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[Legend of Himiko box art]
AKA: 火魅子伝 (Himiko-Den)
Genre: Historical fantasy adventure
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: VHS and R1 DVD from Central Park Media out of print.
Content Rating: PG-13 (violence, occult references, fan service)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Sakura Wars
Notes: Based off the video game "Himiko-den" for the PlayStation.

The name of the main character is a not-exactly veiled reference to the semi-legendary queen Himiko who ruled central Honshu between 180 and 240 AD.
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars

Legend of Himiko

Synopsis

In an ancient castle, a ceremony is underway to determine which of six young women is to become the new queen of the land. However, a rival country invades and the candidates and the infant appointed as the protector of the kingdom are transported away. The infant, named Himiko, is teleported to the far future, into modern-day Japan, where she is adopted by a family of archaeologists. When Himiko is seventeen, she returns to the site where her adoptive stepbrother (read: "love interest") found her, and the same mystical forces that brought her to the future send them both back to the past, where they become embroiled in the war to save her original world from the ultimate darkness.


Review

Legend of Himiko is based off a Playstation game similar to Sakura Wars, part role-playing game, part dating simulation. So we have Himiko and the six other girls vying for what's-his-name's attention and trying to save the world in one fell swoop. (Hey, it's Sakura Wars in ancient Japan!) Not exactly an original concept.

But it works. Legend of Himiko manages to be somewhat entertaining, as far we've seen. The show does a good job of introducing several of the characters, like Himiko, Imari (the sword-wielding girl), and Iga, the deposed leader of the country. It remains to be seen how well the other characters are profiled, but it's a good start so far. I do admit that the cutesy flame protector spirits initially threw me off, considering the serious tone of this series, but they've already grown on me. The storyline so far also is well-plotted and reasonably intelligent - it makes sense that Iga and his band have been struggling for three years while the enemy has been building stores of undead surprises.

Animation is typically late 90s ... beautiful, well-rendered, and obviously done with a healthy dose of CG. The music is very good (I want the soundtrack!) and the designs of the characters are nice, though the girl's outfits, particularly Imari's, seem to be held up less by stitches and cords than by wishful thinking. There are a few other things that seem amiss - like how the main male lead is pretty darn clueless, and how Himiko, having been adopted by archaeologists, can't figure out at first that she's been sent to the past. Hmm. Another thing that throws me off a bit is the character of Tadami. Girl with glasses and twin braids ... gee, just like Li Kouran from Sakura Wars! (Again?) Also, Imari must be incredibly talented, as she can wield a katana skillfully while her boobs are practically hanging out the front of her armor. (Can we say "Xena" anyone?) Obviously, there's quite an amount of fan service in here, just as a series based off a dating sim should - I've heard comparisons to Maze, but apparently I haven't gotten far enough in the series to really understand that one.

I'm not even sure as to what time period this is supposed to be set, as the outfits and weapons are medieval, but the ruins (and Himiko herself) refer to a far earlier era of Japanese history. But they're obviously not going for any sort of historical accuracy here, not will all those zombies are, and *absolutely* not with Imari lettin' it *all* hang out. (She's a brick ... HOUSE!)

Overall, this is a solid, if not overly remarkable, TV series that's worth watching when you can catch it and have the extra rental buck. Not my first pick by any means, but good, slightly fluffy fun.

Well, hey, it *is* good for a video game series. If you like fan service (and historical accuracy be damned), tack on a star. I won't tell.Carlos Ross

Recommended Audience: Those undead are creepy, and there are a few onscreen, or just offscreen deaths here and there. The bad guys particularly enjoy killing their own subordinates and using them as zombies. Most of the battles, however, are the simple "Die, evil spirit! - SLASH" sort of affair, nothing to be worried about. Substantial amount of fan service, as the girls' average bra size (considering none of them wear bras) would be about double D. But no actual sexual implications so far.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (2/12)
Legend of Himiko © 1999 Hakuhodo / Amuse / Red / Himiko-Den Anime Production Committee
 
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