“Bananas” is a hilarious comedy that people who are interested in Woody Allen should watch first and see for themselves of how the filmmaker rebounded after his first film and tried to create one of the most wackiest films in his oeuvre. Recommended!
Images courtesy of © 1971 Rollins & Joffe Productions. All Rights Reserved.
MOVIE RELEASE DATE: 1971
DURATION:1 Hr., 22 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 16 x 9 Widescreen (1:85:1), Full Screen version, English and Spanish Mono, French and Spanish Subtitles
RATED: PG-13 (Comic Sexuality Including Some Pin-Up Nudity, Some Drug Use and Crude Language)
COMPANY: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Home Entertainment
Released Dated: July 5, 2000
Directed by Woody Allen
Written by Woody Allen and Mickey Rose
Executive Producer: Charles H. Joffe, Jack Rollins
Producer: Jack Grossberg
Associate Producer: Ralph Rosenblum
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Cinematography by Andrew M. Costikyan
Edited by Ron Kalish, Ralph Rosenblum
Casting by Vicky Hernandez
Production Design by Ed Wittstein
Set Decoration by Herbert F. Mulligan
Costume Design by Gene Coffin
Woody Allen as Fielding Mellish
Louise Lasser as Nancy
Carlos Montalban ans General Emilion M. Vargas
Nati Abascal as Yolanda
Jcob Morales as Espositio
Migue Angel Suarez as Luis
David Ortiz as Sanchez
Rene Enriquez as Diaz
Conrad Bain as Semple
Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Mellish
Stanley Ackerman as Dr. Mellish
Howard Cosell as himself
Don Dunphy as himself
Woody Allen’s Second film as a director, co-writer and star takes parody to the extreme with a brilliant send-up of everything from relationships to dictatorships. An early example of what Allen called his “slapdash” approach to comedy, Bananas’ broad, fast humor and rapid-fire witticisms from a dazzling kaleidoscope of “inspired ingenuity and comic artistry” (Look)
After Woody Allen’s first film “Take the Money and Run” (1969) and the criticism that it received, for the rookie director, he was determined to make a better film, but this time a comedy in 1971 titled “Bananas” partially based on the book “Don Quixote, U.S.A.” by Richard Powell.
Learning from the mishaps of the first film, Woody Allen takes on the roll as a director, writer and and also the lead star in a film that would feature his wife at-the-time actress Louise Lasser (“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”, “Requiem for a Dream”, “Happiness”), Carlos Montalban (“Pepe”, “The Out of Towners”, “The Harder They Fall”) and would also feature an appearance by famous sports announcer, Howard Cosell but also an appearance by a younger Sylvester Stallone as a street thug. Also, earlier film roles for future TV stars Conrad Baine (“Diff’rent Strokes”) and Charlotte Rae (“The Facts of Life”, “Diff’rent Strokes”).
While not a film that Allen would talk too much about, it is a film that many fans of Allen’s work that one can find Woody Allen in his A-game when it come to delivery intellectual comedy with a lot of wit and humor. And often selected in comedy polls as one of the top 100 comedy films of all time.
The film begins with the assassination of a president of the fiction “Banana Republic” of San Marcos, which was a coup d’etat that brings General Emilio Molina Vargas (portrayed by Carlos Montalban) into power. Meanwhile, the assassination is being televised in America by World Wide of Sports Don Dunphy and host, Howard Cosell.
Meanwhile in the U.S., Woody Allen plays the role of Fielding Mellish, a products tester who has a boring life. That is one day, a social activist named Nancy (portrayed by Louise Lasser) comes to his home for his signature for a poll to support the revolution in San Marcos. While trying to pretend that he is interested in what she’s talking about, Fielding becomes smitten with Nancy and the two begin dating.
Unfortunately, Fielding is not exactly winning her over with his neurotic way, so she breaks up with him because she doesn’t think she can be with a man like him.
Upset by what has taken place, Fielding decides to fly to San Marcos, since it was a location that Nancy wanted to visit. But he is immediately recruited by Gen. Vargas and is sent to go on a mission.
But immediately, he is kidnapped by the revolutionaries and because they helped him (and not kill him), he learns through them of how to be a revolutionary. And he becomes a Castro-style leader that leads the rebels to declare Mellish as their President.
In order to fund the revolutionary, he must go back to the United States and seek financial aid but with his new look, what happens when he comes across Nancy who appears to be smitten towards the revolutionary?
“Bananas” is presented in both widescreen (16×9, 1:85:1) and full screen format (a flipper disc). Picture quality does show white specks and dust, but for a picture that was released in 1971, the film looks very good on DVD. It’s important to note that this DVD was released back in 2005 and has not been re-released at this time.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Bananas” is presented in Dolby Digital monaural (English and Spanish) . Audio comes through the center channel quite fine. I preferred to have my audio setting set at stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack.
Subtitles are in French and Spanish.
Unfortunately, Woody Allen video DVD releases do not come with special features (note: Woody Allen is not too supportive of special features but recently, this has changed for newer Blu-ray releases) but does come with the film’s trailer.
“Bananas” is one of those films that you can’t help but laugh because of Woody Allen’s amazing wit but also how hilarious and crazy the film really is.
It’s not a film that one can easily figure out because the character is so neurotic and the whole concept of having an America go to a country that is fighting a revolutionary war and becoming a president of the rebels, one might think that Woody Allen is trying to be political. But truth is, after his first film, all Allen wanted was to create a funny film.
In an interview with Stig Bjorkman in the book “Woody Allen on Woody Allen”, the filmmaker explains, “Bananas was still a film where I only cared about being funny. That was my main thing. After Take the Money and Run I felt I didn’t want to make any of the same istakes I’d made on that first film. I wanted to make sure that everything was funny and fast-paced. That was really what I was concentrating on. So, if I shot or edited certain scenes almost cartoon-like, it was for that reason. And I started to feel that there are certain films that I make that are best described as cartoons, because people don’t bleed and nobody dies really. They’re just fast-moving and joke-joke-joke-joke and onto the next thing.”
In the film, it’s probably the first time we get to see the neurotic character of Woody Allen in its efficacy. The character of Fielding Mellish as a product tester trying to show off an exercise at work product in which we see him being pelted by basketballs and we get a good visual image of the meekness of the character.
May it be going to the magazine shop and afraid to by a nudie mag or trying to be a hero by kicking thugs (one which is a young Sylvester Stallone) out of the train but not expecting for them to come back and chase after him. The look and mannerisms of Woody Allen when he is confronted by the street thugs is priceless!
But of course, this film centers around a failed romance. A man who tries to hard or just is not aware of how to be around a woman nor how to be romantic and dousing himself with powder (with clothes on), you wonder if he can win the heart of the activist Nancy.
And then the film focuses on Mellish trying to survive and become a revolutionary and also romancing one of the female rebel soldiers and then trying to come back to America to raise funds for his rebel soldiers.
The film is unusual, but in a humorous way. Woody Allen shows us how he can be on top of his game and what people enjoyed in cinema during the early 1970′s and would be a style, an intellectual crazy wit that would become a staple of his films and attract Woody Allen fans for many years to come.
As for the DVD, like many older films and earlier DVD releases, you get a flipper and it doesn’t help all that much when Woody Allen is not big on special features. But the good news is that you can find this DVD alone quite cheap these days but I recommend purchasing his four box sets for a more better value if you want to experience Woody Allen films.
Overall, “Bananas” is a hilarious comedy that people who are interested in Woody Allen should watch first and see for themselves of how the filmmaker rebounded after his first film and tried to create one of the most wackiest films in his oeuvre. Recommended!
I can’t help but think how awesome this series was to watch! From the stylish presentation, the wacky humor, the adult-like humor and pervertedness and the imaginative mecha Gunmen robots and attack modes, the battles and the fun characters and the music, there is just too much to like about “Gurren Lagann”. “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition” is definitely is definitely deserving of five stars and receives our highest recommendation!
Image courtesy of © GAINAX, Kazuki Nakashima/Aniplex, KDE-J, TV Tokyo, DENTSU. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set Limited Edition (天元突破グレンラガン Tengen Toppa Guren Ragan)
DURATION: Episodes 1-27
DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 LB, Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles
COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.
RATED: Suggested 13 and Up
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Created by GAINAX
Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi
Assistant Director: Masahiko Ohtsuka
Series Directors: Kazuki Nakashima
Character Designs: Atsushi Nishigori
Mecha Designs: You Yoshinari
Design Works: Shigeto Koyama
Art Director: Yuka Hirama (BIHOU)
Color Design: Harumi Takahoshi
Director of Photography: Toyonori Yamada
Editing: Junichi Uematsu
Sound Director: Tohru Nakano
Music: Taku Iwasaki
Produced by TV Tokyo, DENTSU, Aniplex
Featuring the following voice talent:
Katsuyuki Konishi/Kyle Herbert (as Kamina)
Marina Inoue/Michelle Ruff (as Yoko Littner)
Tetsuya Kakihara/Yuri Lowenthal (as Simon)
Yukari Fukui/Bridget Hoffman, Hynden Walch (as Nia)
Daiki Nakamura/Doug Stone (as Dayakka)
Kana Asumi (as Kiyal)
Kana Ueda/Stephanie Sheh (as Kinon)
Kisho Taniyama (as Kittan)
Masaya Onosaka/Steven Blum (as Leeron)
Mitsuki Saiga/Johnny Yong Bosch (as Rossiu)
Nobuyuki Hiyama/Sam Ergal (as Viral)
Rina Satou/Karen Strassman (as Kiyoh)
Shizuka Itou/Julie Ann Taylor (as Boota and Darry)
This is the story of a man who has yet to realize what destiny holds in store for him…
In the distant future, mankind has lived quietly and restlessly underground for hundreds of years, subject to earthquakes and cave-ins. Living in one such village are two young men: one named Simon who is shy and naive, and the other named Kamina who believes in the existence of a “surface” world above their heads. The destiny of these two starts moving drastically when the ceiling of their village falls in, and a gigantic “Gunmen” and a beautiful girl named Yoko, wielding a superconductive rifle, come from the surface. Together, Kamina, Simon, and Yoko ride the mecha “Lagann” that Simon digs out of the ground, and fly up to the surface!
It’s the single word that describes how I feel about the brand new “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set Limited Edition″ released by Aniplex, Inc.
In 2007, GAINAX, Aniplex and Konami would bring a new mecha anime series to television. Known as “Tengen Toppa Gurenn Lagann” in Japan, the 27-episode series would air on TV Tokyo with a huge following and received positive reviews.
Featuring anime production by GAINAX, “Gurren Lagann” was directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi (“Dead Leaves”, “Eureka 7: Astral Ocean”, “Anime Tencho”), featuring series composition by Kazuki Nakashima (“Kill la Kill”, “Nodam Cantabile: Finale”), music by Taku Iwasaki (“009-1″, “Black Butler”, “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure”, “Getbackers”), character design by Atsushi Nishigori (“The Idolm@ster Movie”, “Magi – The Labrynth of Magic”) and background art by Yuka Hirama (“Fractale”, “Gad Guard”, “Tales of Phantasia”, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”).
While a limited edition of the series was released on DVD by Bandai Entertainment back in the 2009 in three parts, many people missed out on the opportunity to get the sets. With Bandai Entertainment’s presence for releasing anime in the U.S. on physical media having ended in 2012, in May 2013, Aniplex Inc. acquired the rights to release the series via a complete set known as “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition” featuring all 27 episodes, two soundtrack CD’s and as usual from Aniplex, Inc., a large number of anime swag that fans have come to love about the company.
What is “Gurrenn Lagann” about?
The series centered around two characters Simon and Kamina. Both live underground with a bunch of orphans and due to earthquakes, they developed a system of people using manual drilling holes in order to move around. But one day, the life of a young driller named Simon discovers a small mini drill underground. Simon is a shy young guy. Not too confident in himself and hates how his parents were killed during an earthquake. So, he works hard in order for everyone to live but also to collect whichever treasure he can find. While continuing his digging, he discovers a small drill and not long after, he discovers a huge robotic face.
As for Kamina, he’s the cool leader of a gang. He once saw the atmosphere with his father a long time ago and dreams of making it up to the surface but no one underground believes him. He comes up with a plan to get to the surface with the help of Simon’s drill. The plan backfires and Kamina is put into a jail. Meanwhile, a big monster robot-like figure comes out of the sky and lands in the group’s village underground. A girl sporting a bikini top and tight short shorts with a large rifle starts fighting with the monster robot. Her name is Yoko and all of a sudden both Kamina and Simon try to assist her.
As the monster grows vicious, Simon introduces Kamina and Yoko to what he found underground. It happens to be a small robot that Simon takes control of and eventually the three fight the robotic monster and end up defeating it. Also, end up making it above the surface where they discover sunlight, blue skies, mountains and more…monster robots. It is learned that these things are called “Gunmen” and are piloted by Beastmen who have a hatred towards humans. The three must survive and outwit and defeat the Gunmen and with Kamina’s leadership and willing to take anything head on with his machismo ego, he calls Simon’s robot Lagann. Kamina eventually commandeers a Gunmen robot and calls it Gurren. As a duo, the group is called Gurren Lagann.
With episode after episode, the three would gain more people to ally alongside with them and take on the Beast men. These animal like beings who worked for Lord Genome and would try to kill the humans with these huge mecha robots known as Gunmen.
Kamina, Simon and others in the alliance known as Team Dai-Gurren have been successful in taking control of Gunmen and make their way towards the Beastman Empire in order to take on the Spiral King. But the King orders Thymilph, the first of the four divine Generals of the the Spiral King was the first to go onto battle and thus the battle ensued with Team Dai-Gurren winning but losing someone special to them.
As the first half deals with Kamina, Simon and Yoko growing as friends and as a team, the second half of “Gurren Lagann” fast forwards seven years later after the battle with the Beast Men and the Beastman Empire.
Years later, Simon has become the new leader of Kamina City while Rossiu Addai became second-in-command. The other members of Team Dai Gurren have become officers or employees of Kamina City while Yoko Littner became a school teacher.
But the seven year peace in the planet did not last as the anti-spirals wreaked havoc on the city. But will humanity be ready to fight again for their survival?
“Gurren Lagann” features a total of 27 episodes. A summary of each episode (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS):
- Episode 1 – Bust through the Heavens with your Drill! - The main episodes that introduces us to Simon, Kamina and Yoko. The three join forces to take on the monster gunmen.
- Episode 2 – I Said I’m Gonna Pilot That Thing!! - With Simon having his own robot and more Gunmen showing up to fight, Kamina decides to get a gunmen mecha all for himself which he names “Gurren”. But they get some support from the people of Yoko’s village and the village’s top mechanic, Leeron (a savvy and intelligent mechanic but who happens to be gay and not afraid to flirt with Kamina and Simon). But with Kamina and Simon now having their own mecha’s, they name their team “Gurren Lagann”.
- Episode 3 – Who Do You Think You Are, Having Two Faces? - With the defeat of the Beastmen and their Gunmen, Simon, Kamina and Yoko go to hunt for some food but while Kamina retrieves some food, he runs into a Beastman named Viral. A savage warrior who becomes the major rival for Kamina. But Viral pilots a Gunmen with a second head that shoots out a devastating attack. Kamina feels that Gurren Lagann can combine and by unifying, they can become unstoppable.
- Episode 4 – Having Lots of Faces Doesn’t Make You Great! – After the battle with Viral, Simon, Kamina, Yoko and Leeron decide to destroy the Beastmen’s base. By eliminating it, the group might have that peace that they wanted. But while looking for food, the group run into another group known as the Black Siblings…friend or foe? We are introduced to Kittan Bachika, the leader of the Black Siblings who is accompanied by his three younger sisters as they try to eliminate Beastmen.
- Episode 5 – I Don’t Get It, Not One Bit! - As the group continues on their travels, they end up in another underground village and brought their by a teen named Rosiu. But in this village, they have their own strict religion and strict rules in which they can only keep their population at 50 people or less. Well, things change when a couple has a set of triplets, thus going over the 50-person mark. Gurren Lagann receives a new member to the team.
- Episode 6 – There are Some Things I Just Have to See! - There are two versions of episode 6. The unedited version and the TV version which is part of the special features. For the unedited version, the group really smell bad and it seems they met some luck as they are invited to the hot springs with food galore! The group run into their friends, the three women of the Black Siblings and as the group relaxes in the hot springs, both Kamina and Simon can’t stand hearing the women talk about their breasts. Being the horny guys that they are, both men do what they can do get a peek of the ladies nude. But awaiting them is some trouble as well courtesy of the Beastmen.
- Episode 7 – You’re Gonna Do It! – With the defeat of the Beastmen, Viral makes his return but this time, one of the four leaders who pilots a giant Gunmen fortress. While Gurren Lagan tries to fight them, they are joined by some old friends who have followed Kamina’s lead and stolen some gunmen for themselves.
- Episode 8 – Later, Buddy – With Simon’s quick thinking in the last episode, the group manages to get the Gunmen fortress to be trapped. But Kamina wants to take control of the fortress in order to protect everyone and this time have a super combination to create Dai Gurren Lagann. So, one major battle in order to take the Beastmen leader’s mega fortress. But while Simon starts to think about Yoko and tell her his feelings for her, he sees both Kamina and Yoko kissing. So, as they go into battle, Kamina depends on Simon to have Lagann penetrate the fortress but because his emotions all out of whack due to seeing the kiss, it’s going to cost someone’s life.
- Episode 9 – What, Exactly, Is a Human? – With the events of the last episode, everyone is in mourning. Meanwhile, a new character named Nia is introduced. Who is she and why is she so curious about humans?
- Episode 10 – Who Is This Bro? - The group comes head to head against Adiane, the second of the Spiral Kings Four Divine Generals. But retreats when she sees Nia. It appears Nia is the daughter of the Spiral King. Nia appears to be very naive about humans, their emotions, etc. She doesn’t understand why Simon would be depressed over someone who’s dead.
- Episode 11 – Simon, Hands-off - The team meets Guame, the third of Spiral Kings Four Divine Generals. He uses Beastmen disguised as women to fool the crew and ends up taking over their ship and putting the crew underground in prison. Only Simon and his drilling can save the day and for Nia, she learns why she was discarded by her father.
- Episode 12 – Yoko, Will You Do Me a Favor? - Team Dai-Gurren’s fortress needs to be refitted to travel in the water. So, the crew goes through a little R&R and becomes too friendly with Nia and favoring her over Kyoko. Kyoko is not sure he can trust her and sure enough, the crew goes into battle against Adiane.
- Episode 13 – Eat Up, Everyone – Nia really wants to fit in, so she found a job for herself, to become a cook. Meanwhile, Cytomander, the fourth of Spiral King’s Divine Four Generals makes his attack on the crew and with Rossiu sick, Kyoko must fill in and be Simon’s co-pilot for Gurren Lagann.
- Episode 14 -Well, Met Everyone - The crew arrives near the Beastman Empire but must take on the last two of Spiral King’s Four Divine Generals – Cytomander and Guame to the death.
- Episode 15 – I Will Head Towards Tomorrow - Team Dai-Gurren now has one final battle left and that’s against the Spiral King. It’s all or nothing!
- Episode 16 – Compilation Episode – This episode serves as a bridge for between the first arc and the second arc of the series. It’s literally a special episode condensing major scenes from the first 15 episodes to one episode. Mainly focusing on Kamina, Simon, Kyoko and Nia.
- Episode 17 – You Don’t Know Anything – With Team Dai-Gurren successful against the Spiral King, the series flash forwards seven years later. The planet has flourished with cities and vehicles, Simon, Rossiu and everyone else has grown up. People own homes and have their own jobs. Simon is in his early 20′s and is the Supreme Commander and is bored doing paper work. Rossiu is the Chief who does all of the work but unlike Simon, holds an iron fist on how the city should be ran and for some members of Team Dai-Gurren are just head employees who answer phones. They wonder what Lord Genome meant by his final words before he died of a new emanating threat and sure enough, that threat has materialized on the planet. Meanwhile, something has happened to Nia.
- Episode 18 – Tell Me the Secrets of the World – A new evil has appeared on the planet and says that because Earth has reached 1,000,000 people and has used Spiral technology to further their growth, they will now be exterminated. Simon goes to battle against one of the enemies and succeeds in defeating it but since the enemy is composed of energy, that energy becomes like bombs and when Simon defeated the enemy and it exploded, in essence many people have died, buildings and structures destroyed and people want blood…Simon’s blood. Nia’s true purpose is revealed and Rossiu keeps a secret.
- Episode 19 – We Will Survive, By Any Means Necessary - The public is very upset against the government because of the destruction and deaths from the Gurren Lagann attack against the Anti-Spiral and Second-in-Command Rossiu knows the only way they will appease the public is with the arrest and the execution of Simon. But with another attack on the city by an Anti-Spiral, Rossiu has to release Simon temporarily from custody to fight the enemy.
- Episode 20 – How Far Will God Test Us? - Simon is put into the same prison with his cell next to Viral. Meanwhile Kittan who is incensed that his sister is siding with Rossiu in the execution and imprisonment of Simon.
- Episode 21 – You Are Someone Who Ought To Survive - The story shifts to Yoko as a school teacher who is stern but caring for the kids. When she finds out what is happening with Simon, she decides that she must return back to Kamina City immediately.
- Episode 22 – This is My Final Duty – Rossiu must make the most difficult choice by trying to rescue as many people he can in a secret spaceship and escape the planet but knowing that many will have to perish from the moon crashing down on the planet. But on planet, Simon and Viral team up with Gurren Lagann and Arc Gurren as both join forces to form Arc-Gurren-Lagann and stop the Human Extermination System that the Anti-Spirals have implemented.
- Episode 23 – Let’s Go, This is the Final Battle - Team Dai Gurren prepares for the war against the anti-spirals. Meanwhile, Rossiu who is amazed with how Simon is able to save everyone decides that his life is not worth living. Can Simon get to Rossiu in time?
- Episode 24 – I Will Never Forget This Minute, This Second - With the help of Lordgenome, while Rossiu takes command on the planet, Simon and Viral lead several members from Team Dai Gurren to transport right into the Anti-Spirals home world. Simon had made a promise that he would save Nia and is determined to do so. Meanwhile, the Team suffers a loss of a few team members.
- Episode 25 – I Accept Your Last Wish - Team Dai-Gurren is caught in the ocean of despair set by the Anti-Spirals. Meanwhile, another major team member of Team Dai Gurren sacrifices his life to save his friends.
- Episode 26 – Let’s Go Buddy - Simon,Viral and Team Dai Gurren combine into Super Galaxy Gurren-Lagann in order rescue Nia. Meanwhile, the Anti-Spiral uses their own memories against them. But a familiar face from the past is there to help Simon, Kyoko and Team Dai Gurren.
- Episode 27 – The Lights In the Sky Are Stars - One of the Team Dai Gurren members decides to take a stand against the Anti-Spiral and sacrifices themself in order for Simon to gain the enemies drill. Simon, Nia, Viral and Team Dai Gurren put everything they have on the line to become the galaxy sized Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann in the final battle against the enemy.
VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
Each episode is featured in 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. The character designs by Atsushi Nishigori are fresh and very different. I absolutely enjoy the character and mechanical designs and the whole anime is quite vibrant and looks stylish and pretty cool. And it yet makes me wonder why this series has not been released on Blu-ray?
As for the audio, the Digital 5.1 effects utilized in the English dub is actually very well done. I liked the effective use of splitting the audio of action scenes through the various speaker channels and overall, the audio track for the 5.1 English dub is well done.
The Japanese audio is featured only in 2.0 Stereo but the dialogue and action scenes also come clear through the front channels, the main difference is that the war seems to come alive on the English dub. As one can expect with the 5.1 soundtrack, very good use of surround channels and LFE, so the dub gets a nod for being immersive and having a better dynamic range.
Both soundtracks feature exceptional acting. The Japanese voice acting were wonderful when it came to the emotional performance by Tetsuya Kakihara, Katsuyuki Konishi and Marina Inoue. But “Gurren Lagann” also features a fantastic performance from the English dub cast. Yuri Lowenthal was perfect as Simon, Kyle Hebert and Michelle Ruff were also marvelous in their acting role as Kamina and Yoko. It’s important to note that this is the same English dub that was featured on the Bandai Entertainment DVD release in 2009.
Subtitles are in English.
“Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set Limited Edition” comes with the following special features:
- Preview of episode #6 (TV) – (:16) English episode #6 preview with a little fan service.
- Episode 6 (TV Version)
- Yoko Goes to Gainax -Study Animation at GAINAX- – (24:48) Marina Inoue, Japanese voice actress for Yoko goes to GAINAX and sees how people create “Gurren Lagann”. The featurette features Marina learning the difference between “Key Animation” and “In-Between Animation” and “Composition”. She actually takes part in doing in-between work for the first time and also, learning some of the jobs the staff did for “Gurren Lagann”. A very fun featurette!
- GAINAX Interview – (10:21) A very cool featurette with producer Takeda from GAINAX, GAINAX President Yamaga and assistant director Otsuka on the concept of “Gurren Lagann” and what their goal was in creating this anime series.
- Sangizen 3D Test Footage - (15:16) The Sangizen 3D Test Footage is a 15-minute featurette with various preliminary 3D features of the Anti-Spirals destroying city structures, to the combination of the mecha and various fight scenes. Many were created but only selected footage were used in the final cut.
- Shokotan Interview – (7:36) The interview with Shoko Nakagawa (aka “Shokotan”) who sings the main theme song was done in the US after her appearance at Anime Expo in Los Angeles in 2008. Shoko talks about being an otaku and also said that she wanted to become a mangaka while growing up. Also, her happiness to perform in the US and to meet the fans and much more.
- Textless Opening and Ending themes – For those who love the cool music of opening theme “Sorairo Days” by Shoko Nakagawa and ending theme “Underground” by High Voltage.
- Japanese Trailer
- U.S. Trailer
“Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set Limited Edition” comes with the following special features:
- Gurren Lagann Slipcase (Rigid Box illustrated by You Yoshinari/Mechanical Design)
- 2-Tray clear Amaray cases with reversible wraps of original Japanese DVD cover design
- 36-Page Deluxe Illustration Booklet
- 2-Sided Poster (Yoko & Kamina)
- 2-Stickers of Kamina’s Famous Remarks
- 12 Postcards of Japanese DVD Cover Art & Original Illustration by You Yoshinari (Mechanical Design)
- Gurren Lagann Original Soundtrack CD’s 1 & 2
DISC 1 (Duration:1:09:45)
7. お前の×××で天を衝け!! ~初めて見た地上ver.~
13. ああああッ!骸骨がぁ!! 骸骨がぁ!!!
16. He is so ×××
18. Peeping Tom
23. 合体なんてクソくらえ!(合体挿入曲第一番 ハ短調アレグロ K2564)
Disc 2 (Duration: 1:10:37)
2. ラップは漢の魂だ!無理を通して道理を蹴っ飛ばす!俺たち大グレン団のテーマを耳の穴かっぽじってよ~く聴きやがれ!!(Short Start Edit)
6. BafBaf! そんなに燃えるのが…好きかい?
21. The Blue monday e”r”ectrical parade
22. “Libera me”from hell
23. Love Conservative
For the “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition”, included is the two-CD album “Tengen Toppa Guren Ragan Original Soundtrack” that was released in 2008. This is different from the Bandai Entertainment vol. 3 DVD release which came with the “Tengen Toppa Guren Ragan BEST SOUND” album which came with the vocal tracks. The primary difference is that this original soundtrack album comes 51 tracks with the primarily instrumental music featured throughout the series. The music is composed by Taku Iwasaki and also features music by tarantura and quadtbep.
For anyone wondering if there are any vocal tracks, there are four. On Disc 1, there is “Kamina’s Theme” (ラップは漢の魂だ! 己を信じて天を指差す怒涛の男・カミナ様のテーマを耳の穴かっぽじってよ～く聴きやがれ!!) which comes with the rap that people hear throughout the series ala “Bro! Bro! Fight the Power!”. Also, quadtbep’s guitar churning rock tracks “Nikopol” and “合体なんてクソくらえ! (合体挿入曲第一番 ハ短調アレグロ K2564)” are included.
Also, included on Disc 2 is “Libera me” from hell featuring Tarantura and Taku Iwasaki, so you get the hip hop “Bro, Bro Fight the Power!” song but with beats from Tarantura and piano by Taku Iwasaki along with an operatic element. But if you want the Shoko Nakagawa, HIGH VOLTAGE or Afuroman tracks, those tracks are included on the BEST SOUND album.
But the soundtrack, if you enjoy instrumentals is fantastic. Tracks incorporating jazz elements, ambient, gentle harp and wind instrument tracks, synth pop, synth choir to heavy hitting rock tracks. The soundtrack is a wonderful addition to the “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition”.
I can’t help but think how awesome this series was to watch! From the stylish presentation, the wacky humor, the adult-like humor and pervertedness and the imaginative mecha Gunmen robots and attack modes, the battles and the fun characters and the music, there is just too much to like about “Gurren Lagann”. I absolute found the series to be exciting, a lot of fun, yes a bit perverted but ultimately…fantastic!
The character of Kamina is just so wild and crazy with how he is just so carefree and just doesn’t plan for battle, he just does what he believes in and what he thinks is right and decides at the spur of the moment. He has a way with his words, no matter how crazy it may sound but it makes his character so cool!
As for Simon, he is simply the underdog. He is a major component to the team because he pilots Lagann but at the same time, his fear and his emotions get the best of him. But like most underdogs in anime series, it’s the confidence and support that gets them going and Simon turns out to be a fascinating character to watch overtime.
Yoko, her character is sexy and cool. Sometimes you wonder if GAINAX or the character designer Atsushi Nishigori created such a sexy character for the purpose of being sexy or for the fact that many cosplayers will try to emulate the character and not wear much clothes. Nevertheless, her character is cool as her body features somehow provide the fan service and also gets Simon distracted.
But Team Gurren Lagann are simply fun to watch and to see them engage in battle with the Beast Men but also see other members join the team and see how Team Gurran Lagann grows over time during this war between humanity and the Beastman Empire.
But the series is rather fascinating as the first half deals with humanity wanting to be free and to fight to live on the land, while the second half deals with humanity now thriving seven years later but with humanity in trouble once again. The way things are for both halves are completely different and it’s like watching two seasons but both are just captivating, addictive and mecha fans and I think also anime fans in general, can get into this series!
While many early episodes feature a bit of fan service, things become less perverted from episode 10 and on. Granted, the series becomes a bit more dark, emotional and dramatic especially due to Simon’s worsening depression. So, while there are episodes such as episode 6 that tend to focus on adult humor and fan service, the series gets better overtime in terms of plot and character development.
I’m sure there are people who purchased the Bandai Entertainment DVD sets, that are wondering if there are any significant difference with the Aniplex, Inc. DVD releases. There are some slight differences. The episodes remain the same, the post cards that Bandai Entertainment released were fewer than what is included on Aniplex, Inc.’s set, also the Aniplex versions do not have any writing, logos or numbers as the Bandai Entertainment postcards had.
But another primary difference is that the Bandai Entertainment version included the first vol. 1 of the manga (since Bandai Entertainment released manga at the time in the U.S.) and that the CD soundtrack featured was the “Gurren Lagann BEST SOUND” soundtrack (which had the vocal tracks by Shoko Nakagawa, HIGH VOLTAGE and Afuromania). For the Aniplex Inc. version, you get the “Gurren Lagann Original Soundtracks” (Both CD’s which are primarily the instrumental music tracks). The Aniplex Inc. version also comes with the 36-page booklet and 2-sided poster and stickers that the Bandai Entertainment set did not have.
So, for those wondering if you should upgrade your Bandai Entertainment DVD to the new Aniplex, Inc. DVD, the answer is no. It’s the same content DVD-wise, just different swag offered by both companies. With that being said, the question is if the “Gurren Lagann” Blu-ray set will be released in America. There is an import Blu-ray release that will be available in June 2013 that does have English subtitles, also comes with the “Gurren Lagann” movies and the drama CD’s with a ton of features, but the price for this “Gurren Lagann”Blu-ray Complete Box Set” is $550.
Let’s just hope Aniplex, Inc. considers releasing a Blu-ray release for “Gurren Lagann” as this series just looks too good and sounds too awesome that it’s deserving of a Blu-ray release.
But as far as the DVD goes, picture quality is still very good, soundtrack especially the English dubtrack receives the 5.1 treatment and is a bit immersive as it does utilize the surround channels and LFE. Both voice acting soundtracks are magnificent, with the Japanese hitting the nail on the more emotional scenes, but when it comes to action, the English soundtrack has the better dynamic range and use of the surround channels. And the English dub is also well-done!
Overall, the experience of watching “Gurren Lagann” was wonderful! From the stylish presentation, the wacky humor, perverseness and the imaginative mecha Gunmen robots and attack modes, the battles and the fun characters and the music, there is just too much to like about “Gurren Lagann”.
Just how the pacing of the anime series goes from people wanting to get out of the underground and seeking freedom, to the characters fighting to survive and eventually growing up but having to face their own insecurities and also consequence and then furthering their adventures as we see the characters start off young and right to end where they are older adults. And of course, this anime series is action-packed but most of all well-acted (both in Japanese and English), awesome animation, great character development and well-written storyline.
“Gurren Lagann” can be described in one word and that is “Fantastic!” but to experience the complete series from beginning to the end, what an experience! “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition” is definitely deserving of five stars and receives our highest recommendation!
The strength of “Perception” is in the writing. From the way Dr. Pierce is able to solve various crimes and the complexity of how he approaches these situations but I also enjoy watching both Eric McCormack and Rachael Leigh Cook together, it makes up for a fascinating and enjoyable series that makes me interested in watching season two! For fans of television crime drama with a little twist, “Perception: The Complete Series” is recommended!
© 2013 ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Perception: The Complete First Season
YEAR AIRED: 2012
DURATION: 11 Episodes (425 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles,
COMPANY: abc studios
RATED: TV 14 DLV
RELEASE DATE: May 21, 2013
Directed by Greg Beeman, Kenneth Biller, Christopher Misiano, Deran Sarafian
Written by Kenneth Biller, Michael Sussman, Amanda Green, Jason Ning, Stephen Tolkin
Production by Eric McCormack, Mark H. Ovitz
Co-Executive Producer: Michael Sussman, Amanda Green, Stephen Tolkin
Co-Producer: Jason Ning
Associate Producer: Nicole Carrasco
Music by Tree Adams
Cinematography by Jeff Jur
Edited by Anthony Miller, Andi Armaganian, Gib Jaffe
Casting by Mary Jo Slater
Production Design by Stephen Storer
Art Direction by Dennis Davenport
Set Decoration by Wanda “Beau” Peterson
Costume Design by Julia Schklair
Eric McCormack as Daniel Pierce
Rachael Leigh Cook as Kate Moretti
Arjay Smith as Max Lewicki
Kelly Rowan as Natalie Vincent
Jonathan Scarfe as Roger Probert
LeVar Burton as Paul Haley
Jamie Bamber as Michael Hathaway
Freddy Rodriguez as Wesley Sumter
Jayne Atkinson as Helen Paulson
Lisa banes as Irene Reardon
Jimmy Bennett as Alex Willingham
Bridget Regan as Victoria Ryland
Matthew Glave as Senator Scott Ryland
Enter the brilliant mind of Dr. Daniel Pierce and relive every thrilling case of Perception: The Complete First Season. Experience an original twist on the classic crime drama as Emmy Award® winner Eric McCormack (Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, 2001, Will & Grace), stars as an eccentric neuroscience professor whose revealing visions help him uncover what lies beneath conscious emotion.
Though recruited by the FBI for his masterful understanding of the human mind, Daniel’s odd and offbeat view makes it difficult for him to get close to anyone. His former student, Agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook), is one of the few people willing to accept Daniel’s peculiarities in exchange for his imaginative solutions. Two very different personalities join forces as they try to tackle the Bureau’s most complex cases.
Perception is “Crime Scene Differently.” Own every thrilling moment of Season One in this sensational DVD Collection!
From Kenneth Biller (“Smallville”, “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Legend of the Seeker”) and Mike Sussman (“Star Trek: Voyager”, “Star Trek: Enterprise”, “Threshold”) comes a new crime drama TV series titled “Perception”.
The series would star Eric McCormack (“Will & Grace”, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”), Rachael Leigh Cook (“She’s All That”, “Josie and the Pussycats”, “Antitrust”, “Get Carter”), Arjay Smith (“Be Kind Rewind”, “The Day After Tomorrow”, “To Save a Life”), Kelly Rowan (“The O.C.”, “Assassns”, “One Eight Seven”), Jonathan Scarfe (“Above and Beyond”, “White Lies”) and LeVar Burton (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Roots”, “Reading Rainbow”).
With the first season consisting of eleven episodes airing in July 2012 on TNT, a second season is set to premiere in June 2013. And what better than to release the complete first season on DVD in May 2013!
“Perception” revolves around a neuropsychiatrist named Dr. Daniel Pierce who teaches at Chicago Lake Michigan University. While a well-known professor who is lauded for his work on forensic psychology and neuroscience, he’s also a man who is dealing with increased hallucinations due to his schizophrenia.
While he has a live-in teaching assistant named Mex Lewicki who knows of his hallucinations and tries to help Dr. Pierce know what is real or not real, the fact is that he is losing grasp of telling the difference between factual people and hallucinations. Even his best friend, adviser Natalie Vincent, who he tells all his problems to, is actually an imaginary person that is derived from a person he used to like a long time ago.
But life changes for Dr. Daniel Pierce as his former student, Special Agent Kate Moretti from the FBI comes to him for help on a murder case. And for Dr. Pierce, assisting Kate may be what he needs to deal with hallucinations as they are also trying to help him solve the case.
Join Dr. Daniel Pierce and Special Agent Kate Moretti as the try to solve the most complex homicide cases in “Perception: The Complete First Season”!
“Perception: The Complete First Season” focuses on the following main characters:
Dr. Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack) - A neuropsychiatrist and professor at Chicago Lake Michigan University (CLMU). As a respected writer on forensic psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Pierce has a history of paranoid schizophrenia and often has hallucinations of people trying to help him solve crimes. He is enlisted by the FBI by an expert consultant to solve complex cases.
Special Agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook) - A former student of Dr. Pierce and an FBI agent, she recruits Dr. Pierce to help solve complex crimes. She was recently demoted for her tendency of going beyond the scope of the assignments.
Max Lewicki (Arjay Smith) – A live-in teaching assistant who helps Dr. Pierce differentiate between real people and hallucinations. Max was an orderly who helped Dr. Pierce when he was confined at a psychiatric hospital for his mental illness. Dr. Pierce is helping Max finish graduate school.
Natalie Vincent (Kelly Rowan) - An imaginary adviser and Dr. Pierce’s best friend. She helps him piece together his hallucinations.
Paul Haley (LeVar Burton) - A professor of philosophical theology and Dr. Pierce’s dean at CLMU. Both are good friends and were roommates back in college.
FBI Agent Robert Probert (Jonathan Scarfe) – Kate Moretti’s partner, but doesn’t believe in Dr. Pierce’s judgements.
Dr. Michael Hathaway (Jamie Bamber) – A professor recruited at a university that Dr. Pierce has little respect for. He likes Kate Moretti.
“Perception: The Complete First Season” features 11 episodes on three DVD discs. Here are spoilerless summaries for each episode:
- EPISODE 1 - FBI Agent Kate Moretti recruits Dr. Pierce to help her solve a case involving the death of a pharmaceutical executive.
- EPISODE 2 - The FBI is investigating a case of a death of a mail order bride who has a medical condition. Meanwhile, the new professor, Dr. Michael Hathaway has eyes for Kte.
- EPISODE 3 – Kate and Dr. Pierce try to help a woman named Lacey who escaped from a serial killer back in 1986. Max doesn’t like how Kate constantly goes to Dr. Pierce for help.
- EPISODE 4 – Daniel comes across a cipher left in a letter to the editor which alludes to future crimes.
- EPISODE 5 - Kate and Dr. Pierce investigate the death of a junkie.
- EPISODE 6 - Dr. Pierce helps Kate investigate the death of a therapist who tries to cure his patients of homosexuality.
- EPISODE 7 – Kate and Dr. Pierce investigate the death of a judge who may have been murdered by a schizophrenic.
- EPISODE 8 - Kate and Daniel investigate the death of a young girl who was killed in her dorm room.
- EPISODE 9 - Daniel witnesses the murder of a young man, but was it real or a hallucination?
- EPISODE 10 - Dr. Pierce commits himself to a psychiatric ward but what happens when he comes across a familiar face?
“Perception: The Complete First Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 televisions. A lot of the shots are shot indoor and thosescenes are well-lit and during the low-light scenes, you do see a bit of noise but compared to other drama series on television, the series is above average in terms of picture quality on DVD.
As for audio, “Perception: The Complete First Season” is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Dialogue and music is crystal clear, while surround channels are not too active and is a dialogue/music driven soundtrack coming from the center and front channels. The show is presented with English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
“Perception: The Complete First Season” comes with no following special features.
“Perception: The Complete First Season” comes with a slip cover.
On television, there have been quite a few crime dramas in which police or federal organization teams up with a civilians.
You have “Castle” in which a police investigator teams up with a famous crime novelist, a young crime consultant and his reluctant police officer partner in “Psych” and in 2012, TBS introduced their series “Perception” pairing a schizophrenic neuropsychiatrist assisting an FBI agent.
So, the crime dramas of civilian and law enforcement is still popular on television but it all comes down to how these series separate itself from being banal but also coming up with some new and fresh for the audience.
With “Perception”, the show is entertaining, a good twist on the crime drama about individuals solving homicides but at the same time, reminiscent of shows such as “Castle” (civilian and officer) and even the law drama “Eli Stone” (how lawyer is able to represent his client but has hallucinations due to the protagonist with a brain aneurism.
In the case of lead protagonist Dr. Daniel Pierce, he is a man who has a brilliant mind but has been dealing with schizophrenia which has gotten so bad that he is not sure who is real or not real and with the help of his roommate and friend Max and an imaginary adviser, along with hallucinations that show up whenever there is a case that needs to be solved, it does make up for interesting drama.
Actor Eric McCormack has moved on since his “Will & Grace” days to play a more serious character with a lot of depth and paired with Rachael Leigh Cook, who has grown up a lot since her teen films of the ’90s such as “She’s all That” and “Josie and the Pussycats”. As Special Agent Kate Moretti, both she and Dr. Pierce are an interesting duo…teacher and former student (who tends to get into a bit of trouble, but maybe there is a little attraction from her towards her former teacher).
While both work together to solve problems, she’s not aware of how extent his schizophrenia is but she often goes to Dr. Pierce to help the FBI solve various murders.
So, while the series does make itself stand out compared to other series with a similar style, there are a few things that often drive me nuts and that is the interference of a civilian during a police interrogation or in this case, a federal interrogation. I just don’t see how Dr. Pierce can go inside and interrupt the special agent during her interrogation whenever he wants, but I would assume that Moretti is used to Dr. Pierce’s eccentric and complex personality.
But still, I enjoyed this crime drama as it does have potential to be something bigger and also tap into episodes with a more serious tone.
While the first season does a great job in establishing the primary characters and the main goal is for both Moretti and Dr. Pierece to solve the most complex cases, it will be interesting to see if both of these individuals fall for each other. But not sure if I would like that as it would be too banal for my taste!
But the strength of “Perception” is in the writing. From the way Dr. Pierce is able to solve various crimes and the complexity of how he approaches these situations but I also enjoy watching both Eric McCormack and Rachael Leigh Cook together, it makes up for a fascinating and enjoyable series that makes me interested in watching season two!
For fans of television crime drama with a little twist, “Perception: The Complete Series” is recommended!
“Bubble Guppies: Sunny Days!” is an educational and fun DVD for your younger children and theme is exploring various adventures during the summer. May it be going to the beach, going camping, visiting a circus and more! If you are a parent looking to keep your children occupied, entertained and educated during the summer, I can easily recommend this DVD!
© 2013 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Bubble Guppies: Sunny Days!
DURATION: 6 Episodes (138 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: Full Screen, Dolby Digital
RATED: NOT RATED
RELEASE DATE: May 28, 2013
Created by Jonny Belt and Robert Scull
Executive Producer: Jonny Belt, Robert Scull
Supervising Producer: Ellen Martin
Casting by Maria Estrada, Leslie Zaslower
Featuring the Voices of:
Zachary Gordon as Gil
Brianna Gentilella as Molly
Jelani Imani as Goby
Reyna Shaskan as Oona
Eamon Pirruccello as Nonny
Angelina Wahler as Deema
From the beach to the circus to a night under the stars, join the Bubble Guppies as they swim into activities perfect for summer in these six swim-sational episodes!
With the summer time now upon us, how do you keep your young child entertained but also educated at the same time?
Available in May 28, 2013 is “Bubble Guppies: Sunny Days!” and theme is summer time and the Bubble Guppies take a trip to the beach, go camping, also other fun episodes to keep your child occupied during the summer.
What is “Bubble Guppies”?
The children’s educational series featured on Nickelodeon, “Bubble Guppies” is created by Jonny Belt and Robert Skull and features a group of mermaid pre-schoolers. Similar to popular children’s series such as “Dora the Explorer” and “Blue’s Clues”, “Bubble Guppies” helps children with their social skills, science, math, literacy and more, as the pre-schoolers learn from their teacher (a fish named Mr. Grouper) and learn about stories in which the Bubble Guppies sing along too.
The series focuses on six kids, Molly and Gil (the main characters), Goby, Deema, Oona and Nonny who are taught by Mr. Grouper, an orange and yellow fish who tells the children a fairy tale. Because the kids have a wild imagination, Mr. Grouper would tell a fairy tale in which the kids imagine themselves being part of.
With the release of the DVD “Bubble Guppies: Sunny Days!”, this brand new DVD features six episodes (from season 1 and 2) with the children learning the various jobs that are out there.
Included are the following episodes:
- The Beach Ball! – Molly and Gil head to the beach and they hear from Sandy there may be a party!
- The Legend of Pinkfoot! – Deema meets a group of crab scouts who are camping. Meanwhile, the Bubble Guppies go camping!
- Bring on the Bugs! – It’s the Big Bug Parade and the Bubble Guppies are marching with ants and buzzing with the bees!
- The Sizzling Scampinis! – In this episode, Molly and Gil pass by a circus tent on their way to school.
- Bubble Duckies! – Molly and Gil pass by a duck pond and see a duck family and meet the smallest member, “Beep”.
- Gup, Gup and Away! – Gil, Deema and the Bubble Guppies go past the airport on their way to school and become interested in flying an airplane.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Bubble Guppies: Sunny Days!” is presented in full screen, Dolby Digital English Stereo.
The series is created in CG, while not as detailed when compared to Nickelodeon’s “Team Umizoomi” series, the series is still child-friendly as the characters are presented in an easy to watch, cute kid format as the children have big eyes and are often traveling in adventures. It’s a colorful series that I’m sure children will love.
As for audio, audio is clear and understandable. And with the many music tracks featured throughout the film and series, your young child will no doubt be dancing with the many musical tunes featured.
“Bubble Guppies: Sunny Days!” comes with no special features.
“Bubble Guppies: Sunny Days!” comes with a slipcover.
“Bubble Guppies” is another fun, enjoyable and educational entry for younger children and parents who are looking for a safe children’s DVD for their kids. The series is targeted for both boys and girls and similar to “Dora the Explorer” and “Blue’s Clues”, the series allows children to make decisions, improve their social skills, science, math and literacy. And of course, the series features a lot of music that will make your children dance and sing.
With “Bubble Guppies: Sunny Days!”, this is a pretty cool DVD as it helps children explore various adventures during the summer. May it be going to the beach, going camping, visiting a circus and more!
Featuring six episodes that will keep your child occupied during the summer, this series that will appeal to children and for parents who want something new and different from the older and longer-running series featured on Nickelodeon. I feel the series is also much more accessible because it features children in a school setting, having friends and of course, children of different ethnicities. So, for parents trying to ease their children into pre-school or kindergarten, “Bubble Guppies” is a series that can do just that.
Overall, “Bubble Guppies” is fun and educational children’s series that parents will definitely want to look into for children around 3-5 years old.
If you are looking for a fun series that involves decision making with plenty of music, I definitely recommend “Bubble Guppies: Sunny Days!”.
The awesome conclusion of the exciting battle between Naruto vs. Pain! And the story then goes back to the past when Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura were younger and training with Team 7 in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 14 – Original & Uncut”. Definitely recommended for “Naruto” fans!
Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2007 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 14 – Original & Uncut
DURATION: Episodes 167-179 (300 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: 2.0 Stereo Surround Sound, Bilingual (Japanese & English), English Subtitles
COMPANY: Shonen Jump/Viz Media
RATED: Rated T for Older Teen
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto
Series Directed by Hayato Date
Produced by Tomoko Gushima, Ken Hagino
Series Coordinator by Junki Takegami, Satoru Nishizono
Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio, Hirofumi Suzuki
Music by Yasuharu Takanishi, Yaiba
Music Production by Aniplex
Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Pierrot
Featuring the following voice talent:
Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki
Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Haruno
Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha
Akira Ishida/Liam O’Brien as Sabaku no Gaara (Gaara of the Desert)
Hideo Ishikawa/Crispin Freeman as Itachi Uchiha
Houchu Ohtsuka/David Lodge as Jiraiya
Kazuhiko Inoue/Dave Wittenberg as Hatake Kakashi
Kentarou Itou/Robbie Rist as Chouji Akimichi
Kenyuu Horiuchi/Troy Baker as Pain
Kouichi Toochika/Steve Staley as Neji Hyuuga
Kousuke Toriumi/Kyle Hebert as Kiba Inuzuka
Kujira/Steven Blum as Orochimaru
Masako Katsuki/Debi Mae West as Tsunade/Fifth Hokage
Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Hyuuga
Nobutoshi Canna/Henry Dittman as Kabuto Yakushi
Rikiya Koyama/Troy Baker as Yamato
Romi Paku/Tara Platt as Temari
Ryoka Yuzuki/Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Ino Yamanaka
Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai
Shinji Kawada/Derek Stephen Prince as Shino Aburame
Yasuyuki Kase/Michael Lindsay as Kankurou
Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee
The attack on the Leaf Village intensifies, and Naruto’s transformation into the Nine-Tailed Fox reaches a critical level. With eight tails already emerged, Naruto makes a surprising discovery that changes everything. His confidence buoyed, Naruto seeks a face-to-face meeting with Nagato, the Pain responsible for the massive destruction in the village. Can one boy’s will alter destiny?
Naruto vs. Pain.
Konoha Leaf Village has been destroyed, Hinata is seriously injured after trying to free Naruto and save him from Pain. And now, the rage of Hinata being injured has led Naruto’s rage to bring out the nine tails.
The conclusion to the battle between Naruto vs. Pain in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 14 – Original & Uncut”!
What is “Naruto”?
Since 1999, “Naruto” created by Masashi Kishimoto (“Karakuri”) has been one of the most popular anime and manga series in Japan and has easily become a favorite best selling anime/manga series among fans all over the world.
For the anime series, since 2002, “Naruto” lasted until 2007 with a total of 220 episodes. The series would follow the adventures of a boy named Naruto Uzamaki, who may not be the brightest ninja from the Konoha Village but he makes it up with heart and also tremendous power as the killer beast known as the nine-tailed fox has been sealed within him.
Earlier in the series, the anime series focused on Naruto and his team members Sasuke Uchida and Sakura Haruno as they would go on adventures and learn to become a team and also honing their ninja abilities. The series would then begin to introduce other young ninjas from the village who Naruto would be paired up with and the young ninjas would take on rival clans to helping people in need. But somehow as the series continued, Sasuke Uchida would then go off on his own personal mission to stop his brother Itaki Uchida, who murdered the whole Uchida clan and his family, only leaving Sasuke alive.
Within those six years, we have seen Naruto and his friends grow as friends and also in their abilities. For Naruto, all he has wanted is to become the next Hokage (the leader of the village) when he grows older and to help his friends accomplish missions. He knows that to be a good leader, he will need to get stronger so he can protect the village once he grows older. Of course, there is so much involved in the “Naruto” anime series and what makes its special is its humor, its action but also how well the series integrates so many characters but yet features a good number of character driven episodes that makes the viewer appreciate many of the characters in the series.
“Naruto”, the first series ended with the young ninja leaving to train with Jiraiya for two-and-a-half years.
What is “Naruto Shippuden”?
In “Naruto Shippuden”, the storyline now features everyone a little grown up but the stakes are much higher. We learn that the Akatsuki including Orochimaru are looking for those who possess a jinchuriki. With this power, this will give too much power to evil and this can lead to the death of many people and the destruction of many villages.
In the past few volumes, the Leaf Village along with other villages have managed to defeat the Akatsuki, unfortunately the price paid was the death of Asuma and a few other members of the Leaf and Sand Ninja.
Now, Orochimaru using Kabuto, have their sites set on capturing the other jinchuriki, as do the Akatsuki who have been after Naruto.
In “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 12 – Original & Uncut”, it is important to note that the episodes featured in DVD Set 12 covers the final episodes of “Naruto Shippuden” Season six as Naruto and his team take on the Eight Tails and learning from Madara of why his older brother Itachi massacred their family and the Uchiha clan and now this information will forever change Sasuke.
For episode 144-151, this was a shortened season seven and aired from January through March 2012 in Japan. This season features Lady Tsunade sending Team 7 and Yamato to assist Utakata and Hotaru after they learn that a clan known as Tsuchigumo and an elder named En no Gyoja developing a forbidden Jutsu.
It is revealed that Utakata is a Jinchuriki and he carries the Six-Tailed Demon Slug and a man named Shiranami is trying to kidnap Hotaru to be used as a vessel to collect natural chakra energy to release the forbidden jutsu.
Naruto and Team 7 must find a way to protect Hotaru from any harm. But another group appears to be interested in Utakata.
For episodes 152-153, this begins season 8 of “Naruto: Shippuden” and brings back the Pain storyline as Naruto is summoned to Lady Tsunade and is informed by Jiraiya’s master Fukasaku of the fate of Jiraiya in his battle with Pain and the Akatsuki.
In “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 13 – Original & Uncut”, Season 8 of “Naruto: Shippuden” continues as the Six Paths and Konan attack the Leaf Village in their hopes of capturing Naruto in order to obtain the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox.
With so much death and destruction, Kakashi along with Chouji Akimichi and his father Chouza take on the most powerful of the Six Paths. Meanwhile, in Mount Myoboku, Fukasaku trains Naruto to become one with nature and learn Sage Mode. But will Naruto learn and master Sage Mode in a short amount of time to take on the Six Paths?
The volume ended with Naruto being pinned down by Pain and about to be killed until Shino comes out of nowhere to fight and try to break Pain’s spikes that are keeping Naruto pinned to the ground. But as she is able to remove many spikes, Pain tries to kill her off by throwing her up in the air and slamming her down as hard as he can.
With Shino being used as a playtoy to show how much pain he can inflict on Naruto, Naruto’s rage due to the Nine Tailed Fox becomes out of control.
This leads us to “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 14 – Original & Uncut” which features the remainder of the episodes from season 8 and the beginning episodes of season 9.
As an angry Naruto is unable to control the Nine-Tailed Fox, Pain is shocked of how much power the Nine-Tailed Fox has and even breaking his Chibaku Tensei technique. But as Naruto seems to be losing control, in his consciousness, someone comes to give Naruto some help and also wise advice.
As Naruto prepares his final battle against Pain (ala Deva Path) in order to find the real Nagato through Sage Mode.
Also, included is a past episode in which Naruto and friends are training in preparation for the final rounds of the Chunin Exam. It is the first time Naruto hears about “The Fourth Hokage’s legacy” from Jiraiya and Naruto wanting to break the Fourth Hokage’s record. These episodes also introduce how Naruto came up with his motto.
The eighth season concludes with Naruto confronting Nagato. What will happen when Naruto confronts the former student of Master Jiraiya?
The ninth season of “Naruto” kicks off with a flashback episode and revolves around Iruka Umino becoming Naruto’s teacher and shows how Naruto and Iruka developed a close bond as teacher and student. While episode 179 is a Kakashi flashback in which he is assigned to Team 7 and tries to get to know Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura better by spying on them.
VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Naruto Shippuden” is an anime series that was never known for having spectacular background art, but it’s know for its action and its characters and how it captures emotion and its intense battles. While in this episode, a lot of episodes are contained in areas near lush green trees, water or dirt, it’s not so much of the background but how the characters are design and how well the battles are portrayed. And I can easily say that with “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 13 – Original Uncut”, the fast-paced action in this volume is great for a TV series and good for what one can expect on DVD.
As for the audio, the audio for “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 13″ is pretty much Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 Bilingual (Japanese and English). Similar to a series like “Dragon Ball Z”, with “Naruto”, I have always enjoyed the voice acting of the English dub series. It’s well done and the voices fit the characters very well.
Especially Maile Flanagan’s Naruto Uzumaki. Personally, I didn’t think there would be a voice actor that could capture Junko Takeuchi’s Naruto vocals and sure enough, Flanagan does a great job. But I have watched the series in Japanese and English and for the most part, voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done.
Since the series is front channel driven, for those with a modern home theater receiver probably will enjoy a more immersive soundscape by selecting stereo on all channels.
Subtitles are in English.
“Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 14 – Original & Uncut” comes with the following special features on disc 3:
- Production Art – Using your remote, you can view through ten pages of artwork.
- Omake – All the omake ending portions (after the credits) from the episodes featured in DVD Set 14 of “Naruto Shippuden”.
- Clean Opening
- Clean Ending
- English Credits
- More from Viz Media – Viz Media trailers
With “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 13 – Original & Uncut” taking the story to new heights and having become one of my favorite Naruto arcs in the anime series up to season 8, the arc concludes with the Naruto vs. Pain episodes featured in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 14 – Original & Uncut”.
Without spoiling these final episodes, we do get to see part of the past of Naruto and Jiraiya, Naruto learning about the Fourth Hokage and his connection to him.
With a combination of both current episodes featuring Naruto vs. Pain and flashback episodes of when he was younger, meeting Iruka-sensei and also Kakashi learning about his new students, I’m sure there will be some people who wish there was not an abrupt stop to the storyline involving Naruto vs. Pain, but obviously the writers wanted to establish the Fourth Hokage in season 8 and for season 9, it’s almost like the storyline shifts back to the past as we see more adventures of Team 7 (young Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura).
As for the DVD set, you get a total of 13 episodes and a the typical special features such as storyboard, production art and the ending omake for each episode.
“Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 14 – Original & Uncut” is a pretty important volume but while most of the heavy hitting episodes of season 8 were featured in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 13 – Original & Uncut”, this continuance and final episodes of season 8 establishes a storyline element involving Naruto that will become important later on.
As a longtime “Naruto Shippuden”, there is no doubt that season 8 was one of the most powerful seasons of “Naruto” and one of the most awesome battles for Naruto and the ninjas of the Konoha Leaf Village. But as always, in order to give “Naruto” creator sometime to develop his storyline for the manga and making sure the anime doesn’t catch up too quickly, season 9 goes back to the past of Team 7 when Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura were younger people in training. Yes, it’s a bit weird for a whole season to be dedicated to the adventures of Naruto in the past, but it’s understandable.
For Naruto fans who enjoyed the exciting battle between Naruto vs. Pain, it all comes to an end in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 14 – Original & Uncut”. Definitely recommended for “Naruto” fans!
Joan Carr-Wiggin’s “if i were you” is a comedy that rides on the shoulders of Marcia Gay Harden’s acting performance. It’s not a great film but it’s an enjoyable and charming film worth watching.
© 2013 Kino Lorber, Inc. All rights reserved.
DVD TITLE: if i were you
DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2013
DURATION: 115 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, 5.1 Dolby and Stereo, Closed Caption
COMPANY: Kino Lorber Inc.
RATED: NOT RATED
RELEASE DATE: May 14, 2013
Written and Directed by Joan Carr-Wiggin
Executive Producer: Peter Bates, Kirsty Bell, Vito Bianchini, Savitri Gordian, Mark Paladini, Vince Woods
Produced by David Gordian, Alan Latham
Line Producer: Stephen Traynor
Music by Pauolo Buonvino, Guy Farley
Cinematography by Bruce Worrall
Production Design by Sean Breaugh
Set Decoration by Nigel Hutchins
Costume Design by Brenda Broer
Marcia Gay Harden as Madelyn
Leonor Watling as Lucy
Joseph Kell as Paul
Aidan Quinn as Derek
Valerie Mahaffey as Lydia
Gary Piquer as Keith
Michael Therriault as Rainer
Leon Aureus as Tyler
Claire Brosseau as Regan
Patrick Garrow as Edmund
Bethany Jillard as Cordelia
Madelyn (Marcia Gay Harden) is a successful, self-possessed, middle-aged businesswoman – until she finds out that her husband’s late nights at work are actually intimate dinners with a sexy young aspiring actress, Lucy (Leonor Watling, Hable con Ella). When Madelyn starts stalking this new mistress, she witnesses what she thinks might be the beginnings of a suicide attempt and ends up talking her down.
While Lucy is ignorant of Madelyn’s true identity, the two form a bizarre pact with unforeseen consequences. Matters are complicated further by an amorous coworker and an encounter with a handsome stranger (the ever delectable Aidan Quinn).
Academy Award winning actress Marcia Gay Harden is known for her dramatic roles in films such as “Pollock”, “Mystic River”, “The Mist”, “Miller’s Crossing”, “Into the Wild” and occasionally on television as an FBI agent on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Damages”.
But a comedy role?
Harden goes to show that even she can do comedy with efficacy in Joan Carr-Wiggin’s “if i were you”.
Carr-Wiggin, a writer/director for films such as “A Previous Engagement”, “My First Wedding” and “Honeymoon” is known to explore romantic comedy in her films and her latest film stars Marcia Gay Harden, Spanish actress Leonor Watling (“Talk to Her”, “The Oxford Murders”, “Unconscious”), Joseph Charles (“MythQuest”, “Relativity”) and Aidan Quinn (“Legends of the Fall”, “Benny & Joon”, “Unknown”, “The Mission”).
The film won an “Audience Award” at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and now will be released on DVD in May 2013 courtesy of Kino Lorber.
“if i were you” is a film that revolves around Madelyn (portrayed by Marcia Gay Harden), a hardworking businesswoman with an equally busy-at-work husband named Paul (portrayed by Joseph Kell).
Unfortunately, Paul has been coming home very late far too often and for Madelyn, she realizes that her husband has been working on an audit and has a reason to be coming home late. That was until she makes a quick stop to a restaurant and catches her husband having a romantic dinner with a woman.
Distraught, Madelyn can’t believe what she is seeing. To make sure it is her husband, she makes a phone call to him and it is confirmed that the man is her husband. But the second call catches her husband off-guard and alerts him that maybe she knows that he is having an affair. He quickly ends his date with the woman and as they make their way out of the restaurant, Madelyn tries to quickly hide from them inside a liquor store. She sees the two having an argument and the woman is seen crying and going inside the liquor store.
The woman crying is seen asking for a rope and a bottle of liquor. Wondering why a woman would buy a rope, Madelyn who appears to be concerned but also wondering who the woman that her husband has been having an affair with, starts following her back to her apartment complex. And Madelyn becomes persistent, thinking the woman is trying to kill herself and she’s right.
Madelyn convinces the woman named Lucy (portrayed by Leonor Watling) that it is not worth killing herself over a man. And Lucy looks at Madelyn as a woman that saved her life. As the two discuss each other’s business, Lucy is unaware that the man she is having an affair with is Madelyn’s husband, while Madelyn talks about her husband having an affair with a woman.
Madelyn learns from Lucy that she is a struggling actress who has become obsessed with Paul and through their discussion, learning how bad her marriage was, when all this time, she thought things were going perfectly.
And somehow through their discussion, the two women bond and become friends. Lucy feels that she and her new friend should make a new pact, that temporarily, one would make major decisions for the other, so they don’t mess up their lives.
For Madelyn, she knows she can use the time to pull Lucy away from her husband, but also get to learn about her husband from Lucy and how he really felt about her and their marriage. As for Lucy, she feels that Madelyn can make her husband jealous by having an affair of her own to be even.
But the timing for Madelyn couldn’t be any worse. Her mother is dying of dementia and she is awaiting that call that she has passed away, her marriage appears to now be over and to get through her day, she starts drinking heavily that it begins affecting her job.
But when she tells her boss Keith (portrayed by Gary Piquer) that Paul has had an affair, instead of the usual apologetic comment, Keith confesses to Madelyn that he has always loved her and in a heartbeat, will leave his wife Lydia (portrayed by Valerie Mahaffey) if she tells him that they have a chance.
Meanwhile, Lucy keeps calling her of whether or not she should call Paul, but Madelyn tells her that she should wait for Paul’s call, making sure that their relationship grows distant. But when Madelyn begins receiving these calls often, even early in the morning and notices a change of her attitude towards him and her daily routine, he begins to suspect that she is having an affair and it starts to anger him.
One day, as Madelyn is hanging out with Lucy for a theatrical audition for King Lear, Madelyn and her husband get into a heated argument during their phone conversation and somehow Madelyn ends up getting hired for the lead role and becoming a female version of King Lear. Which in essence, keeps her out late and making her husband even more suspicious.
But as Madelyn tries to use this friendship with Lucy to keep her away from her husband, she meets a stranger (portrayed by Aidan Quinn) at the nursing home and somehow these two individuals enjoy talking with each other and have an enjoyable time with each other’s company.
With this complicated life that Madelyn lives, what will she do next?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“if i were you” is presented in 16:9, 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Stereo with closed captioning. Picture quality is very good on DVD, didn’t notice any major compression artifacts and the dialogue and musical soundtrack was clear but is primarily front and center channel driven. I detected no major problems for video or audio during my viewing of the film.
“if i were you” comes with the following special features:
- Cast Interviews – (31:13) Interviews with Marcia Gay Harden, Leonor Watling, Joseph Kell, Aidan Quinn and Michael Therriault.
- Theatrical Trailer – The theatrical trailer for “if i were you”.
Joan Carr-Wiggin’s “if i were you” takes an old concept, of one finding out about their spouse’s affair but giving it a twist with the betrayed wife becoming friends with the mistress.
But I found it more surprising to find award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden with the main character role for a comedy, after decades of playing serious, dramatic roles.
If anything, Marcia has proven her versatility as an actress but with this film, it’s showing her ability to play something unique to her career and that is a playing a wife who can pull of the dramatic role of losing her mother and now losing a husband, but also a comedic role of being a friend to the mistress but somehow carrying on with life with anger, affecting her job but also winning the lead role to a theatrical play, accidentally.
The film plays off like an “odd couple” of Madelyn, a serious, business wife and Lucy, the sexually-driven, naive mistress, bad model and actress. But despite Madelyn hanging out with Lucy to have her steer clear from her husband, it’s having someone to talk to during her most difficult time that keeps her from associating with her than going all-mad-as-hell towards her. And the result of this new friendship is now making her husband jealous (because he thinks that Madelyn is having an affair behind his back) but most of all, letting her know how her husband and others have perceived of her.
But the primary positive of the film is Marcia Gay Harden’s versatility as an actress and to be truthful, the film benefits because of her ability to switch from dramatic to comedy, drunk to angry and we get to see the actress give a wonderful performance despite the film having scenes that seem unevenly paced, some scenes you wished had music (as the film had a little of that Nora Ephron-flair) to enlighten the mood. If anything, the film seems like a wild dream sequence but for the most part, I did enjoy the film and found it charming.
Overall, Joan Carr-Wiggin’s “if i were you” is a comedy that rides on the shoulders of Marcia Gay Harden’s acting performance. It’s not a great film but it’s an enjoyable and charming film worth watching.
“Monsuno” is a fun and entertaining animated series that has similarities to shows such as “Pokemon” or “Digimon” but a unique story that ties in with their toy merchandise line very well. An animated series that parents (who are young at heart) will enjoy watching with their children, “Monsuno: Power” is recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2011 Pacific Animation Partners, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Monsuno: Power
DURATION: Episodes 6-10 (110 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: Color, NTSC, English Dolby Digital 2.0
COMPANY: Jakks Pacific, dentsu, Fremantle Media Enterprises, Topps, Shout Factory
RATED: TV Y7 FV
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Director: Yoshiaki Okumura
Produced By: Jared Wolfson, Yukio Kusumoto
Producer: Chapman Maddox
Associate Producer: Joh Hudson, Yuichi Kinishita
Story Editor: Michael Ryan
Character Design: Yuichiro Hayashi
Creature Design: Designmate
Animation Creature Design: Hiroto Kato
Creature Design Director: Takaaki Hirayama, Masahiko Okura, Hiroto Kato
Art Director: Tomoko Iwasa
Mecha / Prop Design: Yasuhiro Moriki
Background Director: Shigemi Ikeda
Background Art: Shigemi Ikeda
Music by Michael Taera
Cinematography by Naoki Serizawa
Edited by Masaki Sakamoto
Casting by Rene Veilleux
Featuring the following voice talent:
Cam Clark as Chase
Christopher Smith as Bren
Karen Strassman as Jinja
Keith Silverstein as Dax
Kirk Thornton as Beyal
The Monsuno series is a high-octane epic action-adventure series where kids discover, command and battle creatures with tremendous destructive potential. When a race to harness the power of Monsuno ensues between a group of teenagers and evil forces focused on destroying the Earth, the adolescents spring into action to defend our planet! Built around powerful, action-driven animation, dynamic characters and a deeply woven original story mythology
The adventures continue in the second “Monsuno” DVD as Chase Suno, Jinja, Bren and Beyal search for Chase’s father, meanwhile Commandant Marshall Charlemagne continues to pursue them. But the group meet a cocky individual named Dax, but is he friend or foe?
Find out in the episodes 5-10 of of “Monsuno”!
What is Monsuno?
In Japan is known for having popular series that revolved around its product merchandise! From “Pokemon”, “Digimon”, “B-Daman”, “Bakugan” and many others.
But in America, replicating that success would have to feature toys that are fun to play and characters that children can identify with and also lead them to buying the merchandise in stores.
One of popular toys that have made it onto store shelves with a lot of buzz is “Monsuno” and for its animated series, we are seeing the collaboration between American and Japanese companies with the involvement of Dentsu, Jakks Pacific, FremantleMedia Enterprises and Topps.
“Monsuno” (also known as “Jusen Batoru Monsuno” or “Beast Rotation Battle Monsuno” in Japan) is directed by Yoshiaki Okumura (“Eyeshield 21″, “Dragon Drive”, “Eien no Aseria”), featuring character designs by Yuichiro Hayashi (“Soten Koro”, “PES: Peace Eco Smile”) and art direction by Shigemi Ikeda (“Bokurano”, “Basilisk”, “Gantz”, “Afro Samurai”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”, “InuYasha”).
Premiering on Nicktoons in the U.S. with a total of 26-episodes shown, “Monsuno” will receive its first DVD release (titled “Monsuno: Destiny”) courtesy of Shout Factory featuring the first five episodes.
“Monsuno” revolves around three teenagers: Chase Suno, Jinja and Bren. As all three are adventure-seeking individuals, both Jinja and Bren help Chase look for his father Jeredy Suno who has gone missing in the Himalayas.
When they arrive to S.T.O.R.M. lab, the place looks like it has received major damage but inside is Jon Ace, a man that Chase is familiar with. Jon tells Chase that his father left him something inside a sealed door but the only way to get access is through his handprint. When Jon puts his hand on the panel the door opens to reveal a a Monsuno Glowblade with a computer featuring a special message for his son. But once Chase grabs the GlowBlade, Charlemagne, the commander of S.T.O.R.M. has his soldiers hold Chase and friends by gunpoint and for them to give up the GlowBlade since it belongs to S.T.O.R.M.
But Chase refuses and when things go for the worse, Chase thinks about the message that his father left and so Chase throws the Monsuno GlowBlade to the ground and upon contact, a big Monsuno monster comes out. Nearly invincible Chase and friends run away. As the big white monster pretty much chases all soldiers of S.T.O.R.M. out of the building, including Chase and friends, thinking that Chase and friends have lost the big white monster, the monster finds them immediately.
But to their surprise, the big white monster, which Chase gives the name “Lock” is friendly to them. The computer message left by Chase’s father explains that he discovered Monsuno DNA that has been around since before mankind. And by using the DNA of other animals, he was able to create the Monsuno. In Lock’s case, he is a hybrid of a polar bear, gorilla and tiger But with this technology, he wants to keep it out of the hands of S.T.O.R.M. Also, learning that the GlowBlade is where the Monsuno lives and where it heals.
But just as Chase and friends think they have escaped from S.T.O.R.M., the evil company manages to find them and each time, a battle between S.T.O.R.M’s Monsuno vs. Chase’s Lock are engaged in battle.
Eventually in the next two episodes, we see how Bren and Jinja end up getting their own Monsuno, plus the trio learn how important it is to trust the right people because not only is S.T.O.R.M. after Locke, as well as the Monsuno, but other evil antagonists are after it as well.
Can Chase and friends find his father in time? And will he and his friends be able to master the Monsuno in battle?
In “Monsuno: Power”, as the group have traveled to Mandala and met a young controller named Beyal, S.T.O.R.M. tries to set-up a blockade to prevent Team Core-Tech to leave Mandala. Meanwhile, Beyal reveals through meditation that there will be a fifth member to join them. While Chase is determined in finding his brother, Jinja starts to have a crush on Beyal and Bren starts to be disappointed that others are joining the group.
The episodes featured in “Monsuno: Power” are the following (spoilerless summaries):
- EPISODE 6 – Breakthrough – As the group try to leave Mandala, S.T.O.R.M. tries to prevent the group from leaving.
- EPISODE 7 – R.S.V.P. – As the group head to the Lowlands, the group run into a cocky controller named Dax and Chase goes against him.
- EPISODE 8 – Appleseeds – The group continue on to the Lowlands to follow Dax, but can they trust him?
- EPISODE 9 – Eye – Dax joins the team, but no one trusts him.
- EPISODE 10 – Deceit – Dax joins the group and Chase wonders if the fifth member should be Dax.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Monsuno” is an interesting animated series because right off the bat, it looks like an anime series but the character designs seem a bit different from most anime television series and that is probably because the studio was focusing on making the series look and feel like an anime but with a western animated feel. Character and monster designs are well animated and the art backgrounds look well-detailed and look very good on DVD.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and is front channel driven and English dialogue is clear and well-acted.
“Monsuno: Power” comes with short video profiles for Dr. Klipse and Jinja.
The group continues to grow with the addition of Beyal and Dax in the latest episodes of “Monsuno”!
“Monsuno” is an entertaining animated series featuring a joint-collaboration between American and Japanese companies and literally a series that helps promote the toyline courtesy of Jakks Pacific.
While the series has the feel of “Pokemon”, what makes the series so different is that the main protagonists are older teenagers and they tend to get themselves into trouble often. The series is action-packed but also tied to their toyline, so the teenagers are often seen throwing their “Monsuno” capsules to release them.
While I’m not sure how the toys are, since the debut of the first DVD, I’ve been seeing a lot of “Monsuno” toys on the shelves, so I’m guessing the series has a dedicated audience.
“Monsuno” is also diverse as it features a Japanese (or Japanese American) protagonist with Chase Suno, Jinja is an independent, intelligent and kick-butt female protagonist and while Bren does a lot of whining, he makes up for it with his excellent computer skills. “Monsuno: Power” adds Beyal and Dax, two individuals who are also of a different race and adds to the diverse cast of the animated series so far.
My 10-year-old son is a big Pokemon fan but immediately after watching these five episodes, he was really getting into the series and wanted to check out the “Monsuno” toys immediately after watching. The whole concept of tossing your GlowBlade toy with a Monsuno coming out is quite interesting and I have no doubt that this series will appeal to children who will most likely ask their parents to purchase them the toys.
So far, the first five episodes of the series have been enjoyable but for parents who are wondering if the series is safe for their children, I would recommend it for older children.
The monsters may seem scar to younger children and the fact that Chase and friends are constantly being chased down by soldiers with weapons and they do get injured at times, while not super violent, parents may want to watch the series with their child to see if its right for them. But no doubt, I know that with these episodes alone, more than likely like my child, your children will be wanting the toys.
As for the DVD, while I prefer watching the series as a full complete season versus a five episode DVD release, I can only hope that Shout Factory does plan to release the whole series as a full set, otherwise, one will probably have to purchase several volumes just to complete a season.
Overall, “Monsuno” is a fun and entertaining animated series that has similarities to shows such as “Pokemon” or “Digimon” but a unique story that ties in with their toy merchandise line very well. An animated series that parents (who are young at heart) will enjoy watching with their children, me and my son really enjoyed “Monsuno” and look forward to the next DVD release.
“Monsuno: Power” is recommended!
“Private Practice” was an a good season and as a longtime viewer, this series has really played out like an emotional roller coaster, with episodes that were exciting, shocking, emotional and some even frustrating. But everything has come full circle with this sixth and final season. If you are a fan of “Private Practice” and have watched every season thus far, Private Practice – The Complete Sixth and Final Season” is recommended!
© ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Private Practice – The Complete Sixth and Final Season
YEAR AIRED: 2012-2013
DURATION: 13 Episodes (559 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Spanish and French Subtitles, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
COMPANY: abc studios
RATED: TV 14 DSLV
RELEASE DATE: May 7, 2013
Created by Shonda Rhimes
Directed by Mark Tinker, Michael Zinberg, James Frawley and Tom Verica
Written by Shonda Rhimes, Jon Cowan, Robert L. Rovner, Ayanna Floyd, Michael Ostrowski, Lauren Scmidt, Craig Turk, Steve Blackman
Executive Producer: Shonda Rhimes, Mark Tinker, Betsy Beers
Producer: Lauren Schmidt
Co-Producer: Scott Printz
Music by Chad Fischer
Cinematography by Lex DuPont
Editing by Christal Khatib, Noah Pontell
Casting by John Brace, Linda Lowy
Series Production Design by Richard C. Hankins
Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery
KaDee Strickland as Dr. Charlotte King
Paul Adelstein as Dr. Cooper Freedman
Amy Brennerman as Dr. Violet Turner
Audra McDonald as Dr. Naomi Bennett
Taye Diggs as Dr. Sam Bennett
David Sutcliffe as Officer Kevin Nelson
Brian Benben as Dr. Sheldon Wallace
Benjamin Bratt as Dr. Jake Reilly
Caterina Scorsone as Dr. Amelia Shepherd
Matt Long as Dr. James Peterson
Griffin Gluck as Mason Warner
Justina Machado as Stephanie Kemp
Prepare yourself for the stunning no holds barred final season of television’s most seductive medical drama from the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes. Feel the passion and relive the heartbreaking moments from every episode of ABC’s Private Practice: The Complete Sixth Season. The tight knit family at Seaside Health and Wellness is in for a huge shakeup as a new doctor arrives in the wake of a devastating loss; meanwhile, Addison makes a heart-wrenching choice between Jake and Sam; and more changes are in store for Cooper and Charlotte who discover that life’s biggest events come in threes. Lastly, Sheldon finds true happiness in the midst of a traumatic personal challenge. Experience all 13 episodes complete with never-before-seen bonus features on ABC’s Private Practice: The Complete Sixth Season!
For fans of “Private Practice”, The sixth and final season of “Private Practice” features a story about tragedy, dealing with tragedy, a new chapter in the lives of those at Oceanside Wellness Center. The season also provides closure for fans who wonder how these characters will fare in the final season!
What is “Private Practice”?
In 2007, Shonda Rhimes (creator/executive producer of “Grey’s Anatomy” and writer of “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement”) developed a spin-off of “Grey’s Anatomy” titled “Private Practice” based on the life of Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh). For the most part, “Private Practice” Season One lasted about nine episodes and received a so/so reception from fans.
For the second season, viewers were promised a much more exciting season and sure enough, Shondra Rhimes and crew were able to take the series to different heights this time around.
The premise of the series is that Dr. Addison Montgomery has left Seattle Grace Hospital and moved to California to work for a private practice, Oceanside Wellness Center. In the first season, Dr. Addison Montgomery had to win the respect of her fellow doctors and relationships were examined in the first season.
In the second season, Oceanside Wellness Center is not exactly in the best circumstances as the center faces major financial problems, a new rival practice trying to steal their clients, more relationship problems and drama, cross-over episodes with “Grey’s Anatomy” and to cap things off, a dark and twisted season finale that viewers were probably not expecting.
For the third season, “Private Practice” was all about personal challenges and taking things up a notch. For Addison, we know that her promiscuity comes from her father and she knows she has to deal with it. This season, she finds herself in more complication situations and also having to decide where she stands with Pete and Sam.
Naomi is also put into an interesting situation as her move to another center tests her friendship with Addison but also her business/personal relationships with the men she works with. But most of all, she’s tested as a mother, with a teenager who is growing up.
Violet and Pete must take on many challenges after Violet has suffered a major attack and now, not sure where she is in her life after the attack and having to give up her baby and making Pete a single father. Cooper and Charlotte’s relationship is tested and as volatile as a couple, they are also in love but have a difficult time showing it.
Last season, Dr. Addison Montgomery and Dr. Sam Bennet kept their relationship secret, meanwhile Dr. Peter Wilder and Dr. Violet Turner grew closer in their relationship, as with Dr. Cooper Freedman and Dr. Charlotte King. Also, the season featured Dr. Amelia Shepherd moving in with Dr. Addison Montgomery and the season ended with tragedy as Dell and Myra were in car accident and while Myra and her baby survived, Dell died from his injuries.
For “Private Practice – The Complete Fourth Season”, the doctors recover from the death of Dell, meanwhile they must decide what to do with his daughter. Meanwhile, couples get married, a couple breaks up and as their is one joyous occasion, there is also heartbreak as one of the doctors is raped and beaten savagely, one of the doctor’s may lose her license and one suffers a heart attack.
And here we are now with “Private Practice – The Complete Fifth Season” as Addison and Sam continue their sexual relationship but things start to change when Addison wants to have a child. Meanwhile, Pete dealing with PTSD after his heart attack, must deal with his spiteful emotions towards his wife Violet, as he can’t stop himself from yelling at her.
Meanwhile, as Cooper and Charlotte try to adjust to their married life, Cooper is visited by a woman he had a one night stand with and finds out that she gave birth to a child. And now this eight-year-old child Mason may not have a mother, because her cancer has spread.
Meanwhile, Amelia is drinking and doing drugs once again, Sheldon is still Sheldon but now we have a new doctor at the practice as Dr. Jake Reilly joins the practice and it appears that perhaps he and Addison still have some unfinished business.
And with the finale of season 5, Pete is locked up for trying to help a doctor/patient assisted suicide and Amelia crashed down so hard with her addiction that she needed to get the help necessary. Meanwhile, we were left wondering which man will Addison pick… Sam or Jake?
With the sixth and final season, the series begins four months later with Pete missing his court date. Did he jet off to another country to avoid being imprisoned? Meanwhile, Cooper and Charlotte receive news that they are having triplets, but Charlotte is not so thrilled about it.
Meanwhile, as Violet tries to wonder where Pete had gone, Addison is shown to have chosen Jake, Sam tries to deal with rejection and wondering if he can ever be friends with her. Amelia has become sober, but is also being pursued by the new doctor James Peterson. And Sheldon’s health takes a turn for the worse.
What will happen to these individuals by season finale? Find out by watching “Private Practice – The Complete Sixth and Final Season”.
“Private Practice” focuses on the following main characters:
Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “The Drew Carey Show”) - A doctor at Seattle’s Grace Hospital and was married to Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey, “Grey’s Anatomy”) but had an affair with his best friend, Dr. Mark Sloan (Eric Dane, “Grey’s Anatomy”) and thus ruined her marriage. Thus leaving to Los Angeles and joining a private practice. Addison was dating Dr. Dam Bennet and is now in a relationship with Dr. Jake Reilly.
Dr. Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs. “Day Break”, “Kevin Hill”, “Grey’s Anatomy”) - Known to the other doctors as “Doctor Feelgood”, Sam is a founding partner of Oceanside Wellness Center and is an internist. Was dating Dr. Addison Montgomery but after their breakup, their friendship is not the same. Currently dating Stephanie Kemp.
Dr. Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Judging Amy”, “Frasier”) – A psychiatrist at Oceanside Wellness Center. Married to Dr. Pete Wilder and in the process of divorce with Dr. Pete Wilder.
Dr. Cooper Freedman (Paul Adelstein, “Prison Break”, “Hack”) - The pediatrician at Oceanside Wellness Center and is the private practice’s pediatrician. Married to Dr. Charlotte King and trying to prepare in becoming a father of several children. He tries to balance his personal time with both Violet (as a friend) and Dr. Charlotte King.
Dr. Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland, “The Grudge”, “The Wedding Bells”, “American Gangster”) - The Chief of Staff at St. Ambrose Hospital in Santa Monica. She helps open Pacific Wellcare, a competition to Oceanside Wellness Center. She is also married to Dr. Cooper Freedman and is known for being a cold-person. In Season 6, Charlotte finds out she will be pregnant with triplets and is not taking it so well.
Dr. Sheldon Wallace (Brian Benben, “The Brian Benben Show”, Dream On”) – A psychiatrist who is often busy dealing with his patients but finds out that he has cancer.
Dr. Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone, “1-800-Missing”) – Sister of Dr. Derek Shepherd (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and a surgeon. Also, a recovering drug addict who is being pursued by the new doctor, James Peterson.
Dr. Jake Reilly (Benjamin Bratt, “Law & Order”, “Miss Congeniality”, “Catwoman”) – A general surgeon and OB/GYN who specializes in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. He and Addison are currently dating.
Dr. James Peterson (Matt Long, “Ghost Rider”, “Reflections”, “Homecoming”) – A new physician at Ocean Wellness Center who wants a relationship with Dr. Amelia Shepherd.
“Private Practice – The Complete Sixth Season” features 13 episodes on three DVD discs. Here are spoilerless summaries for each episode:
- EPISODE 99 – Aftershock – Four months have past and Pete has skipped out on bail and is missing, Addison chooses Jake over Sam and their friendship, Charlotte finds out that she is pregnant with triplets and Amelia has been sober for a year. But not all is good when one of their own is found dead.
- EPISODE 100 – Mourning Sickness - Charlotte tries to continue with what Pete had wanted in his will, meanwhile Addison receives a call in regards to Mark Sloan.
- EPISODE 101 – Good Grief – Addison grieves over Mark’s death but does not know how to tell Jake about her past. Amelia tries to help Violet who is having to take grief counseling.
- EPISODE 102 – You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone – Dr. James Peterson is hired to replace Pete, meanwhile a girl has gone missing at the hospital.
- EPISODE 103 – The Next Episode – Sam is asked to take part in a reality show pilot based on his life. And Sam mom comes to town.
- EPISODE 104 – Apron Strings - Addison is worried when Henry’s biological mother comes back and James works on a patient who has connections to Addison.
- EPISODE 105 – The World According to Jake – What happens when Jake proposes to Addison and James continues to pursue Amelia.
- EPISODE 106 – Life Support – Charlotte is upset that Cooper did not keep her pregnancy a secret and both argue what religion the triplets will practice. But what happens when Addison is forced to deliver one of the triplets at 26 weeks?
- EPISODE 107 – I’m Fine- Sheldon tells his ex-wife about his cancer. While doing chemo, Sheldon believes that his patient may have kidnapped the girl that went missing (in episode 102).
- EPISODE 108 – Georgia On My Mind - Charlotte is put on bed rest and both Charlotte and Cooper can’t agree on the names of their new baby.
- EPISODE 109 – Good Fries Are Hard To Come By - Amelia and James go on dates but will they have a relationship together?
- EPISODE 110 – Full Release – Charlotte goes into labor but with the first baby being delivered fine, the second baby is turned to its side and Addison must try to save the baby.
- EPISODE 111 – In Which We Say Goodbye – The final episode. What will happen to Addison and Jake? What will happen to Sam, especially when Naomi returns? How will Cooper deal with being a stay at home father? Will Amelia and James’ relationship last? And how will Sheldon deal with the final days of Miranda’s life? And what new book does Violet have planned?
“Private Practice – The Complete Sixth and Final Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 televisions. In the past, part of the cool look that “Private Practice” had was this slick California look and many shots outdoors. For the final season, a lot of the shots are shot indoor. Indoor scenes are well-lit and during the low-light scenes, you do see a bit of noise but compared to other drama series on television, the series is above average in terms of picture quality on DVD.
As for audio, “Private Practice – The Complete Sixth and Final Season” is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Dialogue and music is crystal clear, while surround channels are not too active and is a dialogue/music driven soundtrack coming from the center and front channels. The show is presented with English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
“Private Practice – The Complete Sixth and Final Season” includes the following special features:
- Deleted Scenes – Featuring 21deleted scenes from season six of “Private Practice”.
- Bloopers – (3:08) “Private Practice” season 6 outtakes.
“Private Practice – The Complete Sixth and Final Season” comes with a slip cover.
Having watched “Private Practice” all these years, the show has had its ups and downs. While the storyline was bogged down by a circle of friends who would date another friend after a breakup, I worried at times that this series was not going to get any better because it was stuck after season two.
While season 2-4 really tried to shock viewers with their season finales, while , “Private Practice” had to stake a step back and bring some realism once again and focus on the character dynamics, relationships and exploring the characters one last time. It was known that some of the actors were not planning on coming back but with a shortened six season, while Tim Daly departed from the show, I was happy to see that Kate Walsh would stay for the final season.
So, what are my thoughts on season six.
I guest the best way to explain it in one word is “closure”.
These characters have been put through so many traumatic experiences that I was happy to see less of that and to focus on a somewhat brighter storyline and end things on a much more positive note. The season’s focal point was Cooper and Charlotte having triplets, while the first few episodes focused on Violet getting over Pete’s death, while the latter episodes focused on other storylines based on relationships.
Addison and Jake discussing how to keep Henry and strengthening their relationship. Amelia and the newest doctor, James Peterson. While Sam, Violet and Sheldon each have their own situation personal situations to deal with. Will any of them find love? While most of the storyline of the series played it safe, as to give their characters some closure, there is an interesting storyline that deals with a patient of Sheldon’s but also a young girl who had gone missing.
If anything, the sixth and final season of “Private Practice” played things quite safely this time around. Which is not a bad thing, as people want a positive finale rather than seeing any more characters dead. Making Benjamin Bratt’s Jake Reilly a full-time character was a good choice but also bringing in some new blood with Matt Long as Dr. James Peterson. It’s too bad that the character of James Peterson didn’t come earlier, as it would have made a better buildup between Amanda and James.
Unfortunately, I felt Sam’s character tend to go from one of the primary characters to suddenly a more secondary character with problems with women. At least he received a pretty solid episode this final season, as well as the character of Sheldon.
But overall, I was quite pleased with how the season ended and no doubt that fans will get some closure with the season finale.
As for the DVD box set, you get two special features (“Deleted Scenes” and “Bloopers”) but it would have been nice to have a finale featurette with the talents. Even behind-the-scenes footage of the final taping. For a show that has gone on for six years with a lot of fans invested in it, you kind of expect these special features for a series finale.
Overall, “Private Practice” was an a good season and as a longtime viewer, this series has really played out like an emotional roller coaster, with episodes that were exciting, shocking, emotional and some even frustrating. But everything has come full circle with this sixth and final season.
If you are a fan of “Private Practice” and have watched every season thus far, Private Practice – The Complete Sixth and Final Season” is recommended!
For eight years, anime fans have waited for the conclusion of “InuYasha” which last aired back in 2004. Here we are now in 2013 and the final 13 episodes of the series is here! The conclusion to Rumiko Takahashi’s “InuYasha” and the confrontation and battle that many have been waiting for! “InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2″ is highly recommended!
© Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
DVD TITLE: InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2
DURATION: 315 minutes (13 Episodes on 2 discs)
DVD INFORMATION: Original Uncut Episodes, Stereo, Bilingual (Japanese and English), English Subtitles
COMPANY: Viz Media
RELEASE DATE: February 12, 2013
Originally created by Rumiko Takahashi
Director: Yasunao Aoiki
Series Composition by Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Music by Kaoru Wada
Character Design: Yoshihito Hishinuma
Art Director: Shigemi Ikeda
Anime Production: Sunrise
Featuring the following voice talent:
Kappei Yamaguchi/Richard Ian Cox (Inuyasha)
Satsuki Yukino/Kira Tozer (Kagome Higurashi)
Kouji Tsujitani/Kirby Morrow (Miroku)
Ken Narita/David Kaye (Sesshoumaru)
Houko Kwashima/Kelly Sheridan (Sango)
Kumiko Watanabe/Jillian Michaels (Shippo)
Toshiyuki Morikawa/Paul Dobson (Naraku)
Noriko Hidaka/Willow Johnson (Kikyo)
Taiki Matsuno/Scott McNeil (Koga)
Izumi Oogami/Janyse Jaud (Kagura)
Kagome finds her worlds colliding as she struggles to both fight alongside Inuyasha in the past and pass the exam to get into her high school of choice in the present. But with her spiritual powers sealed away, how will she purify the Shikon Jewel before Naraku can absorb it forever? As the battle enters its final stages, Inuyasha and his friends find their strength, loyalties and will to live pushed to impossible limits. And in the end, the final key to Naraku’s and the Jewel’s destruction may lie in nothing more-and nothing less-than the trust between a half demon and a girl from the future.
It’s the final 13 episodes of “InuYasha”. For over a decade, many fans have been waiting for the final battle between InuYasha and friends versus Naraku, but also the long awaited battle between the brothers, InuYasha and Sesshomaru and more!
The thrilling conclusion that fans have been waiting for is featured in “InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2″!
What is “InuYasha”?
There are not many long running anime series that I find wonderful but for “InuYasha”" is one of those special titles that is what you can call a total package. Cool characters, cool storyline, cool animation, cool art background… A good balance of everything that you can want in an anime.
But it’s something that I expected no less coming from a manga series from Rumiko Takahashi, one of my favorite manga-ka’s in Japan known for anime TV series hits such as “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2″ and “InuYasha”.
In Japan, Takahashi has written 56 volumes for “InuYasha” (which began in 1996 and concluded in 2008) and the first 167 episodes aired on Yomiuri TV from 2000-2004. As many long anime series go on break in order for the mangaka to work on the manga series or the animators create a story on their own that is different from the manga, fortunately the anime series was put on hold for several years in order to have Takahashi finish the series.
By 2009, the second series “InuYasha: The Final Act” (26-episodes) began airing on Yomiuri TV from Oct. 2009 through March 2010 and now will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Viz Media with the first 13 episodes slated for release in November 2012.
“InuYasha: The Final Act” is based on the last 21 volumes of the manga series. The original staff and cast of the series returned for this final season and would feature the continuing storyline of InuYasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango, Shippo and Kirara searching for the final fragments of the shattered shikon jewel and prepare for their final battle against Naraku.
In the first half of the series, InuYasha and friends to all they can to find the remaining final shards but so is Naraku. The fight against Naraku continues as one character is killed and another uses power to the maximum to the point of nearly killing themselves. Meanwhile, one confesses their love and in the process, their power grows.
In the second half of the series, it has all come down to the battle that fans have waited over a decade for…InuYasha and friends vs. the evil Naraku, who has gathered and reunited shards of the Shikon Jewel and is about to make his wish for ultimate power.
But before then, we get to see the battle between InuYasha vs. Sesshomaru to see which is worthy of wielding their father’s fang of destruction. Meanwhile, Naraku enables Magatsuhi to manifest as a demon and create havoc on the group. And the real true nature of the Shinkon Jewel is explained!
And one final battle in which Kagome must make the correct decision to make things right!
“InuYasha: The Final Act” features the following characters:
InuYasha – The half demon/half human who drawn a liking towards the human Priestess Kikyo and has some feelings for Kagome but his ego prevents him from saying anything about his emotions. Has the ability to leap far distances, has quite a few special attacks including claws that can cut through anything. Also, wields his father’s sword, Tetsusaiga. His goal is to take control of the Jewel of Four Souls to turn into a demon. Wears a necklace that forces him to listen to a single command from Kagome. When Kagome says “sit”, he drops or literally is thrown down to the ground harshly. He and Kagome are constantly bickering. In the first day of each month, he resorts back to human form. Later in the series, Kikoyo has been awakened and thus his feelings are split for both Kikyo and Kagome. Meanwhile, he does not get along with his brother Sesshomaru because he is half demon and because he possesses the family heirloom.
Kagome Higurashi - A high school student who is a reincarnation of Kikyo. Carries a bow and arrow as a weapon but a human who has the ability to go back to her time period through a well in her home and a well in the feudal period. Has conflicted emotions towards InuYasha but always caring for other people. Has the ability to control InuYasha by a special bead necklace on InuYasha that forces him to listen. She has the ability to sense and see the jewels and the shards from long distances or on a monster. She cares a lot for InuYasha.
Shippo – A young orphan fox. Human in appearance with a big fox tail. His father was killed by a demon and eventually gets himself into trouble while trying to obtain the crystal shards to become powerful and get revenge on the demons that killed his father. He has nowhere to go and is eventually taken in by InuYasha and Kagome.
Miroku – A Buddhist monk who travels the countryside and performs exorcisms. He’s a bit lecherous and likes to take people’s belongings and sell them for a profit. But his goal is to find the evil Naruku who has taken Miroku’s right hand and given him the power of “wind tunnel”, a powerful ability that can suck anything into a black hole like void in his hand. The hole is growing and eventually he will be sucked into it unless he finds the person who cursed him with it and gets his life back. He eventually travels with Kagome, InuYasha and Shippo in search of Naraku. Later in the series, Miroku and Sango fall in love with each other and in “Final Act”, Miroku will do all he can to protect her.
Sango – Sango is a demon slayer who’s family was slayed by demons. The person responsible is Naraku, thus joins Kagome, InuYasha, Shippo and Miroku to go after him. Her main weapon is a large boomerang that is powerful and able to cut monsters in half. In the beginning, she was always being hit on by Miroku but eventually, she begins to fall for him. Sango is often seen accompanying her faithful demon-cat companion, Kirara.
Sesshoumaru – The brother of InuYasha. A demon who can’t stand InuYasha because he’s half demon and half human and blames their father for being so weak and trying to protect a human. The two despise each other and twice in season one, he and InuYasha fight to the death. Has the ability to turn into a white wolf and much stronger and ruthless than InuYasha.
Kikyo – The Priestess who used to wear the Jewel of Four Souls. Cared for InuYasha but believed he is the one that fatally injured her. In season 1, she is brought back to life as an undead and wants her revenge against InuYasha.
Kaede - The sister of Kikyo, she is shown in past clips of Kikyo as a young little girl but currently she is 50+ years older, wears an eye patch and assists InuYasha and Kagome with information in their missions when they need her.
Naraku – The main evil antagonist who has manipulated everyone in order to get his hands on the crystal shards. Very evil demon who is responsible for Kikyo’s death, Miroku’s curse and the death of Sango’s faily. He is driven to become a full demon, possessing a fully corrupted Shikon jewel and possessing Kikyo.:
Kikyo: Continuing from the first season, we learn that Kikyo was brought back to life and driven by her hatred towards InuYasha for deceiving her. Eventually she finds out the true facts about what took place the night she passed away and learns that it was Naraku’s evil work in play to deceive both of them. She vows to get her revenge on Naraku. But to do that, she must stay close with him and thus she pretends to be on Naraku’s side.
Koga: The other important character we are introduced to is Koga, the wolf-demon (episode 36). Koga is the leader of the southern yokai-wolf tribe and has three shards that give him incredible speed and power. He develops a crush on Kagome (especially since she can sense the jewel shards) and thus he and InuYasha are often fighting with each other. Koga wants revenge on Naraku because his tribe was nearly all wiped out because of his deception. Although he is there to help Kagome and even InuYasha, he is on no one side but is their ally.
Kohaku: The younger brother of Sango brought back to life by Naraku (episode 29). Has an impure jewel shard given to him by Naraku that keeps him alive but he has lost all memories of his sister and can easily be used by Naraku to fight against InuYasha and friends. He was eventually freed from Narku’s grasps and became good friends with Rin.
Kagura: Naraku’s creation and second “detachment”. She is a wind sorceress (introduced in episode 40) that is lethal and deadly and has killed many innocents but at the same time, she hates Naraku and wishes to be free of him. Thus she tries to play the hands of InuYasha and possibly use him to kill Naraku.
Rin: An orphan girl who helps nurse Sesshomaru in the woods after he was badly injured in a fight against InuYasha (episode 34). Rin’s family was killed by bandits and so, she has been living alone by having to steal food. She’s mute and but communicates via hand gestures or facial emotions. Because Sesshomaru wields the Tenseiga (which heals), he returns the favor back to the girl after she was killed by wolves. Despite Sesshomaru’s uncaring attitude towards humans, he appears to tolerate her for some reason. Rin shows a loyalty towards him and eventually becomes part of Sesshomaru’s group.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“InuYasha: The Final Act” definitely shows the animated differences from the previous seasons created nearly a decade ago. With today’s use of computers and better utilization of CG and more detailed artwork, “InuYasha: The Final Act” looks better. Not only are art backgrounds much more detailed but you can tell that Sunrise didn’t lax on this TV series, they did a wonderful job in animation and with the art backgrounds and making Rumiko Takashi’s manga series come alive!
As for the audio, audio is presented in 2.0 and both languages are done quite well. The English dubbed seems a bit more clearer and a little louder coming through my front speakers over the Japanese track but overall, it’s a purely dialogue driven anime and there are no 5.1ch tracks, so it’s pretty much a front-channel driven soundtrack. For “Ranma 1/2″ fans, you will see the reunion of Ranma 1/2 voice actor Kappei Yamaguchi (Ranma) return as the voice for InuYasha which was pretty cool and also Noriko Hidaka (“Ranma 1/2″ character Akane) as Kikyo.
“InuYasha: The Final Act” comes with:
- ORIGINAL JAPANESE TRAILER – The Japanese trailer for “InuYasha: The Final Act”
- ORIGINAL CAST CREDITS IN ENGLISH
The final episodes of “InuYasha” have finally been released in America and for many anime fans, the series provided a wonderful conclusion but also an end of a chapter of a series which many people in America have pretty much grown up with for a very long time.
In my case, I discovered “Inu Yasha” not long after it was released in Japan in the mid-90′s via “Weekly Shonen Sunday”. And like many other American fans, watched it when it was broadcast on Adult Swim back in 2002. I can easily remember people dressing up as characters of “Inuyasha”, I still have the first “Inuyasha” PlayStation video game and to keep interest in the series, Viz Media have released the volume sets, the movie collection on Blu-ray and now “The Final Act” both on Blu-ray and DVD.
Having grown up with this series, without spoiling any of the storyline, I will say that the final episodes provide closure to fans. The final battle with Naraku, the explanation of the Shinkon Jewel, the final confrontation between Naruto and his brother Sesshomaru. But most importantly, what happens to these characters afterward. Do the live? Do they die? Do characters hook up?
The finality of the series is explained in “InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2″ and I will leave it at that. Longtime fans of the series will not be disappointed!
I have always felt that when it comes to an anime television series based on a Rumiko Takahashi manga, you really can’t go wrong. May it be “Urusei Yatsura”, “Ranma 1/2″, “Maison Ikkoku”, “One Pound Gospel”, “Mermaid’s Forest”, etc., all are classics in their own right and “InuYasha” will surely join the others as not only as a popular hit manga series but also on of Japan’s popular anime TV series of all time.
There are not too many manga creators who have a lot of their works get the anime adaptation that spawn many films, CD drama series and soundtracks and also a lot of merchandise. For Rumiko Takahashi, she’s had four decades worth of series that have lasted for a long time and even today, fans still crave her works because they can be watched any time and they are good now as they were then.
But when it comes to “InuYasha”, where I’ve had such a strong affinity towards her previous releases and even “Ranma 1/2″, I have to admit, “InuYasha” is a solid series and there was not many episodes that were bland or “OK”, they were all very good and again, there are not many TV series where I want to continue watching nearly every episode in one sitting.
So, everything is fantastic about this series but are there any negatives with this DVD release? Well, I’m sure one can argue that they wish all 26-episodes were released as one volume and some can wish that there were more special features included. But it’s hard to argue since Viz Media has always broken up their DVD’s into volumes and rarely release full collections. And as for special features, while past “InuYasha” collections had some rare swag included in the limited edition releases, pretty much all you’re going to get is a Japanese trailer. Yes, Japan’s DVD release of “InuYasha: The Final Act” received a bonus DVD, a calendar and a DJ CD but Viz Media has not really released limited edition DVD releases for many years now.
But as for the series itself, “InuYasha: The Final Act” is what many people have been waiting for and wanting to see. Characters risking their lives to take down Naraku and a lot of sacrifices that are being made.
These final 13 episodes are it for “InuYasha” and fans will be happy with receiving closure to the series that they had followed for so many years! Trust me, you will enjoy this final half of “The Final Act”.
Overall, If you are an “InuYasha” fan… “InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2″ is highly recommended!
With the release of “Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes”, the episodes are pretty fun as the theme is pretty much about animals and Team Umizoomi having to help the animals return to their owner or back home. But if anything, you get four fun, educational episodes that your young children will absolutely love!
© 2013 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. NICKELODEON, NICK JR., TEAM UMIZOOMI and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. TM, ® & Copyright © 2011 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes
DURATION: 4 Episodes (91 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: Full Screen, Dolby Digital
RATED: NOT RATED
RELEASE DATE: May 14, 2013
Written by Soo Kim, Michael Smith, O. Kevin Strader, Brian L. Perkins, Jennifer Twomey, Jeff Borkin, Sascha Paladino, Clark Stubbs
Produced by Soo Kim, Michael Smith
Executive Producer: Jennifer Twomey
Co-Executive Producer: Soo Kim
Associate Producer: Max Goodman
Supervising Producer: Michael Smith
Coordinating Producer: Amy Steinberg
Edited by Dave Courter, Anthony V. Orkin, Morgan-William Turner
Series Production by Linda Beck, Bruce Knapp
Featuring the voices of:
Ethan Kempner as Geo
Donovan Patton as Bot
Sophia Fox/Madeleine Rose Yen as Milli
Team up with Team Umizoomi on four fantastic animal missions! Help Milli, Geo, and Bot get Purple Monkey to his new Monkey Jungle home at the zoo, rescue Buster the dog at a construction site, fix the Cuckoo Bears’ clock, and find all of Farmer Dan’s missing animals!
Can you help Milli, Geo and Bot take part in missions to help animals? Find out in the latest children’s DVD “Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes”.
In 2010, Nickelodeon unveiled their new educational and animated children’s TV series titled “Team Umizoomi” and now the latest DVD has been released.
“Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes” features Milli, Geo and Bot as they use their math powers to save the day! Featuring three episodes that help children in number identification, shape matching, measurement and more!
What is “Team Umizoomi”?
For those not familiar with “Team Umizoomi”, it is a children’s series that helps with their decision making, identification and math, “Team Umizoomi” takes place in Umi City where Milli, Geo and Bot would help people solve their problems by going on adventures and utilizing their Mighty Math Powers to keep Umi City running smoothly.
Six-year-old Milli Umi is known for her math skills, patterns and measuring and can change her dress to any pattern by singing her song “Pattern Power”. Her 5-year-old brother Geo loves to ride his Super Skates but also has math abilities and knows his shapes and he wears a shape belt that can create anything shape-based while singing his song “Super Shapes”.
Together they team up with their 32-year-old robot “Bot” who loves to sing and dance and his Belly Belly Belly Screen is how Team Umizoomi are able to communicate with the real world and friends who are in need.
Included on this “Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes” DVD are:
- Purple Monkey Mission – Team Umizoomi visits the zoo and find out that the zoo is bringing a baby purple monkey. But the monkey has fallen off the truck and is in the wrong exhibit. Can you help Team Umizoomi bring the baby purple monkey back to the right exhibit?
- Buster the Lost Dog – Team Umizoomi join Anna and her brown puppy, Buster and watch him sit, jump and fetch. But during a game of fetch, Buster accidentally jumps into a blue truck which leaves the park. Can you help Team Umizoomi bring Buster back to Anna?
- Cuckoo Bears - Team Umizoomi comes to watch the mechanical band of bears “Cuckoo Bears” at the park but when wind causes problems for the bear’s gears, the gears come off and are lost and the Cuckoo Bears lose their power. Can you help Team Umizoomi find them and return the gears back to the Cuckoo Bears.
- Animal School House! – Team Umizoomi has to help Farmer Dan who has lost ten of his farm animals that wandered off to Umi City School. Can you help Team Umizoomi find the animals and return them?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes” is fully rendered in CG with occasional appearances by real life kids who interact with the team. The series is presented in full screen format and the DVD is presented in Dolby Digital English Stereo. There are no subtitles but Closed Captions are included.
The series is among the newer series on “Nick Jr.” and is vibrant with colors and for the most part, PQ is very good! In fact, it’s probably the most detailed animated children’s show on television right now.
As for audio, dialogue is easily clear and had no problems with video or audio during my viewing of the four episodes.
“Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes” comes with no special features.
“Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes” comes with a double-sided sheet about drawing shapes, learning patterns, counting and more!
It’s time for a brand new “Team Umizoomi” DVD for the little ones and what best than to have animal-themed episodes on DVD!
“Team Umizoomi” is a children’s animated series that has been getting a lot of buzz by many parents due to its colorful and detailed presentation, its music and for being educational and a lot of fun. Math is the series’ biggest feature, which is wonderful for the younger children who are learning math for the first time!
And it’s about time that Nickelodeon showcased a newer educational series (which I have to say, looks very awesome in character design and detailed colorful art backgrounds) that focuses primarily on math but also helping children in making decisions with the choices presented to them in each episode. So, children will learn about numbers, shapes, counting, patterns and more!
With the release of “Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes”, the episodes are pretty fun as the theme is pretty much about animals and Team Umizoomi having to help the animals return to their owner or back home. But if anything, you get four fun, educational episodes that your young children will absolutely love!
Overall, your young children will love this entertaining and colorful series and parents who want to encourage their children in learning math!
If you are a parent looking for an educational DVD that is math-driven, “Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes” is highly recommended!