"Shadow Skill Vol. 1"
I guess my name's getting
Because recently, ADV
Films started sending me stuff. Which, I guess, sort of works--ADV's
lineup is almost exclusively anime, and there are at least a few
video stores that get it. It's not like you'll ever spot "Excel
Saga" in theatres (much as I might wish you would. Any studio
heads reading this, think about it. Just don't screw it up.), so
in its way, it really DOES kinda work.
But it puts me in an
See, most of this stuff
comes broken down into episodes. From what I can tell, most anime
releases are the practical equivalent of the "Arrested Development"
box set (Oh Fox. Why? Why did you KILL THAT SHOW???).
Meaning, my whinging
aside, that you never see the whole thing, and you're going to spend
the next one hundred minutes watching only part of a plotline.
Which means, what the
hell do I do about this? Everything else I cover is reasonably complete
(or at least self-contained, where sequels may be involved later),
but right now, I've got to cover something like a third of the plot
on this one DVD.
So, I figure I might
as well just cover what's put out in front of me as best I can.
Anyway, this is the apparently
long story of a girl ninja with the preposterous title of "The
59th Sevalle". Without going into a whole lot of commentary
on the social organization of things, being a Sevalle is like being
Knight Protector or somesuch. Basically the top warrior of the country,
which is called Kuruda, in thoroughly Japanese fashion. To make
a very, very long story short, our Sevalle (named Elle Ragu, in
a move that got me hungry for spaghetti) is out training and getting
better and paying off massive debt related to property damage and
her time spent in bars.
Basically, whenever she's
not destroying property, she's off getting liquored up or working
one of an endless series of joe jobs in an effort to make money
TO get liquored up.
It's amazing that this
raging alcoholic of a ninja manages to put her giri on in the morning
let ALONE pound holy old hell out of monsters fully ten times her
size on a regular basis.
And I hope that I remember the word "giri" right....
Let me sum all this up
in a very simple fashion. This was not my kind of anime. I love
insane, wildly comical anime like "Excel Saga" or "Ebichu
Minds the House". I'm fond of nonsequiturs and pointlessness
in my anime.
But if you're one of
the whole bunch of people who shows up for Toonami every Saturday
night to watch "Naruto" like it's some kind of deranged
religion, then hold on tight...you're going to absolutely LOVE "Shadow
Because I've seen "Naruto",
and I've seen "Shadow Skill", I think there's a basis
for comparison here. Sure, both are about teenage ninjas--"Naruto"
has a hyperactive moron, a hot chick, and a total prick for ninjas
while "Shadow Skill" features a raging alcoholic, overly
buff chick ninja and her idealistic little brother for ninjas. But
there's more than a few differences too--"Shadow Skill"
is a lot deeper, and a bit darker, than "Naruto". Plus,
"Naruto" focuses a lot more on man-to-man (in the species
sense) combat, while "Shadow Skill" leans more on ninja-versus-giant-monster
with plenty of ninja on ninja action.
All in all, "Shadow
Skill" is going to be the kind of thing that ninja fans, especially
"Naruto" fans are gonna go bats over. The rest of us will
find it serviceable and satisfactory, especially if "Excel
Saga" is out.
GRADE: 2 stars **
Skill Vol. 1
Directed by John Swasey
Written by Megumu Okada
Starring a totally different set of people depending on the language
track you select
Produced by ADV Films
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