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Shadow Skill: Secret of the Kurudan Style Review

by: sothis
February 19, 2005

story 4.5/10

Shadow Skill: Secret of the Kurudan Style screenshot Having seen all the other Shadow Skill series (TV, the OVA, and Epilogue), I was excited to see what this new OVA would be all about. All I knew is that it was 100% CG, but knew nothing about the story, music, or anything else.

Unfortunately, I walked away a little disappointed.

First of all, if you'd like to know how this fits in with the other Shadow Skill titles, please click the AniRec link above, then click the blue "i" for detailed information on relations, what order you should watch them in, and more.

This Shadow Skill title is fairly standalone, and starts off with Gau and Elle getting involved inadvertently in a raid on Kuruda, the city where they live. Elle is a Sevaar, a person who holds the greatest title a fighter can ask for. She commands the Shadow Skill, martial arts moves that are powerful and deadly. Gau is her little brother (not by blood) who is training to become a Sevaar as well. Anyways, the two get involved in a raid that's pulled off by a sinister fellow, which plunges them into a plot they must stop at all costs. There's not much more to the story besides that. Elle and Gau go up against bad guy (who's trying to steal something of immense power), fighting occurs. End. We also learn what the Shadow Skill is and where it came from (though this is already mentioned in Epilogue, too), and see one more confrontation.

Really, I felt this was one of the most boring OVAs I've seen. at least 1/10th was watching Elle recite her Shadow Skill mantra, the confrontations between the bad guys were uninspired and their motives tired and boring. The "twist" near the end (the surprise assailant) didn't interest me at all! And to make matters worse, after there is a clear winner of the confrontation, it's not even over for 10 more minutes! We then have to watch the beaten person discuss various philosophical and self-examining things with Scarface for TEN MINUTES.

Yes, it's Shadow Skill... but I found myself wondering what the hell the point of this OVA was, and why it was even made. Yes, the plot was new (this bad guy wasn't in any of the other SS renditions), but it was very, very uninteresting. "I want to be stronger so I'll steal something that makes me more strong!!!" Sorry, that idea is played out and not exciting. Boring plot, boring twist, boring BORING ten minute extended ending = poor story score.

animation 5.5/10

For some reason, the creators of this OVA decided to make the graphics all computer generated. Now, sometimes this is a good thing and makes the characters look real (or mostly real). Other times, like the new Appleseed movie, very real looking backgrounds and CG are mixed with cel shaded characters, who still look good. In Shadow Skill's case, though, very VERY bad looking cel shaded characters were used with realistic backgrounds that didn't look entirely real either, giving it a very crude look.

The character designs are freakish at best, with HUGE HUGE alien looking eyes that make you think some sort of face eating monster will pop out of your monitor and rip off your nose. Think of Archetypes Forces with its characters that have huge heads disproportionate to their bodies, with childlike bodies, and then imagine it's done in cel shading instead, and is a notch up on the freakish scale. The fighting and pretty much everything looks silly because of this, which is a shame. Maybe I would have absorbed more of the story if the visuals hadn't been so spotty.

Colors used were mostly dark, but Elle once again sported the bright pink outfit (is this EVER a good thing?), and had blond hair like she did in the old OVA. Gau wore dark clothing as always. Everything else was dark in general, with grays, reds, and other neutral colors.

Backgrounds and such were much better than the character designs, looking close to real sometimes. Unfortunately, it didn't quite reach the bar as far as goodness, and still managed to look somewhat cheesy a lot of the time. In general, a weird choice of graphics that didn't work out well.

sound 5.5/10

Musically, there were two main tracks that were played. The first was a very non-music sounding track with light clicking noises. This was played during action scenes, chases, and others. It was very simplistic (TOO simplistic) and didn't do much for me. The background music was also null a lot of the time anyways. Then, near the end, we started hearing a different track that was purely orchestral. This song definitely was impressive and to be honest, was probably the saving grace of the entire OVA. Good, but the rest of the music should have been like it, and it should have been played the entire time.

characters 4/10

For being only 60 minutes it's reasonable to think that there can't be a great deal of character development. We are introduced to Gau and Elle, but they aren't really developed at all. Rather, we get a small amount of background on the pair (how they met, etc) which is already explained in any other Shadow Skill incarnation. Nothing extra to interest SS fans, so I felt it was more an attempt to interest new fans.

The rest of the cast is not around at all until literally the last 30-45 seconds of the OVA, and at that point they are just in one shot at a table while Elle is up to her drinking antics. Scarface is the only character around during the normal OVA, but his part is very superficial and random. I wondered why he was put in at all, to be honest.

The villains, in my opinion, were boring and had stories that didn't excite me in one bit. Part of this goes back to the story, which I felt was weak and somewhat overdone, but in general they just didn't do it for me. In general, the characters didn't do much to help out the OVA, in my opinion.

overall 4/10

As a standalone piece of animation, Shadow Skill is essentially useless. As part of the Shadow Skill universe, it's essentially useless too. Quite frankly, you'd be better off watching Epilogue and seeing (essentially) the same plot point with better animation and action, than watching this one shot OVA. The animation is creepy, the music is lacking (except the one track), the characters are shallow and the story sucks in my opinion. Worth 60 minutes of your life? Not likely.

Anime Info

The legendary martial art known as Shadow Skill has been passed down through the generations, landing in the hands of the powerful Elle Ragu. Holding the title of Sevaar, she always is looking for a good fight along with her adoptive brother Gau Ban, but her newest challenge might be too much to handle. In Kuruda, this mysterious villain is on a quest to find the legendary Genesis skills that can defeat any opponent, including Elle and Gau. With time running out and the whole world to save, only Elle and Gau can save the day… but are their skills strong enough to survive?


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About the Author

sothis's avatar

sothis

My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

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