Much like the Animatrix, Halo Legends is a bunch of shorts by a variety of anime directors set in the Halo universe. Halo is an American franchise, so it’s interesting/odd to see how it’s interpreted by Japanese creators. Supposedly they were reluctant to develop much original material, nevertheless it was a pretty interesting ride. I’ve never played Halo, but I know the gist of the story from Wikipedia.
Origins was like the Animatrix’s The Second Renaissance – a two-part short that went through the history of the universe in a straightforward manner. Understandably enough, the events of the Halo videogames were the least explained, though this was a bit disappointing to a non-Halo player. Origins is also the only short that mentions The Flood.
The Duel had a dramatic cel-shaded CGI style, supposedly an artistic statement of breaking away from both standard 2D and 3D animation. The anthropomorphic aspects of the aliens distracted me, and the plot wasn’t especially novel.
Homecoming was the depressing story of a female Spartan (I put her gender down to the Japanese influence), abducted as a child. Fittingly her Japanese seiyuu was Kuwashima Houko, but the DVD annoyingly lacked a Japanese audio track. This story too wasn’t especially innovative.
Odd One Out was certainly the odd one out of the bunch: directed by the director of Dragon Ball Z, it was a light-hearted, slapstick parody of both Halo and Dragon Ball. I actually enjoyed it a lot, even though its tone was an utter departure from everything else. This was the only short not considered canon. I liked the design of the personal shields, which appears in other shorts and is probably in the original games.
The Babysitter was very close to Homecoming in tone and content, with a Spartan saving a group of normal soldiers. I liked it a bit more because the story was more developed and it felt like it had more of a point.
Prototype was abbreviated on the emotional level, but spectacular in its depiction of a giant robotic suit taking on the Covenant forces.
The Package was my favourite of the stories, and while I didn’t recognise the game characters at all, the story was traditionally formed, action-packed, and well-animated.
So, if you’re a Halo fan or like some light sci-fi action, I recommend Halo Legends.