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"Innocent Venus" Innocent of Being Original

With more and more anime coming over to the US, it becomes more and more important that a series be highly original and run on all cylinders. Otherwise, we get rather generic titles that try to be awesome and original, but fall far short. Case in point: Innocent Venus.

Now matter how many times it's done, a figure silhouetted by fire is still damn cool., but it’s not nearly as well-integrated as Samurai 7, Planetes, or anything from Production I.G. In fact, the CG isn’t even Toonami-level. Well, maybe TOM1 Toonami, but nowhere near the current Toonami. It works a lot better at night (as shown by the initial Gladiator fight in Episode 1), but since most of the battles are in the daytime, it stands out like a sore thumb.

Yes, this goofy and cheesy pirate get-up really is that awesome. I look much better than that Herlock guy.The opening and ending themes are decent but lack impact (sound familiar by now?) while the background music isn’t anything we haven’t heard a million times before in other action cartoons. The Japanese dub is decent, though still rather generic, but at least the English dub is quite enjoyable. Vic Mignogna is simply perfect as Jin and really makes the character come alive. He manages to perfectly evoke Jin’s softness and his harshness in seconds. Jessica Boone’s Sana is simply her standard “innocent little girl” voice and doesn’t really differ from her other similar roles (such as Misaki in Angelic Layer or Chiyo-chan in Azumanga Daioh) but it still works pretty well. And although Joe only has about twelve lines in the whole show, Chris Patton still performs great, but that’s practically a given since Chris Patton always performs great. Greg Ayres doesn’t really differentiate his Gora from his other hyperactive roles, which is a positive or a negative depending on your tastes, while Illich Guardiola is very underrated as Shiba. He brings a smoothness to the role, and while his voice doesn’t have the impact of a Steven Blum or a Chris Sabat, it still fits Shiba extremely well.

As far as extras go, we got nothing, unless you count the textless opening, textless ending, and trailers as extras. Even the artbox doesn’t come with much, just some more ads for ADV’s other series. And while the cover art is really extremely cool (actually cooler than the series itself), it was kind of lazy of ADV to use it again to decorate the artbox. Did Bandai Visual of Japan really not have any other cool stock images to put on the artbox? Makes me wonder what they’ll do when the thinpak comes out.

Innocent Venus is truly a take-it-or-leave-it series. If you like other series in its genre, you might enjoy it, but I recommend spending the money on Venus Versus Virus or Welcome to the NHK instead.

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