“What If” is a charming romantic comedy. Both Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan are perfectly cast and both talents feed off each other’s awkwardness. Recommended!
© 2013 F Word Productions Inc., PCF F-Word The Movie Inc. and Fastnet Films. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: What If
DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2013
DURATION: 98 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 2:35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: PG-13 (Sexual Content Including References Throughout, Partial Nudity and Language)
RELEASE DATE: November 25, 2014
Directed by Michael Dowse
Written by Elan Mastai
Based on the Play “Toothpaste and Cigars” by T.J. Dawe and Michael Rinaldi
Executive Producer: Jeff Arkuss, Mark Costa, Michael Dowse, HArtley Gorenstein, Elan Mastai, Ford Oelman, Jesse Shapira, Patrice Theroux
Producer: David Gross, Macdara Kelleher, Andre Rouleau
Associate Producer: Jonathan Loughran, Marlinda Walcott
Music by A.C. Newman
Cinematography by Rogier Stoffers
Edited by Yvann Thibaudeau
Casting by Ronna Kress
Production Design by Ethan Tobman
Art Direction by Mark Steel
Set Decoration by Mary Kirkland
Costume Design by Lea Carlson
Daniel Radcliffe as Wallace
Zoe Kazan as Chantry
Megan Park as Dalia
Adam Driver as Allan
Mackenzie Davis as Nicole
Rafe Spall as Ben
Lucius Hoyos as Felix
Jemima Rooper as Ellie
WHAT IF is the story of medical school dropout Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), who’s been repeatedly burned by bad relationships. So while everyone around him, including his roommate Allan (Adam Driver) seems to be finding the perfect partner (Mackenzie Davis), Wallace decides to put his love life on hold. It is then that he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan) an animator who lives with her longtime boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall). Wallace and Chantry form an instant connection, striking up a close friendship. Still, there is no denying the chemistry between them, leading the pair to wonder, what if the love of your life is actually your best friend? The ensemble romantic comedy costars Megan Park and Oona Chaplin.
In 2013, the Irish-Canadian romantic comedy “The F Word” (retitled to “What If”) was an adaptation based on the T.J. Dawe and Michael Rinaldi play “Toothpaste and Cigars”.
Directed by Michael Dowse (“Goon”, “It’s All Gone Pete Tong”) and written by Elan Mastai (“Alone in the Dark”, “The Samaritan”), the film premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and was the winner for Adapted Screenplay at the Canadian Screen Awards.
The film stars Daniel Radcliffe (“Harry Potter” films, “A Young Doctor’s Notebook”), Zoe Kazan (“Ruby Sparks”, “Fracture”, “Revolutionary Road”), Adam Driver (“Frances Ha”, “Inside Llewyn Davis”), Mackenzie Davis (“That Awkward Moment”, “Smashed”, “Breathe In”) and Megan Park (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, “Diary of the Dead”).
“What If” revolves around two people. Wallace (portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe) is a medical school dropout and currently living with his sister and nephew in Toronto. He hasn’t been the same since catching his girlfriend having an affair with his Anatomy teacher and literally has stayed at home for nearly a year until his friend Allan (portrayed by Adam Driver) invites him to a party.
At the party, despite being bored, he meets Allan’s cousin, an animator named Chantry (portrayed by Zoe Kazan) and immediately, the two become caught up in a discussion. While Allan manages to meet a woman named Nicole (portrayed by Mackenzie Davis), Wallace and Chantry continue to have a fun and healthy discussion.
When the two leave the party and walk home, Chantry gives Wallace her phone number but also tells him that she has a boyfriend.
One day, as Wallace goes out to the theater to watch “The Princess Bride”, he happens to see Chantry at the theater. And from that moment on, the two begin hanging out like best friends and enjoying each other’s company.
While it is obvious to Wallace’s friends that he is in love with Chantry, Chantry often wonders if her five-year relationship with Ben (portrayed by Rafe Spall) would last, after he moves overseas for six months to work for the United Nations. But during this time together, both Wallace and Chantry begin hanging out with each other more and more and seeing how much they have in common.
But will Wallace ever let Chantry know how he truly feels for her or will he hold back, knowing that she has had a long relationship with another man?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“What If” is presented in 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital. It’s important to mention that if you want the best picture quality for “What If”, you will want to purchase the Blu-ray version of the film. Otherwise, the DVD quality is very good as one can expect on DVD. There are no major artifacts with the DVD version and audio is dialogue-driven and is crystal clear.
“What If” comes with the following special features:
- Blurred Lines - (3:57) A brief featurette with the cast talking about their character.
- Opposites Attract – (3:51) A brief featurette with the cast discussing working each other.
Not too often do you find a charming romantic comedy that revolves around one-sided love and the exploration of finding someone with similar interests but yet committed to another relationship.
“What If” is that type of film and what makes it work is the chemistry between its two main talent, Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan.
Radcliffe plays the role of the awkward Wallace. A medical school dropout who literally shut himself off from the world after catching his then-girlfriend kissing his anatomy teacher. Breakups are traumatic and for Wallace, he had a full year of staying at home with his sister and nephew and is willing to go out to a friend’s party.
And it’s the party where he meets his friend’s cousin Chantry. It was love at first sight for Wallace and both enjoy talking with each other and finding so much in common with one another. But both are awkward and quirky. As Wallace loves his time with Chantry, Chantry loves spending time with Wallace, despite having a boyfriend (who is more often busy with work with the United Nations).
Often bypassing promotions at her job, Chantry is an animator who somewhat rides on the beat of her own drum. And when these two are together, there is an instant connection, magic. But for Chantry, she has invested five years of her life with this one man and for Wallace, his one-sided love is obvious to his friends, but being a gentleman (but also receiving a warning from Chantry’s boyfriend, Ben), he chooses not too act on his feelings for Chantry. Just be there as a friend.
But as it was explored in the popular romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally”, a man and a woman can’t be friends… Unless both are in relationships.
Can Wallace and Chantry be friends? Wallace knows there is a connection, Chantry knows there is a connection as well and both don’t act upon it because Chantry is in a relationship.
The romantic dilemma which has plagued many people who are invested in relationships and meet someone that automatically throws their thoughts out of the window and makes them realize, what if the person you are destined to be with, is that person that makes you laugh, that makes you smile but most importantly, you have that instant connection! And this is the premise of “What If”, a charming comedy.
If there is one fault in the entire film, it’s how various friends are utilized.
Allan is the type of friend who comes off as a jerk to Wallace and you have his girlfriend Nicole. When together, .both act as if they are out of this world and people you would never think to see the more reserved Wallace being around. While Chantry’s friend, Dalia’s is perfectly fine for support and is there to listen to her friend.
“What If” looks and sounds good on DVD but for those who want better picture quality, you definitely want to go for the Blu-ray version of the film. You also get two short featurettes for special features.
Overall, “What If” is a charming romantic comedy. Both Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan are perfectly cast and both talents feed off each other’s awkwardness. Recommended!
Enjoyable, and a lot of fun… “Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files – Animal Agents” features 12 episodes of “Phineas and Ferb” plus a cool spy kit! Recommended!
© Disney. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars
DURATION: 164 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions, English Dolby Digital 2.0, Subtitles: English SDH
RATED: TV G
RELEASE DATE: November 7, 2014
Directed by Zac Moncrief, Dan Povenmire, Robert Hughes, Jay Lender, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh
Written by Dan Povenmire, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, Martin Olson, John Colton Barry, Bobby Gaylor, Antoine Guilbaud, Aliki Theofilopoulos, Kim Roberson, Sherm Cohen, Chong Lee, Piero Piluso, May Chan, Kaz, Michael Diederich
Executive Producer: Dan Povenmire
Co-Executive Producer/Executive Producer: Jeff “Swampy Marsh
Line Producer: Natasha Kopp
Music by Danny Jacob
Edited by Ted Supa
Art Direction by Alan Bodner, Jill Daniels
Featuring the voices of:
Vincent Martella as Phineas
Thomas Sangster as Ferb
Ashley Tisdale as Candace/Stormtrooper Candace
Dan Povemire as Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz/Darthenshmirtz
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh as Major Monogram
Dee Bradley Baker as Perry the Platypus
Caroline Rhea as Mom
Alyson Stoner as Isabella
Mitchell Musso as Jeremy
Maulik Pancholy as Baljeet
Richard O’Brien as Dad
Bobby Gaylor as Buford
Tyler Alexander Mann as Karl
Kelly Hu as Stacy
Olivia Olson as Vanessa
A couple of summers ago in a galaxy far, far away, Phineas and Ferb are happily basking in the glow of Tatooine’s twin suns — until plans for the Death Star accidentally fall into their hands, thrusting them (and Agent P) into a galactic rebellion and an epic struggle of good versus evil in PHINEAS AND FERB: STAR WARS(TM). Will Phineas and Ferb be able to resist the Dark Side? Will Stormtrooper Candace finally bust a Rebel? Can Agent P stop Darthenshmirtz from using his Force-powered “Sith-Inator”? Featuring five additional episodes for over two hours of action-packed fun, this mind-blowing, intergalactic adventure is a blast for all ages. May the Ferb be with you… always.
We have seen special collaborations with the popular animated series “Phineas and Ferb”. From the 2013 release of “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” with Marvel Comics characters, for 2014, Disney is showcasing another collaboration with “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars”.
Set during “Episode IVa: May the Ferb Be With You”, on the desert planet of Tattoine, Phineas and Ferb work as moisture farmers. Meanwhile, up in space, the Galactic Empire has recently completed the construction of the ultimate weapon known as the Death Star.
But the rebels learned about the Death Star’s plans and they sent out a platypus agent to obtain them, in hopes of trying to find a weakness. Agent P gives Princess Leia the plans, which are then given to R2D2.
As Stormtrooper Candace discovers the plot of the stolen plans, she and her fellow stormtroopers try to get back the Death Star plans.
Meanwhile, Phineas and Ferb are given a data disc by R2D2 but not knowing how to play the disc, the two head to Mos Eisley and learn about the Death Star. Knowing that these plans can help the rebel alliance, Phineas and Ferb must do what they can to get the plans to the rebels, before Stormtrooper Candace and her group takes it back.
Will they succeed? Find out in a special episode of “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars”!
Also, included are five additional episodes: “For Your Ice Only/Happy New Year!”, “Steampunx/”It’s No Picnic”, “Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror (Parts 1 and 2)”, “Doof 101/Father’s Day” and “Tales from the Resistance (Parts 1 and 2)”.
What is “Phineas and Ferb”?
Since 2007, “Phineas and Ferb” has been an animated show that has been entertaining children (and also adults) on the Disney Channel with its running gags, interesting and hilarious characters.
With each episode, Phineas and Ferb are both working on a project and each time, their sister Candace is always scheming to finally bust them. Meanwhile, the evil scientist Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz is up to no good and Major Monogram and the secret agent Perry the Platypus (Agent P) are doing all they can to stop Doofenshmirtz.
The main characters of “Phineas and Ferb” are:
- Phineas Flynn – One of the main protagonist of the show who joins his stepbrother Ferb in various projects.
- Ferb Fletcher – The intelligent step-brother of Phineas who is from England and although quiet he happens to be an engineering genius. He also has a crush on Vanessa Doofenshmirtz.
- Candace Flynn - A 15-year-old teen and the older sister of Phineas and step-sister to Ferb. She is always trying to bust her younger brothers. Meanwhile, she is dating Jeremy Johnson.
- Perry the Platypus - The pet of the Flynn-Fletcher family and is thought of being useless. But the truth is that he is a special agent working for the O.W.C.A. (Organization Without a Cool Acronym) and is constantly battling his nemesis Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.
- Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz - A mad scientist and father of Vanessa Doofenshmirtz. his goal is to take control of the Tri-State area.
- Isabella Garcia-Shapiro – A friend of Phineas and Ferb and has a crush on Phineas. Also, has skills to help the boys courtesy of her involvement with the Fireside Girls.
- Major Monogram – The head of the O.W.C.A. and responsible for sending Perry out on missions.
- Linda Flynn-Fletcher – The mother of Phineas and Candace and step-mother of Ferb.
- Baljeet Rai – The Indian-American neighbor of Phineas and Ferb and is very smart but constantly bullied by Buford.
- Buford Van Stomm – Because of his size, he is looked at as a bully but the truth is that he’s a nice kid who tries to act tough.
- Lawrence Fletcher – Father of Ferb and step-father to Phineas and Candace.
- Jeremy Johnson – The boyfriend of Candace.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” is presented in widescreen (1:78:1) – enhanced for 16×9 televisions and is presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital.
Each of the episodes of “Phineas and Ferb” sport vibrant colors and for the most part, picture quality should be fine for the children. If anything, the series is known for its unique character design and for the most part, the animation is quite enjoyable to watch because it’s quite different with the characters and their geometric shaped heads.
Dialogue and music are clear and are heard clearly through the front and center channels.
Subtitles are in English SDH
“Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” comes with five full length episodes.
“Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” comes with a slipcover case. Also, included is a Perry in Carbonite keychain.
In the past few years, thanks to my young son, my wife and I have been following the adventures of “Phineas and Ferb”.
With Marvel and the “Star Wars” franchise now becoming owned by Disney, it has been no surprise to see these special collaborations. And in 2014, the collaboration with LucasFilm Ltd. has been a positive as we get a beautifully animated special feature featuring the “Phineas and Ferb” characters in the “Star Wars” universe.
While the story was a fascinating take on “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”, seeing the Star Wars universe animated for “Phineas and Ferb” was rather fascinating, especially to see Candace as a Stormtrooper, Darthenshmirtz and seeing Perry encased in carbon was very fun and the attention to detail on the “Star Wars” vehicles and giving their own spin to them was also pretty cool to see as well.
The “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” episode is your standard 20-minute full-length episode, so in order to bulk up this DVD release, Disney added five full-length episodes. Episodes that are perfect for the winter holiday but also episodes that will no doubt entertain the children during winter break.
Included are the season four episodes such as “For Your Ice Only” as Phineas and Ferb play hockey with the help of NHL legend Luc Robitaille, Phineas and Ferb planning their own New Year’s Eve ball drop for “Happy New Year!”,
In “Steampunx”, Phineas and Ferb go back in time for the 1903 Danville World’s Fair and for “It’s No Picnic”, Buford and Baljeet get into a food fight.
For “Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror”, the two part episode is a three part tale. Candace turns her Ducky Momo plushie into a living and breathing doll that stalks her, Dr. Doofenshmirtz discovers a giant floating baby head that grants cursed wishes and Phineas and Ferb must stop the evil platypuses.
In “Doof 101″, Dr. Doofenshmirtz gets punished with community service for being evil. In “Father’s Day”, Perry tries to help Doof retrieve his father’s old lawn gnome.
And in “Tales from the Resistance”, the two part tale features the aftermath of the “Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension” and a new threat emerges from the 2nd Dimension.
Overall, “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” is a magnificent release that children and the young at heart will enjoy. You get a fantastic “Star Wars” episode, five full length episodes and also a Perry-in-Carbonite keychain! All for a great price and just in time for the winter holiday!
“Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20 – Original & Uncut” is another must-see volume as the storyline shifts back to what transpires in the manga series but most importantly, we learn more about Naruto’s background and what happened to his parents on that fateful day. If you are a “Naruto” fan staying in for the long haul, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20 – Original & Uncut” is recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2007 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20 – Original & Uncut
DURATION: Episodes 245-257 (300 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: 2.0 Stereo Surround Sound, Bilingual (Japanese & English), English Subtitles
COMPANY: Shonen Jump/Viz Media
RATED: Rated T for Older Teen
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto
Series Directed by Hayato Date
Produced by Tomoko Gushima, Ken Hagino
Series Coordinator by Junki Takegami, Satoru Nishizono
Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio, Hirofumi Suzuki
Music by Yasuharu Takanishi, Yaiba
Music Production by Aniplex
Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Pierrot
Featuring the following voice talent:
Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki
Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Haruno
Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha
Akira Ishida/Liam O’Brien as Sabaku no Gaara (Gaara of the Desert)
Hideo Ishikawa/Crispin Freeman as Itachi Uchiha
Houchu Ohtsuka/David Lodge as Jiraiya
Kazuhiko Inoue/Dave Wittenberg as Hatake Kakashi
Kentarou Itou/Robbie Rist as Chouji Akimichi
Kenyuu Horiuchi/Troy Baker as Pain
Kouichi Toochika/Steve Staley as Neji Hyuuga
Kousuke Toriumi/Kyle Hebert as Kiba Inuzuka
Kujira/Steven Blum as Orochimaru
Masako Katsuki/Debi Mae West as Tsunade/Fifth Hokage
Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Hyuuga
Nobutoshi Canna/Henry Dittman as Kabuto Yakushi
Rikiya Koyama/Troy Baker as Yamato
Romi Paku/Tara Platt as Temari
Ryoka Yuzuki/Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Ino Yamanaka
Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai
Shinji Kawada/Derek Stephen Prince as Shino Aburame
Yasuyuki Kase/Michael Lindsay as Kankurou
Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee
As the Leaf Village prepares for war, each shinobi and clan must contemplate the role they will play in the battles to come. While Naruto’s peers seek training from surprising sources, Naruto himself must confront both his biggest weakness and greatest strength – the Nine-Tailed Fox.
To reach optimum power, Naruto must learn to control the beast within him, so he seeks help from the one person who has mastered just that, Killer Bee! But the Jinchuriki of Eight Tails wants nothing to do with training Naruto!
As the allied ninja forces prepare for the Great Ninja War, at Konoha, ninja’s prepare for their role in the battlefield and their mission, to protect Naruto Uzumaki from the Akatsuki.
All this and more in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19 – Original & Uncut”.
What is “Naruto”?
Since 1999, “Naruto” created by Masashi Kishimoto (“Karakuri”) has been one of the most popular anime and manga series in Japan and has easily become a favorite best selling anime/manga series among fans all over the world.
For the anime series, since 2002, “Naruto” lasted until 2007 with a total of 220 episodes. The series would follow the adventures of a boy named Naruto Uzamaki, who may not be the brightest ninja from the Konoha Village but he makes it up with heart and also tremendous power as the killer beast known as the nine-tailed fox has been sealed within him.
Earlier in the series, the anime series focused on Naruto and his team members Sasuke Uchida and Sakura Haruno as they would go on adventures and learn to become a team and also honing their ninja abilities. The series would then begin to introduce other young ninjas from the village who Naruto would be paired up with and the young ninjas would take on rival clans to helping people in need. But somehow as the series continued, Sasuke Uchida would then go off on his own personal mission to stop his brother Itaki Uchida, who murdered the whole Uchida clan and his family, only leaving Sasuke alive.
Within those six years, we have seen Naruto and his friends grow as friends and also in their abilities. For Naruto, all he has wanted is to become the next Hokage (the leader of the village) when he grows older and to help his friends accomplish missions. He knows that to be a good leader, he will need to get stronger so he can protect the village once he grows older. Of course, there is so much involved in the “Naruto” anime series and what makes its special is its humor, its action but also how well the series integrates so many characters but yet features a good number of character driven episodes that makes the viewer appreciate many of the characters in the series.
“Naruto”, the first series ended with the young ninja leaving to train with Jiraiya for two-and-a-half years.
What is “Naruto Shippuden”?
Sasuke has aligned with the Akatsuki who wants to destroy the Leaf Village – Konoha. Madara has declared war and thus an Allied Shinobi Force is formed. The elder leaders of all villages, allies to the Leaf Village have realized that the Akatsuki are after Naruto (Nine Tail) and Killer B (Eight Tail Beast). They have since accomplished extracting the beasts (Jinchuriki) from others.
In “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20″, the series now returns back to storyline that is featured on the manga series.
As Naruto tries to control the power of the nine tails, Naruto’s mother enter his consciousness to explain the secrets of his birth and learns about heir hopes and renews his vow to be come Hokage!
All is revealed about what transpired during the day of Naruto’s birth and who was responsible for attacking the Leaf Village with the nine tails. And given the final moments to meet and speak with his mother one last time.
And as Naruto has become the prime target of the Akatsuki, Yamato, Guy and a few other Leaf Ninja, including Killer B have convinced Naruto that he is on an S-Ranked Environmental Mission at an island.
But hiding among them is the Akatsuki Kisame (who was thought to be dead) and has been spying on them all this time and now is trying to leak the intel back to the Akatsuki. But in order to stop them, only one man will be to take him on…Guy.
VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Naruto Shippuden” is an anime series that was never known for having spectacular background art, but it’s know for its action and its characters and how it captures emotion and its intense battles. While in this episode, a lot of episodes are contained in areas near lush green trees, water or dirt, it’s not so much of the background but how the characters are design and how well the battles are portrayed. And I can easily say that with “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20- Original Uncut”, the fast-paced action in this volume is great for a TV series and good for what one can expect on DVD.
It’s important to note that in 2014, Viz has went from releasing episodes on three DVD discs to two DVD discs per volume.
As for the audio, the audio for “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20″ is pretty much Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 Bilingual (Japanese and English). Similar to a series like “Dragon Ball Z”, with “Naruto”, I have always enjoyed the voice acting of the English dub series. It’s well done and the voices fit the characters very well.
Especially Maile Flanagan’s Naruto Uzumaki. Personally, I didn’t think there would be a voice actor that could capture Junko Takeuchi’s Naruto vocals and sure enough, Flanagan does a great job. But I have watched the series in Japanese and English and for the most part, voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done.
Since the series is front channel driven, for those with a modern home theater receiver probably will enjoy a more immersive soundscape by selecting stereo on all channels.
Subtitles are in English.
“Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20 – Original & Uncut” comes with the following special features on disc 2:
- Art Gallery
- Clean Openings/Endings
- English Credits
- More from Viz Media – Viz Media trailers
With the release of “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20 – Original & Uncut”, the series leaves the filler episodes from Season 11 from Japan and enters Season 12 which was featured in the manga.
With this latest batch of episodes, we get the emotional storyline from the manga series which revolves with Naruto reuniting with his mother for a brief time. It is revealed of what had happened on the day of Naruto’s birth and how he was sealed with the nine-tail jinchuriki, the setting of the danger of impending war continues.
We also get to see Guy takes on Kisame, who had been thought to be dead. But to realize, he had transformed and affixed himself onto Killer B’s sword and spying on the group all this time. Now its a race against the clock as they try to stop him from leaking the intel to the Akatsuki.
We also get to see the return of Konan as she reminisces about what transpired between Naruto and Nagato leading to a final between her and Tobi.
So, there are many revelations that people will get to see with this latest DVD set of “Naruto Shippuden” and it is definitely one of the more emotional volumes as the meeting between Naruto and his mother was well-written!
As for the DVD set, you get a total of 13 episodes and a the typical special features such as art gallery, storyboard, omake, clean opening and endings for each episode.
Overall, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20 – Original & Uncut” is another must-see volume as the storyline shifts back to what transpires in the manga series but most importantly, we learn more about Naruto’s background and what happened to his parents on that fateful day.
If you are a “Naruto” fan staying in for the long haul, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20 – Original & Uncut” is recommended!
“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!
© 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.
“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.
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!
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!
© 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
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.
“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”.
“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” 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
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 Hiromu 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.
“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.” 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!
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
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
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
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.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season One” comes with the following special features:
- 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″ 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
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.
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.
“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
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.
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!
“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!
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
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
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.
“The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
“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” 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!
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
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
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.
“The Blacklist: The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:
- 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.
- 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.
- Beyond the Blacklist - (18:12) Featurettes for episodes 11-14 of the series with interviews with cast and crew.
- Beyond the Blacklist - (17:12) Featurettes for episodes 15-18 of the series with interviews with cast and crew.
- 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.
“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!