Tuesday, August 7, 2001

Soul Hunter (Senkaiden Houshin Engi)

Genre: Martial Arts/Jidai Geki, Fantasy
Parental Guidance Recommended
1999 Fujisaki Ryuu. Weekly Shonen Jump. Ano Tsutomu , JUMP Comics, Shueisha Inc., TV Tokyo. Screenshots courtesy of Ryeka

Soul Hunter DVDs
Houshin Engi Manga
All other items related to Soul Hunter/Houshin Engi

Cover Description:
The ancient Chinese Yin Dynasty is rotting from the inside out, infested with demon immortals. Project Soul Hunt was drafted by the Immortal High Council to capture all these "dangerous" souls and seal them away forever. Now all that remains is to find someone to carry it out.

Why risk the life of a perfectly good immortal if you can send a good-for-nothing instead? Taikoubou skips his lessons and naps while he's meditating; if he doesn't happen to make it back, so much the better.

Armed with nothing but a magical rod and hit list, Taikoubous is dragged off by the spiritual beast Sibuxiang. But when your job is killing demon immortals, on-the-job training can be extremely rough! Will Taikoubou get his act together in time to save his skin? Or will he and Sibu get vaporized his first day on the job?

(26 episodes)

Has comedy, fantasy and action! >>> by firesenshi
During the Yin Dynasty, the Emperor of Chouka has fallen under the spell of the mysterious maiden, Dakki. Sho made him follow everything she wishes for her own personal gain thereby throwing the land into chaos and hunger. In doing this, she has made 365 demons all over the land as her accomplices, which created a trouble in the Celestial World. Tasked by his master to seal all 365 souls, Taikobou must travel the world with his sidekick, Suupuushan, not only to stop Dakki from ravaging Chouka but also to save the Human World...

My sister and I can't stop laughing at the Taikobou, the main character of this series. His sidekick, a beast named Suupuushan (telling you what kind of beast he is would be somewhat of a spoiler), is in tears that his master is actually becoming more "intelligent" and "generous." Well, characters like that are just great!

Houshin Engi is based on an old Chinese legend of the same name. Fujisaki-san, the mangaka and this his original work, modified the story in his own terms. It worked out fine since the element of comedy was added apart from the Chinese classic with Fujisaki-san's own flair. And since the original legend did have a lot of magical elements and a diverse universe consisting of three worlds, it is expected that you will have a variety of characters, each with their own specialty. The characters that Taikobou meets and includes in his quest will astonish you. Some, like one of our favorite characters, Nataku, has a very touching past and background on his magical powers. The protector of the two royal princes had a very sad story that made me cry. Actually, the concept of three worlds and characters having different magical styles and classes remind me so much of Yuu Yuu Hakushou sans the tournaments. Taikobou, of course is a lot different from Yuusuke and the world here revolves around a more ancient theme than YYH's setting. My favorite character Youzen, reminds of Youko Kurama a lot though!

The story is actually very well done, although totally condensed from the manga. The diversity can't seem to be carried in 26 episodes... but that's just me! Actually, I marvel at the fact at how there are so many characters and two different settings. You'll watch in such a way that it first shows the problem with the land of Chouka side by side with what's happening in Taikobou's quest. At first, there seemed to be no connection at all until they all converge into one specific plot which just throws you away! It's good to see two suspenseful events happen simultaneously at a time!

Just one warning though: there are many terms in Houshin Engi. It is based on a world with a lot of magical characters on three realms. It is best to get acquainted with the terms used in this movie since terms such as youko, whose closest equivalent in English is demon, won't be sufficient enough.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 9; Characters 9; Sounds 7

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