Ef You Treyarch...

Anihalotrix – HALO Legends (2009)

Halo Legends is clearly not for the everyday Halo fan. The release is along the vein of The Animatrix as Halo Legends is a series of Halo inspired anime shorts (episodes) created by a popular Japanese  anime studios. This project was spearheaded by 343 Industries, the internal Microsoft team in charge of future releases for the Halo property for Microsoft Game Studios. If you didn’t know Microsoft owns the Halo license and from what I’ve read Halo Reach will be the last Bungie developed Halo video game. 343 Industries will be apparently taking the reins.

Watching the episodes many things as a fan of the video games just didn’t seem right and instantly had the ability to remove me from the narrative. The main issue is the voice actors for Cortana and Master Chief are not the same as in the videogame. The Animatrix did the same thing with all principles but in Halo Legends it’s very apparent and distracting primarily because they just are not as good as their original actors. Another nitpick is in many episodes the visors on some character helmets sometimes are see though, something that I despise they changed on  Samus Aran.

All the episodes (not so much in “Origins“) have clearly a very Japanese narrative and visual presentation to them that felt slightly out of place  in comparison to the Halo universe.

Prototype” has a spartan in a “Prototype Powered Exoskelton” aka MJOLNIR armor that looks like a Gundam.

The Package” steals a sequence straight from Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children where a spartan floating in space takes the hand of Master Chief and lifts him up to the sky/door in a bout of self sacrifice.

The Duel” is essentially an Arbiter fighting a samurai inspired battle.

Homecoming” – Look at this image. Seriously a Spartan among a sea of colorful flowers.

The Babysitter” – The target of the mission is in a town with a series of Pagoda style buildings.

Odd One Out” is a Halo Dragon Ball episode.

If these brief synopses of the episodes don’t intrigue you….stay away.

The special features are a mixed bag. The  “Halo: Gaming Evolved” featurette was not very good. A lot of gaming media, journalists, and Microsoft employees singing praises of the intellectual property. Though the features my favorite participant was Graeme Devine (programmer/designer on many good games) who worked on Halo Wars and has some genuine enthusiasm for the series. “Halo: The Story so Far” was a better offering giving a good synopsis of the narrative history though Halo 3.

Even though it was an hour long I did enjoy the “making of” features. Interesting note…if you watch close enough you can see the motion capture team for “The Package” episode were using Wii Zappers in place of SMG’s.

Halo Legends is hard to recommend if one cannot tolerate anime even if you are a dedicated fan of the Halo series. Netflix sent me the Blu-Ray version and the visuals are very impressive. All the artwork is very good and the computer graphics look nice on a HDTV. Sound was at junctions low for dialog and many sound effects (exposions/brass/bullet sounds) didn’t match what is used in the games. Much of Martin O’Donnell’s soundtracks were reused well. The usage of much of the Halo 2 soundtrack was welcomed as it’s fantastic.

For anybody slightly interested I would suggest to watch “Origins”,  “Halo: The Story so Far”, “The Package”, then chapter stop though the making of to see if any of the other episodes will spark interest. At the least that is an hour commitment and for Halo fans that path will provide the viewer my recommended viewing unless your a completionist.

Noted in the making of feature they did list these “episodes” as canon minus “Odd One Out” but this release can be passed if your interest in the series is strictly for the games.

Category: Video Games

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7 Responses

  1. Vanberge says:

    Sounds like it’s a little too anime for my tastes…
    I would also have a hard time getting over different voice actors.

    I’m picky.

  2. vanlandw says:

    It’s pretty much entirely anime. It’s worth a Netflix rental again to watch the Origins stores and for the CG episode “The Package”. When Halo Reach comes out that is when you should watch it if you have an hour. Gives good back story on the Forerunners and puts parts of the story from the earlier games nobody has the time to replay into perspective.

  3. Vo says:

    They did the same thing for both Dante’s Inferno and The Dark Knight. I don’t know how well the Dante’s Inferno one was accepted, but I quite enjoyed the Batman one.

  4. vanlandw says:

    They did one with Dead Space too and it wasn’t very good.

    I’m going to read Inferno then play the game then watch the DVD and make an entire series of posts I believe.

    What is the batman dvd did they do one on Arkham’s?

  5. Jeffrey says:

    The Batman one came out around the time of The Dark Kinght. I think it’s called Batman: Gotham Knight.

    Is Dante’s Inferno based on the book? And isn’t Dante’s Inferno part of the Divine Comedy?

  6. vanlandw says:

    gg

    The game “Dante’s Inferno” I’ve heard is loosely based off the book. You are absolutely correct about all other points.

    I got the book out from the library I’m going to try to read it before playing the game.

  7. Vo says:

    Dante’s Inferno is very loosely based on Dante Aligheri’s journey through hell in the Divine Comedy. Apparently, the developers of the game are talking about a sequel set in Purgatorio following the book, but they have mentioned that Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Found are more heavily leaned upon the farther you get into the game and will probably continue the trend into the second game. Story was on http://www.kotaku.com, but I’m too lazy to find direct link right now.

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