Plot: What’s it about?
Amon is a gifted warrior on a quest of vengeance, seeking to settle the score for the death of his mother. He is determined to even that debt no matter it takes, as evidenced by his desperate search across the lands, to find those who are responsible. But when his path of revenge leads right to the castle of Emperor Valhiss, Amon realizes it will take all of his powers just to get close enough, let alone to take that stab at redemption. In order to gain access to this area, Amon must join the Imperial forces, which means he has some serious work ahead of himself. So he begins to train and endure the harsh initiations of the group, which is no easy task, to say the least. He soon finds himself inside the walls, he starts to refocus on his mission, but he is soon distracted by a beautiful woman, Lichia. She is the daughter of King Sem Darai and she is to be exchanged for a map of the King’s, a very unusual situation to be sure. What is this plan the Emperor has under his cloak and will Amon be able to save Lichia, as well as take his vengeance?
I’d seen Amon Saga a few years ago and liked it, but I wondered how well it had held up, so I gave this disc a quick spin. I have to admit, it is more dated than I had expected, but it is still a more than solid anime release, if you ask me. The animation is not as dynamic or fluid as more recent works of course, but it looks good for that time period, which is what counts. I do think newcomers to this feature might be a little let down however, since it doesn’t match modern releases in terms of technical animation and such. It does have great character design by Yoshitaka Amano of Vampire Hunter D fame however, so you know it has some wonderful visuals, even if the animation itself drags at times. I think the writing is very good also, with a great premise, terrific attention to detail, and the mysticism adds a lot to the experience, to be sure. Again, this might not be that impressive to newcomers, but I think fans of anime will be pleased with Amon Saga, as it offers awesome character design and some great moments. I am a little let down with Manga’s release here, but it is still well worth a rental.
Video: How does it look?
Amon Saga is presented in a full frame transfer, as intended. The image here is a little rough around the edges, but given the age of the feature, I wasn’t let down here. There is some grain and debris at times, but the print looks clean for the most part, so no real complaints. The colors look bright, but a tad faded at times, while contrast is stark and well balanced. Of course, I’d love to have a restored and sharper edition of Amon Saga, but given the limited audience involved, I imagine this is the best treatment we’ll see on DVD.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release houses an English track in Dolby Digital 5.1, but the original Japanese option is 2.0 stereo only, which is a let down of sorts. I would have loved a Japanese 5.1 choice, but even as it stands, the audio is more than acceptable in the end. The English 5.1 track is lush and very active, the surrounds are used often and to great ends, lots of directional use and you’ll feel sucked into the action, to be sure. I suppose the Japanese track is decent, given the nature of the track, but it lacks the power and dynamic of the English 5.1 option, that’s for sure. This disc also contains an English 2.0 stereo track, as well as English subtitles, just in case you’ll need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a selection of still photos, but no other film specific supplements can be found.