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Casshern Sins: Part Two (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 17, 2010 by  



The final second half of “Casshern Sins” features a more deeper storyline with continuous action and plenty of battles.  Overall, a fitting conclusion to the series and definitely one of the more unique and artistic looking anime series to be released on Blu-ray thus far.  Definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2008 Tatsunoku Productions/CASSHERN Sings Project. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Casshern Sins: Part Two

DURATION: Episodes 13-24 (288 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0

COMPANY: Tatsunoku/Madhouse Studios/FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: 17+

Release Date: August 17, 2010

 

Originally created by Tatsuo Yoshida

Directed by Shigeyasu Yamauchi

Series Composition by Yasuko Kobayashi

Screenplay by Akatsuki Yamatoya, Natsuko Takahashi, Reiko Yoshida, Takashi Yamada, Tsutomu Kamishiro, Yasuko Kobayashi

Music by Kaoru Wada

Character Design by Yoshihiko Umakoshi

Chief Animation Director: Yoshihiko Umakoshi

Art Design by Ryu Sakamoto, Shinzo Yuki

Produced by Tatsunoku

Anime Production: Madhouse Studios

Featuring the following voice talent:

Tohru Furuya as Eric Vale as Casshern

Akiko Yajima/Trina Nishimura as Luna

Cho/Jerry Russell as Ohji

Kenji Utsumi/J. Paul Slavens as Braikingboss

Mami Koyama/Shelley Calene-Black as Leda

Nami Miyahara/Brina Palencia as Lyuze

Tomoko Akiya/Carrie Savage as Sophita

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Jerry Jewell as Dio

Yuko Minaguchi/Monica Rial as Ringo

Yuto Nakano/Jason Douglas as Dune

In the wake of a devastating plague known as the Ruin, Casshern – a cybernetic assassin with no memory of his past – must fight to save a civilization he pushed to the brink of destruction. He hunts the one they call Braiking Boss, the robotic overlord who ordered Casshern to serve as the executioner of Luna: bringer of salvation.

Surrounded by dying eyes that look upon him with fear and disgust, Casshern walks the wasteland of his own creation, driven to destroy Braiking Boss and remind Luna of her duty. Should she fail to heed his warning, Casshern must assume the specter of death in order to salvage what little beauty remains in a ruined world.

In 1973, animation studio Tatsunoku Productions created the anime series “Shinzo Ningen Casshern” (Neo-Human Casshern) which was written and directed by Takao Koyama and was an adaptation of the manga serialized on Kodansha’s Terebi Magazine and Akita Shoten’s “Boken Oh”. The character has sinced appeared in a 1993 OVA and in 2004, a live action film was made.

In 2008, big news was announced that Casshern would be appearing in the video games “Tatsunoku Fight” and “Tatsunoku vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars” but the biggest announcement was that the series would receive a reboot and begin airing on television under the name “Casshern Sins”. A series that will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment and both parts (featuring 12 episodes each) will be released simultaneously on August 17th.

The new series would be directed by Shigeyasu Yamauchi (director for “Dragon Ball Z”, “Dragon Ball GT”, “Saint Seiya” and “Xenosaga: The Animation”), the series would feature a screenplay by Yasuko Kobayashi (“Galaxy Angel”, “Claymore”, “Witchblade” and “Yume Tsukai”). Character designs for the series is by Yoshihiko Umakoshi (“Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor”, “Zipang” and “Marmalade Boy”).

In the original series, the story revolved around a cybernetic neorider named Casshern who turned himself into a Cyborn in order to stop robots from ruling the world. His father Dr. Kotaru Azuma had created robots to serve mankind but the first android known as Braiking Boss escaped and ended up leading the robots and creating an army to destroy mankind.

In the new reboot titled “Casshern Sins”, the story is much different as the Braiking Boss has ruled the world and a mysterious girl named Luna was the hope of mankind to save the world from the robots. Because Luna has become a big threat, Braiking Boss sent three cyborg warriors to kill her: Casshern, Dio and Leda.

Casshern ends up killing Luna and ended up creating a catastrophic event which nearly ended the world as the atmosphere was filled with poison, humans were no longer able to reproduce and now humanity is near extinction. But the poison also caused harm to the robots as the poison had eroded their parts and now in order for the robots to survive, they are told that if they find Casshern, they must devour him for eternal life.

But Casshern has been missing since he killed Luna and now he is back, but with no memory of what he did to the world and now is on a journey to learn more about his past and what he was created for.

“Casshern Sins” features the following characters:

  • Casshern – Created by Braiking Boss in order to assassinate Luna.  After the act triggered a worldwide cataclysmic event, Casshern has lost all memory of who he is.  Casshern finds out what he truly is from Lyuze and choose to be a different being and vows to protect Lyuze and Ringo while they try to search out Luna.
  • Lyuze – A female robot who is bent on revenge in killing Casshern for the death of her sister Liza who died while trying to protect Luna and died a slow and painful death to corrosion due to the cataclysmic event.  But she eventually starts to become close to Casshern and joins him on his journey to find Luna.
  • Ringo – A young girl who befriends Casshern and is raised by an older robot named Ohji.  She accompanies Casshern because she has faith in him.
  • Ohji – A robot technician who maintains robots and is Ringo’s guardian.
  • Friender – Casshern’s robot dog who was not corrupted by the corrosion after the cataclysmic event.
  • Luna – A mysterious girl who is summoned by the human race for salvation.  Because she was a threat to the Braiking Boss, he sent three robots to assassinate Luna.  Despite her assassination, rumors are running that a new Luna is back.
  • Braiking Boss – The leader who commands the robots to destroy all humanity and is threatened by Luna, so he created Casshern, Dio and Leda to assassinate her.
  • Dio – A robot built identical to Luna but is jealous of Casshern because despite being equal, Casshern reached and assassinated Luna first.  Now Dio is consumed by hate and wants to prove he is better than Casshern.
  • Leda – A female robot created alongside Casshern and Dio.  She also cares for Dio.
  • Dune – A bodyguard of Luna and was known as the “God of Death” but was unable to stop Casshern from assassinating Luna and now roams the world in mourning.

“Casshern Sins: Part Two” features the last 12 episodes of the series on two Blu-ray discs. Here is a spoiler-free synopsis of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 13 – The Past Rises Before My Eyes – Casshern, Friender and Lyuze continue their journey to find Luna.
  • EPISODE 14 – The Truth Illuminates the Darkness – Dio vs. Casshern.
  • EPISODE 15 – The God of Death, Dune – Casshern vs. Dune.
  • EPISODE 16 – For the Strength to Believe – The past of Ohji and Ringo revealed.
  • EPISODE 17 – The Glass Cradle – Casshern and the others meet three robotic kids who are later attacked by Leda.  Casshern vs. Leda.
  • EPISODE 18 – The Time I’ve Lived and the Time I Have Left – Lyuze ponders about her original intention to kill Casshern but now has a change of heart.
  • EPISODE 19 – Believe in the Flower that Lives in Your Heart – Casshern and Lyuze fight against Castor and Helene and Lyuze starts to learn that she is starting to corrode.
  • EPISODE 20 – For Whom Do the Flowers Bloom? – Casshern and the others reach Luna’s castle and in the process, encounter Dune.
  • EPISODE 21 – The Paradise of Lost Hope – Casshern finds out the truth about Luna’s “healing”.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 22 – A Drop Called Eternity – Dio captures Casshern but has his own intentions of what he wants done with him.
  • EPISODE 23 – Those Who Return – Casshern vs. Dio, the final battle.
  • EPISODE 24 – To the Wandering, Blooming Flowers – Casshern vs. Braiking Boss, the final battle.  Who will survive and who will die?

VIDEO:

“Casshern Sins: Part Two” looks fantastic on Blu-ray. Presented in 1080p the animation style features solid colors but there is a dream-like state to the animation and during the fight sequences, you can pause and just frame-by-frame, look at how cool they made those certain scenes look and how much detail they put into Casshern as he goes for the kill or is just leaping all over the place to defeat the enemy.

It’s also important to note of how the animation really pays homage to the original Tatsunoku Productions animation with the look and feel of the characters but then adding the modern spin by the blacks and grungy sequences during the battles. Very good shadowing and definitely one of the better looking anime TV series to be released on Blu-ray ths far.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Casshern Sins: Part Two” is presented in English DolbyTrue HD 5.1 and Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0 stereo. The good news is that the series does take advantage of the surround channels and you can hear the booms, thumps and the metal breaking through the surrounds and also the clear dialogue through the center and the music and other sound effects through the front channels. I do wish there was more use of the LFE throughout the first 12-episodes. Of course, the English lossless soundtrack has more utilization of the surrounds, while the Japanese lossless soundtrack effectively uses the front left and right speakers during the action sequences and utilizing the panning of sound between the two speakers.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Casshern Sins: Part Two” comes with the following special features:

  • Mini Concert – (3:34) Featuring a live performance of Color Bottle singing the opening theme “Azure’s Flowers”.
  • Original Commercials – (1:06) Featuring two Japanese commercials promoting the Japanese release of the DVD & Blu-ray box sets.
  • Textless Opening Song: Aoi Hana
  • Textless Closing Song: Reason
  • Trailers – Trailers for FUNimation Entertainment titles.

“Casshern Sins” continues its action-packed storyline as it did with the first half of the series but instead of being an anime series of mindless and continuous battles between Casshern and robots, the second series becomes more of a story of morality and the appreciation of life but also death.  The storyline is much more deeper, richer and if anything, a fitting conclusion to the end series.

The second half of the series definitely improves in story as we get to see Casshern and his newfound friends as they journey to Luna but to discover something much more different than they have ever expected.  That was one surprise but the anime series delivers in more surprises as we get to see how characters such as Dio, Leda and even the Braiking Boss start to have a change of heart and without spoiling the story, the writers did a really good job in developing the characters for the remainder of the final episodes.  Well done!

As for which series was better, the 1973 “Neo-Human Casshern” or the 2008 reboot “Casshern Sins”, I haven’t watched the original anime series but by reading the synopsis of each, both are quite different with the former dealing with the protection of humanity against the robots, while “Casshern Sins”…humanity is pretty much nearly extinct and so the series is more about life and death and appreciating that life, robot or human.

Needless to say, I would assume the newer series is much more darker and deeper than the former but despite all the violence in this newer series, the fact that those who are being killed, impaled, corroding or destroyed are primarily robots. The series can be seen as violent and even though we can see a lot of blood coming out of Casshern at times, we know he’s not human and was developed by Braiking Boss, so I believe it gave writers some leeway to show this much violence because the majority of the characters are not humans.

The series has definitely been one of the more artistic and unique looking anime series to appear on Blu-ray thus far.  Picture quality is very well done, lossless audio is also well done with its amount of action and fans should be happy to see the addition of a Japanese lossless audio track.  Both volumes are not loaded with special features and at least you do get something instead of the typical trailers and textless opening and ending themes.

Overall, I was very content with how this series had ended and how it became a more deeper story towards the end of the series.  if you are looking for a beautiful looking anime series on Blu-ray with a lot of action and a very good storyline, I definitely recommend both volums of “Casshern Sins”.






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