DVD REVIEW: Buffy Season 8 Motion Comics

A look into the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in all her comic book glory!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the Dark Horse comic series (well the first 19 issues) has been put onto DVD for your viewing pleasure. For those of you not in the know, a motion comic is not the same as a full animated series. This DVD animates the original comic series in story board form. There is little movement and animation of the actual characters, and when some movement is annexed to them the animation is fairly basic (don’t expect the awesome 3D animation of Clone Wars!)

However, that’s not to say that this series is no good, not by any stretch of the animation, it’s just…different.

The storyline picks up from where the final Buffy series left off. I don’t want to go into too much detail about that, as I don’t want to give too much away, however the story which they’ve created is great. The 19 episodes are broken down into a few different stories (ranging from 2 – 4 episodes per story) and last roughly 12 minutes each, however they all have a plot which runs throughout and culminates in an EPIC finale. All the characters in which you’d expect to see have returned (along with a lot of new ones), and the original fun of the Buffy series is peppered throughout.

If you’re anything like me, it will take you a couple of episodes (at least) to get past a few little grievances, but trust me, you’ll get over them. The voiceovers for are a good example, they just sound…wrong. OK, they didn’t have the original cast doing the voices, and that’s fine, it just annoyed me in the first couple of episodes; however one I’d stopped “hearing” the problems and just got into the series I soon forgot about that. I also (occasionally) had trouble picking out which characters were supposed to be which – especially when it came to some of the characters which were only in a couple of episodes. That’s not to say you can’t recognise the characters though, sometimes they look so perfect it’s unreal, but at others it can be just a bit confusing.

On a story by story basis, the series is good. There’s lots of the old humour you’d expect from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (i.e. REALLY cheesy), which makes the series fun and easy to watch. That’s what I liked about the original series to be honest. Sure there was the fantasy, fight scenes and Sarah Michelle Gellar, but I really enjoyed the light-hearted nature of it, and how it was willing to laugh at itself. It made it a nice fun watch. This comic series isn’t too far removed from that. There have attempted to make it more adult though, and there is more swearing then I remember from Buffy and her gang, but also there are a fair few sexual connotations (including a fairly unexpected scene involving Buffy herself which seemed in there just for the sake of it, as opposed adding any real value to the story – it the funniest part in the series though!). I’m not saying all this is a bad thing, again, it’s just different. All us Buffy fans have put on a few years now though (as has she) so a few swears are fine. On top of all the fun, and all the humour, this series is pretty dark and also has a few scenes which might have you reaching for the tissues.

The animation that links storyboard to storyboard is great, it’s smooth to the point where you only notice it’s happening when they use really sweet transitional effects to get from one to the other, or when they overlap them in different interesting ways. The artwork on the characters are great, but at times characters can became confused in my mind from looking similar, especially during “busy” times within a story. Fight scenes are great, and it really felt that a lot more movement was being put in then there was. Add on top of this great backgrounding and colouring that really gets the moods right, then there is not much to argue with in regards to watching the series. It really is a visual treat, even though the animation is basic.

The DVDs include a whole host of special features some of which are better then others, there’s the test pilot, which is the same as episode one with some slight (mostly visual) differences. The Buffy Trivia Experience is pretty fun, it’s an option which you can turn on and then during the episodes it gives you little factoids about characters, backgrounds and all sorts of different things. I found mostly it got in the way (but is definitely worth sticking on for second/third play-through). “Under Buffy’s Spell” is a documentary about the Season 8 comics…don’t watch this before you’ve watched the episodes as it does contain spoilers. It’s interesting to a certain extent, but I’d rather spend my time watching the show. However, it’s not very long, and is worth watching. There’s a “Covers Gallery” from the comic books which is cool (because I love the artwork!). There’s also the opportunity to create your own Buffy Comic (using your computer with the DVD) which is cool, I really enjoyed fiddling about with that. Who’s buying it for the extra features anyway?!

So all in all, with a fantastic storyline, great artwork and (once you get past them being wrong) good voicework, this series really is a must have for any fan of Buffy. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close. I loved it [for the most part!].

I happily give this series a 4.5 out of 5. Enjoy it!

The Buffy Season 8 Motion Comics were released today (3rd October) and will only set you back £9.99!

GS Reporter: George

find me on twitter @condemd

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: