Reviewby Bamboo Dong,
Sorcerous Stabber Orphen
DVD 1: Spell of the Dragon
Orphen, the main protagonist, is a sorcerer from one of the country's most prestigious spell-casting universities. Contrary to the university's wishes though, Orphen has decided to venture off on his own to pursue his own ambitions.
There's a new brand of magical anime on the market, but if you're expecting girls in sailor suits or flying teddy bears, then you're in for a shock. Newly released in the United States by ADV, Sorcerous Stabber Orphen brings the whole genre of magical anime to a different scope. Based on the original manga by Yoshinobu Akita and Yūya Kusaka, Orphen has become a favorite among fans, spawning an animated series, a sequel, and even a game for the PlayStation console.
The series starts off a bit randomly with questions that are already forming in the viewer's mind about what's going on. However, things quickly get put together, allowing the viewer to be able to enjoy the fast-paced action. The first DVD volume introduces a mystical beast named Azalie, known in legends as Bloody August. It is soon revealed that Orphen is fiercely dedicated to "releasing" Azalie from her grotesque body, which is yet to be explained, and tries to do so with the aid of a magical sword. He soon embarks on a journey to learn how he can help the beast, and is joined by a few unwanted friends along the way.
ADV did a superb job translating the Japanese track, leaving nothing unnoticed. The Japanese cast performed their roles extremely well, utilizing their emotions to bring out the natures of the characters. Unfortunately, much is left to be desired with the English track. The dialogue virtually had nothing in common with the Japanese dialogue, and even worse, words were spoken in length where there was complete silence on the Japanese track. The actors themselves performed well, but the voices were badly cast, leaving characters with their personalities badly hacked and betrayed.
Working hard to offset the bad dubbing, the music in the series was written very nicely, ranging from serious melodies, to almost techno beats, to sugary music that can only be described as cute. The theme songs were written and performed by the Japanese artist, Sharon Q, who is well known for his other anime songs, such as the ending theme for DNA2. They provide upbeat melodies that keep you head bobbing even long after the song is over.
If you're a fan of action and adventure, then I highly recommend Sorcerous Stabber Orphen. It's an exciting series that's sure to please a wide range of fans with its fast-paced story line and random humor. Even the most jaded fangirls who won't watch anything without hordes of bishonen running rampant are sure to enjoy this series; Orphen himself is certainly eye-candy enough. However, if you do decide to watch Sorcerous Stabber Orphen, I implore you, stay away from the English track if you value your sanity.
Overall (dub) : C
Overall (sub) : B+
+ Exciting scenes, abundant comic relief
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