Since a new branch of division to New York has been created, Ohgami has now been assigned to the Paris Division. Now the Flower Division must be able to survive on their own, with the help of their new American-cultured leader.
- Title: Sakura Wars: The Movie (Sakura Taisen: Katsudou Shashin)
- Series: Movie
- Episodes: 1
- Status: Finished Airing
- Release Date: Dec 22, 2001
- Producers:Production IG
- Genre: Action, Drama, Mecha
- Rating: PG
I gave plenty of praise of the TV series of Sakura Wars in my last review, speaking about it much more in a positive tone as opposed to the OVA series. However, for this review, I have to go back to the OVA timeline, since it seems that the movie of Sakura Wars follows the second OVA series, something I was not aware of. Still, I will try to give the best review I can regardless.
First off, the movie is rather gorgeous to look at, with Production IG being the production house of this movie. I should note that there is plenty CGI used in this film, mainly when it comes to the use of the mechs and other vehicles that pop up. It looked good for the time and I feel that it still holds up, but that part can be seen as debatable. The movie does have a English dub and I found it to actually be good, probably the best one out of the Sakura Wars related material that I’ve seen. Also, as with all other entries in the series, when it comes time for the characters to sing, it switches to the Japanese voices, regardless of what language you set things at prior to watching it.
The story of the film is that Ogami is away from Japan and helping out another branch similar to the Flower Division in Paris, with our characters having to settle things themselves, which include the arrival of an American-based company that wants to take over fighting the Kouma and the arrival of a new member from the New York branch, Ratchet (Lachette in the English translation) Altair. Unlike the OVAs, there is a single coherent story here that doesn’t jump around, though, as mentioned before, it does take place after the second OVA series, which means you don’t get to learn much about the characters of Leni and Orihime other than that they were former members of the Star Division, which Ratchet was also a part of.
Moving onto the characters, they are more or less the same as they were in previous entries in the series, and most don’t really gain any new insights or evolutions in their characters, other than some character relationships being forged. The main characters focused on in this film are Sakura and Ratchet, with Leni and Orihime getting some spotlight, if mainly due to their relationship with Ratchet. As characters, Ratchet and Sakura couldn’t be more far apart, as Ratchet is pragmatic almost to the extreme, willing to sacrifice her teammates if she sees it as the best option available to her. Sakura, of course, is the opposite and is all about compassion and building bonds with others, something she tries to get across to skilled, yet cold Ratchet. As for the new characters, Orihime is a beauty that ends up getting into plenty of comedic situations and is the other source of the movie’s comedy, in addition to Sakura and Kouran’s (downplayed) antics. Leni is like a more stoic Iris, and it isn’t that surprising to see her warm up to the other young girl.
On to the villains, you have the president of the American company Douglas-Stewart, Brent Furlong, and his mysterious partner, the sorcerer Patrick Hamilton. They drop plenty of english lines in the Japanese dub, which are decently done, but still rather cheesy to hear in of themselves. Their schemes basically amount too making the Flower Division obsolete with their automated Japhkiels and somehow economically control Japan in the process. It sounds a bit novel at first, but it becomes rather clear that these aren’t the most developed of villains. They do give off a sufficient creepy vibe, especially in the case of Patrick, so they at least pull that off well.
I found the movie to be a fun watch though and I do recommend for others to check it out, though you would get the most enjoyment out of it if you watched other entries in the series beforehand. Finding it could be rather difficult, as the license holder in the states Pioneer, who later used the name Geneon, no longer has a US branch, so finding it online, a convention vendor, or a lucky find in a video store are your only chances in getting it.