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68 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT a game, these are stories
I'm going to try to give as spoiler-free of a review as possible.

I've been apprehensive of Halo Legends since it was announced, and was nervous with the crazy Japanese getting a hold of the franchise. When a few stories were put up on Waypoint, however, my concerns were diminished. Seeing that Frankie (Frank O'Connor) had control over what was being done in...
Published on February 16, 2010 by Erik Oleson

versus
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thematically a Mixed Bag
Several other reviewers have gone through and related their thoughts on each of the shorts contained in Halo: Legends. This is certainly a valid method, and helpful to the practical buyer who simply wishes to get a general idea of whether or not the product suits him/her. I would like to take a different approach. I will divide the episodes into thematically similar...
Published on April 23, 2010 by Leotol Stoy


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68 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT a game, these are stories, February 16, 2010
By 
Erik Oleson (Sacramento, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Halo Legends [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I'm going to try to give as spoiler-free of a review as possible.

I've been apprehensive of Halo Legends since it was announced, and was nervous with the crazy Japanese getting a hold of the franchise. When a few stories were put up on Waypoint, however, my concerns were diminished. Seeing that Frankie (Frank O'Connor) had control over what was being done in Legends, it led me to give credence to what I was once doubtful of. And I've read all novels, blogs, BWUs, and played each game so much that there is little I don't know.

Yes, there are quivering eyes, men with jaws too wide open, cheesy mid-action posing shots, and a couple other cliched anime items that slipped in, but if you look past these and accept them as artistic interpretation, you can see what is underneath and really appreciate the stories. Elite's losing a pair of mandibles and seeing a female elite in the context of 'the Duel' chuckling like a school girl was probably the worst moment of this entire DVD. With that said, this has given me MORE food to chew on than sinking feelings of Microsoft milking us all out of $20.

-The entire episode of Origins (Part 1 & 2) are pure gold. We get our first glimpse of Forerunners, and witness the true power of the Flood, not constricted by the hardware of the 360 and polygon counts. And they are scary. This is easily the best offering of the entire DVD, and all of Cortana's monologue was written by Frankie himself. Great stuff.

-Babysitter, Prototype, and Homecoming all feature similar-styled animation and actually decent storylines. There are a few canonical things that I am curious of, but I'm sure have explanations. One thing I am getting tired of is all of the suicide missions that these side stories keep telling. It's getting a little too predictable (same as in Halo Evolutions).

-The Duel is a tough one. I hated the animation style when I first put it on, but as it went along, I saw what the artists were going for and really appreciated it. A very dark tone was needed, and this conveyed it perfectly. Two things to note: elites without their top pair of mandibles in certain scenes is simply artistic interpretation, and the large hunters are entirely possible (as Frankie has said in response to this criticism).

-The Package is a unique one. The visuals are amazing. This is the first time we ever see Master Chief working with his Spartans as a team. Highly disappointed that you witness some Spartans (the GREATEST military minds on the battlefield) die to some pretty stupid reasons. Voice acting choice for the MC? Terrible. Overall very, very fun though.

-Odd One Out is just fun. Watch it and enjoy it. Reminds me of Dragonball Z, in a good way.

If you like Halo, buy it. My fiance is somewhat interested in the Halo Universe, but this gives her a chance to really appreciate what the writers of the Halo Universe have made, and we both could appreciate it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some Solid Sections, Others Not So Great, March 12, 2010
By 
Siklootd (Santa Fe, NM) - See all my reviews
Halo Legends is a film that follows in the footsteps of the Batman: Gotham Knight film that was recently released. It is a compilation of sub-stories created within an overall film, but with each sub-story or section being created by a different artist. This can create a great viewing experience, seeing how it allows the viewer to see different artists' rendering of beloved characters such as Batman and Master Chief. Did Halo Legends pull it off as well as Batman: Gotham Knight did? Not really. It had some excellent sections, while others left a lot to be desired.

Halo Legends is a compilation of seven short stories, created by various artists throughout the anime/cartoon world. Some of these sections are done beautifully, truly resembling the anime that the original creator is associated with, but with a Halo twist thrown in.

-Origins: Origins is a great way to open up the film. These sections talk about the Forerunners who originally fought off the Flood upon their initial invasion of the galaxy. The Forerunners had no choice but to create a final resort weapon, known as Halo, that would wipe out the entire galaxy. Before doing so, the Forerunners had collected data of specimens from the entire galaxy. These specimen would multiply once the Flood was no longer in existence, allowing the galaxy to once again re-populate itself to its former state.

-The Duel: Produced by Mituhisa Ishikawa, best known for his work on the Ghost in the Shell films as well as Immortal Grand Prix, this section feels out of place. The art style resembles a painting, except that it moves. Whenever the visuals are stationary, this art style looks amazing, resembling something one may find in a museum. However, upon each motion that the characters take, it feels "awkward" almost as if it shouldn't be moving at all. This may be because the visuals appear fuzzy due to the design of the characters, making it difficult at times to view what is actually occurring. This section follows the fight between the Arbiter and his fellow covenant, and the brutal slaying of his wife at the hands of an Elite. This was all in an attempt to betray the Arbiter, all set up by one of the Prophets.

-Homecoming: Directed by Koji Sawai, best known for his work on anime titles such as Wolf's Rain and .Hack, this section follows the story of the process of Spartan creation. The corporation responsible for the creation of Spartans, kidnapped children, cloned them, and put them through intense training, leaving them mentally scarred. Upon escaping and returning home, one female Spartan finds out the truth about her creation and must find a way to cope with it. Other Spartans who met their clones committed suicide, but the female protagonist is able to proceed with her missions, until the end of the story where she meets a grim fate in the midst of combat.

-Odd One Out: Created by Daisuke Nishio, animator for both Dragonball and Dragonball Z, this section feels exactly like these series as well. It follows the tale of a Spartan dropped off on a planet left to fight a Covenant opponent on his own. He gets the assistance from two human teenagers who are capable of flying, and pulling trees out of the ground, ala DBZ. The Spartan even ditches his traditional heavy artillery guns in favor of hand to hand combat, all the while acting goofy, true to Dragonball fashion. The enemy even at one point "powers up" reminiscent of Dragonball Z. Daisuke truly added to Halo Legends what he is used to doing with anime.

-Prototype: Created by Shinji Aramaki, the character designer for series such as Gundam, the Prototype section feels exactly like a Gundam episode. Utilizing giant Mechs, thrusters, and explosions associated with the Gundam series, Prototype is non-stop action. It follows the tale of a commander of marine team, named Ghost. Ghost received his nickname due to his constant lack of emotions. He has been assigned with the responsibility of destroying the prototype mech suit. He instead uses the suit to fight off the enemy Covenant long enough for his squad to retreat, before self destructing. A great section, and my personal favorite of the entire film, possibly due to the fact that I am a huge Gundam fan.

-The Babysitter: Eiko Tanaka, creator of animes such as Beyond and Kiki's Deliver Service, was the lead producer on this segment. It follows a team of Drop Shock Troopers who are assigned to kill a Prophet of the Covenant, from a distance of two miles away. In order to assist with the assassination assignment, the team is lead by a Spartan. The Spartan becomes side-tracked from the mission due to the constant screw ups of the Drop Shock Troopers, who constantly rely on the Spartan for saving. Until the end, when the Spartan is attacked and must leave the assassination shot to one of the most arrogant of the Troopers. Upon learning the truth about the Spartan, the whole squad quickly feels like they are to blame for its death.

-The Package: The Package is a fully 3D rendered segment that is visually stunning. At times the story switches to a first person view, and it feels as if it is truly a videogame during these sections. It follows Master Chief as he and his squadron try to rescue a scientist from the grasp of the Covenant. Truly remarkable animation, and a nice balance of story and action make this a great segment.

Overall, the film has its ups and downs. Sections such as The Package, The Prototype, and The Babysitter are top notch, adding enough action, story, and art style to truly satisfy fans. However, sections such as The Duel feel too awkward and out of place. It's interesting to see each segment and see how each artist throws in their own art style that utilize for their own shows for this film. This gives each segment the personality to match its director/producer and add a layer of familiarity to each story. An overall great film that is a must buy for fans of Halo, or fans of anime, such as myself.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thematically a Mixed Bag, April 23, 2010
This review is from: Halo Legends (DVD)
Several other reviewers have gone through and related their thoughts on each of the shorts contained in Halo: Legends. This is certainly a valid method, and helpful to the practical buyer who simply wishes to get a general idea of whether or not the product suits him/her. I would like to take a different approach. I will divide the episodes into thematically similar groupings, and analyze them from that standpoint.

Origins, parts I and II, is historical. It is essentially a condensed version of the history of the Halo Universe.

Odd One Out is an attempt at comedy, plain and simple. Whether you as the viewer find it humorous or not will likely depend on your...sense of humor. Not being averse to the Japanese penchant for the ridiculous, I did find portions of it to be funny, though it's not comedic genius in the least.

The Package, and The Duel are both what I would consider to be action-oriented shorts, and in that way will likely appeal more to the fanbase of the Halo Series than any of the others. The Package fills this role far better than The Duel, as The Duel contains many canonical errors that will bother serious fans of the series (from kimono-clad Elites to the number of mandibles). The Package best captures the feel of frenetic action that has embodied the Halo Series from the first game. In it, a team of Spartans attacks a Covenant fleet in order to recover a...well...package. The short uses a CG-animation hybrid style (this is the only short to do so), which also lends the short more of a Western feel than the other shorts in general.

The final three episodes: "The Babysitter," "Homecoming," and "The Prototype" fall into what I would call heroic tragedy. For serious fans of Halo, particularly ones who care about the canon, these episodes will likely elicit some of the most visceral reactions. There is a serious disregard for realism in these episodes, from the teddy bear keychain accessory hanging from the Spartan's armor (or maybe her rifle?) in "Homecoming," to the Gundam-inspired mecha suit in "The Prototype." However, in spite of these obvious problems, I found these episodes the most compelling.

What we often forget in the context of the Halo Universe, especially because the games are so action-centered (and feature a character capable of annihilating hundreds upon hundreds of the alien enemy without suffering so much as a scratch), is that the war between the Humans and the Covenant has been in progress for twenty-seven years by the time of the events in Halo 3 - and Humanity has been losing...badly. These three episodes capture how thoroughly Humanity lost the war by exposing us to the level of sacrifice that was so commonplace throughout it - and which seems so needless in the light of the fact that the Covenant killed billions upon billions of people whenever they glassed a planet. The heroism displayed by the protagonists in each of these three episodes is thus all the more tragic because we must ask, inevitably, whether their sacrifices even mattered.

So who would I recommend Halo: Legends to? Anime fans, for one. The shorts are experimental in nature, but retain the essence of Japanese storytelling, which emphasizes emotion over realism. Coming from a nation that has not engaged in a real war (no, sending token SDF forces to combat zones does not count) in over sixty years, the lack of what we in the U.S. would consider "realistic" dialogue between soldiers, or "realistic" combat techniques is understandable. However, many of those in the audience will not be so forgiving. So the real question for those wishing to purchase Halo: Legends is: can you set aside your desire for realism and a Western storyline for ten minutes at a time while each short episode runs its course? If the answer is yes, then you will probably enjoy Halo: Legends. If not, then don't bother, it's not worth your time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Halo Legends [Blu-ray] - Review, March 2, 2010
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This review is from: Halo Legends [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Halo Legends could best be described as "canon filler" to bridge the gap in several story lines as well as give some background information on several characters in the Halo Universe. I consider myself a very big fan of the Halo Universe and feel that I would be a bit more critical on it than others due to this. I will do a review per episode (spoiler free) and fill any gaps as well as give a package review at the end.

Episode 1 & 2: Origins
Rating: 5 Stars
In the closing moments of Halo 3, Master Chief and Cortana find themselves alone on what remains of the ship "Forward Unto Dawn" with little hope of immediate rescue. Cortana begins a monologue that fills in thousand of years of history in the Halo Universe. One thing the "Origin" episodes do very well is answer several questions (even to long time halo fans) about the origins of the races and species of the universe, as well as details on the Forerunner/Flood War, UNSC/Insurrectionist War, and The Human/Covenant War. The art is very modern anime, vibrant color's (something i feel is important to Halo), and above average animation. A must watch though just for the story.

Episode 3: The Duel
Rating: 4 Stars
The Dual is the history, origin and legend of the Sangheili (Elite) title of Arbiter. The story takes place on "Sanghelios" the home world of the Arbiter. The "Covenant" is moving across space looking to rally various species to it's cause promising them great things in return (The Great Journey). Many of the Sangheili bend to the will of The Prophets and join the "Covenant" but the actions of the original Arbiter worry the Prophets, in return the Covenant hierarchy construct a plan to shame the title "Arbiter". While the art style is modern CG Animation, the studio used a filter to give it a water color look. While this was a decent approach and something different it seems too blurry at times all is not lost though as the story has a lot of emotion and one hell of a fight scene.

Episode 4: Homecoming
Rating: 4 Stars
First I can not dig to deep in this episode with out going in to spoilers. That being said Homecoming tells the story of the Spartan II solider Daisy-023. This is more a story of the origin of the Spartan II's and how some of the candidates felt and what happened to when the children where conscripted at a young age without their parents knowing. The story revolves around a small group of Spartan II's who wanted out of the program and the events that followed.

Episode 5: Odd One Out
Rating: 3 Stars
This being the only non-canon episode in Halo Legends, it tells the story of the Legendary Soldier - Spartan 1337 (leet speak for "Elite"). This comedic episode plays more to the tune of how absurdly powerful Spartans are depicted by "fanboys". The episode is at times comic genius to those familiar with anime such as Naruto and Dragonball Z. The Animation is average and the story is just fun and has a humorous cameo with Master Chief and Cortana. The three star rating is based on that it offers nothing to the set as a whole nor is it considered canon in the universe.

Episode 6: The Baby Sitter
Rating: 4 Stars
"The Babysitter" is about an small group of UNSC O.D.S.T. who are sent on a mission to eliminate a covenant threat and slow the progress of the alien armada. The O.D.S.T's including Dutch (From Halo 3: ODST) discover they have been assigned a new team member for this mission, which happens to be a Spartan II named Cal-141. The episodes real focus is on how the O.D.S.T. view Spartans before they understand them and how no matter the cost Spartan soldier will protect humanity at all cost. The art is modern anime (along the lines of Samurai Champloo / Cowboy Bebop) great color though darker tones to represent the emotion of the story and great dialog between the characters.

Episode 7: The Package
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the one everyone needs to see. The Covenant have intercepted a very important package to humanity and the UNSC decides to send Blue Team to recover it. Spartan II's John-117 (Master Chief), Frederic-104, and Kelly-087 (also including Solomon-069 and Arthur-079) use booster frames to storm through the Covenant armada in space to find the Flagship of the fleet. The episode is far to fun to spoil as you watch John-117 (Master Chief), Frederic-104, and Kelly-087 rush through waves of Covenant to secure the package. The art work is modern CG Animation in the same vein of recent "Appleseed" animated movies, the only complaint is they did not use the english voice actor Steve Downes (Master Chiefs voice actor since Halo: combat Evolved).

Overall the multiple story lines and animation types keeps the overall package fresh and it is a must for any Halo fan out there who wants a little more story and less action.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Halo Legends (Single-Disc Edition), February 27, 2010
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This review is from: Halo Legends (DVD)
Well, let me get this out of the way real quick. I'm a PC gamer, so my exposure to the Halo universe has been dreadfully slow, but I still regard Halo: Combat Evolved as one of my favorite FPS games. The mysterious environments, the badass weaponry, and some of the coolest characters in video game history all come to mind when I remember those first days playing the game. I was quite excited when I heard that a Halo anime was going to be released. After all, animation opens up so many possibilities for the direction of the Halo story to progress, but now that I've watched the whole DVD, I can't help feel somewhat disappointed. Many of the stories just don't have the emotional pull I was hoping for. The pieces are fairly short and you have to get used to a new animation style after every part, which isn't too bad, but some of them are animated in strange ways (a watercolor animation for example). Let me leave off with a few more comments.

1. The voice overs are not bad, but you do have the option of listening to the voice in Japanese or English. Both are worth a listen.

2. "Odd One Out" is intended to be a parody of the Halo universe. I don't think some of you understood that and unfairly criticized it as something it wasn't.

3. ORIGINS is by far, my favorite part of this collection(actually two parts). Origins is the reason why this DVD will stay in my collection. Cortana's sweeping narration and the effective animation of Studio 4C was amazing. Part II was as much a story about humanity as it was Halo. Although I appreciate the hard work that was put into the other parts, I wish that they where more like these segments. Very impressive.

I'd recommend this DVD if you are looking for a light evening experience. Don't expect to be moved to tears or experience some sort of epiphany, but try and enjoy these episodes for what they are. Ya have some light comedy in there with "Odd One Out", unique animation with "The Duel", all around excellence with "origins", and a decent mix of action/lessons in morality in the rest of the episodes. Not bad, but not great. Make sure you get a good price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overall, it's not that good., February 26, 2010
This review is from: Halo Legends (DVD)
I like the idea of bringing Halo's side stories out on DVD. But why anime?! It just doesn't fit Halo at all. The episode "The Package" was ok. I didn't like how it went into first person sometimes during the action. Can we please get away from the fact it's based on a video game?! The story of Halo and all the side stories are great enough to stand alone. We don't need to bring in the first person action, or the multiplayer terminology. That is what made the live action movie of "Doom" such a flop. The "Origin" episodes were actually good too. Pretty informative. "Babysitter" and "Prototype" weren't too terrible, but the others were just awful and nothing like Halo. "Odd One Out" should just be deleted from the DVD. It's just goofy and typical Japanese anime and doesn't do anything to help Halo's stories.

I gave it 2 stars for "Origins I and II" and "The Package". Other than that, the others weren't worth the money and just plain terrible. Please guys, make a series or DVD that really showcases Halo's intricate stories and really brings the best out of Halo. Many of the Halo games' cinematic scenes are incredible. If they could make a animated or CGI series like those, that'd be ideal. They should have made all the episodes like "Origins" or "The Package". I, like many others, would have rather had that. But these anime shorts with different animation and directors just jumbles Halo around and doesn't really do anything for it. Japanese anime and Halo just don't mix. This did nothing to help the Halo universe.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT worth the buy, maybe a watch through..., March 19, 2010
This review is from: Halo Legends (DVD)
OK I have been following HALO and playing it since the initial release. I have read the book, beat all the games and seen all the behind the scenes stuff and backstory content type deals. I had REALLY high hopes for this but was throughly disappointed. One or two of the stories was decent but thats just it, >decent<. Most were very cliche' and they were all pretty short.

Possible spoilers may follow depending on how fast you forget things you read:

One of the video shorts style was to be out of focus, so out of focus that you can't even follow combat mostly and the story was just not entirely fulfilling.

Another was like they were trying to make an episode of Dragonball Z, which don't get me wrong I like Dragonball but thats not the universe that these stories are supposed to be taking place in. I'm sorry but the Spartans aren't supposed to be able to defy gravity or take what appear to be world ending death beams, let alone normal humans! Oh and did I mention the kids in cavemen outfits and that had a pet T-REX?!

In one episode there is talk of a spartan dying on a mission that had taken place by the personnel on a UNSC ship, this makes no sense for several reasons. The foremost being that Spartans are never listed as KIA, only MIA and the fact that there is no way the normal personnel would have any idea of what happened on a mission with a Spartan. This part of my review is nitpicky I know but all the books just illustrated these little facts so much that it was annoying to me.

Now for the last episode, good grief! First off one spartan just goes off on a whim and dies and doesn't even confirm with team leader 117. Sorry but after over a decade of training and discipline do you really think the proclaimed "Ultimate Soldier" would do anything like that let alone be condoned by a teammate? Then they introduce Dr. Halsey who was supposed to be woman well established in her field when the Spartans didn't even exist yet, she picked them and made them. So why about 15-20years later would she look like a woman in her early 20's at worst? Another point on that is that the Covenant supposedly don't know just how valuable she is, if thats the case then why did the capture her to begin with? To continue on with Dr. Halsey, she seems to be flirty as hell with 117 and uses one of Cortana's signature lines. This episode was just terrible in story line and was worthy of, like most of the other episodes, at most being a Saturday morning cartoon.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterfully done, February 16, 2010
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This review is from: Halo Legends [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
First off the quality of this bluray is amazing. It is masterfully done and deserves credit. I ironically watched this on my PS3 and enjoyed every second of it. Having very little experience with the Halo Franchise outside of a few hours on Halo 3 I was curious to the larger universe that the games were set in. I know Bungie creates massively detailed worlds to set their games in and was curious as to what made Halo tick. I was very pleasantly surprised at the story and the quality of the animation in this release. The voice over work was excellent as well.

Here is my breakdown:

Voice Over:
Very well done, with great narration.
4.5/5

Animation:
Its great to see the various studios and artists create their impression of Halo. The quality control is excellent as expected from a AAA title franchise.
5/5

Blu-Ray Extras:
Could have used more extras, maybe even a Halo Reach beta invitation code or something. If there is one area that always could use improvement its extras!
4/5

Overall:
Well I would have given it a 4.5 out of 5 but that option is not available sadly. I asked myself did I regret pre-ordering the blu-ray and how badly did I miss the extras. To me personally I didnt think the lack of heavy duty extras called for a 80% score so I am giving it a full score. This is something you will enjoy, its feature length and worth the watch.
5/5
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29 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'm a Halo fan, and this isn't so great, February 17, 2010
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This review is from: Halo Legends (DVD)
Halo Legends is basically Halo: The Animatrix, and comparisons are even made during the commentary. Like The Animatrix, it generally places visuals over everything else. It's also likewise very on/off, ranging from big-budget action to intimate character portraits. It's not a bad product, but it is something where you can't help but think what could have been. This review is from the perspective of a longtime fan, and really this product is not a good piece for non-fans anyway, so I'll be speaking in fan terms. Part-by-part, not necessarily in the same order as the disc, minor spoilers ahead:

-Origins I&II is solid. The storyline is essentially a recap of known history, told by the Cortana, although she freely admits much of what you'll see is speculation. The story starts from the Forerunner war with the Flood and covers through "present day", at the end of Halo 3. The drawing is okay, the animation very stiff, and Cortana's stand-in voice actress is not up to the original, but it's a compelling story. The canon is mostly kept, although as Cortana noted, you can't take the whole piece literally. 4/5

-The Duel has awful art, little story, and is mostly just noir. Ancient Elites, who apparently lived in feudal Japan and had two jaws instead of four, wind up in a duel. And one of them is in samurai armor. Lots of people wind up saying the art grew on them, but I just can't watch it. I can't help but wonder if the graphics didn't come out well during development, so the team got embarrassed and slapped on a dirty filter so you wouldn't notice. 1/5

-Homecoming shoots the Halo canon in the face at multiple junctions, and is another character vignette with some action slapped on. The lead female is a (teen, blonde, angsty) Spartan who for some reason wears her hair long in the helmet, and pulls off her helmet in a war zone in front of regular soldiers. This is just a massive no-no, for so many reasons. The story is basically a small remembrance underlying the action, i.e. not substantial. Still, the animation is great. 2/5

-Sort of big spoiler ahead: The Babysitter features the long flowing blonde hair of another Spartan lady. And the Elites are back in feudal Japan again. And a Spartan is listed as KIA. But there's at least a tie-in as Dutch from ODST makes an appearance. The story revolves around an assassination mission targeting a prophet, with some great action. The blonde female Spartan idea works a little better here, as it's given more context and saved up for the last act, but it's still a very artistic choice that you can't think too much about before it falls apart. 3/5

-Be Human is another character vignette plus action. The action here is really great, and the animation is excellent. The story revolves around a guy trying to regain his lost humanity during war, and frankly this bit is ham-handed. It all wraps up well though, with a great allusion to other events in the Halo universe. 4/5

-The Package is a ton of top-notch CGI. However, the voice acting is mostly awful, and the canon is terrible. The CGI during the central battle is amazing and well worth watching. 3/5

-Odd One out is basically a Halo version of Dragon Ball Z. It's supposed to be funny, I think. Spartan 1337 (har-har) gets eaten by a dinosaur and spit out at one point (pardon if I guffaw for a bit). It's mostly dumb, and I found it hard to watch. Some story is thrown over the framework, but it's like trying to build a house on a Jell-O foundation. 1/5

Too much of the disc is made up of what are basically character vignettes. The Duel is about that era's arbiter. Odd One out is about Spartan-Goku. Be Human is about, uh, that guy. Homecoming is about that girl. You can even extend it and say the whole disc is basically a series of vignettes. Origins features Cortana's reflections after Halo 3, The Babysitter is about the revelation regarding the Spartan, and The Package revolves around one great moment of Spartans fighting together. That makes the great failing of this work, that it just never branches out. It's one character and their take on some aspect of the Halo universe, again and again.

You can currently download all of these episodes online, and honestly I have to say you should save your money. The "extra features" include a trailer for Halo: Reach (available online), a DC comics trailer, and a director commentary that's one of the non good director commentaries. Frankie and crew basically recap known items and restate the plot of episodes over and over with little real insight. Oh, Origins is about conflict? Thanks. I didn't get that from the words "conflict" and "war" being used constantly in the dialog. If you're a massively hardcore fan, this is a decent piece to nerd out to. But I doubt even hardcore fans will give this more than one play, maybe two if you'r really nitpicking the content of Origins.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ehh, its okay., February 23, 2010
This review is from: Halo Legends [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I was never a huge fan of the video games. Not because I didn't like them or because I don' t just love the stories (I do) but mainly because I didn't own an xbox when they first came out and I was never a part of the amazing social phenomenon that it's become. Until a few weeks back I wasn't aware that the story was so huge and epic, but now that I am I'm defiantly interested in finding out more. Well, I'm still waiting for my xbox to ship from home and I don't have ready access to a lot of books at the moment, so what then? Well, there's always Korean pirate DVD stores (yeah me!), you know, the place I bought EVERY episode of Battlestar Gallactica for just over fifty bucks (DVD quality too, HUA!). On my weekly DVD run a copy of Halo Legends caught my eye as I was walking out of the store and I thought to myself `hey, what better way to get more into Halo then to watch some anime based on it?' Anime based on a popular movie or comic has become a staple, from Animatrix, to the Batman anime, to the Hulk VS movies (still need to see those). These little episodic anime's have served other franchises well in the past.

Unfortunately Halo Legends doesn't quite live up to the story it was supposed to portray. Sure, there are moments of fun and cleverness, but through the whole thing I was just waiting to be blow away by at least ONE of the stories, and I kept on waiting until the very last episode was finished. I kept looking for a third disk or something. Nothing. That was it. There are good episodes in this little collection, a few decent ones, and a couple really, really bad ones. But nothing great, nothing that stands out and forces you to take notice.

The first two episodes, Origins, is nothing more than a retelling of the storyline behind the Halo universe, which is great for someone like me not totally immersed in the story from the games, but it surprised me how much I actually did know after all. There's nothing here that I didn't know from one place or another, nothing about the Forrunners, the Flood, the Covenant War, was new to me. If this is the case for me I can only imagine how boring and tiresome it would be for someone who's been following Halo since the very first game, though multiple books, games, etc. Unless you're a total Halo virgin Origins won't tell you anything knew. Plus the animation in these episodes is... what's the word? Cheap. That's the best way I can describe it. It was cheap. Not a lot of movement, not a lot of frames, just a lot of still pictures without the usual amazing background art that makes anime so great.

Following these two episodes is `The Duel,' a story about the past of the Elites home world at the formation of their alliance with The Covenant. The main characters is apparently the Arbitrayer (sp?)of the time as he resists the alliance and fights for the independence of his race. Even without the terrible animation style this episode is done in it probably would have still been a pretty bad episode, but nothing else seems to matter when I can't even see what the hell is going on. It's done in some sort of water color style, don't know, I'm not an expert. But one does not need to be an expert to tell you that if you can't SEE what the hell is going on in a movie or TV show or whatever, then no matter what else it does right, that's the only that that is going to matter. How can I really appreciate the epic battle that takes place here if I can't SEE what the hell is going on? How can I sympathize for a character being unjustly tortured if I can't SEE her bruises and scares? If their just a bunch of lumps of indiscernible colors and shades then how can I saw I liked it?

The Homecoming is a little better than the previous two episodes, but once again it lacks that `wow' factor the games posses. Fortunately it's done in a more traditional style of animation so we can actually SEE the action going on. The story focuses on a Spartan other than Master Chief, who is stuck battling the Covenant on an unnamed Inner Colony with a squad of UNSC Marines. As they fight their way through a ruined city to get picked up by a Pelican and evacuated, we are treated to some back story on our Spartan, how she tried to escape the training center, how she was kidnapped and replaced by a clone so no one would know she was gone. It's not a bad story, but it suffers from a few common anime faults. Like when the episodes hero (the younger version) points a gun at her clone (who has no idea she's a clone) and the clone girl just smiles and says hi. Really? If your double ran up to you and pointed a gun in your face, are you just going to sit there and say hi? Why do anime characters always do this? Moving on.

Next we are treated to the abomination that is Odd One Out. Its dragon Ball Z and Halo neatly wrapped in one of the most absurdly idiotic anime's I've ever seen. Basically Master Chief is flying over an unknown world (for some reason) with another Spartan, #1337, who apparently despite his status as one of the world's greatest worriers has a habit of falling out the back of Pelicans in mid flight. As you might be able to tell from that alone, this isn't a serious episode. But it IS a stupid one. From ninja kids with super powers, to cavemen kids riding Dinosaurs, bumbling bad guys, full of themselves hero's, its basically a Saturday morning kids cartoon squished between a couple of drama/action based anime's. This episode really is the `odd one out' as it doesn't fit with any of the other episodes, and sucks a whole lot more then the worst of them.

Then there's `Prototype.' It starts like dozens of animes. The fragile girls voice dying while a strong male lead stands by trying to comfort her. Anyone here see `Now and Then, Here and There'? This anime starts pretty much how that one ends if that helps anyone (probably doesn't, most who read this probably have never seen the show I'm talking about; your loss). This, along with the next episode, is probably the best of the series. A lot of action to love, some interesting character development. The main character, `Ghost,' is a soldier dealing with the loss of his platoon at the beginning of the episode and his lost humanity. They call him Ghost because he doesn't feel anything, doesn't love anything, and according to a few soldiers in this show, doesn't show much regard for their lives. It figures there would have to be mechs in this series somewhere, it's a Japanese staple after all. Plus it does kind of fit Halo, doesn't it? The mech in this episode looks a lot like a Spartan but packs a lot more heat. Though it does get kind of cheesy and emo, it's still pretty good.

Next is `The Babysitter,' an episode about the badass ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) who jump into a planet with a Spartan (another blond hotty, apparently the Spartan program was full of them) to take out a Covenant prophet and document the `unknown alien ruins' of the planet. The reason I liked this one so much is the simple fact that it involves ODST, who other than the Spartans, are the biggest bad asses in the entire Halo universe. Sure, the Spartans are cool and all, but personally I prefer ODST troopers to the regular Halo hero.

And lastly, rounding out the list is `The Package,' pretty poorly done CGI episode where we get to see Spartans fight together and use some new fang space fighters. This one is nothing more than a `shoot em up' episode. The animation is pretty poor by today's standards, the action power ranger ish, the dialogue cheesy at best. Nothing special to report.

On a side note, I want to say I'm impressed with the Halo music, even if it was taken directly from the video games. Makes me want to go back and play the old ones (Halo 1 and 2) even more now.

So, is this a set worth owning? Only if you're a diehard Halo fan. If not, it's a rent at best.
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Halo Legends [Blu-ray]
Halo Legends [Blu-ray] by Shinji Aramaki (Blu-ray - 2010)
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