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Puzzle & Dragons X Part One (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Puzzle & Dragons X” is an anime series that will entertain anime fans who ware looking for a good-natured anime series that will entertain the family but also an anime series that will no doubt satisfy fans of the popular Nintendo 3DS video game.

Image courtesy of © Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Puzzle & Dragons Part X Part One

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: Japanese and English

COMPANY: Funimation

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: September 26, 2017


Director: Hajime Kamegaki

Series Composition: Dai Sato

Music by Kousuke Yamashita

Character Design: Yukiko Akiyama

Art Director: Akihito Ougiyama, Masanobu Nomura

Art Design: Toshiki Amada

Anime Production: Pierrot


Featuring the following voice talent:

Chika Sakamoto/Tia Ballard as Devi

Takuto Yoshinaga/Josh Grelle as Ace

Tetsuya Kakihara/Justin Briner as Lance

Tomoko Kaneda/Alexis Tipton as Tamazō

Akeno Watanabe/Jamie Marchi as Herriot

Anri Katsu/Clifford Chapin as Tiger

Aya Hisakawa/Sara Ragsdale as Rena

Chisa Yokoyama/Greg Ayres as Sturgeon Jr.

Daisuke Sakaguchi/Stephen Sanders as Donny

Junko Minagawa/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Dafnes

Keiji Himeno as Yamaki

Marina Inoue/Dawn M. Bennett as Hal

Minoru Inaba/Charles Campbell as Vahaton

Miyuki Sawashiro/Monica Rial as Morgan

Takahiro Mizushima/Micah Solusod as Torlie

Tomokazu Sugita/Ian Sinclair as Nyudo

Wakana Yamazaki/Trina Nishimura as Eldora


Ace is an average boy until he hears his name being called by a mysterious egg. The egg leads him to discover the existence of Dragon Callers, humans who tame monsters into allies in their fight against evil. Does this average boy have what it takes to become one?


In 2012, Japanese video game company GungHo Online Entertainment created “Puzzle & Dragons” for the iOS, Android and Kindle Fire.

The company would follow up with the game “Puzzle & Dragons X” (pronounced as “Puzzle & Dragons Cross”) for the Nintendo 3DS.  But to help promote the game, an anime adaptation was released a few weeks earlier by anime studio, Pierrot.

With a total of 66 episodes created and is still ongoing in Japan, “Puzzle & Dragons X” has been released on Blu-ray/DVD in North America with the first 13 episodes included in Part One of “Puzzle & Dragons X”.

The setting of “Puzzle & Dragons X” is in the land of Dragonzola and there are those destined to become Dragon Callers, mediators between humanity and nature.

The Dragon Callers can tame powerful monsters and control them through the use of Drops.  One day, the great dragon caller known as King disappeared and no one has heard of him since.

But his child Ace wants to become the best Dragon Caller but he has a long way to go.  One day he discovers an egg and it happens to be a tamadra known as Tamazo.  Thought to be extinct, the only other tamadra is the arrogant yet loyal Devi, the partner of Lance, a mysterious and uncaring draganoid, who is on a mission.

When Ace starts to show he can control drops, he makes the decision to go on a journey to become a Dragon Caller and learn how to summon dragons and one day pass the training in order to become a Guild Dragon caller.

Along the way, he meets Charo, a man who keeps information on monsters and in-battle occurrences but also wanting to become a Dragon Caller.  A lot of people thinks he is a girl but he is actually a boy and together with Ace, they want to grow stronger.

And to their annoyance, they are sometimes accompanied by a Dragon Caller named Garnet, who is stubborn but yet dreams of becoming an idol.

Will Ace & Charo pass the test and become Guild Dragon Callers?


VIDEO:

“Puzzle & Dragon X” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  The animation is vibrant and colorful.  Animation is well-done for this children’s anime series and for the most part, I saw no signs of artifacts or banding.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

The lossless soundtrack for “Puzzle & DragonX” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.   The English soundtrack has a 5.1 soundtrack, while the Japanese has lossless stereo but for the most part, the lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue and both soundtracks are well-acted.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Puzzle & Dragons X” comes with clean opening and ending themes.

EXTRAS:

“Puzzle & Dragons X” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series.


When it comes to anime series that are adaptations from a video game, you have your good series and your bad.  With the popularity of “Puzzle & Dragons”, the popularity of the Nintendo 3DS video game has no doubt lent to the popularity of the series in Japan.

With colorful characters and cute dragons, there is no doubt that many people had made comparisons to “Pokemon” and while the premise are almost the similar, with Pokemon about one wanting to become the best Pokemon trainer and going on adventures to become stronger and better, the same can be said with “Puzzle & Dragons X” as Ace wants to become the best Dragon Caller and goes on adventures with numerous people.

The main difference is that there are mysterious characters and powerful Dragon Callers who assist or guide Ace and friends to become better and lead them on a path to hopefully pass their exam to become Guild Dragon Callers.  But it’s not going to be easy as Ace along with Tamazo and Charo will need to learn a lot with their interactions with people and find ways to be better.

So far, the first 13 episodes are entertaining and while rated TV PG, the series is no doubt an anime series targeted for children.  You have battles (instead of monsters vs. monsters, you often see people battling each other with their monsters and unlike Pokemon, the Dragon Caller can get hurt) and you have rude monsters but for the most part, there is nothing about this series that parents should worry too much about as the series is good-natured.

The anime series is vibrant and colorful on Blu-ray and lossless soundtrack is well-acted for both the English dub and the Japanese soundtrack.  Unfortunately, there are no significant special features than the banal textless opening and closing songs.

Overall, “Puzzle & Dragons X” is an anime series that will entertain anime fans who ware looking for a good-natured anime series that will entertain the family but also an anime series that will no doubt satisfy fans of the popular Nintendo 3DS video game.

KanColle Kantai Collection (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“KanColle Kantai Collection” is an action anime series inspired by the popular browser-based and PS Vita video game. It’s a series that caught Japan by storm in 2015 and now the anime series is available on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S.  A great compliment to the video games, if you are intrigued about war at sea and cute anime characters, “KanColle Kantai Collection” is a series I recommend!

Image courtesy of © 2014 KanColle Headquarters. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: KanColle Kantai Collection

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: Episode 1-12 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Funimation

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: June 27, 2017


Originally concept by Kensuke Tanaka

Original Story by Kensuke Tanaka

Directed by Kanzou Kusakawa

Series Composition by Jukki Hanada

Music by Natsumi Kameoka

Character Design by Mayuko Matsumoto, Naomi Ide

Art Director: Maho Takahashi

Chief Animation Director: Mayuko Matsumoto, Naomi Ide

Anime Production: diomedea


Featuring the following voice talent:

Felecia Angelle/Sumire Uesaka as Fubuki

Jeannie Tirado/Yuka Iguchi as Kaga

Tia Ballard/Saki Fujita as Akagi

Alexis Tipton/Nao Toyama as Kongou

Amber Lee Connors/Yuka Otsubo as Ooi

Apphia Yu/Aya Suzuki as Hibiki

Brittney Karbowski/Ayane Sakura as Sendai

Camille Liedtka/Aya Suzuki as Inazuma

Cherami Leigh/Rina Hidaka as Mutsuki

Dawn M. Bennett/Nao Toyama as Hiei

Elizabeth Maxwell as Nagato

Jad Saxton/Ayane Sakura as Naka

Kristi Kang/Nao Toyama as Atago

Lara Woodhull/Aya Suzuki as Ikazuchi

Leah Clark/Yumi Tanabe as Yudachi

Megan Shipman/Ayane Sakura as Shimakaze

Monica Rial/Aya Suzuki as Akatsuki

Morgan Berry as Kitakami

Morgan Garrett/Ayane Sakura as Mutsu

Natalie Hoover/Ayane Sakura as Jintsu

Sarah Wiedenheft/Iori Nomizu as Zuikaku


Fubuki is a Special Type Destroyer who has just been assigned to the Naval District. With a grand total of zero battles under her belt, she’s sure to sink fast under the pressure of expectation. Luckily, she’s grouped with Torpedo Squadron Three, and they’re ready to support their new comrade. Together, they’ll prove they have what it takes to defend the ocean and win it all for humanity.


In Japan, “Kantai Collection” a.k.a. “KanColle” has captivated fans thanks to the concept, the characters and the video game.

Created as a Japanese free-to-play web browser games from Kadokawa Games, in 2015, the game had around 3 million registered players.

The series has been released as a manga series, light novels, tabletop RPG and a PlayStation Vita game.  And to coincide with the game’s release, an anime series was released in Japan in January 2015 courtesy of Diomedea.

And now the 12-episode anime series is available on Blu-ray and DVD in the USA courtesy of Funimation.

For those not familiar with “KanColle”, the series is set when humanity has lost the seas to a monstrous fleet.  To counter this monstrous fleet, humanity has donned human girls known as “fleet girls” who wear weaponized outfits and take on various roles in the spirit of historical naval vessels depending on one’s skill.

The anime series revolves around Fubuki, who arrives at the naval base and was recommended to fight in the Third Torpedo Squadron by the admiral.  But no one is sure why, becuase fubuki is always scared, often clumsy and has never fought in battle in her life.

But when she goes out on her first mission and is rescued by Akagi, Fubuki is inspired and wants to do her best in order to train and fight alongside Akagi one day.

The primary characters of “KanColle Kantai Collection” are:

  • Fubuki – The main protagonist.  Clumsy, not a fighting girl but with a heart of a fighter who is inspired by Akagi and trains hard in hopes to one day fight alongside with her.  Fubuki is assigned to the Third Torpedo Squadron and is a Destroyer.
  • Mutsuki – The first fleet girl that befriends Fubuki and is often cheerful.  She is a member of the Third Torpedo Squadron.
  • Yudachi – A destroyer of the Third Torpedo Squadron who is laid back and often says “poi” all the time.
  • Kisaragi – A destroyer who is assigned to the Fourth Torpedo Squadron and is mature, more than her oldest sister Mutsuki.
  • Yayoi/Mochizuki – Two destroyers.  Yayoi lacks emotion, while Mochizuki is often sleepy.
  • Akagi – An aircraft carrier belong to the First carrier Division. She fires arrows with her bow which turns into aircrafts piloted by fairies.
  • Kaga – An Aircraft carrier of the First Carrier Division who frequently accompanies Akagi.  She does not like Shokaku and Zuikaku of the Fifth Carrier Division and refuses to follow Zuikaku’s orders.
  • Shimakaze – A Destroyer who claims to be the fastest in the Southwest Area Fleet.  Hyperactive personality.
  • Yamato – The most powerful naval vessel and her existence is kept as secret.

VIDEO:

“KanColle Kantai Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Animation is very good, detailed and vibrant.  A lot went into the mechanical design and does a great job of enhancing one’s appreciation of the game, because of how the characters and battles are portrayed.  A slightly soft anime series that one can expect from a TV series but a colorful anime series that compliments the video games. Diomedea did a wonderful job with animation and artistic backgrounds.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“KanColle Kantai Collection” is presented in Japanese and English 5.1. Dialogue and musical score is crystal clear and the voice acting is well-done. Great use of the surround channels for action sequences, may it be explosions or blasts, the lossless soundtrack for this anime series is very good.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“KanColle Kantai Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • Promo Videos
  • Commercial Collection
  • Japanese Warnings
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs

EXTRAS:

“KanColle Kantai Collection” comes with the Blu-ray and DVD versions of the anime series.


Back in 2015, I was in Japan to cover Tokyo’s largest anime event, Anime Japan.  And my first introduction to “KanColle” was at Animate in Akihabara.  And sure enough, returning back to the US, I would often see “KanColle” cosplayers.

While English information was a bit sparse at the time, I would eventually discover “KanColle” when I was back in Japan in 2016 and purchased the PlayStation Vita video game and was captivated by the fact that unlike Japanese video games which often featured girls in tanks battling it out, this time around, you have female characters as part of the Navy.

They are essentially the naval ships – Destroyers, Carriers, Heavy and Light Cruisers, you name it and you travel the seas taking on enemies and building your team and characters.

So, when I found out there was an anime series, I was hoping it would come out in the US and now it’s available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

While the video game focuses on the aspect of war and going into battle, the storyline of these characters are focused on in the “KanColle Kantai Collection” anime series.

Revolving around the popular character/Destroyer named Fubuki, we see how this girl who doesn’t look like she can fight, often clumsy and is always scared, would eventually train hard to become a better fighter, a better teammate but also inspired to one day fight alongside the person who inspired her, aircraft carrier Akagi.

There are a ton of characters in the game and there are a ton of characters in the series, but fortunately, the series focuses on Fubuki and her friends from the Third Torpedo Squadron.  We see how these girls train to fight and become better, but we also see how unsafe the waters are and how powerful the enemy is and you’ll see characters perishing during battle.

Needless to say, the anime series compliments the games very well.  Animation is vibrant, well-shaded and detailed, especially the background artwork.  The Japanese and English soundtrack are well done, but it’s interesting because for the Japanese soundtrack, unlike the English dub which casts a different person per role, in the Japanese version, a voice actress may have to do the dubwork for multiple people.  But both soundtracks are well-acted.

As for special features, you get a few of Japanese promotional videos, commercials and warnings.  But there are no major special features like audio commentary or significant featurettes.

Overall, “KanColle Kantai Collection” is an action anime series inspired by the popular browser-based and PS Vita video game. It’s a series that caught Japan by storm in 2015 and now the anime series is available on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S.  A great compliment to the video games, if you are intrigued about war at sea and cute anime characters, “KanColle Kantai Collection” is a series I recommend!

Maria the Virgin Witch (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Maria the Virgin Witch” is an entertaining anime series that manages to balance action, comedy and drama with efficacy. It’s a short anime series but nevertheless, a damn good one. “Maria the Virgin Witch” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © Masayuki Ishikawa – KODANSHA. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Maria the Virgin Witch

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: Episode 1-12 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese 2.0 and 5.1 TrueHD, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: September 27, 2016


Originally created by Masayuki Ishikawa

Director: Goro Taniguchi

Series Composition by Hideyuki Kurata

Script by Hideyuki Kurata

Music by Masato Koda

Character Design by Yuriko Chiba

Art Director:  Shigemi Ikeda

Anime Production: Production I.G.


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hisako Kanemoto/Alexis Tipton as Maria

Ai Kakuma/Lara Woodhull as Anne

Bin Shimada/Barry Yandell as Guillaume

Kana Hanazawa/Leah Clark as Ezekiel

Kensho Ono/Austin Tindle as Joseph

Kenta Miyake/Jeremy Inman as Yvain

Kikuko Inoue/Caitlin Glass as Michael

Mamiko Noto/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Viv

Mikako Komatsu/Jerry Jewell as Priapos

Miyuki Ichijou/Linda Leonard as Martha

Natsuki Hanae/Joel McDonald as Gilbert

Sachiko Kojima/Alex Moore as Lolotte

Takahiro Sakurai/Sonny Strait as Bernard

Yōko Hikasa/Whitney Rodgers as Artemis


Don’t miss this intriguing tale of magic, war, and sexual politics from Production I.G., the studio that brought you Eden of the East, FLCL, and Ghost in the Shell! In the time of the Hundred Years’ War, a young and powerful witch known as Maria leads a reclusive existence. Shunned by the church – but beloved by a few locals – Maria endeavors to use her magic to bring an end to the warfare she so despises. Using her magical ability, she aids humanity alongside her two familiars: a seductive succubus and an incubus who’s a little incomplete. Though she seeks only peace, the archangel Michael despises the way she uses magic to interfere with human affairs and decrees that should she ever manage to lose her virginity, her powers will vanish! To ensure that Maria no longer mixes magic with warfare, Michael sends the angel Ezekiel to keep a watchful eye on the virgin witch. In theory, his plan is sound. But keeping a fiery young woman bound by the rules of a higher power might prove too daunting even for an ever-vigilant angel.


In 2008, Masayuki Ishikawa (creator of the manga series “Moyashimon”) created the manga series “Junketsu no Maria” (which translates to “Maria the Virgin”).

With three volumes created, an anime adaptation was created by Production I.G. from January through March 2015.

The series is directed by Goro Taniguchi (“Active Raid”, “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”, “Infinite Ryvius”), screenplay by Hideyuki Kurata (“Android Ana Maico 2010”, “Bamboo Blade”, “Dragon Crisis!”, “Kamichu!”), music by Masato Koda (“Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen”, “Arpeggio of Blue Steel”), character designs by Yuriko Chiba (“Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”, “Brave Story”, “Berserk”) and art direction by Shigemi Ikeda (“Black Cat”, “Basilisk”, “Bastard!!”, “Afro Samurai”).

And now the anime series has been released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation.

The anime series is set in France during the Hundred Years’ War between the House of Plantagenet (rulers of the Kingdom of England) against the House of Valois (rulers of the Kingdom of France).

Tired of the warring nations and deaths, Maria, a virgin witch uses her succubus and incubus familiars to manipulate the opposing factions and using large-scale illusions in order to help the people and maintain peace.

While witches are seen as heretics, because of Maria’s ideal of helping people, she becomes to be appreciated (and depended on) by villagers but the Church brands her as heretic because she denounces God.

While Maria questions when she will lose her virginity, thanks to the people around her that keeps wondering if she will ever lose it, Maria starts to wonder if she will ever lose her virginity.

Meanwhile, the Archangel Michael has heard of what Maria has done and is upset that she interfered with human affairs and makes the declaration that if she loses her virginity, she will lose her magical powers.  He also forbids her from using any magic and sends an angel named Ezekiel to watch over her.

But when more fighting begins to happen again, Maria wants to interfere to stop the fighting.  But will she?  Or will she try to keep to herself?

The main characters of “Maria the Virgin Witch” are”

  • Maria – A very powerful witch who doesn’t like to see people fighting and killing each other.  So, she interferes to the chagrin of the Church and Archangel Michael.
  • Artemis – Maria’s succubus familiar who often teases Maria for her virginity.
  • Priapus – Maria’s incubus familiar who lacks a penis because Maria doesn’t know what it looks like.
  • Ezekiel – An angel sent by Archangel Michael to watch over Maria and that she doesn’t uses her power.  She begins to sympathize with Maria.
  • Joseph – Serves under Guillaume and is in love with Maria.  He is a virgin and is always there for her.
  • Garfa – A mercenary of the French army who is upset with Maria and wants revenge for her interference (and for losing an arm).

VIDEO:

“Maria the Virgin Witch” is presented in 1080p High Definition. While I haven’t read the manga to know if the character designs are inspired from the manga, I will say that compared to other Production I.G. series, the character designs are much simpler in terms of line art but the background art is well-detailed.  Colors are vibrant but like most TV series, there is a slight softness.  But for the most part, animation is well-done and Production I.G. did a great job animating this series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Maria the Virgin Witch” is presented in Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. Dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels and I heard no distortion while watching this anime series. The voice acting is fantastic for both Japanese and English soundtracks. Of course, with the English 5.1 soundtrack having better use of more audio channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Maria the Virgin” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Commentary – Audio Commentary featuring director Sonny Strait (voice of Bernard), voice actress Alexis Tipton (voice of Maria) and Austin Tindle (voice of Joseph).
  • Episode 12 Commentary – Audio commentary featuring director Sonny Strait (voice of Bernard), voice actor Chris Rager (voice of Galfa) and Leah Clark (voice of Ezekiel).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • US Trailer
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Maria the Virgin Witch” comes with a slipcover and both the Blu-ray + DVD discs for the series.


I have to admit that I was surprised that Masayuki Ishikawa’s “Junketsu no Maria” would receive an anime adaptation, because only three volumes of the manga series have been created.

But considering that popularity of the manga series, the chapters created are enough for a full season and the response for the anime series has been quite positive.

For one, it’s a unique storyline that takes place during the Hundred Years’ War and involves a powerful witch who is good and wants peace, a powerful archangel and the Church and its belief that all witches are heretics and for the most part, how religious beliefs can cause issues between those who support Maria, but at the same time, do not want to risk their status or their family status by supporting a witch.

Throw in other characters and of course, comedy that teases Maria of her virginity and what you get is a action-packed comedy at first, but then the series suddenly becomes more serious and dramatic when Maria loses her powers and the Church captures her and wants to imprison her as a heretic.

For the most part, while I don’t know the differences between the manga and the anime, I will say that “Maria the Virgin Witch” manages to have an ending that is quite fitting.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is colorful and dialogue and music are crystal clear.  Voice acting is magnificent and for special features, you get two audio commentaries, textless opening and endings and trailers.  Just make sure you listen to the first audio commentary because it’s one of the more wilder (and enjoyable) audio commentaries I have heard in my life… poor Alexis Tipton.

Overall, “Maria the Virgin Witch” is an entertaining anime series that manages to balance action, comedy and drama with efficacy.  It’s a short anime series but nevertheless, a damn good one.

“Maria the Virgin Witch” is recommended!

 

Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash! (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

senran

 “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” will appeal to fans of the video game series and those who enjoy action-driven anime series with a lot of fan service. It’s not one of the more deeper anime series in this genre but it is entertaining thanks to its diverse characters and their special abilities.  If you are interested in a ninja story with well-endowed female fighters that can kick butt, then “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is for you!

Image courtesy of © 2014 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!

DURATION: 12 Episodes (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese and English DolbyTrue HD 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: Suggested 17+

Release Date: July 29, 2014

Originally Created by Kenichiro Takaki

Original Story by Yukinori Kitajima

Director: Takashi Watanabe

Series Composition: Takao Yoshioka

Music by Ruka Kawada

Character Design: Takashi Torii

Art Director: Shinji Kawaai

Art Director: Shigeto Koyama, Yuji Kaneko

Anime Production: Artland

Featuring the following voice talent:

Asami Imai/Alexis Tipton as Ikaruga

Hitomi Harada/Felecia Angelle as Asuka

Kaori Mizuhashi/Bryn Apprill as Yagyuu

Yu Kobayashi/Brittney Karbowski as Katsuragi

Yuka Iguchi/Megan Shipman as Hibari

Ai Kayano/Trina Nishimura as Yomi

Eri Kitamura/Monica Rial as Homura

Juurouta Kosugi/Phil Parsons as Dougen

Kanehira Yamamoto/Bill Brooks as Hanzo

Keiji Fujiwara/Phillip Weber as Kiriya

Megumi Toguchi/Teri Rogers as Haruka

Ryoko Shiraishi/Kara Edwards as Hikage

Saori Goto/Lara Woodhull as Mirai

Suzuko Mimori/Lydia Mackay as Suzune

Asuka and her friends may look like any other girls at Hanzo Academy, but they’re secretly studying the ancient art of Ninjutsu! While other students do their homework, Asuka and the gang push their beautiful bodies to the breaking point in pursuit of their perfect form. Life is one sexy sparring session after another until a deviously demented rival clan of evil ninjas ambushes the Hanzo hotties – and steals their sacred ninja scroll.

Faced with their toughest – and most well-rounded – enemies ever, Asuka and her fellow deadly divas will have to go further than they’ve ever gone before to prove they’ve mastered the art of full frontal combat!

Back in 2011, the action 3DS video game “Senran Kagura: Shojo-tachi no Shinei” was created.

The video game would lead to “Senran Kagura Burst” for the Nintendo 3DS and for the PS Vita, a 3D fighting game titled “Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus: Shojo-tachi no Shomei” was created and followed by an iOS and Android game titled “Senran Kagura NewWave”.

The video game series has received a lot of attention due to its well-endowed female characters and the popularity of the series would lead to several manga adaptations and an anime adaptation titled “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” courtesy of Artland in Jan. through March 2013.

And now, the TV series will be released on Blu-ray +DVD courtesy of FUNimation.

“Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” introduces us to a group of female shinobi who are secretly trained in the art of ninjitsu.  But these shinobi must keep their skills a secret to the world and attend Hanzo Academy and were created by the Japanese government to counter other ninjas hired by corporations and politicians.

These ninjas from Hanzo Academy include the following characters:

  • Asuka – The protagonist who has problems passing her examination exam.  She wants to be like her grandfather and become a great ninja.
  • Ikaruga – A mature, third year student who is serious about becoming a ninja.
  • Katsuragi – The blonde member of the group who is very perverted and can’t help herself grabbing onto Asuka’s breasts.  Katsuragi wants to be the strongest ninja and is trying to re-establish her family’s lost honor.
  • Yagyu – The ninja prodigy who cares for Hibari.  Known for wearing an eyepatch, she cares for Hibari because of a tragedy from her past.
  • Hibari – A first year student of the group who is childish and clumsy.
  • Kiriya-Sensei – The teacher of the shinobi students.
  • Hanzo – Asuka’s grandfather and the founder of the academy and honored as a great ninja.  But he chose to create his own sushi restaurant.

VIDEO:

“Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is a series that compliments the video games with its CG character designs.  While characters are well-shaded and backgrounds that are primarily Japanese homes and CG.  The series may not be the greatest but it does give fans what they expect and that is many scenes of fan service.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is presented in Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  While the series is well-acted for both Japanese and English soundtracks, the lossless soundtrack is primarily front-channel driven.  Dialogue is crystal clear with the English soundtrack adding a more edgy feel to it with adult humor compared to its Japanese counterpart.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!″ comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 4 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Brittney Karbowski (voice of Katsuragi).
  • Episode 10 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Engineer Chris George and Megan Shipman (voice of Hibari).
  • Promotional Videos – (5:25) Japanese PV for “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!”.
  • Japanese Commercials
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation theatrical trailer for “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!”.

“Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is a series that pays tribute to those familiar with the Nintendo 3DS and Sony Vita video games.

And part of the appeal to the video game series is because the characters are well-endowed fighters and the constant scenes of fan service.

From panty shots, partial clothing and adult situations, the series is no less an extension of the video game series and focuses on the primary members of Hanzo Academy being trained in the ninja arts but encountering other rival ninjas and using their own personal skills and becoming a team.

While the first half of the series features the group encountering dark shinobi or the girls taking part in training, the second half establishes the rival group of Hanzou Academy and that is the members of Homura Gurentai (a.k.a. the Serpent Squad).

By episode 10, we start to learn about the rival school from the Serpent Squad which consists of Homura, Yomi, Hikage, Mirai, Haruka and Suzune and why these girls chose to become dark shinobi and how their is a connection between the Serpent Squad leader and Kiriya-sensei.

For the most part, the animation for “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is nicely done.  The battles are pretty extreme, while backgrounds are nicely detailed and well-painted for a TV series and Artland did a good job in bringing these characters from the video game to the anime series.

But while the storyline of the series is quite simplistic and for the most part enjoyable if you are into fan service/action-driven anime series, compared to similar series with a lot of fan service and action such as “Ikkitousen” or even “Sekirei”, “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is a bit tame.  Sure, you have your fair share of well-endowed characters with glistening boobs and your usual scenes of booby grabbing and panty shots, but it’s the video game tie-in that made me interested in this anime series.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good and well-shaded.  Colors are vibrant and backgrounds are well-painted.  But it’s important to note that this is a television series, so there is a hint of softness.    As for audio, the series features a Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Japanese and English soundtrack, with the English adaptation having a slight edge because of its more Western dialogue and the writers giving the characters a slight edge especially with characters such as Katsuragi.

And as for special features, you get two audio commentaries, promotional video, Japanese commercial and textless opening and ending themes.

Overall, “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” will appeal to fans of the video game series and those who enjoy action-driven anime series with a lot of fan service.

It’s not one of the more deeper anime series in this genre but it is entertaining thanks to its diverse characters and their special abilities.

If you are interested in a ninja story with well-endowed female fighters that can kick butt, then “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is for you!

Haganai: I don’t have many friends (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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For those wanting a harem anime series that is not overly perverted but is fun and crazy, we’ll enjoy the adventures of the characters in “Haganai: I don’t have many friends” in their quest of learning how to make friends.  An entertaining first season and I can’t wait for season two!

Images courtesy of © 2013 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Haganai: I don’t have many friends

YEAR OF FILM: 2011

DURATION: 13 Episodes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 16×9 HD Native, Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 5.1, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV M

COMPANY: FUNimation

RELEASE DATE: August 13, 2013

Originally Created by Yomi Hirasaka

Original Character Design: Buriki

Directed by Hisashi Saito

Screenplay by Tatsuhiko Urahata

Music by Tom-H@ck

Character Design by Yoshihiro Watanabe

Art Direction by Yuka Hirama

Anime Production by AIC Build

Featuring the voices of:

Kanae Itō/Jad Saxton as Sena Kashiwazaki

Marina Inoue/Whitney Rodgers as Yozora Mikazuki

Ryohei Kimura/Jerry Jewell as Kodaka Hasegawa

Kana Hanazawa/Alison Viktorin as Kobato Hasegawa

Misato Fukuen/Alexis Tipton as Rika Shiguma

Nozomi Yamamoto/Ashleigh Domangue as Yukimura Kusunoki

Yuka Iguchi/Kristi Yang as Maria Takayama

Yozora’s an abrasive loudmouth whose only friend at school is imaginary. She knows she’s difficult – which makes her better off than Kodoka, a new transfer student who picked up an undeserved bad reputation the second he stepped on campus. Inspired by their shared status as social catastrophes, the two loners unite and start the Neighbors Club, an organization dedicated to finding other misfits and making friends.

In no time, a third member joins their ranks: Sena, a pretty, popular rich girl who annoys Yozora to no end. With Kodoka in the middle of the chaos, the brash brunette and the blonde boy-magnet go ’round and ’round, even as the Neighbors Club begins to grow. Hopefully, the girls can get past their rivalry, because sometimes the friendship you’re looking for is right in front of you, and sometimes the best friends are the friends you never even wanted.

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From light novel author Yomi Hirasaka comes a mature comedy series titled “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai” (I Don’t Have Many Friends), in shortened form titled “Haganai”.

Originally illustrated by Buriki and published by Media Factory in 2009, the light novel story would receive several manga adaptations written by Itachi and another by Misaki Harukawa and Shuichi Taguchi.

In 2011, a 12-episode anime series was adapted by AIC Build and in Japan. The series is directed by Hisashi Saito (“Fantasista Doll”, “Heaven’s Lost Property”), a screenplay by Tatsuhiko Urahata (“Aria – The Natural”, “Ichigo 100%”, “Monster”, “Nana”, etc.), music by Tom-H@ck (“K-ON!”, “Katekyo Hitman Reborn!”), character designs by Yoshihiro Watanabe (“Bamboo Blade”, “Heaven’s Lost Property”) and background art by Yuka Hirama (“Gurren Lagann”, “The Big O”, “Boogiepop Phantom”, “Gad Guard”).

An OVA was released in Sept. 2012 and a second season titled “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT” recently aired between January through March 2013.

With a live action film in the works, FUNimation will be releasing the first season of “Haganai” on Blu-ray/DVD in August 2013.

“Haganai” is a series that revolves around Kodaka Hasegawa, a student who just transferred to St. Chronica Academy, a private Catholic school.  But because of his natural blonde/brown hair and his serious looking eyes, the students think he must be some sort of  thug and during his first time in class, he trips and nearly falls on the teacher, which rumors immediately begin in class that Kodaka must be some kind of deviant.  So, the students avoid him like the plague.

One day, he watches a teenage girl named Yozora Mikazuki talking to herself.  He wonders if she is talking to a ghost and approaches her about it.  Yozora, who has a cold attitude tells him that she is talking to her imaginary friend named “Tomo” which Kodaka thinks is weird.  And as the two talk, they discuss how they have no friends in school.

So, in order to change things for them, Yozora starts a new club in school titled the “Neighbor’s Club” for people with no friends but also find ways to get friends.  Immediately, the club starts to bring in others who have no friends and together, each try to experiment in various activities that teenagers are taking part in and see if it can benefit each member in making new friends.

From playing the latest cool multi-player video game, going to the beach, going to the public pool, going to karaoke or a cultural festival, from these new experiences, what will they learn?

But as each club member begin hanging out each other trying to learn how to make new friends, they are totally oblivious that each have made friends with each other and may not need to make friends outside of their circle.

But also, the longer they stay together, the more each tends to have some sort of attraction or bond with Kodaka.

The Neighbors Club consist of the following members:

Kodaka Hasegawa – The main protagonist who is naive about social activities but he is good-natured.  He has been watching over his young sister Kobato since his mother passed away and his father is working in the U.S. as an archaelogist.  Because the family has moved so many times, he has not had many friends but one person from his childhood named Sora.  Kodaka treats everyone with kindness.

Yozora Mikazuki – Very brash and can be very mean or manipulative to others.  She can be physically and emotionally abusive towards others and has a rivalry with Sena Kashiwazaki, who she keeps calling her “Meat”.  She is the founder of the Neighbors Club.

Sena Kashiwazaki – Known for her blonde hair and large breasts, Sena is the daughter of the school’s headteacher and because she is attractive and successful in academics, she can be a bit arrogant.  She sees the male students as servants and she is obsessed with video games, especially dating games and those with adult content.  She and Yozora have a rivalry, but despite each trying to have the upperhand against each other, they try to get along for the sake of the club.

Kobato Hasegawa – Kodaka’s younger sister who is a junior high student at St. Chronica’s Academy.  She has a brother complex and always wanting attention from her brother.  She is addicted to an anime series known as “Fullmetal Necromancer” and wears a red contact lens in one eye and often calling herself a vampire that drinks blood (tomato juice).  She is rivals with Maria, because Maria calls Kodaka her brother.

Yukimura Kusunoki – A male student that has been stalking Kodaka.  A guy with low self-esteem but also one who wears female clothes and acts like a female.  She has been stalking Kodaka to learn how to be more manly, but somehow Yozora tends to make her wear female clothing. Often wearing a maid outfit and cooking food for Kodaka.

Rika Shiguma – The mad scientist at the Academy who is addicted to stories about sex.  When Kodaka saves her after she falls from a bad lab experiment, she wants to repay Kodaka with sexual favors and joins the Neighbor’s Club to get closer to him.  While a genius, she is very unusual but also a big fan of fujoshi (boys love) and mecha intercourse.

Maria Takayama – The supervising teacher of the Neighbors Club.   A ten-year-old nun and a child genius who can’t stand Kodaka’s younger sister, Kobato. She looks up to Kodaka as her older brother.

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VIDEO:

“Hagenai: I don’t have many friends” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  Colors are vibrant, very good shading when it comes to the characters, art backgrounds are well-done and the good thing is because each character are often visiting different locations, there are no repetitive backgrounds featuring clouds, trees, and roofs but actually seeing various locations that the characters visit.

I didn’t notice any major banding issues or artifacts during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO:

“Hagenai: I don’t have many friends”  is presented in English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0.   This type of series is primarily dialogue driven.  But dialogue and music are crystal clear.  I didn’t notice an abundant use of surround channel use, but you do hear it during the more action-driven scenes (during their fantasy video game gaming scenes).

The English dub is very well done, definitely good Americanized translation for the series in terms of character interaction (especially the bickering between Yoshizora and Sena).  But the English dub is well-acted and the Japanese soundtrack is also well done.  But in terms of comparison, the English dub is much better because of its DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack and features a better dynamic range.  But both soundtracks are well-done!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Haganai: I don’t have many friends” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 2 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Jerry Jewell (Kodaka), Jad Saxton (Sena) and Whitney Rogers (Yoshizora).
  • Episode 8 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Zach Bolton (ADR Direct), Alison Viktorin (voice of Koboto) and Kristi Yang (voice of Maria).
  • Blu-ray and DVD Spots – (3:40)  The Japanese Media Factory Blu-ray and DVD TV spots.
  • Original Commercials – (:50) The original Japanese commercials for “Haganai”.
  • Promotional Videos – (2:36) The promotional videos for “Haganai”.
  • TV Spots  – (:49) Japanese TV spots for “Haganai”.
  • Textless Opening Song: Zennenkei Rinjinbu
  • Textless Closing Song: Watashi no Ki-Mo-Chi
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:35) The FUNimation trailer for “Haganai: I don’t have many friends”.

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“Haganai: I don’t have any friends” has the elements of an anime series that resembles the usual harem anime series.

Typically with a harem anime series, it’s a story about one guy as the protagonist and a lot of female characters that are attracted to the male character.  And quite frequently, the type of harem anime series that we see here in the United States are mature series that involve sexual humor.

But before anyone thinks this is an anime series with the overplayed, banal cliche storyline, “Haganai: I don’t have any friends” is different for the fact is that the male protagonist, Kodaka Hasegawa, is not a pervert, he’s like a big brother or good friend that cares about people.  But most importantly, this is not a storyline that deals with sci-fi elements, this is not a series in which fan service is the primary factor of watching the series.

It’s the fascinating storyline of a group of people who become members of a club because they can’t find any friends.  They are without any social experiences that they try to integrate themselves of what people are doing today and see if they can find friends that way or learn the way to become more social that they can attract new friends, not really knowing that within their club, by hanging out together often…they have become good friends.

But because of the mature rating of this anime series, does it fall within the category of other FUNimation perverted harem anime series such as “Sekirei” or “Heaven’s Lost Property”?

The series does feature a character, Sena Kashiwazaki, who happens to be well-endowed and yes, always in scenes where her chest is often bouncing or somehow her boobs become a revolving joke because she is often despised by Yozora Mikazuki, the founder of the club, that each member belongs to.

But where “Sekirei” or even “Heaven’s Lost Property” features multiple women in scantily clad outfits with huge breasts, “Haganai” only features one character, which is Sena, often featured in those situations.

The adult situations are more about the humor within its other wacky characters such as Rika Shiguma, a mad scientist who is addicted to boys love anime/manga and just wants to see Kodaka engage in certain acts that will turn her on.  The other is Yukimura Kusunoki who is a boy but yet looks like a girl and acts like a girl and is often dressed in female’s clothes.  Because he tries to hid his chest like a girl when changing into a swimsuit, because of his feminine ways, it’s too much for Kodaka to even look at him.

But then you have two other members who are younger.  Kobato is Kodaka’s younger sister who has a brother complex (ie. has a crush on her brother) and Maria who is a child genius and she looks at Kodaka like a brother.  But these two are often squalling as Maria is in her nun outfit and Kobato is always in vampire mode and both are often at each other’s throats.

So, in terms of a harem anime series, it’s not so perverted in the sense of other anime series but there is adult humor and a few times where there is nudity featured.  But compared to other anime series where fan service is continually used in every episode, “Haganai: I don’t have many friends” focuses on its characters really trying to learn how to make friends.  Trying to take on varies fads and hobbies that friends take part in, may it be video games, karaoke, going to the beach, going to the public pool, etc.

To see how socially awkward each of them are as they try to experiment with various social activities.  For the video games, we often see the characters in their fantasy form and having fun but its so fun and hilarious because most often, they fail in trying to learn why these things are popular, but not knowing that doing these activities as a team, actually brings them closer together as friends.  In other words, they are trying so hard to make friends that they don’t realize that each of them have become friends with each other.

As for the Blu-ray release, colors are vibrant, very good shading when it comes to the characters, art backgrounds are well-done and the good thing is because each character are often visiting different locations, there are no repetitive backgrounds featuring clouds, trees, and roofs but actually seeing various locations that the characters visit.  But the series does look good on Blu-ray and as for audio, this type of series is primarily dialogue driven.  But dialogue and music are crystal clear.  I didn’t notice an abundant use of surround channel use, but you do hear it during the more action-driven scenes.

Both voice acting on the Japanese and English soundtrack are well-done and there are a good number of special features included with this first season of “Haganai: I don’t have many friends”.

Overall, for those wanting a harem anime series that is not overly perverted but is fun and crazy, we’ll enjoy the adventures of the characters in “Haganai: I don’t have many friends” in their quest of learning how to make friends.  An entertaining first season and I can’t wait for season two!

 

Blood-C: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“Blood-C” is an animated series that does continue the “Blood” series by name, features a wonderful collaboration between Production I.G. and CLAMP and as expected, the animation and art backgrounds looks fantastic and is also well-acted for both the Japanese soundtrack and the English dub.   Unfortunately, I was disappointed with how “Blood-C” ended but I just hope that the reason why it ended the way it did, was to set things up for the animated film “Blood-C: The Last Dark”.

Images courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Blood-C: The Complete Series

YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2011

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: 14+

Release Date: January 22, 2013

Directed by Tsutomu Mizushima

Screenplay by Juni’Ichi Fujisaku, Nanase Ohkawa

Music by Naoki Sato

Original Story by CLAMP

Original Character Design by CLAMP

Art Director: Hiromasa Ogura

Chief Animation Director: Takayuki Goto

Anime Production: Production I.G.

Featuring the voices of:

Keiji Fujiwara/Bill Jenkins as Tadayoshi Kisaragi

Kenji Nojima/Robert McCollum as Fumito Nanahara

Nana Mizuki/Alexis Tipton as Saya Kisaragi

Atsushi Abe/Chris Burnett as Itsuki Tomofusa

Jun Fukuyama/Todd Haberkorn as Dog

Masumi Asano/Martha Harms as Yūka Amino

Miho Miyagawa/Lydia Mackay as Kanako Tsutsutori

Misato Fukuen/Lindsay Seidel as Nene Motoe/Nono Motoe

Tatsuhisa Suzuki/Scott Freman as Shinichirō Tokizane

Horrifying beasts with a hunger for human flesh prey on the citizens of a quiet town. In moonlit twilight, Saya slays the monsters and returns home drenched in blood. As the attacks increase in frequency and intensity, her enemies relay cryptic messages about a broken contract. Limbs are torn from flesh and skulls are crushed and devoured while the huntress struggles with paralyzing visions and gaping holes in her memory.

When the humans Saya promised to protect reveal the sickening truth about her role in the violence, she learns her mission isn’t as clear cut as she thought – and her most sadistic foe of all is so close she can taste it.

Back in 2000, the animated film “Blood: The Last Vampire” was released in theaters and released in the United States.

The animated film set in 1966 was focused on a vampire named Saya who hunts down bat-like creatures known as chiropterans.  The animated film would eventually lead to a manga series “Blood: The Last Vampire 2000” and three Japanese light novels plus a video game.

In 2005, a 50-episode anime series titled “Blood+”, an alternate timeline would be featured and would focus on an amnesiac named Saya Otanashi who lives the life of an ordinary school girl.  Until she is attacked by a Chiropteran and finds out that she somehow can fight against them and is the only one that can defeat them.  This leads to a storyline with Saya, her family and friends trying to rid the world of the Chiropteran and her starting to remember her history.

In 2011, a new anime and manga series was created by this time by the famous manga creators, CLAMP.  The anime series was 12-episodes long while an animated film titled “Blood-C: The Last Dark” was released in the summer of 2012.

In “Blood-C”, the series focuses on Saya Kisaragi, a normal, clumsy schoolgirl who lives with her father, Tadayoshi, a priest in the local shrine.  She trains as a miko (a priestess) and has a secret life of learning a sacred sword and the “art of the sword” to slay Furukimono (monsters).

It is learned that Saya is following the path that her mother had done before she died.  But as time goes on, she is unsure about herself, her duties of fighting the monsters and her true self.

Meanwhile, more monster incidents are happening in town and people including friends are disappearing or are attacked and killed.  And the guilt of not being able to protect them begins to make Saya question her role even more.

VIDEO:

“Blood-C” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  With Production I.G. responsible for the production, I expected the series to look fantastic and for the most part, the animation does not disappoint.  Characters and monsters are incredibly well-shaded, art backgrounds have the Production I.G. quality of being amazingly detailed and for the most part, this series looks incredible.

But possibly the biggest surprise is that this is the first CLAMP anime series that doesn’t look like a CLAMP anime series.  Typically for CLAMP, characters proportions have long necks, long limbs and such, but for “Blood-C”, the characters look different.  If anything, the anime production is stylish, visually the series looks very cool and I like the character design of Saya.  She looks very innocent and pure but can easily transform to a killer.

AUDIO:

“Blood-C” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Because the English soundtrack gets the 5.1 treatment, there is better dynamic range with the English soundtrack, especially during the action sequences.  But both sound very good, dialogue is crisp and clear but the English dub does get the edge in terms of dynamic range due to its 5.1 soundtrack.  With that being said, for the English dub track, voice actress Alexis Tipton does a wonderful job playing the character Saya.  From playing a character with varying emotions, Tipton also gets to show off her singing voice as well.  Robert McCollum does an excellent job of playing Fumihito as well.

As for the Japanese soundtrack, you have one of Japan’s well-known voice actresses and anime theme song singers in Japan for the role of Saya.  Singer/voice actress Nana Mizuki (Fate Testarosa of “Magical Girl Lyrical Nanonha”, Hinata Hyuuga of “Naruto”, Victini of “Pokemon”) does an amazing job playing Saya and also singing the ending theme song for “Blood-C”.  Nana does a great job in capturing the various emotions of the character.  Also, Kenji Nojima does a great job playing Fumihito.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Blood-C: The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 6 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR director Jerry Jewell and Robert McCollum (voice of Fumihito).  Do not listen to the audio commentary before completing the series, as there are spoilers.
  • Episode 12 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR director Jerry Jewell and Alexis Tipton (voice of Saya).  Do not listen to the audio commentary before completing the series, as there are spoilers.
  • Original Commercials – (2:12) The Japanese TBS commercials for “Blood-C”.
  • Promotional Videos – (3:26) The Japanese promotional videos for “Blood-C”.
  • Textless Opening Songs for “Spiral” and “Junketsu Paradox”
  • Textless Closing Song for “Junketsu Paradox”
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:02) FUNimation trailer for “Blood-C: The Complete Series”.
  • Trailers – Featuring FUNimation trailers.

EXTRAS:

“Blood-C: The Complete Series” comes with the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.

The “Blood” series has always been popular for anime fans in the West.  A vampire storyline of a vampire who hunts down Chiropterans (bat-like creatures) and the Saya has always been a character where one can expect to kick some serious ass!

“Blood-C” felt like a series that you invest your time in and by the time you get to the final episode, you feel as if you have been punked!

While the animated film “Blood-C: The Last Dark” had received positive reviews, the television series was panned in Japan and I can see why.

First, I’m going to discuss the positive.  The positive of this series is the fact that Production I.G. has done a wonderful job when it comes to the animation and art backgrounds of this TV series.  Characters and even the chiroptherans are well-animated and shaded and the characters are nicely drawn.

Another positive is the voice acting.  In Japan, you have Nana Mizuki doing a stellar job on voice acting and also singing the ending theme for the series. I also felt the English dub was wonderful and it was great to hear Alexis Tipton in a role where she can really show off her voice talent.  From various emotional states to even singing, she did a fantastic job.

But while the animation, art and voice acting are well-done, the problem with “Blood-C” is its story.

I suppose part of the problem lies in the fact that if you have watched “Blood the Last Vampire”, watched “Blood+” and even watched the live-action film, you feel you know the series and how it was always about Saya taking on the chiropterans and you know that she is a character that is going to serve up a major ass kicking.

But somehow, it seemed as if the writers saved that for the animated film instead.

By episode 8, you find out that nearly every classmate by Saya was killed by a chiropteran and just when you think that you’re going to see the Saya (that we have seen in the previous incarnations of “Blood) in major kick-ass mode, we get a major reveal that you don’t expect and I must say, it really felt like a kick in the gut.

In fact, I’m not going to even get into it but I just felt that for something that was carrying a lot of potential by episode 8, it just went downhill from there.  I rarely get frustrated by watching an anime series, but this series left me frustrated.

Especially if you have been a fan of the “Blood” series, from “Blood+” to “Blood-C”, it was disappointing because I was expecting something big after episode 8 but instead, the story just went downhill.

As for the Blu-ray release, “Blood-C” looks fantastic on Blu-ray and the English lossless soundtrack has the edge because it’s in 5.1 and has better dynamic range. The Blu-ray also has two audio commentaries and the Japanese commercials and promotional video.

Overall, “Blood-C” is an animated series that does continue the “Blood” series by name, features a wonderful collaboration between Production I.G. and CLAMP and as expected, the animation and art backgrounds looks fantastic and is also well-acted for both the Japanese soundtrack and the English dub.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with how “Blood-C” ended but I just hope that the reason why it ended the way it did, was to set things up for the animated film “Blood-C: The Last Dark”.  If you want a “Blood” series that is exciting and entertaining, “Blood+” is much better.

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