Welcome, one and all, to this month’s anime review. This time around, I shall be looking at Halo Legends, the multi-studio project set in 343 Industries’ first person shooter universe. Let’s begin.
Background: While 343’s creative director supplied story outlines and finished scripts, the eight episodes featured a plethora of animation talent: Studio 4°C covered Origins I and II and The Babysitter, Casio Entertainment worked on The Package, Bones did The Prototype, Toei Animation worked on Odd One Out, and Production I.G did The Duel on their own and Homecoming with Bee Train.
The Good: Back in the days of Doom, FPS games were hardly the most story driven things on the market. But then, they didn’t need to be. These days though, we expect more from our games. Halo features a very rich universe, and there are a lot of different plotlines going on in each game. Even so though, there’s always room for expansion, and that is what Halo Legends aims to do. By telling a series of short stories, it succeeds in further fleshing out the Halo universe, and in turn providing a good amount of bonus material for fans of the franchise.
In particular, there are a handful of episodes therein that really stand out. Origins gives a good overview of the Halo franchise in a concise manner. Meanwhile, The Package features not only some high-quality animation but the series’ most well-known protagonist, Master Chief, while the bittersweet Homecoming covers the final days of another member of the Spartan project that eventually created the aforementioned hero.
It’s not all storytelling though! When called upon to do so, Halo Legends pulls out all the stops in terms of action. OK, so it’s not as immersive as playing the games, but it is by no means poorly executed. In the spirit of keeping up with the games though, the series does a good job of replicating something that has been consistent throughout the gaming franchise: an awesome soundtrack. The OST here consists of a combination of remixes of the game music and some original pieces, and they all work really well, just as you’d hope.
The Bad: Much like when The Matrix released a similar project with The Animatrix, there are some underlying issues with the overall quality of the collection. While each studio brought their own style to the table, the result is an almost jarring inconsistency. Both how effectively the animation itself is pulled off and the nature of the stories on show vary greatly, with Odd One Out in particular sticking out like a sore thumb. Combining some generic animation with what most would describe as ‘whacky Japanese comedy’ just feels off when set in the Halo universe, even if it officially non-cannon.
It should also be noted that, while the voice cast did a decent job of sounding like their game counter parts, it does seem a shame that the original VAs weren’t used in the production.
Subbed or Dubbed: I watched the dub. As stated above, it was a shame that the original cast weren’t utilised, but I wouldn’t say that the cast was bad at all. If anything, they did a very good job.
Final View: Halo Legends is a decent addition to the franchise that adds some further flesh to the already plump storyline that crosses each game, while still remaining surprisingly accessible to those unfamiliar with the franchise. Unfortunately though, it does fall prey to the innate inconsistencies that multi-studio projects can sometimes give rise to. Still, what sections you enjoy or dislike will vary depending on personal taste, and there are certainly enough different things on display that you should find something to enjoy.
Final Score: 3.75 / 5