Regalia – The Three Sacred Stars and The Curious Restart
The summer season of anime 2016 contained a happening I have never seen before. An anime studio announced that they were not satisfied with the quality of what they had put out in the first four episodes of their show, so they were going to take a break for a month and start over from episode 1.
So they did. And that anime was Regalia – The Three Sacred Stars from studio Actas.
At the time I was quite puzzled. Heck, even after watching the four redone episodes I am still a little puzzled. I have never heard of anything like this happening before, and neither has anyone else I’ve talked to.
What I was left to ponder while they were on break was the meaning of what they had said. Exactly what quality were they talking about? Because I hadn’t been able to spot anything obviously wrong with the art or animation, so was it the story or dialogue they felt were lacking? Maybe I was just bad at seeing these things.
So after finishing off the last of the summer season, I sat down and watched all four first episodes of Regalia, original and redone side by side, to see what had changed. And to maybe understand why. Here is what I found:
The very first thing I notice is that they have altered the lighting, and generally tried to make it clearer to see what is going on, I suppose. Shadows aren’t as dark, and lights aren’t as bright. This doesn’t work as well in every scene, as throughout the four episodes I see some scenes that look better with the darker, sharper imagery of the original. But I would say that overall it’s nice to be able to see more clearly.
The first actual changes to what is going on is the addition of some extra lines of dialogue. Originally there was not a lot that was said during this opening, but a couple of things have been added now.
I’m sure this “Ruks’ Power” will become relevant later, and they just wanted to foreshadow it while they were already redoing things. I’ll admit I don’t know enough about the Erinyes legend to know if anything called “Ruks” is part of it.
It doesn’t really shed light on exactly what was going on down there, but it does indicate even more strongly that Johann was the mastermind behind it, and that he wasn’t telling Ingrid the full story.
The next addition is a cut to inside of Tisis (Tisiphone) on the surface.
Now I kinda see this as a pointless addition, but it might be to establish that Tia and Sara are unaware of what is going on, and are just there because of Rena.
They also changed how Alecto’s launch animation looks when she jumps. I can only assume because they didn’t like how it looked originally.
I can’t see any importance to it, at least.
There are no more changes or additions to this scene, and the episode continues unaltered for a while.
The next change, which I never would have noticed without watching side-by-side, is the number of texts on Rena’s phone.
This is while she’s sitting and waiting for Yui. As I can’t read Japanese, I have no idea what this actually reads as or what it was changed into.
Right after this is the reunion with Kei, and where our next change comes. When they reach Ingrid, Kei’s lines have changed. I listened through it a few times to make sure she was actually saying something different, and it wasn’t just a change in translation.
I’m not exactly sure why this was changed, but it does sound more foreboding now, I guess. And like a thinly veiled threat.
Next change comes after the guy who might be a cyborg summons his Regalia Gear. Rena asks him to go outside the city if he wants to fight, and his response has changed.
Why that was necessary for a throwaway character like him, I’m not sure. To make up for the extra time that’s been added so far, they cut some seconds off of the start of Alecto’s summoning sequence.
And we’re done with episode 1. It and episode 4 are the ones that had the most changes to them.
In episode 2 I was only able to notice one change, which was when Ingrid is introduced to Yui.
Originally she was only turned towards Yui as much as she had to, her eyes were really narrow, and the smile she gives seems cold. Clearly giving off the air of someone with no intention of playing nice.
Redone she’s facing more towards Yui, her expression is less hostile, her eyes less narrowed, and the small smile she puts on seems more genuine. Now she seems more like she’s doing what she does because she has to, not because she wants to. She seems more sympathetic towards Yui and her position.
Though I’ll grant that the facial detail isn’t as great now.
Their conversation after this plays out exactly the same with the exact same animation, but I found it interesting that they changed the start.
The only other change I noticed was that during the fight at the end they must have altered the length of the cuts, because I kept getting unsynced while watching side-by-side. Maybe stuff was cut for time, but I didn’t notice anything in the episode taking extra time. I might have missed something.
Now we have a few more changes. At the start the length of cuts has been shortened to save seconds they can use to add more dialogue later.
The first art change I noticed is when Rena is starting to lose control.
I assume they noticed that the black circle on the ground should be visible from this angle. I did not notice that at all when I watched the first time. I see they’ve also changed the look of the chains, and I think they look worse now.
Next change is during Yui’s reaction to Tisis showing up.
This is very, very minor, but I noticed that they had zoomed in on her so we no longer see her mouth in the shot. I have no idea why.
Next is Johann’s response to Tisis’ appearance.
The original line just seems like a comment made to Tisis, even though Tia and Sara don’t actually hear it.
It’s been redone into what I assume is even more foreshadowing. Keys to what? I’m sure we’ll find out eventually.
I didn’t notice any changes during the fight between Alecto and Tisis, but once it’s done they’ve added a cut to Ingrid.
Originally it only showed Johann getting up, but I guess this was added to make sure we knew Ingrid had been watching.
Sara gets another extra line.
This one I’m still not sure about. Maybe to shed more light on why they appeared, but I didn’t think there was any doubt about that in the original cut. Tia even talks about it later, in case anyone wasn’t sure.
Next up is when Rena and Tia are making a cake. Their dialogue regarding Kei has changed.
I can’t see how this changes the meaning of the conversation, so I’m not sure why the change was made.
Now this is where I really started to see why they wanted to restart. So far there’s been a lot of minor changes, but this one has a fair amount of animation changes and fixes. As if they started making a lot of hiccups due to a lack of time, and had to ask for more time to fix these mistakes, and to also make sure there wouldn’t be mistakes like this going forward.
The episode proceeds as it did originally until we get to facing Lundestad on the bridge. First we have Rena’s declaration of provocation.
The dialogue hasn’t changed, but they have redrawn Rena and Yui. I’m not entirely on board with this change. They’ve made the body proportions a bit better, but the faces look less detailed. Less expressive. Upside: the redone version has Rena’s face looking genuinely angry when it changes, with Yui gaining a look of surprised worry, instead of the constant worry in the original. But I feel the original better shows off Rena’s frustration, and her original look of indignation is much stronger. So on the whole I’d call it a wash, I guess.
Next we have Rena’s close-up during the summoning.
I can get this one. They wanted to show more clearly that Rena is really angry.
Next is clearing up an animation hiccup.
When Alecto lands on the bridge, it gets damaged, but in the next scene:
They forgot to draw the damaged section of the bridge. I can see wanting to fix that. It’s still too far into the centre of the bridge from where she landed, though. Which is part of why I didn’t notice the first time. I thought she had moved.
Then we have her opening attack. These are hard to show in still images, so I made gifs.
Originally she tried this high attack.
They changed that to this lower swing, which does seem a lot more aggressive, and more like an actual combat move.
After this I didn’t notice any changes until we got to the scene with Other-Rena. Which has four big changes to it.
First thing I noticed: “Hey, there’s one less pillow now.” So I went back a little to see why. ( Rena’s also a little smaller so her size fits the bed better. )
And then I saw it. The third pillow is on the other bed. Since everything but Rena and her bed was supposed to fade away, that third pillow should have gone too.
Which led to this part in the original where Other-Rena passes behind the pillow she’s actually in front of.
They also redrew Other-Rena herself.
In the original she looked so cheerful, and had such colourful hair that I wondered if she was the “real” Rena. If the Rena we know is actually the dark Rena who had taken over, but then forgot herself. Redrawn she looks much more dangerous. Or perhaps soulless.
Then they completely changed what the short flashback scene shows.
Originally it was showing Yui grabbing onto Rena while she was surrounded by that red aura.
Redone it just shows the eyes on the chains, and then Yui unconscious. Not sure why this was changed. Maybe because Rena wouldn’t have actually seen when Yui grabbed her? She was in a world of her own at the time. So maybe the flashback was changed to show things Rena actually saw with her own eyes.
And finally the part after Other-Rena vanishes.
It’s been completely redrawn, from foreground to background. A bit sad to lose her original facial expression, but apart from that it’s pretty much an improvement in every way. Her right arm actually looks correct now, she’s making an actual impact on the bed, and her legs look a lot better. Only thing now is that the head and hair maybe look a little big. Oh, and the sheets and head-pillow look better, but now they no longer match the earlier cut.
Not sure why the pictures in the back were rearranged. Maybe to match them up with how they were shown earlier? I’d have to go back and check, but I’ve already checked quite enough.
There we go. That’s everything. Or everything I noticed, at least. There could be more I overlooked.
Very curious case, this. I am really looking forward to more of this show, though. When it first started, I eagerly looked forward to each new episode. And I’m glad to see they didn’t make the show any less gay.