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Sands of Destruction: The Complete Series

1 rating: 5.0
A movie directed by Jason Grundy

SEGA and FUNimation are joining forces to bring you a thrilling new anime based off the epic adventure RPG of the same name. Available exclusively on Nintendo DS. Morte is a lonely beauty with an axe to grind and a grudge against the world. Her brother … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Anime, Sands Of Destruction
Director: Jason Grundy
1 review about Sands of Destruction: The Complete Series

Surprisingly Fantastic

  • Jan 24, 2010
Rating:
+5
Well, I suppose the age-old lesson of never judging a book based on its cover applies to anime as well. In this case, my advice would be not to judge the show based on its cover, previews, or video game incarnations. Well, I take that back, maybe you can judge it however you choose, so long as what you're basing the comparison on is incredible as well. To clear the air, I've never played the Sega role-playing game for the Nintendo DS on which this series is based, nor am I partial to anime shows with one of their lead characters looking adorable enough to make Pikachu green with envy and yet here we are. I can honestly state that this is one of the finer series I've had the pleasure of enjoying in a long time!

Released across two discs, Sands of Destruction comes packaged as a pair of thin packs within an outer cardboard slipcase and consists of episodes 1-13. The show comes in at a total runtime of 325 minutes and wears an appropriate if slightly conservative TV 14 rating due to a bit of animated violence.

Language options are standard sub & dub with both an English dub and original Japanese soundtrack (either in Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround) & the choice of English subtitled if so inclined to turn them on.

Extras include English subtitled character interviews (Japanese cast), textless opening and closing songs, and a host of fresh Funimation trailers on the second disc.

The anime adaptation of the 2008 game was produced by Production I.G and began airing on July 8, 2008 in Japan. FUNimation wasted no time in securing the rights and releasing a solid dub to the North American market.

The story is set in a fantasy world, which consists mostly of vast expanses of sand. Rather like humanity's development of vessels capable of conquering our liquid oceans, so too have the inhabitants of this sand world built ships, subs and liners to traverse the seas of sand.

The viewer follows along with a cowardly young man named Kyrie and his unlikely companion Morte; a young fairly depressed woman who was labeled by the fanatical World Salvation Committee as a member of the taboo "World Destruction Committee." While not denying the fact that she wishes the world (including her own tattered existence) would in fact come to an end, Morte is targeted mainly because she is believed to have possession of the Destruct Code; a small black orb doomsday device.

In her travels she ends up teaming up with the fellow human Kyrie and a small bounty hunter/ living yellow teddy bear (complete with pirate-inspired bandanna and eye patch) named Taupy.

Pursued endlessly from port town to port town, the small band of humans is forced to don disguises to appear as human/ beastman hybrids. See it turns out that in this world human beings are the oppressed minority to the beastmen: large animal-based sentient beings who possess unsurpassed intelligence, strength, and cunning.

On the surface, viewers can expect clean, crisp visuals and a thoroughly enjoyable adventure romp and for many fans, this will suffice. However, dig a little deeper and one begins to unravel layers of symbolism integrated into the prose. There are themes of racism, segregation, tyranny, the power of positive thinking, even the debate of sentience in robotics integrated here.

In essence, the show is capable of appealing to a very wide range of viewers. The superficial contains all the correct elements of visual appeal, fantastic vocal work, cute characters, and a unique world to keep the masses solidly entertained. Take a look beyond the surface and there's a fantastic political/ social commentary lurking. It's rare to encounter a series that presents humanity as the minority in a beast-ruled world. Rarer still to accurately depict how stereotypes lead to racism, fear and misunderstanding. In one particular segment, the humans find themselves in a primarily beastman run town and the beastmen themselves are clearly filled with terror of the humans due to what they had always been told rather than judging based on the obvious bond, the common goals shared, or the fact that the humans had a beastman cohort in their company. It's subtle, but quite brilliantly done.

Another great story arc centers on a beastman scientist, dressed in Revolutionary War garb, who cannot come to terms with why, despite 108 unique laws to guide them, his own loyal robots can be made to serve his enemies. Again, it's the small things here that really have impact.

The dub work is very, very strong. FUNimation just continues to raise the bar with their efforts. There was a time when I wouldn't even think of recommending anything other than listening in the original Japanese dialog on this type of show, and yet here I may go as far as to say the dub is the superior of the two options on account of the stellar delivery.

In all, I have to admit that I went into this series with very low expectations. Being quite unfamiliar with the video game and less than enthusiastic after catching some trailers, it goes without saying that I came away from Sands of Destruction very pleasantly surprised. The 13-episode length is just the proverbial icing on the cake as the show manages to weave its tale without ever becoming too bogged down in the middle (a very common trait in anime of all genres).

I definitely recommend this show to anime fans of just about any genre, as there's something here that will surely appeal to nearly everyone.

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October 27, 2011
man, I saw this on sale at BBuy for $ 29.99...I don't mind the 13-episode run, since I like anime that isn't too long. I do need to grab this and check it out.
 
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