RG Veda – original video animation series review

"RG Veda" DVD cover.
“RG Veda” DVD cover.
RG Veda is a two-episode OVA series based on a manga of the same name by Clamp. It is very loosely based in Hindu and Buddhist mythology, with bits of Japanese mythology mixed in for flavor.

Ashura is the young offspring of the former emperor of heaven, who was murdered 300 years prior by the traitorous general Taishakuten. Ashura is protected by another of those generals, Yasha-Ō (meaning “King Yasha”), and is working with Yasha to gather the remaining Six Stars who are prophesied to bring about the destruction of Taishakuten.

The character designs—as is typical for anything from Clamp—are gorgeous. Delicate flowing robes and hair grace the beautifully colored images. Clamp is known for delicate watercolor art, and the backgrounds used in RG Veda try to capture that as best as possible within the confines of what can be done in animation. The animators did a great job capturing the style of Clamp with the characters.

The music is unusual but awesome. The best of it is the main theme itself, 六星群嵐 (Rokuseigun Arashi, literally “Storm of the Six Stars”). The song is starts off quietly, then quickly becomes very intense, with strong drums and bass guitar. Most of the song is created with synthesizers, but the musician who is playing really nails it. You can listen to it on YouTube.

The animation quality in RG Veda is generally good, but a lot of shortcuts are taken. The animation itself is often not as smooth as expected, with significant jumps here and there. I could definitely tell where the animators conserved budget and where they spent the money to make it really stand out. While I could see this, I tend to notice things like that more than many of my friends, so it may not affect your enjoyment.

The voice acting in the original (I rarely listen to the English dubbing) was excellent. Some of the best voice actors at the time participated in this project, including Yoshiko Sakakibara, Shō Hayami, Kappei Yamaguchi, Yuriko Yamamoto, and Norio Wakamoto.

This is one area where the Japanese excel, far above the voice acting done in the States. To my ear, the Japanese voices sound more sincere, while the English language voices sound forced and fake most of the time. I suspect this is because voice acting as a field is more mature in Japan. This series is a prime example of this. I did not like the English dubbing of RG Veda at all.

My biggest annoyance was that they only made two episodes, stopping the story just as things were getting really interesting. The manga runs for 10 volumes, and this series only covers part of that. Fans in Japan and in the States have asked Clamp to finish the story, but nothing has ever happened, sadly.

RG Veda remains one of my favorite (if incomplete) anime series. It throws you right into the middle of the story and keeps the story moving along at a quick pace. If you enjoy strong fantasy with a deep background, you should enjoy this series. I need to remember to watch it more often.

Original Release Dates: June 1, 1991 – June 21, 1992 (Japan)
Suggested Age Rating: 13+
Distributor: U.S. Manga Corp / Central Park Media
Language: Japanese, English
Original Title: 聖伝-RG VEDA- (Seiden: Rigu Vēda)

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 90%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (social drinking)
Language: 1 (brief, mild)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 0
Violence: 2 (some brutal violence, murder, attempted murder, battles, some spurting blood, death)

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