Saturday, November 7, 2009

Halo Legends "The Babysitter" Review

Halo Legends has been a subject of controversy on Geeksquisite, TJ especially cringed at the post production pics where you can see a teddy bear on the ground near a spartan in one picture. Teddy Bears may have been "useful" when killing people in Fallout 3, but what were the animators thinking putting stuff like that in Halo Legends?
*end rant*

On Halo Waypoint the premiere episode of Halo Legends was available, and future episodes will be viewable every saturday. Despite my concern with how Halo would translate into anime, I decided to analyze the episode carefully.

Overall Design in the animation is a mix of good and bad, but the freedoms the animators took are specific. Vehicle Designs are pretty spot on and very cool as far as I am concerned. Especially with the Phantoms, oh my those looked great. Weapon designs and interface on the anime was pretty good too, they had a sniper rifle zoom in moment that looked pretty nice and reminded me of the game.

When it came to the character designs, this is a much much less good side to the anime. Humans, ODSTS, all look okay, but of course the main character and focus of episode 1 had spiky overdone hair. This is why I was worried about Halo Legends as an anime, anime style is a difficult adaption for existing character design in the Halo franchise. Would the army EVER let someone have such crazy looking hair? NO. The spartan for this episode is horribly designed. I can't describe it too well but while the ODST's look okay in their armor, the spartan looks chubby in his armor and is an insult to the Master Chief's design burned in my head (very minimalistic too which means they aren't doing the spartan's justice). As for Brutes and grunts, they seemed okay. Elites, oh man they looked awful, they really messed up on the elites. The prophet they had was okay, but in a nutshell the non human character designs are pretty half assed.

Story and voice acting, that was okay. I am happy to say that they kept this good for the most part. One thing regarding story they did for this episode felt like a breaking of an old Halo tradition regarding spartans.


They made the spiky haired kid a hero and made the Spartan take the beating from a brute with a hammer for the kid, killing her. That's right, I said HER. the ODST's removed her helmet revealing her bloody long white haired face, okay first of all...

One of the biggest things about Spartans is their mysterious identities, this Spartan kept quiet as she should but they made it so easy for the ODSTS to rip off her helmet. Spartans remain extremely mysterious and rarely allow removal of their helmets in public, or so the novels seem to indicate. It felt wrong that they unmasked a spartan, but that's not the worst part. It also drove me crazy that she got so emotional in the moments she was dying, i've read the novels and spartans shouldn't be "tell all" as they are dying. Or at least, they should have put less human interactions between the spartan girl and the ODSTS. Spartans make emotions take a backseat much of the time, so it felt like they messed up there. BIG TIME.

So for the most part Halo Legends is quite a departure from the designs and story arcs we are familiar with. The main flaw is lack of creative control that is so clearly not there with the death of the Spartan woman. In the beginning of Halo 3, it's clearly established that soldiers don't tend to a spartan that way. In fact, watch that part with the unmasking in Halo Legends, and then watch Johnson and the Chief in the beginning of the first level of Halo 3 and tell me which scene was better. I'm betting the cinematic video game scene looks better, and thats mostly because the chief is not treated like a non human/alien like in the anime.

Set your bar a little lower because it has depreciative qualities, I will hope in future episodes it isn't as bad.

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