Series 1 - Part 2

Starring (voice): Kouki Miyata, Takahiro Sakurai, Marina Inoue, Nana Mizuki and Omi Minami
Manga Entertainment
RRP: 29.99
Certificate: 12
Available 16 July 2007

Even from childhood Kantaro Ichinomiya has dreamt of meeting the Demon Eating Goblin, who is stronger than any living demon. Years later as an impoverished folklore writer and part time exorcist, he lives together with his pet demon Yoko, still dreaming of meeting the Goblin. For all his research, it is an accident which finally brings Kantaro to the shrine of the Goblin. He names the demon Haruka and the two of the start a journey of demon slaying...

This is the second DVD release for the anime show Tactics, which rarely moves away from its formulaic 'Monster of the Week' storylines. I rarely mention the menu screens in reviews because, for the most part, they are similar enough not to warrant it. However Tactics stands apart from the crowd by employing such an awful font for the episode titles that it makes them all but unreadable. So, if it looks like I'm making up the episode titles its fairer to say that they are my best guess.

On a more positive note, you can't complain about the amount of episodes on offer. The three disc set covers episodes fourteen to twenty-five (That's twelve, if you ran out of fingers - and if you did you obviously don't come from the Isle of Wight). Regardless of what you think of the content, each show is given a very nice, clean widescreen presentation with either a stereo or 5.1 audio track in either English or Japanese.

As for the content, well it really is horses for courses. If you enjoy its mildly humorous stories, which weave in a mystery of the week, then it may well be your sort of thing. To be honest I found the stories a little too repetitive to watch in such bulk without thinking 'seen it, seen it'. Sorry, the penny just dropped. This is Japanese adolescent Scooby Doo, with Haruka standing in for Scooby. It has pretty much the same structure. Each week a new character is introduced, with precious little time to provide any depth, then straight into the inevitable fight and a quick wrap up scene.

Disc one contains episodes fourteen to seventeen and includes The Woman who Loved Books; With the Summer's End Cicada Comes the Rain; The Lament of the Newlyweds; and British Beauty. No extras here.

Disc two wades in with episodes eighteen to twenty-one with The Mystery Society; Maple-Coloured Love; Daughters Ballad: Oni's racket; and Gateway to Memory. The extras on the disc consist of an okay, if a little pointless, photo gallery and two original music videos: Embrace the Sun and the Moon and Premonition Infinity - neither of which use the original recording artists, plumping for shots from the series instead.

Disc three completes the set with episodes twenty-two to twenty-five including Blue Eyes; Snow Scene of Glass; Hearts in the Distance and Strength that cannot be Seen. This disc only has six trailers, the funniest of which is for Ghost in the Shell which is titled GITS: Stand Alone Complex which sounds more akin to a psychological condition suffered by unpleasant people.

Ultimately, the repetition of plot is this shows weakness, that's not to say it isn't well animated or that the vocal talents aren't up to scratch. But I'd make a suggestion, if you're going to watch the show, watch it as it was intended - with a couple of episodes a week.

Charles Packer

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