3x3 Eyes (2nd series)

Official Blurb:

"The time for the resurrection of the dark lord Kuei-Yan-Wang draws near, and the destruction of the world is at hand. Only one can stop him - the last of a mystical and immortal race, Pai of the Sanjiyan Unkara and her champion, Yakumo Fujii, the boy marked with the sign of the Void."

"Yakumo Fujii was an ordinary boy, until an encounter with the Sanjiyan took his humanity and transformed him in to an immortal warrior who cannot die, unless the Sanjiyan who holds his soul is destroyed. Now he searches for Pai, the holder of his soul (and his chance to regain his humanity) who is lost in the aftermath of a cataclysmic battle. The forces of darkness are determined to prevent Pai standing against the return of Kuei-Yan-Wang, just as Yakumo is determined to find her and stand by her side in the battle that is to come. Also at stake is Pai's dream of finally becoming human herself - and Yakumo's chance to regain his soul."

"A mystical battle of vast proportions is the ultimate end of their quest - but will either survive to the last confrontation?"

Creator/Story:    Yuzo Takada
Director:         Parts 3&5: Kazuhisa Takenouchi, Part 4: Seiko Sayama
Screenplay:       Yuzo Takada
Character Design: Tetsuya Kumagai
Copyright:        Yuzo Takada/Kodansha/Bandai Visual/King Records

Language Format:  English Language
Cast - Yakumo:    Eddie Frierson
       Pai:       Rebecca Frostat
       Napalba:   Kirk Thorton
       Sanjhiyan: Alexandra Kenworthy

Running time:     48/45/50 mins
Certificate:      15/PG/15
Label:            Manga Video
Catalogue no:     MANV 1141/MANV 1142/MANV 1157
Price:            £9.99 each
Release Date:     12th Aug/9th Sept/14th Oct 1996


Episode 3:

Just so you are thoroughly confused, this is the third tape in the UK releases, but a translation of the fifth Japanese video, and covers some events in "Part 2" of the original manga series, some four years after the events in Hong Kong which culminate in Pai's disappearance in a violent explosion. Pai has entirely lost her memory, and is living as a Japanese schoolgirl with an old couple who claim to he her grandparents. Yakumo has been wandering and searching for Pai for the last four years. On the same day he sees her picture in a men's magazine and then spots Pai herself. So, unfortunately, do the demons, and a series of battles with a collection of malign dolls erupts.

This is a predictably disappointing continuation of the SAZAN EYES series, by a different director. It has been seriously cute-ified and lacks much of the snap of the earlier scripts, even compared with the earlier dub versions. Along with her memory, Pai seems to have lost much of her character! The first four 30min. episodes followed the manga fairly closely, asides from some severe compression, but this episode seems to be a very loose adaptation. Nor does it have the lovely soundtrack music of the earlier videos. There's also a real error, with Yakumo repeatedly saying that he first met Pai in Hong Kong! I wouldn't want to put you off completely, but this is fairly average stuff. [Geoff Cowie]

Billed as 'Part 3' by MEL (Part 1 having been series 1 episodes 1+2, and Part 2 Series 1 episodes 3+4), the new 3x3 Eyes series is set four years after the originals.

The story begins in a Tibetan monastery, with Yakumo (the hero of the first series) observing a ritual. The 'forces of evil' take their revenge on the participants, destroying the temple, forcing our hero and companions to make a very 'athletic' escape. The scene then switches to Tokyo, with a scene reminiscent of the opening to series 1 - this time with Yakumo as the 'wanderer' recently arrived in the city.

Here we are reintroduced to Pai, now a schoolgirl, and her friends. When Yakumo and Pai meet the young sanjian does not recognise her helper, fleeing into the city. The story then moves on to Pai's "Grandparents", and the tale begins to explain her fate, becoming involved in the machinations of the evil Kai-yan-wang. You'll have to watch the video for more.

To me there seem to be a number of inconsistencies in the plot. For example, it is stated at first that Pai and Yakumo met in Hong Kong when in fact they met in Tokyo, only travelling to Hong Kong later in the story. Furthermore there is no explanation of Pai's disappearance (and survival) in the massive explosion that ended the first series.

That aside the animation is nice, although of a somewhat different style to the original four episodes, and the English voice acting is passable (despite a rough start with the 'giggly schoolgirls' which made me cringe). However, the use of the same voice actors for several roles does not help credibility.

Other scenes just drip with atmosphere -Yakumo's martial defence of Pai in a scene reminiscent of Vampire Princess Miyu is particularly good. However, viewers coming to the series without having seen the original four OVA's or having read the manga (either the originals or the Dark Horse translations) will be confused by the relationship of the lead characters, their powers and the machinations of Kay-yan-wang.

Overall: Pretty enjoyable - 7 out of 10 [Chris Hartford]

Episode 4:

"Part 4" of 3x3 Eyes (Series II part 2) begins where part 1 left off. A thief breaks into a temple, attempting to steal 'the key'. He then attempts to flee, but a second group arrives and their 'demon' knocks him off his motorbike.

Cut to Pai and Yakumo, now in Tibet and travelling to meet with a priest, Timjin (who chanted the invocation at the start of episode 1), who may be able to help Pai remember her past. They arrive at the temple (the same one where the thief was at before), to find it damaged.

There they encounter the bad guys and their 'demon', lead by a vile individual called Chokai. With the help of the thief, Jake McDonald and a monk called Nepalbi (also from ep 1) they escape. The Senior monk, Timjin, later tells them that to unlock Pai's memory they must travel to the lost city of Koan Loan...

This time the video gets straight into the action, introducing a whole host of supporting characters. However, I have to admit I detested Jake McDonald, the dubbing of his voice was excruciating and every time I the character appeared on screen I involuntarily reached for the remote..

That aside the quality is much the same as for part one, although the plot was somewhat clichéd and predictable. The animation was of a similar high standard to part one, and the dubbing equally mediocre. Don't get me wrong, the dubbing isn't horrendous, but neither is it particularly inspired. The actors turn in a reasonable performance, but many of the flaws of the previous OVA repeat themselves here..

Overall: Too clichéd for me - 6 out of 10 [Geoff Cowie]

Episode 5:

For many people, life is boring and predictable and it would be good to have adventures.

For Yakumo and Pai, a "normal" human life is just what they want but somehow, their powers manage to get in their way.

Part 5 of Manga Entertainment's 3x3 Eyes (Part 3 of series II "Sei-Ma Densetsu" which roughly means the Legend of Good and Evil) sees Yakumo and Pai continues their journey to find Pai's memory.

This concluding part of the 3x3 Eyes story raised more questions that answered which, in my opinion, ruined a great series. It told us how Kuei-Yan Wang's Void erased Pai's memory 4 years ago in Hong Kong. The battle that followed reminded the viewers just how powerless Yakumo really is and it was left to Pai to finish the job again.

The story writers took the dubious decision to separate Pai into two entities via the star sign on her forehand. A move which betrayed the fans. One of the main reasons that Pai is so loveable is because of her dual personalities. What good does it do to separate the school girl Pai from Saijiyan Pai?

It means that one side of Pai got her wish but what about the other side? Does the Saijiyan Pai still want to become mortal?

Moreover, she still holds Yakumo's soul. The ending gives the impression that Yakumo would stay with the school girl Pai from now on with the sign of void intact and forfeit the promise that he would help the Saijiyan Pai (and therefore help himself) to become human.

This ending is just too shallow to say the least...... [Terry Bogard]

Comment from newsgroups:

Don "Gamera" Chan:
     The artwork and chara designs are improved. Now Pai-chan
looks good when her hair is untied, but Yakumo's triangular eyes
look bad because of his small pupils.
     Yakumo's more powerful now: he fights with martial arts, and
can summon an Earth Claw. No sign of the Light Fang though. Hmm.
He only wears one bracer on his left arm?
     Frequent uses of sweat drops and knives on the characters'
heads. Also, like Kyousuke of KOR, Yakumo has the quirk of
getting slapped multiple times by the female protagonist.
     Bloody and gory combat scenes. A friend remarked Seima
Densetsu has more action than the first OVA series. Also, Yakumo
is one of the few male characters in the anime that we've watched
in the past months (A!MG, Aozora Shoujotai, DNA^2, Miku, Seirei
Tsukai, Tenchi, &c) who aren't wimpy. The other exceptions
include Gundam W and SF2V.
     Like in Project A-ko, Tenchi, and UY, Pai-chan's school gets
wasted by the monsters.