Monday, October 30, 2006

Image Hosted by may be wondering what I thought about Hellboy: Sword of Storms. Short answer? I liked it. I didn't love it, but for what it's worth I liked it better than the film.

The animation style, once again that Westernized anime style, managed to not be too derivative of any one particular strain, but wasn't quite in that Justice League Unlimited/Teen Titans Go! style either. It was actually quite lavish, with many beautifully detailed backgrounds. Expressions were very good. The character designs themselves too a little getting used to, not so much Hellboy and Abe, who were pretty close to that Mignolaesque canonical look, but the young and hawt Liz and especially Kate Corrigan, who looks to be in her mid-thirties as drawn by Mignola and Guy Davis. Many of the actual facial expressions, oddly enough, reminded me a lot of Davis' work as seen in the B.P.R.D. series that he's become such a mainstay of. The Japanese characters especially had the Davis touch. The animation itself was fluid and lively, and the fight scenes benefitted from that a lot. That said, there was some dodgy editing going on- one or two scenes ended rather abruptly, especially at the end, and Cartoon Network didn't help by breaking away for commercials every five minutes.

Story-wise, I wish it had been a bit more original; the doomed lovers and storm-gods thing has been done here and there in other places. I especially couldn't help but be reminded of the aforementioned Titans' Thunder and Lightning twins, and more often as not there were strong elements of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers all over. I was happy to see that the film's embarrassing and silly "Hellboy crushing on Liz" subplot was not in evidence; and I liked Abe much more here than his prissy cinematic counterpart. I think that it also felt a bit padded and stretched-out; there just wasn't enough story to justify a 90-minute runtime. That said, I did enjoy the straight-from-the-comics floating-head Japanese vampire sequence; lotsa fun for those of us who love the source material.

Altogether, I thought this was a success, although a qualified one; a lot of time and care went into the design and animation and it showed. I hope to see the other one soon- I hope that a bit more thought is put into the story this time!

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