3×3 Eyes, pronounced Sazan Eyes (Japanese: サザンアイズ, Hepburn: Sazan Aizu) in Japanese, is a manga written and illustrated by Yuzo Takada. The manga was serialized in Young Magazine from 1987 to 2002, spanning to a total of 40 volumes. In 1993, it won the Kodansha Manga Award for shōnen. The English-language translation was being published by Dark Horse Comics, but was discontinued before the release of volume 9 in 2005.
The manga has received two Original Video Animation series based on 3×3 Eyes and were first released in 1991 and 1995. The first consisted of four episodes averaging to half-hour of run time. The second consisted of three averaging out to 45-minutes of run time. They cover the storyline up to volume 5 of the manga. Originally published by Streamline in the US in 1995, the two OVAs were eventually re-dubbed and released in 2001 by Geneon USA in a collected set. The series has also received several companion books, Drama CDs, and video games only released in Japan.
3×3 Eyes follows the adventures of Pai, the last remaining Sanjiyan Unkara (三只眼 吽迦羅, lit. triclops), and her new Wu (Chinese reading of 无; an immortal companion), Yakumo, as they desperately try to find a way to make Pai human so that she can forget her troubled past. Pai travelled to Tokyo searching for the artifact, but shortly after she arrived, a thief snatched her backpack and cane from her. A teenage lad, Yakumo, tackled the crook and managed to get the pack back for her, though the thief escaped with the cane. Yakumo took her to his work, where Pai was able to get cleaned up, and where she discovered that he was the son of Professor Fujii, an archaeologist she had met in Tibet four years prior. The Professor had been researching the legends of the Sanjiyans and had befriended her and offered to help her find the Ningen, only to fall ill and die. Pai had his last letter to his son in her backpack, which asked Yakumo to help Pai with her quest. Although he didn't believe his father's tales of Pai being a monster, he agreed to assist her.
Their discussion was interrupted by news reports of a giant monster flying over the city. Pai recognised the creature as her pet Takuhi, who must have been released from his home in Pai's cane by the thief, and who was now looking for her. Pai set out to retrieve him, with Yakumo close behind. However when Yakumo saw Takuhi fly towards Pai, the lad mistook the beast's welcome for an attack, and shoved Pai out the way; immediately Takuhi ripped into the lad, fatally wounding him. Unwilling to lose the boy she had been hunting for and just located, Pai's third eye opened, and she absorbed his soul. This restored his body, but tied him to her as her undead servant. Linked to her, he can only become human again when she becomes human. In the way of this goal are hordes of monsters and demons from the Shadow World, some desiring Pai's powers, others who seek the Ningen for their own. Yakumo can again become mortal and end his constant need to protect Pai because if Pai dies, then so will he. Along the way, they encounter many followers of the now-dead demon god Kaiyanwang, all of whom wish to kill Pai or siphon off her power in order to resurrect their deity and/or gain immortality.
3×3 Eyes is a manga written and illustrated by Yuzo Takada. In Japan, the manga is pronounced Sazan Eyes. "Sazan" is the Japanese word for 3×3, as in multiplication tables. It is also the nearest possible transliteration in Japanese kana of the English word "southern", and Takada's favorite music group happens to be Southern All Stars. It was serialized in Young Magazine and spanned up to 40 volumes, beginning in 1987 and ending in 2002. A limited edition of the final volume was released on the same day of the normal edition containing a video game for PC. Kodansha also released four special edition volumes. The first two were released on April 25, 2002. An additional box set was also released on the same day. The remaining two limited edition volumes were released on May 23, 2002. The manga was re-released into 24 volumes from August 12, 2009 to July 9, 2010. A limited edition of the final 24th volume was released on the same day as the normal edition containing a commemorative art book.
The English-language translation was being published by Dark Horse Comics, and serialized in Super Manga Blast! magazine. This release altered art to remove several instances of a "penis-like tentacle" emerging from a character's mouth in volume 2, this censorship was done with the approval of Yuzo Takada. A total of eight volumes were published between March 1, 1995 and May 5, 2004. The manga was discontinued in 2005 before the release of the ninth volume. In 2014, it was announced that the series would receive a sequel manga from Takada. A second manga sequel was announced in 2016.
Two OVAs were released by Toei Animation. The first shares the same name of the manga and released four episodes between July 25, 1991 and May 19, 1992. The second OVA titled, 3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu (3×3 EYES 聖魔伝説, 3×3 Eyes: Legend of the Divine Demon) is the sequel to the first with a total of three episodes released between July 25, 1995 to June 25, 1996. A four-disc blu-ray box set was released on August 4, 2010. The first two discs contained episodes from the two OVAs respectively. The additional other two discs are soundtrack from the OVAs.
The OVAs were originally dubbed and distributed by Streamline Pictures. The 2001 English dub localization was directed by Greg Weisman and featured Keith David, Brigitte Bako, Bill Fagerbakke, Thom Adcox-Hernandez and Ed Asner, all of whom had previously provided voice talents to the cast of Gargoyles. Homages to Gargoyles in the OVAs include a homeless man humming the Gargoyles theme and a character who wonders "What could make claw marks in solid stone?" Unlike the Streamline dub, Pioneer had released the new dub unedited and uncut from the original Japanese version.3×3 Eyes
3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu
Three Drama CDs have been released by King Records. The first is titled 3×3 Eyes Ten no Maki (3×3EYES 天之巻, 3×3 Eyes Heaven Volume) and was released in Japan on September 5, 1990. The Drama CD titled, 3×3 Eyes Hito no Maki (3×3EYES 人之巻, 3×3 Eyes Mankind Volume) was released in Japan on November 21, 1990. The third Drama CD titled, 3×3 Eyes Chi no Maki (3×3EYES 地之巻, 3×3 Eyes Earth Volume) was released in Japan on June 23, 1993.
Music for both anime OVA series were composed by Kaoru Wada and primarily performed by a group known as Takada Band. All soundtracks were released under its Star Child label. For the original OVA, a total of four soundtracks were released. The soundtrack titled, 3×3 Eyes: Dai-ichi Shou (3×3EYES 第壱章, 3×3 Eyes Chapter 1) was released in Japan on August 21, 1991. The second soundtrack titled, 3×3 Eyes: Dai-ni Shou (3×3 EYES第弐章, 3×3 Eyes Chapter 2) was released in Japan on November 21, 1991. The third soundtrack titled, 3×3 Eyes: Dai-san Shou (3×3EYES 第参章, 3×3 Eyes Chapter 3) was released in Japan on April 22, 1992. The fourth soundtrack titled 3×3 Eyes TAKADA BAND was released in Japan on June 24, 1992 and contains tracks primarily performed by Takada Band.
For the second OVA, 3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu, two soundtracks have been released. The first soundtrack titled, 3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu Matsuei Fudanshi (3×3 EYES 聖魔伝説 末裔譜譚詩, 3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu: Descendant Musical Terminal) was released in Japan on July 5, 1995. The second soundtrack titled, 3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu Matsuei Fudanshi II (3×3 EYES 聖魔伝説 末裔譜譚詩 II, 3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu: Descendant Musical Terminal II) was released in Japan on June 5, 1996.
Kaoru Wada's theme song "Pai Longing" appears on 3×3 Eyes: Dai-ichi Shou (1991). Several reviewers have noted its resemblance to James Horner's theme song to the later 1995 Hollywood film Braveheart.
Various video games came out based on the 3×3 Eyes manga and OVA. Two video games were developed for the Super Famicom. The first titled, 3×3 Eyes Seima kōrin-den (3×3EYES 聖魔降臨伝) was developed by Yutaka and released on July 28, 1992. The second titled, 3×3 Eyes Jūma hōkan (3×3EYES 獣魔奉還) was developed by Banpresto and released on December 22, 1995. A video game for the Sega Mega-CD titled, Seima Densetsu 3×3 Eyes MCD (聖魔伝説3×3EYES MCD) was developed by Sega and released on July 23, 1993.
Nihon Create had developed three games for the 3×3 Eyes and ported to several consoles. The first video game developed by Nihon Create titled, 3×3 Eyes Sanjiyan Henjyo (3×3 EYES 三只眼變成) was released on PC-9801, FM Towns, PC-Engine, Windows 3.1, and Windows 95. The second video game developed by Nihon Create titled 3×3 Eyes Kyūsei kōshu (3×3 EYES 吸精公主) was released on Windows 95, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn. The third video game developed by Nihon Create titled 3×3 Eyes Tenrin' ō Genmu (3×3 EYES 転輪王幻夢) was released on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP and PlayStation. The three games were collected in a 4-disc DVD box set titled 3×3 Eyes Memorial on December 13, 2002.
Several companion books have been released for 3×3 Eyes manga. The first is titled 3×3 Eyes: Yōma daizukan (3×3 EYES 妖魔大図鑑, 3×3 Eyes Monster Encyclopedia) and released on April 24, 1998. The book features character and monster encyclopedia, commentary, crossword, stickers, and a short story titled Hyōhaku suru Yōma (漂泊する妖魔, Wandering Monster) by Endo Akinori. A second book titled 3×3 Eyes Another World was released on April 1, 2001. It contains a special talk with Endo Akinori and interviews with the characters Pai and Yakumo. An anthology book titled 3×3 Eyes Another Story was released on March 23, 2000 and contains short stories written by Endo Akinori, Katsumi Ishizuka, and Kusano Shinichi. A papercraft book titled 3×3 Eyes: Yōma rittai zukan (3×3 EYES 妖魔立体図鑑, 3×3 Eyes Monster 3D picture book) was released on May 24, 2000. A book titled 3×3 Eyes: Perfect Jiten (3×3 EYES パーフェクト事典, 3×3 Perfect Encyclopedia) was released on April 6, 2001.
The digital hardcore group Atari Teenage Riot used audio samples from the Streamline English Dub of the 1st episode of 3x3 Eyes in their song "Start the Riot", released on the compilation album Burn, Berlin, Burn! in 1997 (song released in 1995). Alec Empire of Atari Teenage Riot also used samples from the 1st and 2nd episodes of the Streamline Dub on his solo album "The Destroyer".
As of February 2015, 3×3 Eyes had over 33 million copies in circulation. In 1993, the manga won the Kodansha Manga Award for shōnen.
The OVA adaptation had received mixed to positive reviews. Theron Martin of Anime News Network praised both OVAs stating "While not a spectacular series, 3×3 Eyes is nonetheless a very solid production which should entertain those who don't mind high levels of bloodshed and rampant mystical content." Justin Sevakis also of Anime News Network, criticized the artstyle the animation quality of the series, however noting that the series is still entertaining. Carlos Ross of THEM Anime Reviews praised the first OVA for its animation and characters, however criticized the story for its "disjunctive nature" and "anti-climactic" ending. For the second OVA, Ross gave the plot a mix review noting that it is more coherent than the previous OVA, but also more confusing. Stig Høgset also of THEM Anime Reviews,gave both the OVAs a more positive review, praising the characters and artwork, but criticizing the ending for it feeling unfinished. Luis Cruz from Mania, gave the first OVA a mix review stating, "3×3 Eyes has the material to be a classic series [sic] However, the OVA format limits its potential by constraining the amount of time it can spend building the characters and their world." He continued to state for the second OVA, " It only falls short by being hobbled with a story arc conclusion rather than a proper ending" and "the story stands well enough on its own and provides nearly two hours of action, humor, and intriguing mysteries."