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Saekano Blu-ray Set 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 3, 2016 by  



saekano

“Saekano” is a fun and enjoyable series about a group of high school students who have very different personalities, trying to work together to create a visual novel. It’s too early to tell how this series will shape up to be, but for these first six episodes, “Saekano Blu-ray Set 1” is worth giving a try!

Image courtesy of © 2015 Fumiaki Maruto, Kurehita Misaki, KADOKAWA FUJIMISHIBI/Project Saenai. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Saekano Blu-ray Set 1

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2015

DURATION: Episodes 0-5 (150 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition/16×9, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex of America Inc.

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: March 29, 2016


Originally Created by Fumiaki Maruto

Directed by Kanta Kamei

Screenplay by Fumiaki Maruto

Music by Hajime Hyakkoku

Original Character Design by Kurehito Misaki

Art Director: Natsuki Kusakabe

Anime Character Design by Tomoaki Takase

Production by A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Kayano as Utaha Kasumigaoka

Kiyono Yasuno as Megumi Katō

Saori Ōnishi as Eriri Spencer Sawamura

Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Tomoya Aki


“I’m gonna make you into a heroine that no one can resist!”

One day, an otaku high school student Tomoya Aki has a fateful encounter with a girl amidst the beautiful cherry blossom trees. This meeting inspires Tomoya to design his very own “gal-ge” (dating-simulation PC game) featuring a heroine modeled after the girl he saw. In order to make his desire a reality, Tomoya must persuade a few eccentric “creators” such as the ace member of the art club and his childhood friend, Eriri Spencer Sawamura and the school’s top student, Utaha Kasumigaoka to join his development team. Meanwhile, Tomoya is shocked to learn that the girl he idolized as his muse for this whole project was none other than Megumi Kato, who is a super low-profile girl who he doesn’t even notice that she is in the same class! But, this doesn’t dissuade Tomoya. He is determined to make Megumi an ultimate gal-ge heroine!


In 2012, Fumiaki Maruto and illustrator Kurehito Misaki created the Japanese light novel series, “Saenai Hiroin no Sodatekata” a.k.a. “Saekano”.

The light novel received a manga adaptation and in 2015, A-1 Pictures would create a television series adaptation for FujiTV’s noitamina block.

The anime series is directed by Kantai Kamei (“Dimension W”, “Bunny Drop”, “Nanana’s Buried Treasure”), a screenplay by creator Fumiaki Maruto, music by Hajime Hyakkoku (“K-ON!”, “Jewelpet: Magical Change”),  character designs by Tomoaki Takase (“Wagnaria!!”) and background art by Natsuki Kusakabe (“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, “Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS”, “Date A Live”).

The anime series features voice acting by Ai Kayano (“Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma”, “Aquarion Evol”, “Lagrange – The Flower of Rin-ne”), Kiyono Yasuno (“Macross Delta”, “Ushio & Tora”, “Wake Up, Girls!”), Saori Onishi (“The Irregular at Magic High School”, “Active Raid”, “Strike the Blood”) and Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (“Sword Art Online”, “Love Lab”, “Yowamushi Pedal”).

And now the first six episodes (0-5) will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.

The series revolves around Toyogasaki Academy student Tomoya Aki, an otaku who works part-time to fund his lifestyle of watching anime, playing dating sims and more.

One day, he encounters a beautiful girl during spring vacation and a month later, finds out that girl is his classmate named Megumi.

Tomoya wants to create a visual novel computer game, so he recruits the beautiful high school students, his childhood friend and student novelist, Eriri Spencer Sawamura to design the art and Utaha Kasumigaoka to write the games scenario.

Needing a heroine, he recruits the naive Megumi Kato as the “heroine”, who will be the main character’s love interest.  But can he get these three very different personalities to work together?

The main story focuses on:

Tomoya Aki – Tomoya is a student at Toyogasaki Academy and is a otaku who loves reading manga, watching anime and playing galge (pretty girl games).  He wants to create a visual novel, so he tries to recruit the people needed for the game by Blessing Software.

Eriri Spencer Sawamura – Tomoya’s childhood friend and is half British and half Japanese.  While she is popular and refined, she also has a secret otaku lifestyle of playing video games.  She creates adult-themed manga and goes by the name Eri Kashiwagi and is part of the group, “Egoistic-Lily”.  She is tsundere, cruel and sadistic.

Utaha Kasumigaoka – An up-and-coming young novelist going by the name of Utako Kasumi, her first light novel “Koisuru Metronome” published under Fushikawa Fantastic Bunko sold over 500,000 copies. She is beautiful and intelligent and popular.

Megumi Kato – Tomoya’s classmate who is ordinary, knows nothing about otaku culture and is the person that Tomoya wants to recruit as his “heroine” for his visual novel.


VIDEO:

“Saekano Blu-ray Set 1” features gorgeous animation by A-1 Pictures. Character designs are well-done and well-shaded, while backgrounds and structures are well-detailed.  Overall, picture quality is vibrant and the series looks fantastic in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Saekano Blu-ray Set 1” is presented in Japanese Linear PCM Stereo.  Dialogue is crystal clear and subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Saekano Blu-ray Set 1” comes with the textless opening and ending, promotional videos and web previews.

EXTRAS:

“Saekano Blu-ray Set 1” comes with a slipcase, six illustration post cards and reversible cover.


How does an otaku accomplish his goal of creating his own visual novel?

How about hiring the top writer and illustrator, who happens to be two popular high school students.  And for the main love focus, an ordinary school girl?  Will it work?

This is the case for “Saekano”, the anime adaptation of the popular light novel series by Fumiaki Maruto and illustrator Kurehito Misaki.

The first six episodes of “Saekano” are pretty much introductory episodes of the mannerisms of each character.

Episode 0 begins with five individuals going on location scouting for their project but seeing how each of these girls are determined in creating an enjoyable game.

The first episode is about how Tomoya is inspired to create a visual novel game, thanks to him meeting Megumi and also recruiting an artist and a writer for his project.

The second episode shows the struggles Tomoya faces in trying to recruit Megumi in order to help her understand what a visual novel is.

The third episode features the challenges Tomoya must go through in order to create a draft before deadline, while episode four features Tomoya wanting date advice and deciding on a release date for the game.  Episode five shows the struggle of Eriri to create a sketch of Megumi because she doesn’t show any emotions.

So for now, the first initial episodes on “Saekano Blu-ray Set 1” is about the development process, how Eriri and Utaha are constantly at each other’s necks, but also Tomoya as the creator, trying to work with his game’s “heroine”, Megumi who is quite monotone and rarely shows any other expression and for the most part, she is an average person who knows nothing about the otaku life.

For now, the anime series is on a good start but like most anime series, the initial first episodes are focused on character development and showing viewers the types of mannerisms of each character.  The series is quite lighthearted, while episode 0 tends to display quite a bit of fan service.

The Blu-ray release features vibrant animation and voice acting for the series is quite solid and you have Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, voice of Kirito for “Sword Art Online” playing the main character role of otaku, Tomoya.  It’s important to note that the anime series is in Japanese only, there are no English dubs included.

Special features include the textless opening and ending, promotional videos and web previews.

Overall, “Saekano” is a fun and enjoyable series about a group of high school students who have very different personalities, trying to work together to create a visual novel.

It’s too early to tell how this series will shape up to be, but for these first six episodes, “Saekano Blu-ray Set 1” is worth giving a try!

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