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Flag: Volume 1 (Collectors Edition with Artbox)

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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(Nov 06, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the mountainous Asian country of Uddiyana a civil war rages. No end lie in sight for the war-torn nation until a lone photographer snapped an iconic image that would come to be known simply as "Flag." Hope arises as the many factions involved begin an approach to peace, rousing the call for a ceasefire behind the featured flag. When an unknown guerilla sect steals this symbol of unity, a U.N. Special Development Command unit is dispatched using the latest in military technology, a transforming bipedal exoskeleton known as the HAVWC system. Recruited to document this mission is a war-time journalist, the author of the "Flag" photograph, Saeko Shirasu. Witness the trials and triumphs of a peacekeeping taskforce behind the camera's view-finder as they take their first steps towards the recovery of the road to peace and discover the truth behind a struggle. Limited Edition includes Magnetic fold box that holds the complete series of Flag! Genre: Action/Mecha/Fantasy.

The mecha adventure Flag (2006) evokes the current war in Iraq. As UN forces struggle to contain a murderous civil war in the central Asian country of Uddiyana, photographer Saeko Shirasu takes an iconic picture of the national flag billowing over women praying for peace. Armed insurgents steal the flag, which has become a national symbol of hope, and take it to their fortified temple. A Special Development Command unit is sent recapture the banner with Saeko as an "embedded journalist" recording the mission. Their secret weapon is a Gundam-style mecha, the High Agility Versatile Weapons Carrier. Director Riyosuke Takahashi overuses certain visual motifs: Almost every scene is either presented as a sequence of still photographs, framed through a camera viewfinder, or shown as a replay on a laptop screen. Had Takahashi used these visuals more judiciously, they could have underscored Saeko's vision of the conflict. Instead, they quickly become an annoying gimmick that detracts from the narrative. The Collector's Edition comes in a heavy cardboard art box. (Rated 16 and older, but suitable for viewers three years younger: violence, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, Limited Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Bandai
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VLOKJ0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,581 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Gosa on January 6, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've seen allot of mech anime shows but FLAG is unique in it's delivery. The use of first person perspective to deliver the story takes what could have been another boring mech show and gives it a much more artistic feel. The attention to detail in terms of adding things like shutter speed, apperture, white balance, and other photographic elements that you would normally see when you look through the viewfinder of an SLR camera are extremely accurate. As a photographer myself it added a sense of realism to the show, like I was looking through the viewfinder of my own Nikon watching the story unfold in front of me. Sure it's not exactly the most action packed mech show out there, if you want that check out Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, but I believe the main point of the series is not to blow the viewer away with nonstop action, but with detail and a good story.
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Format: DVD
They are few and far between to be sure, but once in a great while an anime series comes along that combines excellent storytelling with just enough fantastical technology to make animation practices from just about everywhere else in the world seem contrived.

FLAG tells the tale of a central Asian country (Uddiyana) that has been locked in civil war between two rival religious factions to the point of U.N. military intervention.

The potential for a fragile cease-fire suddenly becomes a possibility thanks to an internationally-renown photograph of a flag taken by young female photographer Saeko Shirasu. Clinging to the hope the photograph inspires, a lasting peace treaty between the government and insurgent groups is scheduled. Trouble is the flag is stolen by an insurgent group determined to foil the peace process just prior to the treaty signing.

In effort to recover the flag before word of the theft spreads, the U.N. establishes a secret military unit dubbed SDC, who just so happened to be trained to use bipedal, heavily armed robots called HAVWCs (High Agility Versatile Weapon Carriers--pronounced "havocs").

Because she took the famous photo that got the peace process underway, Saeko is granted permission to document the SDC's top-secret efforts to recover the artifact.

In essence FLAG is the telling of a massive scale civil war through the camera lenses of two individuals on the outside looking in (Saeko Shirasu & her mentor Keiichi Akagi). The presentation of the material works on the format of Akagi narrating events while he reviews video clips taken during the war on his laptop.

FLAG is a beautifully (if tragic) mature, politically laced series that strongly echoes real-world events in the Middle East.
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Format: DVD
Original Idea, Weak Plot & Characters

`Flag' is a realistic anime war drama told from a photo journalist's point of view, literally. every scene is shown through the view finder of an SLR camera.

In the mountainous nation of Uddiyana religious and ethnic conflicts and terrorism draw in the UN to maintain order.

A photo of rebels flying a democratic flag becomes famous around the world, rivaling that of the Iwo Jima Memorial, and brings global attention to Uddiyana.

When the world famous flag is stolen by terrorists, an elite UN special forces unit is assigned with the flag's retrieval.

A young Japanese woman, Saeko Shirasu is given the unprecedented opportunity to document the UN unit and their new weapons, real life mobile suits. The entire story is told from Saeko and her fellow photo journalists' cameras' point of view.

Reminiscent of `Gasaraki' and `Full Metal Panic.'

The whole concept is very original, it combines several elements I like, a realistic modern war scenario, the possibility that mobile suits could actually exist, and photography.

Having every single scene take place through the view finder of a camera is also very original. In real life this concept never works out but in anime it's visually very entertaining.

The problem is that the story just never gets going or does anything interesting. It may be realistic that a photo journalist would mostly document the personal traits of soldiers at a base and fellow journalists at a bar with less time spent on actual battle footage but unfortunately the result is boredom by the end of volume 1.

The characters are also weak. They may be realistic but real people are boring.
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Format: DVD
If I really had to make a prediction for this series, I would say that the good money is on this series becoming one of anime's best kept secrets. The story and characters that this series attempts to showcase and present to us is absolutely fabulous on so many levels. It is an anime that absolutely deserves to have a wide audience and fan base but likely won't get one because of the hard sell this series is. The pacing is fairly slow and the action is not over the top explosions and in your face blood. This is presenting the war as a necessity that no one particularly wants to be a part of but is doing so for the better good. That's not an easy sell anywhere and in this case, it's beyond difficult.

While I think there are plenty of people who will want to pass on this anime after seeing the first volume, I am firmly saying that everyone should at least watch this first volume to give the series a chance. With the anime industry in a rut for various reasons, this is an anime that is openly going into almost brand new territory where only a couple has treaded before and it's doing a good job! That alone should be worth the support of many but hopefully this anime will be picked up by a few. Absolutely worth viewing.
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