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DVD Review

DVD cover

Brave Story


Starring (voice): Takako Matsu, Ayako Kawasumi, Chiwa Saito, Eiji Wentz, Shirou Itou and Yo Oizumi
Optimum Asia
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: PG
Available 08 September 2008

When 11-year-old Wataru is told he can change his destiny by entering a magic gateway into another world he jumps at the chance. His home life is not what it once was - his father has left to live with someone else and his mother has tried to commit suicide. Wataru wants to change all of this, but upon entering into the land known as Vision he soon has to summon up all his bravery as he faces a world full of demons...

Brave Story is based on the Japanese novel by Miyuki Miyabe which also spawned a manga and, not surprisingly, a number of video games. I say not surprisingly because the story sounds like a video game, and I can't help wondering if maybe Miyabe (sorry couldn't resist that) designed his original story this way so that it would attract games developers. The hero, once transported to a strange world, is given a sword with five holes in the handle. Each hole will house a different coloured crystal, and all he has to do is track each one down and attack whatever is guarding it. Sounds like a pretty formulaic game plot to me.

The animation is pretty impressive, and the story is gripping enough. However, it's certainly not one of the most original tales you'll have seen. It's a story about a boy who travels to a fantasy land in order to have his hearts desire granted. Along the way he meets new friends, deadly enemies, and embarks on a journey of self discovery... While I did enjoy this film, I couldn't help feeling that were were just going through the motions. There was nothing particularly new or exciting that I hadn't seen before.

Extras include We are Not a Couple (24 min, 20 sec featurette looking at two of the voice actors, Yo Oizumi and Eiki Wentz, who have a great working relationship. However, the actual feature titles this "We are Not Comedians" which actually works better); and The 5 Jewels of Brave Story (41 min, 58 sec behind the scenes featurette which looks at just about every aspect of this movie. I have to admit I found the whole idea of tying in each aspect of the movie making process to a jewel was a little twee - especially the last jewel).

Audio options include a Japanese 2.0/5.0 dub with optional english subtitles, or an English 2.0 soundtrack. Personally I'd listen to the original Japanese audio, as the English dub is not one of the best I've heard.

This is a pretty entertaining story and, for the most part, you'll get swept up with the action. However, there's a lot here that you'll have seen a million times before and to be perfectly honest it doesn't bring much new to the table. Still, an enjoyable by-the-numbers adventure.


Nick Smithson

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