a.k.a. Mirage of Blaze: Rebels of the River Edge
a.k.a. Honou no Shinkirou: Minagiwa no Hangyakusha
Bearing the grudge of 400 spirits, Murashige Araki is unwillingly a powerful weapon to anyone who can channel centuries-old hatred correctly. Unfortunately for Japan, the Ikko clan knows how and plan on using it for their own malicious purpose. Kill one innocent person to save thousands; sounds like a pretty good plan to Takeda, but one of his loyal followers, Kakizaki Haruie, desperately pleads for a Plan B. It seems Araki has had a busy existence in another previous life as he and Haruie had shared a love stronger than death. Who knows if it can survive yet another death?
summary by Kjeldoran
Highs: Stays focused and intense; beautifully animated
Lows: Assumes the television series was clear; awkward themes handled tactlessly
After the mess that was Mirage of Blaze, I did not expect its OVA sequel to be worth its while. Little did I know that Studio Madhouse was resolute on setting things right. From the first minute, you know you are not merely watching a few, behind-schedule episodes.
The animation is a humongous improvement over the television series. And it’s not just the usual difference you see between television episodes and OVAs; no, we are talking about a whole new level here. Cheap tricks and lazy animation are out. Smooth movements and believable effects are in and make this OVA series much easier to take seriously. Even though performed by the same composer, the music stands out a lot more, too. The real tour de force, however, was how it did not fall prey to overflowing of superfluous characters and story elements. It evaluated its time perfectly, chose an appropriate arc and made it all work.
It is a shame that the main weakness of this anime comes from being the sequel of a badly organized series. It does what it can to clarify and recollect elements from Mirage of Blaze, but there are still a few areas that are in need of patching. Surprisingly, the other downside is something that was dealt with a lot more care before. The sexuality conflicts in Everyone’s Traitor are not just words anymore, and to anyone not used to onscreen homosexuality, a certain scene from a certain second OVA might be a turnoff. In my opinion, the same themes were exploited in Mirage of Blaze with just as much intensity but less discomfort.
I wish I could recommend these OVAs to everyone, but it would be impossible to appreciate them to their full extent on their own. Is it worth sitting through a poor television series to enjoy a rich OVA series? That really depends on how much free time is on your hands.
Mirage of Blaze: Everyone’s Traitor can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.