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Shin Hakkenden
Reviewer: Shunichi Sakurai 12/31/1999

In the future, Earth is destroyed by an incoming comet. A savior, Queen Fuse, foretells the tragedy and allows humans to escape before the holocaust. They are forced to wander the reaches of space for a million days and nights until they reach a land called Heaven. The 100th Queen Fuse declares the center of Heaven, God's Land, the new home of humanity. Unfortunately this act ruins the balance of the universe. Fuse is criticized harshly by others and her name is scorned, as some lose their place and settle on the eight moons of Heaven. Meanwhile, 15-year old Kou Yagami is given the Murasame, a sword forged by his father before his death. This sword has a strange red jewel in the blade, and this jewel changes the destiny of its possessor...
For an anime supposedly done in 1999, Shin Hakkenden has below-par animation, crude models and bland character designs. Many enthusiasts weaned on the slick visuals of "Ghost in the Shell" and "Neon Genesis Evangelion" will wonder if the SH's animators have seen any better. SH looks like a 1980s anime, and it's hard to believe that it's a relatively new production. Anyhow, I continued to watch just to see how SH pans out and I found myself drawn to its good concepts and solid story. It's not the best I've seen but it's put together very well. By the time the twenty or so episodes pass, the loose ends are tied up nicely. I especially liked the way Queen Fuse's true motives are revealed. The key character here, story-wise, is actually Chuji -- the cyborg dog. He is undoubtedly the deepest and most developed one of all. Sad to say though, characterization is generally thin. Kou doesn't pique my interest much -- he's too typical, and the others have the same problem. Overall, this anime's potential is spoiled by the inferior animation and weak character development. It's too bad because the story definitely showed a lot of promise.
You'll need patience with this title.

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Review Title:
Shin Hakkenden
650 Minutes
General Rating:
2.5 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Action, Adventure, Martial Arts,
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