in the gaps in dialogue, action, and so on. The audio didn’t force its way to the forefront and demand your attention, so you could appreciate it without being forced to ignore everything else going on.

imageThe story is great, even if somewhat un-original. I did come in part way through the series, so I may have missed some important distinguishing factors, but it’s just the story of a group of people out fighting bad guys. The theme of the series is hardly even touched upon in these four episodes. The actual theme of the series is still somewhat typical: group of good guys realize they are the only ones who can stop the ultimate evil from coming and destroying the world. It leaves a little to be desired, but being more oriented for younger folk, I don’t think this will cause too much distress for it’s viewers. Despite it’s banal plot, the characters are quite original, with the priest being one of the most sarcastic and smart-mouthed of the group. It’s fun to watch a priest go Dirty Harry on a bunch of demons.

Technical 8.8
The acting was pretty good overall, the extras were standard fare, except for one of the oddest extra features; commercials for the series. There was a bonus in the box, a pencil board, though I have no idea what that is. It makes a very nice mini poster.

Entertainment 8.5
A solid series, though nothing extraordinarily impressive was to be had. I enjoyed the story, a lot of the dialogue and the animation. There could have been more put into the overarching story, I think, though the individual episodes did tell a fine tale.

Overall 8.7

Definitely worth a watch. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt, and it has some message to it. A good, solid series, and a fine addition to most collections.

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