The Sorcerer Hunters: Magical Encounters

The Sorcerer Hunters: Magical Encounters (2000)
ADV Films
Extras: Character Biographies, Trailer

’The Sorcerer Hunters: Magical Encounters’ is the first release from the series of Japanese animation films that are now coming to DVD courtesy of ADV Films. This first release in what is going to be a series of discs, contains 7 episodes from Satoru Akahori’s acclaimed and inspired modern fantasy series. The furious stories, great characters and villains, combined with the great, fast-paced effects animations make for great entertainment.

A high bitrate has been used to encode the video on this DVD and it clearly shows. Cel animation is a tricky beast for MPEG-2 encoders and the only way to ensure a good quality of the presentation, without fuzzy edges, consistent colors and good color saturation is to have a bitrate as high as you can get. ADV Films has done an admirable job on this release, also using a dual-layer DVD to accommodate the technical requirements, as the video presentation of all 7 episodes of ’The Sorcerer Hunters’ is without flaws. The prints that were used for the transfer are clean and without notable defects or blemishes, and the images are rich-looking and powerful. The color reproduction is immaculate, nicely delineating the stark colors without any bleeding. Edges are incredibly sharp throughout, creating an image that is always sharp and perfectly brings the fine lines of the animation to the screen. Blacks are absolutely solid and without any noise, making this a beautiful presentation to watch.

The DVD contains two language tracks, both in a 2.0 Dolby Digital format. While good sounding technical terms, the English dubbed version is sadly another example of rather poorly performed voice acting. Stiff, emotionless and without natural pacing, the track – which is the default track of the DVD – quickly makes you reach for the remote control and switch over to the original Japanese language track. Both tracks have a good frequency response and a natural reproduction of the voices. The easy-listening music that accompanies the films is also well produced, although a tad too loud at times, compared to the dialogue. Overall, the DVD leaves a very good impression however, one that is sure to please fans of Japanese animation.

One of ’The Sorcerer Hunters’ strengths lies in its stories. Very versatile, highly imaginative and always racy, the 7 episodes on this disc cover a lot of territory. Be prepared for a relentless thrill ride, as the stories keep getting increasingly wild as you keep watching.