Labyrinth of Flames
I'm just going to lay out the whole plot, since I need it as a background for stressing the series' worth. Galan, a bumbling samurai wannabe, is given a short sword by Natsu, a girl who apparently likes him. When she invites him back to her house, they meet Datenoshin, Natsu's suitor; Kasumi, Natsu's anemic handmaiden; Carrie, a 'reporter'; and Natsu's lecherous father. When Natsu announces that she has intentions to marry Galan, rather than Datenoshin, who was chosen by her father, her father instructs Datenoshin to take the sword from Galan, as it is a ceremonial wedding gift among her family. Natsu's aunt intervenes, Datenoshin runs away, and robot puppets attack them. Kasumi beats them up, due to a transfusion of 'ninja juices.' Carrie announces that she's actually an Interpol agent, and that Natsu's father's girlfriends, who are shown for approximately twenty seconds in the first episode, are criminals after the sword, which is a map to a stash of money. Galan and the women proceed to fight for most of the rest of the series.
I should have returned this DVD the instant I hit the 'Languages' menu and found the background to consist of an incredibly close-up view of a woman's chest, nipples fully erect.
Labyrinth of Flames probably ranks among the worst anime I've ever seen. The plot is nearly nonexistent, and not in a good way. The series seems to rely on the plot, except for the fact that there isn't much in the way of a continuous plot. For the first five minutes, it's about a klutz who wants to be a samurai. For the ten minutes after that, it's about Natsu being in love with the klutz. For the ten minutes after that, it's about Galan and Datenoshin competing over Natsu. For the next half hour, it's about everybody trying to beat up robot-using bandits. Throughout the entire thing, the camera finds its way into girls' busts or under their skirts if at all possible. And I do mean if at all possible. Meaning that if there's a girl on screen, and nothing of extreme importance is happening, their underpants are likely showing, if they're not dominating the screen altogether. For about the first three times, it's okay, but when the entire show's animation revolves around circumventing women's clothing, you might as well just go get the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and imagine them drawn in anime style.
The bulk of the humor is nearly as sad, and revolves around two things:
1. Natsu's Father likes sex.
Ha ha! I'm sure you're all rolling on the floor vomiting up blood from your extreme laughter at this point. There is other humor, and some of it is decently funny. About the height of it is the killer death robots drinking tea as the wait for Galan to fight them. Oh, darn, I just revealed the funniest moment to you. Now you don't have to rent this piece of crud to see it.
The English dub is another area in which Labyrinth of Flames falls flat. The voice acting is sub-mediocre, overall. And instead of changing the mouth animations for the English dub or simply translating the speech and leaving the mouths as they are, sentences seem to be padded and shrank to match the characters' mouths. While this normally wouldn't be much of a problem, they repeatedly made sentences overly long, simply to match the animation. The dub ends up sounding really unnatural in some places as a result. The sub, showing the normal translations, reads much more smoothly.
It does have mostly good music. There, now nobody can say I was purely critical.
If you like bathroom humor and really like undergarments, go ahead and add a star or two. Just don't say I didn't warn you. — Ashley Stevens
Recommended Audience: Late teens. There are plenty of views of every female body part with as little covering as possible, though nothing that would be considered actual nudity. There's also some language, and crude humor. The DVD character sketches gallery does have topless women.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Labyrinth of Flames © 2000 Studio Fantasia / Bandai Visual / Nippon Columbia
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