Legend of Crystania: The Motion Picture

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Details At A Glance

Category Anime Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 3 - 1.33:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 11 - ADV Film releases preview trailers
Year Released 1996 (Japanese version)
1998 (English version)
Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
78:22 minutes
(not 85 minutes as stated on packaging) 
Other Extras Character Biographies
Menu Audio and Animation
Scene Selection Audio and Animation
Slide Show
Website Links
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Ryutaro Nakamura
ADV Films
Siren Entertainment
Case Alpha
RRP $39.95 Music Ootori Michiru
Sahashi Toshihiko

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio No Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

Plot Synopsis

    A short while back, in the review of Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie, I indicated a couple of potential additional anime titles that may be forthcoming from Madman Entertainment and Siren. In one of those rare occasions of sheer luck, one of the titles that I mentioned has indeed been released locally. Whilst pleased that my foresight was so brilliant on this occasion, I am happier still that the anime fans in Australia are actually starting to get a few choices available locally, boding well for a number of other titles that are prominently featured in the extras package on these anime DVDs from ADV Films. Naturally the big one, the Holy Grail of anime is Neon Genesis Evangelion and it looks like we may get to see that before the end of the year, whilst the seminal Ghost In The Shell is due out early next month. However, there are a number of others that I am hoping will make it into local release, which is quite a change compared to last year when anime fans were severely starved of choice and looking forward to future releases was almost an exercise in mental futility.

    The story of Legend Of Crystania: The Motion Picture begins with King Ashram, seeking a home for his people, being confronted by The Wall of The Gods with no way through - until Barbas, the Dark God, makes him an offer he cannot refuse: give Barbas his body and his people will have want he wants. The deal is done. We then skip forward 300 years and his people still revere the king as he sits on his throne in silent stupor. His faithful aide, Pirotesse, is dedicated to releasing Ashram's soul from the grip of Barbas so that Ashram may return to once again rule his people. Meanwhile, a young prince named Redon has been privy to the murder of his parents, and is seeking the power to avenge his parents' death. Accompanied by a bunch of friends, as well as the man who was partly responsible for his father's death, Redon is drawn to The Wall of The Gods by Barbas' promise of the power he needs in order to gain vengeance. Allowed through The Wall of The Gods by Barbas, Redon and his group find themselves in the legendary land of Crystania, home of the Gods, and unwelcome they are too, as all manner of Gods' armies seem to attack them, especially daunting as each person can take on the animal traits of the god to whom they have sworn allegiance. Redon and Pirotesse eventually team up and seek out the ruthless Barbas in order to banish him once and for all from Crystania.

    There are no lack of clichés here, but overall the film moves along at a decent enough pace, with plenty of action tossed in to keep the interest level reasonably high. The story is not exactly obvious as you watch the film and I found myself at times having difficulty keeping track of who was doing what. Still, it all seemed to gel at the right time. I have certainly seen better, but I have also seen a lot worse. As long as you don't want serious character development (which is not possible here in the time available) nor any substantive plot development, this is an enjoyable enough way to spend seventy eight minutes.

Transfer Quality


    In general, this is a good transfer, and there is little to complain about - other than some inherent problems as a result of the NTSC format. Note that this is an NTSC format disc and can only be viewed on display devices capable of playing the NTSC signal.

    It would seem that this is a made-for-video effort and the transfer is presented Full Frame, and not 16x9 enhanced.

    The overall transfer is in general quite sharp and well-defined throughout, subject to the inherent lack of resolution as a result of the NTSC format. This is most easily seen in the lack of solid edges to the animation, but never really gets anything too distracting: it does make me wonder, however, how annoying it would be to spend my entire viewing life watching this poor format. There were a number of sequences where there was a noticeable softness to the image, which was a little distracting. The worst example is between 14:30 and 15:45. This may of course be an intended use of a diffuse image, but I did find it most jarring compared to the bulk of the film. This is a quite clear transfer and there did not appear to be any problems at all with low level noise in the transfer.

    The colours are very nicely rendered, with lots of nice, bright, vibrant colours to counterpoint the relative drabness of certain sections of the film. There were a few minor hints of oversaturation, as well as a couple of instances where colour bleed seemed to be a problem. The animation style on offer here does allow for a degree of variability in the presentation of colours, but this is entirely intended and is not a problem with the DVD transfer. There is a distinct depth to the blacks here and the overall tone of the transfer is quite rich, other than where it was intended to be otherwise. Certainly, ADV Films high standards in this area to date are by no means diminished.

   Another thing that ADV releases seem to have in common is the virtually complete lack of technical problems in the transfer. There are once again no indications of any MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although there were just a few hints of film-to-video artefacts in the form of aliasing here. It may be of course that these were simply extensions of the inherent resolution issues of the NTSC format. There were a few more film artefacts here than we have previously seen in an ADV Films release, but even those that were present were by no means intrusive and really were not distracting to the film at all.

   For those who find the information important, the subtitles are yellow in colour, and come up very well against the film being quite easy to read.


  Once again, there are no real complaints about the soundtrack on offer.

  There are two audio tracks on the DVD: an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Since my Japanese remains virtually non-existent, I listened to both it and the English soundtrack, although obviously the Japanese soundtrack needed the English dubtitles on as well. As always, the dubtitles are so uncorrelated to the English soundtrack that they really cannot be considered subtitles.

  The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.

  Naturally, the animation suffers from the usual "audio sync" problems.

  The original musical contribution comes from Ootori Michiru and Sahashi Toshihiko, and in keeping with my general thoughts on the musical accompaniment to anime titles, is nothing especially memorable.

  As is also very usual for the DVDs from this source, the soundtracks are quite nice efforts, with nothing really too dynamic happening in the sound picture and obviously with nothing from the bass channel, and not too much from the surround channels. I would have to say however that there is some action in the surrounds, which belies the notion that this is not a surround-encoded soundtrack. It is mainly really subtle support stuff, but has the effect of making you wish that there was a full blown 5.1 soundtrack on offer here. Some might think that there is some background hiss in the soundtrack at times, as I at first did, but this is actually a fairly poor representation of running water. Everything is free from distortion and the overall resultant sound picture is generally quite decent for what is almost a straight stereo effort.


    If nothing else, there is a surprising degree of consistency in the extras packages on ADV Films DVDs. Whilst a spark of originality would not go astray once in a while, this consistency does mean that we have a reasonable assurance as to the quality of what is on offer and we do get to look forward to some possible releases on DVD!


    Much in the same mould as the previous releases from ADV Films, this is once again a quite vibrant and bright menu with some reasonable audio and animation enhancement. There are some distributors out there who could learn something by watching these ADV releases in this regard.

Theatrical Trailers (3)

    Yes, I know they are not technically speaking theatrical trailers, but rather are promotional trailers for (presumably) television. All three are presented in a full frame format, are not 16x9 enhanced and come with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound - and really there are only two different trailers as the trailer for Legend of Crystania - The Motion Picture is included twice (they certainly seemed identical to me), once in the theatrical trailers section and once in the preview section (and I am presuming they are two different trailers as one shows the number 4 on my DVD player display, the other number 8). The other trailer is for Legend of Crystania - The Series. In common with most ADV releases, whilst playing the trailers the DVD display only shows a "play" message rather than the running time. There are no complaints about the technical quality of all three.

Other Trailers (11)

    All eleven efforts, which are again promotional trailers presumably for television, are presented in a full frame format, are not 16x9 enhanced and come with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, except one: Slayers: The Motion Picture (presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1). There are some differences with previous releases, and so a listing of the trailers is not entirely inappropriate: Queen Emeraldas, Battle Angel, Tekken: The Motion Picture (sensation mix), Sakura Wars, City Hunter, Dirty Pair Flash, Ninja Resurrection, Sorcerer Hunters, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Those Who Hunt Elves. The trailer for Sorcerer Hunters sounds as if it may have a surround-encoded soundtrack. It is still shameless advertising, but welcome nonetheless and the overall quality continues at a high level. The reference to 15 trailers on the packaging is incorrect - there are only the fourteen (duplicate included).

Character Biographies

Slide Show

    This time there are only ten stills taken from the film, without annotation and still with little purpose.

Website Links

    For those who read my reviews regularly, you know that I have no time for these additions, and in any case I am unable to pass comment thereon since I do not have access to a DVD ROM. However, I am reliably informed that it is only an automated direct link to the ADV website.

R4 vs R1

    This is identical to the version available in Region 1.


    This is another decent enough piece of anime, although I would hardly count Legend of Crystania - The Motion Picture as top-drawer stuff. From a technical point of view this is a pretty good DVD, albeit displaying some of the inherent problems of the NTSC format, and it is a quite enjoyable view. A pity that this time the case used is the accursed Alpha case, and this is one area where more consistency would be appreciated - genuine Amarays please.

    A pretty good video transfer.

    A good audio transfer.

    A decent extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
5th June 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL