3×3 Eyes: Immortals
New Generation Pictures
The way classic anime should be done.
3×3 Eyes: Immortals
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold
"Aw, damn it... I can't deal with this Pai/Sanjiyan split personality anymore." - Yakumo
I had been putting off getting the now out-of-print Streamline/Orion releases of 3×3 Eyes for a long time (maybe that's a good thing since episode seven was never released). But just when I was about to splurge and track them down, I got word last February that Pioneer would be releasing a new dub of it and giving it the royal sub and DVD treatment. Well, I can personally say that after seeing the final result for myself, I can gladly say that my wait was well worth it.
Yakumo was a normal teenage boy who enjoyed hanging out with his gang of friends, working on his motorcycle, and earning money at the local transvestite club. Well, maybe the last part isn't normal, but it's the price you pay when your mom is dead and your dad is some professor off in Tabit. At any rate, Yakumo's life was semi-normal until he almost hit a girl when he was driving his motorcycle on the sidewalk when he was late for work. To make amends he takes the girl to his job where the girl reviles her name to be Pai and that Yakumo's dad, Professor Fuji, found her in Tibet where she nursed him until his death.
Elsewhere a man un-corks Pai's walking stick, which she lost when Yakumo plowed into her, and a giant bird appears and does on the rampage. After work, the bird known as Takuki sets it sights on Pai and Yakumo. Pai tries to summon her friend back into her walking stick, but Yakumo pushes Pai out of the way and get's ripped to shreds by the birds talons. Pai, distraught, awakens the Sanjiyan inside hr and merges Yakumo's soul with her own. His body reassembles itself and a mark baring the symbol 'WU' appears on his forehead. Now, Yakumo must become Pai's protector as they both search for a way to become human. But, the demon underworld will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
So, now you know the basic plot, but how does it compare to the manga? Well, personally speaking I fell in love with 3×3 Eyes when I acquired Dark Horse Comics' 3×3 Eyes: Curse of the Gesu #5 for a quarter at a comic shop sale and went on to collect the ten single issues and am currently loving the long-awaited continuation of the release in Super Manga Blast! As with anything that is adapted from a print form there is bound to be changes from what you remember from the manga and how you think the characters act and sound. So, I was pretty surprised to see such a close manga adaption, especially remembering the changes that were made to Oh My Goddess! and Video Girl Ai when they were animated. The first 3×3 Eyes OVA series is so close to the actual manga that even jokes between characters are kept exactly as they appear in black and white. The 4th episode even ends where the manga has a turning point at the conclusion of the Seima Yogeki story arc which is comprised of the first two manga tankoubon.
The only thing that didn't exactly meet with my predetermined notion of the manga is the way Pai talks in the English dub. In the manga, Pai talks in a broken form of Japanese because her native language is Chinese and this causes the stereotypical mixing up of word order when talking as well as an accent. The new dub tries to retain some of this broken language, but for some reason Pai sounds more Indian in accent (sort of like the dub of Anthy Himemiya in Revolutionary Girl Utena) than Chinese. But, this is only a minor gripe especially when compared to AnimEigo's dub of Spirit of Wonder in which they totally cut out any reference to Miss China's Chinese origins and made her speak perfect English.
The new dub does have some minor flaws when it comes to the supporting character voices in the episodes ‘Transmigration' and ‘Yakumo,' nearly any roughness in the voices is gone later on. I've personally began to attribute this initial roughness of any type of voice, whether it be English or Japanese, to the fact that the actors are trying to get into character. For supporting characters who often-times have to do multiple voices, this problem does show up quite often in many shows when they first start being dubbed. As a side-note, a few familiar Nazca dub voices supply supporting character voices throughout the series at points. In a way hearing them in episode two as Yakumo's gang was kind of eerie for me especially since I still have the ending to Nazca fresh in my mind.
Still, the supporting cast is only the filler. The real stars of any dub are the lead voices. And with this dub they just happen to be Christian Campbell as Yakumo and Brigitte Bako playing both Pai and her Sanjiyan personality. Christian's voice just matches Yakumo's personality. His voice has this sincere tone to it that really rounds off the character in sharp contrast to the violent scenes he has to perform in. At the same time, Brigitte must pull off two completely different personalities for Pai and she does it splendidly. Pai's normal voice is cheerful and full of life like in the manga, but her Sanjiyan voice is deep and menacing. It's pretty amazing how well the contrasting voices were pulled off. Yet, they were and they accent the new dub excellently.
But, probably the strangest thing of all about 3×3 Eyes is the simple fact that it is classic. And as with any classic, certain scenes and characters can be compared with others. For instance, Ling-Ling seems like a character right out of Ranma ˝ mixed with some zany occult and business practices like Ayaka in Phantom Quest Corp. Or maybe it's the way the series has massive cityscapes and detail like in Akira. Or possibly even the detailed blood and gore like in Wicked City. Whatever the similarities, the series makes for some interesting eye-candy.