Over 300 years ago the brutal Taishakuten killed the previous noble ruler of the world and has been consolidating his power by eliminating anyone who opposes him by whatever means necessary. Now a prophetess' vision indicates that that a group of "Six Stars" will arise and defeat the tyrant.
You know I rarely really claim to like any particular directors, studio, or mangaka in general. However, I will admit that in the past I have pretty much liked every CLAMP manga I've read and every anime adaptation of CLAMP manga that I had seen. Unfortunately, after watching this show, I finally found a CLAMP adaptation I did not like.
Perhaps the main problem with RG Veda is that in a certain sense it is somewhat inaccessible to those who haven't read the manga. While the basic story is simple enough and easy to follow, the two OAV episodes seem simply plucked from what was obvious a complex fantasy epic. Though I could understand the desire not to simply compress the storyline, as the show starts it seems like it was assumed that we would already know all the back story and personality of the characters. Fantasy epics, while often formulaic, still can be good with the weight of the build up to their climax. Since we don't get that here, you just feel disconnected from the events. You don't see the beginning of the quest, so you don't feel the tug toward the plot. You don't see the end, so you don't get any real resolution. Heck, this wasn't even a "Two Towers" style central portion, but rather one episode that tied in importantly to the main plot (which I didn't care about since I was dropped into the middle of it) and basically one bit of filler episode. Wee.
Amusingly enough, as a CLAMP fan, I saw that many plot elements used in this OAV series were later used in other much better and well done CLAMP productions. I've already taken to thinking of RG Veda as a "training production." Though I suppose it was based on one of CLAMP's earlier works and was one of their first actual animated adaptations, so I guess that makes sense.
The characterization aspect, in particular, really agitated me. We don't really get character development, but instead they openly talk about these grand changes that the characters apparently went through in the past. Well, great. I'm glad that all the interesting character development happened off screen! Maybe I would appreciate all these characters a lot more if I saw what they went through to get where they were, but simply dropping them into the middle of two random stories and just kind of expositing about the past didn't do much for me. I realized as I watched this, that I could care less whether any of these characters really lived or died.
Heck, for that matter besides a brief narrative about how Taishakuten was such a bad guy and some references to battles in the past, I didn't really get a feel for him being such an evil tyrant. I'm not saying they have to show him slaughtering a town full of school children or something, but really the main time we see him, he is holding a festival in the capitol which hardly seemed like a town suffering from a cruel evil dictator. It also didn't help me sympathize with the Six Stars when their main key to victory apparently starts going psychopathic and blasting around with magic. I suppose the reasons the character did made sense, but she seemed to be enjoying it a bit from what I can tell.
I can't even say that RG Veda was a particularly impressive work in regard to any of its technical aspects. The synth heavy music soundtrack sounds like something pounded out on a Yamaha keyboard from 1986. While the character design work was good, the rest of the art work was pretty shoddy. The animation was sub-par even adjusting for the time period. The use of stock footage and bad animation made most of the fight scenes extremely uninteresting. Since I wasn't really engaged in the plot or the characters, I was really hoping the action sequences would at least do something for me.
One last thing: I've heard several anime fans claim that this was adapted from material in the Rig Veda, which is one of the four sacred scriptures of the various strains of the Hindu Faith. While I'm far from an expert on everything related to Hindu beliefs, I do have more than a passing knowledge and after watching this anime, I must say I find the idea that this was somehow adapted from that source material untenable. As far as I could tell they simply borrowed a few names and a few bits of Hindu iconography here and there. Interestingly enough after I got done watching the show, I watched the extras were they have a small section on the Hindu Rig Veda. They explain the nature of the Rig Veda and then proceed to note that the anime pretty much has no relation to the actual holy verses.
As much as it pains me to say it this was a poorly produced and non-engaging work and easily the worst CLAMP anime adaptation to date. If you don't like fantasy stories go ahead and subtract a star. I assume people who have read the manga will already have their emotional investment in the characters and plot, but with the shoddy production values of RG Veda, I think even the manga fans will probably only want to add a star. — Jeremy A Beard
Recommended Audience: There are a number of battles and we see people get beheaded, stabbed, burned up, electrocuted, and suffer a variety of other methods of death. While this isn't a gore fest, people do bleed when they get cut. There is a brief scene involving a somewhat scantily clad dancer. Overall, I would say this is safe for teens and above.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Rg Veda © 1992 CLAMP / Shinsokan / Sony Music Entertainment / MOVIC
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