Blue Sonnet

Official Blurb:

"She's the Taron Organisation's newest and most deadly cyborg, a Young girl rescued from the hellish slums of America and warped in to a superhuman capable of defeating armies. Cybernetic implants have multiplied her speed and strength, increased her intelligence, raised her latent psychic powers to devastating levels. Sonnet Bagi, code named Blue Sonnet, has become a living weapon...."

"Mission 1 - on the orders of sinister Dr Melekes, Sonnet is sent from Taron's wind-scoured Nevada Training grounds to the heart of Tokyo. Her mission is to monitor Ran Komatsuzaki, an untrained psychic whose paranormal talents are just beginning to emerge. Sonnet is determined to succeed where her predecessor - the cyborg RX 606 - failed, but as Ran matures her own abilities are increasing at an exponential rate. Will she be strong enough to resist the 'accidents' Sonnet sends her way? And is RX 606 as lost as everyone thinks?"

"Mission 2 - While Sonnet immerses herself in school life, Dr Melekes travels to Japan at the request of the massive Izumi corporation. Hungry for the mysterious power known as Red Fang, The deranged scientist hatches a deadly plan to test Ran's abilities. But Sonnet, exposed for the first time to a complex emotional environment, begins to have serious doubts about her creator's methods..."

Creator:      Masahiro Shibata
Director:     Takeyuki Kanda
Screenplay:   Kiyohara Matsuoka & Koichi Mizuide
Copyright:    Masahiro Shibata, Hakusensha, Mushi Puro, NTVM Cprporation

VHS version:
Language:     English
Label:        Manga Video

Volume:       1               2
Running time: 66              90 mins
Certificate:  12              15
Catalogue no: MANV 1179       MANV 1185
Price:        £9.99           £13.99
Release Date: 10th Feb 1997   14th Apr 1997


This release, the first two parts of a five part 1989 OAV series, marks yet another "cyberpunk" saga. For it tells the story of Blue Sonnet, a psychic girl rescued from the slums and rebuilt as a combat cyborg. Her creator, Dr. Melicus plans to use her to fight espers, a job for which she must go under cover as a high school girl (surprise, surprise). In fact, as you may have gathered, there are not a lot of original ideas here, although the mix of psychic powers and cybernetics is unusual. But the whole is well executed, and doesn't take itself too seriously so maintaining a sense of fun which is sadly lacking in most other examples of this genre.

Even for 1989 the artwork and character designs look old, presumably because it was based on - and remained faithful to - an older manga. In fact the original shoujo manga by Shibata Masahiro ran to 19 volumes, and the background story details in the anime are sometimes lacking; only to be expected really when you try to get so much into just five OAVs. The animation quality is only so-so for an OAV, but the fight and other action sequences are well done, especially the opening when Sonnet trashes three tanks. That said, the retro-style may not be to some tastes.

While not exactly the best dub I've ever heard, this one is certainly the right side of acceptable. For the most part, the performances are self-assured and enthusiastic, without being hammy. I had watched this straight after New Gall Force 5, and the contrast was so great that I skipped to the end credits to check who did the dub. Much to my surprise, the dub was by the same cast, and using the same resources, as for New Gall Force. How the same team can produce results so widely differing in quality is a mystery to which we'll probably never know the answer. But the same phenomenon has been noted with Streamline Pictures...

The video quality on the review tape was generally good, as was the sound - especially in the opening sequence. When Blue Sonnet was released a couple of years ago in the States, this was packaged by USMC as three episodes on the first volume, and two on the second. I've no idea how Manga Entertainment intend to market it in the UK, but obviously it won't be the same way.

All in all this is a good, solid, fun, action title. Sure, it's not the best in the world, but equally it's a very long way from being the worst. It stands out well in comparison with some recent rather second rate UK releases, and if only for that reason it deserves to do well. [Neil Morris]