Let me start out by saying, I'm not the biggest Halo fan out there. I'm more of a Playstation guy so I never could buy the game. I have played the game a couple times and enjoyed it but never got fully immersed in the game. On February 16, 2010, Warner Home Video is releasing the anticipated Halo Legends. Halo Legends is made up of eight animated shorts that run between 16 and 23 minutes. If you can't get enough Halo on your Xbox, you probably already have plans to pick this up.
The first short is Origins I (16:11). It's directed by Hideki Futamura (The Animatrix). Right away you'll be impressed by the crisp visuals and vibrant colors. Speaking of colors, I liked that they weren't too bright. Often in sci-fi animation or comics the colors are simply too bright (and 'fake' looking). We get a little history and see why Halo was created in this universe.
Next is Origins II (17:57). This is also directed by Hideki Futamura. The story continues and we see the world repopulated after the invasion. The animation here actually looks crisper than the first part. There's also more computer effects. The people's faces did look a little awkward though.
The Duel (21:33) is directed by Hiroshi Yamazaki (Karas). This episode has some impressive watercolor effects. The story was okay and even though I liked the watercolor look, it almost got a little old in a 20+ minute feature.
Homecoming (21:21) is directed by Koji Sawai (Patlabor). We finally get to see some humans fighting. This episode has a nice style of animation. That's one of the nice thing about this release, we get to see nice interpretations of the Halo Universe.
Odd One Out (16:25) is directed by Daisuke Nishio (Dragonball Z). I'd have to say this was my favorite episode. Perhaps since it's not a traditional Halo story. It has action, humor, nice animation, all that I could ask for.
Prototype (19:02) is directed by Yasushi Muraiki (Macross Plus, Vampire Hunter D) and co-directed by Tomoki Kyoda ( Eureka Seven, Evangelion 1.0). This episode has nice animation and effects. The story was...okay. It shows that it's not just about the action, in case you were concerned there wasn't any substance to this. Here's a clip from it:
The Babysitter (23:17) is directed by Toshiyuki Kanno (Black Lagoon). This episode felt a little long for some reason. Maybe it was after sitting through all the previous episodes. The animation looks really nice and there was a bit of a twist but...
The Package (19:38) is directed by Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed). Whoa, get ready for some CG action here. With all the others having a pure anime feel, I wasn't expecting this. Some of the characters and their voices didn't really fit together. Some characters didn't sound like they looked like they should sound. The aliens looked good. The battle scenes were pretty cool but almost a little too shiny at moments.
Special Features? There's some commentary of course. There's a couple features, Halo - Gaming Evolved (21:460 and Halo - The Story So Far (23:56). You can also check out "making of" features for each episode. The making ofs run between 7 and 10 minutes.
What's my verdict? I'd give this release a 4 out of 5. Again, I'm not a big Halo fan and I'm not familiar with all the backstory. I was still able to enjoy this just based on the content. The episodes were nicely done and I would imagine that those actually familiar with Halo would really dig this. The Blu-ray presentation is simply spectacular to behold. If you don't have a Blu-ray player, there's also a single and two-disc version that will be available. If you don't get enough with this release, there was also a trailer for Halo Reach which is due in the Fall of this year.
Are you a Halo fan? Are you planning on buying this when it's released?