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Zetman: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 17, 2013 by  



“Zetman: The Complete Series” is an exciting action-packed super-hero anime series from Masakazu Katsura.  If you loved “Tiger & Bunny” but want something a bit more darker and violent, then definitely give “Zetman” a try! Recommended!

Image courtesy of © Masakazu Katsura/SHUEISHA, ZETMAN Project. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Zetman: The Complete Series

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 1-12

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: September 24, 2013

Originally created by Masakazu Katsura

Directed by Osamu Nabeshima

Series Composition by Atsuhiro Tomioka

Music by Gabriele Roberto, Megumi Sasano, suble, Yasushi Sasamoto, Yu Yanaura

Character Design by Hirotoshi Takaya

Art Direction by Shunichiro Yoshihara

Mechanical Design by Yoshio Mizumura

Anime Production: TMS Entertainment

Featuring the following voice talent:

Daisuke Namikawa/Jason Griffith as Jin Kanzaki

Mamoru Miyano/Grant George as Kouga Amagi

Aya Hisakawa/Cricket Brown as Yoko Amagi

Ayumi Fujimura/Cherami Leigh as Mayu Hashimoto

Eiji Itô/George C. Cole as Dr. Sugita

Kana Hanazawa/Sophie Roberts as Konoha Amagi

Katsunosuke Hori/Dave Mallow as Jiro Nakata

Kenichi Suzumura/Matthew Mercer as Hayami

Koji Yusa/Keith Silverstein as Seiji Haitani

Mariya Ise/Erin Fitzgerald as Hanako Tanaka

Masashi Hirose/Stephen Mann as Seizou Amagi

Mitsuo Senda/Adam Nevel as Gorou Kanzaki

Naomi Kusumi/Richard Epcar as Mamoru Kabe

Rikiya Koyama/ as Soujinin

Risa Hayamizu/Erica Schroeder as Akemi Kawakami

Romi Park/Casey Mongillo as Jin Kanzaki (young)

Shozo Iizuka/Steve Kramer as Mitsugai Amagi

Takayuki Sugo/Michael McKay as Inspector Sayama

Jin and Kouga may come from very different walks of life, but both boys are searching for the real meaning of justice and what it means to be a hero!

Jin may be poor, but he lives a happy life with his grandfather – until the day tragedy strikes and changes his life forever. Kouga, born into a wealthy family, is in line to inherit his family’s power and fortune. But what is true strength? What does it really mean to be human? Jin and Kouga’s fates intertwine in their struggle to harness the power that lies within each of them!

For some who grew up reading or watching Masakazu Katsura’s work such as “Video Girl Ai”, “DNA2” and “I’s”, may be surprised that in the ’80s, Masakazu Katsura began his career focusing on sci-fi action manga such as his hit super hero series “Wingman” (1983-1985) which received an anime adaptation.  And following up with “Super Mobile Troop Vander” (1985-1986), a manga series which featured a hero in a super hero suit.

But in between “Super Mobile Troop” Vander and “Den’ei Shojo” (Video Girl Ai), he created a one shot manga series which titled “Zetman” which was published in “Weekly Shonen Jump”.  A total of four one-shots were featured in “Weekly Shonen Jump” from 1989-1994 and in 2002, the series received a manga series featured in “Weekly Shonen Jump” in 2002 and is still ongoing.

In 2012, “Zetman” received an anime adaptation and while Katsura is still receiving recognition for his character designs for “Tiger & Bunny” (both manga and anime series were released by Viz Media), the 13-episode anime series “Zetman” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Viz Media in Nov. 2013.

“Zetman” first introduces us to a setting in which the Amagi Corporation has created monsters known as “players” (or N.E.T.) to fight against each other in battle for the enjoyment of big money corporate tycoons.  One day, these players rebelled and escaped from captivity and have been killing people since.

One day, the Amagi Corporation led by the chairman Mitsugai Amagi, was hoping his top scientist Gorou Kanzaki, who created the N.E.T., would create a Z.E.T. in order to fight the monsters.  But created by Kanzaki was a human baby and instead of using it as a fighting machine, Kanzaki escaped from the Amagi Corporation for years and both Kanzaki and Jin would grow up on the streets.

The anime begins by introducing us to the boy that Kanzaki had escaped with from the Amagi Corporation, the young boy named Jin Kazaki was trained to fight for justice and because they are homeless, he hopes he can make 10,000 yen by saving people’s lives.

One day, a woman named Akemi Kawakami was trapped in an alley by a group of thugs.  As young Jin asks the woman if she needs his help, she tells him she does and in return, he expects 10,000 yen which she agrees to.

And immediately, Jin beats up the thugs and rescuing Akemi’s life.  Meanwhile, we learn that Jin has been fighting against criminals with Koiga Amagi, a boy who is a big fan of the anime series “Ginga Choujin Alphasz” and wants to be a hero of justice, he with his sister Konoha, also help Jin capture the bad guys but more often, Jin takes care of things himself without involving the two.

Jin reveals himself to have a scar on his arm, which he keeps bandaged up.  A scar which his grandfather (Kanzaki) had told him is the “Ring of the Angel”. While going home, he runs into Akemi who gives him the 10,000 Yen reward she promised him and also her card for the club she works at and offers to give him a free meal.

Meanwhile, on the streets are players who are killing innocent people and responsible for them is a mysterious man named Seiji Haitani.

While going back home, Jin finds all the homeless people from his area slaughtered and his grandfather nearly dead.  Naive of what death is, he can’t understand why his grandfather won’t wake up.  But no one is willing to see him and as he tries to call Kouga, Kouga is being reprimanded back home by their father Seizou Amagi, the CEO of the Amagi Corporation as he does not want their children to be seen with the homeless.

Jin has no one to call but Akemi Kawakami and together they take his grandfather to the hospital and is told by Detective Sayama (who is investigating the serial murders) that his grandfather is dead.  Not knowing where to stay, Akemi takes in Jin and we learn that Akemi once had a son and knowing how lost he is without his grandfather and not knowing what death is, she feels his pain.

One day as Akemi is walking with Jin to the store to buy him new clothes, one of the players tries to kill Jin, who is protected by Akemi and badly injures her.  Seeing another person injured awakens Jin and he turns into a Z.E.T., which the players call him a Charisma.

Jin manages to kill the player but unable to the control the power, Jin collapses.

Both Jin and Akemi manage to survive and fast forward nearly ten years later and we find out that Jin has been adopted by Akemi.  Akemi bares the scar on her face and is unable to find a job, but she manages to take care of Jin and wants him to focus on his education.

While Jin still tries to protect people especially the homeless, Kouga still wants to be a hero of justice and secretly, within the Amagi corporation, certain tools to help Kouga become a hero is being developed.  Meanwhile, his sister Konoha and her mother Youko have been working secretly to give food to help out the poor.

One day, a fire player begins killing people with fire and as Jin tries to fight it off, he, Kouga and Konoha reunite and in the process, Jin and Kouga get into a heated discussion of how to save people.  Jin believes in saving an entire family including their mother, Kouga believes in saving the children and in the end, Jin takes a gamble and in the process, the entire family is saved leaving Kouga to wonder about his decision making as a hero and the tough decisions a hero must make.  Meanwhile, Jin manages to defeat the fire player but in the process, Mitsugai Amagi hears his granddaughter talking about Jin’s “Ring of Angel” star.

And Mitsugai realizes that Jin is the Z.E.T. that Kanzaki had smuggled out of Amagi Corporation.  Mitsugai kidnaps Jin and puts him through tests to observe why his Z.E.T. powers are unstable and only reacts when someone close to him is about to die or something grave happens to him.  He is trying to find a way how to make Jin’s Z.E.T. transformation complete.

Jin wanting to protect his adoptive mother Akemi and those close to him agrees to be tested by Amagi Corporation as long as his mother’s scar is removed and that she is reunited with the son she had lost long ago. In return, he will fight as Z.E.T.

But as the Amagi Corporation are trying to create the perfect Z.E.T. to fight against the evil players, Kouga and a secret division within the Amagi Corporation have created an Alpha Suit in order for Kouga to become a superhero to fight for justice.  While fighting alongside Jin, who he calls “Zetman”.

But behind-the-scenes, there are evil people who want to see cause trouble for Jin and those close to him.  Who are they and what are trying to accomplish?

VIDEO:

“Zetman” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  While the series does exhibit a little bit of softness (which is inherent with a lot of anime television series), the colors are vibrant at times. Katsura’s character designs look quite awesome, especially for the Jin as Z.E.T. and the various Players.  Shading is done well, background designs are also done well and for the most part, TMS Entertainment has done quite well with the anime production.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Zetman” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  Both are the same in terms of dynamic range and for an action anime series, one could have hoped for an immersive 5.1 lossless track but as most series are created stereo, Viz Media doesn’t upgrade the audio for their anime series on Blu-ray releases.  But for the most part, the series is clear from the front channels.

As for the English dub and Japanese dub, both are well-done.  I am a bit more biased to the Japanese audio especially when it comes to voice acting of children, having Romi Park as young Jin, the character sounds like a child but on the English dub, he sounds a bit older.  But it’s all subjective.  Either way, fans of Japanese audio or English dubs will have the choice to have both.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Zetman: The Complete Series” allows for single episode play or marathon play and comes with the following special feature:

  • NYCC interview with series creator Masakazu Katsura – (4:22) A short interview with Masakazu Katsura who talks about the series and differences between the manga and anime series.
  • Clean Opening and Closing Animation

As a fan of Masakazu Katsura’s work, I have pretty much followed a lot of his work that dealt with romantic comedies, even those mixed with science fiction, to series which he had done the character designs.

But his works from his past that were more sci-fi driven such as “Wing-man”, “Super Mobile Troop Vander” and “Zetman”, I figured that because so much time has passed, it would probably never happen.

Until Katsura was able to revive “Zetman” last year as a manga series and an anime series adaptation was created.  And so here we are with “Zetman: The Complete Series” on Blu-ray courtesy of Viz Media.

Viz Media has been there for Katsura releases such as “Video Girl Ai” and “I’s” and his last work with “Tiger & Bunny” was also released by the company, so it’s great that “Zetman” the anime series was released and what an action-packed series this turned out to be.

In a way, I felt the series possibly captures Katsura’s older work by featuring the protagonist, hybrid human/monster known as the Z.E.T. and Katsura’s superhero character, Alphas.

The characters are quite interesting as Jin is a guy who fights for justice but also a bit naive in some sense.  He wants to save lives and knows that the best way is to find a way to take control of his Z.E.T. power to fight against the evil players.

On the other hand, Kouga is Alphas, a superhero for justice.  The problem is that he has a weakness that the enemy is exploiting.  Is he a hero that can make a decision of who lives or who dies?

For example, he’s put in a predicament where his sister is to be killed  or three of his fans from school.  Who will he save, one person (his sister) or three people?  What about if the stakes were much higher, save many people or save a few that may be close to him?  These are hero decisions that Kouga has difficulty deciding.  Because both are important, he just doesn’t know what to do.

But to make him even more crazy are the people who force him to make such decisions.  In a way, it kind of reminds me of the Joker of the “Batman” comic books but where Batman is not phased by the Joker’s tricks, other heroes who are forced to make decisions fall in his trap (for those who have read the “Injustice: Gods Among Us” or “Green Lantern/Parallax” comic book series may understand what I mean by this).

And what is also interesting is Masakazu Katsura’s love for superhero characters and how much it may have inspired Zetman.  Batman has been a long running theme for Katsura, as featured in “Video Girl Ai” to him actually designing a Batman costume for Bandai’s action figure line, Batman is not your average hero.  He is stoic, tries to make decisions that are for the good of the people without questioning it.  Kouga on the other hand reminds me of Superman or other superheroes who are put into the most extreme situations of having to decide if he will save the person that he loves or are close to or the many people in the planet.

And while these 13-episodes complete the season, the manga series is still ongoing and the adventures of Zetman and Alphas continues.  There is so much more story to tell, but for what is featured so far in this anime series, one can expect plenty of action but also see quite a bit of tragedy and heartbreak.

And as always with a Katsura storyline, there must be a love triangle right?  There are two girls that are interested in Jin but will it become a full-fledged love triangle?  You’ll have to watch and find out!

It does remind me a little of the old “Bio Booster Guyver” series but with less violence.  While people are killed, aside from one scene, viewers don’t have to worry about anything too disgusting.  One can expect to see blood and people being impaled and the one scene where there are body parts, but the way it’s presented, compared to other anime which I have seen the violence become overused in an anime series, fortunately “Zetman” is not one of them.  Also, there is a bit of nudity and combined with the violence, hence the TV MA rating.

But obviously with the manga series adding much more to the storyline, I can only hope “Zetman” receives a second season.  It’s important to note that the series is a compressed form of the manga and certain things were changed around.  I can only hope that Viz Media considers releasing the manga series in the U.S. in the near future, so we can read the full storyline.

And as the story is quite fascinating, the characters of “Zetman” are awesome and these are superheroes that are not perfect and quite flawed.   The whole storyline of a protagonist with a power that is not fully complete is quite intriguing but also another superhero who fights for justice but has a hard time making crucial decisions and is twisted by the enemy with really messed up mind games is quite intriguing.

Let alone a lot of twists and turns integrated in the storyline with secret organizations, antagonists in the background, backstory of characters that are quite crucial and so much more.

Overall, “Zetman: The Complete Series” is an exciting action-packed super-hero anime series from Masakazu Katsura.  If you loved “Tiger & Bunny” but want something a bit more darker and violent, then definitely give “Zetman” a try!

Recommended!

 






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