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Halo Legends (ヘイロー・レジェンズ Heirō Rejenzu?) is a collection of seven animated short films set in the Halo science-fiction universe. Financed by Halo franchise overseer 343 Industries, the stories were created by six Japanese production houses: Bones, Casio Entertainment, Production I.G., Studio 4°C, and Toei Animation. Shinji Aramaki, creator and director of Appleseed and Appleseed Ex Machina, serves as the project's creative director. Warner Bros. released Legends on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on February 16, 2010.
The idea for an anime compilation existed for years before there was momentum for the project. 343 creative director Frank O'Connor produced story outlines or finished scripts that the production houses animated in a variety of styles.
To oversee development of the entire Halo franchise, Microsoft created an internal division, 343 Industries, to manage the Halo brand. Frank O'Connor, 343's creative director, said that such a move was vital: "If you look at how George Lucas held on to Star Wars, not just to make money from action figures but to control the direction the universe went in, you can see why we think it's pretty vital."
Halo Legends had origins in the 2006 Marvel Comics tiein, The Halo Graphic Novel; O'Connor said that the idea of an anime compilation existed for years before there was momentum for the project. Wanting to tell smaller stories in a different format than video games and novels and in different art styles, O'Connor said that anime was a natural fit. An additional consideration was that 343 Industries felt that the Japanese style of narrative fit the stories well. Most of the animation studios Microsoft approached were available for the project. Most studios were "afraid" of creating their own stories, even if they were familiar with the series, so O'Connor sent them possible story treatments. Microsoft was deeply involved in making sure story details were correct and writing the scripts for the stories—O'Connor estimated that 50% of the dialogue in the final products were verbatim from the original scripts. While all the stories save one are considered canon, O'Connor noted that some discrepancies were the cause of artistic interpretation.
The animation studios were given wide latitude in their presentation. "We realized very early on [that Halo] could take interpretation," said O'Connor, saying that the look-and-feel of the universe persisted even through differing artistic styles. In developing their stories and styles, the anime studios were supplied with access to Halo's story bible and art assets.
One of the artistic styles that is the most radical departure from traditional animation styles is in "The Duel", which employs a filter that makes every cell look as though it was hand painted by watercolors. His goal that he was aiming for in this project was, "to make audiences understand there should be other styles of animation beyond the existing two primary kinds of animation presented – precisely cel-drawing 2D style and CG 3D style. I wanted to show that creators are not limited, that they have many options for different (animation) styles to create stories."
Several episodes were originally broadcast on Halo Waypoint on the specified date. The episodes range in length from ten to twenty minutes.
Release and reception
Halo Legends was originally to be released on February 9, 2010, but its launch was pushed back a week to February 16. The compilation comes in three different retail packages: a standard DVD release with all the episodes, a two-disc special-edition which contains additional commentary, and the Blu-ray Disc edition, featuring the special-edition features and a summary of the Halo storyline. The film's United States premiere was held at the AMC Metreon in San Francisco on February 10, with the companion soundtrack released by Sumthing Distribution the day previous.
Reception to Legends was mixed. Orlando Parfit of IGN UK wrote that while the decision to merge Halo and Japanese anime seemed an odd choice, "Halo Legends proves a successful—if uneven—attempt to fuse these two universes, and will certainly prove essential viewing for those with more than a passing interest in Bungie's seminal shooters." IGN US reviewers Cindy White and Christopher Monfette said that the short films "prove surprisingly accessible to sci-fi fans in general," and that the collection was "well worth" the time. Matt Miller of Game Informer said that Halo Legends would appeal to story-interested fans of the franchise, not those who cared about multiplayer gameplay.
Based on Rentrak and Home Media Magazine numbers, Legends ranked second and fourth in Blu-ray Disc and DVD sales, respectively, during its first week of sales in the United States. It also ranked seventh in Blu-ray Disc rankings in Japan. In its second week it dropped off the US Blu-ray Disc Top 20 charts, and slipped to tenth for DVD sales. According to The-Numbers.com, Legends sold $2.56 million worth of merchandise or 168,000 DVDs its first week. Total sales reached $5.6 million.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Fritz, Ben (2009-07-22). "Video game publishers Microsoft, Ubisoft invading Hollywood's turf". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Hryb, Larry (2009-12-09). "Show #343: Interviews with members of 343 Industries about Halo and more". Major Nelson Radio. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
- ↑ Fritz, Ben (2009-07-23). "Video game companies move onto Hollywood's turf". Los Angeles Times. p. 2. Retrieved 2009-12-27.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Halo Legends; The Making of. [DVD; Disc 2/2]. Warner Brothers Home Video. 2010-02-16.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 "Frankie's Halo Legends Q&A Session". Halo.Bungie.Org. 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
- ↑ Kolan, Patrick (2010-03-01). "Halo Interview: Legends, Movies and the Next Six Years". IGN. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- ↑ "Interview With Hiroshi Yamazaki". Fancoredaily. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- ↑ "Microsoft and Warner Brothers tap Seraphim Digital Studios (formerly ADV Studios) for Halo Legends English Adaptation". SXAniMedia. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- ↑ "Former ADV Dubbing Studio Voices Halo Legends Project". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
- ↑ Goldstein, Hilary; Erik Brudvig (2009-07-23). "SDCC 09: Halo Panel Live Blog". IGN. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- ↑ Sinclair, Brendan (2010-01-07). "Halo Legends slips to Feb. 16". Gamespot. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- ↑ White, Cindy (2010-02-05). "IGN Presents Halo Legends Premiere". IGN. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- ↑ Parfit, Orlando (2010-02-08). "Halo Legends UK Review (DVD)". IGN. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
- ↑ Monfette, Christopher; Cindy White (2010-02-17). "Halo Legends DVD Review". IGN. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- ↑ Miller, Matt (2010-02-04). "Halo Legends Review". Game Informer. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
- ↑ Staff (2010-03-05). "Halo Legends Ranks #2 on BD, #4 on DVD in 1st Week". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- ↑ Stowbridge, C.S. (2010-03-18). "DVD Sales: New Releases are the Law". The Numbers. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
- ↑ "Halo Legends - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- Halo Official Site-343 Industries
- Official Video Release Website
- Halo Legends at the Internet Movie Database
- Acclaimed Director-Designer Shinji Aramaki Discusses "The Package" Episode of Halo Legends
- Halo Legends (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia