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Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Entertaining and quite enjoyable, if you are a fan of Sailor Moon and friends, “Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2” is definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © Naoko Takeuchi / PNP / KODANSHA / TOEI ANIMATION. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2

DURATION: Episodes 15-26 (276 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: February 28, 2017


Originally Created by Naoko Takeuchi

Director: Chiaki Kon

Series Composition: Yuji Kobayashi

Character Design by Akira Takahashi

Music by Yasuharu Takanashi

Art Design by Takashi Kurahashi

Anime Production: Toei Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kotono Mitsuishi/Stephanie Sheh as Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon

Rina Satou/Cristina Vee as Rei Hino/Sailor Mars

Ami Koshimizu/Amanda C. Miller as Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter

Hisako Kanemoto/Kate Higgins as Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury

Shizuka Itou/Cherami Leigh as Minako Aino/Sailor Venus

Sayaka Ohara/Veronica Taylor as Michiru Kaiō/Sailor Neptune

Kenji Nojima/Robbie Daymond as Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Kamen

Misato Fukuen/Sandy Fox as Chibi-usa/Sailor Chibi Moon

Ryou Hirohashi/Michelle Ruff as Luna

Youhei Oobayashi/Johnny Yong Bosch as Artemis

Shoko Nakagawa/Debi Derryberry as Diana


The next set in the brand new anime series, Sailor Moon Crystal!

Usagi Tsukino is a little clumsy and a crybaby, but she’s also one spirited eighth grader. One day she meets Luna, a black cat with a crescent moon mark on her forehead, and transforms into the pretty guardian of love and justice in a sailor suit, Sailor Moon! As a chosen guardian of justice, Usagi apparently has a mission to protect a princess, and to find her fellow Guardians and the phantom Silver Crystal. Meanwhile, Queen Beryl of the Dark Kingdom sends her subordinates to the town where Usagi lives. They cause strange events to occur there, all in an effort to acquire the tremendously powerful Silver Crystal… Can Sailor Moon and the other Guardians successfully find the phantom crystal, and protect the princess…!?


Back in 1991, mangaka Naoko Takeuchi would create her shojo manga series “Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon”.

Serialized in “Nakayoshi” (from 1991-1997) with a total of 18 tankobon (graphic novel) versions published, the series would reach enormous popularity with over 35 million copies sold worldwide and the release of the anime series would further the popularity worldwide with 200 episodes created (1992-1997), three animated films, a live-action TV series, musicals, video games and more.

In 2014, Toei Animation did a reboot of the anime series titled “Sailor Moon Crystal” to celebrate the 20th Anniversary but instead of releasing the anime on television, the series was released online on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

The anime series would feature voice actress Kotono Mitsuichi reprising her role as Sailor Moon in Japan while in America, the series would feature an all new English cast.

There first arc titled “Dark Kingdom” was featured in episodes 1-14, while the second arc “Black Moon” is featured in episodes 15-26.  A third season “Death Busters” aired in Japan on April 2016 and a sequel/fourth season was announced in January 2017.

And now the second arc (“Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2”) will be released on Blu-ray/DVD as a normal and a limited edition courtesy of Viz Media.

In the second arc, while Usagi and Mamoru are alone, a pink-haired girl falls from the sky.  She immediately points a gun towards Usagi and demands that Usagi give her the Legendary Silver crystal.

As Mamoru goes to the pink-haired girl, he finds out it is a fake gun and because her name is also Usagi, she is called “Chibi-usa”.  When they take Chibi-usa back to Usagi’s home, she immediately hypnotizes Usagi’s parents and they allow her to stay with them.

As for the others, Rei and Minako are looking into incidents of people being abducted and spontaneously combusting.

Meanwhile, the Black Moon Clan is after the Legendary Silver Crystal and with the Spectre Sisters, Rubeus and Prince Demande after the Crystal, they start to go after each of the Sailor Senshi’s and try to kidnap them in order to lure Sailor Moon.

But who can Usagi and Mamoru turn to for help?  Perhaps King Endymion and Neo Queen Serenity?


VIDEO:

“Sailor Moon Crystal” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the animation from Toei Animation is vibrant and colorful.

While the first series of “Sailor Moon Crystal” received a lot of flack with its earlier animation (which had to be redone for the Blu-ray and DVD release), this second series features much better character design and animation, as well as background art.  Better shadowing and for the most part, the series looks much better!

Picture quality is great and I didn’t notice any major artifacts or banding issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sailor Moon Crystal” is presented in Japanese and English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. Both soundtracks are done quite well and dialogue and music are both crystal clear through the front channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2” comes with the following special features:

  • Interview with the band Momoiro Clover Z Part 2 – (9:58) Featuring footage from Momoiro Clover Z’s appearance at Anime Expo and an interview with the group about their feelings of “Sailor Moon Crystal” and the characters.
  • Art Gallery
  • Clean Opening
  • Clean Ending

As a person who watched the anime series as it was airing in Japan and also reviewing it when the DVD’s were first released in the United States, “Sailor Moon Crystal” is no doubt an entertaining, action-packed, dramatic reboot without the filler episodes.

Back in the ’90s and even with today’s popular anime adaptation of successful manga, filler episodes are important to not just to allow for a mangaka to continue their work on a manga series and further the story, so the manga doesn’t catch up too quickly.

The caveat, as some have seen for series such as “Dragon Ball Z”, “Bleach”, “Naruto” and even “One Piece”, filler episodes can drag on for a long time.  But for companies banking on the successful anime to produce merchandise for years, filler episodes have become part of anime culture.

The same was the case with the original “Sailor Moon” series, as much was focused on to give various members their own identity through many character building episodes, establishing friendships, quarrels and such, and adding so many episodes that in the process, not only was there a ton of merchandising but the character was popular enough to get fans or parents to purchase the merchandise for their daughters.

In America, fans were purchasing soundtracks and video games for the 3DO and the original PSX back in the ’90s and every year since Sailor Moon appeared in Japan, conventions have always had someone sporting an outfit from the series.  It was a popular series and eventually, “Sailor Moon” was released in America.  So popular that even American band Barenaked Ladies featured the mention of “Sailor Moon” in their 1998 hit song “One Week”.

So, “Sailor Moon Crystal” as an ONA (Original Net Animation) versus being shown on television would seem like a big surprise but there was no doubt that Toei Animation was already banking on the series popularity that people would turn into the series online and for the most part, their gamble paid off as people were watching, people responded (especially about the animation in the first arc) and while opinion was mixed, “Sailor Moon” merchandise not just for children but also for adults have become popular in Japan.

But with “Sailor Moon Crystal”, no filler, it’s a series straight-up trying to complete various arcs within 12-14 episodes.  No long seasons and as I grow less patient with anime filler episodes, so thrilled that “Sailor Moon Crystal” arcs manages to achieve completion quickly and not test my or others who are low on patience.

And here we are with the “Black Moon Arc”, the second series featuring episodes 15-26.  Now featuring better character designs and animation, the storyline now introduces Chibi-Usa, as well as an appearance of Sailor Pluto.

While there are not too much of an emphasis on the other Sailor Senshi, there are a few episodes where we get to see each character put up a fight against the servants of Black Moon.

This latest arc primarily focuses on Chibi-Usa and the connection she has with Usagi and Mamoru and how she entered the present-time and left the future and what had happen to everyone, but also the origins of the Black Moon.

There is no doubt an emphasis on emotional drama especially between Usagi and Mamoru but also the two and their relationship with Chibi-Usa but this latest features a focus on the emotional ties that bond these three forever.

As for the Blu-ray release, animation is no doubt better with better shading and detail, while colors are vibrant and the series looks great in HD, part of the benefit with watching this series on Blu-ray is to find out how wonderful the acting is for both the Japanese and English dub.

It was awesome to have Kotono Mitsuishi return to voice Usagi/Sailor Moon for the Japanese dialogue and the Japanese voice acting by everyone else is great.  But with the English dub, I just felt that Stephanie Sheh did an amazing job as Usagi.  Both voice actresses were able to nail the emotional scenes with efficacy and also big kudos to Sandy Fox as Chibi-Usa.

Also on the Blu-ray release, the included interview with Momoiro Clover Z was also fantastic and it was great to see them discuss Sailor Moon and their opinion of the characters and hearing about their favorite character in the series.

Overall, “Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2” features the entire “Black Moon Arc” and features a great balance of humor, drama and action.  The voice acting in Japanese and the English dub was superb and the animation is much better.

Entertaining and quite enjoyable, if you are a fan of Sailor Moon and friends, “Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2” is definitely recommended!

 

Eureka Seven: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For those who grew up watching “Eureka Seven” or for those wanting to watch this classic sci-fi mecha anime series in completion, now you can with “Eureka Seven: The Complete Series”. A fantastic anime series that I will forever cherish and a deep and entertaining sci-fi anime series that I highly recommend!

Image courtesy of © 2005-2006 BONES. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Eureka Seven: The Complete Series

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2016

DURATION: (Episodes 1-50) 1250 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080i High Definition (4×3 SD Remaster), English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Funimation

RATING: TV 14

Release Date: August 30, 2016


Series Director: Tomoki Kyoda

Series Composition by Dai Sato

Music by Naoki Sato

Character Design by Kenichi Yoshida

Art Director: Atsushi Morikawa, Kazuo Nagai

Chief Animation Director: Kenichi Yoshida

Anime Production: BONES


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kaori Nazuka/Stephanie Sheh as Eureka

Keiji Fujiwara/Crispin Freeman as Holland

Michiko Neya/Kate Higgins as Talho Yuki

Yuko Sanpei/Johnny Yong Bosch as Renton Thurston

Akio Nakamura/Kirk Thornton as Matthieu

Ami Koshimizu/Kari Wahlgren as Anemone

Aya Hisakawa/Melissa Fahn as Ray

Eriko Kigawa/Peggy O’Neal as Maeter

Fumie Mizusawa/Jessica Straus as Gidget/Linck

Juurouta Kosugi/Patrick Seitz as Charles Beams

Kouji Tsujitani/Kim Strauss as Dewey Novac

Mamoru Miyano/Steve Staley as Moondoggie

Mayumi Asano/Megan Hollingshead as Hilda

Michiko Neya/Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Maurice

Rikiya Koyama/Jamieson K. Price as Norb

Shigenori Yamazaki/Peter Doyle as Dominic Sorel

Tamio Ohki/Kyle Hebert as Ken-Goh

Tarô Yamaguchi/Tony Oliver as Hap

Yasunori Matsumoto/Doug Stone as Stoner


Relive the classic era of anime with the studio that brought you Escaflowne, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Wolf’s Rain. Returning to the spotlight after almost a decade, Eureka Seven – the greatest anime love story ever told – makes its long-awaited arrival on Blu-ray!

Renton is a teenager trapped working as a mechanic in a backwater town. He dreams of joining up with a daredevil group of pilots known as Gekkostate and following in his father’s heroic footsteps.

When a mysterious beauty named Eureka shows up asking for a tune-up, Renton soon finds himself drawn into a high-flying mecha dogfight that makes him a target of the military. When the dust settles on the spectacular battle, Renton is invited to join Gekkostate, but he soon discovers that even a dream come true has a dark side.


“Eureka Seven”, the popular mecha anime TV series from Bones has spawned video games, novels, movies and also a manga series which ran in Kadokawa Shoten’s “Monthly Shonen Ace” from 2005-2006 with a total of six graphic novels released.  And a sequel to the anime series titled “Eureka Seven: AO” would air on television in 2012-2013 (and would focus on the character, Ao Thurston).

As the anime series was a big hit in the US airing on the Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” and it was a series that introduced many people to anime.

And now this anime sci-fi classic will be released as a complete collection on Blu-ray courtesy of Funimation.

“Eureka Seven” revolves around a boy named Renton Thurston, a young 14-year-old who is brash and tends to enjoy living for the moment.  His hobby is grabbing his lift board (somewhat like a surf or skateboard but is used for floating in the air) and just riding it and having fun.  Renton, also happens to be the son of the late military hero Adroc Thurston and the grandson of famous scientist Axel Thurston.  But unlike them, Renton is not into studying nor does he have any career ambitions, he’s just a boy who idolizes Ray-Out Magazine’s Holland Novak, a professional lift board rider.

One day, a mecha (an LFO known as Nirvash typeZERO – the world’s first humanoid mobile machine – Light Finding Operation) crashes near his home and inside it comes out a girl who piloted it.  While repairs are being done on the LFO, Renton becomes happy when the girl tells him that she knows Holland (Renton’s lift board idol) and immediately, Renton becomes happy but the more he sees this girl, he starts to fall for her.

The military (U.F. Force) then disrupts their meeting as they try to get the girl and the two quickly escape on the LFO together.   While being pursued, somehow the two managed to create “The Seventh Swell” and grabs the attention of Holland and his crew (known as The Gekko State).  Can Renton be the source of hidden power of the Nirvash?

Meanwhile, we learn from the military why they are pursuing Eureka and that she and the Nirvash were part of a major military secret project that was stolen by Holland and now they want her back.  Meanwhile, the crew wonder if Renton is the real deal of what happened with the Nirvash or was it freak situation that just happened.  As for Renton, he’s just happy to be part of a group that Holland belongs to and most of all, to be near Eureka.

While the bulk of the main storyline of the first half of the manga series features The Gekko State trying to hide from the military or getting into battles with each other, a third party, an alien race known as the Coralians have reappeared and for some reason, they are also going after Eureka.

Outside of the storyline involving the Gekko State and UF Force, the other primary storyline is Renton and Eureka’s storyline as two people who don’t understand their emotions but they are attracted to each other.  The other storyline focuses on the Novak brothers as we see Holland doing what he can to protect his team but trying to calm his hatred towards his brother Dewey, and vice-versa as Dewey tries to put his plan to rule UF Force and using anemone (a girl who looks similar to Eureka but are quite different) to destroy Gekko State and those who will stand in his way.


The main characters of the series are:

Renton Thurston – The main protagonist.  A 14-year-old who loves to ride a lift board and a boy who feels that he can never live up to his father’s legacy.  He idolizes Holland, has a crush on Eureka and will do whatever he can to help her (including becoming a member of Gekko State).

Eureka – An unusual young woman with blue hair.  She is the pilot of the mecha Nirvash typeZERO.  She doesn’t comprehend these emotions she has when she’s around Renton.  She is also the adoptive mother of three young kids: Maurice, Maeter and Linck.  She and Holland are the primary pilots of Gekko State.

Holland Novak – The popular lift boarder but also the leader of the Gekko State.  He tries to analyze Renton and wonder if he is the person behind the secret power of the Nirvash typeZERO.  Holland is a former member of the SOF, a military unit but when he was ask by Norb to protect Eureka, he took her and the Nirvash from the military to protect her.  Now he is a wanted man.  Meanwhile, he has a deep hatred towards his brother Dewey.  Holland pilots the LFO known as Terminus typeR909.

Yuki Taiho – A friend of Holland and Dewey when they were in the military.  Yuki now pilots the Gekko and is a close confidant of Holland.

Gekko State – A group of lift riders and friends who support Novak’s goal.  Other members include Matthieu, Hilda, Stoner, Ken-Goh, Mischa, Gonzy, Jobs, Woz, Hap, Gidget and Moondoggie.  Also, joining the team are three orphans: Maurice, Maeter and Linck.

Colonel Dewey Novak – The main antagonist who takes control of the U.F. Force and has a deep hatred towards his brother Holland and the Coralians.   His greatest asset is Anemone who is loyal to him.

Anemone – A person who resembles Eureka but belongs to Dewey of the U.F. Force.  She can sense Eureka and she loves to eat sweet things.  She is the pilot of Nirvash LFO, typeTheEND.

Lieutenant Dominic Sorel – A young lieutenant assigned to tend to Anemone’s needs and works for Col. Dewey Novak.  Although a high ranking officer of the U.F. Force, he seems to have some differences with his superior which he keeps to himself.

The Coralians – Eureka Seven takes place 10,000 years after humanity left for space after the arrival of the aliens known as Scub Coral.  Because they merged with the planet, humans were forced to leave the planet and moved into a planet known as Land of Kanan which parts of the land are occupied by the Scrub Coral.  The Coralians are manifestations that either ravage a land, attack humans (after they have been attacked) or a human-form of Coralian who try to learn from humanity.


VIDEO:

“Eureka Seven: The Complete Series” is presented in 1080i High Definition (SD Remaster). It’s important to note that this is an older anime series from 2005-2006 and was aired in standard format.  Overall, picture quality is good for the overall animation but there is slight softness and this series was released before anime companies would focus in creating anime in HD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Eureka Seven: The Complete Series” is presented in Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  The series did not receive a Funimation 5.1 treatment, considering the series was released many years ago by Bandai Visual.  But for the most part, dialogue in Japanese and English is crystal clear and English subtitles are clear and legible.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Eureka Seven: The Complete Series” features the following special features:

NOTE: Japanese audio commentary comes with English subtitles

  • Episode 1 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton) and Kaori Nazuka (Eureka).
  • Episode 7 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nazuka (Eureka) and Mamoru Miyano (Moondoggie).
  • Episode 13 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nazuka (Eureka) and Shigenori Yamazaki (Dominic)
  • Episode 15 Commentary- Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nazuka (Eureka), Akio Nakamura (Matthieu) and Mayumi Asano (Hilda).
  • Episode 20 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nazuka (Eureka) and Kenji Fujiwara (Holland).
  • Episode 26 Commentary- Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kenichi Yoshida (character designer) and Masayuki Miyaji (storyboard artist).
  • Episode 27 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nazuka (Eureka), Jurota Kosugi (Charles) and Aya Hisakawa (Ray)
  • Episode 32 Commentary- Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nazuka (Eureka) and Ami Koshimizu (Anemone).
  • Episode 36 Commentary- Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nazuka (Eureka), Eriko Kigawa (Maeter) and Fumie Mizusawa (Gidget)
  • Episode 39 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nazuka (Eureka), Yasunri Matsumoto (Stoner) and Taro Yamaguchi (Hap)
  • Episode 43 Commentary- Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nazuka (Eureka) and Kenji Tsujitani (Dewey).
  • Episode 50 Commentary- Featuring audio commentary by Japanese voice talents Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nazuka (Eureka), Kazuhiro Wakabayashi (sound director) and Tomoki Kyoda (director)
  • Yuko Sanpei (Renton) and Kaori Nazuka (Eureka) Interviews Part 1
  • Yuko Sanpei (Renton) and Kaori Nazuka (Eureka) Interviews Part 2
  • Interview with Stephanie Sheh (Eureka)
  • Interview with Johnny Yong Bosch (Renton)
  • Keiji Fujiwara (Holland) and Michiko Neya (Talho) Interviews Part 1
  • Keiji Fujiwara (Holland) and Michiko Neya (Talho) Interviews Part 2
  • Keiji Fujiwara (Holland) and Michiko Neya (Talho) Interviews Part 3
  • Interview with Crispin Freeman (Holland) Part 1
  • Interview with Crispin Freeman (Holland) Part 2
  • Interview with Crispin Freeman (Holland) Part 3
  • Kate Higgins (Talho)
  • Episode 50 (Special Textless Version)
  • Textless Opening and Ending Songs 1-3
  • U.S. Trailer
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Eureka Seven: The Complete Series” comes with a slipcover.


Over a decade ago, “Eureka Seven” made its debut on Japanese television.

Not long after, the series would air in America on Adult Swim and for many, it gave more recent anime fans a glimpse of a sci-fi mecha anime series with a love story (while others have grown up with watching it in various “Gundam” series and “Macross”).

“Eureka Seven” is an awesome series.  From when it starts out, I really enjoyed the underdog theme going for it with Renton being this unlikely hero but turning out to be a young kid who is really turning out to be more than anyone has expected.

Eureka is also an interesting character as she is quite mysterious and the whole Gekko State team is pretty cool and for the most part, cool characters and interesting antagonists.  Throw in the alien Coralians and you have that secondary evil that made you wonder how this series will progress.

For those not familiar with “Eureka Seven”, I think those who have followed the “Mobile Suit Gundam” or “Gurren Lagann” series will definitely find “Eureka Seven” to be an entertaining series.

You get a large group of characters but a storyline focusing on the underdog who turns out to be quite the hero but yet has the low self esteem issue and tends to doubt himself.  Sure, it’s a prevailing theme with many mecha series but in this case, where Gundam focuses on survival and “Gurren Lagann” focuses on eradicating the evil on the planet, “Eureka Seven” so far has been a storyline featuring a band of renegades with stolen military technology and trying to avoid being detected by the military.

Problem is, both sides have similar technology and it’s all about who will be the last person standing, in this case…it’s either Gekko State or the UF Forces.

And as the series progresses, things really become dramatic as the Gekko State faces several tragedies and the group taking part in a major battle.  And of course, Renton and Eureka’s up-and-down friendship/relationship and much more.

As for the anime series on Blu-ray, I have to emphasize that this is an older anime series released in 2005-2006, so picture quality is featured in 4:3 standard format and 1080i, not 1080p.   With that being said, while the series is not vibrant as one would usually see in a newer anime series on Blu-ray, the upscale is still very good.  Character designs, art backgrounds and everything else about the series looks very good on Blu-ray. There is a slight softness but that can be expected with an anime TV series.

As for the audio, it’s presented in English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 and for the most part, dialogue, music and special effects are crystal clear through the front channels.

And as for special features, you get a ton of audio commentary from the Japanese voice actors (with English subtitles) and also interviews with both Japanese and English dub voice cast.

Overall, for those who grew up watching “Eureka Seven” or for those wanting to watch this classic sci-fi mecha anime series in completion, now you can with “Eureka Seven: The Complete Series”.  A fantastic anime series that I will forever cherish and a deep and entertaining sci-fi anime series that I highly recommend!

Kill la Kill Volume 5: Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

killlakill-5

If you have stuck with the series for this long, you definitely do not want to miss these final episodes!   “Kill la Kill Volume 5: Limited Edition” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © TRIGGER, Kazuki Nakashima/Kill la Kill Partnership. 2014 ANIPLEX INC. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Kill la Kill Volume 5: Limited Edition

DURATION: Episodes 20-24 + OVA Episode (150 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: Suggested 16 and Up

Release Date: April 28, 2015


Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Series Composition: Kazuki Nakashima

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design: Sushio

Art by Saishi Ichiko

Art Director: Shigeto Koyama, Yuji Kaneko

Anime Production: Trigger


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ami Koshimizu/Erica Mendez as Ryuuko Matoi

Ryoka Yuzuki/Carrie Keranen as Satsuki Kiryuuin

Aya Suzaki/Christine Marie Cabanos as Mako Mankanshoku

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Steve Cannon as Hōka Inumuta

Katsuyuki Konishi as Tsumugu Kinagase

Mayumi Shintani/Sarah Williams as Nonon Jakuzure

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Grant George as Uzu Sanageyama

Romi Park as Ragyo Kiryuuin

Shinichiro Miki/Matthew Mercer as Aikurō Mikisugi

Tetsu Inada/Patrick Seitz as Ira Gamagōri

Toshihiko Seki as Senketsu

Yukari Tamura as Nui Harime


Ryuko is suffering from the pain of learning about her own origins, and the words of those around her fall on deaf ears. While the remaining members of the resistance set out on a rescue mission to save Satsuki, who is being held by Ragyo in the dungeons beneath Honnouji Academy, Ryuko foolishly charges into the academy by herself. There, she faces Nui in battle only to get captured. While in captivity, Ryuko is convinced by Ragyo that humanity is her true enemy and that she must fight against people like Satsuki, who is protected by “people who make no sense” like the Elite Four.

Ryuko finally comes to terms with who she really is and decides to confront Ragyo together with Satsuki. Entrusting the Elite Four, Nudist Beach, and Mako to defend planet Earth, Ryuko and Satsuki go after Ragyo’s ship into space. Far above the ship, Ragyo awaits for the both of them dressed in her Kamui that she has devoted her body and soul to, the Shinra-Koketsu, which is Nui’s final design. Can Ryuko and Satsuki change the fate of humanity and their own mother?


Ryuko has learned the true nature about herself, what happened to her father and what Senketsu truly is and now she is uber-pissed off.

But despite her current troubles, she and Satsuki must work together and battle Ragyo and Nui.

Featuring the final episodes in the “Kill la Kill” TV series,  “Kill la Kill” concludes with volume 5 (available now on Blu-ray and DVD) and also features a special OVA episode!

What is “Kill la Kill”?

“Kill la Kill” is set in Honnouji Academy, a school that is ruled by the iron-fisted student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin.

Dominated by the student council, each member wears a Goku uniform that give each member superhuman abilities and depending by the number of their uniform is indicative of how strong that individual is.

Meanwhile, Ryuko Matoi joins Honnouji Academy. She is brash and wields half of a scissor-shaped longsword in search of the person responsible for killing her father. And if she finds the person that owns the other scissor blade, she will exact her revenge.

Her first day at school, she meets the energetic Mako Mankanshoku and her younger brother Mataro. And as Ryuko and Mako go to school, Mako witnesses a student getting beaten by the student council.

When Ryuko goes to find out who is responsible for her father’s death, she is quickly beaten by the boxing club captain, Takaharu Fukuroda, who sports a two-star Goku uniform.

Having been beaten and feeling that she has disappointed her father, Ryuko falls inside a trap door and discovers a talking sailor uniform that attaches itself to her. She finds out that her uniform, a “Kamui” named Senketsu, has granted her abilities and now, Ryuko is ready to take on any rivals from Honnouji Academy.

And for student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin, she will give the answers that Ryuko has been wanting only if she can defeat the people that challenge her.

In volume 3 of “Kill la Kill”, the Kings of the Hill Battle continues and as the final stages are approaching, Ryuko confronts a fighter who claims to have killed Ryuko’s father. And now, Ryuko wants her revenge!

Which leads us to volume 4 as each episode features a major battle.

In episode 15, Satsuki takes on the boss of Osaka, Kaneo Takarada. In episode 16, we are introduced to Ragyo and her latest mission that she has for Satsuki and her plans to use the Life Fiber.

Senketsu’s origin is revealed in episode 17, while in episode 18, the Elite Four take on Nui and Satsuki’s true agenda is revealed.

By episode 19, the Covers continue to capture citizens, while the Elite Four must do all they can to fight them.

Also, Ragyo drops a major bombshell for Ryuko and Satsuki!

With the fifth volume of “Kill la Kill”, the final five episodes features a pissed off Ryuko who has discovered her true nature and also the truth about her father and Senketsu.  As Satsuki and Senketsu team up to bring Ryuko to her senses, Ragyo unleashes her plan to transit the original Life Fiber’s signal across Earth to absorb all humans into a massive Life Fiber cocoon to cover the entire planet.

And now, Ryuko and Satsuki must join forces to fight Ragyo but together, do they have what it takes to beat her?


The main characters of “Kill la Kill″ are:

  • Ryuko Matoi – The main protagonist. A 17-year-old who transferred into Honnouji Academy. She wields half of a Scissor Blade and is looking for the person responsible for killing her father. When a Kamui sailor uniform named Senketsu attaches itself to her, she gains special abilities.
  • Senketsu – A kamui and living sailor uniform that gives the user superhuman abilities in exchange for their blood.
  • Satsuki Kiryuin – The ruthless student council president who leads the student council with an iron fist.
  • Mako Mankanshoku – A bubbly, energetic teen that welcomes Ryuko to her family.
  • Mataro Mankanshoku – The younger brother of Mako.
  • Barazo Mankanshoku – Mako’s father who runs a back-alley clinic and a pervert.
  • Sukuyo Mankanshoku – Barazo’s wife and mother of Mako and Mataro. She loves cooking delicious dishes.
  • Ira Gamagoori – Satsuki’s loyal enforcer who lead the disciplinary committee at Honnouji Academy and sports a three-star Goku uniform.

VIDEO:

“Kill la Kill” is presented in 1080p High Definition. What I enjoy about this series is its animation style. Creative character designs but also picture quality that is reminiscent of classic animation. Backgrounds are detailed and beautifully painted, while characters are nicely shaded. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any excessive banding or artifacts during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kill la Kill” is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0. The soundtrack is primarily front-channel driven and while voice acting is well-done for both languages, there is no difference in terms of dynamic range.

Subtitles are in English Screen Text, English Dialog & Screen Text and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kill la Kill Volume 5: Limited Edition″ comes with the following special features:

  • KILL Is KILL Digest – Naked Memories by Aikuro Mikisugi – An eight minute digest featuring Aikuro Mikisugi.
  • Textless Opening and Ending
  • Web Version Previews

EXTRAS:

“Kill la Kill Volume 5: Limited Edition” comes with an Interview Documentary DVD -KILL LA KILL VOICES- (duration: 56:40). The documentary features interviews with director Hiroyuki Imaishi, writer Kazuki Nakashima, character designer Sushio and crew.

Also, included is a “Mysterious Girl, Nui” Bushiroad card, two postcards featuring Ryuko and a double-sided poster.


With the fifth volume of “Kill la Kill” on Blu-ray, we have now come to the conclusion of the series.

While many anime fans may have watched the series online, to watch the true conclusion, you will need to check out the OVA which was included only on the Blu-ray and DVD release.  As the OVA episode brings “Kill la Kill” to a close.

As one would expect, the final episodes would feature a final battle as Ryuko and Satsuki must work together to fight against Nui and Ragyo and feature every character that has participated in the series.

For those who like the more hilarious comedy of the series, that doesn’t happen too much as the final episodes are more action-based, more emotional and literally everyone is tested to the limit as Ragyo wants to absorb humans to further the Life Fiber.

And just when you think all is over, you get another action-packed OVA series with a definite conclusion.

Voice acting in Japanese and English is well-done and as with most Aniplex limited editions, you also get a box full of swag with the third DVD which features interviews with the crew about  working on “Kill la Kill” and the challenges that the crew faced.

The set also comes with a Bushiroad Nui card, two collectable postcards and a dual-sided poster.

“Kill la Kill” is an exciting and also hilarious series from beginning to end. Of course, this is a series for older teens as it does feature plenty of profanity and these episodes do feature nudity.  For the most part, fans who have stuck with the series should be content with the way the series has ended.

If you have stuck with the series for this long, you definitely do not want to miss these final episodes!   “Kill la Kill Volume 5: Limited Edition” is recommended!

Kill la Kill Volume 4: Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

killlakill-4

“Kill la Kill” is an exciting series and the series is preparing to ramp up for an exciting conclusion.  If you have stuck with the series for this long, then “Kill la Kill Volume 4: Limited Edition” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © TRIGGER, Kazuki Nakashima/Kill la Kill Partnership. 2014 ANIPLEX INC. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Kill la Kill Volume 4: Limited Edition

DURATION: Episodes 15-19 (125 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: Suggested 16 and Up

Release Date: February 24, 2015


Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Series Composition: Kazuki Nakashima

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design: Sushio

Art by Saishi Ichiko

Art Director: Shigeto Koyama, Yuji Kaneko

Anime Production: Trigger


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ami Koshimizu/Erica Mendez as Ryuuko Matoi

Ryoka Yuzuki/Carrie Keranen as Satsuki Kiryuuin

Aya Suzaki/Christine Marie Cabanos as Mako Mankanshoku

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Steve Cannon as Hōka Inumuta

Katsuyuki Konishi as Tsumugu Kinagase

Mayumi Shintani/Sarah Williams as Nonon Jakuzure

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Grant George as Uzu Sanageyama

Romi Park as Ragyo Kiryuuin

Shinichiro Miki/Matthew Mercer as Aikurō Mikisugi

Tetsu Inada/Patrick Seitz as Ira Gamagōri

Toshihiko Seki as Senketsu

Yukari Tamura as Nui Harime


With both Kyoto and Kobe now under their control, the only region left for Satsuki to conquer is Osaka. Kaneo Takarada – the audacious student council president of Naniwa Kinman High School – is not about to surrender so easily, but can his money buy him victory against the Elite Four?!

Meanwhile, Ryuko rides in on her motorcycle to retrieve Senktesu’s final piece from Satsuki. Senketsu is finally back to one piece, but this was all just part of Satsuki’s plan! While Ryuko was occupied with her battle with Satsuki, Nonon Jakuzure attacks the Nudist Beach HQ below Osaka under Satsuki’s command. With her mission accomplished, Satsuki proceeds to the next phase of her plan to hold the Cultural & Sports Grand Festival with the academy director and Satsuki’s mother, Ragyo Kiryuin, as an honorable guest. Ryuko and the others infiltrate the arena to learn what Satsuki is plotting only to find out the shocking truth behind Satsuki’s grand scheme!


killlakill-4b

Revelations of what Senketsu truly is and the truth about the Life Fibers.

Meanwhile Ryuko and her rival Satsuki team up to take on Ragyo, who drops a bombshell in which the lives of Ryuko and Satsuki will never be the same!

Find out what happens in “Kill la Kill” volume 4!

What is “Kill la Kill”?

“Kill la Kill” is set in Honnouji Academy, a school that is ruled by the iron-fisted student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin.

Dominated by the student council, each member wears a Goku uniform that give each member superhuman abilities and depending by the number of their uniform is indicative of how strong that individual is.

Meanwhile, Ryuko Matoi joins Honnouji Academy. She is brash and wields half of a scissor-shaped longsword in search of the person responsible for killing her father. And if she finds the person that owns the other scissor blade, she will exact her revenge.

Her first day at school, she meets the energetic Mako Mankanshoku and her younger brother Mataro. And as Ryuko and Mako go to school, Mako witnesses a student getting beaten by the student council.

When Ryuko goes to find out who is responsible for her father’s death, she is quickly beaten by the boxing club captain, Takaharu Fukuroda, who sports a two-star Goku uniform.

Having been beaten and feeling that she has disappointed her father, Ryuko falls inside a trap door and discovers a talking sailor uniform that attaches itself to her. She finds out that her uniform, a “Kamui” named Senketsu, has granted her abilities and now, Ryuko is ready to take on any rivals from Honnouji Academy.

And for student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin, she will give the answers that Ryuko has been wanting only if she can defeat the people that challenge her.

In volume 3 of “Kill la Kill”, the Kings of the Hill Battle continues and as the final stages are approaching, Ryuko confronts a fighter who claims to have killed Ryuko’s father. And now, Ryuko wants her revenge!

Which leads us to volume 4 as each episode features a major battle.

In episode 15, Satsuki takes on the boss of Osaka, Kaneo Takarada.    In episode 16, we are introduced to Ragyo and her latest mission that she has for Satsuki and her plans to use the Life Fiber.

Senketsu’s origin is revealed in episode 17, while in episode 18, the Elite Four take on Nui and Satsuki’s true agenda is revealed.

By episode 19, the Covers continue to capture citizens, while the Elite Four must do all they can to fight them.

Also, Ragyo drops a major bombshell for Ryuko and Satsuki!


The main characters of “Kill la Kill″ are:

  • Ryuko Matoi – The main protagonist. A 17-year-old who transferred into Honnouji Academy. She wields half of a Scissor Blade and is looking for the person responsible for killing her father. When a Kamui sailor uniform named Senketsu attaches itself to her, she gains special abilities.
  • Senketsu – A kamui and living sailor uniform that gives the user superhuman abilities in exchange for their blood.
  • Satsuki Kiryuin – The ruthless student council president who leads the student council with an iron fist.
  • Mako Mankanshoku – A bubbly, energetic teen that welcomes Ryuko to her family.
  • Mataro Mankanshoku – The younger brother of Mako.
  • Barazo Mankanshoku – Mako’s father who runs a back-alley clinic and a pervert.
  • Sukuyo Mankanshoku – Barazo’s wife and mother of Mako and Mataro. She loves cooking delicious dishes.
  • Ira Gamagoori – Satsuki’s loyal enforcer who lead the disciplinary committee at Honnouji Academy and sports a three-star Goku uniform.

VIDEO:

“Kill la Kill” is presented in 1080p High Definition. What I enjoy about this series is its animation style. Creative character designs but also picture quality that is reminiscent of classic animation. Backgrounds are detailed and beautifully painted, while characters are nicely shaded. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any excessive banding or artifacts during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kill la Kill” is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0. The soundtrack is primarily front-channel driven and while voice acting is well-done for both languages, there is no difference in terms of dynamic range.

Subtitles are in English Screen Text, English Dialog & Screen Text and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kill la Kill Volume 4: Limited Edition″ comes with the following special features:

  • Textless Opening and Ending
  • Web Version Previews

EXTRAS:

“Kill la Kill Volume 4: Limited Edition” comes with a making documentary DVD #2 (duration: 1:09:10).  The documentary shows the making of “Kill la Kill” featuring 500 days of coverage and what happens four months before the series went live and how busy the TRIGGER staff was in making the episodes.


“Kill la Kill” as of late has been dropping several revelations.  With volume 3, it was about Ryuko’s father being killed, but now with volume 4, we get to learn about the history of Senketsu and what it truly is.

And surprisingly, life becomes chaos as the Covers try to capture all human’s from the academy and use them as guinea pigs for the Light Fibers project, while the Elite Four try to do all they can to fight back, while Ryuko and Satsuki form an unlikely partnership to take on Ragyo.

But when you think things are over…Ragyo drops a major bombshell and suffice to say, things will never be the same for Ryuko and Satsuki ever again.

So, you get five awesome episodes with a lot of action and humor. Voice acting in Japanese and English is well-done and as with most Aniplex limited editions, you also get a box full of swag with the second making of DVD which goes into more detail of how the series was created and what transpired four months before the series was shown on television. But for those who have dreamed in working in the anime industry, can really get a sense of the challenges that the staff faced when working on this series.

The set also comes with a Bushiroad “Uber” Air-head Girl, Mako card, two collectable postcards and a dual-sided poster.

Overall, “Kill la Kill” is an exciting series and the series is preparing to ramp up for an exciting conclusion.  If you have stuck with the series for this long, then “Kill la Kill Volume 4: Limited Edition” is highly recommended!

Kill la Kill Volume 3: Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

killlakill-3a

The third volume of “Kill la Kill” reveals the killer of Ryuko’s father and thus setting up a major battle between Ryuko and the person responsible.  Overall, an action-packed/humorous volume of “Kill la Kill”!

Image courtesy of © TRIGGER, Kazuki Nakashima/Kill la Kill Partnership. 2014 ANIPLEX INC. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Kill la Kill Volume 3: Limited Edition

DURATION: Episodes 10-14 (100 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: Suggested 16 and Up

Release Date: December 23, 2014


Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Series Composition: Kazuki Nakashima

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design: Sushio

Art by Saishi Ichiko

Art Director: Shigeto Koyama, Yuji Kaneko

Anime Production: Trigger


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ami Koshimizu/Erica Mendez as Ryuuko Matoi

Ryoka Yuzuki/Carrie Keranen as Satsuki Kiryuuin

Aya Suzaki/Christine Marie Cabanos as Mako Mankanshoku

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Steve Cannon as Hōka Inumuta

Katsuyuki Konishi as Tsumugu Kinagase

Mayumi Shintani/Sarah Williams as Nonon Jakuzure

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Grant George as Uzu Sanageyama

Romi Park as Ragyo Kiryuuin

Shinichiro Miki/Matthew Mercer as Aikurō Mikisugi

Tetsu Inada/Patrick Seitz as Ira Gamagōri

Toshihiko Seki as Senketsu

Yukari Tamura as Nui Harime


As they enter the final stages of the great King of the Hill battle, Ryuko must face Uzu Sanageyama again after defeating the other three members of the Elite Four. But the combat is brought to a sudden halt when a mysterious girl clad in a gothic Lolita outfit and an eye patch suddenly appears. Her name is Nui Harime, and she claims to have killed Ryuko’s father, Dr. Matoi! Overcome by uncontrollable rage, Ryuko goes berserk and turns into a monster. Only Mako is able to knock some sense back into Ryuko, but not before Senketsu is cut into pieces by Nui.

Meanwhile, Satsuki and the Elite Four commence their Tri-City Schools Raid Trip, a large-scale invasion of the regions yet to be conquered: Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka. Ryuko learns that Senketsu’s pieces were being used in this campaign to test the new Goku uniforms. Now, Ryuko rides into a new battlefield to make Senketsu whole once again!


killlakill-3b

The final stages of the King of the Hill Battle are approaching and Ryuko must now take on the one person who was responsible for her father’s death!

Will Ryuko finally get her revenge on the person responsible?  Find out in volume 3 (episodes 11-15) of “Kill la Kill”!

What is “Kill la Kill”?

“Kill la Kill” is set in Honnouji Academy, a school that is ruled by the iron-fisted student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin.

Dominated by the student council, each member wears a Goku uniform that give each member superhuman abilities and depending by the number of their uniform is indicative of how strong that individual is.

Meanwhile, Ryuko Matoi joins Honnouji Academy. She is brash and wields half of a scissor-shaped longsword in search of the person responsible for killing her father. And if she finds the person that owns the other scissor blade, she will exact her revenge.

Her first day at school, she meets the energetic Mako Mankanshoku and her younger brother Mataro. And as Ryuko and Mako go to school, Mako witnesses a student getting beaten by the student council.

When Ryuko goes to find out who is responsible for her father’s death, she is quickly beaten by the boxing club captain, Takaharu Fukuroda, who sports a two-star Goku uniform.

Having been beaten and feeling that she has disappointed her father, Ryuko falls inside a trap door and discovers a talking sailor uniform that attaches itself to her. She finds out that her uniform, a “Kamui” named Senketsu, has granted her abilities and now, Ryuko is ready to take on any rivals from Honnouji Academy.

And for student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin, she will give the answers that Ryuko has been wanting only if she can defeat the people that challenge her.

In volume 3 of “Kill la Kill”, the Kings of the Hill Battle continues and as the final stages are approaching, Ryuko confronts a fighter who claims to have killed Ryuko’s father.  And now, Ryuko wants her revenge!


The main characters of “Kill la Kill″ are:

  • Ryuko Matoi – The main protagonist. A 17-year-old who transferred into Honnouji Academy. She wields half of a Scissor Blade and is looking for the person responsible for killing her father. When a Kamui sailor uniform named Senketsu attaches itself to her, she gains special abilities.
  • Senketsu – A kamui and living sailor uniform that gives the user superhuman abilities in exchange for their blood.
  • Satsuki Kiryuin – The ruthless student council president who leads the student council with an iron fist.
  • Mako Mankanshoku – A bubbly, energetic teen that welcomes Ryuko to her family.
  • Mataro Mankanshoku – The younger brother of Mako.
  • Barazo Mankanshoku – Mako’s father who runs a back-alley clinic and a pervert.
  • Sukuyo Mankanshoku – Barazo’s wife and mother of Mako and Mataro. She loves cooking delicious dishes.
  • Ira Gamagoori – Satsuki’s loyal enforcer who lead the disciplinary committee at Honnouji Academy and sports a three-star Goku uniform.

VIDEO:

“Kill la Kill” is presented in 1080p High Definition. What I enjoy about this series is its animation style. Creative character designs but also picture quality that is reminiscent of classic animation. Backgrounds are detailed and beautifully painted, while characters are nicely shaded. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any excessive banding or artifacts during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kill la Kill” is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0. The soundtrack is primarily front-channel driven and while voice acting is well-done for both languages, there is no difference in terms of dynamic range.

Subtitles are in English Screen Text, English Dialog & Screen Text and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kill la Kill Volume 3: Limited Edition″ comes with the following special features:

  • Web Version Previews

EXTRAS:

“Kill la Kill Volume 3: Limited Edition” comes with a double-sided poster, two postcard, a Weiss Schwartz card of Satsuki and the “Kill la Kill Original Soundtrack CD #2” featuring music by Sawano Hiroyuki.

  • “Kill la Kill” Original Soundtrack #2 Track Listings – Duration: 75 Minutes
  1. 劇伴特化型1☆極★服 3:24
  2. リズム強化型2☆極★服 4:12
  3. 日常劇場型3☆極★服 3:36
  4. 服着豚型4☆極★服 4:14
  5. 名付扇子0型5☆極★服 5:12
  6. 追加発注型6☆極★服 4:16
  7. 背景敬具型7☆極★服 4:22
  8. MT変装型8☆極★服 4:51
  9. 多分裸SBOSS-型9☆極★服 3:32
  10. 前半再収録型10☆極★服 4:46
  11. 追加最終録型11☆極★服 2:55
  12. 重要物発光強調型12☆極★服 4:09
  13. Before my body is dry <空OK> 4:09
  14. Suck your blood <空OK> 3:41
  15. Blumenkranz <空OK> 4:19
  16. Light your heart up <空OK> 3:56
  17. I want to know <空OK> 4:07
  18. Till I Die <空OK> 4:41

Finally, we get one major question answered and that is who killed Ryuko’s father?

As the battle reaches its final phase for the “King of the Hill” Battle and Ryuko taking on the members of Honnouji Academy’s Elite Four, and as Ryuko gets closer to taking on Satsuki, she ends up meeting the one person she wants to exact her revenge on.

An action-packed volume with the usual Mako Mankanshoku humor, these latest challenges will no doubt put Ryuko Matoi and Senketsu in a major test, especially with the Life Fibers.

So, you get five awesome episodes with a lot of action and humor. Voice acting in Japanese and English is well-done and as with most Aniplex limited editions, you also get a box full of swag with a the second original soundtrack, two collectable postcards and a dual-sided poster.

Overall, “Kill la Kill” is an exciting series and these latest episodes have been captivating and addicting.  “Kill la Kill Volume 3: Limited Edition” is highly recommended!

Kill la Kill Volume 2: Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

killlakill-v2

“Kill la Kill” is an exciting series with a lot of humor and action.  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © TRIGGER, Kazuki Nakashima/Kill la Kill Partnership. 2014 ANIPLEX INC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Kill la Kill Volume 2: Limited Edition

DURATION: Episodes 5-9 (100 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: Suggested 16 and Up

Release Date: October 21, 2014

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Series Composition: Kazuki Nakashima

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design: Sushio

Art by Saishi Ichiko

Art Director: Shigeto Koyama, Yuji Kaneko

Anime Production: Trigger

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ami Koshimizu/Erica Mendez as Ryuuko Matoi

Ryoka Yuzuki/Carrie Keranen as Satsuki Kiryuuin

Aya Suzaki/Christine Marie Cabanos as Mako Mankanshoku

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Steve Cannon as Hōka Inumuta

Katsuyuki Konishi as Tsumugu Kinagase

Mayumi Shintani/Sarah Williams as Nonon Jakuzure

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Grant George as Uzu Sanageyama

Romi Park as Ragyo Kiryuuin

Shinichiro Miki/Matthew Mercer as Aikurō Mikisugi

Tetsu Inada/Patrick Seitz as Ira Gamagōri

Toshihiko Seki as Senketsu

Yukari Tamura as Nui Harime

Ryuko Matoi spends her days battling student after student as they continue to aggressively confront her in hopes to raise their own status and living conditions as promised to them by Satsuki Kiryuin. In the midst of all the chaos, Uzu Sanageyama, one of the Elite Four, gets permission to face Ryuko in battle. He corners Ryuko with his super-human vision, but Ryuko manages to fight back! This leads Satsuki to resort to drastic measures as she declares to begin the great “Naturals Election,” or “Battle Royale!!”

Now every student at Honnouji Academy must enter an unbelievable ceremony of destruction as they clash to survive for seven whole days to participate in “The King of the Hill Final Battle.” There, Ryuko finally comes face-to-face with the formidable Ira Gamagoori!

killlakill-v2-b

From the creators of “Gurren Lagann” comes “Kill la Kill”!

With 24-episodes airing in Japan between October through March 2014 plus an OVA episode that is schedule for release in Sept. 2014, “Kill la Kill Volume 1: Limited Edition” will be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray in July 2014.

“Kill la Kill” is set in Honnouji Academy, a school that is ruled by the iron-fisted student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin.

Dominated by the student council, each member wears a Goku uniform that give each member superhuman abilities and depending by the number of their uniform is indicative of how strong that individual is.

Meanwhile, Ryuko Matoi joins Honnouji Academy. She is brash and wields half of a scissor-shaped longsword in search of the person responsible for killing her father. And if she finds the person that owns the other scissor blade, she will exact her revenge.

Her first day at school, she meets the energetic Mako Mankanshoku and her younger brother Mataro. And as Ryuko and Mako go to school, Mako witnesses a student getting beaten by the student council.

When Ryuko goes to find out who is responsible for her father’s death, she is quickly beaten by the boxing club captain, Takaharu Fukuroda, who sports a two-star Goku uniform.

Having been beaten and feeling that she has disappointed her father, Ryuko falls inside a trap door and discovers a talking sailor uniform that attaches itself to her. She finds out that her uniform, a “Kamui” named Senketsu, has granted her abilities and now, Ryuko is ready to take on any rivals from Honnouji Academy.

And for student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin, she will give the answers that Ryuko has been wanting only if she can defeat the people that challenge her.

In volume 2 of “Kill la Kill” (episodes 5-9), Ryuko continues to face more challengers but also a sniper named Tsumugu Kinagase.  Tsumugu will do what he can to stop Ryuko from wearing her kamui.  Meanwhile, one of the Elite four, Uzu Sanageyama challenges Ryuko with his Three-Star Goku Uniform know as Blade Regalia.

Meanwhile, Ryuko starts up her own fight club and Satsuki announces her new Naturals Election where students must survive a seven-day battle royal to earn their Goku uniforms.  And Ryuko takes on another Elite four named Ira.

The main characters of “Kill la Kill″ are:

  • Ryuko Matoi – The main protagonist. A 17-year-old who transferred into Honnouji Academy. She wields half of a Scissor Blade and is looking for the person responsible for killing her father. When a Kamui sailor uniform named Senketsu attaches itself to her, she gains special abilities.
  • Senketsu – A kamui and living sailor uniform that gives the user superhuman abilities in exchange for their blood.
  • Satsuki Kiryuin – The ruthless student council president who leads the student council with an iron fist.
  • Mako Mankanshoku – A bubbly, energetic teen that welcomes Ryuko to her family.
  • Mataro Mankanshoku – The younger brother of Mako.
  • Barazo Mankanshoku – Mako’s father who runs a back-alley clinic and a pervert.
  • Sukuyo Mankanshoku – Barazo’s wife and mother of Mako and Mataro. She loves cooking delicious dishes.
  • Ira Gamagoori – Satsuki’s loyal enforcer who lead the disciplinary committee at Honnouji Academy and sports a three-star Goku uniform.

VIDEO:

“Kill la Kill” is presented in 1080p High Definition. What I enjoy about this series is its animation style. Creative character designs but also picture quality that is reminiscent of classic animation. Backgrounds are detailed and beautifully painted, while characters are nicely shaded. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any excessive banding or artifacts during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kill la Kill” is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0. The soundtrack is primarily front-channel driven and while voice acting is well-done for both languages, there is no difference in terms of dynamic range.

Subtitles are in English Screen Text, English Dialog & Screen Text and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kill la Kill Volume 2: Limited Edition″ comes with the following special features:

  • Textless OP
  • #7 Textless Ending (Japanese Only)
  • Web Version Previews
  • BONUS DVD: “Kill la Kill” Making Documentary DVD #1 – (50:30) Featuring the behind-the-scenes making of the popular anime series.

EXTRAS:

“Kill la Kill Volume 2: Limited Edition” comes with a double-sided poster and two postcards, one featuring Mako and the other featuring Tsumugu Kinagase.

While I try not to get excited over a series with only four episodes viewed, I will say that from the first four episodes alone, I’m enjoying the series a lot!

From it’s fascinating storyline revolving revenge, a talking sailor school uniform, a high school ruled with an iron fist by its powerful student council president and it’s intriguing antagonists which Ryuko must take on, suffice to say, it’s a captivating storyline with awesome animation and beautifully painted backgrounds.

With volume 2 of “Kill la Kill”, the continued storyline of Ryuko taking on the elite of Honnouji Academy and Satsuki issuing a Naturals Election challenge in that if she defeats each of the Elite Four, she will finally get the details that she wanted.

So, you get five awesome episodes with a lot of action and humor.  Voice acting in Japanese and English is well-done and as with most Aniplex limited editions, you also get a box full of swag with a making of DVD, two collectable postcards and a dual-sided poster.

And I have to say that the “Making Of” DVD is worth watching as you can really see what was involved behind-the-scenes prior to “Kill la Kill” airing on television.  It’s a fascinating documentary that “Kill la Kill” fans will enjoy watching!

Overall, “Kill la Kill” is an exciting series and episodes 5-10 have been captivating and addicting. The second volume definitely sets the stage up as Ryuko now must take on the Elite Four, so it will be interesting to see how the storyline evolves in volume 3.

“Kill la Kill Volume 2: Limited Edition” is highly recommended!

Kill la Kill Volume 1: Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Kill la Kill” is an exciting series and it’s first four episodes have been captivating and addicting.  I can’t wait until the second volume but I can see why many fans have welcomed this series with open arms and love it.  It’s a series that features fascinating characters, cool animation/backgrounds and I’m sure there will be twists and turns along the way.  “Kill la Kill Volume 1: Limited Edition” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © TRIGGER, Kazuki Nakashima/Kill la Kill Partnership.  2014 ANIPLEX INC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Kill la Kill Volume 1: Limited Edition

DURATION: 4 Episodes (100 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: Suggested 16 and Up

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Series Composition: Kazuki Nakashima

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design: Sushio

Art by Saishi Ichiko

Art Director: Shigeto Koyama, Yuji Kaneko

Anime Production: Trigger

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ami Koshimizu/Erica Mendez as Ryuuko Matoi

Ryoka Yuzuki/Carrie Keranen as Satsuki Kiryuuin

Aya Suzaki/Christine Marie Cabanos as Mako Mankanshoku

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Steve Cannon as Hōka Inumuta

Katsuyuki Konishi as Tsumugu Kinagase

Mayumi Shintani/Sarah Williams as Nonon Jakuzure

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Grant George as Uzu Sanageyama

Romi Park as Ragyo Kiryuuin

Shinichiro Miki/Matthew Mercer as Aikurō Mikisugi

Tetsu Inada/Patrick Seitz as Ira Gamagōri

Toshihiko Seki as Senketsu

Yukari Tamura as Nui Harime

Honnouji Academy – where the school is ruled by students clad in special outfits called Goku Uniforms. Deriding the student body as “pigs in human clothing,” Student Council President Satsuki Kiryuin, along with her loyal underlings, the Elite Four, has the academy under their absolute control.

One day, a vagrant schoolgirl named Ryuko Matoi appears and tries to get Satsuki, who recognizes her Scissor Blade, to talk. Was their encounter a mere coincidence or fate? The clash between the two will soon consume the whole academy!

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From the creators of “Gurren Lagann” comes “Kill la Kill”!

With 24-episodes airing in Japan between October through March 2014 plus an OVA episode that is schedule for release in Sept. 2014, “Kill la Kill Volume 1: Limited Edition” will be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray in July 2014.

“Kill la Kill” is set in Honnouji Academy, a school that is ruled by the iron-fisted student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin.

Dominated by the student council, each member wears a Goku uniform that give each member superhuman abilities and depending by the number of their uniform is indicative of how strong that individual is.

Meanwhile, Ryuko Matoi joins Honnouji Academy.  She is brash and wields half of a scissor-shaped longsword in search of the person responsible for killing her father.  And if she finds the person that owns the other scissor blade, she will exact her revenge.

Her first day at school, she meets the energetic Mako Mankanshoku and her younger brother Mataro.  And as Ryuko and Mako go to school, Mako witnesses a student getting beaten by the student council.

When Ryuko goes to find out who is responsible for her father’s death, she is quickly beaten by the boxing club captain, Takaharu Fukuroda, who sports  a two-star Goku uniform.

Having been beaten and feeling that she has disappointed her father, Ryuko falls inside a trap door and discovers a talking sailor uniform that attaches itself to her.  She finds out that her uniform, a “Kamui” named Senketsu, has granted her abilities and now, Ryuko is ready to take on any rivals from Honnouji Academy.

And for student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin, she will give the answers that Ryuko has been wanting only if she can defeat the people that challenge her.

The main characters of “Kill la Kill″ are:

  • Ryuko Matoi – The main protagonist.  A 17-year-old who transferred into Honnouji Academy.  She wields half of a Scissor Blade and is looking for the person responsible for killing her father.  When a Kamui sailor uniform named Senketsu attaches itself to her, she gains special abilities.
  • Senketsu – A kamui and living sailor uniform that gives the user superhuman abilities in exchange for their blood.
  • Satsuki Kiryuin – The ruthless student council president who leads the student council with an iron fist.
  • Mako Mankanshoku  – A bubbly, energetic teen that welcomes Ryuko to her family.
  • Mataro Mankanshoku – The younger brother of Mako.
  • Barazo Mankanshoku – Mako’s father who runs a back-alley clinic and a pervert.
  • Sukuyo Mankanshoku – Barazo’s wife and mother of Mako and Mataro.  She loves cooking delicious dishes.
  • Ira Gamagoori – Satsuki’s loyal enforcer who lead the disciplinary committee at Honnouji Academy and sports a three-star Goku uniform.

VIDEO:

“Kill la Kill” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  What I enjoy about this series is its animation style.  Creative character designs but also picture quality that is reminiscent of classic animation.  Backgrounds are detailed and beautifully painted, while characters are nicely shaded.  Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any excessive banding or artifacts during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kill la Kill” is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0.  The soundtrack is primarily front-channel driven and while voice acting is well-done for both languages, there is no difference in terms of dynamic range.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kill la Kill Volume 1: Limited Edition″ comes with the following special features:

  • Textless OP (Ep 2 & 3 Ver.)
  • Textless Opening and Endings
  • Web Version Previews

EXTRAS:

“Kill la Kill Volume 1: Limited Edition″ comes with a slipcase, poster and six-postcard set plus the following soundtrack:

キルラキル 一 REARRANGE & REMIX SOUNDTRACK CD

Duration: 43 Minutes / 10 tracks

  1. Before my body is dry: [nZk] ver. – MIKA KOBAYASHI
  2. Bluemenkranz: [nZk] ver. – Cyua
  3. Suck your blood: [nZk] ver. – Caramel Apple Sound Gadget
  4. Light your heart up: [nZk] ver. – Aimee Blackschleger
  5. Till I Die: [nZk] ver. – Caramel Apple Sound Gadget
  6. Before my body is dry: [nZk] ver. <Inst.> – MIKA KOBAYASHI
  7. Bluemenkranz: [nZk] ver. <Inst.> – Cyua
  8. Suck your blood: [nZk] ver. <Inst.> – Caramel Apple Sound Gadget
  9. Light your heart up: [nZk] ver. <Inst.> – Aimee Blackschleger
  10. Till I Die: [nZk] ver. <Inst.> – Caramel Apple Sound Gadget

While I try not to get excited over a series with only four episodes viewed, I will say that from the first four episodes alone, I’m enjoying the series a lot!

From it’s fascinating storyline revolving revenge, a talking sailor school uniform, a high school ruled with an iron fist by its powerful student council president and it’s intriguing antagonists which Ryuko must take on, suffice to say, it’s a captivating storyline with awesome animation and beautifully painted backgrounds.

Voice acting in Japanese and English is well-done and as with most Aniplex limited editions, you also get a box full of swag with a soundtrack, postcard set and poster.

It’s important to note that this is a series that is for teens and up and not a series to have children nearby, as Ryuko has to wear a very skimpy uniform and it has its fair share of violence.

Overall, “Kill la Kill” is an exciting series and it’s first four episodes have been captivating and addicting.  I can’t wait until the second volume but I can see why many fans have welcomed this series with open arms and love it.  It’s a series that features fascinating characters, cool animation/backgrounds and I’m sure there will be twists and turns along the way.

“Kill la Kill Volume 1: Limited Edition” is highly recommended!

Jormungand: The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Featuring an adaptation of the first six manga volumes, anyone who loves anime with a lot of gun battles and violence, will no doubt find “Jormungand: The Complete First Season” to be an exciting and explosive series that manages to get better and better with each episode.  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2013 Sentai Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Jormungand: The Complete First Season

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2012

DURATION: 13 Episodes (300 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATING: TV MA

Release Date: February 21, 2014

Originally Created by Keitaro Takahashi

Directed by Keitaro Motonaga

Series Composition by Yousuke Kuroda

Music by Taku Iwasaki

Character Design by Kazuhisa Nakamura

Art Director: Yoshito Takamine

3D Director: Hiroshi Souma

Anime Production: White Fox

Featuring the following voice talent:

 Mutsumi Tamura/Micah Solusod as Jonah

Sayaka Ohara/Carli Mosier as Valmet

Shizuka Itou/Anastasia Munoz as Koko Hekmatyar

Unshou Ishizuka/Christopher Smith as Lehm

Ami Koshimizu/Brittney Karbowski as Schokolade

Gô Shinomiya/Patrick Seitz as Mao

Hitoshi Yanai/Christopher Bevins as Tojo

Katsuyuki Konishi/Ian Sinclair as R

Kenji Nomura/Akron Watson as Wilee

Kiyoshi Katsunuma/Cris George as Ugo

Masaya Matsukaze/Eric Vale as Kasper Hekmatyar

Megumi Toyoguchi/Gwendolyn Lau as Dr. Minami Amada

Saori Kato/Shelley Calene-Black as Karen Lo

Shuuichirou Moriyama/Cole Brown as Narrator

Takaya Hashi/Jerry Russell as Chen Guoming

Tooru Nara/Robert McCollum as Scarecrow

Tsutomu Isobe/Mark Stoddard as George Black

Wataru Hatano/Greg Ayres as Lutz

Yumi Touma/Clarine Harp as Chiquita

Jonah is a child soldier and the newest bodyguard for Koko, an international arms dealer with an entourage of hired guns. The cold-blooded kid hates Koko’s line of work, but following her into the darkest corners of the black market might be the only way he can find those responsible for his family’s slaughter. Besides, his employer isn’t like most merchants of death. She uses guile and cutthroat tactics to keep her clients armed to the teeth—all while cultivating her own warped plan for the future of world peace. With the CIA desperate for her capture, assassins eager to collect her head, and the potential for every contract to end in ultra-violence, Koko and her comrades in arms bring the boom to every corner of the world.

In 2006, mangaka Keitaro Takahashi’s manga series “Jormungand” was serialized in “Monthly Sunday Gene-X” magazine,

With a total of 11 volumes released, a 12-episode anime TV series from White Fox  (“Tears to Tiara”, “Steins;Gate”) was aired in Japan in spring/summer 2012, with a second season titled “Jormungand: Perfect Order” airing in fall/winter 2012.

As the manga series has been released in the US, “Jormungand: The Complete First Season” ( will be released on Blu-ray/DVD courtesy of FUNimation.

“Jormungand” is a series that revolves around a female arms dealer named Koko Hekmatyar, who sells weapons through HCLI, an international shipping corporation.  She and her team sell weapons in various countries through her shipping corporation, easily hiding and selling weapons from authorities and law enforcement.

Joining her are several former military veterans who are among the bodyguards at HCLI but also a young boy named Jonah, a child soldier who hates arms dealers.  A child which Koko seems to be carefree and cheerful around.

The series follows the adventures of Koko and her soldiers as they must deal with private clients, rival arms dealers and encounter a lot of trouble along the way.

The primary characters in “Jormungand” are:

  • Koko Hekmatyar  – The arms dealer and main protagonist.  She is the daughter of global shipping magnate, Floyd Hekmatyar.  While behaving in a child-like upbeat manner around Jonah, she is ruthless and calculating and is seen as a monster.
  • Jonathan (Jonah) Mar – A child soldier from the Middle East.  Taken in by HCLI, he despises arms dealers but he still acts as a bodyguard for Koko.
  • Sofia Velmer – An ex-mechanized Jager major of the Finnish Rapid Deployment Force who is smitten with Koko.  She is very good with knives and lost an eye during an attack.
  • Lehm Brick – The second in command and oldest member of Koko’s crew.  A former Delta Force operator and great with a sniper.
  • Mao – A former artillery officer from an Asian country.  He is the only officer in Koko’s group that is married with children.
  • Renato Socci – A former Italian Army Bersaglieri intelligence officer.
  • Ugo – A former mafia driver.
  • Lutz – A former sniper from the SWAT unit.
  • Akihiko Tojo – A former operator of the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s secret SR unit.
  • William (Wiley) Nelson – An African American who is an explosive expert and former ex-Lt. of the 20th Engineer Brigade of the XVIII Airborne Corps.

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VIDEO:

“Jormungand: The Complete First Season” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  First, let me discuss the backgrounds.  The backgrounds are wonderfully painted and look absolutely beautiful!  The mechanical designs are also well-done, may it be vehicles or the weapons, there is a lot of detail that went into the weaponry.

Which now leads us to the character designs.  The animation is not the most colorful, in fact, some may find the colors to be soft or not as colorful as some may hope.  But the anime series does utilize Keitaro Takahashi’s manga by showcasing detail but saturated colors.

It’s a creative style even seen in the manga covers and having read the manga series, I felt the series does give the manga some justice.  If anything, “Jormungand” is not a happy series, there is a lot of violence and so I felt the series looks great the way it does.  I didn’t notice any banding or artifact issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Jormungand: The Complete First Season” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1  and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  As one can expect, the English lossless  5.1 soundtrack sounds much better thanks to the fact that this action-driven series utilizes the surround channels.  While dialogue and music is crystal clear.  The acting for the English dub is actually very well done.  Although, those who prefer their anime with the original Japanese soundtrack, will find the acting to be very well-done.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Jormungand: The Complete First Season” features the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Christopher Bevins (ADR Director), Anastasia Munoz (voice of Koko) and Carli Mosier (voice of Valmet).
  • Casting Koko’s Crew with American Director Christopher Bevins – (20:18) A discussion with the casting for the series with ADR Director Christopher Bevins and Chris George (ADR Engineer and voice of Ugo).
  • Episode 12 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Chris George (voice of Ugo), Micah Solusod (voice of Jonah) and Chris Smith (voice of Lehm).
  • Textless Opening and Closing theme – Textless theme for “Borderland”, “Ambivalentidea” and “Shiroku Yawarakana Hana”.
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:11) FUNimation trailer for “Jormungand: The Complete First Season”.

For anime fans who enjoy series such as “Black Lagoon” or even “Golgo 13” will find “Jormungand: The Complete First Season” to be a series for them.

Violence, plenty of gun battles  but somewhere along with all the bloodshed, there is humor but also a growing feel of an ominous presence within protagonist Koko Hekmatyar.

For one, you sense a screw is loose with the leader of the private/black market arms dealer.  A woman who doesn’t hesitate to kill people and has been looked at by her enemies as a monster, around a young boy named Jonah, she is always so chipper, so happy and fun around him.

And thus the first season is more or less an introductions to Koko’s group of former military veterans and why they joined with Koko and using their abilities to protect her or take out the enemies.  Meanwhile, Jonah represents a boy ravaged by war, hates weaponry and was forced to live a life of being a child soldier.   Now working with Koko and trying to understand the life that he and the others currently live.

There are not a lot of answers for the first season of the series, mainly character introductions and character building episodes to establish how deadly Koko and her group truly are.  And their arms dealings with a variety of people and military groups.

And with the escalation of deaths and violence in the last few episodes, it’s right to the conclusion of the final episode of season one that we learn that the group has a traitor.

As for the Blu-ray release, the anime features character designs that compliment Keitaro Takahashi’s manga work, while backgrounds are beautifully painted and mechanical designs to be very detailed.  The lossless soundtrack is very good and well-acted, while the English dub gets the upper nod thanks to its lossless 5.1 soundtrack, over its 2.0 Japanese stereo soundtrack. The Blu-ray also comes with two audio commentaries and a video commentary track as well!

Overall, “Jormungand: The Complete First Season” is a fascinating series as it goes into a group that sells weapons to those who can afford it.  The episodes for season one was more about showing the danger of the arms business that the HCLI group are each involved in but with “Jormungand: Perfect Order”, I expect the series to pick up and get better!

Featuring an adaptation of the first six manga volumes, anyone who loves anime with a lot of gun battles and violence, will no doubt find “Jormungand: The Complete First Season” to be an exciting and explosive series that manages to get better and better with each episode.  Recommended!

 

Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia – Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

October 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” is an anime series that combines its characters from the idol world of the popular video game series with an alternative mecha storyline that Sunrise Studios is known for.  The first half features an action-packed, enjoyable and captivating storyline and I can’t wait to see how the second half of the season plays out.  If you are looking for a mecha anime series with upbeat characters (primarily all-female), definitely give “Idolm@aster: Xenoglossia” a chance!

Image courtesy of © Sunrise/Bandai Visual. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia – Collection 1

DURATION: Episode 1-13 (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, Japanese 2.0, Dolby Digital, English subtitles

COMPANY: Sunrise/ Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14 VD

Release Date: October 16, 2012

Originally created by Hajime Yatate

Original Character Design by Toshiyuki Kubooka

Directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai

Music by Tsuneyoshi Saito

Character Design by Hiroshi Takeuchi

Art Director: Toshiyuki Tokuda

Chief Animation Director: Hiroshi Takeuchi

Mechanical Design by Junichi Akutsu

Anime Production: Bandai Visual/Sunrise

Featuring the following voice talent:

Yui Horie as Yukiho Hagiwara

Yuka Iguchi as Haruka Amami

Yukari Tamura as Iori Minase

Ami Koshimizu as Yayoi Takatsuki

Eri Kitamura as Makoto Kikuchi

Kaori Nazuka as Ami Futami

Kaori Shimizu as Chihaya Kisaragi

Mai Nakahara as Ritsuko Akizuki

Momoko Saito as Mami Futami

Tomo Sakurai as Azusa Miura

Akeno Watanabe as Hakobe

Akira Ishida as Karasu

Chihiro Kusaka as Gojou

Daisuke Ono as Naraba Daido

Eiji Miyashita as Yoshinaga

Emiri Katō as Hotoke

Hiroshi Naka as Yokoyama

Kazuhiro Nakata as Joseph Shingetsu

Mamiko Noto as Naze Munakata

Mikako Takahashi as Sorewa Suzuki

Naomi Shindoh as Chikako Minamoto

Nozomi Sasaki as Suzuna

Ryoka Yuzuki as Hotaru Yasuhara/Serika

107 years ago, the Moon was destroyed in a massive cataclysm that shattered Earth’s former satellite into 81 quintillion tons of orbital debris. However, thanks to super-science, the Earth itself was saved and today no one really thinks much about that century-past disaster. Which is why when teenage Haruka Amami auditions for something called the Idolmaster Project, she thinks she’s trying out to be a singing idol. Instead, Haruka finds herself at a secret school run by the Mondenkind Agency, living with a group of other girls who have also been selected as candidates to pilot an IDOL – an advanced robot specifically designed to intercept falling chunks of moon rock.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough Idols for all the potential pilots, and there are some who will do anything to earn the coveted seats, even if the consequences are lethal. And then there’s the question of whether the Idols are really just robots, because from almost the first moment, Haruka starts to feel emotions resonating from within the Idol called Imber. The mysteries are mounting, the competition is furious and the mission to save Earth is on!

Back in 2005, Namco would create the popular arcade video game known as “The Idolm@ster”.  Based on the career of a fictional producer for a production studio, many games have been released for the XB360, Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3 and its characters would appear in other Namco Bandai video games.

In 2007, the first anime series titled “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” is based on the video game series and was created by the anime studio, Sunrise (best known for their Gundam and mecha series).

And why not combine the idol-factor of “The Idolm@ster” and Sunrise’s mecha themed series?  But taking the characters that were popular from the video games and putting them in a brand new mecha-themed storyline?   And sure enough, you get “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia”.

The anime series begins with Haruka Amami, a teenage girl who dreams of becoming an idol.  She’s shy, not so confident of herself but during an audition, she captures the attention of the staff.

And next thing you know, Haruka receives a letter that she has passed her audition and will become an idol and must leave to Tokyo to start her new career and meet with her new agency.

While she and also another girl named Yukiho Hagiwara who has also been invited to the agency are excited for their new singing careers, other members such as the very hotheaded Iori Minase, the tomboyish but proud Makokoto Kikuchi await for Haruka to arrive.  So they can begin training.

But as Haruka and Yukiho arrive and enjoy the scenery of Tokyo and see the fragments of what was once the moon (a.k.a. “Kompeito”) before meeting with their agency Mondenkind, the two are caught in the middle between a skirmish between member of Mondenkind and Turiavita.  Mondenkind trying to protect the world, while Turiavita are more determined to find and acquire all IDOLS.

The fight gets so rough, that Haruka’s communication device awakens a mecha known as Imber, a mecha that has been dormant and non-functional for a long time.  But somehow Haruka has awaken it, to the surprise to the members of Mondenkind and Turiavita.  When the Turiavita attacks, the mecha Prometheus-1 Imber comes to Haruka’s rescue and places her into its cockpit.  And the skirmish between both groups, comes to an end.

When Haruka arrives to meet with the agency and ask about the idol position, she is informed that she was auditioned to become an idol.  But not a singing idol, but an IDOLmaster who can pilot the the mecha to save the world from drops.

A drop is the remnants of the moon, after its destruction 107 years ago that is falling towards Earth.  It’s up to the IDOLmasters to pilot their IDOLS to destroy  the drops.  It’s also important to note that IDOLmasters can only be female and the IDOL must pick out their IDOLmaster.  And in this case, Imber has chosen Haruka to be its IDOLmaster.

But Haruka’s naivety and inexperience, she makes up with determination and persistence.  And as her relationship with fellow IDOLmasters begins to strengthen, as wit her bond with her IDOL, what happens when she gets attacked by the rival agency who try to kill her?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen and in Japanese 2.0 with English subtitles.

When it comes to anime series, “Sunrise” is one of the longer running, well-known anime studios in Japan.  And “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” manages to keep the look of the characters as seen in the “idolm@ster” video game series but also feature beautiful background art and mecha design.  The background scenery is well-painted and well-detailed.  Fans of the “Idolm@ster” games will no doubt enjoy the look for the series and for those who expect the quality from Sunrise, they deliver with so many different locations and scenes, characters design featuring different outfits and also use of technology.

It would have been great to see an anime series such as “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” in HD via Blu-ray but for the most part, the series looks very good on DVD!

Subtitles are in English and are in yellow with a black border and are easy to read.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia – Collection 1” comes with the following special features:

DISC 2:

  • SHORTS 1-5:  Featuring a total of five comedy shorts (on disc 2) that are about 5 minutes long.

 

As a fan of the “Idolm@ster” video games, at first, I was curious about “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” because the anime studio behind the anime was Sunrise.  Typically, with Sunrise, I’m use to watching mecha or sci-fi anime related series, so I found a bit odd at first.

But with “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia”, you get both idol and mecha together in one anime series.

Fans of the video game series will be happy to see characters like Haruka, Yukiho, Iori and Makoto (to name a few), appear in the series.  And the characters and their traits are somewhat carried over to “Xenoglossia”.

The series pretty much focuses on one girl for the first half.  Haruka is naive, a bit clumsy and thinks that she is going to be an idol pop singer.  But in reality, she’s going to be an IDOLmaster that pilots mecha known as IDOLS.  Through the series, we see how she gets along with her fellow IDOLmaster teammates.

Haruka was the primary character of “The Idolm@ster” and for the first few episodes, she is the primary focus.  But then the series starts to focus on the actual team itself.

Unlike the video games, Yukiho is not a cry baby but more of a person who sleeps a lot, more of the cheerleader of the group and also is often looked at special because her breasts are bigger than the other girls.  Iori’s snobbish behavior of the video game also extends to the anime series.  Thinking she is the best, she is not afraid to speak her mind.  And Makoto, who was seen as the “pretty-boy” idol in the video games, has the tomboyish appearance in the anime series and these young women all represent Mondenkind.

And like “The Idolm@aster” which pitted Studio 765 vs. Studio 961, the anime series pits two organizations against each other…Modenkind vs. Turiavita.

So, fans should be happy that “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” does retain the character styles from the video games.  And while music is not the focal point of these idols, there is quite a bit of music featured in the series soundtrack.

But this is a mecha anime series.  Plenty of action and emotional angst, while “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” can be comparable to other mecha-related series such as “Bubblegum Crisis”, the camaraderie of “Strike Witches” and even a little “Gunbuster” thrown in.  But then for your antagonist, you have another side of female pilots of Turiavita with their IDOLS who don’t seem too evil or bad, but because they are enemies, we see how the Turiavita will do all they can to hurt the Mondenkind pilots.

With the first half of the series, as mentioned, the series focused on Haruka but manages to integrate the other team members.  While Haruka is able to treat her IDOL Imber with compassion, Yukiho is unable to have that similar connection.  Meanwhile, Makoto who is Mondekind’s best pilot does not have any emotional feelings towards her IDOL.  She sees them as mecha to be controlled not as beings or like Haruka tries to have an emotional connection with them.

And because of this, the series storyline ends with her being at her most vulnerable when she needs the power of her IDOL, Prometheus-2 Nebula.  And what happens because of that lack of connection to her IDOL.

And will definitely lead to a more chaotic second half because who knows what will happen to Mondekind without their best pilot.

As for the DVD, as one can expect from Sunrise, animation compliments the video game series while the art background and mecha design are trademarks of the studio.  For a TV series, the art backgrounds are well-detailed and painted and it’s one of those series that you wish was released in HD because it looks very good for an animated TV series.  You do get five comedy shorts included as special features as well!

Overall, the first half of “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” is quite promising.  For fans of the video games, the characters are given new life in this alternative world storyline and as a mecha anime series with its fair share of action, the series also is fascinating, action-packed and a lot of fun!

If you are looking for an action-packed mecha anime series with upbeat characters (primarily all-female), definitely give “Idolm@aster: Xenoglossia – Collection 1” a chance!

Freezing: Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A touching action anime series with plenty of one-on-one combat, boobs and panty scenes galore!  If you are an anime fan who can’t get enough of boobylicious anime, then “Freezing: Complete Series” is definitely for you!

Images courtesy of ©2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Freezing: Complete Series

DURATION: Episodes 1-12+ 6 MINI-OVA’s (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen), Dolby Digital, Audio: English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV M

COMPANY: FUNimation

RELEASE DATE: August 28, 2012

Directed by Takashi Watanabe

Series Composition by Masanao Akahoshi

Screenplay by Masanao Akahoshi, Takao Yoshioka

Music by Masaru Yokoyama

Originally created by Dall-Young Lim, Kwang-Hyun Kim

Character Design by Mayumi Watanabe

Art Director: Satoru Kuwabara

Chief Animation Director: Mayumi Watanabe

Mechanical Design by Tomohiro Kawahara

Sound Director: Kouji Tsujitani

Director of Photography: Jin Saito, Seiichi Morishita

Producer: Shinsaku Tanaka, Takashi Tachizaki

Anime Production: A.C.G.T

Featuring the voices of:

Mamiko Noto/Caitlin Glass as Satellizer el Bridget

Mitsuhiro Ichiki/Josh Grelle as Kazuya Aoi

Akeno Watanabe/Carmen Smith as Yumi Kim

Ami Koshimizu/Brittney Karbowski as Ingrid Bernstein

Aya Uchida as Tichie Fenille

Eri Kitamura/Luci Christian as Ganessa Roland

Eri Mimura as Aika Takeuchi

Fumie Mizusawa/Callie McHalen as Elise Schmitz

Izumi Kitta/Liza Gonzales as Cleo Brand

Kana Hanazawa as Lana Linchen

Kana Ueda/Monica Rial as Atia Simones

Kazuyoshi Shiibashi/Liza Gonzales as Leo Bernard

Mamiko Noto/Catherine DuBord as Kazuha Aoi

Mana Tsuzurahara as Audrey Duvall

Marina Inoue/Ceelee Rose as Chiffon Fairchild

Natsuko Kuwatani/Leah Clark as Miyabi Kannazuki

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Patrick W. Reid as Arthur Climpton

Rie Yamaguchi as Mackenzie Torisu

Rieko Takahashi/Dusty Jacks as Sister Margarett

Rumi Ookubo/Alexis Tipton as Kaho Hiiragi

Yuko Kaida/Abigail Hartman as Elizabeth Maybury

Yuu Asakawa/Jad Saxton as Arnett Macmillan

Eager to follow in the footsteps of his fallen sister, Kazuya enrolls at West Genetics Academy, a training facility for buxom heroes known as Pandoras. These courageous schoolgirls are genetically enhanced with enough sex appeal to cripple a man – and the superhuman strength to slaughter aliens by the dozen. Kazuya’s role is that of Limiter, a Pandora’s battle partner, and he quickly sets his sights on the most feared beauty in school, Satellizer el Brigette.

This full-figured annihilator of aliens is as desirable as she is deadly, but rubbing her the wrong way could lead to gross bodily harm. Can Kazuya forge a bond with his new partner and rise to the top of the ranks at West Genetics? Or will he fall victim to the mysterious bloodlust lurking within Satellizer?

In 2007, a Japanese-Korean manga series known as “Freezing” was created by Dall-Young Lim and illustrations by Kwang-Hyun Kim.   Lim who is best known for creating the manga “Black God” had written well-known manhwa (Korean comics) and in 2007, Lim’s latest manga “Freezing” would be serialized in “Comic Valkyrie”.

With several volumes collected in manga format, “Freezing” would receive an anime adaptation courtesy of  A.C.G.T. and was directed by Takashi Watanabe (“Battle Skipper”, “Casshan: Robot Hunter Casshern”, “Battle Royal High School”), screenplay by Masanao Akahoshi (“The Big O”, “Duel Masters”, “Demon King Daimao”, “Zone of the Enders”), music by Masaru Yokoyama (“Queen’s Blade” series, “Arakawa Under the Bridge”), character design by Mayumi Watanabe (“Koihime”, “Happy Lesson”, “Kimagure Orange Road”) and art director by Satoru Kuwabara (“Angelium”, “Burn Up W”, “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”).

And now the series will be released via Blu-ray and DVD combo-pack courtesy of FUNimation in August 2012.

“Freezing” takes place in the future where Earth has been at war with aliens that have come from a dimension known as Nova.  In order to fight them, women with special fighting abilities known as Pandoras fight alongside with a male who has a special power known as “Freezing” to literally freeze an opponent and haven been designated the name of “Limiter”.

The competition among Pandora’s are high at West Genetics Academy and one of the top Pandora’s is a blonde, busty student named Satellizer el Bridget, well-known for her very cold demeanor and known to not want to socialize with anyone, as well as not having a limiter.

Meanwhile, a boy named Kazuya Aoi has enrolled at West Genetics.  Kazuya is a teenager who has found it difficult to get over his sister, Kazuha’s death.  Kazuha was one of the most talented Pandora’s at West Genetics and she sacrificed her life to defeat a powerful Nova and also give other’s a chance to live.

When Kazuya sees Satellizer el Bridget from afar, he mistakes her as his sister and runs up to her and hugs her.  For Satellizer, she is shocked that anyone is touching her, let alone hugging her.  And as she tries to get him off, he clings to her tightly and not wanting to let go.  Satellizer who is typically disgusted by a touch by anyone, for some reason, is not disgusted by being touched by Kazuya and this causes her to become distracted.  To the point that he also interferes with her match and causing her to lose.

Feeling terrible of causing Satellizer problems, Kazuya wants to be close to her.  But for Satellizer, due to a traumatic experience during her childhood, she doesn’t want to be touched and for years never wanted to be close to anyone.  But for some reason, Kazuya is the first person who has touched her and has not made her feel disgusted.  And his interested in her is genuine and caring.

Kazuya wants to be Satellizer’s limiter, but will she let him?

Together, the two become an incredible force and the two discover that perhaps their interest may lead to something more than being just a Pandora/Limiter partner.

“Freezing” features the following characters:

  • Kazuya Aoi – Kazuya is the younger brother of the famed and deceased Pandora Kazuha Aoi.  He cares for Pandora Satellizer el Bridget and understands her.  Similar to his late sister, 30% of his bone tissue is composed of Stigmata tissue, giving him the rare ability to freeze anything without the use of a Pandora.
  • Satellizer el Bridget – A powerful Pandora of West Genetics who has no limiter, until she meets Kazuya.  She is known for her cold demeanor and not having any friends.  Because she was sexually abused by her half-brother Louis, she has developed aphephobia (fear of being touched) and the main reason why she stays away from everyone.  She is a member of the powerful el Bridget family but her mother Noelle Alongrutch is the mistress of Howard el Bridget and grew up living in the same mansion as her father’s wife and children (the wife Olivia and son Louis despise them living in the same home, while daughter Violet is the only one who tried to protect Satellizer).  Because of her aphephobia, she has not gotten close to anyone until she meets Kazuya Aoi, the first person to show any care for her and the only person who has touched her, without her reacting negatively.
  • Rana Linchen – A Pandora from Tibet who was sent to West Genetics to find her soul mate (a Limiter) and she happens to fall for Kazuya Aoi.  But because Kazuya is dead set in being a partner with Satellizer, she looks at Satellizer as her rival in getting closer to Kazuya but also becomes her friend, after seeing how badly both Satellizer and Kazuya are treated at school.
  • Ganessa Roland – A Pandora from the UK who is the 2nd-ranked second-year Pandora.  She is very conceited and dislikes Satellizer.    Her Limiter is Arthur Crypton.
  • Kaho Hiiragi – The class representative for Kazuya and Arthur’s class.  She and Arthur often try to convince Kazuya from pursuing Satellizer to be his Pandora.
  • Arthur Crypton – Kazuya’s roommate and Ganessa’s Limiter, he is often trying to get Kazuya to stop pursuing Satellizer as his Pandora.

VIDEO:

“Freezing” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio).  As an upconvert, the series picture quality is good. It’s not a series that prides itself on beautiful artistic backgrounds and if anything, knowing its demographic is watching it for the fan service, a lot of focus goes into the closeups and showcasing a woman’s assets or numerous panty shots.  As expected for a TV series, the anime series does lean towards a more soft look but overall, because the series focuses more on character close-ups and action, this is not one of those series that is meant to make people feel in awe for its visual presence but more on its action and of course, T&A.

AUDIO:

“Freezing” is presented in English DolbyTrue HD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  While the Japanese lossless soundtrack is good via stereo and is well-acted, for its dynamic range, the English dub version is much better due to its use of the surround channels and the acting is also very well done.  But whichever version you choose, acting is well-done on both Japanese and English soundtracks but during those action scenes (and there are many), the English lossless track is better for its utilization of a 5.1 lossless, where the Japanese version is primarily front channel driven.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Freezing: Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 6 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Josh Grelle (voice of Kazuya) and Jamie Marchi (voice of Rana).
  • Episode 11 Commentary  – Featuring audio commentary by Caitlin Glass (Satellizer) and Luci Christian (voice of Ganessa).
  • OVA episodes – (18:11) Featuring six short OVA’s that focus more on the perverted fan service.
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:02) FUNimation trailer.
  • Promotional Videos – (5:07) The Japanese promotional video for “Freezing”.
  • Original Commercials – (1:18) The original Japanese commercials for “Freezing”.
  • Textless Opening and Ending Themes

EXTRAS:

“Freezing: Complete Series” comes with the entire series on both Blu-ray and DVD.

When it comes to fan service anime featuring women with big breasts and panty shots galore, there are plenty of them.  From “Gravion”, “Tenjo Tenge” to “Sekirei”, suffice to say, T&A anime are common in Japan and despite being targeted to a certain demographic, while often at times, these type of anime series can be kitsch, sometimes you are surprised when one features an in-depth storyline.

“Freezing” has the banality of action/fighting series such as “Tenjo Tenge” and “Sekirei”, “Freezing” play the underdog card by showcasing a protagonist named Kazuya Aoi who is weak but kindhearted and you eventually find out that he has a rare special ability.  Then you add in Satellizer el Bridget, your buxom blonde who is cold and deadly but also a woman who has kept herself distant because of her aphephobia of years of being sexually abused by her step-brother.

Aside from its fan service, you really want to root for both Satellizer and Kazuya because they are literally the underdogs, the outcasts and are constantly picked on.  But the bullies will quickly learn that these two are powerful when they are together.  You know these two need each other and feel good being with each other but both are also shy and not sure how to interpret their emotions.

Also, unlike other series where nudity will make a group of perverted guys having blood shooting from their noses when they nudity, “Freezing” is different by the fact that often in battle, women are seen naked and it’s like nudity is not much of a big thing.  Yes, Kazuya is your typical cherry boy who questions Satellizer’s choice of skimpy clothing at times but other than that, you don’t hear many guys going crazy about boobs but more excited about seeing the best Pandora’s in competition.  So, it’s a bit fascinating in that aspect, as those reactions separate “Freezing” from other similar anime series that play upon the show’s perverseness.

And for those who want more titillating, perverted storylines, that is where the short OVA’s come along.  These are more perverse than the actual main story and are simply short stories created visually for the horny otaku.

While the Blu-ray presentation is good for an upconvert and soft as one would expect from a TV series, voice acting is well-done on both Japanese and English lossless soundtracks but of course, the English version is much better due to its 5.1 lossless track as opposed to the Japanese 2.0 track.  Aside from the six short OVA’s, you also get two audio commentary.  And what I liked about this audio commentary is that instead of the moderator asking questions about one’s involvement in the series, the talent are answering questions written down and getting into conversations about voice actors taking part in a fan service anime series to anime con experiences.  So, if you are fan of the main English voice dub talent in this series, you will enjoy the two audio commentaries.

Overall, “Freezing” was an entertaining sci-fi series with a lot of action and fan service.  But instead of being banal in storyline, it takes a different approach of showcasing a protagonist who has had a traumatic past.  So, aside from all the T&A that is seen in this series, there is actually a fascinating plot that continues to build until the final episode.

So, if you are looking for an anime series with a lot of action and big boobs and panty shots galore, “Freezing: Complete Series” is definitely for you!

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