Anime Review: The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

I hope that everyone has been doing well this week, and are making plans for the weekend.

Except for trying to save some money, due to the expenses from last month and a huge expense to come soon (no thanks to the stupidity that is software subscriptions), things have been going fairly well because Project Gutenberg makes it easy to get access to titles, but I have not really been taking advantage of the streaming services I have access to, so I decided to change my mind on rarely covering titles I do not buy.

Today, I will be reviewing a movie from one of those services, which is called The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky.

The country of Liberl has had its share of wars and is currently recovering from a decade long war, which some people have forgotten.

However, the horrors still haunt a few individual, and when somebody close disappears, Estelle and her comrades rush out to find the missing person, only to get involved in something that may be just as bad as the recent war.

Unlike anime series, which have been able to keep me interested and satisfied quite a bit, movies have not really faired that well with me, with the Yu Yu Hakusho movie faring the worst, so I was not too sure if this one would be any good.

And, after watching this movie, I can say that I was pretty much unimpressed.

Fortunately, there were a few things that I liked, so I do not need to skip right into what I hated.

From the moment that I started watching this movie, I actually felt like I was watching a movie.

Some of you guys might be sighing, and saying that it does because it is a movie, though not in the same sense as The Boy and the Beast, so that does make some sense.

However, a movie is not a movie just because it is marketed as one.

For example, I am a huge of fan of Detective Conan, having seen 14 of the 20 or so movies and caught up with the Japanese releases of the manga, in spite of the fact that the releases where I live are only barely going to surpass the Swedish releases, but none of the Detective Conan movies actually felt like movies until somewhere around The Last Wizard of the Century or the end of The Fourteenth Target, as the movies felt more like extended-length episodes.

People might like it when there is a special episode of their favorite series that is longer than the others, but I do not think that they like to have something marketed as movie to feel like anything other than a movie.

After all, no matter how horrible movies from Hollywood have become, I at least know that I am watching a movie, which makes it easier for me to escape reality.

Likewise, Kinema Citrus seems to understand the importance of not making this feel like some extended-length anime episode, though this series never really had television series like Detective Conan has, and it makes me want to give them quite a bit of applause, though not as much as Barakamon, which has become one of my favorite anime.

If they were not able to deliver this much, I would have lost any and all faith in them that I got from seeing how they did such a good job with Barakamon, and such a steep decline in quality would ultimately lead to fans being disgusted enough to not support a studio anymore, which is something that people in the creative fields should not want, but because they did, I can only congratulate them on a job well done.

Another nice thing about this movie was the action actually felt exciting to watch.

Back in the days when I first got into anime, which was around the time that DBZ and Sailor Moon were airing on Toonami, the action that was present continually had me on the edge of my seat, whether that was the original fight between Goku and Frieza, the fights in Rurouni Kenshin's Kyoto arc, or the fights in Yu Yu Hakusho's Dark Tournament saga. These were the best moments of anime that were present when I was growing up, though I would only consider Rurouni Kenshin and Yu Yu Hakusho great out of all the anime that I grew up with.

However, action anime has really taken a nose dive these days to the point where there are probably only one or two anime from the last five years that can match the excitement of even the worst anime from my childhood and teenage years, none of which includes the overrated Attack on Titan, and that makes me sad about the state anime today, aside from the mistakes made today that cannot be found in anime from the past.

Action should present for the sake of eye candy. It should be present to add some excitement to the mix, yet many studios do not seem to understand that today.

Fortunately, not all studios that make anime have lost their way like a good majority of Hollywood has, and Kinema Citrus seems to understand this as well as they understood the importance of being able to understand the struggles of characters in Barakamon, and that makes me want to give them a bit more applause.

If the action in Attack on Titan were more like this, I would have been more willing to check out the season that premiered year, as that was part of why I did not entirely like the show.

Then again, great action can only improve the quality of an anime so much, so things will have to get back up to the same level as or better than what could be found in Yu Yu Hakusho to make things any better.

The thing that I liked the most though were the subtitles.

While I do not necessarily care too much if I watch anime dubbed or subbed, at least when I am not dealing with anything like a headache, I have had more a hit and miss experience with subtitles than I have had with anime movies.

In the anime community, there is an ongoing debate between dubs and subs, which can become just as heated as discussions dealing with religion or politics, and many people out there claim that people are not fans unless they watch anime subbed, even though, like my biggest problem with NIS America's Toradora! release, subtitles present issues that do not exist with dubbed anime, such as font color not contrasting well or font size being too small to read and watch at the same time, and they problem did not understand Japanese to begin with.

In this movie, however, Sentai Filmworks provided subtitles that were easy to read, in both font size and color contrast, to the point where I could somewhat follow what was going on in this movie, though not technically good enough to fill in all the questions that I got from watching this movie, as there is only so much that Sentai Filmworks could do to make things any better.

Sentai Filmworks seems to rarely dub anime these days, or even stream their dubs, considering that I could only find the dubbed version of this movie over on Amazon and a few online retailers, but they seem to know what great subtitles should be like, as they should since they are the new face of what was ADV Films, and that makes me want to actually consider checking out more of their titles, though I wish that more of the dubbed stuff was available for streaming, much like how I wish Hulu had more anime dubs.

Seriously, this reminding me of the great subtitles that were found in the Lupin III vs Detective Conan movie and special that Discotek released roughly a year or so ago, and is what I wish all subs were like, though that does not mean that subtitles themselves would actually improve in accuracy, which is something that I cannot determine with anime.

If subtitles were more like those from FUNimation, Crunchyroll, Discotek, and Sentai Filmworks, there would be not need for these pointless dub vs sub debates where people do not seem to acknowledge the true possible issues with subtitles in order to pass an opinion off as fact.

Unfortunately, the sub vs. dub debate will not end any time soon, much like how the Mac vs. PC wars seemed to have lasted forever, and people will continue to say that true anime fans only watch anime subbed, so all I can do is just sit back and watch as the anime community the equivalent of regilious groups trying to convince people they are more right than others.

Still, that does not mean that Sentai Filmworks should not be praised for what they have done. Nice job, Sentai.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked.

Because the movie felt like a movie, the action found was very exciting, and the subtitles were easy to read, this was a pretty decent movie.

Although there were things that I liked about the movie, there are some issues.

While I did kind of enjoy myself throughout the duration of the movie, I did not really know what was going on, and I could not really tell you guys what the movie was about, though I was able to write up some sort of summary.

According the official summary, which can be found at the Amazon link that I provided earlier, I got the feeling that this movie would be more along the lines of something like the 2003 adaptation of FMA, where the characters actually go on a journey and uncover truths, which was what made me want to try to watch this movie.

However, when I actually took the time to sit down and watch this movie, I did not know how the characters related and why it was so important for them to go find the person that just went missing near the beginning or why the enemy did what they did.

Yes, there were some backstories that seemed like they were sad and explained the motivations behind each character, but, other than the organization's name, which I already forgot, I did not feel like I knew the group themselves and why the same missing character that the main cast was searching for said that they needed to be brought down.

A good work of fiction must not leave holes like this in the overall story, and having something like this is much worse than what the anime staff at TMS did in episodes 5 and 13 of Detective Conan, as that series could still be followed easily in spite of the plot holes created.

What happened, Kinema Citrus? You guys delivered gold when you adapted Barakamon, yet you guys utterly fail to deliver something that is just as easy to follow?

Maybe, these things are answered in the game, which seems to have been accepted more by the public than this movie, because there are reports that this movie does not start where the first game in original series starts, but I should not even need to have played the game to understand what is going on, much like how I did not need to read the Yu Yu Hakusho or Rurouni Kenshin manga to fully appreciate their anime adaptations.

Adaptations of already existing series are their own work and should not expect the viewer to be familiar with the original, yet the staff at Kinema Citrus thought this was okay.

Well, I have news for them. This is not okay, and makes the studio look like a joke.

Really, guys? Is it really that difficult to create something decent, even just to kill time?

My writing may not exactly be the best, but I know that my own books at least do that much right, even if they may be terribly flawed and full of things that I would berate other writers for, so I expect the same thing from an anime studio.

Nice going, Kinema Citrus, you really ruined the respect that I had for you guys back when I reviewed Barakamon.

The thing that I hated the most though was how this movie did not seem like it had an ending.

Even though the movie does end with Estelle and the missing person reunited at last and the enemy mostly defeated, I did not feel like I got an actual ending because there were so many loose ends, mostly causes by the first problem with this movie, and one of the enemies talked like he was about to become something that he did not want.

Endings do not need to be an actual end to be good, as the original creator can decide to pick things up at a later time, but it does need to feel complete, and this movie does not feel complete.

Yes, anime is used to promote series, and there does seem to be a second special, if a page on MAL is to be believed, but endings are what gives the audience a sense of closure, or even the need to continue on with a work, and the staff that work on this movie did seem to realize this.

After all, I doubt that there is anybody out there that would say a series was great if they did not receive a complete end.

Honestly, if the movie was better than it was, I could have overlooked this problem, as it was a decent enough ending, but I cannot because this movie already had a terrible that kept it from being great, and this is the second one.

Is this seriously the best that the staff at Kinema Citrus could dish out?

I sure hope not because the next title from these guys might make me want to not support them ever again, much like I decided not to support NIS America's sub only releases because of their terrible subtitles.

Thankfully, noting else bugged to no end, especially because I do not have access to the dubbed version of this movie, though Sentai Filmworks does list English voice actors and actresses, so the movie could not look any worse than it does.

While there were only two things wrong with this movie, both were bad enough that the movie went from ok to atrocious.

Despite the fact that there were things to like, the negatives outweighed the enough to make this a waste of time.

I recommend everyone to avoid this movie like the plague, but if you really want to check this series out, it might be best to get the game from Amazon or Steam.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, so that I can find more worthwhile anime for you guys to watch, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.