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Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

March 14, 2011 by  



“Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” may not groundbreaking or anything unique or new, it is a fun teen romantic comedy with harem qualities and an upbeat, vibrant style.  It may not be for everyone and it may not have as much titillating scenes as one would expect from a series based on an adult video game, but in the end, it is fun and enjoyable and if you want something that is not too deep or dark, then give “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” a chance!

Image courtesy of © feng, Amitie Climbing Club 2008. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Complete Collection

DURATION: 12 episodes +1 OVA (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, Japanese 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14VD

Release Date: March 8, 2011

Creaeted by feng

Original Character Design by Manabu Aoi, Naturalton, Ryohka, Tsubasu Izumi

Directed by Keitaro Motonaga

Series Composition/screenplay by Makoto Uezu

Music by Kenichiro Suehiro

Character Design by Kumi Horii, Madoka Hirayama

Chief Animation Director: Shoji Hara

Sound Director: Yasunori Ebina

Director of Photography: Ryouhei Kasai

Anime Production by TNK

Featuring the following voice talent:

Aya Hirano as Minato Nagase

Rie Kugimiya as Yuuhi Katagiri

Wataru Hatano as Jun’ichi Nagase

Emiri Katou as Karen Ayanokouji

Erino Hazuki as Mikoto Tachibana

Marina Inoue as Tsukasa Kiryuu

Rie Tanaka as Mitsuki Shiina

Ryou Hirohashi as Nagomi Shiraishi

Akira Ishida as Fuyuhiko Nishino

Junichi Nagase was a real delinquent in middle school; one nasty enough that he earned the nickame “Geno Killer.” It’s by this less than flattering epithet that Yuuhi Katagiri first comes to know him when he rescues her from two thugs one evening. Needless to say, both are stunned when not only does Yuuhi find herself transferred into the same high school class as “the Killer,” but that shock grows into outright stupefaction when Yuuhi shows up at Junichi’s house with the mind-blowing announcement that she’s supposed to move in with him!

It seems that they’re engaged, and since this is the first that Junichi and his younger sister Minato have first heard of the arranged marriage set up by their parents, it’s an idea that’s going to take a little getting used to.

Back in 2007, software developer Feng created an adult Japanese visual novel titled “Akane iro ni Somaru Saka” and was released for the PC on DVD, followed by a non-adult version released in 2008 for the Sony PlayStation 2 and in 2009 for the Sony PSP.

The popularity of the visual novel led to two light novels, an Internet radio show and a manga adaptation for Kadokawa Shoten’s “Comp Ace” in 2008, followed by an anime series produced by TNK aired between October-December 2008. And now the anime series will be released as a complete collection from Sentai Filmworks.

The anime series is directed by Keitaro Motonaga (“Kikaider”, “Malice@Doll”, “Phantom”, “School Days”), series composition and screenplay by Makoto Uezu (“My Bride is a Mermaid”, “Seto no Hanayome”, “Yumeria”, “School Days”) and character design by Kumi Horii (“Zone of the Enders”, “Lovedol ~Lovely Idol~”, “Student Council’s Discretion”) and Madoka Hiraya (“Lovedol ~Lovely Idol~”, “Sentimental Journey”, “Zone of the Enders”).

“Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka” revolves around two characters: Jun’ichi Nagase and Yuuhi Katagiri.

One day while walking nearby a school, Yuuhi Katagiri was waiting for someone but is approached by two guys who are forcing her to come along with them to have some fun.  A guy named Jun’ichi Nagase comes to her rescue and tell the guys to stop and when the two guys see him, they start cringing in fear as they say the guy is “the Geno Killer”.

Needless to say, Jun’ichi saves the girl and Yuuhi Katagiri becomes curious about this guy.

In reality, Jun’ichi is not a killer.  He lives with his adopted sister Minato who tends to take care of her older brother and cook for him and reminds him of his studies as he is addicted to video games and anime.  The rumor of him being “The Geno Killer” was created by Fuyuhiko Nishino, his best friend who often tends to get Jun’ichi into trouble.

When Jun’ichi goes to school the next day, he is shocked that the girl he helped, Yuuhi, has joined the classroom.  And to everyone’s shock, Yuuhi tells him that she wants to go out with him (which was a misunderstanding as she meant as for tea or coffee, not as in a relationship).

The following day, Jun’ichi’s friend puts thoughts into his head that Yuuhi wants to be a boyfriend and when Jun’ichi goes to talk to her, he kisses her, shocking the whole class.  Instead of being happy, Yuuhi is livid and upset and kicks Jun’ichi in the groin area.

That afternoon, Yuuhi has come to the home of the Nagase’s and tells Jun’ichi and his sister that she is moving in, because she is engaged to marry Jun’ichi as arranged by her father.  Both Jun’ichi and Minato are shocked but when their father calls, he quickly tells Jun’ichi that he will be engaged to Yuuhi and quickly ends the conversation.

Despite a rocky start, both Jun’ichi and Yuuhi try to understand each other but at the same time, other female characters get involved and start to want their time with Jun’ichi, complicating and even making Yuuhi jealous.  But to make things even more angsty, Jun’ichi’s adoptive sister Minato is also in love with him.

Here is a basic summary of each episode of “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Complete Collection”:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 –  A Madder Red First Kiss – Jun’ichi saves Yuuhi from two guys who wouldn’t leave her alone.  When she enrolls in the same classroom, Jun’ichi thinks that she is falling for him and wants to make his next move.
  • EPISODE 2 – A Madder Red Approach – Since Jun’ichi and Yuuhi are engaged, Yuuhi wants to cook just as good as Minato for Jun’ichi.
  • EPISODE 3 – A Mysterious Scream – Jun’ichi’s teacher Seijirou Sugishita goes missing around the school area and Jun’ichi and friends must try to find him.
  • EPISODE 4 – An Indigo Mad Party – Jun’ichi’s classmate Karen Ayanokouji invites him to a party (along with Yuuhi and Minato) and the party turns out to be a formal party.
  • EPISODE 5 – A Madder Red First Date – When Jun’ichi asks his sister Minato to watch a movie with him, Yuuhi is jealous that Jun’ichi didn’t bother to include her.
  • EPISODE 6 – A Golden Yellow Montage – Karen invites Jun’ichi, Yuuhi, Minato including the teacher and friends to a mountain hotel resort.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 7 – A Steel Festival – It’s time for the school cultural festival and Yuuhi, Karen, Fuyuhiko and Tsuka and friends do a Yakisoba Cafe but they must compete against Minato’s awesome cooking, as she is with the Tennis Club.
  • EPISODE 8 – A Twilight Desire – Tsukasa embarasses Jun’ichi when she shows him an embarrassing picture of he and Yuuhi, which prompts Jun’ichi to get back at Tsukasa by bringing up embarrassing things about her.
  • EPISODE 9 – A Madder Red Birthday – Tsukasa’s photo of Jun’ichi and Yuuhi from the Cultural Festival comes in first place as “Best Amitie”.  Meanwhile, Yuuhi cooks Jun’ichi a cake and someone gets jealous.
  • EPISODE 10 –  A Madder Red Confusion – Yuuhi starts to know that she has feelings for Jun’ichi, as does Karen. But Minato wants to let him know of her feelings towards him.
  • EPISODE 11 – A Madder Red Puzzlement – Yuuhi meets her father and rejects the engagement to Jun’ichi.  Meanwhile, Minato decides to let Jun’ichi know about how she feels about him.
  • EPISODE 12 – A Madder Red Hill – Jun’ichi professes his love…but to who?
  • OVA – It’s the Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka Hardcore OVA, Big Brother!! – Jun’ichi and friends visit one of the islands owned by the Ayanouji family and their school president wants to make this trip as perverted as possible.

VIDEO:

There are people who may be familiar with the PC version of “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” and those who may be familiar with the PS2/PSP version of the game and wonder if the anime series will exhibit some of that fan service.  The series is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen and it’s important to note that while the series tends to showcase more closeups of the characters and instead of all out fan service, there is more legs/thighs than blatant nudity.  There is a little of it (for example, Yuuhi and Minato bathing with each other) but this is not a series that showcases a lot of nudity nor a lot of fan service.  Which was actually surprising, considering that the series is based on an adult video game.

Also, because of it’s closeups, the artistic backgrounds are not a factor at all for this series.  You’ll see big objects with color but the emphasis was put more towards the characters than having an artistic background.

But outside of that, I did enjoy the colors for “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” which are quite vibrant, while character designs tend to have a certain banality of other anime, so there is no significant characters that stickout.  But for the most part, animation is fine, picture quality for the DVD is fine (there is some interlacing if watched on a computer versus a television).

AUDIO:

Audio is presented in Japanese 2.0 and voice acting well-done.  Dialogue is clear, as is the music as it comes from the front channels.  Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Complete Collection” comes with clean opening and closing themes and Sentai Filmworks trailers.

“Akane iro ni Somaru Saka” is one of those harem-style anime series that definitely shows ties to Japanese visual novels in which the main character can definitely choose his own path of which woman to be with. And while the series doesn’t throw too many female characters, there is a banality towards this series because it has been done before.  But with one exception, one of the females in the protagonist, Jun’ichi’s life is his sister, Minato.

Minato loves him and despite having feelings towards the other female characters, he also has love for his sister.  Afterall, for Jun’ichi, his sister Minato has pretty much taken care of him.  From cooking, laundry to getting him ready for school or when he gets home, it’s almost like having a mother and wife.

And it’s one of those storylines that is not anything unique to anime but it’s rather how one perceives the notion of sister (or step-sister) falling for her brother.  While some may embrace the free thinking of Japanese culture, western fans may be turned off by the fact that of all the girls he can be with, Jun’ichi always turns to his sister.  Whether or not you dig this, it’s up to you?

While I did find the anime series to be fun and enjoyable, compared to similar anime series such as “Girl’s Bravo”, “Nyan Koi”or anime that is derived from something ecchi or hentai, if you’re going to have storylines that try to be bold, might as well make the series be bold and have it a little more mature.  You kind of feel while watching “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka”, that it’s being restrained from what fans truly loved about the series and it tries to have a sense of being something else, when you know and can feel by the undertones that this should probably be more perverted than it is.

We know that Jun’ichi has a perverted side to him, we can tell the animators want to show some sexiness at times…well, instead of making things quite pedestrian, they should have made “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” embody that ecchi fan service type of style.

But “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” still manages to have an enjoyable storyline and at 12 episodes + a bonus OVA, it’s easily accessible for viewers but it’s a rather average anime series.  Nothing groundbreaking, just a straightforward rom-com teen harem anime series.

Once again, it’s not mature-themed but it does have brief nudity.  So, for those hardcore otakus that are into ecchi-based anime series especially since this series is based on an adult video game, this is not of those series.  But if you are looking for a fun, teen romance comedy that is not too deep, then “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Complete Collection” is definitely fro you.






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