Anime: House of Five Leaves ReviewPosted 6:03 pm on Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 by Chris Del Castillo
While there are many video games coming out from Nippon Ichi Software America (NISA) this year, plenty of animes are being released too. Last month was the odd comedy Bridge X Bridge, which is an odd slice-of-life anime about aliens. Now with the “House of Five Leaves”, we jump back in time to the Edo period of samurais and swords, but this isn’t your typical anime. Very far from it actually.
The 12-episode series focuses on Masa, your not so average samurai swordsmen. While he’s good with a sword (or atleast from the one small skirmish he has), he is soft spoken, very shy, and worries too much about what people think of him, causing employers to question how reliable he is, resulting in him being dismissed. Poor and without work, he searches for bodyguard jobs but can’t seem to find one. While running out of money to live and eat, he meets a very mysterious man named Yaichi. Masa tells the man of his problems and Yaichi hires him as a bodyguard. Upon arriving at a scheduled meeting, Yaichi is attacked by two bodyguards, and in a flash, Masa steps in and disarms the other two bodyguards with no one getting hurt. Yaichi was impressed with Masa’s skill and tells him that he honestly expected nothing from Masa, but now he might have some use for him. At that moment, Yaichi reveals to Masa the meeting was to collect a ransom for a kidnapping. Masa finds himself caught aiding someone in a crime as he follows Yaichi, who then introduces Masa to 3 other members of a group who call themselves the House of Five leaves. They each have their own reasons for being a part of this group.
Similar to most slice-of-life Anime, the series is quite slow, and it gives back story to how the House of Five leaves is born and back story of why and how everything happend. So while the Anime focuses on Masa, Yaichi is the whole reason the story exists, and Masa is just a bit player who helps affect the outcome.
Video: House of Five leaves has a very simple and older style of animation used to give an Edo Era feel, but still uses some very well detailed work on the background. Very eye-pleasing for sure, with some really unique character designs. This is the first anime in awhile for NIS America to be DVD-only, but using a Playstation 3 to upscale it to 480p is still a nice way to watch it.
Audio: As always with previous NISA releases, the complete anime is Japanese voices with English subs, which is fine by me. Doing so saves quite a bit of money and more than half the people just tend to watch it with subs anyway. The music itself in the anime isn’t anything memorable since it’s very slow paced, but it’s very easy to enjoy both the intro and Ending themes.
Extras: There’s not much in the extra department for the DVD’s. The usual OP and ED clean versions and trailers for other NISA anime titles are there, but with the Limited Edition coming in a nicely designed box housing the 2 DVD’s along with the Artbook/Episode summary guide, we have something to enjoy while the dvd is in the case.
7/10 (A nice watch but can easily be skipped)
Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.