Landlock

video sleeve

Official Blurb:

"Manga Video proudly releases the keenly awaited anime feature, Landlock: a mind blowing, techno-mystical adventure from the world-renowned Masamune Shirow. Beautifully animated with some of the most complete character designs seen in recent anime, Landlock marks Manga Video's new year's commitment to top quality productions."

"The land of Zer'lue is in turmoil, ravaged by the technological might of Chairman Sana'ku and his evil, militaristic forces. In a rapidly unfolding story of treachery, deceit and betrayal, there is only one who holds the power to defeat such overwhelming odds, a boy named Lue'der, who possesses a mysterious red eye endowing him with the ability to control the power of the wind itself."

"With the fate of the world at stake, Lue'der must learn to unlock his legendary power and battle against the evil which threatens to engulf his planet. But Sana'ku's forces are closing in, led by their unstoppable elite assassin, Sana'ku's own daughter, Aga'lee, who only hours ago mercilessly dealt Lue'der's father a hideous death on the end of her sword."

"On a fiery stage illuminated with blood and tragedy, an epic tale is about to unfold as Aga'lee comes face to face with her past and is forced to confront her true identity, accepting the fact that the man she just butchered was actually her father..."

"Landlock is the action-packed story of a boy with a mysterious power and a girl he is sworn to protect, thrown together with their hated enemy by a shocking revelation. Only together can they save their world from a fate worse than total Armageddon. That is, if they can get their minds off killing each other first."

Director:         Yasuhiro Matsumura
Screenplay:       ORCA
Character Design: Kezuto Nakazawa & Seiji Handa
Original Design:  Masamune Shirow
Copyright:        ORCA/SEGA/Sanctuary

VHS version:
Language:         English
Label:            Manga Video
Running time:     90 mins
Certificate:      15
Catalogue no:     MANV 1200
Price:            £11.99
Release Date:     9th March 1998

Review:

An initiation ceremony held in a temple near the town of Zul is halted by an attack on the town by raiders from the flying fortress of Longinus. The leader of the raiders, Agahali, hunts down Moag, the User of the Wind on orders from the ruler of Longinus, Zanark. She then moves to confront Luda, Moag's son, who, like here, has one red eye and one blue eye. However, when Agahali "kills" Luda's sister, Ansa, the Luda releases massive magical energies and teleports away. Then Agahali notices that she and Ansa bear the same birthmark. What does it all mean?

Thus begins Landlock, one of MEL's latest releases. After a frantic first few minutes the pace settles down and we are introduced to a number of secondary characters like Agahali's lovesick deputy, Volk. The film is that interesting fusion: a mixture of magic and technology. At heart the story is a fantasy, but the technological aspects allows for mecha, flying fortresses and aerial dogfights. Centred on Zanark's machinations and ambition, the story criss-crosses the land, with hidden temples and long- lost secrets.

Much has been made of character designs by Masamune Shirow, but these are only apparent in Agahali. The actual anime character design is by Kazuto Nakazawa and Seiji Honda and it is thus not surprising that the overall feel is more akin to El Hazard. Even the mecha are reminiscent of Bugrom. Generally, the characters and backgrounds are pleasing on the eye, if not entirely original or (like Longinus) believable.

The voice acting is competent if not brilliant, with US accents the order of the day. While avoiding the "reading from a script" syndrome that plagues so many dubs, there is still a tendency towards either being wooden or overacting. Still, I'd give it a cautious thumbs up.

However, as is the case with many "pretty" films, the story is nothing much to write home about. It all seems formulaic and cliched, never putting forward anything original to distinguish Landlock from others of the genre. Donít get me wrong, I don't think Landlock is terrible but I can't really warm to it.

Rating: 3 out of 5 [Chris Hartford]

Comment from newsgroups:

Anita Bath:
Let's see...it's got nothing that resembles a plot (at least not in vol.
1), almost no character developement (the main character screams like
he's got a migraine headache thru most of it), and the bad guy is evil
for evil's sake: "Bwahahahaha, it's fun to kill people!" "Not good"
pretty much sums it up. Very good animation, though (like Orguss 02).


T.J.:
The Pro:

Great animation in parts.  Also a very nice character design -- even better
than any Dominion OVA.  If more anime was 'based on' Shirow's works, then
I'll be happy.

The Cons:

Terrible Music.  It's just... TERRIBLE.  It seems that they pulled someone
off the street, say, "I want 30 second of a transistion music."  And then
they slap it on some action scene.

Story.  They tried too hard to be Shirow-like, but please!  At least Shirow
explains what is going on (at least in the footnotes if not in some scenes,
see Dominion Conflict book 1.)  This one just show this shot of the monument
of statues in vary of decay.  After doing a bit of a research myself, I've
sorta figured out what they are, but man!  Can't a guy in that priest circle
say something like "Oh well, there goes the sun god." or whatever.

Directing.  While the animation quality is very good, scenes don't exactly
mesh, not even toward the end.  Even Shirow show quality in carrying you along
for the ride.


Steve Lavelle:
Well I guess that everyone has heard all the hype about Shirow being the 
Character Designer by now, and boooy does it show. Our main female lead, 
and chief villaness (at the start)-Elan is a pumped up, slightly 
diminutive (for a Shirow lead character) amoral version of Denuan Knute, 
who flys into battle with a sadistic, neck snaping glee that is startling 
in it's ferocity. There is the usual lack of clothing as you'd expect 
from anything Shirow has had a hand in, but it would be harder to find a
depiction of nudity that could be further away from the drooling 
fan-service contained in Gowkaiser. There is of coure an exception, that 
being her mech piloting suit, with the obligatory membranes in all the 
right (or is that wrong) places.

Speaking of mecha, I can only presume that Shirow did _not_ design her 
personal mecha, if he did then it must have been somthing he did on the 
back of a fag packet in the pub one night as it is one of the most 
visually unimpresive mech's I have ever seen.

The male lead- Lu'der also reaks of Shirow, just take a look at the nose 
and eyes of any Shirow designed character and you'll see what I mean.
Whilst he may have impresive sounding capabilitys he is most definately 
not an impresive chacter, allthough it would be hard to find anyone who 
did not pale in comparison with Elan. His special efect is also one of 
the sillyest ever seen in Anime, giant luminous hand anyone?!?!

Whilst the animation is up to OVA standards it is nothing particularly 
spectacular.

You're probably thinking that I didnt like this show but nothing could be 
further from the truth, it is probably the closest thing I have ever seen
to an animated, serious, "Shirow looking, Shirow feeling" story. It has 
the same look, the same(ie. confusing) story progression, and the same 
general "feel" as a serious Shirow-Appleseed,GitS. It will certainly do 
for me untill someone gets arround to animating Orion.


Geoff Cowie:
Actually, I thought this was the best anime that Manga Video have
released for ages (and you can interpret that whichever way you like).
The characters are interesting, and nicely designed, and the rest of
it (with plenty of action) shouldn't overly disappoint those who like
fantasy anime. On the other hand, the mixture of advanced technology
and agrarian backwardness goes unexplained.