Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)
May 31, 2015 by Dennis Amith
If you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is worth following if you are a fan of the series and want to know more about Suruga Kanbaru. Featuring cool character designs, gorgeous art backgrounds and a fascinating story, this latest “Monogatari” volume is recommended!
Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set
DURATION: Episodes 1-5 (125 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura
Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou
Music by Kei Haeneoka
Originally Created by NisiOisin
Original Character Design by VOfan
Character Design by Akio Watanabe
Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima, Ken Naito
Anime Production: SHAFT
Featuring the following voice talent:
Kana Asumi as Rōka Numachi
Miyuki Sawashiro as Suruga Kanbaru
Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi
Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi
Kaori Mizuhashi as Ougi Oshino
Michiko Neya as Tooe Kanbaru
Shinichiro Miki as Deishū Kaiki
Yōko Hikasa as Higasa
One morning, Suruga Kanbaru meets Ougi Oshino, who calls himself a nephew of Meme Oshino. He tells Suruga about a rumor of “the Lord Devil” that grants any wish. Suruga is worried that the identity of the Lord Devil is none other than herself because she made a wish on “the Monkey’s Paw.” The item was left behind by her mother, and turned Suruga into a Rainy Devil and made her try to kill Koyomi Araragi. In order to find out the identity of the Lord Devil, Suruga decides to meet the Lord Devil, but who she sees at the meeting spot is the most unexpected person – Rouka Numachi, Suruga’s old archrival…
Continuing the stories of the “Monogatari” series about various characters, the 2014 season kicked off with what was known as “Monogatari Series: Second Season +a”.
Episodes 1-5 kicks off a story about Suruga Kanbaru, the star of the school’s basketball team, a lesbian and also into fujoshi, lolicon and masochism. When she was in elementary school, she made a wish to a Monkey’s Paw and the paw eventually grew out of her left arm. Thus having to wear a bandage around it.
In the arc “Suruga Devil”, there is a rumor in school about a devil solving people’s problems. She wonders if she is the person that people are talking about, but she begins doing an investigation and finds out that rumored Devil is someone she knows. But what is Suruga’s connection to this other person?
Find out in the first arc of the second season of the “Monogatari” series in “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” from Aniplex!
Before “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari”, “Nekomonogatari”, “Monogatari Series Second Season” and “Hanamonogatari”
In 2006, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.
For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.
The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.
“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.
Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.
While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).
With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.
Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.
Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.
Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.
Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.
Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.
The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.
A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.
In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.
The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.
The story focuses more on a character, instead of a two-episode storyline, we get four-episode arcs. And with “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa”, episodes 12-15 focus on Nadeko starting to see a giant snake apparition and the arc beginning with her confronting Shinobu and Koyomi and Nadeko stabbing Koyomi in the heart.
The story then explains what has been happening to Nadeko leading up to the confrontation and what the giant snake apparition may be.
In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which is about the character Suruga Kanbaru.
The episodes are set after the graduation of Koyomi Araragi and Hitagi Senjougahara and Suruga is beginning her third year in high school.
As she continues to deal with her left monkey arm (which happened when she made a wish on a mysterious monkey’s paw back in elementary school), she hears of a story of a devil that communicates with students who tries to solve their problems.
Suruga wants to know who the person is (or if it can be her), but finds out that the devil is in fact a basketball rival from junior high, Rouka Numachi.
But when Suruga confronts Rouka, she wants to know why she took on the role of becoming the “devil” and what is the connect between Suruga and Rouka?
“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.
Unlike the older regular/series which included comedy bits of well-drawn characters to goofy, cartoonish characters, what does remain consistent is SHAFT’s gorgeous art backgrounds and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.
“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.
It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.
“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a “omnibus III” video (which is actually episode 16 – summary from the TV series and is a narration of the “Tsubasa Cat and Nisemonogatari”), promotional video and commercial collections and the textless opening and ending themes.
“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set”comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 24-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.
With the latest episodes of the “Monogatari” series, we get a new story that revolves around Suruga Kanbaru.
In the past, we have seen Suruga, more of a character that Koyomi visits and her room is full of red books and she is often seen naked.
But we get to know more about her, her left arm in which she has an ape-like arm because of a wish she made to a monkey’s paw but for the most part, we get to see Suruga in a different way and get to see a more emotional side of her come to play.
The story starts off with Suruga trying to find out who the “Lord Devil” is at her school. A person that has been helping people with their problems. But to her surprise, the person turns out to be Roka Numachi, a basketball rival from her junior high year. When she goes to confront Roka and find out why she helps people, she finds out that Roka is a collector of misfortunes and could care less about helping people. To her surprise, after meeting up with Roka, the biggest surprise is that after her meeting with Roka, she wakes up the following morning to find her left arm returning to normal.
But after she is brought back to normal, rumors start to go around school that “Lord Devil” is no longer giving any counsel to other people. And now, Suruga wants to find the whereabouts of Roka and figure out how her arm turned back to normal and more.
It’s important to let fans of the series know that Koyomi is not the main character in this arc and you will only see him in the final episode of the arc. The series focuses on Suruga, Roka and you also get to see the return of Deishu Kaiki.
As for the Blu-ray release,”Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.
As for special features, you get a the usual textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections. As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).
Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is worth following if you are a fan of the series and want to know more about Suruga Kanbaru.
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