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Sakura Wars: The Movie PDF Print E-mail
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R4 DVD Reviews
Thursday, 24 June 2004 00:00
Sakura Wars: The MovieTime for a look at Sakura Taisen's big-screen outing - although don't be expecting anything overly spectacular...

The Hanagumi recieve a new member - American Lachette Altair. The Americans are setting up their own fighting troupe in New York, and it's Lachette's job to learn from the Hanagumi. She's not much of a team player, though. Not that teamwork is required for long, as the Hanagumi is placed on indefinite standby. Members of the troupe soon begin to go missing, and the remaining members soon beging to realise that things aren't quite right - but what can they do while they're suspended from duty?

Meanwhile, the Douglas-Stewart Company has developed a new unmanned fighting machine, the Japhkeil, that seems to be superior to the Hanagumi's Koubu. Company Chairman Brent Furlong is in Tokyo on a sales pitch for the new weaponry - officially at least. Unofficially, his motives are far more sinister - his new fighting machines are powered by Kouma, and his intention is not so much to defend Tokyo as to destroy it. Acting on their own, the remaining Hanagumi members take matters into their own hands and act to defend Tokyo once more...

Lots of bad CGI set-piece battles, and a large smattering of bad English, wrapped in Sakura Taisen's wonderfully-realised game world. Put it all together and it jars, just a little. The non-battle scenes are very well animated, so it's very disappointing when the Kouma appear, complete with dodgy CGI that would make Gonzo's early efforts look good.

Putting graphical shortcomings to one side, there's always the chance that the story will make up for things, but even there there's nothing too spectacular to draw you in. Brent Furlong, with his haircut that wouldn't look out of place on Dilbert's Pointy-Haired Boss, is too obvious of a bad guy, and his real motivations are given away too early in the show, ruining any sense of suspense that there may have been. What's left is just an excuse to please the fans with a cinematic outing, and to give each character their little set-piece to keep everyone happy. In other words, predictable and shallow.

I do usually enjoy Sakura Taisen's anime outings, but this one feels just a bit too much like a quick, fan-friendly cash-in to be enjoyable. For true ST fans only.


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