"It is the summer of 1581. Force of evil have started to manifest themselves within Japan. A comet streaks across the sky, highlighting a burning village being destroyed by a three-headed worm monster. A young girl, Ayame is entrusted with her family's sacred sword and is told to seek out the Hyoga and Hagakure. Thus begins Ayame's trek to locate the other Ninja clans."
Original story: Takeshi Narumi Director: Osamu Yamazaki Character design: Kenichi Ohnuki Animation director: Kenichi Ohnuki Monster design: Junichi Watanabe Music: Seiji Hano Copyright: JVC Language Format: Japanese language, English subtitles Translator: Kenzo Tsubai Running time: 40/40/45 mins Certificate: PG/15/12 Catalogue no: VHSYT/001S / VHSYT/002S / VHSYT/003S Label: ADV Films Price: £12.99 each Release Date: 6th Sept 1999/6th March/11th Sept 2000
Something is going down in ancient Japan, and it isn't good. After one of three tribes of ninja's are slaughtered by a huge beast, the one surviving member goes off looking for support to try and find the monster and who was controlling it. Meanwhile, someone is vying for world domination, and he isn't going about it peacefully.
To be frank, Yotoden is nothing special. It contains all the basic fantasy elements - magic swords, a monster (which if kiddified by 10% would fit into Pokèmon quite easily), tribes of ninjas, and some evil person trying to conquer the world. It is basic paint-by-numbers fantasy, which also takes itself far too seriously.
Although it looks like it may improve in the coming episodes (this is the first of four I believe), this first episode really is nothing to shout home about. The animation looks a little dated (this was dated 1989 at the end), and the Japanese dubbing and the music is nothing to shout home about. The direction is a little flat too. It's refreshing to see subtitles chosen over dubbing, although it would be nice if ADV would chose something better than this.
Grade: C+ - Really nothing special, although it has potential to develop well. [Daniel Fawcett]