18 December 2004 | BrianDanaCamp
Interesting archaeological animated adventure
CRYSTAL TRIANGLE: THE FORBIDDEN REVELATION is a feature length made-for-video Japanese animated production telling a far-flung tale of a well-hidden ancient secret sought after by a Japanese archaeologist whose every move is monitored by the KGB, the CIA and assorted Japanese higher-ups. Made in 1987, it looks forward to the Peacock King OAV series, which debuted the following year (and is also reviewed on this site), in its use of occult lore, traditional and sacred sites in Japan and a team of young people banding together to find the secret. It's not as well animated or designed (or as entertaining) as the Peacock King series, but it does have a more far-reaching storyline, dealing as it does with an ancient race (hidden for 26 million years!), a rogue planetary body, and geopolitical turbulence ripe for World War III. There are elements of Indiana Jones, H.P. Lovecraft, the Bible, and lots of typical anime occult lore. It also looks forward to the superior 1998 anime feature SPRIGGAN, which also had biblical references, an archaeological setting and geopolitical conflict.
The spectacular finale set on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and involving massive hidden pyramids, ancient machinery and a demure Japanese maiden who hosts an ancient secret actually offers much better animation than the earlier sections. The aerial combat involving U.S. and Soviet forces is especially detailed. The character design, however, is too simple and cartoonish for a serious tale like this and represents a noticeable flaw. However, as much as its themes have been better handled elsewhere, CRYSTAL TRIANGLE is still an intriguing, fast-paced and engaging anime adventure with some fresh touches applied to well-worn material. It should be seen, of course, in its Japanese-language version in which the lead American and Russian characters speak their own languages among their own people, resulting in heavily-Japanese-accented English and Russian heard on the soundtrack in certain scenes.