Aria: The Scarlet Ammo – Complete Series (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 8, 2012 by Dennis Amith
“Aria: The Scarlet Ammo” is a series that comical, full of action and also has bits of perverted humor included. It may not be the most deepest of anime series but with fun characters and probably one of the most intriguing special ability ever shown on a TV series, for those wanting a fast-paced anime series with action and comedy, definitely give “Aria: The Scarlet Ammo – Complete Series” a chance!
Images courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Aria: The Scarlet Ammo – Complete Series
TV SERIES AIR DATE: 2011
DURATION: Episodes 1-12 + OVA (335 Minutes)
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen), Dolby Digital, Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English
RATED: TV 14 VSD
RELEASE DATE: October 23, 2012
Originally Created by Chugaku Akamatsu
Directed by Takashi Watanabe
Series Composition by Hideki Shirane
Music by Takumi Ozawa
Original Character Design by Kobuichi
Character Design by Kazunori Iwakura
Art Director: Teruhiko Niida
Anime Production by J.C. Staff
Featuring the voices of:
Junji Majima/Todd Haberkorn as Kinji Tōyama
Rie Kugimiya/Leah Clark as Aria H. Kanzaki
Ayako Kawasumi/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Jeanne d’Arc
Kaori Ishihara/Jad Saxton as Reki
Kenji Nojima/J. Michael Tatum as Tohru “Vlad” Sayonaki
Mariya Ise/Luci Christian as Riko Mine
Mikako Takahashi/Brina Palencia as Shirayuki Hotogi
Takayuki Kondou/Ricco Fajardo as Goki Muto
Takuya Eguchi/Chris Cason as Ryo Shiranui
Hisako Kanemoto/ as Sorachi Naka
Kenta Miyake/J. Michael Tatum as Vlad
Mai Nakahara as Yutori Takamagahara
Sayaka Ohara/Stephanie Young as Kanae Kanzaki
Aria is a volatile girl who wields two pistols and two swords and holds the highest rank in assault studies at a high school for young mercenaries. This pint-sized prodigy swoops in to save her classmate Kinji from a high-speed chase, but he ends up saving her after he switches from a boring wimp into a total hot shot! His secret? He only turns into something of a James Bond when he’s turned on!
Convinced Kinji’s an ace, Aria strong-arms him into being her partner – but she isn’t the only femme fatale who wants a taste of his coveted combat skills. Aria gets Kinji for one mission, but he’ll end up with more than one finger on his trigger!
In 2008, “Aria the Scarlet Ammo” (Hidan no Aria), a Japanese light novel series by Chugaku Akamatsu and illustrated by Kobuichi was published by Media Factory and later received a manga adaptation in 2009 in “Monthly Comic Alive”.
By 2011, a 12-episode anime adaptation from J.C. Staff was created in spring 2011 with an OVA released in December 2011.
The series was directed by Takashi Watanabe (“Battle Skipper”, “Dangerous Jil-san Ja”, “Aoi & Mutsuki: A Pair of Queens”), series composition by Hideki Shirane (“Bottle Fairy”, “Hayate the Combat Butler”, “Potemayo”), music by Takumi Oza (“.hack//Quantum”, “Okamikakushi”), character design by Kazunori Iwakura (“Ai Yori Aoishi”, “Loveless”, “Nabari no Ou”) and art design by Teruhiko Niida (“The Familiar of Zero”, “Guin Saga”, “Sola”).
And now the complete 12-episode series and OVA for “Aria: The Scarlet Ammo” has been released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation in October 2012.
“Aria: The Scarlet Ammo” is a series that revolves around Kinji Toyama, a student who attends Butei High School. A school which people take special training to become a Butei, a national qualification permitting its holders to arm themselves and capture criminals.
But Kinji is not exactly a great student. In fact, he is ranked Level E (the lowest combat rank) and if anything is going well for him, it’s his friendship with his childhood friend and student council chairman Shirayuki Hotogi, who always has had a crush on him.
Meanwhile, a mysterious Butei Killer is hunting down Butei and the day that Kinji is planning to quite Butei High, he is attacked by the Butei killer. But he is rescued by a teenage elite assault prodigy named Aria H. Kanzaki. As Aria tries to protect Kinji, the meek Kinji Toyama accidentally gropes Aria and suddenly becomes aroused by her. And when Kinji achieves arousal, his cognitive abilities increases by 30 times and becomes skillful and strong.
And to Aria’s surprise, Kinji transforms to heroic, suave, caring playboy and manages to shoot his weapon with perfection in “Hysteria Mode”. But not knowing how Kinji’s transformation takes place, despite being amazed by his talent, Aria thinks he is a pervert that tried to take advantage of her.
The next morning, he finds out that Aria has transferred into his class and not only that, she insists he becomes his slave to the point that she forces herself to move in with him. As Kinji tries to tell her that he is a low level E student, he can’t really help her, but Aria doesn’t understand how he became skillfull during battle and why he is a Level E student.
But the two have an agreement that Kinji must partake in a mission one time since he owes her for touching her, to which Kinji submits to her demand. But deep inside Aria needs a partner for some mysterious reason and hopes that Kinji will help her out with his problem, because she feels he is the only one that can help her.
As Kinji risks his life once again vs. a Butei killer, he decides to give up and not want to put his life in any more danger. And tells Aria that he wants no part in her mission.
But after feeling guilty, when he goes to follow her, he finds out that someone has falsely accused her mother of being the Butei killer and the reason why she desperately needs Kinji is that she needs a partner that can protect her and watch her back. It’s also revealed that Aria’s full name is Aria Holmes Kanzaki and that she is a descendant of Sherlock Holmes.
Making a promise to be her partner, Kinji and Aria must be prepared to take on deadly missions, but most importantly what happens when people from school, especially his friend Shirayuki finds out that Aria is living with him.
“Aria: The Scarlet Ammo” features the following characters:
- Kinji Toyama – The main protagonist who is ranked Level E (the lowest rank) at Butei High School. And despite not having any interest in partaking in anything dangerous, he has a trait of the Toyama family and that is “Hysteria Mode”. Whenever Kinji is sexually aroused, he temporarily becomes superhuman with increased physical abilities and cognitive skills. His demeanor also changes from meek to suave and seductive.
- Aria Holmes Kanzaki – A transfer student to Butei High School who is an elite Rank S student. She is fantastic with weapons, especially guns and swords. Despite her youthful appearance, she is actually a high school student and is a descendant of Sherlock Holmes. She also is a member of the British Royal Family.
- Shirayuki Hotogi – A childhood friend of Kinji that attends Butei High School and is part of the SSR. She is student council chairman and involved in various clubs. But she is also in love with Kinji and will do anything for him. And when she finds out that Aria is living at his home, she becomes very jealous. Shirayuki is an expert in sword fighting.
- Riko Mine – A student at Butei High School who is known for not being the smartest. But she is also known for her sexiness and enjoying gothic lolita style clothing. She is great with guns and knives and it is revealed that she is the descendant of Arsene Lupin, the arch nemesis of Sherlock Holmes.
- Reki – She is a Level S student at Butei High School that excels with her sniper. She is always there to assist Kinji and Aria.
“Aria: The Scarlet Ammo – Complete Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). While I enjoyed the character designs, as one can expect from a TV series, there is softness and it’s not the most vibrant when it comes to recent anime series. The closeup detail integrating CG elements is well-done. But for the videophiles wondering if this anime series looks stellar on Blu-ray, the answer is no. But compared to other anime TV series, animation is good, just a bit soft at times.
“Aria: The Scarlet Ammo – Complete Series” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. While the Japanese voice acting is well-done, the English adaptation of course has a better dynamic range thanks to its 5.1 lossless track. Action scenes are immersive and very good use of LFE, and with an action-packed series such as “Aria: The Scarlet Ammo”, I was happy to see FUNimation put so much into the lossless soundtrack. English voice acting is also well-done.
“Aria: The Scarlet Ammo – Complete Series” comes with the following special features:
- Episode 4 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Luci Christian (Riko) and Todd Haberkorn (Kinji).
- Episode 6 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Zach Bolton (ADR Director) with LEah Clark (Aria) and Todd Haberkorn (Kinji).
- Promotional Video – (1:50) Featuring the Japanese promotional video for “Hidan no Aria”.
- Original Commercials – (1:54) Featuring the Japanese TV commercials for “Hidan no Aria”.
- U.S. Trailer – (1:04) Featuring the US trailer for “Aria: The Scarlet Ammo”.
- Textless Opening and Ending theme
“Aria: The Scarlet Ammo” is a fascinating series that seems to be inspired by many other manga/anime series but at the same time, a series that manages to be different thanks to its characters.
Probably the biggest twist of “Aria: The Scarlet Ammo” is its protagonist. Kinji Toyama, the low ranking student that no one pays attention to, also is the possessor of a genetic trait known as “Hysteria Mode”. And that is temporarily gaining powers when he is sexually aroused.
I know, this description alone makes this anime seem like a hentai, uber-perverted anime series but it’s really not. Mainly because Kinji is a person who is too meek. He cares too much about his female friends to want to take advantage of them, nor is he lecherous (despite getting himself involved in situations where the female characters think he’s a pervert).
But in some ways, “Aria: The Scarlet Ammo”, which is an action-anime series also is a coming-of-age anime as well. A lot of these characters are somewhat lost, despite their abilities and when they are together, they eventually learn and mature from their experiences.
Aria Kanzaki is your bratty teenager who excels in weapons but she has never had friends, let alone having interest in a guy until she meets Kinji. Kinji is also the same way, meek and not really good around the girls, but in Hysteria Mode, he becomes suave and seductive and the girls don’t really know how to react to him, because of this quick transformation.
So, you add the quirkiness of the characters combined with this action-storyline which begins with the pursuit of the Butei killer but then gradually focuses on Aria’s search for the person who falsely imprisoned her mother. And through Kinji and Aria’s adventures, they take on a variety of people who are enemies but also become allies.
So, while “Aria: the Scarlet Ammo” focuses on two primary characters, it does have a harem element included. And the series does remind me of anime such as “Full Metal Panic!” and “Shakugan no Shana” and also incorporates other elements seen on other series, but manages yet to be its own storyline with a balance of action and comedy with added fan service as well.
As for the Blu-ray release, it’s not the most vibrant anime series but considering it’s a television series, it does feature a bit of softness when it comes to picture quality. Lossless audio is very good for the English soundtrack thanks to its 5.1 immersive soundtrack and voice acting for both Japanese and English dub are well-done. As for special features, you get two audio commentaries plus the Japanese promotional video and commercials.
Overall, “Aria: The Scarlet Ammo” is a series that comical, full of action and also has bits of perverted humor included. It may not be the most deepest of anime series but with fun characters and probably one of the most intriguing special ability ever shown on a TV series, for those wanting a fast-paced anime series with action and comedy, definitely give “Aria: The Scarlet Ammo – Complete Series” a chance!
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