Jyu-Oh-Sei – Planet of the Beast King – Collection 1
In the distant future, humankind has been
abandoned a dying Earth and relocated to the Balkan System a mere 150
light years away. A dainty pair of twin brothers, Thor and Rai, find
themselves torn from a life of luxury, their parents murdered, and are
abandoned to their fate on Chimaera, a savage, unexplored planet where
the worst criminals are sent to die.
Forced to fend for themselves against some
decidedly unfriendly plant life (think Venus fly trap crossed with
Charles Manson), the lads must also negotiate their way around warring
clans in an effort to conquer all and become the Beast King, the only
way of winning freedom from the cursed realm. A bit of revenge against
the dastardly Prime Minister Odin wouldn’t hurt either.
Combining Ursula Le Guin-esque flights of
fantasy with unashamed environmental activism, this is one for anime
fans who like their men pretty (in the best bishounen tradition)
and their sci-fi with liberal lashings of social awareness. Though the
complex themes competing throughout are occasionally denied the chance
to really come to fruition, Jyu-Oh-Sei is nonetheless a
competent, well-intentioned and visually arresting series, and another
well-chosen anime import from Madman. References to Darwinism,
paganism, feminist theory, racial inequality and social science make it
mildly more cerebral than, say Initial D, and the myriad subplots
ensure the series maintains its momentum to the last.
Audio & Video
There’s plenty of variation in the design
of the series’ well-crafted characters, animation on the action
sequences is fluid and backgrounds are uniformly lush and
multi-faceted. This two-disc set features a 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
transfer, with English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 audio options. The lack of a
Japanese surround soundtrack is unfortunate, and though the 2-channel
proves mostly respectable for those who prefer to watch anime in its
native tongue, it still falls a little flat in places.
Principal here is an audio commentary by
the English voice cast on Episode Six. Also included are original
commercials, several textless songs (the opening is particularly
noteworthy) and the usual array of trailers. Fairly standard, but the
commentary provides a few lively insights into the recording process and
other behind-the-scenes titbits.