Blue Seed: Beyond
A renegade scientist in San Francisco has found a way to create Aragami without the power of Susanowo. When these monsters start terrorizing California the good old U.S. of A. turns to members of the newly-reinstated Terrestrial Administration Center (TAC) to handle it "under the board." All of the old favorites are back, and a new, mysterious girl shows up: Valencia, an American who, like Kusanagi, has the power of the Mitama.
Hello again Blue Seed, what an unexpected return! After all, it's only been, what, nine years? (At least over here in the States.) Interesting time span for releasing a sequel, but no matter, it's the content that counts, right? So without further ado...
Beyond is basically a well-animated and thoroughly enjoyable, if violent, two-year reunion. If you liked the characters from the original series, you'll find this series fits like that old pair of comfortable PJs you keep for your days off. The first episode serves as the main "reunion" part, showing the start of the new Aragami crisis, briefly reintroducing the characters (which will help considerably if you haven't seen Blue Seed TV recently) and introducing a new character. The second episode resolves the Aragami crisis and injects a little drama, which fleshes out the-very attractive-new character quite nicely. The third episode, though (dear God, not another hot springs episode), just serves as a filler episode, with a lot of fan service and a little half-hearted terrorist plot.
There are some differences between this title and its predecessor that a fan of the TV series will notice straight off, the first of which being the "cleaner" look of the animation. The characters are given a little touch-up and some of the TV series' grittier horror story-esque artwork is forfeited in favor of a cleaner, more "modern" look. Secondly, there is a more mature overall theme. Dramatic scenes are presented without a lot of the comedic relief (like a panties comments) that was so ever-present in the original, and even the characters seem more mature here, which is actually quite satisfying (character growth is a good thing). And thirdly we have a huge increase in both the quality and quantity of the fan service, making the age recommendation for the viewer of this title just a little bit higher, unfortunately, as some of it was clearly unnecessary.
Shifting to the sound and music, this title actually competent, and the music is even powerfully touching at times, especially during the character interactions. A note on the dub though, the voice actors did change (again nine years tends to do those things...) Mostly the characters are still played well, ADV's no slouch in dubbing these days, but Monica Rial's performance as the leading lady, Momiji (is Monica Rial in EVERY ADV title now, or is it just me? Jeez) is quite a change, in voice at least, if not character, from Amanda Winn.
After all is said and done though, Beyond is a quite satisfying, if somewhat unexpected, look back at an almost forgotten series.
Thanks for the memories ADV.
Fans of the Blue Seed TV series should be quite satisfied. Everyone else, though, should just watch the TV series and skip this for now. — Isaac Cynova
Recommended Audience: Violence, some language and very brief "transformation scene" partial nudity in the first episode keeps this title to teens and up. Also, for the sake of completeness, the third episode has an excessive amount of quite, er ... bountiful fan service.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (3/3)
Blue Seed: Beyond © 1996 Yuzo Takada / Takeshobo / BS Project / TV Tokyo / NAS
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