features title
Guilty Crown (Blu-ray), Early Review
Mobile Suit Gundam (DVD), Review
Who Is the Man of Steel?
features title
Sands of Destruction: The Complete Series, Early Look/Review
By Marc | January 18th, 2010

Back with another anime DVD to review, this time we have a Funimation show, via a Sega game… Sands of Destruction.

Sega doesn’t normally get the high marks for quality they used to long ago, so can a Sega based anime work out?

The packaging for Sands of Destruction is the standard dual-thinpak-in-soft-case Funimation does for most shows now.  We get a shot of each of the three main characters, all in different poses.  The coloring is nice, but it would have been nice if we got art that showed us something about the show itself.  And down at the bottom we have a spelling mistake, “13 Episdoes”… and in fact, it’s even on the solicited coverart online stores are using for the show.  This mistake also appears on the back.  The back has color silhouettes of the main characters rather than full character art, and I think it actually looks quite stylish using those.  We get a three line advertisement for the game the anime is based on before the show description.  The cases themselves have some decent character art on them, and episode lists on the back.  The packaging for Sands isn’t bad, but there isn’t really anything special to it either.

The menu is where some problems bigger than a few misspellings show up.  The menu is just ugly.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the design in and of itself, but there are compression artifacts all over (click the screencaps to see them fullsize.)  There are plenty of compression problems with the red (red often has compression issues.)  If it was just the red I’d mention it and move on, but there are also problems with the images used.  I put two screencaps up to show that the image they used for the main menu is both blurry and has issues with the lines breaking apart, and on the episodes menu, they use part of a screencap and it just looks fuzzy all around.  The menu isn’t a bad design, it just could have used some better assets (maybe a better font also…)

Sands of Destruction is a stupid show.  And that isn’t my opinion…  it’s the opinion of one of the characters (I’ll explain that when we get to the extras.)  My opinion is about the same though.  Sands tries to be creative at times, but never ends up being much more than a cliched mess.  It takes place in a world where beastmen and the humans are little more than an annoyance.  In this world gone mad, the sea is made of sand instead of water.  And the show will never… ever… let you forget it.  The sea is called the sandsea.  The sharks in the sandsea are sandsharks, and this continues for every sea (excuse me, sandsea) creature you can think of.  It’s possible the reason the sea is a sandsea is explained later, but the show is bad enough that I had to stop watching and just review it, because if a 13 episode show can’t convince you it’s worth watching after three and a half episodes, then it’s already failed.  The characters are dry and annoying, and the show has very little of value.  The only thing it has is Toppy the bear.  He’s this tiny cute yellow bear with a deep voice, who is a hero.  He goes around kicking ass and being a hero and gets dragged into all the craziness that happens.  He frankly deserves to be in a better show.  In fact, I think he should get his own show.  Make it a sequel if you need to, but the bear deserves his own show.  Maybe he dies later in the show, I don’t know.  If he did, then I propose it be revealed that dead Toppy was actually a very sophisticated robot Toppy, which the real Toppy used to escape the show.  Toppy is voiced by Tohru Furuya (Amuro Ray in Gundam, Yamcha in DBZ, among other roles) with a great voice and he says ‘kuma’ after his sentences.  I’d watch a Toppy series, but he doesn’t do enough in the show to keep me watching Sands of Destruction.  It’s possible the show might mean something to fans of the game, everyone else might wanna give this one a wide berth.

The video for the DVDs are encoded at 480p.  Unfortunately the visuals are another area Sands doesn’t really do much with.  There are plenty of compression problems (often at times when there is little to no movement on screen.)  I’m not completely sure this is Funimation’s fault, as the show itself has very poor animation.  Very often the show goes absolutely out of its way to animate as little as possible, or to only animate when characters have very little detailing.  It’s still completely watchable, it just isn’t good.

The audio fares a bit better.  English gets a 5.1 Dolby track at 448k and Japanese gets a 2.0 Dolby track at 192k.  Both tracks are good enough, the show doesn’t really do much that would require great quality audio, and I didn’t notice anything overly good nor bad about the audio.

The dub is reasonably good.  Everyone is also cast relatively well.  The non-Toppy main characters are voiced by Luci Christian and Todd Haberkorn.  Both of them do what they can, but boring characters are boring characters.  In fact, they both sound kinda bored and going through the motions.  Robert McCollum plays Toppy.  He does a relatively deep voice for Toppy and, just like in the Japanese version, ends his lines with kuma.  The dub is better than you would expect for a show this bad.

The show is bad, but the extras are actually quite good.  The primary extra is a collection of four ‘cast interviews.’  The twist being, they interview the characters as if they were real people acting in a show.  Total there is 25 minutes of these, and just spot checking them, they were more entertaining than the show itself.  The extra has poor animation that is often re-purposed frames from the show, but often uses what appears to be production drawings as ‘pictures from the set’ during the interviews.  We do find out the fascinating fact that Toppy didn’t want to say kuma, the director made him do it, and that he is not a ‘cute mascot character.’  In the intro for Morte’s interview before she is appeared, we get the great moment in the screencap above, which I did promise an explanation for earlier, so there you go.  We also get clean versions of the opening and closing to the show.  The opening is nice to have clean as it’s sorta stylish, and has a decent song to it.  The extras surprisingly surpass what many far better shows get, and the only way I imagine they could have been improved would have been if the interviews had been dubbed also.

Sands of Destruction is a show that is cliche, badly written, and is just… bad.  It isn’t an explosively terrible bomb like some shows, and it has an amusing bear, so it isn’t as bad as it could be, but there is likely a better show sitting right next to it on the shelf in any stores anime section.
Show: D+ (Just a bad show.  Toppy is a fun character, but at some point one good character just makes it more obvious how sub-par the show is.)
Packaging: C (Basic packaging with a few spelling mistakes and a video game advertisement.)
Video Quality: C- (It’s fully watchable, and on rare occasions it doesn’t look bad.)
Audio Quality: B (Both the English and Japanese tracks are fine.)
English Dub: B- (Decent enough dub, but nothing special.)
Extras: A- (Nearly an extra episode in character interviews along with the standard clean opening and closing.)
Overall (not an average): D+ (The show is just bad.  It may get a few extra points from Toppy if you can stand it enough to keep going, and the extras are fun, but there just isn’t much here from the show. But once again, Toppy is awesome and it may be worth seeing just for him, but be aware, for every minute of awesome with Toppy, there is around ten minutes of bleh to plod through.)
Sands of Destruction is available for free subtitled (with a few dubbed episodes) at Funimation Video.
Gallery and copyright information under ad. All caps are lossless PNGs taken in MPC-HC, feel free to request more. (Caps are sized 853×480 so as to display properly on computer monitors, they were modified to this resolution via Photoshop CS4 as MPC-HC takes screen captures at 720×480 on the disc. Having the caps be 853×480 makes them appear at the properly intended aspect ratio.)
This show was reviewed using a screener in retail packaging.
Gallery and copyright information under ad. All caps are lossless PNGs taken in MPC-HC, feel free to request more. (Caps are sized 853×480 so as to display properly on computer monitors, they were modified to this resolution via Photoshop CS4 as MPC-HC takes screen captures at 720×480 on the disc. Having the caps be 853×480 makes them appear at the properly intended aspect ratio.)
This show was reviewed using a screener in retail packaging.



Sands of Destruction – © SEGA/WD Project. Licensed by FUNimation Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved..


Categories: Anime Review, Feature, Reviews
  • Schmullus

    Funimation: You should be watching…anything but this.

    Sounds terrible. I’m not sure which is less entertaining, this show or Jay Leno. Probably Leno. At least this show has the bear.

  • http://www.animenews.biz Humberto Saabedra

    Seems like Sega hasn’t changed a bit when it comes to crappy anime tie-ins. The game is fun though.

  • Banzai Co.

    This was a just review that gave solid information. What do people expect from an anime based off of a game? Well, it created this. Now the artwork has it’s beuty moments, and the story sucks but it was funny in the clockworks episode(Oddly the only episode that wasn’t, “There are two types of [add a word here]” Honestly I watched it for Lia Dragonell, cause at the time there was no hint to what she was, “Some sorta bat, demon, lizard?” I thought :D
    Lia had more of a personality, and I looked to the manga in only to be dissapointed that Nadja has a young ferral as his companion. I wouldn’t mind another season to try and bump itself up, hell they can redo the anime and add more detail and I would be happy. My only problem was that it was lacking way too much.
    Overall, I would still put it in my top 15 just because the robot called Toppy(i) a “Chibibear” and why they listened to him. Also seeing more of the imposter WDC would have been fun, as they were more interesting than the main characters.
    Overall opiniated rating:
    Artwork: 6/10 Same reason, it wasn’t as professional that SEGA would be expected of.
    Character/Story: 4/10 Main characters were the least interresting, which made the story null.
    Sub: 6/10 Mainly that 15 fangroups have formed to make subs on this series of 13, hell two years it’s finally aan official sub.
    Dub: 8/10 It was watchable, Toppy seemed to keep his professionalism even in English. Better dubbing then other series get.

    Overall watch it online, donate 5$ and download the episodes from youtube. 15$ would be the most you’d want to waste. But I would enjoy another series or more episodes.
    Not as good as Evangelion, fooly cooly, or another common series, but it’s watchable, and every episode can make you laugh at least alittle.
    Oh yea, buy the game guys, I mean it helps you know more.