Similar to what animators did to the Batman franchise last year, Halo gets the anime treatment from a bunch of different artists that is broken up in various stories. The Halo Legends anthology is an anime-style adaptation of the Halo series consisting of seven short films animated by five different Japanese production houses. Brilliant idea and something I have been anticipating for quite some time. I think it is simply hilarious that next month this gets released on Blu-ray and Sony gets to profit from a Microsoft franchise. If that’s not sticking it to the man, I don’t know what is.
I won’t break down every stories plot but instead just give you the overall synopsis that should set the tone for the rest of the footage. The Babysitter which is the first chapter, tells the story of four Helljumpers, sent on a mission to eliminate a key covenant prophet on a distant planet and to photograph ancient architecture that predates both the humans and the Covenants. Other tales of the disc have visions told by other artists and producers. That being said, it really brings a whole new take on halo. The art styles alone on some of the episodes are just great. For those unfamiliar with the Halo universe, Spartans are genetically enhanced super soldiers who have had a rather heated relationship with other soldiers. The teams mission is to take out a high ranking official in the enemy army known as a Prophet.
Anime that come out on Blu-ray can be such an expensive hit or miss. Trust me, I know. The second short film is where things really pick up and is a reward for those who have invested themselves within the Halo world. It tells the story of how the name of the Arbiter came to be a shameful title through showing us what happened to the last Elite with the title before it became dishonorable. The animation and visuals are superb which will please anime fans but it also gives fans some more back story regarding the events of the time. As far as complaints, well there are a lot. The backside to all this is that when you look at the whole package, it is just not Halo. Next time Microsoft wants to put together a Halo direct to video project, maybe they should focus on working with creative people who know how to tell a story and don’t mind going the extra mile to get even minute details right.
The character designs have been changed drastically from the videogames and some of the details have been completely changed. I can imagine fanboys being a bit upset about this. As an origin story this is a nice starting point for anyone out there, for one reason or another, hasn’t played Halo and wants to start. It’s also a good introduction into the anime world, making this the perfect film for beginners of both mediums. Animation is smooth and the soundtrack is fitting, however a flawed attention to detail and a muddled story makes this flick thumbs down the middle. A good effort, and one I would like to see more studios take chances on, but I would have like to have walked away from this anime feeling more fulfilled.