“Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement” is a series that will interest those who continue to play the “Sengoku Basara” video games and those who have watched the previous anime series and the animated film. With the many characters featured, literally there can be new “Sengoku Basara” anime series dedicate to various army’s and multiple storylines. This third series focuses on the Battle of Sekigahara and focuses on Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu. All in all, an anime series with a good combination of humor and action but also more of a focus on human emotion after tragedy. If you enjoy “Sengoku Basara”, definitely give “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” a try!
Image courtesy of © CAPCOM/TEAM BASARA. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement
DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment
RATED: TV 14
Release Date: December 27, 2016
Directed by Takashi Sano
Series Composition by Natsuko Takahashi
Character Design by Michinori Chiba
Art Director: Daisuke Jinba
Chief Animation Director: Toshimitsu Kobayashi, Yumenosuke Tokuda
Anime Production by Telecom Animation
Featuring the following voice talent:
Kazuya Nakai/Robert McCollum as Date Masamune
Souichiro Hoshi/Johnny Yong Bosch as Sanada Yukimura
Tomokazu Seki/Matthew Mercer as Ishida Mitsunari
Toru Ohkawa/Liam O’Brien as Tokugawa Ieyasu
Ami Koshimizu/Kat Steel as Tsuruhime
Fumihiko Tachiki/Mark Stoddard as Ohtani Yoshitsugu
Jun Fukuyama/Tony Oliver as Kobayakawa Hideaki
Kenichi Ogata/R. Bruce Elliott as Shimazu Yoshihiro
Mamiko Noto/Laura Bailey as Oichi
Masakazu Morita/Eric Vale as Maeda Keiji
Natsuko Kuwatani/Stephanie Sheh as Kasuga
Noriaki Sugiyama/Brittney Karbowski as Otomo Sourin
Rikiya Koyama/Richard Epcar as Kuroda Kanbee
Romi Park/Greg Ayres as Uesugi Kenshin
Takehito Koyasu/Michael Sinterniklaas as Sarutobi Sasauke
Tessho Genda/Chris Ayres as Takeda Shingen
Toshiyuki Morikawa/Travis Willingham as Katakura Kojuro
Get ready for the hacking, slashing battle of a lifetime in a new adaptation of the Sengoku Basara franchise. The new installment, based on the world created by Capcom, revolves around one massive conflict featuring mechanized samurai, mystical ninjas, gun-toting warriors, and a blinding array of deadly special moves! During the turbulent period of warring states, numerous feudal lords sought to rule the land of the rising sun. With Nobunaga defeated, Hideyoshi lead a brutal campaign to wipe out the remaining combatants. His ambitions were crushed, however, when he was betrayed by the idealistic Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu’s rebellion marked the start of a new conflict that would put old and new alliances to the test as Hideyoshi’s loyal followers began plotting their revenge, and the other remaining lords prepared their armies for the showdown at Sekigahara.
When it comes to video games that feature samurai’s and a general taking on hoards of enemies, in the US, “Samurai Warriors” (similar to Dynasty Warriors) from KOEI is well-known. But in Japan, CAPCOM began their own series known as “Sengoku Basara” (Devil Kings) which takes place during the Sengoku period and a similar concept as their rivals and has also earned its strong fan following.
In 2005, the first game was released for the Sony Playstation 2 and was released in the U.S. (as “Devil Kings”) but unfortunately, CAPCOM tried to change the whole story of the Sengoku period by trying to connect it to their “Devil May Cry” series in order to attract players but because of the changes and the localization crew feeling they needed to make it more difficult in America, needless to say, it was a failure. People wanted the same game that was in Japan and within the last six years, there have been numerous video game releases.
In Japan, two seasons of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” aired. Followed by “Sengoku Basara II” in 2010, a film version titled “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” was released in 2011 and in 2014, a third TV series titled “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” based on the video game “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes” was released and was released by Funimation.
What is “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement” about?
The third anime series is much different from the previous two seasons as the previous were animated by Production I.G. and now the series is produced by Telecom Animation Film. As this storyline is considered an “alternate setting” and instead of focusing on many battles, the storyline focuses on the Sekigahara Battle and takes place after the death of Oda Nobunaga.
The anime series takes place during the Sengoku Period and the warlord Oda Nobunaga was betrayed and killed by his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide. Toyotomi Hideyoshi would defeat Mitsuhide and would launch an attack on Odawara Castle, home of the Houjoi Clan.
As the Date Army got involved with the battle, they were defeated by Toyotomi’s warrior, Ishida Mitsunari.
Toyotomi’s attack was short-lived as Tokugawa Ieyasu would defeat Toyotomi Hideyoshi and kill him in combat. But another force tried to attack Tokugawa’s forces, Oda Nobunaga’s sister, Oichi. As for Toyotomi’s army, the new leader would now be led by Ishida Mitsunari.
Meanwhile, word gets through to Chousokabe Motochika that his land had been attacked by his friend, Tokugawa. And due to his betrayal, Chousokabe wants revenge.
And as everyone worries about war in the land, new alliances are formed. Who will be left standing?
“Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the animation from Telecom Animation is slightly different from Production I.G. when it comes to character design and also background designs. It’s subjective to the viewer and I’m slightly biased towards Production I.G., but I will say that Telecom Animation did a good job.
Colors are absolutely vibrant and bold. Also, very good lighting effects throughout the film. I detected no banding, artifacting or anything negative about the picture quality for “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party”.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” is presented in lossless English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. Personally, I enjoyed the Japanese soundtrack because the generals sound much more menacing while I felt the English dub, as good as it is, sometimes I feel certain voice talent are overly used and they sound the same for no matter what characters they play.
Personally, I enjoyed the Japanese soundtrack because the generals sound much more menacing while I felt the English dub, as good as it is, sometimes I feel certain voice talent are overly used and they sound the same for no matter what characters they play. In the first season, I mentioned that although I enjoy Johnny Yong Bosch’s acting work when it comes to “Bleach”, but his Yukimura (Sengoku Basara) sounds like an annoying version of Ichigo (Bleach). But with that being said, the English dub has grown on me and felt the FUNimation English dub actors did a fine job.
Subtitles are in English.
“SSengoku Basara: Edge of Judgement” contains the following special features:
- Episode 01 Audio Commentary – Audio Commentary by Taliesen Jaffe (ADR Director) and Michael Sinterniklaas (voice of Sarutobi Sasuke).
- Episode 03 Audio Commentary – Audio Commentary by Christopher Bevins (ADR Director), Robert Mccollum (voice of Data Masamune) and Eric Vale (voice of Maeda Keiji).
- Textless Opening and Closing Song – Featuring “Thunderclap” and “Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~”.
There is no doubt that in Japan, “Sengoku Basara” has a pretty strong fan following from its video games and anime series, especially among the cosplayers who are often seen doing group cosplay of the characters from the series.
For “Sengoku Basara”, it’s a popular video game series that has tried to make these warring clans (that happen to live in the same time period) and generals with amazing abilities take on each other. But in order to keep the storylines fresh for the video games, alternate settings are going to be common place and the same can be said for the “Sengoku Basara” anime series.
In the case of “Sengoku Basara”, because there are many characters, instead of focusing on a certain historical battle of the same two people, the series tends to focus on other characters.
“Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” is the third series and the two characters foucused on is Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu. For those not familiar with Japanese history, the “Battle of Sekigahara” was a battle that would establish the Tokugawa shogunate and prove to people the power and leadership of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
The series focuses on the storyline of Oda Nobunaga as the person who had control of most of Japan until he was betrayed by his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide. Toyotomi Hideyoshi avenged his master. And this is where the anime series differs from history as Tokugawa Ieyasu betrays Toyotomi Hideyoshi, leaving Hideyoshi’s warrior Ishida Mitsunari to seek revenge on his former friend.
In the first series, we saw various battles between Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune vs. Oda Nobunaga and Kojuro vs. Mitsuhide. In the second series, the series focused on Toyotomi Hideyoshi as the antagonist.
And for this third anime series, we have Ieyasu Tokugawa as the main antagonist and Mitsunari wanting revenge on Ieyasu for killing his master, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
The other characters have significant roles but more of showing which their allegiance lies. Fans of Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura may be surprised that their significance in the series is decreased, but they still remain important to the storyline.
And it’s probably best to leave it at that because of the numerous characters featured, unless you are familiar with the game and the anime series, just the sheer mention of the characters and the alternate plots will confuse people.
But I will say that if you followed the anime and the video games, “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” is an interesting way to keep the storyline fresh as it’s an anime with new motivations, interesting perspectives but most of all, a focus on different characters, but yet also introducing new characters as well. Also, how this series tend to show more of the human emotion after the deaths of various leaders and how certain individuals are affected by the deaths.
The third series features a new anime production team with Telecom Animation in charge, but cast of both the Funimation series and the video game series are involved in the third series as it was a collaboration between Funimation and Capcom as mentioned in the first audio commentary.
Animation is very good, but it’s subjective as I’m sure there are those who prefer Production I.G.’s animation and those who may prefer the Telecom Animation animation. But the anime series is colorful and vibrant and both lossless soundtracks are well-done with the English dub having an edge with the 5.1 lossless soundtrack.
Overall, “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement” is a series that will interest those who continue to play the “Sengoku Basara” video games and those who have watched the previous anime series and the animated film. With the many characters featured, literally there can be new “Sengoku Basara” anime series dedicate to various army’s and multiple storylines. This third series focuses on the Battle of Sekigahara and focuses on Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu. All in all, an anime series with a good combination of humor and action but also more of a focus on human emotion after tragedy.
If you enjoy “Sengoku Basara”, definitely give “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” a try!
“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete Series” is for the anime fan who loves mystery anime series. And it’s also easier to follow since it’s only eleven episodes long. “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is an anime series worth watching!
Image courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete SeriesThe Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3
ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015
DURATION: (Episodes 1-11) 275 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Subtitles
Release Date: December 13, 2016
Originally Concept by Rampo Edogawa
Directed by Seiji Kishi
Series Composition by Makoto Uezu
Music by Masaru Yokoyama
Character Design by Kazuaki Morita
Art Director: Ayumi Miyakoshi
Chief Animation Director: Kouji Yamagata, Yusuke Kamata
Anime Production: Lerche
Featuring the following voice talent:
Daiki Yamashita/Justin Briner as Hashiba
Rie Takahashi/Jill Harris as Kobayashi
Takahiro Sakurai/Eric Vale as Akechi
Cho/Mark Stoddard as Nakamura
Jun Fukuyama/Todd Haberkorn as Namikoshi
Kappei Yamaguchi/Jerry Jewell as Shitai-kun (Corpsey)
Katsuyuki Konishi/J. Michael Tatum as Kagami
Saki Fujita/Jad Saxton as Minami
Takehito Koyasu/Sonny Strait as Kage-Otoko (Shadow-Man)
Yōko Hikasa/Mallorie Rodak as Kuro Tokage (Black Lizard)
Inspired by the works of Edogawa Rampo, Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace tells a macabre detective story rife with symbolism and visual tricks that exist somewhere in the delicate balance between gruesome and gorgeous.
Middle school life was dull for the intelligent and charismatic Kobayashi, until the day he was framed for his homeroom teacher’s murder. After the event drew the media’s attention, an infamous high school detective inserted himself into the investigation. Brooding and brilliant, Akechi quickly cleared Kobayashi’s name and took the inquisitive young student on as his assistant. But for every case they closed, two more seemed to open in its place.
The streets were alive with whispers of one deadly name, Twenty Faces–a legendary murderer who killed criminals in the name of justice. With cryptic clues leading the way, Kobayashi and Akechi began following the trail of bodies left by the prolific killer. But will they be able to stop him before countless innocent people, inspired by his deranged cause, start following his lead?
In Japan, one of the most well-respected authors of mystery fiction novels was Edogawa Ranpo (Taro Hirai). A pseudonym used by Taro is a rendering of one of his favorite writers, Edgar Allan Poe.
In 2015, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Edogawa Ranpo, a series titled “Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace” was produced by Lerche and directed by Seiji Kishi (“Kamisama Dolls”, “Assassination Classroom”, “Fate/Prototype”) and a screenplay by Makoto Uezu (“Akame ga KILL!”, “Assassination Classroom”, “Danganronpa the Animation”).
The anime series is set at a middle school where several murders have taken place. A 17-year-old middle school boy, who is mistaken for a girl named Kobayashi is blamed for dismembering his homeroom teacher.
A person who loves solving mysteries, Kobayashi and her good friend Hashiba (a popular guy who wants to protect Kobayashi at all costs) want to team up with Kogoro Akechi, a 17-year-old genius detective who solves abnormal crimes.
Kogoro offers Kobayashi to become his assistant only if he can find the killer responsible for dismembering his teacher.
As Kobayashi is successful in helping Kogoro, the trio then work on various cases such as trying to find the Shadow-Man, a thief accused of kidnapping several girls. But also trying to find a vigilante known as Twenty Faces, who kills murderers who have not been brought to justice and killing them the way the murderers had killed their victims.
But as the trio investigates, Kogoro realizes that Twenty Faces may be tied to a person from his past.
“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). There is a lot of detail featured in the art backgrounds, a lot of characters featured and these characters have great detail and shadowing. Colors are absolutely vibrant. There is slight softness, but that is expected with anime TV series. But overall, animation is solid throughout. I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD Stereo 2.0. Both soundtracks are well-acted and are crystal clear through the front channels but with the 5.1 soundtrack, the English dub has an edge due to the use of the surround channels.
Subtitles are in English.
“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” features the following special features:
- Episode 6 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Eric Vale, Justin Briner, Jill Harris and Sonny Strait.
- Promotional Videos
- Commercials – Japanese commercials
- Textless Opening and Ending Song
“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” comes with a slipcover and also both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the anime series.
In Japan, mystery manga and anime series are quite popular. In fact, one of the longest running anime series still on television is “Meitantei Conan” (Case Closed) which has been airing since 1996 (and the manga series since 1994).
But part of the excitement surrounding the anime series “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is that it commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of Rampo Edogawa. An author known for creating mystery fiction novels and many works that were inspired by his original oeuvre.
Set for a modern age, “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is a mystery anime series that focuses on murder cases, but primarily focusing on Twenty Faces, a vigilante who murders people who have not received justice for murdering their victims.
Where other mystery anime series have a humorous side and often a touch of darkness, “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” has that but in a weird, unusual way, one of the main characters, Kobayashi (a boy who is often mistaken for a girl), has a different perspective of seeing things in life. Perhaps it’s the way she was raised or the challenges in life that she has endured, but sometimes her thinking puts her in odds with her good friend Hashiba (a guy who obviously likes Kobayashi).
Meanwhile, main protagonist Kogoro Akechi is rather interesting in the fact that he also sees life in a different way, similar to Kobayashi. But he has skeletons in his past that are slowly revealed throughout the anime series.
As for the Blu-ray, animation is fantastic as colors are vibrant and characters are well-drawn. Lossless soundtrack for both English and Japanese soundtracks are well-done, with the English dub receiving the 5.1 treatment. But both soundtracks are well-acted. As for special features, you get an audio commentary (possibly one of the worst Funimation audio commentaries that I’ve listened to), Japanese promotional videos and commercials.
Overall, “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete Series” is for the anime fan who loves mystery anime series. And it’s also easier to follow since it’s only eleven episodes long. “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is an anime series worth watching!
“Attack on Titan” was one of the most heavily anticipated series to be released back in 2014 and as much hype that has come out for this series, the fact that all the hype is warranted. The characters, the storyline, the animation and it’s overall presentation from FUNimation makes this one anime series worth owning! “Attack on Titan” is highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Attack on Titan: The Complete First season
DURATION: Episodes 1-25 (625 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English
RATED: TV M
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Originally created by Hajime Isayama
Directed by Tetsuro Araki
Series Composition by Yasuko Kobayashi
Music by Hiroyuki Sawano
Character Design: Kyoji Asano
Art Director: Shunichiro Yoshihara
3D Director: Shuhei Yabuta
Director of Photography: Kazuhiro Yamada
Anime Production by Wit Studio
Featuring the following voice talent:
Yui Ishikawa/Trina Nishimura as Mikasa Ackerman
Yuuki Kaji/Bryce Papenbrook as Eren Jaeger
Marina Inoue/Josh Grelle as Armin Arlelt
Daisuke Ono/J. Michael Tatum as Erwin Smith
Hiro Shimono/Clifford Chapin as Conny Springer
Hiroshi Kamiya/Matthew Mercer as Levi
Keiji Fujiwara/David Wald as Hannes
Kishô Taniyama/Mike McFarland as Jean Kirschtein
Romi Park/Jessica Calvello as Hanji (Hange Zoe)
Ryota Ohsaka/Austin Tindle as Marco Bodt
Saki Fujita/Elizabeth Maxwell as Ymir
Shiori Mikami/Bryn Apprill as Christa Renz
Tomohisa Hashizume/David Matranga as Bertholt Fubar (Bertholdt Hoover)
Yoshimasa Hosoya/Robert McCollum as Reiner Braun
Yu Kobayashi/Ashly Bursch as Sasha Browse
Yu Shimamura/Lauren Landa as Annie Leonhart
When the man-eating giants called Titans first appeared, humans retreated behind massive walls. After a hundred years of safety, a colossal-sized Titan smashes through the defenses, unleashing a flood of giants and carnage in the streets. Eren Jaeger watches helplessly as one of the creatures devours his mother.
He vows to kill every Titan walking the earth.
Eren and his surviving friends enlist to fight against the insatiable monsters. The future looks bleak, but there’s more to Eren than meets the eye: he may be humanity’s last hope against extinction. From the director of Death Note and High School of the Dead comes the series Anime News Network calls “an intense, visceral, and graphic thrill ride.” The Titans have come to feast. Anything can happen. No one is safe.
Back in 2006, Hajime Isayama wrote a 65-page one-shot of “Shingeki no Kyojin”. Inspired during an encounter with an irate customer while working at an internet cafe, the encounter would eventually be the basis of his hit series which is known internationally as “Attack on Titan”.
In 2009, “Shingeki no Kyojin” began serialization in Kodanasha’s “Bessatsu Shonen Magazine” and is currently on its 13th tankobon volume. With several light novel volumes, multiple video games, manga spin-offs and two live-action films, many would discover “Attack on Titan” thanks to its 25-episode anime series which began airing in April 2013.
With the announcement that “Attack on Titan” season two will be created, Funimation has released “Attack on Titan: The Complete First Season” on Blu-ray.
“Attack on Titan” is set in a world that was besieged by giant humanoid creatures over a hundred years ago. These humanoid creatures nearly wiped out all humans and want nothing but to devour humans.
Humanity has no answer to defeat the Titans but to protect what is left of humanity, the country of surviving humans now live within three enormous walls which include the outer wall Wall Maria, the middle wall known as Wall Rose and the inner wall known as Wall Sina.
And for 100 years, despite having a team that ventures out to confront the Titans, humanity has had no such luck.
We are introduced to three children which includes the impulsive and hotheaded Eren Yeager, his friend that always protects and cares for him, Mikasa Ackerman and the often scared but very smart Armin Arlert.
One day, while these three children were together in what was supposed to be a peaceful land where Titans are unable to enter, lightning has struck and born was a 200 ft. Titan who is taller than the walls that were constructed. The titan breaches the outer wall, allowing the smaller Titans to enter the village and devour humans. While Eren tries to find his mother, he finds her pinned under the house.
While a family friend named Hannes is able to rescue the two kids, Eren’s final memory was seeing his mother devoured by a Titan and from that point, he has dedicated his life to defeat and destroy the Titans.
Eren, Mikasa and Armin survives the attack by the Titans and have no choice but to retreat behind Wall Rose. But he has these nightmares of his father injecting him with something and reminding him about his key and for him to go into the cellar.
As the food shortage hits the country and refugees are forced to work in farms or fight to reclaim Wall Maria, Eren vows to destroy the Titans and to do that, he must join the army in which Mikasa and Armin follow their friend.
Fast forward five years later, Eren, Mikasa and Armin are training in the army and each meets new friends and rivals but just when they thought there was some semblance of peace, the Colossus Titan returns once again. Mikasa is set to a different squad to backup the front lines, while Eren and Armin must prepare to attack and fight the Titans, learning that the weakness of a Titan is cutting a piece of their flesh from the nape of the Titan’s back neck.
Will the army have what it takes to protect humanity from this new attack from the Titans?
“Attack on Titan features the following main characters:
Eren Yeager – A hotheaded teenager who wants to destroy the Titans for what they have done to his family and people. Often upset that Mikasa is constantly defending him. For some reason, he has nightmares of his father injecting him with something and telling him to bring the key to the cellar.
Mikasa Ackerman – The adoptive child of the Yeager family who was rescued by Eren and her father when she was younger. She is quiet, often wants to protect Eren from trouble and cares deeply for her foster brother.
Armin Arlert – Often bullied by other kids and rescued by Eren and Mikasa, Armin has a sharp mind when it comes to strategy. But he sees himself as a person always in fear and often scared.
Levi Ackerman – A member of the Survey Corps and is seen as humanity’s most powerful soldier. He leads the Special operations Squad.
Annie Leonhart – A former member of the Military Police Brigade. A lone wolf and excels in unarmed combat.
Reiner Braun – A former member of the Survey Corps. A man with a strong sense of duty.
Hange Zoe – A former Squad Leader of the fourth squad. Conducts research on Titans and is obsessed with them.
“Attack on Titan” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The anime series is absolutely vibrant. Character designs are well-shaded and I like how the series uses the strong darker lines around the character designs which shows plenty of detail. But I felt the transition of Hajime Isayama’s work from the manga series received a fantastic adaptation and bringing these Titans to life. I personally didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the anime series.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Attack on Titan” is presented in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1. While both voice acting soundtracks are well-done, as one can expect from the English soundtrack receiving a 5.1 lossless treatment, while the Japanese is crystal clear through the front channels, the English soundtrack is immersive. Great use of sound effects from the surround channels and also great use of LFE.
One thing I also want to add is that FUNimation made the right decision by bringing Mike McFarland to become the ADR Director for this series. He has done an epic job for “One Piece” and for a series this important with a multitude of characters, he’s the man for the job and the casting for the English dub was well-done. Yes, it is different for those who are familiar with the Japanese vocal talent but I felt that the comparable differences and love the fact that the voice casting was not repetitive of talent used in many other FUNimation series.
“Attack on Titan: The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:
- Episode 3 Commentary -Featuring audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director), Trina Nishimura, Josh Grelle and Bryce Papenbrook.
- Episode 13 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director), J. Michael Tatum (Lead Adaptive Writer), Scott Freeman and Clifford Chapin.
- The Making of Attack on Titan – (52:34) The first major in-depth FUNimation featurette about how hard they worked in bringing “Attack on Titan” to the United States.
- Chibi Theater: Fly, Cadets, Fly! – (47:10) Animated shorts in super-deformed format featuring the Cadet Corps.
- Eyecatch Gallery – Gallery collection.
- Textless Opening Song “Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen”
- Textless Closing Song: “Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai”
- U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer
- Episode 14 Commentary -Featuring audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director), J. Michael Tatum (Lead Adaptive Writer/voice of Erwin Smith) and Matthew Mercer (voice of Captain Levy).
- Episode 25 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director), Lauren Landa (Annie Leonhardt) and Bryce Papenbrook (Eren Yeager).
- Attack on Titan at Anime Expo – (16:21) “Attack on Titan” group cosplayers from Anime Expo and also featuring interviews with producer Joji Wada.
- Chibi Theater: Fly, Cadets, Fly! – (47:15) Animated shorts in super-deformed format featuring the Cadet Corps.
- Eyecatch Gallery – Gallery collection.
- Textless Opening Song “Jiyuu no Tsubasa”
- Textless Closing Song: “Great Escape”
- U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer
“Attack on Titan: The Complete First Season” features the series on Blu-ray and DVD and comes with a slipcover.
Once in awhile, you run across an anime series or film that becomes not just a hit among anime fans but even non-anime fans.
“Attack on Titan” has captivated fans all over the world thanks to its characters, its story of humanity’s survival but also its fight against humanoid behemoths. And along with the series comes a stylish costume design for its army which have driven people all over the world to cosplay as a military member from the anime series.
Yes, “Naruto” and even “Bleach” have captivated many fans throughout the years but any anime series tied to a Shonen Jump has no doubt become bonafide hits in Japan and outside of the country, “Attack on Titan” is rather unique as it has partnered with various companies from having a car commercial, a burger release and also a live action film that people are heavily anticipating.
The fact is “Attack on Titan” is a captivating, violent but entertaining anime series and there is no slowdown in the pacing of the anime series, it’s just one exciting episode after the other and frankly, having watched anime series and having reviewed them for decades, I found myself becoming a “Shingeki no Kyojin” fan.
I love the us vs. them storyline and this time it’s not a zombie infestation, nor is it an attack by alien species. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what the Titans are but they have humanoid features with mouths of monsters wanting to chomp down on any human it comes in contact with.
By the second season of the series becomes very interesting as it was revealed that Eren Yeager has the special ability to transform into a Titan. While he is not sure how to control the power or his rage towards the Titans, despite being thought of as humanity’s threat, because of his determination to stop all Titans, he is also a final resort into protecting of what is left of humanity from the Titans.
As he now becomes part of the team led by Levi Ackerman, one of the best soldiers out there, Eren must learn to keep his temper in check and to become part of a team rather than fight alone.
Meanwhile, a tall female titan has appeared out of nowhere and is causing destruction to those who kill it. But with captive Titans being murdered by an unknown assailant, humanity must push forward into finding how to defeat the Titans but finding a weakness of mobilizing the female titan.
It’s important to note that while the series is popular, by no means should children watch this anime series. It is violent as body part dismemberment are shown, people being eaten or crushed by the Titans are shown and if anything, it’s visual violence adds to the viewer being interested in what happens because simply, you want to see humanity kick some major ass! That is if they can…
As for the Blu-ray, you get great picture quality as colors for the series are vibrant. Black lines are nice and solid and character design is well-done, well-shaded. Backgrounds are nicely painted and for the most part, “Attack on Titan” looks incredible in HD! As for the lossless audio, while I love the Japanese vocal track, the fact is that the Japanese soundtrack is Dolby TrueHD 2.0 while the English dub, which was well-cast, received a much better Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. Great use of special effects and use of the surround channels and LFE. If anything, I loved the fact that there was amazing focus in bringing this series out to the United States with the quality that fans and anime HD fans have come to expect and fortunately received in “Attack on Titan: Complete Season One”.
And I can’t wait until second season of “Attack on Titan” is released hopefully in the near future.
Also, for special features, FUNimation really went out of their way to give fans several audio commentary, an Anime Expo featurette with Studio I.G. producer Joji Wada to show how much time was put into bringing this series to the United States. You also get a Chibi animated shorts special feature and more!
Overall, “Attack on Titan” was one of the most heavily anticipated series to be released in 2014 and to this day, there is still a lot of anticipation for the series completion. The first season is full of action, full of drama and overall, a captivation storyline with fascinating characters and overall presentation.
“Attack on Titan” is highly recommended!
“The Asterisk War” is action-packed and entertaining as Ayato and Julis, Saya and Kirin must take on their most powerful rivals in the tournament yet as they close in on the semifinals. How will these two fighting duos do in the Phoenix Festa competition? Find out in the exciting, “The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3”. Recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2017 ANIPLEX INC. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3
ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015
DURATION: (Episodes 13-18) 150 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, English and Spanish Subtitles
COMPANY: Aniplex of America Inc.
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Originally created by Yuu Miyazaki
Original Character Design by okiura
Chief Direction by Manabu Ono
Directed by Kenji Sato
Script by Munemasa Nakamoto, Yuki Sugawara, Yukito Kizawa
Music by Rasmus Faber
Character Design by Tetsuya Kawakami
Art Director: Yukihiro Watanabe
Chief Animation Director: Tetsuya Kawakami
Anime Production: A-1 Pictures
Featuring the following voice talent:
Ai Kakuma/Kira Buckland as Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt
Atsushi Tamaru/Erik Scott Kimerer as Ayato Amagiri
Ari Ozawa/Brianna Knickerbocker as Kirin Todo
Ayana Taketatsu/Cherami Leigh as Pham Thi Tram (Fan Xinglou)
Chinatsu Akasaki/Cassandra Morris as Ernesta Kuhne
Haruka Chisuga as Sylvia Lyyneheym
Haruka Yoshimura as RM-C (Rimsy)
Juri Nagatsuma as Priscilla Urzaiz
Mai Nakahara/Michelle Ruff as Haruka Amagiri
Mutsumi Tamura/Cristina Vee as Camilla Pareto
Nao Tōyama/Erika Harlacher as Claudia Enfield
Nobuo Tobita/Lucien Dodge as Shuma Sakon
After successfully destroying the Gravi-Sheath, Ayato and Julis free the Urzaiz sisters from their shackles. However, Ayato’s side effect of forcefully releasing the seal and its time limit are now known to the other teams. As the Phoenix Festa finals continue, Julis must come up with a strategy to cover for Ayato’s inability to fight at full strength due to the seal’s side effect. Will Ayato and Julis be able to survive in the Festa?
The tournament continues as Ayato and Julis must now fight Song Ran and Zhou Kunzhan of Jie Long. And Saya and Kirin’s semifinal match is against AR-D and RM-C. Who will be the victors?
What is “The Asterisk War” about?
In 2012, writer Yuu Miyazaki and illustrator okiura created the Japanese light novel series “The Asterisk War” (Gakusen Toshi Asutarisuku).
Published by Media factory, a two-volume manga adaptation was then created for Media Factory’s “Monthly Comic Alive”.
In 2015, A-1 Pictures would create an anime TV series adaptation with two seasons having now been completed.
And now, the anime series will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex of America Inc. With volume 3, this limited edition box set features the first episodes of the second season (episodes 13-18).
The anime is set in the 20th century and an event called Invertia has destroyed many cities on Earth. Because of the collapsing economy, the Integrated Enterprise Foundation has become the leader of the world.
A parallel city of Rikka, known as Asterisk is the the main setting of this anime series.
Asterisk has six academies which hold tournaments, known as “Festas” in which humans and people with super abilities called Genestella participate in battle against each other.
Seidoukan Academy is ranked fifth in Asterik and the series focuses on main protagonist Ayato Amagiri, a Genestella, who is investigating the disappearance of his sister Haruka.
On his first day of school, he meets a student (who happens to be a Lieseltanian princess) named Julis-Alexia von Riessfeld. And due to circumstances because he is new at the academy (which make him seem like a pervert), he is challenged to a duel against her.
The two get into battle and she is amazed by Ayato’s fighting ability and superpowers but the battle is ended when someone tries to send a spike towards Julis-Alexia and she is saved by Ayato (who, unfortunately lands on top of her and his hand on top of her chest).
The battle is ended early by Seidoukan Academy’s Student Council President Claudia Enfield because the match was not legal.
And who is this Kirin Todou that Ayato meets for the first time? And why is her uncle abusive towards her and how will Ayato make an impact on her life?
Meanwhile, the Phoenix Festa featuring a battle between duos and Ayato and Julis and their friends Saya and Kirin will face the strongest fighters from the other five schools.
For the first episodes of season two (episodes 13-18), Ayato and Julis must take on the powerful Song Ran and Zhou Kunzhan in order to move into the semi-finals. While Saya and Kirin must take on the devastating robotic duo, AR-D and RM-C.
Meanwhile, someone has kidnapped Flora. Who is responsible?
“The Asterisk War” features the following characters:
- Ayato Amagiri – A Seidoukan Academy student who transfers to the school to investigate his sister’s disappearance. He shows great power but can only control it for several minutes. He wants to protect Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt.
- Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt – The fifth ranking student of Seidokan Academy and happens to be the First Princess of Lieseltania in the western Czech Republic. She is quite distant to everyone at the school but when Ayato tries to get close with her and wanting to protect her, she eventually starts to warm up to him.
- Claudia Enfield – The blonde, buxom, second highest ranking student of Seidoukan Academy and also the Student council President. She tries her best to seduce Ayato.
- Saya Sasamiya – A childhood friend of Ayato who moved abroad. She is an airhead at times and bad with directions. She is great with weapons and artillery and often gets Julis riled up as Saya prefers Ayato to spend time with her.
- Kirin Toudou – The top ranking student of Seidoukan Academy. Because Ayato shows kindness to her all the time, she becomes a friend of his. But as she vies for Ayato’s attention, she deals with a demanding and abusive uncle.
“The Asterisk War” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). There is a lot of detail featured in the art backgrounds, a lot of characters featured and these characters have great detail and shadowing. Colors are absolutely vibrant. There is slight softness, but that is expected with anime TV series. But overall, wonderful animation especially during the action sequences by A-1 Pictures.
I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Asterisk War” is presented in English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0. Both soundtracks are well-acted and are crystal clear through the front channels.
Subtitles are in English and Spanish.
“The Asterisk War vol. 3” features the following special features:
- Bonus Preview Episodes – Bonus preview episodes.
- Web Previews
- Textless Opening and Ending Song
“The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3” comes with a slipcase with package illustration by Tetsuya Kawakami, clear cases with 2-side wraps, six collectible pinup cards, a 40-page deluxe booklet about the characters, sketches and more. Also, a bonus third disc (CD included, Duration: 12:17) featuring “The Asterisk War Soundtrack – Infusion Mix #2” featuring one music track.
As the beginning of the second season of “The Asterisk War” begins in vol. 3, the tournament continues as Ayato and Julis and Saya and Kirin take on their next competitors.
Ayato and Julis must take on Song Ran and Zhou Kunzhan of Jie Long in order to make it to the semi-final. While Saya and Kirin must take on the robotic duo, AR-D and RM-C in the semifinal. Meanwhile, Flora has been kidnapped.
A lot has changed since the first season as Ayato and Julis have become partners who trust each other and watch each other’s back, while Saya and Kirin, who seemed like a duo with nothing in common, also have grown as partners. But both groups must take on their most dangerous rivals yet.
While vol. 3 is more of a tournament-driven, action-packed volume, we do get backstory on Camilla.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the battle progresses as now we head into the final episodes of “The Asterisk War” season two.
As for the animation, as always, A-1 Pictures does a magnificent job with character designs, action sequences and for the most part, background art and lighting effects are well-done.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good for a TV series and features a good stereo solid lossless soundtrack. Which are well-acted for both Japanese soundtracks and the English dub. Special features are your typical previews and opening and ending theme. But you do get slipcase, collectible pin up cards, a third CD with a 13-minute soundtrack and 40-page deluxe booklet. So, there is quite a bit of swag included with “The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3”.
Overall, “The Asterisk War” is action-packed and entertaining as Ayato and Julis, Saya and Kirin must take on their most powerful rivals in the tournament yet as they close in on the semifinals. How will these two fighting duos do in the Phoenix Festa competition? Find out in the exciting, “The Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3”. Recommended!
“God Eater” is a wonderful action-packed series that is more on the deeper, violent side of anime series showcasing an apocalyptic setting. Humanity has nearly been obliterated by monstrous Aragami and only a small group of God Eaters, wielding aragami-derived weapons known as God Arc can fight back. But it’s these mysterious New Types that can wield the God Arcs to amazing weapons that may give humanity a chance. A thrilling, action-packed anime series so far, “God Eater” vol. 1 and 2 are highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © BNEI/PROJECT G.E. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: God Eater Vol. 2
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2015
DURATION: Episode 8-13 (141 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese & English Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English and Spanish
COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.
RATED: Suggested 13 and Up
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Director: Takayuki Hirao
Script by Kei Tsunematsu, Takayuki Hirao
Music by Go Shiina
Original Character Design by Koichi Itakura
Character Design by Keita Shimizu
Art Director: Masaru Yanaka
Anime Production: ufotable
Featuring the following voice talent:
Ryūichi Kijima/Robbie Daymond as Lenka Utsugi
Atsuko Tanaka/Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Tsubaki Amamiya
Chiaki Omigawa as Licca Kusunoki
Daisuke Sakaguchi/Lucien Dodge as Kōta Fujiki
Hiroaki Hirata/Kyle Hebert as Lindow Amamiya
Kanae Itō/Erika Harlacher as Hibari Takeda
Kazuya Nakai/Crispin Freeman as Soma Schicksal
Maaya Sakamoto/Cherami Leigh as Alisa Illinichina Amiella
Rica Fukami/Wendee Lee as Aisha Gauche
Rikiya Koyama/Spike Spencer as Johannes von Schicksal
Sayaka Ohara as Sakuya
Taiten Kusunoki as Paylor Sakaki
Tomohisa Asou as Daigo Oguruma
After the previous encounter with Dyaus Pita that left them both physically and mentally scarred, Lenka and Alisa both return to the base. Feeling there might be a correlation with the Aragami’s behaviors, Lindow decides to go off the reservation and investigate the truth behind the “Aegis Project.” At the same time, Director Johannes Von Schicksal announces the plan to accelerate the completion of the Aegis Project through Operation Meteorite – a means to wipe out a large amount of Aragami and receive their cores.
With newfound resolve, Lenka returns to the battlefield with his new God Arc, designed by Dr. Paylor Sakaki. However, when Lenka is reunited with his teammates, what awaits them is a twisted fate, and the aura of despair brought on by the black Vajra…
The epic conclusion to the anime series based on the best-selling video game God Eater by Bandai Namco Entertainment!
How does the past affect the present?
In the second half of “God Eater”, we learn how Johannes, Sakaki and Aisha were experimenting with the Managam Project and the gathering of Oracle Cells began and how the first Aragami emerged.
And how Lenka’s heightened compatibility is caused by God Arc’s Oracle cells invading his body, but when he uses this power, it may lead quickly to an earlier death the more he uses his God Arc.
Also, the tragic past of Lenka is revealed. And Lenka and friends must take on Pita.
All this and more in conclusion to the first season of “God Eater”!
What is “God Eater” about?
In 2010, “God Eater”, a sci-fi adventure video game series developed by Shift and published by Bandai Namco was released in the U.S. for the Sony PSP.
Since then, several “God Eater” video games have been released and in 2015, an anime series created by ufotable aired on television in July 2015.
The series is directed by Takayuki Hirao (“Death Note”, “Garden of Sinners”, “Magical Sisters Yoyo & Nene”), script by Takayuki Hirao (“Magicl Sisters Yoyo & Nene”, “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack”) and, character design by Keita Shimizu (“ef: a tale of memories”, “REC”, “Negima!?”), art direction by Masaru Yanaka (“Ghost Hunt”, “Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~”, “Samurai Girls”) and music by Go Shiina (“Kyousougiga”, “Tales of Zestiria the X”, “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack”).
A total of 13 episodes were created and now, “God Eater” vol. 1 (featuring the first seven episodes) will be released on Blu-ray in North America courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.
The series is set in 2071, and the world has been nearly destroyed by mysterious monsters known as Aragami.
To fight these Aragami, an organization known as Fenrir has God Eaters, people who can wield “God Arc” weapons made from Aragami cells to exterminate them.
And it is being discovered that certain people, known as New Types, can wield God Arc’s and switch from gun and blade form.
The series revolves around a young man named Lenka Utsugi, who desperately wants to destroy all Aragami. But unfortunately, he is not ready for battle despite his hot headed temper that wants to fight and destroy them.
Lenka and Kota Fujiki are sent to training under a stern woman named Tsubaki. And as Lenka is always determined of wanting to help anyone, unfortunately that leads him to make rash decisions which would let him be killed during training mode.
This is unacceptable and when Lenka breaks orders from Tsubaki to not fight, while trying to fight and rescue someone from the Aragami, he reveals that he is a New Type.
But because he’s not fully-trained, he is almost killed until he is rescued by the First Unit of God Eaters, Soma, Lindow and Sakuya.
But because Lenka disobeyed orders, he is jailed and is awaiting court-martial and may need to surrender his God Arc. But because of his New Type abilities and that New Type users are a rarity, he is given a second chance to fight, must team up with Russia’s New Type, Alisa Illinichina Amiella. Another person who has a hot-temper and disregards rules.
And as Lenka and Alisa join a team of God Eaters, can these New Type God Eaters work together and defeat the Aragami but also rescue many human lives?
Also, is there someone pulling the strings behind-the-scenes and are wanting the Aragami to succeed?
“God Eater” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The anime series is absolutely vibrant and colorful. The background, especially the foreground artwork are beautifully painted and well-detailed, while the character designs are well-done and well-shaded. This is a gorgeous looking anime series and I thought the Aragami designs were very awesome.
But for the most part, character designs and background art for “God Eater” look fantastic in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“God Eater” is presented in Japanese and English linear PCM stereo. Dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels and I heard no distortion while watching this anime series.
Subtitles are in English and Spanish.
“God Eater” vol. 2 comes with the following special features:
- God Eater Extra 02 Bonus Part A – (10:57) Interviews with Go Shiina and Naomi Kaitani about the music of the series.
- God Eater Extra 02 Bonus Part B – (8:59) Featuring an interview with the band Ghost Oracle Drive (bassist Takenori Sakauchi, guitarist Kazuki Sato, drummer Toshiyuki Wakayama and vocalist Kenta Matsukuma).
- God Eater Extra 03 – (23:25) A special episode summary of the series and its characters with interviews with the anime staff and more.
- Textless Opening and Endings
“God Eater” vol. 2 comes with a slipcase and a 20-page deluxe booklet.
Having played “God Eater” on the Sony PSP and Sony Vita, I have to say that the “God Eater” anime series had made me enjoy the series even more, now that we have a much more intuitive storyline that is not only addicting but action-packed.
While there is some level of banality of an unknown hero that fights for an organization and no one knows if the newcomer is ready for battle, which many have seen in anime such as “Blue Demon” and “Seraph of the Vampire”, “God Eater” is an anime series that is much more deeper, violent and for the most part, humanity is on the losing side of the battle against these monstrous entities known as Aragami.
The main protagonist is Lenka Utsugi, a boy raised on the poor side of town, despises Aragami with a passion but even more, hates turning a blind eye to the suffering of humans who can’t defend themselves.
He wants to help everyone, anyone even though it’s against Fenrir’s orders and it tends to get him in trouble.
But as he is a New Type starting to discover his own ability and not fully trained, Fenrir needs all the help they can get to fight these Aragami. And for now, he and another hot-headed New Type named Allisa is what they have.
And both want to help humanity, and despise Fenrir’s practice of only helping those that are useful to the cause.
The first seven episodes develop the story of Lenka and later Allisa but also doing a good job of showing how dismal things are on the planet and how devastating the Aragami are. How they kill with no remorse, they kill anything that stands in their way and no one understands why, or why these monstrous things have shown up on their planet.
The second half focuses on the past of Lenka but also the past of Johannes, Sakaki and Aisha were experimenting with the Managam Project and the gathering of Oracle Cells began and how the first Aragami emerged.
But also the true enemy is revealed.
Overall, the second half and conclusion to “God Eater” was fantastic. A lot of drama, emotion and action featured in each episode and this second half shows us the apocalyptic world and the sacrifices that are necessary for humanity to continue on. Unfortunately, certain people have their own interpretation of how the world should be.
But for the series as a whole, fans should be happy with the overall storyline and also a teaser of what to look forward to, if another season is created.
It also helps that characters from the video game are featured in the anime series, and so, this series does give a much more deeper appreciation for the entire “God Eater” series.
As for the Blu-ray release, animation is fantastic as characters are fully of detail, are well-shaded. The Aragami look absolutely frightening and their animation and overall design is fantastic. Background art is well-done, music adds to the riveting fast-paced, action-packed environment of the series.
And you also get the special features with crew interviews plus a 20-page deluxe booklet as well.
Overall, “God Eater” is a wonderful action-packed series that is more on the deeper, violent side of anime series showcasing an apocalyptic setting. Humanity has nearly been obliterated by monstrous Aragami and only a small group of God Eaters, wielding aragami-derived weapons known as God Arc can fight back. But it’s these mysterious New Types that can wield the God Arcs to amazing weapons that may give humanity a chance.
A thrilling, dramatic and action-packed anime series, “God Eater” vol. 1 and vol. 2 are highly recommended!
The first half of “Erased” was magnificent but the second volume is equally captivating and so enjoyable. A murder mystery thriller that will attract fans who love sci-fi and a mystery-driven anime series with a wonderful conclusion. I absolutely enjoyed this series from beginning to end! A fantastic anime series and another Aniplex Blu-ray release that is highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2016 Kei Sanba/KADOKAWA/Bokumachi Animation Committee. 2016 Aniplex Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Erased Volume 1
ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2016
DURATION: (Episodes 1-6) 150 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, English and Spanish Subtitles
RATING: Suggested 13 and Up
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Originally Created by Kei Sanbe
Directed by Tomohiko Ito
Series Composition by Taku Kishimoto
Music by Yuki Kajiura
Character Design by Keigo Sasaki
Art Director: Masaru Sato
Chief Animation Director: Kenichi Yoshida
Anime Production: A-1 Pictures
Featuring the following voice talent:
Aoi Yūki/Stephanie Sheh as Kayo Hinazuki
Shinnosuke Mitsushima/Michelle Ruff as Satoru Fujinuma (29-years-old)
Tao Tsuchiya/Ben Diskin as Satoru Fujinuma (10-years-old)
Akari Kitō/Christine Marie Cabanos as Hiromi
Akemi Okamura/Carrie Keranen as Akemi Hinazuki
Ayaka Nanase/Ryan Bartley as Osamu
Chinatsu Akasaki/Cherami Leigh as Airi Katagiri
Minami Takayama/Sara Cravens as Sachiko Fujinuma
Mitsuru Miyamoto/David W. Collins as Gaku Yashiro
Takahiro Mizushima/Max Mittelman as Jun Shiratori
Yō Taichi/Erica Mendez as Kenya
Yukitoshi Kikuchi/Bobby Thong as Kazu
The dream production staff includes director Tomohiko Ito (Sword Art Online), character designer Keigo Sasaki (Blue Exorcist), composer Yuki Kajiura (Sword Art Online, Fate/Zero, Madoka Magica), and animation studio A-1 Pictures (Sword Art Online, Your lie in April, Blue Exorcist).
The series finale that ends with a shocking yet emotional twist…
In 2012, Kei Sanbe’s manga series “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi” (which translates to “The Town Without Me”) was serialized in Kadokawa’s “Young Ace” magazine.
With a total of eight volumes publish (the manga series concluded in March 2016), a 12-episode anime adaptation by A-1 Pictures and Fuji TV’s Noitamina was created, along with a live action film.
The series is directed by Tomohiko Ito (“Silver Spoon”, “Sword Art Online”), series composition by Taku Kishimoto (“Joker Game”, “91 Days”, “Bunny Drop”), music by Yuki Kajiura (“Fate/Zero”, “Black Butler”, “Amatsuki”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”), character designs by Keigo Sasaki (“Blue Exorcist”, “Nanatsu no Taizai”, “Seven Deadly Sins”) and art direction by Masaru Sato (“Brain Powered”, “Captain Tsubasa”, “Deltora Quest”, “Armitage III”).
And “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi”, known as “Erased” was released in the U.S. on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc. with the first volume featuring the first six episodes and now, volume 2 featuring the final remaining six episodes.
“Erased” begins in 2006 with an introduction to Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old manga artist who occasionally experiences a “Revival”, which allows him to go back in time and he is able to use that power (which he has no control over) to save people.
When Satoru saves a boy from being killed by a driver who died from a heart attack, the save lands Satoru in the hospital.
While his co-worker Airi Katagiri is there to watch over him, Satoru’s mother Sachiko comes to visit him.
Sachiko discusses with his son about the traumatic things he experienced, such as when students went missing and were found dead and Satoru’s adult friend, Jun Shiratori was accused of the crime.
While Sachiko and Satoru are out and he begins to experience another revival, Sachiko notices a boy being consoled by his mother and a man staring at them. And wondering if he was trying to watch the kid and kidnap him.
Sachiko and her friend, a journalist named Sawada feel that the true killer of the children long ago is still alive and has not been caught and feel’s that June Shiratori was falsely accused of the murders.
Sachiko wants to alert her son but before she can, someone comes into Satoru’s home and stabs Sachiko to death.
When Satoru returns home, he finds his mother dead and when he goes to turn her over, he gets her blood on his hands, in which a neighbor spots Satoru with blood on him. Immediately, she calls the police and when they come, Satoru is looked at as the person responsible for the murder.
Satoru runs away from the scene and he becomes wanted man. He immediately goes into revival mode and is taken back to 1986, when he was 11-years-old and comes across Kayo Hinazuki, a girl that he was good friends with and the first victim of the serial killer.
He will also come across other victims but can Satoru protect them all?
“Erased: Volume 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Picture quality is absolutely fantastic as A-1 Pictures did a magnificent job with the character design and animation. May it be the subtle movement, facial expressions, action sequences plus the amazing art backgrounds make this series one of the best I have seen all year on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Erased: Volume 2″is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM 2.0. Dialogue and musical score is crystal clear through the front channel. Both Japanese and English dub soundtracks are wonderfully acted.
“Erased: Volume 2” features the following special features:
- Episode 7 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Alex Von David, voice talents Erika Mendez (voice of Sachiko) and Christine Marie Cabanos (voice of Hiromi), Ryan Bartley (voice of Kenya) and Bobby Thong (voice of Kazu).
- Episode 8 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Alex Von David, voice talents Stephanie Sheh (voice of Kayo) and Michelle Ruff (voice of young Satoru),
- Episode 11 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Alex Von David, voice talents Sara Cravens (voice of Sachiko) and Ben Diskin (voice of Satoru).
- Episode 12 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Alex Von David, voice talents David Collins (voice of Gaku Yashiro), Ben Diskin (voice of Satoru) and Michelle Ruff (voice of young Satoru).
- Promo Video – Japanese and English promo video for “Erased”.
- Textless Opening and Ending Songs
“Erased: Volume 21” comes with a slipcover, an original 36-page illustration book and rough sketches and short manga (“ERASED” chapter – “KAYO/After February 1988) by Kei Senbei, a 40-page deluxe booklet and an Boku Dake ga Inai Machi Original Soundtrack 02 featuring music by Kajiura Yuki (Duration: 41 Minutes).
If you had the power to go back in time, when you were only 11-years-old, to stop the murders of friends and protect them from a serial killer, would you do it? Can you do it?
This is the story of Kei Sanbei’s “Erased” adapted into a 12-episode anime series and receiving rave reviews from fans for its thrilling mystery story about a man named Satoru who suffers the tragedy of seeing his bludgeoned mother and being accused of the crime.
Since he was a young boy, he had the special ability known as “Revival” and that is to go back in time for a brief amount of time in order to save lives.
But this time, his life and the people that are dear to him, their lives are in danger when a serial killer from Satoru’s past, has killed his mother.
The death of his mother sends Satoru back in time at the age of 11, a time when his friend Kayo was found murdered and other children were also murdered. A friend of Satoru and the wrong person accused, Satoru has the opportunity to save the lives of those who were killed in the past.
But with him in the body of his 11-year-old self, can Satoru still make a difference? And who is the person responsible for the murders?
The first six episodes of “Erased” were fantastic. With many people that Satoru comes into contact showing potential of being evil, who can he trust? And who is responsible for the crime? And as Satoru tries to manage the troubles from 1988 and 2006, will he be able to save his childhood friend, Kayo, who was the first victim of the serial killer?
In the second volume featuring the final six episodes, Satoru has friends who join him in trying to investigate a potential serial killer. Satoru knows that if he can save Kayo, he may be able to save the other victims. But can he do it alone? Can he trust his friends or should he keep silent to keep them safe?
And who is the person responsible for the murders? All this and more is answered in the final volume of “Erased”!
As always, A-1 Pictures has done a phenomenal job with the animation and background art. Special features include four audio commentaries with the English dub ADR Director and multiple voice talents and as expected from Aniplex, plenty of swag with the second original soundtrack, a sketch and another short manga and a 40-page deluxe booklet is included.
Overall, the first half of “Erased” was magnificent but the second volume is equally captivating and so enjoyable. A murder mystery thriller that will attract fans who love sci-fi and a mystery-driven anime series with a wonderful conclusion. I absolutely enjoyed this series from beginning to end!
A fantastic anime series and another Aniplex Blu-ray release that is highly recommended!
If you have enjoyed the various “Monogatari” anime series thus far and you intend to stay with the series for the long run, “Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is definitely worth following if you are a dedicated fan of the series.
Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set
DURATION: Episodes 8-13 (150 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English
Release Date: December 20, 2016
Chief Director: Akiyuki Shimbo
Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura
Series Composition by Akiyuki Shimbo, Fuyashi Tou
Music by Kei Haeneoka
Originally Created by NisiOisin
Original Character Design by VOfan
Character Design by Akio Watanabe
Art Director: Ken Naito
Anime Production: SHAFT
Featuring the following voice talent:
Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi
Kaori Mizuhashi as Ougi Oshino
Marina Inoue as Sodachi Oikura
Chiwa Saito as Hitagi Senjōgahara
Kana Hanazawa as Nadeko Sengoku
Miyuki Sawashiro as Suruga Kanbaru
Saori Hayami as Yotsugi Ononoki
Satsuki Yukino as Izuko Gaen
Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa
Koyomi’s Rival Appears!!
After the summer break, Koyomi breaks the link with Shinobu Oshino and returns to being human again for the first time in six months. He heads to the cram school ruin with Suruga Kanbaru, but they are attacked by a strange entity wearing Japanese armor. Saved by Yotsugi Ononoki, they head to Izuko Gaen for her advice, but she starts telling them an unbelievable story about Shinobu’s past.
In 2005, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.
For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.
The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.
“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.
Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.
While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).
With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.
Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.
Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.
Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.
Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.
Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.
The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.
A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.
In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.
The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.
The story focuses more on a character, instead of a two-episode storyline, we get four-episode arcs. And with “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa”, episodes 12-15 focus on Nadeko starting to see a giant snake apparition and the arc beginning with her confronting Shinobu and Koyomi and Nadeko stabbing Koyomi in the heart.
The story then explains what has been happening to Nadeko leading up to the confrontation and what the giant snake apparition may be.
In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which is about the character Suruga Kanbaru.
And in October through November 2015, the Owarimonogatari novels anime adaptation aired on Japanese television.
And now we have the release of the 13-episode anime series on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc. The first seven episodes were released in November 2016 and now the final half was released in December 2016.
In the last volume of “Owarimonogatari”, the anime series begins with Koyomi Aragi and Ougi Oshino being trapped in a classroom.
The story shows us how Suruga Kanbaru introduces Ougi to Koyomi for the first time. Ougi had introduced Koyomi to a mysterious room in the school and the two investigate. This leads to both of them being trapped inside and the room is a manifestation of a traumatic memory from Koyomi’s freshman year.
Apparently around that time, the class president, Sodachi Oikura was looking for those who cheated on a math test and no one can leave the class until the cheater was found. Ougi figures that the two are unable to leave until the mystery is revealed.
But as these two start to investigate, they start to learn more about Sodachi Oikura and why she despises Koyomi.
In volume 2 of “Owarimonogatari”, the series focuses on the Shinobu Mail Arc.
Koyomi goes to meet his athletic basketball playing friend, Suruga Kanbaru at an abandoned cram school. But they see a samurai in full armor and a fight breaks out and Suruga is fighting against the samurai. As the building catches fire, Yozuru’s shikigami, Yotsugi appears and stops the fire. And saves both Koyomi Araragi and Suruga Kanbaru.
Yotsugi wants Koyomi to meet with Izuko Gaen (as she appears to know everything) but when a mysterious apparition shows up, Koyomi, Suruga and Koyomi’s vampire friend, Shinobu take on the mysterious apparition. But why did Yotsugi want Koyomi to meet up with Izuko?
“Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.
As this is a more modern of the “Monogatari” series, animation is crisp and colors are vibrant. Black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.
“Owarimonogatari” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.
It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.
“Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes the following special features:
- Textless Opening and Ending
- PV – Japanese Promotional Videos
- CM – Japanese Commercials
“Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 20-page deluxe booklet and an eight pinup postcard set.
For years, we have watched the “Monogatari” series blossom to something unusual, unexpected, complex, entertaining, audacious and for the most part, unpredictable.
It’s a sci-fi series in which storylines are connected but yet focus on certain characters.
As for 2015, the “Owarimonogatari” series was released and in some ways, for those who have watched previous “Monogatari” episodes or seasons will like the fact that characters are reunited and the mysterious apparition once again makes his appearance.
With this final half of “Owarimonogatari”, both Koyomi and Suruga encounter mysterious characters, but its not until they are told by Yotsugi that Koyomi must meet with Izuko Gaen, and mysteries surrounding the mysterious apparition are revealed.
As for the Blu-ray release,”Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.
As for special features, you get a the usual textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections. As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 20-page deluxe booklet, an eight pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).
If anything, the “Monogatari” series is one that people love because it’s original, artistic and definitely a breath of fresh air for those wanting creativity and something totally different from the norm.
But with that being said, because the storyline is not one for people to jump in and anywhere, one will want to watch it from the beginning and work yourself up to “Owarimonogatari” for a better understanding of the impact that each character has made throughout the various series.
Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is worth following if you are a dedicated fan of the series.
For those who enjoyed anime such as “Inferno Cop” will no doubt enjoy this series. For those who like anime series that are different from the norm, may enjoy this. Unfortunately, it was probably the worst anime series I have watched in 2016 and that is disappointing, considering I really enjoyed the manga series. If you are considering purchasing this anime series on Blu-ray, do some research and find out if it’s for you. The good news is that all 26-episodes are included in this Blu-ray/DVD set! But in my opinion, it’s not recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2016 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Ninja Slayer From Animation
ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2015
DURATION: (Episodes 1-26) 358 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English and Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0, English subtitles
RATING: TV 14
Release Date: December 16, 2016
Originally created by Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez
Original Art by Yuki Yogo
Original Script by Yoshiaki Tabata
Directed by Akira Amemiya
Storyboards and Episode Director: Noriyoshi Sasaki
Music by Kenji Fujisawa, Shinichi Osawa
Character Design by Hiroyuki Imaishi, saitom, Serere Inato, Yusuke Yoshigaki
Art Director:Akira Katsuta, Young Jae Lee
Anime Production: Trigger
Featuring the following voice talent:
Toshiyuki Morikawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Kenji Fujikido/Ninja Slayer
Chiwa Saito/Trina Nishimura as Nancy Lee
Goblin/Kent Williams as Narrator
Mamiko Noto/Jad Saxton as Electronic Maiko
Masane Tsukayama/Bill Jenkins as Laomoto Khan
Mugihito/R Bruce Elliott as Naraku Ninja
Risa Taneda/Bryn Apprill as Dragon Yukano
Sho Hayami/Chris Ryan as Fujio Katakura/Darkninja
Sora Amamiya/Monica Rial as Koki Yamoto
Tesshō Genda/Tyler Walker as Clone Yakuza
Domo, civilian, I am Ninja Slayer! Once a common, non-ninja, nine-to-five man, it’s now my duty to send all ninja souls to hell. It’s an insatiable thirst that I must quench to avenge the tragic death of my family. A mysterious spirit filled with rage has penetrated my soul giving me the ultimate power to fulfill my vengeance and destroy any ninja who dares to cross my path. Hell-bent on ninja carnage, I won’t stop slashing and bashing until I hear my enemies kiss their pathetic lives goodbye with a bloodcurdling scream of “Sayonara!” Die ninja. DIE! I am your Grim Reaper!
Won’t you live in my fury, friend? Join me in unleashing burning rage, and watch me spray the blood of a gagillion ninjas all over this nightmarish hell. For I am Ninja Slayer, killer of all ninjas!
“Ninja Slayer” purportedly is the product of American authors Bradley Bond and Phillip “Ninj@” Morzez. Posted originally on Twitter and translated in Japanese by Honda Yu and Sugi Leika, it would become popular and would be released in 2012 in a volume titled “Ninja Slayer: Neo-Saitama in Flames” by Enterbrain.
In Japan, there have been several tankobon volumes. In 2013, a second manga adaptation titled “Ninja Slayer: Glamorous Killers” with art by Ageha Saotome was featured on Enterbrain’s “B’s-Log Comic”. A third manga adaptation titled “Ninja Slayer Kills” was serialized in Kodansha’s “Suiyobi no Sirius”.
A manga adaptation was released in 2015 on Niconico and the TV broadcast was released in 2016. The anime series simulcast in North America courtesy of FUNimation and now the entire 26-episode series is available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.
The anime series was produced by Trigger (“Little Witch Academia”) and the series was directed by Akira Amemiya (“Psychic Squad”, “Gurren Lagann”), storyboards by Noriyoshi Sasaki (“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable”, “Ojisan to Marshmallow”), music by Kenji Fujisawa (“Nanbaka”, “Hyakko”, “Before Green Gables”) and electronic music artist Shinichi Ohsawa.
The series is set in a gritty, futuristic city of Neo-Saitama and many people are getting killed, monsters roam the streets but the most deadly are the menacing army of cybernetic-clad ninjas under the rule of the Soukai syndicate.
But as many citizens are getting killed in the ninja turf war, one heroic ninja known as Ninja Slayer plans to make sure that all ninja are slaughtered by his own hands.
We see the Ninja Slayer interrupt a Massacre Games fight against the Kill-Zone Sumo Wrestler by the Kachigumi Salarymen.
Meanwhile, two teenage ninjas are introduced. A teenage girl named Yamoto Koki, who’s ninja powers just came out and a mysterious new transfer named Shogo.
we see the aftermath as Shogo has been kidnapped and tortured by the powerful ninja henchman, Sonic Boom.
Sonic Boom wants Shogo to lure Yamoto Koki, so they can control her.
But will Shogo allow that? And will the two be able to face off against the powerful and evil ninja?
In another episode, the after-math between battle of Ninja Slayer and Sonic Boom has led to a major explosion and rumors are quickly swirling that Ninja Slayer was killed in battle.
In Neo-Saitama, a Sumo Shop is the residence of the Kill-Elephant Yakuza Clan led by their Yakuza Boss, Yamahiro.
And because ninja are above the yakuza, they are trying to get payment from the yakuza or else they die. But one person is there to protect the yakuza, a mysterious being known as Yakuza Tengu.
Meanwhile, a team of ninja brothers – Green Elephant and Gas Burner are causing trouble in the area and Yamahiro tries to make himself a yakuza samurai hero to protect shop owners from these ninja brothers.
But when the ninjas are on a murdering rampage, can Yakuza Tengu beat them?
Featuring the origin of Yamoto’s ninja power and what happens to Shogo when he is apprehended by police?
The Ninja Slayer is also seeking for an antidote for the anti-ninja virus, “Takeuchi” which has infected his master, Dragon Gendoso.
His search has brought him to journalist and master hacker, Nancy Lee. The problem is that the anti-virus is hidden in Yoroshisan’s Plant, No. 1 and he can’t infiltrate the facility alone. He will need to trust Nancy as a partner. But will the lone ninja be able to trust her?
“Ninjaslayer From Animation” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1). Having read several volumes of the manga series, I was expecting for an ultraviolent, action-packed anime series with animation that best supports the manga series.
In someway, I was expecting anime and violence along the lines of “Afro Samurai”, instead, we get an animation that looks experimental with typical anime-type scenes to something that looks like it was created on Windows Paint. Animation that seemed intentional or inevitable because it looked like it was created on a low budget and also, a change of character designs when compared to the manga series in order for it to be shown on television.
No doubt the animation will be subjective to the viewer but personally, having enjoyed the manga series, the anime style was not exactly what I was expecting.
If you enjoyed the animation style of “Inferno Cop”, then you’ll enjoy “Ninjaslayer From Animation”.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Ninjaslayer From Animation” is presented in Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Dialogue and music is clear through the front channels for the lossless stereo soundtrack.
Subtitles are in English.
“Ninjaslayer From Animation” features the following special features:
- Episode 25 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer/Adapted Script Writer) with voice actor Christopher R. Sabat (voice of Ninjaslayer).
- Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers
“Ninjaslayer From Animation” comes with both a Blu-ray and DVD version.
“Ninja Slayer” on manga is violent, dark and action-packed. In some ways, it reminds me a little of “Hokuto no Ken” (Fist of the Northstar) and how a city is overrun by madmen and sick monster-like beings. In this case, Neo-Saitama is run by ninja who operate under the rules of the Soukai Syndicate. But one ninja, known as the Ninja Slayer, will do anything to make sure all ninja are killed.
Highly anticipating the anime series and expecting an anime series along the lines of the violence and action of “Afro Samurai”, no doubt I had my hopes set high for “Ninjaslayer From Animation”.
Of the anime series I have watched in 2016, “Ninjaslayer From Animation” was the worst I have watched all year long because what made the manga so fascinating, exciting and enjoyable was given an anime adaptation that not only was respectful to the manga series, it came out as an animated mess.
Granted, if the goal was to be funny and show the anime series in an experimental style incorporating the anime style that most people are expecting and artwork that looks like a child had drawn it and like a low-budget home-made anime title that resembles anime style work created on Windows Paint that I was used to seeing on PC downloaded files from anime BBS’ from 1993.
Whether the animation style was created this way due to budget or due to a break in banality and give something to audiences at an attempt of humor, whatever the case may be, I am one who dislikes seeing anime adaptations that deviate too much from the original creation.
Sure, there are anime adaptations, that deviate from the original storyline due to the manga series not being complete and original stories have to be written or filler-episodes need to be created, but yet, there is a respect to the original creation.
“Ninjaslayer From Animation” is different and yes, I understand that the “Ninjaslayer” manga series used a fictitious name for its creators (it has not been established if the original creators were actually real people but the majority of the manga readers believe the original creators – Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez are fictitious) but there was a style, fascinatingly dark character designs and way-out there action that had the potential of becoming something different. Sure, it would have made a great OVA, but as a TV series, a lot of sacrifices were made that made me feel disappointed in the overall anime series.
As for the Blu-ray release, you get a single episode audio commentary. And even Funimation decided to go experimental with their audio commentary with hums, echo effects and audio commentary played in reverse.
For those who enjoyed anime such as “Inferno Cop” will no doubt enjoy this series. For those who like anime series that are different from the norm, may enjoy this. Unfortunately, it was probably the worst anime series I have watched in 2016 and that is disappointing, considering I really enjoyed the manga series.
If you are considering purchasing this anime series on Blu-ray, do some research and find out if it’s for you. The good news is that all 26-episodes are included in this Blu-ray/DVD set! But in my opinion, it’s not recommended!
“Death Parade” is an anime series that was refreshing, addictive and badass! Recommended!anime series with a shorter duration, “Sky Wizards Academy” is worth watching!
Image courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Death Parade: The Complete Series
ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015
DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Subtitles
RATED: TV MA
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Originally created by Yuzuru Tachikawa
Directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa
Screenplay by Yuzuru Tachikawa
Music by Yauuki Hayashi
Character Design by Shinichi Kurita
Art Director: Satoru Hirayanagi
Anime Production by Madhouse
Featuring the following voice talent:
Asami Seto/Jamie Marchi as Black-haired Woman
Tomoaki Maeno/Alex Organ as Decim
Atsumi Tanezaki as Mayu Arita
Kouki Uchiyama/Leah Clark as Clavis
Rumi Ookubo/Jad Saxton as Nona
Ryoka Yuzuki/Morgan Garrett as Castra
Ryoko Shiraishi/Anastasia Munoz as Quin
Tesshō Genda/Jeremy Schwartz as Oculus
Yoshimasa Hosoya/Robert McCollum as Ginti
When two people die at the same time, they’re sent to a place that’s neither heaven nor hell: a lavish bar between worlds where the stakes are high and the rules are simple: if you win you live again, if you die you’re gone for good.
Decim is the bartender charged with serving the souls who enter Quindecim. He may make a mean cocktail, but his true profession is to play the role of arbiter: a judge who determines whether or not a soul is worthy of reincarnation.
To aid in his judgment, the bar’s patrons are forced to play simple games laced with sadistic twists designed to bring their true natures to light. To Decim, judgment has always been black and white — that is until he meets a mysterious young woman whose fate seems impossible to decide. His indecision shakes the very foundation of the games and raises the biggest question of all: who is fit to judge the dead?
From Yuzuru Tachikawa (who worked on series such as “Steins;Gate”, “Attack on Titan”, “Kill la Kill”) and Madhouse comes the anime series “Death Parade”.
Originally a short film titled “Death Billiards”, which was produced by Madhouse for the Young Animator Training Project’s Anime Mirai 2013. The series aired in Japan between January and March 2015 and each episode was released in the United States not long after the Japan release of an episode.
The anime series is directed and written by Yuzuru Tachikawa, music composition by Yuuki Hayashi (“Gundam Build Fighters”, “Haikyu!!”, “My Hero Academia”), character design by Shinichi Kurita (“Arata-naru Sekai”, “Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV”) and art direction by Satoru Hirayanagi (“Familiar of Zero”, “Guin Saga”, “Shining Hearts”).
And now the anime series will be available on Blu-ray courtesy of Funimation.
The series revolves around two people (different individuals for each episode) who are taken to a building managed by Nona. And on the 15th floor, they are led into a Quindecim bar by Castra to participate in game. What these individuals are unaware of is that these games are death games.
Greetings them is a bartender named Decim, who has no human emotions. Who happens to also be an arbiter, the person who must judge each individual and explain to the individuals of the games they are taking part in. Assisting Decim is a mysterious black-haired woman named Chiyuki who has no memory of her past life or her real-name.
But there is also another bar on the 20th floor known as Viginti, ran by Ginti, like Decim who also must lead individuals to taking part in the death games.
The two people that come in to the bar are unaware they are dead and the purpose of taking part in the game, is to find out who gets reincarnated and who must go to the void.
And in the end of the game, they will be judged.
“Death Parade” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Animation is from Mad House who did a fantastic job with this series when it comes to detail of the bar, character designs, lighting and overall animation. Picture quality does have a hint of softness, as one would expect from an anime TV series. But pallet is colorful and the series looks great on Blu-ray.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Death Parade” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The series for the most part features crystal clear dialogue and music. The English dub has the edge with its 5.1 surround soundtrack but both voice acting for Japanese and English are well-acted.
Subtitles are in English.
“Death Parade: The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:
- Episode 3 Commentary – Featuring ADR director Chris George, Bryn Apprill (voice of Mai Takada) and Micah Solusod (voice of Shigeru Miura.
- Episode 12 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Zach Bolton (voice of Clavis), Jamie Marchi (voice of Black-Haired Woman), Jad Saxton (voice of Nona) and Alex Organ (voice of Decim).
- OVA: Death Billiards – Featuring a special episode with Decim and Black-Haired Woman encountering two people who must compete at billiards.
- Playing with House Money – (6:15) Jad Saxton (voice of Nona), Robert McCollum (voice of Ginti) and Jamie Marchi (voice of Black-Haired Woman) meet up in a bar for a game of billiards.
- Textless Opening and Five Closing Songs
“Death Parade: The Complete Series” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series plus a slipcover.
For those who have been craving for anime with original stories, “Death Parade” from Madhouse gives anime fans a series built on a fascinating storyline, some that are surprising, others quite tragic and heartbreaking but also showcasing mysterious characters.
The series pretty much is the judgment of individuals of who will be reincarnated and who must spend eternity in the void.
As two people are escorted into a bar to participate in games, they are unaware that these are death games and by playing, it slowly reveals the history and what led to the demise of an individual.
From its mysterious no-emotion bartender named Decim and a human, who is not an arbiter but is working closely for Decim for some unexplained reason. What is the story about her?
But the stories revolve around two people who take part in death games.
For example, the first episode features Takashi and Machiko, a loving couple who are unaware they are dead. But the more they play the game of darts, they start to realize that their relationship is troubled.
Takashi remembers when Machiko said she was pregnant but he feared that the pregnancy was due to another man. Machiko claims that it’s Takashi’s baby but the more viewers start to sympathize with Machiko, the more the game is played, the more is revealed about her dark side or does he have a dark side?
Another two that plays the game is Misaki Tachibana, a hostess of a reality TV show who has a hot temper. She had a baby by an abusive man and had to raise five children through multiple failed relationships.
Yousuke’s father remarried with Misaki and refused to accept her and avoided her no matter how much Misaki tried to give him love. But what led to their demise? And who will be reincarnated and who will go to the void?
These are just a few examples as you will see couples take part in “Death Billiards”, “Death Bowling” and more.
And of course, the series comes to a resolution with its mysterious black-haired woman, Chiyuki.
A satisfying, addictive anime series, it helps that it’s a shorter series that is only 12-episodes long and not drawn out with filler storylines that mean nothing. In “Death Parade”, each storyline contributes to changes with other characters, especially Chiyuki and through these experiences, the story concludes with a satisfying storyline. I really enjoyed this series!
And as one can expect from Madhouse, you get wonderful animation, background and foreground artwork and while colorful, it does have a slight softness but that is expected from anime television series. You also get two audio commentary and a featurette with three of the voice English dub voice talents. Plus a bonus “Death Billiards” episode.
Overall, “Death Parade” is an anime series that was refreshing, addictive and badass! Recommended!
With the sixth volume of “Durarara!! x2”, we finally get the climactic episodes involving Mikado, Masuomi, Celty, Shinra, Shizuo and more. But a lot of questions finally getting the answers that many have waited all season for. If you love action, humor and all out mayhem and have stuck with “Durarara!! x2” for this long, this sixth volume is recommended!
Images courtesy of © 2015 ANIPLEX INC. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Durarara!! x 2 Volume 6
YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2015
DURATION: Episodes 31-36 (175 Minutes)
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, English Subtitles
COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.
RATED: Suggested 13 and Up
Release Date: December 13, 2016
Originally created by Ryohgo Narita
Directed by Takahiro Omori
Series Composition by Noboru Takagi
Music by Makoto Yoshimori
Original Creator: Ryohgo Narita
Character Design by Takahiro Kishida
Art Director: Akira Ito
Chief Animation Director: Akira Takata
Anime Production: Shuka
Featuring the voices of:
Miyuki Sawashiro/Kari Wahlgren as Celty Sturluson
Toshiyuki Toyonaga/Darrel Guilbeau as Mikado Ryūgamine
Akio Ohtsuka/Doug Stone as Shingen Kishitani
Atsumi Tanezaki/Karen Strassman as Emilia
Ayahi Takagaki/Mela Lee as Erika Karisawa
Daisuke Ono/Crispin Freeman as Shizuo Heiwajima
Hiroshi Kamiya/Johnny Yong Bosch as Izaya Orihara
Jun Fukuyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Shinra Kishitani
Kana Hanazawa/Michelle Ruff as Anri Sonohara
Kazuma Horie/David Earnest as Seiji Yagiri
Mamoru Miyano/Bryce Papenbrook as Masaomi Kida
Mariya Ise/Kira Buckland as Mika Harima
Sanae Kobayashi/Bridget Hoffman as Namie Yagiri
Takaya Kuroda/Patrick Seitz as Simon Brezhnev
Takuma Terashima/Spike Spencer as Saburou Togusa
Yuuichi Nakamura/Steven Blum as Kyōhei Kadota
Yuuki Kaji/Brian Beacock as Walker Yumasaki
“So tonight, the Dollars are done.”
Although the childhood friends finally reunite, is it too late for Masaomi to change Mikado’s mind? As Mikado plans to end everything including the Dollars that he founded as well as his own life, Mikado’s true intentions are finally revealed…
Don’t miss the grand finale of the Durarara!! x2 series!
It was revealed that Mikado masterminded the chaos in Ikebukuro and now his best friend Masaomi Kida knows he must get to his friend before things get worse.
Meanwhile, will Celty Sturluson leave the one man who cares about her…Shinra Kishitani?
And what happens when Shizuo Heiwajima and Varona confront each other.
Will the chaos and gang wars happening in Ikebukuro ever end? Find out in the final sixth volume of “DuRaRaRa!! x2”!
What is “Durarara!!” all about?
Back in 2004, light novelist Ryohgo Narita, who won a Gold Prize in the 9th Dengeki Novel Prize for “Baccano!” returned with “Durarara!!” and teaming up with illustrator Suzuhito Yasuda (known for his video game work “Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor”).
With a total of eight volumes published in Japan by ASCII Media Works (ala their Dengeki Bunko imprint), a manga adaptation would be created by Akiyo Satorigi and published in the shonen magazine “Monthly GFantasy” in 2009. The popularity of Narita’s works, especially with “Baccano!” would lead to an 26-episode animate adaptation of “Durarara!!” in January 2010 and an ongoing series in 2015 titled “Durarara!! x2”.
The anime production for “Durarara!! x2” is now by Shuka (first series was by Brains Base) and the series is directed by Takahiro Omori (“Aruna”, “Gakuen Alice”, “Kuragehime”, “Zoku Natsume Yujin-Cho”) with series composition/script by Noboru Takagi (“Baccano!”, “C”, “Koi Kaze”). Character design is by Takahiro Kishida (“Cheburashka Arere”, “Dragon Half”, “Ninja Cadets”) and art direction by Akira Ito (“Elfen Lied”, “Shadow Star Narutaru”, “Street Fighter Alpha”).
The series features an ensemble cast and their experience living in Ikebukuro, Tokyo but how their storylines are somewhat connected to each other.
Mikado Ryugamine is a young man who transfers to school from a small country town to the big city in Tokyo and his childhood friend Masaomi tries to show him the ropes of Ikebukuro, which can be dangerous as color gangs have corrupted the city.
Before the yellow scarves were the dominant gang and now on top of the gangs are a mysterious group known as the Dollars, with a leader that no one knows about, all that is known is that members are chosen and are hooked up through the Internet. But recently, there have been several deaths causes by a murderer dubbed “The Slasher” and also rumors of a headless woman riding a motorcycle.
In “Durarara!! x 2” Volume 6 (episodes 31-36), chaos continues in Ikebukuro. But it is revealed that Mikado Ryugamine has changed completely and with the return of Masaomi (who was responsible for enticing Mikado to move to Ikebukuro), he can’t believe how his friend has changed for the worse and Mikado wants to beat some sense into Mikado’s head.
What happens when Masaomi and Mikado finally confront each other?
The main characters of “Durarara!! x2” are:
- Mikado Ryugamine – A first year high schooler who moves to Ikebukuro, Tokyo after his childhood friend Masaomi had invited him. A shy guy, Mikado is trying to learn the ropes and restart his life. He becomes a class rep and starts to follow for the female class rep, Anri and because his friend Masaomi also likes her, it becomes a bit of an interesting love triangle. Mikado just wants to change and not be normal.
- Masaomi Kida – Mikado’s childhood friend. He seems very over-confident with girls, when actually he is not good at it. Also, he has a mysterious backgrounds and something happened to a girl he knew… Like Mikado, he also likes Anri.
- Anri Sonohara – A girl who wears glasses and is a class rep. She is shy and timid and hangs out with Mikado and Masaomi.
- Celty Sturluson – A headless rider who is looking for her lost head. Celty is a Dullahan from Ireland (a headless woman) who has black smoke coming out of her body. Despite being depicted as monster and killer during the old days, she has been taken in by doctor Shinra Kishitani and carries out missions. Despite not having true emotions, she feels love towards Shinra but unable to understand the feelings that she has due to not having any living DNA.
- Shinra Kishitani – A underground doctor who lives with Celty. His father was the first to operate on Celty (in exchange of giving her a place to stay) and even was given a chance to learn how to do surgery at the age of 4. He works for corporations underground in trying to help them remove memories from people. He is also in love with Celty and is able to understand her emotions despite her not having a head. He also a childhood friend of Shizuo and Kasuka.
- Izaya Orihara – Known as the information broker. He sells information and likes to start trouble or loves to examine human’s when they are conflicted. He is a master of using a knife and causes problems for Shizuo Heiwajima.
- Shizuo Heiwajima – A blonde guy with a very short temper who wears a bartender suit and has enormous power. He can take a lot of pain and it is not known how he is able to have enormous strength and to heal from major injuries. He is friends with Celty, his brother Kasuka (who goes by Yuuhei Hanejima) is a popular actor in Japan and if there is anything he hates more than anything, it is Izaya Orihara. Izaya’s presence makes his blood boil so much that he ends up destroying property around him.
- Simon Brezhnev – A Black Russian who works outside a Russian sushi restaurant. He is known for his great strength.
- Kyohei Kadota – Also, known as “Dotachin” (a nickname that he hates), he is a member of the Dollars and leader of his group of friends which include Walker, Eri and Saburo.
- Walker Yumasaki – A carefree otaku and manga fan who hangs out with Eri. A member of the Dollars and hangs out with Dotachin.
- Eri Karisawa – An otaku and close friend of Walker, a member of the Dollars and Kadota’s group.
- Saburo Togusa – A member of the Dollars and Kyohei’s driver.
- Seiji Yagiri – A classmate of Mikado’s. He quit school to be with Mika but in truth, he is obsessed with the severed head of Celty’s that was put on Mika.
- Namie Yagiri -The older sister of Seiji. A chief of Yagiri Pharmaceuticals and regrets introducing her younger brother to Celty’s head and for his obsession with it. She appears to also have feelings for her younger brother. She is also responsible for the human experimentation going on in the city.
- Mika Harima – Anri’s good friend who, for some reason, has Celty’s head. She was Seiji’s stalker and now lover. Namie wants to get her revenge on Mika because Seiji just wants to be with her fulltime. Meanwhile, Celty is looking for her (because she has her head).
- Kasuka Heiwajima – Shizuo Heiajima’s younger brother.
- Ruri Hijiribe – An idol singer with a mysterious past.
- Aoba Kuronuma – A mysterious 1st year student at Raira Academy and what is his connection to the Blue Square gang?
- Shingen Kishitani – Shingen is the father of Shinra who wears a gas mask.
- Mairu Orihara – Youngest sister of Izaya and twin sister of Kururi. Wears glasses.
- Kururi Orihara – Youngest sister of Izaya and twin ster of Mairu.
- Akane Awakusu – Daughter of Mikiya and granddaughter of Dougen. Not aware her family is a powerful yakuza group.
- Mizuki Akabayashi – A.k.a. “Red Demon”, a high-ranking member of the Awakusu Family.
“Durarara!! x 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition. I praised the first season’s animation and character design as Brain’s Base really put everything they had into the series. With Shuka now in charge, there is not much divergence because nearly the same crew behind the first series, is back for the second. Vibrant animation can be seen throughout the series thus far.
“Durara!! x 2” continues to feature great character design and wonderful art backgrounds. Art director Akira Ito and crew continues to do a magnificent job in capturing the look and feel of Ikebukuro, Tokyo. There is a slight difference in quality but Shuka did a good job.
“Durarara!! x 2” is presented only with a Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 soundtrack. Both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-acted and with that being said, dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels.
“Durarara!! x 2” vol. 6 comes with episode 19.5, a hilarious episode featuring an overweight wannabe who tries to tell people he is Shizuo and other characters and the trouble that ensues for him pretending.
“Durarara!! x 2” vol. 6 comes with a slipcase with an illustration Takahiro Kishida (Character Design), six collectible postcards, a 16-page deluxe booklet.
With the latest episodes of “Durarara!! x2”, the chaos in Ikebukuro finally comes to an end.
We have seen how Mikado has confused everyone with his actions but slowly see how his strategy of trying to turn the Dollars into an urban legend has come to fruition.
But in the process of trying to pull of something so dangerous, Mikado is lost in the darkness and his friend Masaomi Kida has finally arrived to knock some sense into him. That is until Mikado takes out his guns and possibly trying to kill his best friend or possibly himself?
Meanwhile, the truth of Celty is revealed and why she has been trying to say she has amnesia. Will Shinra stand behind her?
And of course, so much more story involving other characters and the trouble that was unleashed on Ikebukuro and its aftermath.
Suffice to say, this was a considerable build-up to get to this final episodes of “DuRaRaRa!! x 2”. To show how meticulous Mikado was and how his involvement with the Dollars has slowly twisted his logic, it was no doubt a shock to see this meek individual transform into something so dark and twisted.
But of course, with so much chaos taking place in the series, there were too many individuals who acted and are antagonists that Mikado was someone that we pity, versus seeing him as cold and calculated.
Too many things happening and too many things going wrong with other characters that until you reach these final episodes, you realized that there was a world of hurt going on not just in Ikebukuro but inside the hearts of some of these characters.
It was a long build-up to get to these final episodes and while worth the wait, there is part of me that felt it went on too long. But nevertheless, I did enjoy these final episodes of “DuRaRaRa!! x2” and it will be interesting to see where the story goes on for its next story arc, as the manga series is still ongoing.
Overall, “Durarara!! x2” is becoming more interesting as the series continues. Some may find the large cast of characters to be a bit much, but similar to other series with large casts (ie. “Bleach”, “Naruto”), these characters do tie-in to the storyline and you really can’t miss an episode because of that.
But it’s a series that you need to stick with it, watch the storyline gradually reveal itself from episode to episode and you’ll start to realize how awesome “Durarara!! x2” really is!
With the sixth volume of “Durarara!! x2”, we finally get the climactic episodes involving Mikado, Masuomi, Celty, Shinra, Shizuo and more. But a lot of questions finally getting the answers that many have waited all season for.
If you love action, humor and all out mayhem and have stuck with “Durarara!! x2” for this long, this sixth volume is recommended!