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Sakura Wars: The Movie (anime review)

Sakura Wars: The MovieTitle: Sakura Wars: The Movie 

Director: Mitsuri Hongo

Studio: Production I. G.

U. S. Distributor: FUNimation

U. S. Re-Release Date: Oct. 22nd, 2013

Format: Blu-ray / DVD/ Feature Film / 85 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Steampunk, Supernatural, Mecha

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

 

 

Synopsis:

 

When something wicked stages chaos, the Imperial Assault Force sends the divas of the Flower Division to drive steel through evil’s spotlight! Sweet Sakura, glamorous Sumire, adorable Iris, tactical Leni, mechanic Kohran, Kana the martial arts master, exotic Orohime, and stoic leader Maria are always ready for action! Just as a fresh face joins the ensemble, other members begin to vanish one after another. When a deviant virtuoso unleashes demons to terrorize Tokyo, it’s up to the maidens of metal to pull their act together and drop the curtain on evil!

 

Commentary:

It has been some time since I had seen Sakura Wars: The Movie and this re-release is a welcome reminder of the quality work that was being released over 10 years ago. I recently had a conversation with another huge anime fan and they mentioned that there was a large amount of new titles making their way over to the U S and how they were impressed with how good this new anime is, but also noted that there is a much more naive approach to the overall stylized look to the new series. This is were films and series like Sakura Wars that were in the forefront of the new CG animation manage to stand out strictly based on the high quality of the production. With so much of the films and series concepts based on the then rather recent Steampunk idealism it is rather telling how that aesthetic managed to really shine through.

Having the film in Blu-ray helps make the original visual concepts stand out and at the same time help support the story for what it is. The story concept is the one weak point in the entire project. With this film being so short there is a lack of story but plenty of action to carry it through. There are plenty of question from the very opening segment to the finally that it pays not to get too wrapped up in the story. At the very least there is a simplistic approach to the story that manages to keep it entertaining and at the same time allow the visual aspects to the film to shin through.

 

Overall Grade: B

I guess that by now you can tell where I stand on Sakura Wars: The Movie and yes it is all about the animation, but I also have to mention how much I like way that they managed to make these  young ladies more than just pretty girls who sing and fight monsters. They also managed to stand out as individuals and each characters did add a little variety to the film. Sakura Wars: The Movie is one of those 2001 films that is a perfect reminder of what was going on in anime at that time and how much ground was covered in the high quality production and the use of the new technology to do more than just look good. If you have never seen this and are a Steampunk / Mecha fan then this one is one for your collection.