Review by Josh
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this MÃ„R release. I’ve never read the manga and haven’t heard much about the anime. I’ve always known about it of course, it just never even struck me as something to pay attention to. Now that I’ve watched four episodes, I’m still really unsure of what to think of it. These particular four episodes, 5 through 8 in the series, are not bad by any means, unfortunately they’re not great either; it was extremely average, which creates a difficulty for an expressive review. I’ll simply need to force through this, as I did with the anime.
The story starts off with a young boy, Ginta, encountering Alviss, the person who summoned Ginta to “MÃ„R Heaven,” a world with mysterious powers that enhance the physical strength and stamina of its living beings. It is unknown whether or not this Alviss will develop into a friend or foe, but one thing is for certain, he’s after Ginta’s Ã„RM, a living weapon named Babbo. Babbo has a long history; he used to be owned by Phantom and killed many of Alviss’s friends and comrades in a past infamous war. Phantom, an evildoer from the previous War Games and leader of the “Chess Piece” organization, has been resurrected and is seeking another round of death to quench his bemused sense of being. As the episodes progress, more history of MÃ„R Heaven is revealed and an interesting plot begins to develop.
The animation overall is modern and bright without overdoing the amount of overlays. Character texture is minimal, yet background, weapon, and “monsters” are well designed with plenty of detail. The 3D motion design in key scenes is downright incredible, some of the best I’ve ever seen. Here’s the problem: The 3D CG, animation, art, background art, digital coloring and touch-ups are all done by separate companies; nearly 10 in total! This creates the problem of disconnection with the animation and art. Characters look like they’re from completely different series, the CG is all over the place, it all just looks like these companies didn’t sit down together and discuss what they were doing. I personally have a problem with this as the strenuous changing of animation styles creates subconscious exhaustion.
My only other complaints are geared towards repetitive dialogue and the inclusion of crude and untimely humor. Both of which were intended for the target audience, which I am not. Dramatic scenes are often interrupted with off the wall humor, surely to entertain kids.
I feel that MÃ„R will develop into a long running shounen series that just gets better as time goes on. Similar anime always start out slow to develop the characters and storyline, yet they always get better. I do have to stress that this series has potential, with all the wild story shifts and battles, it’s likely MÃ„R will become a small sensation in such a large market. I recommend this particular DVD release for kids and young teens new to anime, those looking for more depth than the average American cartoon.
DVD extras include character and Ã„RM designs, extra information on two Ã„RM artifacts, and promotional trailers for InuYasha and Flame of Recca.