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Neo Ranga Vol. 1: A God is Risen (2003)

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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: A.D.V. Films
Genre: Anime
Running Time: 120 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Across the ocean, on the tiny island kingdom of Barou, the ancient god Neo Ranga awakens from his slumber. He is mysteriously drawn to Tokyo, and the three beautiful sisters - Minami, Ushio and Yuuhi - who are unwittingly linked to the monster. But instead of rolling out the red carpet, the military rolls out the weaponry, and things start to get nasty.

The plot thickens: Why is Neo Ranga driven to Tokyo? Is he a messenger with a warning for humankind, or just a big boy out for a good time? And what's behind Ranga's mysterious eyes?

GreenCine Member Reviews

It should have been so much better. by roadwarrior November 1, 2004 - 12:52 PM PST
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful
Look at the cover art on the box and tell me this should not have been spectacular.

I took a shot at this because I saw the theme of cross-pollination between Japanese and even further south-sea island cultures and thought 'how interesting'. This first disc turned out to be disappointing for a few reasons. First, the buildup of expectations comes from the character design and the design of Neo Ranga itself, which is something novel in my anime viewing experience. The music is also quite good, a mix of drum-based ethnic Polynesian-style rhythms, which adds to the exotic flavor of the story (sadly, they don't give it to you in 5.1 Dolby!).

Then we come to the story itself. They took your basic Godzilla invades Japan plot and tried to involve three sisters who have some kind of connection with Neo Ranga. They are the reason he has traveled across the sea, in order to serve and protect them. The story doesn't yet explain how he was separated from them in the first place, if in fact he's as powerful as he seems to be. Also, as in Godzilla, the Japanese defense forces try to stop or at least contain him, but fail to do so using conventional forces. That leads to disappointment number two. The story then goes from being fairly linear to a scatter-shot plot that takes on several seemingly random twists including military one-upsmanship, political maneuvering, manipulation of media coverage for personal aggrandizement, and odd changes in character for some of the principals (the youngest sister decides she now wants to "wipe out" the town they live in using her power over Neo Ranga). New characters are thrust upon each other (and us) with little back-story to give us reasons behind their motivations.

I found myself having to go back and re-watch earlier episodes to try to piece together holes in the plot. I normally wouldn't mind doing so, if any of the principal characters was someone I could care about. Correction: I wound up caring more about Neo Ranga and what would happen to him than any of the humans.

More disappointment:

The artwork is clean and neat in most places, but I expected better animation given that:

A) this title is a relatively recent release.
B) the tribal body painting seen in the opening animation is so unusual and fascinating that one waits for the rest of the show to equal its impact.
C)ADV has produced better than this, including Rah/Xephon.

In fact, by the middle episodes of this disc, the animation has degraded so much that it is almost painful to watch, as if a student in college (my first inclination was to say high school, but I'll be kind) patched the cellwork together for a senior project.

I'll give the series another chance, however. I'll check out the second disc in the series to see if the plot unwinds itself and the animation improves. If not, then you can assume I've bailed.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.26)
80 Votes
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