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Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise” is another hilarious, crazy and fun special from the crew of “Robot Chicken”.  For the DC Comics fans who grew up with these characters in the past and for those reading the comic books in the present, to the “Robot Chicken” fans who love the series no matter which characters they feature, “Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise” is worth checking out!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise

TV SERIES AIR DATE: 2014

DURATION: 22 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Full Screen, Dolby Digital English Stereo

COMPANY: Adult Swim

RATED:  TV MA

RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2014

Directed by Seth Green

Written by Matthew Ireland Beans, Mike Fasolo, Douglas Goldstein, Seth Green, Geoff Johns, Breckin Meyer, Tom Root, Matthew Senreich, Kevin Shinick, Zeb Wells

Executive Produced by Seth Green, John Harvatine IV, Geoff Johns, Sam Register, Matthew Senreich, Eric Towner

Co-Producer: Ethan Marak

Music by Shawn Patterosn

Cinematography by Helder Sun

Edited by Jenny McKibben

Costume Design by Becky Van Cleve

Featuring the voices of:

Abraham Benrubi as Cyborg, Kilowog, Appa Ali Apsa, Icicle, Solomon Grundy

Alex Borstein as Wonder Woman, Giganta, Woman

Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, Mr. Freeze

Brecken Meyer as Superman

Megan Fox as Lois Lane

Clare Grant as Cheetah, Ice, Abby Holland

Seth Green as The Nerd, Batman, Robin, Aquaman, The Penguin, Martian Manhunter, Toyman, Scarecrow, Gorilla Grod, Cheese, Swamp Thing, Abin Surg, Ganthet, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Jimmy Olsen

Neil Patrick Harris as Two-Face, Black Manta

Breckin Meyer as Superman, Mirror Master

Alfred Molina as Lex Luthor, Firestorm

Aaron Paul as Mister Banjo, Glenn

Paul Reubens as The Riddler

Tom Root as Captain Cold

Kevin Shinick as Narrator

Matthew Senreich as The Flash, Chillblaine, Brainiac

Tara Strong as Harley Quinn, Selena Gomez

Zeb Wells as Sinestro, B’dg

The Robot Chicken DC Comics Special II: Villains in Paradise returns the DC Comics universe of characters back into the twisted talons of the Emmy Award(R)-winning Robot Chicken. This time around, the villains take charge of the narrative, and their unpredictable tale takes them from the swamps to the sky to the beach, where they finally face a mind-boggling threat to their very existence! The all-star cast includes Seth Green as Batman and Robin, Zac Efron as Superboy, Alfred Molina as Lex Luthor, Sarah Hyland as Lex Luthor’s daughter Lena, Nathan Fillion as the Green Lantern, Alex Borstein as Wonder Woman, Clancy Brown as Gorilla Grodd, Giovanni Ribisi as the Joker, Tara Strong as Harley Quinn, Breckin Meyer as Superman, plus Hugh Davidson, Matthew Senreich, Clare Grant, Zeb Wells, and Kevin Shinick as the narrator.

In 2005, actor Seth Green (“Austin Powers” films, “Family Guy”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Matthew Senreich along with writers Douglas Goldstein and Tom Root created the stop-motion animated comedy “Robot Chicken”.

Featuring many celebrity guest voice talent and taking on a variety of well-known franchises and doing parodies for “Star Wars”, “Cat and the Hat”, “Law and Order”, “Voltron”, “Teen Titans”, “Beavis and Butthead” and more.

The series has won an Annie Award and three Emmy Awards and in 2013, with a total of six seasons and 120 episodes and five specials being made, the “Robot Chicken” staff will be releasing their new “DC Comics Special” on Blu-ray and DVD on July 9, 2013.

For those not familiar with Robot Chicken, the animated series uses action figures and shoots each frame until they put them together via animation.  The series puts certain characters in hilarious and embarrassing situations and includes mouths on the action figures and are voice acted by the Robot Chicken staff or via celebrities.

In this second “DC Comics Special” of “Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise”, the story shifts from the heroes and focuses on the villains.  What happens when the villains get some R&R in a private beach and Lex Luthor’s daughter Lena falls in love with Superman and Wonder Woman’s son (or the clone Superman/Superboy) and both want to get married?

VIDEO & AUDIO

“Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special ” is presented in widescreen.  For the most part, the Mego dolls and action figures look good on DVD, while the stage setups for the figures and the lighting was very well-done.  There were some scenes with banding and artifacts issues.  But for the most part, picture quality is very good on DVD.

Audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and dialogue is clear!  And comes with subtitles in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of #RCDC2VIP -(9:31)  The making of “Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise”.
  • Bad Hair, Musical Numbers & Sequels – (8:55) A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the music for “Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise”.
  • The Ones That Got Away - (7:06) A therapeutic featurette with writers releasing some steam about their sketches being cut out of the final version of “Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise”.
  • 20 Questions – (13:25) The “Robot Chicken” staff must answer 20 questions in regards to DC Comics.
  • Cut Animatics - (5:19) Featuring five animatics and learn why they were cut.
  • Cut Sketches – (2:16) Featuring two sketches and learn why they were cut.
  • Chicken Nuggets – (1:02) Watch the full special and if you see a chicken, click on your remote (or mouse) and find out more about the behind-the-scenes via a video commentary.
  • Actors Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, Nathan Fillion, Breckin Meyer and Zeb Wells.
  • Writers Commentary – Featuring writers commentary with Hugh Davidson, Mike Fasolo, Tom Root, Kevin Shinick and Zeb Wells.

robotchicken-dc2b

If you are a “Robot Chicken” fan or a longtime fan of DC Comics, you can’t help but watch the “Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise” special and just laugh out loud!

Sure, the special captures the craziness that we have seen on “Robot Chicken” and as a longtime reader of DC Comics titles, what I enjoyed about this special is that the characters are not something created from today’s comic books but for those who read and grew up with DC comics.

From the use of Mego characters, the fact that the villains featured are those who grew up watching the old school “Super Friends” animated series and of course, putting an adult and hilarious spin on the characters.  From utilizing Lex Luthor and showing his old rock n’ roll self known as Sexx Luthor and him having a child, or seeing the joke about the clone Superboy being the actual child of Superman and Wonder Woman.  And what happens when Green Lantern gives Batman a ride?

Suffice to say, the series was crazy and hilarious because it focused on the DC villains with a “Grease” spin, so you do get to see the DC superheroes as well.

If there was anything negative to say about this special, it was too short at 22 minutes long.  Fortunately, you get a good number of special features that makes this DVD worth while.

But aside from the short episode duration, I can only hope that “Robot Chicken” continues to do more DC Comics specials in the near future, because each episode has been crazy and hilarious.

So, while this special episode is short, fortunately, there are many special features included with this DVD release.  It was great to listen to both audio commentaries.   From the writers about the inclusion of characters for the series to the actors on their thoughts of playing a character and both commentaries are hilarious and fun to listen to.  And while 22-minutes long, definitely watch the special again with the hilarious “chicken nuggets” special feature and hear the “Robot Chicken” staff offer several tidbits about various scenes.

And just a reminder to those who have never watched a “Robot Chicken” episode, if you are a parent who is curious about “Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise”, this is not a children’s DVD.  The special features mature language and it features adult humor.

Overall, “Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise” is another hilarious, crazy and fun special from the crew of “Robot Chicken”.  For the DC Comics fans who grew up with these characters in the past and for those reading the comic books in the present, to the “Robot Chicken” fans who love the series no matter which characters they feature, “Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 2 – Villains in Paradise” is worth checking out!

 


 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Beginning – The Complete 1st Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

tmnt-thebeginning

if you are a parent of a child who loves the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or a person that is young at heart and wants to catch up on this latest animated series, then “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Beginning – The Complete First Season” for its cheap price and the fact you get the complete first season, is a DVD set worth purchasing!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Beginning – The Complete 1st Season

TV SERIES AIR DATE: 2012-2013

DURATION: 625 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Full Screen, Dolby Digital English Stereo

COMPANY: Nickelodeon/Paramount

RATED: NOT RATED / Home Video Rating is PG for Violence

RELEASE DATE: October 7, 2014

Directed by Michael Chang

Written by Joshua Sternin, Jr. Ventimila

Originally created by Kevin Eastman

Produced by MacGregor Middleton

Executive Producer: Peter Hatings, Ciro Nieli, Joshua Sternin, J.R. Ventimilia

Supervising Producer: Ant Ward

Music by Sebastian Evans

Casting by Sarah Noonan

Production Management: Vladimir Radev

Featuring the voices of:

Sean Astin as Raphael

Jason Biggs as Leonardo

Greg Cipes as Michelangelo

Rob Paulsen as Donatello

Mae Whitman as April O’Neil

Hoon Lee as Splinter

Nickelodeon’s all-new, CGI-animated hit series debuts on DVD with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles. Join these four ninja brothers – Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo – in this action-packed adventure as they emerge from their hidden lair in the sewers of New York City for the very first time. In addition, enjoy six awesome “making of animatics” and a karaoke music video to the show’s tubular theme song. And as an added bonus, each DVD will include an exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles poster for a limited time only.

In 1984, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird began working on a comic book series titled “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” for Mirage Studios. Featuring a darker, action-driven storyline, the comics became major collectors items due to its short print run. And because of the popularity of the comics, Playmates Toys Inc. was approached to create an action figure toyline and before they began working on the risky project, the toy company would only agree to do so, if an animated TV series was created.

Geared for children and featuring characters with color coded masks, spoke with stereotypical surfer dialogue and a love for pizza, the series was a major hit. Created in 1987, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” would air on television through 1996, and along with the TV series, the toyline was also a big success and would continue on with a live action series, multiple video games and also several live action films.

By 1997, the series has a live action series titled “Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation” which lasted for a single season and in 2003, the series was resurrected by FOX and with 4Kids Entertainment, the remake would be produced by Mirage Studios (the original series had no ownership by Mirage) and would be more edgier like the original comic books and much more darker than its 1987 counterpart and once again, the series and its toyline would become a major success.

And now “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is back! In 2012, Nickelodeon acquired the rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Mirage Group and 4Kids Entertainment and this time around, wanted to go with a CG-animated series and that there would be slight changes for this 2012 version from the original series and previous series that fans may have been accustomed to.

The new series would feature voice acting from Jason Biggs as Leonardo, Rob Paulsen as Donatello, Sean Astin as Raphael, Greg Cipes as Michelangelo, Mae Whitman as April O’Neil and Hoon Lee as Splinter. In this newer series, each of the Ninja Turtles try to get accustomed to being heroes as they are taught by their sensei Splinter. A former human that was changed into a rat.

The leader of the group is Leonardo (blue mask) who fights with two katana swords and is the level-headed member of the four; Donatello is the hacker and computer/science expert (purple mask) and fights with a rokushakubo. He also has a crush on the video gamer girl, April O’Neil; Raphael is the hot head of the group who acts on impulse and tend to be a problem with the group, as he tends to not think before acting. He fights with two sais and has a pet turtle named Spike and Michelangelo is the person who loves video games, skateboarding and pizza but he is also seen as the jokester and idiot of the group. He fights with two nunchaku and is the immature member of the.

And the group gets help from a human named April O’Neill who loves video games and pizza but also has a special spiritual sensitivity and is being trained by Splinter to be a ninja.

Together, they take on a mysterious group known as the Kraang that is led by Shredder.

A total of 26-episodes were made and the first season began premiering on Nickelodeon in Sept. 2012 and as the second season is airing on television, Nickelodeon will be releasing the 1st season in a DVD collector’s pack titled “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Beginning – The Complete 1st Season”.

Included in “Rise of the Turtles” are the following episodes (featuring spoilerless summaries):

  • EPISODE 1: Rise of the Turtles, Part I – The Ninja Turtles try to follow the Kraang who have abducted April O’Neill and her father Kirby.
  • EPISODE 2: Rise of the Turtles, Part II – The Ninja Turtles try to rescue the O’Neills.
  • EPISODE 3: Turtle Temper – Raphael has a problem with his temper and because Raphael and Michelangelo get into a bit of squabble, they end up messing up their reconnaissance mission and are recorded by a man with a cell phone who wants to make money with the video footage. Now Raphael must get the man to not sell that video.
  • EPISODE 4: New Friend, Old Enemy – Michelangelo’s TV hero is the martial artist Chris Bradford, but what Michelangelo doesn’t know is he is Shredder’s top lieutenant.
  • EPISODE 5: I Think his Name is Baxter Stockman – The team sneaks out against Splinter’s orders, they battle a crazed man in a suit known as Baxter Stockman that is powered accidentally by a device Donatello created.
  • EPISODE 6: Metalhead – Donatello creates Metalhead (a remote-controlled robot turtle reverse engineered from Kraang technology).

Included in “Enter Shredder” are episodes 7-14 (note: Episode 13 “I, Monster” is not included on this volume but will be included in the next volume – “Ultimate Showdown”.  Featuring spoilerless summaries):

  • EPISODE 7: Monkey Brains – The Ninja Turtles and April try to figure out what happened to the missing Dr. Tyler Rockwell.
  • EPISODE 8: Never Say Xever – Mr. Murakami has been taken hostage by the Purple Dragons.  Can Leo and the other Ninja Turtles save him.
  • EPISODE 9: The Gauntlet – The Ninja Turtles and April try to find her imprisoned father, but Shredder is awaiting them.
  • EPISODE 10: Panic in the Sewers – Shredder puts the Ninja Turtles under intense training 24/7 to prepare for their fight against Shredder.
  • EPISODE 11: Mousers Attack! – The turtles must split into two teams, Leo and Raph as A-Team (which the two consider themselves as the best fighters of the group) and Michelangelo and Donatello as B-Team.
  • EPISODE 12: It Came From the Depths – The Ninja Turtles save an anger-prone alligator from Krane.
  • EPISODE 14: New Girl in Town – Snakeweed returns and he begins abducting people.  Meanwhile, Leo gives Raph a chance to be leader.

Included in “Ultimate Showdown” are episodes 13-26 (note: Episode 14 “New Girl in Town” was included in the last DVD “Enter Shredder”). The following are spoilerless summaries:

  • EPISODE 13: I, Monster - The Ninja Turtles take on the Rat King.
  • EPISODE 15: The Alien Agenda – Can Karai be trusted?
  • EPISODE 16: The Pulverizer – A Ninja Turtle wannabe (with no fighting skills whatsoever) named the Pulverizer wants to team up with the Ninja Turtles.
  • EPISODE 17: TCRI – What is Kraang really up to?
  • EPISODE 18: Cockroach Terminator- Donatello creates a spyroach to spy on Kraang, but it mutates and targets Raphael.
  • EPISODE 19: Baxter’s Gambit – After many failures, Baxter Stockman convinces Shredder to test out his new plan on the Ninja Turtles.
  • EPISODE 20: Enemy of My Enemy – Karai wants to partner with the Ninja Turtles to stop Kraang, but can they trust her?
  • EPISODE 21: Karai’s Vendetta – Shredder sends Karai to capture April.
  • EPISODE 22: The Pulverizer Returns- The Pulverizer joins the Foot Clan?
  • EPISODE 23: Parasitica – The Ninja Turtles  take on a giant mutant wasp which stings Leo.  What will happen to Leo?
  • EPISODE 24: Operation: Break Out – Donatello wants to impress April, so he tries to rescue her father Kirby from Kraang detention center.
  • EPISODES 25-26: Showdown, Parts 1 & 2 – Kraang is planning on an invasion, meanwhile the Turtles tries to stop Kraang’s portal.

VIDEO & AUDIO

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Beginning” is presented in full screen format. The CG animation and the character designs is quite different from its previous series predecessors but for the most part, the animation is pretty cool. I love how the series mixes CG but also cool artwork at times. The overall look of the city and the integration of the characters to the environments is cool and detail of the CG animation is a plus for the series. I also like how they gave each ninja turtle a distinct look. From Donatello have a gap to Raphael having a chipped shell.

But for the most part, the series does look good as one can expect on DVD.

As for audio, the series is presented in Dolby Digital and dialogue and music is clear and understandable.

There are no subtitles but closed captions are included.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles” comes with the following special features:

  • The Mutation of a Scene: Rise of the Turtles, Pt. 1 – A three minute look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.
  • The Mutation of a Scene: Rise of the Turtles, Pt. 2 – A three minute look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.
  • The Mutation of a Scene: Turtle Temper - A three minute look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.
  • The Mutation of a Scene: New Friend, Old Enemy – A three minute look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.
  • The Mutation of a Scene: I Think His Name is Baxter Stockman - A three minute look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.
  • The Mutation of a Scene: Metalhead – A three minute look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.
  • Theme Song: Karaoke Music Video – (1:02) A karaoke music video of the theme song.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder” comes with the following special features:

  • Tails from the Lair, Pt. 1 – A comic book which you can navigate page after page using your remote (or arrow keys if played on a computer).
  • Tails from the Lair, Pt. 2 – A comic book which you can navigate page after page using your remote (or arrow keys if played on a computer).
  • The Mutation of a Scene: New Girl in Town - (09:18) A look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ultimate Showdown” comes with the following special features:

  • The Mutation of a Scene: The Pulverizer - (11:14) A look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.
  • The Mutation of a Scene: TCRI - (15:02) A look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.
  • The Mutation of a Scene: Cockroach Terminator - (10:40) A look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.
  • The Mutation of a Scene: Baxter’s Gambit - (13:40) A look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following episode.
  • Animated Comic Books – Featuring animated comic books for “Tales from the Turtle Lair”, Parts Three through Six.  A comic book which you can navigate page after page using your remote (or arrow keys if played on a computer).
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Video Game Trailer – (:56) Game trailer for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.

EXTRAS:

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Beginning – The Complete 1st Season” comes with a slip case.

I was very fortunate to be around when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book came out and since then, like many other adults who grew up with the franchise, it’s been part of our lives. May it be when were a child watching the animated series or playing the video game at the arcade or at home on a video game console. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” has been a big part of American pop culture for 25 years.

I have grown up watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and seeing every incarnation of the series. And so far, each has brought something new and different to keep the series fresh and new for the new generation of viewers watching it.

With this new series that began in 2012, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” somewhat gets a new reboot. The characters are the same four ninja turtles but they now have their distinct style, their own look and some characters are much different than how they were presented in past series.

This time around, I watched the series with my then ten-year-old. He was just born when the 2003 series was featured on television but at three or four, I began introducing him to the original series and also the 2003 version. And he also had a chance to watch the 1997 live action version as well.

But while watching the series, I can tell he was captivated by this newer series because the series is now CG. He loved seeing the characters and he kept talking about the commercials on Nickelodeon portraying Donatello as dumb as SpongeBob SquarePants’ Patrick and he enjoyed the craziness of that character.

And watching this series, I have to say it was pretty cool. I’m glad the “Cowabunga” days of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are gone and while I thought the 2003 series was fantastic as it featured a more darker tone, I think for today’s younger fans, especially the Nickelodeon audience, children will enjoy this series. Yes, there is fighting violence, but nothing to severe.

And with “Enter Shredder”, this DVD features Shredder making his entrance and the turtles having to go against them.

But the focus on teamwork is evident in this series as the group learns that despite who is better at fighting, they need each other.  Meanwhile, April also becomes a significant part of the series, as she continues to try to find her father.

With “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ultimate Showdown”, instead of one disc, you get the remaining 13 episodes to complete the first season.  So, for fans of the series, you’re getting an action-packed volume of the Ninja Turtles and what best than to bring all these antagonists from past series to the series but also opening up the gate to possibly see other characters possibly showing up.  Hun, Silver Sentry, Asagi Yojimbo?  Anything is possible now?

But I also like how the series tends to incorporate April much more.  She’s actually having a part in the series and writers are doing a good job of giving fans something different and new with this newer series.  And most importantly, utilizing notable celebrities to do the voicework for the series.

These modern Ninja Turtles are still fun to watch and yet different from previous series but still retaining the positive aspects of previous series.

The series has always been about Splinter and his four teenage mutant ninja turtles taking on Shredder and his ninja and other bad guys and that still exists in this 2012 series. While April is changed a bit, as Splinter is teaching her to be a ninja, which is quite fascinating.

Picture and audio quality are good on DVD and you get animated comic books plus the “Mutation of a Scene” featurettes that are showcased on all three DVD volumes and more!

Overall, if you are a parent of a child who loves the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or a person that is young at heart and wants to catch up on this latest animated series, then “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Beginning – The Complete 1st Season” for its cheap price and the fact you get the complete first season, is a DVD set worth purchasing!


 

Silver Spoon: Complete 1st Season (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

September 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

silverspoon

“Silver Spoon: Complete 1st Season” was a big surprise! Not only is it a realistic and entertaining series from the creator of “Fullmetal Alchemist”, Hiromu Arakwa. But it’s a hilarious and educational anime series about agriculture and the people who are raised in that environment. “Silver Spoon: Complete 1st Season” is a fantastic anime series that I highly recommended!


Image courtesy of © Hiromu Arakawa, Shogakukan/EZONO Festa Executive Committee. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Silver Spoon: Complete 1st Season

SERIES AIR DATE: 2013

DURATION: 11 Episodes (275 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Letterboxed, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 13 and Up

RELEASE DATE: July 15, 2014

Directed by Tomohiko Ito

Originally created by Hiromu Arakawa

Original Character Designs by Jun Nakai

Series Composition by Taku Kishimoto

Music by Shusei Murai

Character Designs by Jun Nakai

Art Director: Sawako Takagi

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures

Featuring the following voice talent:

Marie Miyake as Aki Mikage

Ryohei Kimura as Yūgo Hachiken

Ayahi Takagaki as Tamako Inada

Katsuyuki Konishi as Shingo Hachiken

Kengo Takanashi as Hajime Nishikawa

Masayuki Shouji as Keiji Tokiwa

Nobunaga Shimazaki as Shinnosuke Aikawa

Nobuyuki Kobushi as Tarō Beppu

Shiori Izawa as Mayumi Yoshino

Tooru Sakurai as Ichirō Komaba

Asami Tano as Mika Toyonishi

Atsuko Yuya as Ichiko Fuji

 

The only reason why Yugo Hachiken decided to attend the Oezo Agricultural High School (a.k.a Ezono) was simply because the school had a dormitory. Entering Ezono was a way for Yugo to run away from the stifling academic pressures in the city, however, it didn’t take long for him to realize that life is not that simple.

Yugo is soon forced to face more hurdles in his new environment surrounded by all the farm animals and the magnificent Mother Nature. He also begins feeling a different kind of pressure as he deals with his classmates who, unlike him, all have a clear view of what they want for their futures.

Even so, as Yugo overcomes one challenge after another at Ezono and deepens his bonds with his classmates, he begins to grow stronger both physically and mentally. This is a coming-of-age story filled with sweat, tears, and literally a lot of dirt!

From mangaka Hromu Arakawa (best known for “Fullmetal Alchemist”) comes “Gin no Saji” (Silver Spoon).  A story that Arakawa wanted to challenge herself and that is writing a more realistic story.

Serialized in Shogakukan’s “Weekly Shonen Sunday”, the award-winning manga was adapted into a manga series which lasted two seasons from 2013-2014 and also a live-action film released earlier this year in Japan.

And now “Silver Spoon: Complete 1st Season” will be released on DVD courtesy of Aniplex.

“Silver Spoon” is an anime series that revolves around a student named Yugo Hachiken, a teenager who attended came from a wealthy family but has left the big city of Sapporo to live in a farming area and attend Yezo Agricultural High School.

Because of the expectations put on him by his parents, Hachiken’s true reason of going to Yezo is primarily to escape his parents but after seeing his schoolmates being so passionate about their future careers in agriculture, Hachiken starts to wonder what will he do for a living?  And most importantly, how will he do at Yezo since he knows nothing about agriculture, let alone animals or where food comes from.

And the longer he stays at Yezo, he starts to understand the world of agriculture but also his perspective on life, on the food people eat but also how he starts to affect other students who are amazed by Hachiken’s perspective, because he didn’t come from an agricultural background.

The main characters of “Silver Spoon” are:

  • Yugo Hachiken – The main protagonist from Sapporo.  Because he failed his entrance exams, he decides to attend Yezo Agricultural High School to get away from his demanding parents.  But thinking it wold be an easy life, Hachiken finds out how challenging life is for those who work in agriculture but also the importance of their jobs and where food comes from.  He manages to create friendships but also influence others due to his generosity and intellect.
  • Aki Mikage – A member of the Equestrian Club who attends Yezo to prepare herself in inheriting the family business which specializes in cows and Ban’ei race horses.  Her family is struggling to make ends meet.
  • Ichiro Komaba – A skilled baseball player and a neighbor and childhood friend of Aki.  His family owns a small dairy farm.  His hope is to become a professional baseball player in order to help improve his family’s farm.
  • Shinnosuke Aikawa – A teenager who wants to be a veterinarian but the difficult decisions and his fear of the sight of blood often challenges his career decision.  He is a member of the Holstein Club.
  • Tamako Inada – A wealthy classmate Hachiken.  She is overweight but when she loses weight, she is often looked at guys for her beautiful figure.  But she tends to gain all her weight quickly.  She is obsessed with money and wants to inherit the family farm.
  • Keiji Tokiwa – A not-so-smart teenager that Hachiken tries to help with his math.  His family owns a chicken farm.
  • Ayame Minamikujo – An aristrocratic, wealthy girl who is a rival to Aki Mikage who wants to specialize in making cheese.
  • Shingo Hachiken – Yugo’s older brother who managed to get into the University of Tokyo, but decided to stop attending after he realized that is more of his parent’s dream and not his.  He suddenly moves by Yezo Agricultural High to Yugo’s chagrin.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Silver Spoon” is presented in 16:9 widescreen.  While an anime like this would look vibrant on Blu-ray, the anime series is only being released on DVD with a Japanese soundtrack.  Backgrounds are well-detailed and shaded, while character art is shaded but as one can expect from a TV series, there is a hint of softness.  But as for the series, the series does look good as episodes carry up to four episodes, so no major artifact problems are visible.

But the film does have a colorful palette and the series looks good on DVD.

Hopefully, if the series does receive an English dub in the future, that the series with both soundtracks are released on Blu-ray.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Silver Spoon: Complete 1st Season” comes with the textless opening and ending, trailers and commercial.

A realistic and entertaining anime series that not only educates viewers on agriculture but also is quite enjoyable thanks to its comedy and characters.

“Silver Spoon” is a fascinating anime series because in some ways, I grew up like Hachiken.  Not familiar with agriculture and having friends who were farmers and having a grandfather who was a chef, I was exposed to sides of farming that literally changed my perspective towards agriculture but also how our food is made.

In the anime series, we see the smart but yet naive Hachiken getting exposed to cows, pigs, horses for the first time but also his reaction when he sees where eggs come from, how difficult it is for him to work in a farm but also seeing how his classmates are putting so much effort into their work because of their future career or the fact they will be inheriting the family farm.

Of course, the camaraderie of  the series is also a lot of fun, as the friends all take part in using prime ingredients to make their own pizza, Hachiken hanging out with his friends to see what a baseball game is all about but also getting to see how he changes others perspectives as well.

One of the more interesting storylines for several episodes is when pigs that are raised for slaughter for ham, bacon, etc. is being taken care of by Hachiken and how he grows too close to one of them and names it “Pork Bowl”.  But having raised a pig from when it was a baby and seeing it grow, how will Hachiken react when he must say goodbye to it?

These are part of the life lessons that Hachiken must go through and for the most part, the comedy but the learning experience not just by Hachiken but also for the viewers, makes “Silver Spoon” an enlightening, entertaining and fun anime series.

Truthfully, I don’t think I have watched an anime series that focused on the farm life and tries to maintain a realistic feel but the series remained consistent that I enjoyed it so much that I can’t wait for season 2, let alone, wanting to read Hiromu Arakawa’s manga series.  It’s that good!

As for the DVD, while “Silver Spoon: Complete 1st Season” may not come with the swag that Aniplex anime series tend to have, you do get the complete first season on three DVD’s.  Anime series looks good as one can expect on DVD and dialogue and music are clear and understandable.  Subtitles are easy to read.

Overall, “Silver Spoon: Complete 1st Season” was a big surprise!  Not only is it a realistic and entertaining series from the creator of “Fullmetal Alchemist”, Hiromu Arakwa.  But it’s a hilarious and educational anime series about agriculture and the people who are raised in that environment.

“Silver Spoon: Complete 1st Season” is a fantastic anime series that I highly recommended!


 

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season One (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

marvel's agents-s1

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is an entertaining, thrilling TV series that manages to take on various storyline plots from the big screen and bring it to audiences on television. The characters, the chemistry and the action are all-well done but I’m hoping writers will be able to take some risks and have something new and exciting planned for the second season. An action-packed series that I highly recommend on DVD!

© 2014 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season One

YEAR OF TV SERIES: 2013-2014

DURATION: 22 Episodes (946 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1), English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French

RATED: TV PG

COMPANY:  Marvel

Released Dated: September 9, 2014

Directed by Vincent Misiano, Bobby Roth, Milan Cheylov, Roxann Dawson, Bill Gierhart, David Straiton, Jesse Bochco, Holly Dale, Jonathan Frakes, Josss Whedon, Paul A. Edwards, Kenneth Fink, Kevin Hooks, John Terlesky

Written by Jeffrey Bell, Monica Breen, Daniel J. Doyle, Brent Fletcher, Shalisha Francis, Rafe Judkins, Jack Kirby, Lauren LeFranc, Stan Lee, Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon, Paul Zbyszewski

Produced by Garry A. Brown, Samantha Thomas, Rafe Judkins, Lauren LeFranc

Co-Producer: Chris Cheramie, Shalisha Francis

Executive Producer: Jeffrey Bell, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Jeph Loeb, Robert Parigi, Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon, Joe Quesada

Co-Executive Producer: Paul Zbyszewski, Monica Breen

Music by Bear McCreary

Cinematography by Feliks Parnell, Jeffrey C. Mygatt, David Boyd

Edited by Paul Trejo, Joshua Charson, Debby Germino, David Crabtree

Casting by Sarah Finn, Tamara Hunter

Series Production by Gregory Melton

Series Art Direction by Roland Rosenkranz, Alex Hajdu

Set Decoration by Melissa M. Levander

Costume Design by Ann Foley, Betsy Heimann

Starring:

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson

Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May

Brett Dalton as Grant Ward

Chloe Bennet as Skye

Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz

Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons

J. August Richards as Mike PEterson

B.J. Britt as Antoine Triplett

David Conrad as Ian Quinn

Bill Paxton as John Garrett

Ruth Negga as Raina

Saffron Burrows as Victoria Hand

Maximiliano Hernandez as Jasper Sitwell

Cullen Douglas as Edison Po

Patton Oswalt as Eric Koenig

The mind-blowing saga that began in Marvel’s The Avengers continues in ABC’s action-packed series, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — The Complete First Season.

In the wake of The Battle of New York, the world has changed forever. An extraordinary landscape of wonders has been revealed! In response, mysteriously resurrected Agent Phil Coulson assembles an elite team of skilled agents and operatives: Melinda May, Grant Ward, Leo Fitz, Jemma Simmons and new recruit/computer hacker Skye. Together, they investigate the new, the strange, and the unknown across the globe, protecting the ordinary from the extraordinary. But every answer unearths even more tantalizing questions that reverberate across the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe: Who is “The Clairvoyant”? What is Hydra’s sinister master plan; what dark secret lies behind Skye’s puzzling origins, and most importantly of all, who can be trusted?

From Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, “Firefly”) comes “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”.

An American TV series airing on ABC, the television series was co-created with Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen and focuses on the organization S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division).

With a second season now in production, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in Sept. 2014.

For fans of the Marvel films “Iron Man”, “The Avengers”, “Thor” and “Captain America”, the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. featuring Director Nick Fury (portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson), Maria Hill (portrayed by Cobie Smulders) and Phil Coulson (portrayed by Clark Gregg), there were questions  from fans of Agent Coulson (who died in “The Avengers”) if Marvel would bring him back.

And sure enough, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” features the return of Agent Coulson, who is unaware of his demise during the Battle of New York (when the Avengers fought against the aliens in the film, “The Avengers”) and thinks he went to vacation in Tahiti.

Agent Coulson along with Maria Hill are trying to put together a small team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle strange cases, especially those revolving with Project Centipede and its mysterious leader.

Coulson’s group includes Grant Ward (portrayed by Brett Dalton), a S.H.I.E.L.D. black ops specialist; Melinda May (portrayed by Ming-Na Wen) who is known as “The Calvary” and is haunted by her memories of being a field agent; Leo Fitz (portrayed by Iain De Caestecker) who specializes in engineering and weapons technology; Jemma Simmons (portrayed by Elizabeth Henstridge) who specializes in life sciences and works closely with Leo; and civilian computer hacker Skye (portrayed by Chloe Bennet).

And as the group takes on a variety of cases, what happens when they find out that HYDRA has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D.?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season One” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality on DVD is very good as the series is broken up in five discs. Audio quality is good with clear dialogue. I did not notice any artifacts or any problematic issues during my viewing of the series.  But it’s important to note that if you want the best picture and audio quality available, the Blu-ray release is the way to go!

Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season One” comes with the following special features:

DISC 5:

  • Journey Into S.D.C.C.  – (13:13) The cast discuss promoting Marvel’s “The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” at San Diego Comic Con
  • Field Reports – Featuring five field reports (about three minutes long) in regards to the making of various scenes from different episodes.
  • VFX Progressions - Featuring two visual effects progressions and the modeling and compositing that were utiled in the visual effects scenes.
  • Bloopers of S.H.I.E.L.D. - (6:31) Outtakes from the first season of “The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”.
  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring eight deleted scenes.

As a long time comic book fan and having read many stories that involved Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., and following how the organization has been utilized in animated series and effectively in the Marvel live action films, suffice to say, I was excited about the series.

For one, you have Joss Whedon putting his stamp of approval as he is one of the executive producers of the show.  You have several people from the film making an appearance in the series such as Samuel L. Jackson as Director Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill and the return of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) who died in “The Avengers” film.

So, there was a lot of excitement built up for the live action series, there was that side of me not knowing what to expect.  While I was familiar with Clark Gregg’s work as Coulson, Ming-Na Wen having appeared in many TV drama series and film, I was not too familiar with the other main characters of the series.

Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet (Chinese pop star – Chloe Wang) as Skye, Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons and Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, I was not familiar with these actors but having watched the entire series, one thing you will notice is how the crew gelled.  The chemistry was good, the characters were enjoyable to watch and if anything, they made “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” a series worth paying attention to.

As the series takes place after “The Avengers” film and continues during “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” ends, we get to see characters from the film and storyline plots make its way to the series.

In episode 6 titled “F.Z.Z.T”, what happens when an alien virus found on a Chitauri helmet savaged from the Battle of New York is found.

In episode 15, the group confronts Lady Sif (portrayed by Jaime Alexander) from the “Thor” films is seeking Lorelei.

And the ongoing storyline left over from “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” involving Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. plays a big part in the series.

So, there is consistency with the live action films and if anything, what helps the series is its share of action and the fact that the production quality makes you feel that you are watching a TV series.  Everything about the series meshed well, when it came to the characters, the connections to the films and the various talent who took part in the series.  It made, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” much more enjoyable and exciting.

Was there anything about the series that I had problems with?  Aside from Deathlok being a bit different from its comic book counterpart, the series while entertaining and exciting, does need more to it.  I wouldn’t mind seeing more characters and letting Joss Whedon taking the reigns much more closely to make the series become much better.

There were certainly a good amount of plot twists but I do want to see how perilous life as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent really is and that writers are willing to take on a few risks with the characters.

As for the DVD release, it’s important to note that if you want the best picture quality, the Blu-ray version is the way to go.  But as far as the DVD goes, overall DVD quality is very good when it comes to picture quality and sound.  But expect much more vibrant colors, detail and better use of the surround channels on the Blu-ray version.  You also get a few interesting special features, especially the cast visiting San Diego Comic Con, which was great to see!

Overall, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is an entertaining, thrilling TV series that manages to take on various storyline plots from the big screen and bring it to audiences on television. The characters, the chemistry and the action are all-well done but I’m hoping writers will be able to take some risks and have something new and exciting planned for the second season.

An action-packed series that I highly recommend on DVD!

 

 

Oreimo 2: Limited Edition Complete Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

September 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

oreimo-2a

“Oreimo 2″ is a fantastic conclusion to this fun and entertaining anime series!  “Oreimo 2: Limited Edition Complete Box Set” is recommended!


Image courtesy of © Tsukasa Fushimi/ASCII Media Workshop/OIP 2. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Oreimo 2: Limited Edition Complete Box Set

SERIES AIR DATE: 2013

DURATION: 13 Episodes (400 Minutes) + 3 ONA episodes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Letterboxed, Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 13 and Up

RELEASE DATE: August 5, 2014

Directed by Hiroyuki Kanbe

Originally created by Tsukasa Fushimi

Original Character Designs by Hiro Kanzaki

Series Composition by Hideyuki Kurata

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Character Designs by Hiroyuki Oda, Fumitoshi Oizaki, Gou Suzuki, Jimmy Stone, Kumi Ishii, Nozomi Goto, Shougo Hanagami, Toshifumi Akai

Art Director: Koji Okamoto

Anime Production: AIC/AIC Build

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayana Taketatsu as Kirino Kōsaka

Yūichi Nakamura as Kyōsuke Kōsaka

Akeno Watanabe as Yoshino Kōsaka

Fumihiko Tachiki as Daisuke Kōsaka

Hitomi Nabatame as Saori Bajiina

Kana Hanazawa as Ruri Gokou (Kuroneko)

Saori Hayami as Ayase Aragaki

Satomi Satou as Manami Tamura

Yukari Tamura as Kanako Kurusu/ Meruru / Kurara Hoshino

Kyousuke brings Kirino home from America where she attended a special track and field camp. Surrounded by her friends, Kirino gradually gets her life back to normal. In stark contrast to her friends is Kyousuke, who is unhappy with Kirino’s attitude towards him. She has been ignoring him since she came home, as if their relationship had gone back to how it had been a year earlier. But then Kirino does something for Kyousuke…

Sis-Con. The shortened word for “Sister Complex” and is typically showcased in anime as a strong brother and sister bond and of course, in extremes, it can be showcased as incestual relationships.

But “Sister Complex” has been featured in anime and while the most extreme form is usually reserved towards hentai anime, writer Tsukasa Fushimi along with illustrator Hiro Kanzaki decided to give a comedic, upbeat spin to the whole topic in their 2008 light novel series “Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai” (shortened name: “Oreimo”).

A manga adaptation of the light novel was featured on ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki G’s Magazine and in 2010, the 12-episode anime TV series received its anime adaptation, with four additional episodes streamed on the official website and on video streaming sites in the Spring of 2011.  Followed by a 13-episode sequel in 2013 and the three final ONA episodes.

Aniplex has released “Oreimo 2″ on DVD in the U.S. featuring a limited edition complete box set featuring all 13-episodes, 3 ONA episodes, 16 postcards, 44-page booklet, poster and 2-sided DVD cover.

What is “Oreimo” all about?

“Oreimo” is a series that takes place in Chiba and focuses on a 17-year-old named Kyosuke Kosaka.

Kyosuke and his 14-year-old sister Kirino have not gotten along for years and often wonders why he never is treated with kindness like other younger sisters and their brothers. In fact, each time she looks at him, it’s as if she is repulsed by him.

And the more he hears about younger sisters, it starts to tick him off.

But one day, while Kirino was leaving to join some friends, she accidentally drops a DVD of an anime series and inside the DVD is an eroge (erotic/adult) video game. This can’t possibly be Kirino’s DVD. Afterall, she is the top of her class, she is popular in school, she’s a track star, she’s a model and she has no connection to anime/video games at all.

But it does interest him to see if there is a possibility that the anime or game can be hers. So, when he starts to tease about the situation in front of Kirino, Kirino tries to pretend its not hers. So, when he asks if Kirino can throw it in the trash, she is unable to. And for the first time, Kyosuke’s little sister reveals her double life. She’s an otaku.

She loves a magical girl anime series and she is also an otaku that owns a lot of eroge and moe (hardcore fan of younger girl style of characters in anime, manga and video game series).

Afraid that her brother would blab about her secret otaku life, she is surprised that Kyosuke accepts her the way she is and has no problems with it. And because he is open to her sister’s hobby, it opens things up for a true brother and sister relationship that Kyosuke had wanted (as well as what Kirino has wanted).

So, Kyosuke tries to help his sister with her hobby by finding otaku friends which includes the mecha fan and “Anime Girls Unite!” club leader, Saori Makishima and Kuroneko, a girl who is a tsundere-type (a cold attitude) that dresses up in gothic lolita outfits and the complete opposite of Kirino (thus the two having a not-so-friendly relationship). Meanwhile, trying to balance her life with her real friends, fellow models Ayase Aragaki and Kanako Kurusu.

And for older brother, Kyosuke will do whatever it takes to have this strong relationship with his sister, but this relationship tends to freak Kirino’s friends who joke around that the two have a “Sis-Con” type of relationship.

“Oreimo 2″

For the sequel, “Oreimo 2″, Kyosuke wants to be be truthful about his feelings towards his sister Kirino, and Kirino the same for her older brother.  But what happens when Kyosuke’s female friends start to confess their love for him?

The main characters of “Oreimo” are:

  • Kyousuke Kosaka – The main character. A 17-year-old who lives a normal life and wants to have a real brother and sister relationship with his younger sister Kirino, but for years, she has acted as if she is repulsed by him. But he still wants to protect her and he starts to develop.
  • Kirino Kosaka – Kyousuke’s younger sister. She is mature for her age but acts very cold and even repulsed towards her older brother. She is a model, top student in her class, track star and is popular but she has a secret double life and that is that she is an otaku who is passionate towards a children’s anime series “Stardust Witch Meruru” and loves moe and eroge games. She often uses her modeling money to fund her hobby and tries her best to keep her hobbies secret from her friends. She is easily frustrated when Kysouke is around other girls, especially towards Manami.
  • Manami Tamura – Kyousuke’s childhood friend. Manami is a girl with glasses and is described as being a plain, normal girl. She likes Kyousuke and her family tries to do all they can to get Kyousuke and Mani together alone. Kyousuke thinks that Manami’s mannerisms are like an older lady.
  • Saori Makishima – The leader of “Anime Girls Unite!”. A big Gundam fan, big otaku with big glasses and has a great body. Always trying to keep the balance between Kirino and Kuroneko.
  • Ruri Goko/Kuroneko – The complete opposite of Kirino. She loves dark things, can’t stand sugary magical girl anime and it leads her to be at odds with Kirino. She is also the older sister two two younger sisters and envy’s Kirino of having an older brother who takes care of her. So, she starts calling Kyousuke “nii-san” (brother).
  • Ayase Aragaki – Kirino’s best friend, classmate and a fellow model. She’s rather quiet but when someone lies at her, she gets very upset and violent. She dislikes Kyousuke, thinking that he is responsible for Kirino being an otaku.
  • Kanako Kurusu – Kirino’s friend, classmate and fellow model. She has a photographic memory when it comes to memorizing songs. She also has a bratty attitude.
  • Daisuke Kosaka/Yoshino Kosaka – Daisuke is Kyousuke and Kirino’s strict father and Yoshino is their loving mother.
  • Kohei Akagi – Kyousuke’s classmate who also tries to support his sister’s otaku hobby.
  • Sena Akagi – Kohei’s younger sister who is a brainiac when it comes to programming and fixing glitches in games. She’s also hardcore into yaoi (guy and guy action) and often has dreams of her guy friends doing yaoi things to each other.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Oreimo 2″ is presented in 16:9 LB and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0.

AIC has done a solid job with the animation for “Oreimo” in the fact that it’s one of those series that doesn’t reuse scenes constantly over and over again. Each scene, it’s like there is something new for the characters and the colors are vibrant and for the most part, the characters are often mobile, going outdoors, going to events, so it’s a pretty cool series when it comes to the overall look.

I also like the creative endings shown after each series and showcasing various artistic styles. And the styles are featured in the included postcards that come with the “Oreimo 2″ limited edition box set.

As for the audio, the audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. For me, I chose to have stereo on all channels in order to have a more immersive soundtrack but for the most part, audio is crystal clear and the optional English subtitles are easy to read.

So, for the most part, I was pleased with the anime series and I hope that maybe Aniplex considers this title for a future Blu-ray release.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Oreimo 2″ comes with the following special features:

  • SD Character Preview – (6:32) SD versions of the characters Kyousuke and Kirino.
  • Galge Style Short Movies: New Year’s First Shrine Visit/Valentine’s Day – (44:08) In Eroge fashion, the story plays out like an erotic video game with two different storylines (note: A lot of reading with some vocals).
  • Web Previews
  • Textless opening and ending themes

EXTRAS:

And this is where Aniplex really went all out! Included in the “Oreimo 2: Limited Edition Complete Box Set” are the following items: 16 postcards, 44-page booklet of character designs and original DVD/BD cover gallery,  Original Poster, 2-Sided DVD Cover.

oreimo-2b

Fun, hilarious and highly entertaining… “Oreimo 2″ was rather interesting because the writers really tried to escalate the taboo nature of the sister complex that Kyousuke had for his sister.

If anything, the writers knew rather well how people would feel about the series as we see brother and sister become closer until the final episode when all is revealed and you can’t help but feel content of how the writers managed to conclude the series.

But I have to admit, there were times when I was saying to myself, “oh…don’t go there!” but I’m glad I stuck with this series from beginning to end.

If you stuck with both the first series and this second, “Oreimo” ended up being is a fun and hilarious take on an otaku lifestyle and one brother wanting to reconnect with his younger sister and have that brother and sister bond that he had desperately wanted for years. And when big brother Kyousuke discovers younger sister, Kirino’s secret otaku lifestyle, it ends up bringing the two together and possibly helping build that bond between brother and sister that had been lost for years.

In anime series, you often see the younger sister taking care of the older sibling when it comes to waking them up for school, serving them food and it’s a part of Japanese pop culture that I have seen in dramas, anime and manga series. Where there is a bit more family support as opposed to the individual perspective that we see in America.

When I think about it…sure, we used to see brother and sister bonding on ’70s and ’80s shows such as “The Brady Bunch”, “Diff’rent Strokes”, “Mr. Belvedere” and “Growing Pains” but the more I think about it today, those type of series have disappeared from American television. But in Japan, television still tries to show the connection between family especially between brothers and sisters and “Oreimo” tries to incorporate that.

And because these two are constantly arguing with each other, they do want to very much have a brother and sister relationship and because it seems anything but normal, their friends wonder what is up with these two and thus the “sister complex” jokes come up, especially since Kirino is into those type of video games that are moe and eroge.

And despite those games not being so “cool” or even disturbing for Kyousuke, he is open to playing them with his sister because it’s a big step in creating that brother and sister bond.

And of course, there is that otaku-lifestyle that the anime series tends to touch upon. We have seen it on series such as “Genshiken” and the otaku-lifestyle, especially one having a cool and popular lifestyle but then having otaku inspired tastes. Sure, there are stereotypes that all otaku are nerds but even I know a few people who try not to have those interests hidden and keep it a secret.

And in the case of both Kyosuke and Kirino, both have an obsession for eroge (erotic video games).  So, it was rather fascinating to see how this series would play out in the end.

But it’s the way the stories are handles that makes it quite fun. But it’s the final three episodes that were not televised, that was rather interesting.  And by episode 16, one can understand why these last three episodes were not televised but at the same time, all was necessary to provide closure for the series.  And once again, I was quite content with how this series ended.

For those curious about “Oreimo 2″, one should not worry about any brother and sister action, this is not that type of series. Granted, there are moments where the two seem like they are going to engage into something unusual but the writers make sure that they tease the viewer than actually having the characters go through with any action. There is no sister complex scenes but possibly one when Kyousuke is holding a package that Kirino wants and the two fight over it that they fall. And of course, we get the fan service panty shot and Kyousuke landing on top of his sister while his hand happens to be on her breast while her friends look in shock.

That is probably the only scene where brother and sister get into any certain situations but outside of that, it’s a pretty tame anime series but it does have some mature language and a few fan service moments. But for the most part, for those wondering if it’s a sister complex anime series, “Oreimo” and “Oreimo 2″ is not that type of series. The writers joke around the topic it but never gets serious.

As mentioned, you get all 13-episodes of the TV series, plus the three  episodes that were only shown on the Website. But with this limited edition complete box set, you also get postcards, a booklet, poster and an irreversible cover.

While I did enjoy this series, if I had to think up of some negatives, it’s the fact that the series does not come with an English dub soundtrack. For me, I’m more biased towards watching anime in Japanese but I know a lot who are biased towards English dubs. The other thing that I can think of is for those who are wanting an HD release of this series. It’s out in Japan and I wouldn’t be surprised if Aniplex does consider this series for Blu-ray in the near future. I hope they do because there are not too many upbeat series like this out on Blu-ray in the U.S.

Overall, there’s nothing I can complain about this box set or the anime series. It was very entertaining and fun to watch and it’s probably one of the more fun anime comedies I have seen in recent years, especially one that is presented with so much fan swag. How awesome is that?

“Oreimo 2″ is a fantastic conclusion to this fun and entertaining anime series! “Oreimo 2: Limited Edition Complete Box Set” is recommended!

 

PURCHASE THIS DVD FROM RIGHTSTUF or BANDAI STORE

 

The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

thegoldbergs

“The Goldbergs” is nostalgic, hilarious comedy that I look forward to watching and I can’t wait for season two! “The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season” is recommended!

© 2013, 2014 Sony Pictures Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season

YEAR OF TV SERIES: 2014

DURATION: 23 Episodes (495 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1), English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

RATED: NOT RATED

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Released Dated: September 9, 2014

Directed by Seth Gordon, David Katzenberg, Victor Nelli Jr., Michael Patrick Jann, Claire Scanlon, Jason Ensler, Troy Miller, Mat Sohn, Roger Kumble, Ken Marino, Fred Savage

Written by Adam F. Goldberg, Kristopher Valentine, Andrew Secunda, Stacey Harman, Chris Bishop, Alex Barnow, Sally Bradford, Marc Firek, Lew Schneider, Niki Schwartz-Wright, Matt Tarses, Michael J. Weithorn, Darlene Hunt, Aaron Kaczander, Vanessa McCarthy

Executive Producer: Adam F. Goldberg, Seth Gordon, Doug Robinson

Producer: Andrew Secunda, Stephen Basilone

Co-Executive Producer: Annette Sahakian Davis, Marc Firek, Sally Bradford, David Katzenberg, Robia Rashid

Co-Producer: Mary Rohlich, Nikki Schwartz-Wright

Associate Producer: Erin Braun, Courtney Wieden

Cinematography by Joseph E. Gallagher, Jason Blount, David Hennings

Edited by Ivan Victor, Jon Corn, Scott Pellet

Casting by Leslie Litt

Production Design by Cory Lorenzen, Shepherd Frankel

Art Direction by Bill Brownell

Set Decoration by Suzette Sheets, Jennifer Lukehart

Costume Design by Keri Smith, Carol Ramsey

Starring:

Wendi McLendon-Covey as Beverly Goldberg

Sean Giambrone as Adam Goldberg

Troy Gentile as Barry Goldberg

Hayley Orrantia as Erica Goldberg

George Segal as Albert “Pops” Solomon

Jeff Garlin as Murray Goldberg

Patton Oswalt as the Narrator

Virginia Gardner as Lexy Bloom

Natalie Alyn Lind as Dana Caldwell

Reagan was in the White House, the malls were filled with New Wave fashionistas and the Goldbergs were living large in the ‘80s. Documenting his hilariously combative, yet loving family with a video camera nearly as big as he is, 11-year-old geek Adam (Sean Giambrone) is witness to all kinds of insanity from his over-protective, over-the-top mom (Wendi McLendon-Covey), quick-tempered dad (Jeff Garlin), rebellious sister (Hayley Orrantia), high-strung brother (Troy Gentile) and super suave grandfather (George Segal).

In 2013, the series “The Goldbergs” created by Adam F. Goldberg (“Breaking In”) aired on television.

Starring Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Brides Maids”, “Reno 911!”), Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Daddy Day Care”), George Segal (“Look Who’s Talking”, “The Cable Guy”), Haley Orrantia, Troy Gentile (“Nacho Libre”, “Drillbit Taylor”, “Good Luck Chuck”), Sean Giambrone (“I Heart Shakey”, “Clarence”) and narration by Patton Oswalt (“The King of Queens”, “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas”).

With a second season to air on ABC, the first season which consists of 23-episodes, will be released on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“The Goldbergs” is a comedy set in the 1980’s and is based on the life of series-creator Adam F. Goldberg (at the end of each episode are real life footage that Adam filmed of his family when he was young).

The series takes place in Jenkinstown, Pennsylvania and features Murray Goldberg (portrayed by Jeff Garlin) as the furniture salesman and family patriarch, the intruding but loving mother Beverly (portrayed by Wendi McLendon-Covey).

Both Murry and Beverly are parents to popular Erica (portrayed by Hayley Orrantia), the always trying hard but very naive, mama’s boy Barry (portrayed by Troy Gentile) and the young but mature for his age Adam Goldberg (portrayed by Sean Giambrone) who is now starting to discover girls for the first time.

The family are often visited by the children’s grandfather Albert “Pops” Solomon (portrayed by George Segal).

The following is a spoilerless summary of the first season of “The Goldbergs”:

  • EPISODE 1 – Barry wants to get a car for his 16th birthday.
  • EPISODE 2- Beverly takes Adam to shop for school clothes.
  • EPISODE 3 – Adam and Pops attend a Rated R film and Beverly disapproves of it.
  • EPISODE 4 – Dam and Barry discover a secret channel on television.
  • EPISODE 5 – Eric, Barry and Adam discover their father’s letters for his ex-girlfriend.
  • EPISODE 6 – It’s Halloween and Barry wants to impress the girl of his dreams at a party.  But what happens when mom crashes the party?
  • EPISODE 7 – Barry receives his driver’s license and Beverly sets some important rules for him.
  • EPISODE 8 – The Goldbergs meet the Kremp family who just moved across the street.
  • EPISODE 9 – Murray’s brother comes to visit the family for Thanksgiving.
  • EPISODE 10 – Erica’s job is in trouble when her mom keeps abusing the employee discount.
  • EPISODE 11 – Will the Goldberg’s perform at the talent show?
  • EPISODE 12 – Beverly complains that Pops spends too much time at their home.
  • EPISODE 13 – Beverly takes on her arch rival, Betsy Rubenstone.
  • EPISODE 14 – Adam and Dana attend their first dance.
  • EPISODE 15 – Will Beverly trust herErica to go shopping with a friend?
  • EPISODE 16 – An episode inspired by “The Goonies”.
  • EPISODE 17 – Adam tries to improve his Ice Hockey skills.
  • EPISODE 18 – What happens when Beverly donates Murray’s favorite easy chair to the Goodwill Store.
  • EPISODE 19 – Adam is scared of doing the President’s Fitness Test.
  • EPISODE 20 – Adam is excited about his laser tag birthday party but he really wants to kiss Dana.  Will he?
  • EPISODE 21 – Erica’s boyfriend Drew dumps her.  Will she get over it?
  • EPISODE 22 – Murry and Pops convince Barry to lie to his mother in order to join the wrestling team.
  • EPISODE 23 – Murray’s high school basketball free throw record is broken and he is invited back to the school to honor his long-standing free throw score.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality on DVD is very good as the series is broken up in three discs. Audio quality is good with clear dialogue.  I did not notice any artifacts or any problematic issues during my viewing of the series.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring an audio commentary “Call Me When You Get There” with Wendi McLendon-Covey, Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia, Adam F. Goldberg, Doug Robinson, Stacey Harman and Niki Schwartz-Wright.
  • Blast from the Past: Making Season One - (17:45) A featurette on the making of the series.  Interviews with cast and crew.
  • Our House: The 80’s Revisited – (11:50) Production Designer Corey Lorenz discusses the making of the set.

DISC 2:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring an audio commentary “Kara-Te” with Wendi McLendon-Covey, Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia, Adam F. Goldberg, Doug Robinson and Andrew Secunda.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring an audio commentary “You Opened the Door” with Wendi McLendon-Covey, Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia, Adam F. Goldberg, David Katzenberg, Alex Barnow and Marc Firek.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring an audio commentary “Goldbergs Never Say Die!” with Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia, Adam F. Goldberg, Doug Robinson, David Katzenberg and Andrew Secunda.
  • On Set with Jeff Garlin – (9:43)  Jeff Garlin takes viewers on the tour of the set.

DISC 3:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring an audio commentary “Lame Gretzky” with Wendi McLendon-Covey, Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia, Adam F. Goldberg, Doug Robinson, Stacey Harman and Niki Schwartz-Wright.
  • Patton Oswalt: Adam Grows Up – (8:29) Patton Oswalt talks about being cast for the series.
  • Costume of the ’80s: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – (5:38) Costume Designer Keri Smith talks about the costumes she creates for “The Goldbergs”.

EXTRAS:

“The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season” comes with a slipcover.

As a child of the ’80s and having experienced the fads, the music, the clothing, the toys of that time period, how awesome and fresh is it to find a TV show that incorporates the pop culture of that timeline but making it accessible for today’s generation and also for those who grew up during that time period.

And to find out that the Goldberg’s are modeled after series creator, Adam F. Goldberg’s life and being treated with actual video camera footage, how cool is that?

But there is so much to enjoy about this coming-of-age comedy series.  Many of us can sympathize with young Adam Goldberg because we grew up with the amazing toys of the ’80s such as the Transformers, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, but also transitioning from those wonderful years of toy playing/collecting and then being interested in girls.  So, it’s interesting to see how this series plays out with Adam being interested in toys but also being interested and wanting to kiss girls.

Barry is that awkward guy that many of us guys had experienced.  Trying to fit in, trying to be cool, being a wannabe breakdancer or rapper, Barry is that awkward side that many of us get embarrassed by watching, but knowing that he’s cool in his own way at times.

And you have the popularity sister, the often medling mother and the father who just wants to be cool, relax after a hard day at work but is often having to be dad and trying to prevent his wife from doing something embarassing to their children.  And of course, you have the cool grandfather with “Pops”.

Each of the talent does a great job in portraying their character and all 23 episodes of “The Goldbergs” have been nothing but entertaining and fun and definitely one of my favorite comedy series on television.

As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is good and you get a good number of audio commentary and special features included.

Overall, “The Goldbergs” is nostalgic, hilarious comedy that I look forward to watching and I can’t wait for season two!

“The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season” is recommended!

 

The Blacklist: The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

blacklist

“The Blacklist: The Complete First Season” is a magnificent television series worth checking out! Riveting, exciting and one of the best drama series on television! The acting, the writing, the overall production value, everything about this series is top notch and also unpredictable. So, if you are looking for a series worth watching, “The Blacklist: The Complete First Season” is highly recommended!

© 2014 Sony Pictures Television Inc. and Open 4 Business Productions LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Blacklist: The Complete First Season

YEAR OF TV SERIES: 2014

DURATION: 22 Episodes (939 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1), English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

RATED: NOT RATED

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Released Dated: August 12, 2014

Directed by Michael W. Watkins, Vincent Misiano, Joe Carnahan, Michael Zinberg, Jace Alexander, Adam Arkin, Nick Gomez, Stephen Surjik, Steven A. Adelson, Paul A. Edwards, Karen Gaviola, Dan Lerner, Peter Werner, Randall Zisk

Written by Elizabeth Benjamin, Jon Bokenkamp, Jim Capolongo, Joe Carnahan, Richard D’Ovidio, John Eisendrath, Jason George, John C. Kelley, Brandon Margolis, Patrick Massett, J.R. Orci, Lukas Reiter, Jonathan Shapiro, Amanda Kate Shuman, Brandon Sonnier, Anthony Sparks, Daniel Voll, Wendy West, John Zinman

Produced by Timothy Silver, Douglas Rowell, Tony Salama, Trever Stewart

Co-Producer: Alex Cuthbertson, Matt Fusfeld, Timothy Silver

Executive Producer: Tristram Shapeero, Jaes Fino, Joe Russo

Co-Executive Producer: Erik Sommers

Associate Producer: Andres Anglade

Consulting Producer: Adam Countee

Music by Ludwig Goransson

Cinematography by Gary Hatfield

Edited by Christian Kinnard, Luke Guidici

Casting by Josh Einsohn

Production Design by Denise Pizzini

Set Decoration by Denise Pizzini

Art Diretion by John B. Vertrees

Costume Design by Sabrina Rosen

Starring:

James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington

Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen

Diego Klattenhoff as Donald Ressler

Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen

Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper

Parminder Nagra as Agent Meera Malik

Hisham Tawfiq as Dembe

Amir Arison as Aram Mjtabai

Debora S. Craig as Luli

Rachel Brosnahan as Jolene

Alan Alda as Fitch

Charles Baker as Grey

Jane Alexander as Diane Flower

For decades, ex-government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader, TV’s “The Office,” “Boston Legal”) has been one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as “The concierge of Crime.” Now, he’s mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: he will help catch the world’s most elusive criminals, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone, TV’s “Law & Order: Los Angeles”), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. For Liz, it’s going to be one hell of a first day on the job.

In 2013, the series “The Blacklist” starring James Spader (“Boston Legal”, “Stargate”, “Lincoln”), Megan Boone (“My Bloody Valentine”, “Step Up Revolution”), Ryan Eggold (“90210″, “Queen”, “Trophy Kids”), Parminder Nagra (“Bend It Like Beckham”, “ER”) and Harry Lennix (“Man of Steel”, “Ray”, “The Matrix Revolutions”) became a breakout hit for NBC.

Receiving critical acclaim from critics and nominated for many awards, “Blacklist: The Complete First Season” will be available on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“The Blacklist” revolves around former government agent and one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives, Raymond “Red” Reddington (portrayed by James Spader) surrendering at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Because of the terrorist threats against America, Reddington offers to help the FBI under one condition, he will only work with one person in the FBI, rookie FBI profiler, Elizabeth Keen (portrayed by Megan Boone).

For Megan, she looks at her new job as a great paying job that she and her husband Tom (portrayed by Ryan Eggold) can finally start having a family.  But in the first case to capture the terrorist, her husband was captured, tortured and nearly was killed.

And as she continues to work with Reddington, it is unclear why he chose her and why he knows so much about her.  But he appears to also know something about Tom and that he may not be the man that she thinks he is…or is this part of Reddington’s way of getting closer to her?

And after the first case of capturing the first terrorist, Reddington reveals that there are more criminals with the intent to do great harm and he can help the FBI neutralize them, as he has created a “blacklist” of criminals/terrorists worldwide.  Especially those that the FBI are not aware of.

Thus forcing FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Keen to work closely with Reddington.  But what is he hiding?

The main characters of “Blacklist” are:

  • Raymond “Red” Reddington – A former government agent and FBI fugitive who aids the FBI in capturing criminals/terrorists worldwide but only wants to work with FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Keen.
  • FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Keen – A rookie profiler who had a tragic childhood.  Not sure why “Red” chose to work with her.  Wants to have a family with her husband Tom.
  • FBI Agent Donald Ressler – Keen’s FBI partner.
  • Tom Keen – Elizabeth’s husband who wants to adopt a child.  But behind this young man who is trying to look for a job and married to Elizabeth, is there more to him that Elizabeth is unaware of.
  • CIA Field Agent Meera Malik - Assigned to Reddington’s security detail and often aiding FBI Special Agents Keen and Ressler.
  • Assistant Director of the FBI Counterterrorism Division, Harold Cooper - Always watching over his agents’ backs but trying to figure out why Reddington is so interested in Elizabeth Keen.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“The Blacklist: The Complete First Season” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Picture quality on DVD is very good as the series is broken up in five discs with 4-5 episodes each.  It’s important to note that if you want the best picture and audio quality, the Blu-ray release is the version to purchase.  But on DVD, picture quality is good and I didn’t see any major problems with artifacts.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Blacklist: The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Commentary – Featuring an audio comemntary on the pilot episode with Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath and Joe Carnahan.
  • Beyond the Blacklist - (24:18) Featurettes for the first five episodes of the series with interviews with cast and crew.

DISC 2:

  • Commentary on Anslo Garrick Part 1 - Featuring audio commentary with Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath and Joe Carnahan.
  • The Insider: Behind the Scenes of Season 1 – (13:59) Behind-the-scenes on the making of “The Blacklist”, working with James Spader and the other cast members.
  • Beyond the Blacklist - (23:19) Featurettes for episodes 6-10 of the series with interviews with cast and crew.

DISC 3:

  • Beyond the Blacklist - (18:12) Featurettes for episodes 11-14 of the series with interviews with cast and crew.

DISC 4:

  • Beyond the Blacklist - (17:12) Featurettes for episodes 15-18 of the series with interviews with cast and crew.

DISC 5:

  • Commentary on Berlin - Featuring audio commentary with Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath and Joe Carnahan.
  • Beyond the Blacklist - (17:48) Featurettes for episodes 19-22 of the series with interviews with cast and crew.

EXTRAS:

“The Blacklist: The Complete First Season” comes with a slip case.

Riveting, exciting and one of the best drama series on television!

“The Blacklist” was definitely a series that surprised me from beginning to end.  The first half was riveting for the sake that the wanted fugitive “Red” has chosen to work with Elizabeth, a rookie profiler and just seeing the missions these two work on and at times, barely surviving.

But as the first half featured the working relationship between Red and Elizabeth and how Red has affected her marriage with Tom, some of the episodes featured are absolutely thrilling.  From serial killers to murderers, these episodes were rather intriguing as the writers effectively planned each episode and escalating the tension.  And it’s a series that writers were able to take risks and making sure that characters, some that begin to grow on you, may or may not survive.

But the writers were also great at connecting the dots with each character, how the stories have all have a connection and leading to its excellent final episodes with some questions resolved, while many questions are created and will no doubt lead to what hopes to be a magnificent season two.

As always, James Spader has managed to bring something special to this series.  May it be his stoic yet suave behavior, his stylish presentation but also knowing that this man is quite deadly and not sure if he could be trusted.

Megan Boone does a wonderful job of playing an FBI Special Agent but also a woman that tends to show her strengths with each episode and to see her put through a lot of unfortunate situations but yet, hopefully becoming stronger.

These two individuals are rather fascinating as they are the ultimate odd couple trying to take down the world’s top criminals but yet, feeling this uneasiness that something big is going to happen and no doubt, there are many twists and turns along the way and if anything, the writing, the acting and overall production for “The Blacklist” is top notch.

As for the DVD, once again, if you want this series in the best quality, then the Blu-ray version is the way to go.  Otherwise, the DVD does look very good.  Not many artifacts can be seen, thanks to episodes being spread part on five discs.  And you also get a plethora of special features including audio commentary included.

Overall, “The Blacklist: The Complete First Season” is a magnificent television series worth checking out!   Riveting, exciting and one of the best drama series on television! The acting, the writing, the overall production value, everything about this series is top notch and also unpredictable.

So, if you are looking for a series worth watching, “The Blacklist: The Complete First Season” is highly recommended!

 

It Felt Like Love (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

itfeltlikelove

“It Felt Like Love” is a combination of all those awkward emotions people felt about sexuality and how far one would go to be experienced. Natural, insightful and real, “It Felt Like Love” is recommended.

Images courtesy of © 2014 Kino Lorber. All rights reserved.

DVD TITLE: It Felt Like Love

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 82 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1, 5.1 Dolby Digital

COMPANY: Kino Lorber

RATED: NOT RATED

RELEASE DATE: July 29, 2014

Written and Directed by Eliza Hittman

Executive Producer: Tyler Brodie, Hunter Gray, Gill holland

Producer: Eliza Hittman, Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner

Associate Producer: Molly Gandour

Cinematography by Sean Porter

Edited by Scott Cummings, Carlos Marques-Marcet

Casting by Henry Russell Bergstein

Production Design by Sarah Maiorino

Starring:

Gina Piersanti as Lila

Giovanni Salimeni as Chiara

Ronen Rubinstein as Sammy

Jesse Cordasco as Patrick

Nick Rosen as Devon

Richi Folio as Justin

Case Prime as Nate

Kevin Anthony Ryan as Lila’s Father

Fourteen-year-old Lila (Gina Piersanti) is embarrassed by her sexual inexperience, while her pretty best friend Chiara spends her summer making out with her new beau. Eager to prove her desirability, the shy and retiring Lila focuses her attention on local lothario Sammy. She approaches him with clumsy come-ons, and Sammy swats her away. But Lila keeps pushing into the world of Sammy’s hyper-macho friends, where sex is less about exploration than intimidation and power.

“It Felt Like Love” marks the feature film debut for filmmaker Eliza Hittman.

Known for directing short films, Hittman’s first film has received critical praise for it’s naturalistic coverage of the discovering of teenage sexuality thanks to its performance by young actress Gina Piersanti.

“It Felt Like Love” was released on DVD courtesy of Kino Lorber in July and revolves around a 14-year-old Lila (portrayed by Piersanti) who is spending her summer being the third wheel to her best friend Chiara (portrayed by Giovanna Salimeni) and her boyfriend.

Each time she watches the couple, she sees how intimate they are with no care in the world and makes Lila think about her sexual inexperience.

After meeting Sammy (portrayed by Ronen Rubinstein), she tries her best to get him to think about her sexually but Sammy is not interested.  She finds herself getting closer into the world of Sammy and his buddies who look at her like nothing but a sexual plaything.

But how far will Lila go to have a sexual experience?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“It Felt Like Love” is presented in 1:85:1 and the cinematography by Sean Porter captures summer in South Brooklyn with efficacy.  From the local seaside, riding on the train and showcasing the uneasiness of sexual experiences, Porter is able to capture that on camera.

The picture quality looks good on DVD (and as best as one can expect on DVD), with no major artifacts or any major problems during viewing.  Audio is 5.1 surround sound and is dialogue-driven.  Dialogue is crystal clear and understandable.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“It Felt Like Love” comes with the following special features:

  • Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight - (15:34) Filmmaker Eliza Hittman’s 2011 short film about the day of a girl who lives with her father who is in danger of being evicted because he keeps bringing in cats and getting away with a friend to enjoy a night at the club and what happens afterward.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Eliza Hittman (note: audio commentary is found in the audio selection).
  • Image Gallery – A still image/photo gallery from the film which one can view via remote (or mouse/keyboard).
  • Theatrical Trailer – (2:02) The theatrical trailer for “It Felt Like Love”.

“It Felt Like Love” is a film that you really don’t see being made often.  After all, it deals with teenage sexuality and many films or even television shows tend to show the repercussions of teenage sex, may it be teen pregnancy or being with the wrong person and getting involved with the wrong crowd.

But filmmaker Eliza Hittman did a much job, focusing on reality, natural experiences that people feel and while not biographical, Hittman has said the film conjures up the emotions that she felt as a teenager and about sexuality.

The film relies on the uneasiness of its protagonist Lila, portrayed by Gina Piersanti.  And the emotions that Hittman was able to get out of her and bring out that uneasiness but it’s what brings out the natural emotions of the film.  Using young inexperienced talent also made the film feel real.

May it be Lila’s relationship with her friend Chiara, her coming-of-age relationship with her father or her young but mature neighbor, the film seems rather natural but yet the film is about the lack of comfort that Lila is going through and her observations of people and sexuality.

Cinematography by Sean Porter was also done well as it captures the humid summer of South Brooklyn.  The summer humidity, the location shots, everything comes together quite well.

But “It Felt Like Love” is subjective as the exploration of teenage sexuality can be easily seen as natural, but the film does push the boundaries of what some people may be comfortable with and will surely make some people quiver as Lila does go on a dangerous path to discover her own sexuality.

But once again, these emotions that Lila experiences are all natural, as many of us probably knew people like Lila.  People wanting to not feel left out, not wanting to be someone that is inexperienced, one-sided love and it is quite uncomfortable, but that’s what this film is about.  Those emotions that people feel, that awkward feeling and some people find ways of dealing with those emotions and self-realization.

As for the DVD, “It Felt Like Love” also features a fascinating audio commentary from Eliza Hittman and also her last short film which is also well-made.

Overall, “It Felt Like Love” is a combination of all those awkward emotions people felt about sexuality and how far one would go to be experienced.

Natural, insightful and real, “It Felt Like Love” is recommended.

 

 

Community – The Complete Fifth Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

community-s5

If you love comedy, “Community” has always been an entertaining series and continues to be entertaining for season five. There were quite a number of changes for the fifth season but if you followed the series for this long and enjoy the crazy hijinks of the characters, I’m sure you are in for the long haul and were entertained with what Harmon and crew were able to deliver. “Community – The Complete Fifth Season” is definitely worth checking out!

© 2014 Sony Pictures Television Inc. and Open 4 Business Productions LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Community – The Complete Fifth Season

YEAR OF TV SERIES: 2014

DURATION: 13 Episodes (278 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1), English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH

RATED: NOT RATED

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Released Dated: August 5, 2014

Directed by Joe Russo, Tristram Shapeero, Jay Chandraskehar, Rob Schrab

Written by Jordan Blum, Andy Bobrow, Parker Deay, Donald Diego, Dan Harmon, Carol Kolb, Chris McKenna, Tim Saccardo, Erik Sommers, Dino Stamatopoulos

Produced by Timothy Silver, Douglas Rowell, Tony Salama, Trever Stewart

Co-Producer: Alex Cuthbertson, Matt Fusfeld, Timothy Silver

Executive Producer: Tristram Shapeero, Jaes Fino, Joe Russo

Co-Executive Producer: Erik Sommers

Associate Producer: Andres Anglade

Consulting Producer: Adam Countee

Music by Ludwig Goransson

Cinematography by Gary Hatfield

Edited by Christian Kinnard, Luke Guidici

Casting by Josh Einsohn

Production Design by Denise Pizzini

Set Decoration by Denise Pizzini

Art Diretion by John B. Vertrees

Costume Design by Sabrina Rosen

Starring:

Joel McHale as Jeff Winger

Gillian Jacobs as Britta Perry

Danny Pudi as Abed Nadir

Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley Bennett

Alison Brie as Annie Edison

Donald Glober as Troy Barnes

Ken Jeong as Senor Chang

Jim Rash as Dean Pelton

Richard Erdman as Leonard

Dino Stamatoupoulos as Star Burns

Erik Charles Nielsen as Garrett Lambert

John Oliver as Professor Ian Duncan

Danielle Kaplowitz as Vicki

Luke Youngblood as Magnitude

Charley Koontz as Neil

Jonathan Banks as Professor Hickey

Dominik Musiol as Pavel

Jeremy Scott Johnson as Carl

America’s smartest, edgiest comedy goes back to school with a vengeance! Just when you thought you’d seen and laughed at everything, along comes Season 5 to reinvent all the rules. “Bear Down” for the most jaw-dropping, polygraph-taking, hot lava-walking, ass-crack-bandit-pursuing, fantasy-roleplay-gaming, animated “G.I. Jeff”-hallucinating, hidden treasure-hunting, college campus-saving season that gets a rating of five MeowMeowBeenz! The fifth season of Community proves to be the most innovative and hilarious season yet – with Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Jim Rash, Ken Jeong, Jonathan Banks and John Oliver.

For the fifth season of the hit comedy series “Community”, the study group of Greendale Community College must face a closure, Jeff returns after graduating to teach, one member of the study group says goodbye, while another passes away.

Featuring a new chapter of the characters of “Community”, including a “G.I. Joe” inspired animated episode, find out what happens in “Community – The Fifth Season” which will be released on DVD in August 2014.

What is “Community”?

In 2009, writer and producer Dan Harmon (“The Sarah Silverman Program”, “Monster House”) and Rob Schrab (founder of the website/channel “101”) created a TV sitcom for NBC known as “Community”. For three seasons, “Community” has done well for NBC but for half of season three and for season four there was a major shakeup with Sony Pictures Television not renewing the contract of producer Dan Harmon.  But after public outcry and falling ratings, Dan Harmon returned for season 5.

Unfortunately, the troubles of season four with Chevy Chase walking off the set in the final two episodes, would lead to his character being killed off the show for season five.  And as for Donald Glover, who has played the popular character Troy, his busy schedule with his rap career and his planned TV show with FX, prompted the actor to have his character leave in season 5.

And with an announcement that NBC had canceled “Community” in May 2014, fortunately Yahoo! Screen picked up the series in June 2014 and a sixth season will be shown via their online streaming service.

With a another new direction for the fifth season, the season is 13 episodes long.

The series focuses on a troubled lawyer named Jeff Winger (played by Joel McHale) having to attend Greendale Community College after falsifying his law degree credentials. In order for him to not get disbarred, he must graduate from Greendale. So, he attends a study group which he forms with troublemaker student Britta Perry (played by Gillian Jacobs), an arrogant towlet millionaire and student Pierce Hawthorne (played by Chevy Chase), a straight-laced student named Annie Edison (played by Alison Brie), a former high school quarterback named Troy Barnes (played by Donald Glover), a single Christian mother named Shirley Bennett (played by Yvette Nicole Brown) and a film student named Abed Nadir (played by Danny Pudi).

For season five, the season picks up a year after Jeff has graduated from Greendale Community College.  While being a lawyer was not as success, he decides to teach at Greendale and adjust to being part of staff.

Meanwhile, the group is shaken by a death of one of their own students and one of their own decides to leave community college for a major adventure.

Season five will also feature the “Community” animated episode as the group receives an ’80s “G.I. Joe” style conversion as Jeff doesn’t not want to leave his childhood and feels better living in the past.  Meanwhile, for Greendale Community College, will the community college be sold?

The main characters of “Community” are:

  • Jeff Winger (Joel McHale, “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 4D”, “Spider-Man 2″, “The Soup”) – A lawyer who worked at the Colorado Bar Association but when it was revealed that he didn’t get his BA from Columbia University, he is offered to attend Greendale Community College as a deal with the firm, so he doesn’t get disbarred.
  • Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs, “The Box”, “Gardens of the Night”) – The bad girl of the group and the least fun member of the group. She and Jeff tend to have one night stands with each other but now she is dating Troy.
  • Abed Nabir (Danny Pudi, “Road Trip: Beer Pong”, “Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil”) – Loves American pop culture and wants to become a filmmaker. He is taking film directing classes at Greendale Community College.
  • Troy Barnes (Donald Glover, “The Daily Show”, “Mystery Team”) – A former high school football star who now attends Greendale Community College. His best friend is Abed and is now dating Britta.
  • Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown, “(500) Days of Summer”, “Tropic Thunder”) - A divorced mother of three who attends Greendale Community College. She is very religious.
  • Annie Edison (Alison Brie, “Mad Men”, “Scream 4″) - A straight-laced Jewish girl. She is the most serious and most studious of the study group but also had a prescription drug addiction.
  • Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase, “Caddyshack”, “Vacation”) - The moist towelette tycoon attending Greendale Community College. He is trying to embrace today’s youth culture and is often offensive to everyone.
  • Ben “Senor” Chang (Ken Jeong, “The Hangover”, “Knocked Up”, “Role Models”) - Once the group’s Spanish teacher and was found out to not have any teaching qualifications, so now he must attend Greendale Community College and get his degree. In season four, he has amnesia dubbed “Changnesia”. He is disliked by the study group.
  • Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) – The flamboyant Dean of Greendale Community College and strives to make Greendale Community College into a real university.

Here is a spoilerless summary of each episode featured on “Community – The Complete Fourth Season” (a total of 13 episodes presented on three DVD’s):

 

  • EPISODE 85 – Repilot – Jeff returns to Greendale after graduating.
  • EPISODE 86 – Introduction to Teaching – Jeff begins teaching at Greendale and tries to adjust.
  • EPISODE 87 – Basic Intergluteal Numismatics – Jeff and Annie is trying to solve the mystery of the Ass Crack Bandit.  Meanwhile, the group receives bad news.
  • EPISODE 88 – Cooperative Polygraphy – As part of the conditions of Pierce’s will, the study group undergoes a polygraph test.
  • EPISODE 89 – Geothermal Escapism – The group honors Troys last day at Greendale.
  • EPISODE 90 – Analysis of Cork-Based Networking – Annie and Hickey wants to improve Greendale and organize a dance.
  • EPISODE 91 – Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality – Jeff helps Professor Duncan try to win Britta’s affection.
  • EPISODE 92 -App Development and Condiments – Greendale Community College tests out a social media app.
  • EPISODE 93 – VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing - Jeff, Shirley and Hickey discover unused textbooks and try to figure out what to do with them.
  • EPISODE 94 – Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – The gang organizes a game of Dungeons & Dragons, so Professor Hickey can become closer to his son, Hank.
  • EPISODE 95 – G.I. Jeff – The entire gang becomes animated in “G.I. Joe” style.
  • EPISODE 96 – Basic Story – Greendale is appraised on whether it is an asset or liability.
  • EPISODE 97 – Basic Sandwich - Greendale is about to be sold, meanwhile the gang tries to look for hidden treasure.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Community – The Complete Fifth Season” is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhance for 16×9 Televisions. For a DVD series, picture quality is very good, well-lit and pretty much a vibrant series. I didn’t notice too many compression artifacts on DVD but for the most part, fans of the series should be happy with the overall picture quality on DVD!

The series is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The series is primarily dialogue driven with occasional music and is primarily front and center channel driven. I didn’t notice the surround channels being utilized all that much, but for the most part, dialogue (and music) are crystal clear and understandable.

Subtitles are presented in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Community – The Complete Fif1th Season” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Commentaries – “Repilot” commentary with Joel McHale, Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna and Tristram Shapeero, “Introduction to Teaching” commentary with Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna and Andy Bobrow, “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” commentary with Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Dino Stamatopoulos, Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna and Tristram Shapeero, “Cooperative Polygraphy” commentary with Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna, Tristram Shapeero and Alex Rubens, “Geothermal Escapism” commentary with Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna, Joe Russo and Tim Saccardo, “Analysis of Cork-Based Networking” commentary with Alison Brie, Ken Jeong, Dan Harmon, Tristram Shapeero and Monica Padrick, “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality” with Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Ken Jeong, Dan Harmon, Tristram Shapeero and Dan Guterman.
  • Re-Animating the ’80s - (17:35) Creating the animated “G.I. Jeff” episode and doing a G.I. Joe animated style episode.
  • Outtakes – (5:58) Featuring the outtakes of the season five of “Community”.

DISC 2:

  • Commentaries - “App Development and Condiments” commentary with Yvette Nicole Brown, Mitchell Hurwitz, Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab, Jordan Blum and Parkr Deay. “VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing” commentary with Yvette Nicole Brown, Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong, Spencer Crittenden, Chris McKenna, Tristram Shapeero and Donald Diego, “Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” commentary with Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna, Joe Russo and Matt Roller, “G.I. Jeff” commentary withYvette Nicole Brown, Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna, Rob Schrab, Joe Russo II and James Fino, “Basic Story” commentary with Alison Brie, Ken Jeong, Dino Stamatopoulos, Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna, “Basic Sandwich” commentary with Yvette Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong, Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna, Rob Schrab and Ryan Ridley.
  • Advanced Television Production: 5 Days, 2 Scripts, No Sleep – (42:24) Behind-the-scenes on the making of a “Community” episode.

EXTRAS:

“Community – The Complete Fifth Season” comes with a slip case.

As a fan of “Community”, the fifth season was a mixed bag.

In one instance, I love the fact that the creativity of the series continued, especially with the hilarious and fantastic “G.I. Jeff” episode based on the original “G.I. Joe” series.

But there is no doubt that with Chevy Chase and Donald Glover gone, the series feels incomplete.

The series would add the often serious and often playing the antagonist, Jonathan Banks as Professor Hickey) and we have John Oliver back as Professor Ian Duncan trying to fill in the extra screentime.

While Jonathan Banks is a fascinating addition to the cast, considering his character roles for other series and films lean more to darker/serious roles, suffice to say, he manages to carry some of this bad boy bravado to “Community” and one that is not so tolerable to Abed.

So, suffice to say, this was a different type of “Community” that manages to have the humor with the original cast but trying to do something different with Joel McHale’s character now abandoning the lawyer route and trying to become a teacher at Greendale Community College, while the other cast remain the same.

In many ways, Dan Harmon’s return is ability to maintain the series’ consistency but also having to deal with two departures, trying to see how Jonathan Banks, John Oliver and even Ken Jeong have more screen time.  While it works, once again, it just doesn’t feel the same, but that’s all part of change and I hope they can make things better for season 6.  For me, part of the enjoyment of “Community” was to see the Troy and Abed hijinks and now, with Troy gone…seeing an Abed and Annie or Abed and Professor Hickey feels out of place.

With the completion of “Community” on television, because the series is going to be streaming on Yahoo!, it makes you wonder if this gives creators and writers a bit more leeway but also wondering if the group has to operate on a more tighter budget.  As a fan of the series, I’m glad the series is continuing but at the same time, I hope the quality is consistent with past seasons.

But if season six is the group’s swansong, I hope Dan Harmon gives the characters a proper sendoff.  But as for the fifth season, you still have the crazy hijinks but no doubt, the series didn’t feel the same without Donald Glover and Chevy Chase, but I do believe this was a transitional season with all the changes and staff working on a tight schedule.

Like the previous DVD releases, this DVD release goes way beyond what most TV sitcoms on DVD have done. Not only does every episode have audio commentary, but you also get a few featurettes and outtakes! So, fans of the series are definitely getting their money’s worth as usual with each season of “Community” on DVD.

If you love comedy, “Community” has always been an entertaining series and continues to be entertaining for season five.  There were quite a number of changes for the fifth season but if you followed the series for this long and enjoy the crazy hijinks of the characters, I’m sure you are in for the long haul and were entertained with what Harmon and crew were able to deliver.

“Community – The Complete Fifth Season” is definitely worth checking out!

 

Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

July 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

transformers-cybertron

“Transformers Cybertron” was my favorite series in the “Cybertron” trilogy.  With many characters featured and an exciting storyline, children and the young at heart will no doubt enjoy “Transformers Cybertron The Complete Series”.  Recommended!


DVD TITLE: Transformers Cyberton: The Complete Series

SERIES AIR DATE: 2005

DURATION: 52 Episodes (19 3/4 hours)

DVD INFORMATION: Animated, Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC

COMPANY: Shout! Factory

AVAILABLE ON AUGUST 5, 2014

DIRECTOR: Manabu Ono, Hiroyuki Kakudo

Written by Charlotte Fullerton, Aaron Archer, James W. Bates, Marc Handler, Manabu Ishikawa, Hiro Masaki, David McDermott, Kazuhisa Sakaguchi, Kazuhiko Soma, Seth Walther, Akatsuki Yamatoya, Genki Yoshimura

Executive Producer as Steve Drucker, Joshua Izzo

Animation Producer: Fumi Saitoh

Line Producer: Jyunichi Takagi

Consulting Producer: Shiiki Ryuta, Azuma Tani

Featuring the voices of:

Garry Chalk as Optimus Prime

Sarah Edmondson as Lori

Sam Vincent as Coby

Richard Newman as Vector Prime

Kirby Morrow as Hot Shot

Brian Dobson as Red Alert

Lisa Ann Beley as Override

Michael Daingerfield as Quickmix

Scott McNeil as Snarl

Brian Drummond as Jetfire

Paul Dobson as Landmine

Richard Ian Cox as Scattorshot

Mark Acheson as Crumplezone

Louis Chirillo as Ransack

Michael Dobson as Brakedown

Mark Oliver as Thundercracker

Trevor Devall as Scourge

Maryke Hendrikse as Thunderblast

David Kaye as Galvatron

Ryan Hirakida as Bud

Ted Cole as Sideways

Colin Murdock as Wing Saber

Dale Wilson as Mudflap

Tabitha St. Germain as Professor Lucy Suzuki

The Conclusion Of The Unicron Trilogy!

Unicron has been defeated, but his destruction has created a black hole, which is threatening the Autobots’ home world of Cybertron. It’s up to Optimus Prime, his team of heroic Autobots and their new human friends (Coby, Lori and Bud) to secure the four mystical Cyber Planet Keys, in order to destroy the black hole. Unfortunately, Megatron and the Decepticons are always lurking. And if the Cyber Planet Keys fall into their hands, it could mean the end of life as we know it. The race is on!

I’ve noticed a lot of reviews on other sites that are calling “Transformers Cybertron” the worst. A lot of these reviewers haven’t really watched a “Transformers” animation since the first series back in the 80’s or “Beast Wars” in the 90’s.

But of all series, “Transformers Cybertron” (aka Transformers: Galaxy Force in Japan) is one of my favorite “Transformers” animation series since the original G1 series.

Like most “Transformers” series, the target are children and hopes for children to buy the toys. But of course, among the older and hardcore collectors, this anime was so cool because it would introduce so many characters and also feature a large amount of Transformers merchandise.

The series focus on three young humans Coby (the teenager gifted at mechanics), his younger brother Bud (your typical young child) and Lori (a teenage friend of Coby and obviously she likes him. And a person that can easily get frustrated).

To make a long story short, the autobots have evacuated to the Planet Earth after the destruction of Unicron has left a black hole. With the black hole threatening their planet, the Autobots must find a way to stop the black hole from devouring their planet and the whole universe.

The three humans discover the Autobots and after developing trust and friendship, the humans assist the Optimus Prime and the other Autobots who are trying to find the legendary Cyber Planet Keys and Omega Lock thanks to the help of an ancient Autobot named Vector Prime. Of course, the Decepticons are after the same thing.

The four Cyber Planet keys are scattered in four worlds. Planet Earth, the Speed Planet (Velocitron), the Jungle Planet and Gigantion, the Giant Planet.

And the race is on as the Autobots along with Coby, Bud and Lori must get to the Cyber Planet keys and the Omega Lock before the Decepticons.  But can they do it?  And can they trust the fellow mecha who remain neutral?

Find out in the final series in the “Cybertron” trilogy, “Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series”!

VIDEO:

“Transformers Cybertron” is presented in 4:3 and the animation is one of the most detailed of the “Transformers” series from the 2000-era.  Great character design and use of CG and lighting effects.  For the most part, the series looks good on DVD!

AUDIO:

“Transformers Cybertron” is a series featured more dialog and music, so don’t expect any major audio channels. I didn’t expect any inclusion of the Japanese audio on this DVD, especially since the US and Japanese names of the robots are all different.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series” does not come with any special features.

It has been nearly a decade since I watched “Transformers Cybertron”.  At the time, I was a father raising a two-year-old who absolutely loved “Transformers Cybertron” and as a new father, literally purchased the whole “Transformers Cybertron” toy line and together, we would watch “Transformers Cybertron” and feel how awesome this series was, especially how they included so many characters.  The largest lineup I have ever seen since the original G1 series.

The series is quite long and in Japan, typically the anime with longer series are typically good for merchandise sales. May it be “Gundam”, “Pokemon” or “Naruto”, the same here in the US as a lot of “Transformers Cybertron” merchandise came out and if you were a collector of the line, to have so many Transformers (Autobots and Decepticons) from the various planets, small, tall or humongous was just satisfying.

There are many battles and there were some Transformer deaths as well. But overall, the series was enjoyable if you stayed in it for the long haul and for the most part, the series is quite safe for children.

There are some differences between the Japanese and American animations aside from character names and opening and ending themes but one difference is the leader of Velocitron (Speed Planet) in the US version is Override (a female Autobot) but in the Japanese version Override aka Nitro Convoy is a male character.

But I did like the nod to the past, with a little bit of inclusion of things from the past such as combining Transformers that would combine with Optimus Prime or Megatron, the addition of minicons and much more.

While “Transformers Cybertron” was a series conceived for children, the series was no doubt appealing to people of all ages. For me, the whole 52-episodes was fun to watch so many characters be introduced and then to see the many various battles, especially as the episodes starts to near its end. This was the only Transformers series that actually made me buy nearly every merchandise at that time because I enjoyed it that much and it was definitely a great series for me and my son can enjoy together.

As for the new release of “Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series” and how it compares to the original, there is no true difference between the two.  You still get 52 episodes, no special features but with the series now in Shout! Factory’s hands, you can expect them to take better care of the series and for the most part, not worry about this set going out of print.

While picture quality was as good as one can expect on DVD, too bad there aren’t any special features but considering fans are getting all 52-episodes for a good price, it’s hard to complain.

Granted, those who are coming into this series thinking of the old school Transformers may or may not get into it and I can understand why some reviewers may dislike it. But for those who are “Transformers” fans and also a collector of the merchandise, the series was one of the better ones to come in a long time in my opinion.

Overall, “Transformers Cybertron” was my favorite series in the “Cybertron” trilogy.  With many characters featured and an exciting storyline, children and the young at heart will no doubt enjoy “Transformers Cybertron The Complete Series”.  Recommended!

 

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