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Terraformars (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 11, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

“Terraformars” is an anime series that will no doubt entertaining anime fans who are looking for a lot of action (but also a lot of violence).  This is a series that spares no expense of offing key characters and a series that showcases the survival of the Annex 1 team on Mars as they take on thousands of evolved cockroaches intent on killing them.  While it does not incorporate everything that the manga series featured, it’s still a solid, action anime series worth watching!

Image courtesy of © Ken-Ichi Tachibana, Yu Sasuga/SHUEISHA Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Terra Formars

DURATION: (Episodes 1-13) 312 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: January 23, 2018


Directed by Hiroshi Hamasaki

Series Composition: Shogo Yasukawa

Music by Shusei Murai

Originally Created by Kenichi Tachibana and Yu Sasuga

Character Design:  Masanori Shino, Satoshi Kimura

Art Director: Minami Kasuga

Anime Production: LIDEN FILMS


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hidenobu Kiuchi/Christopher Smith as Shōkichi Komachi

Kaito Ishikawa/Robbie Daymond as Marcos Eringrad Garcia

Kenn/Steve Cannon as Alex Kandori Stewart

Shizuka Itou/Eric Lindbeck as Michelle K. Davis

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Chris Niosi as Akari Hizamaru

Ai Kayano/Erica Lindbeck as Sheila Levitt

Aki Toyosaki/Erin Fitzgerald as Yaeko Yanasegawa

Akira Ishida/Todd Haberkorn as Joseph G. Newton

Ayane Sakura/Cristina Vale as Eva Frost

Chiaki Takahashi/Cherami Leigh as Kanako Sanjō

Daisuke Ono/Max Mittelman as Keiji Onizuka

Kenji Akabane/Christopher Smith as Ivan Perepelkina

Koji Yusa/Doug Erholtz as Adolf Reinhard

Kouji Ishii/Peter Lurie as Narration

Tetsuo Komura/Kyle Hebert as Liu Yiwu

Tomokazu Sugita as Ichirō Hiruma

Tooru Nara/Max Mittelman as Aleksandr Asimov

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Keith Silverstein as Shichisei Hiruma

Unshō Ishizuka/Patrick Seitz as Sylvester Asimov


In the deep silence of space, the planet Mars hisses with death. On Earth, a mysterious virus is devastating the human race. To find a cure and give humanity a fighting chance of survival, a multinational team of genetically modified citizens must race to the Red Planet and uncover its secrets. What awaits is the bloody aftermath of a colonization attempt gone horribly wrong–hordes of hyper-evolved cockroaches known as “Terraformars” roam keen to kill. Earth’s chosen stand ready for combat and ready to change the course of human history. The question is which species can unite for victory.


In 2011, writer Yu Sasuga and artist Kenichi Tachibana would create “Terra Formars”, a manga series that would become a major hit in Japan.

First serialized in Shueisha’s “Weekly Young Jump”, “Terra Formars” was ranked #1 in the 2013 “Kono Manga ga Sugoi!” top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey and an anime series produced by LIDEN FILMS would be air on Japanese TV in 2015.

And now the series will be released on Blu-ray/DVD courtesy of Viz Media.

With Earth looking to colonize Mars which is undergoing its final stages of Terraforming and now becoming a green planet, a group of 15 men and women have been sent to Mars to check on the Terraformation of the planet.

Meanwhile, on Earth, the planet is falling into ruin due to environmental destruction and energy shortages, so Mars has been the focus by scientists.

Scientists have used moss and a black organism to darken the surface of the planet and causing it to absorb more sunlight, increase temperatures and melting the carbon dioxide.

The black organism used by scientists were cockroaches.

As the 15 men and women of BUGS 2 arrive on the planet on their mission to evaluate the planet but also to find out what happened to the first crew (BUGS 1) that landed on the planet.

The team discover that the Terraforming has succeeded but to their shock, the cockroaches have mutated with human bodies.

And now the humans have become the hunted.

Because the cockroaches exhibit all abilities of a cockroach, it was learned that scientists embedded human DNA in them and their mutation has made them beings that would not just survive in Mars but also exhibiting human characteristics and a hatred towards humanity (as humanity has had a hatred towards cockroaches).

But humanity also has found a way for humans to counteract the cockroaches by using injections of insects on humans that will briefly give them insect powers. But is it enough for the humans to survive in Mars as they are now considered the pests for the planet in which the humanoid cockroaches are the primary species?

The anime series is set 20-years later and Shokichi Komachi is now the new head of U-NASA. As one of the few survivors to escape from Mars and survive the cockroach onslaught, the Earth he has returned to is not just facing an overpopulation problem but also a widespread virus that came from Mars.

The bad news that the only way to stop it is to confirm the existence of the virus and determine its type and bring it back to Earth in hopes to create a vaccine.

But will Shokichi find a new group of people willing to sacrifice their lives for humanity by going to Mars and prepare for the onslaught of cockroach/humans that have infested the planet and want nothing more than to kill the humans?

As the Terraformars have invaded the spacecraft of Annex 1, it becomes a battle of survival as the recruits must prepare for a crash landing on Mars, but to find out that not only have Earth’s recruits have evolved, so have the Terraformars!

On Mars, the officers come across different types of Terraformars that somehow have other insect abilities. Did they evolve that way or is someone responsible for the insects becoming bipedal humanoid.


VIDEO:

“Terraformars” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16×9). Featuring character designs that respect Tachibana’s original manga artwork, overall picture quality is well-done and colors are vibrant.  I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding issues with this series on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Terraformars” is presented in Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Crystal clear dialogue and music through the front channels.  Both soundtracks are well-acted.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Terraformars” comes with interviews with the English dub talent (Erica Lindbeck, Chris Niosi, Patrick Seitz and Viz Media’s Terraformars Team), clean opening and ending and an art gallery.

EXTRAS:

“Terraformars” comes with both the Blu-ray and DVD of the series.


In America, there have been a number of sci-fi films that have featured humanity taking on various alien species on Mars.

But what makes Yu Sasuga and Ken-Ichi Tachibana’s “Terraformars” so fascinating and also exciting is the science of Terra Formation and how scientists were able to create something that may lead to their own demise.

It’s interesting because of all species to bring on Mars, any human would know that cockroaches are the most resilient insect. Not only are they quick but they are very hard to kill.

Stepping on them doesn’t always fully kill them, throwing them away in a toilet in water also doesn’t kill them as they try to escape. So, for anyone familiar with the resilient cockroach can possibly think if a cockroach evolved to something much larger than a human being, not only would it be powerful but also hard to kill.

And despite humans ability to strategize, without having the same power to fight back, humans on Mars are literally defenseless. And to fight back, the use of insect injections from powerful insects in the planet may be what is needed to fight against these human cockroaches.

This first half features Shokichi recruit a ragtag bunch of people willing to sacrifice themselves in hopes for a payday but also in hopes for a vaccine to help eliminate the virus from Mars that have been killing people all over the globe.  But will these new recruits encounter the same tragic experience that Shokichi had once endured?

And once the humans return to Mars, unfortunately things don’t happen all that well as it all seems doom and gloom from the start as the Terraformars have invaded the spacecraft of Annex 1 and when the crew does reach Mars, they realize that the enemies they have fought, also have gain intelligence and a new brand of fighting back. Which does not sound good for humanity, at all!

It’s a very exciting and action-packed anime series for sure.  But having read Yu Sasuga and Kenichi Tachibana’s manga series prior to watching the anime, there are differences.

For one, the manga began with the first 15 men and women of BUGS 2 to arrive on the planet on their mission to evaluate the planet but also to find out what happened to the first crew (BUGS 1) that landed on the planet.  The team discover that the Terraforming has succeeded but to their shock, the cockroaches have mutated with human bodies.

In the anime series, it immediately begins with the introduction to Akari Hizamaru trying to save his childhood friend Yuriko and then by episode 2, featuring the Annex 1 heading to Mars.

The manga series put a lot of thought into its introduction, a glimmer of what will transpire on Earth and then the introduction to the characters and Annex 1 heading to Mars.  The manga also went into a lot of details trying to describe the insect or mammal/animal they were tested with.

The anime series focuses on Akari and Michelle K. Davis, with other episodes giving certain characters their own introduction.  While still action-packed and exciting, the anime series does miss out on a lot of the character building storylines and that’s unfortunate.

The animation is respectful to the manga series and one thing I like about the anime series is seeing the color differentiation with the characters.  The manga series could get a bit confusing as certain characters look the same (and it doesn’t help that so many characters are introduced), so the animation does have that as an advantage.  Picture quality is good with slight softness but LIDEN FILMS did a good job.   The lossless soundtrack in Japanese and English stereo and the voice acting for both soundtracks are well-acted.

 

As for special features, the Blu-ray comes with interviews, clean opening and ending and an art gallery.

Overall, “Terraformars” is an anime series that will no doubt entertaining anime fans who are looking for a lot of action (but also a lot of violence).  This is a series that spares no expense of offing key characters and a series that showcases the survival of the Annex 1 team on Mars as they take on thousands of evolved cockroaches intent on killing them.  While it does not incorporate everything that the manga series featured, it’s still a solid, action anime series worth watching!

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

February 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

jormungand-s1

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!

 

Monsuno: Combat Chaos (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

monsuno-combatchaos

“Monsuno: Combat Chaos” continues the adventures of Team Core-Tech in the first five episodes of season two! “Monsuno” is a fun and entertaining animated series that has similarities to shows such as “Pokemon” or “Digimon” but a unique story that ties in with their toy merchandise line very well. An animated series that parents (who are young at heart) will enjoy watching with their children and safe action animated series for the children to watch on their own.   “Monsuno: Combat Chaos” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2013 Pacific Animation Partners, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Monsuno: Combat Chaos

DURATION: Episodes 28-31 (110 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, NTSC, English Dolby Digital 2.0

COMPANY: Jakks Pacific, dentsu, Fremantle Media Enterprises, Topps, Shout Factory

RATED: TV Y7 FV

Release Date: August 27, 2013

Director: Yoshiaki Okumura

Produced By: Jared Wolfson, Yukio Kusumoto

Producer: Chapman Maddox

Associate Producer: Joh Hudson, Yuichi Kinishita

Story Editor: Michael Ryan

Character Design: Yuichiro Hayashi

Creature Design: Designmate

Animation Creature Design: Hiroto Kato

Creature Design Director: Takaaki Hirayama, Masahiko Okura, Hiroto Kato

Art Director: Tomoko Iwasa

Mecha / Prop Design: Yasuhiro Moriki

Background Director: Shigemi Ikeda

Background Art: Shigemi Ikeda

Music by Michael Taera

Cinematography by Naoki Serizawa

Edited by Masaki Sakamoto

Casting by Rene Veilleux

Featuring the following voice talent:

Cam Clark as Chase

Christopher Smith as Bren

Karen Strassman as Jinja

Keith Silverstein as Dax

Kirk Thornton as Beyal

“Chase Suno and his Core-Tech team have emerged victorious in their most recent battle with Eklipse and S.T.O.R.M. With Core-Tech’s victory, Chase has been given the opportunity to decide the fate of the Monsuno. Believing that mankind and Monsuno can one day coexist peacefully, Chase allows them to live. But new foes lurk in the shadows, waiting for their chance to strike. Is now their time? Find out with the first five episodes of Monsuno’s outrageously exciting second season!”

With the first half of season two of “Monsuno” having aired on television, Shout! Factory will be releasing “Monsuno: Combat Chaos” on DVD.

Featuring the first five episodes of season two (episodes 27-31), with Team Core-Tech having defeated the Eklipse Organization, this time around, the team come face-to-face with a members of the Forge Resistance., Drezz and the Punk Monks who work for Professor Tallis.  As the enemies try to obtain the Wild Core Bomb that can destroy the entire city, Team Core-Tech wants to make sure it doesn’t happen!

What is Monsuno?

In Japan is known for having popular series that revolved around its product merchandise! From “Pokemon”, “Digimon”, “B-Daman”, “Bakugan” and many others.

But in America, replicating that success would have to feature toys that are fun to play and characters that children can identify with and also lead them to buying the merchandise in stores.

One of popular toys that have made it onto store shelves with a lot of buzz is “Monsuno” and for its animated series, we are seeing the collaboration between American and Japanese companies with the involvement of Dentsu, Jakks Pacific, FremantleMedia Enterprises and Topps.

“Monsuno” (also known as “Jusen Batoru Monsuno” or “Beast Rotation Battle Monsuno” in Japan) is directed by Yoshiaki Okumura (“Eyeshield 21”, “Dragon Drive”, “Eien no Aseria”), featuring character designs by Yuichiro Hayashi (“Soten Koro”, “PES: Peace Eco Smile”) and art direction by Shigemi Ikeda (“Bokurano”, “Basilisk”, “Gantz”, “Afro Samurai”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”, “InuYasha”).

Premiering on Nicktoons in the U.S. with a total of 26-episodes shown, “Monsuno” will receive its first DVD release (titled “Monsuno: Destiny”) courtesy of Shout Factory featuring the first five episodes.

“Monsuno” revolves around three teenagers: Chase Suno, Jinja and Bren. As all three are adventure-seeking individuals, both Jinja and Bren help Chase look for his father Jeredy Suno who has gone missing in the Himalayas.

When they arrive to S.T.O.R.M. lab, the place looks like it has received major damage but inside is Jon Ace, a man that Chase is familiar with. Jon tells Chase that his father left him something inside a sealed door but the only way to get access is through his handprint. When Jon puts his hand on the panel the door opens to reveal a a Monsuno Glowblade with a computer featuring a special message for his son. But once Chase grabs the GlowBlade, Charlemagne, the commander of S.T.O.R.M. has his soldiers hold Chase and friends by gunpoint and for them to give up the GlowBlade since it belongs to S.T.O.R.M.

But Chase refuses and when things go for the worse, Chase thinks about the message that his father left and so Chase throws the Monsuno GlowBlade to the ground and upon contact, a big Monsuno monster comes out. Nearly invincible Chase and friends run away. As the big white monster pretty much chases all soldiers of S.T.O.R.M. out of the building, including Chase and friends, thinking that Chase and friends have lost the big white monster, the monster finds them immediately.

But to their surprise, the big white monster, which Chase gives the name “Lock” is friendly to them. The computer message left by Chase’s father explains that he discovered Monsuno DNA that has been around since before mankind. And by using the DNA of other animals, he was able to create the Monsuno. In Lock’s case, he is a hybrid of a polar bear, gorilla and tiger But with this technology, he wants to keep it out of the hands of S.T.O.R.M. Also, learning that the GlowBlade is where the Monsuno lives and where it heals.

But just as Chase and friends think they have escaped from S.T.O.R.M., the evil company manages to find them and each time, a battle between S.T.O.R.M’s Monsuno vs. Chase’s Lock are engaged in battle.

Eventually in the next two episodes, we see how Bren and Jinja end up getting their own Monsuno, plus the trio learn how important it is to trust the right people because not only is S.T.O.R.M. after Locke, as well as the Monsuno, but other evil antagonists are after it as well.

With season two and Team Core-Tech having mastered their Monsuno, the group now faces a new threat… Professor Tallis who has sent members of the Forge Resistance in obtaining the destructive Wild Core Bomb.

The episodes featured in “Monsuno: Combat Chaos” are the following (spoilerless summaries):

  • EPISODE 27 – Flash – Team Core-Tech come face-to-face with members of the Forge Resistance, Drezz and the Punk Monks.
  • EPISODE 28 – Bang – Can Team Core-Tech prevent Professor Tallis and the Forge Resistance from using the Mega Wild Core Bomb.
  • EPISODE 29 – Mysterious – Medea and her team begin following Team Core-Tech, especially Chase.
  • EPISODE 30 – Antithesis – Team Core-Tech take on S.T.O.R.M’s Strike Squad.
  • EPISODE 31 – Kidnapped – Dax goes back to his hometown after receiving information about his parents, but it may be a trap!

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Monsuno” is an interesting animated series because right off the bat, it looks like an anime series but the character designs seem a bit different from most anime television series and that is probably because the studio was focusing on making the series look and feel like an anime but with a western animated feel. Character and monster designs are well animated and the art backgrounds look well-detailed and look very good on DVD.

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and is front channel driven and English dialogue is clear and well-acted.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Monsuno: Combat Chaos” comes with short video profiles for Bren and Dax.

“Monsuno: Combat Chaos” is back with the first five episodes of season two.

Featuring Team Core-Tech taking on the Forge Resistance and Professor Tallis, they also run into some trouble with S.T.O.R.M.

As the first season focused on Chase Suno looking for his father and taking on S.T.O.R.M., the second season focuses on the team taking on a new antagonist who have weapons that can destroy the entire city.  And that is something that Chase and the team will not let happen.  But also episodes featuring Dax trying to get information about his missing parents.

With the last DVD’s focusing on the first ten episodes of season one, I was a bit surprise to see the jump to season two.  But I would imagine that hopefully that means “Monsuno” season one will receive a season box set.  But for now, for those who enjoyed season two, fortunately, the first five episodes are available now on DVD with “Combat Chaos”.

For the most part, “Monsuno” is an entertaining animated series featuring a joint-collaboration between American and Japanese companies and literally a series that helps promote the toyline courtesy of Jakks Pacific.

While the series has the feel of “Pokemon”, what makes the series so different is that the main protagonists are older teenagers and they tend to get themselves into trouble often. The series is action-packed but also tied to their toyline, so the teenagers are often seen throwing their “Monsuno” capsules to release them.

While I’m not sure how the toys are or how they are played, since the debut of the first DVD, I’ve been seeing a lot of “Monsuno” toys on the shelves, so I’m guessing the series has a dedicated audience.

“Monsuno” is also diverse as it features a Japanese (or Japanese American) protagonist with Chase Suno, Jinja is an independent, intelligent and kick-butt female protagonist and while Bren does a lot of whining, he makes up for it with his excellent computer skills. “Monsuno: Power” adds Beyal and Dax, two individuals who are also of a different race and adds to the diverse cast of the animated series so far.

My 10-year-old son is a big Pokemon fan but immediately after watching these five episodes, he was really getting into the series and wanted to check out the “Monsuno” toys immediately after watching. The whole concept of tossing your GlowBlade toy with a Monsuno coming out is quite interesting and I have no doubt that this series will appeal to children who will most likely ask their parents to purchase them the toys.

These five episodes of season two have been enjoyable but for parents who are wondering if the series is safe for their children, I would recommend it for older children.

The monsters may seem scar to younger children and the fact that Chase and friends are constantly being chased down by soldiers with weapons and they do get injured at times, while not super violent, parents may want to watch the series with their child to see if its right for them. But no doubt, I know that with these episodes alone, more than likely like my child, your children will be wanting the toys.

As for the DVD, while I prefer watching the series as a full complete season versus a five episode DVD release, I can only hope that Shout Factory does plan to release the whole series as a full set.  But for parents who have children who enjoy the toys, the kids will no doubt enjoy “Monsuno: Combat Chaos”.

Overall, “Monsuno” is a fun and entertaining animated series that has similarities to shows such as “Pokemon” or “Digimon” but a unique story that ties in with their toy merchandise line very well. An animated series that parents (who are young at heart) will enjoy watching with their children, me and my son really enjoyed “Monsuno” and look forward to the next DVD release.

“Monsuno: Combat Chaos” is recommended!

Monsuno: Power (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

May 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“Monsuno” is a fun and entertaining animated series that has similarities to shows such as “Pokemon” or “Digimon” but a unique story that ties in with their toy merchandise line very well. An animated series that parents (who are young at heart) will enjoy watching with their children, “Monsuno: Power” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2011 Pacific Animation Partners, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Monsuno: Power

DURATION: Episodes 6-10 (110 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, NTSC, English Dolby Digital 2.0

COMPANY: Jakks Pacific, dentsu, Fremantle Media Enterprises, Topps, Shout Factory

RATED: TV Y7 FV

Release Date: May 21, 2013

Director: Yoshiaki Okumura

Produced By: Jared Wolfson, Yukio Kusumoto

Producer: Chapman Maddox

Associate Producer: Joh Hudson, Yuichi Kinishita

Story Editor: Michael Ryan

Character Design: Yuichiro Hayashi

Creature Design: Designmate

Animation Creature Design: Hiroto Kato

Creature Design Director: Takaaki Hirayama, Masahiko Okura, Hiroto Kato

Art Director: Tomoko Iwasa

Mecha / Prop Design: Yasuhiro Moriki

Background Director: Shigemi Ikeda

Background Art: Shigemi Ikeda

Music by Michael Taera

Cinematography by Naoki Serizawa

Edited by Masaki Sakamoto

Casting by Rene Veilleux

Featuring the following voice talent:

Cam Clark as Chase

Christopher Smith as Bren

Karen Strassman as Jinja

Keith Silverstein as Dax

Kirk Thornton as Beyal

The Monsuno series is a high-octane epic action-adventure series where kids discover, command and battle creatures with tremendous destructive potential. When a race to harness the power of Monsuno ensues between a group of teenagers and evil forces focused on destroying the Earth, the adolescents spring into action to defend our planet! Built around powerful, action-driven animation, dynamic characters and a deeply woven original story mythology

The adventures continue in the second “Monsuno” DVD as Chase Suno, Jinja, Bren and Beyal search for Chase’s father, meanwhile Commandant Marshall Charlemagne continues to pursue them.  But the group meet a cocky individual named Dax, but is he friend or foe?

Find out in the episodes 5-10 of of “Monsuno”!

What is Monsuno?

In Japan is known for having popular series that revolved around its product merchandise! From “Pokemon”, “Digimon”, “B-Daman”, “Bakugan” and many others.

But in America, replicating that success would have to feature toys that are fun to play and characters that children can identify with and also lead them to buying the merchandise in stores.

One of popular toys that have made it onto store shelves with a lot of buzz is “Monsuno” and for its animated series, we are seeing the collaboration between American and Japanese companies with the involvement of Dentsu, Jakks Pacific, FremantleMedia Enterprises and Topps.

“Monsuno” (also known as “Jusen Batoru Monsuno” or “Beast Rotation Battle Monsuno” in Japan) is directed by Yoshiaki Okumura (“Eyeshield 21”, “Dragon Drive”, “Eien no Aseria”), featuring character designs by Yuichiro Hayashi (“Soten Koro”, “PES: Peace Eco Smile”) and art direction by Shigemi Ikeda (“Bokurano”, “Basilisk”, “Gantz”, “Afro Samurai”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”, “InuYasha”).

Premiering on Nicktoons in the U.S. with a total of 26-episodes shown, “Monsuno” will receive its first DVD release (titled “Monsuno: Destiny”) courtesy of Shout Factory featuring the first five episodes.

“Monsuno” revolves around three teenagers: Chase Suno, Jinja and Bren. As all three are adventure-seeking individuals, both Jinja and Bren help Chase look for his father Jeredy Suno who has gone missing in the Himalayas.

When they arrive to S.T.O.R.M. lab, the place looks like it has received major damage but inside is Jon Ace, a man that Chase is familiar with. Jon tells Chase that his father left him something inside a sealed door but the only way to get access is through his handprint. When Jon puts his hand on the panel the door opens to reveal a a Monsuno Glowblade with a computer featuring a special message for his son. But once Chase grabs the GlowBlade, Charlemagne, the commander of S.T.O.R.M. has his soldiers hold Chase and friends by gunpoint and for them to give up the GlowBlade since it belongs to S.T.O.R.M.

But Chase refuses and when things go for the worse, Chase thinks about the message that his father left and so Chase throws the Monsuno GlowBlade to the ground and upon contact, a big Monsuno monster comes out. Nearly invincible Chase and friends run away. As the big white monster pretty much chases all soldiers of S.T.O.R.M. out of the building, including Chase and friends, thinking that Chase and friends have lost the big white monster, the monster finds them immediately.

But to their surprise, the big white monster, which Chase gives the name “Lock” is friendly to them. The computer message left by Chase’s father explains that he discovered Monsuno DNA that has been around since before mankind. And by using the DNA of other animals, he was able to create the Monsuno. In Lock’s case, he is a hybrid of a polar bear, gorilla and tiger But with this technology, he wants to keep it out of the hands of S.T.O.R.M. Also, learning that the GlowBlade is where the Monsuno lives and where it heals.

But just as Chase and friends think they have escaped from S.T.O.R.M., the evil company manages to find them and each time, a battle between S.T.O.R.M’s Monsuno vs. Chase’s Lock are engaged in battle.

Eventually in the next two episodes, we see how Bren and Jinja end up getting their own Monsuno, plus the trio learn how important it is to trust the right people because not only is S.T.O.R.M. after Locke, as well as the Monsuno, but other evil antagonists are after it as well.

Can Chase and friends find his father in time? And will he and his friends be able to master the Monsuno in battle?

In “Monsuno: Power”, as the group have traveled to Mandala and met a young controller named Beyal, S.T.O.R.M. tries to set-up a blockade to prevent Team Core-Tech to leave Mandala.  Meanwhile, Beyal reveals through meditation that there will be a fifth member to join them.  While Chase is determined in finding his brother, Jinja starts to have a crush on Beyal and Bren starts to be disappointed that others are joining the group.

The episodes featured in “Monsuno: Power” are the following (spoilerless summaries):

  • EPISODE 6 – Breakthrough – As the group try to leave Mandala, S.T.O.R.M. tries to prevent the group from leaving.
  • EPISODE 7 – R.S.V.P. – As the group head to the Lowlands, the group run into a cocky controller named Dax and Chase goes against him.
  • EPISODE 8 – Appleseeds – The group continue on to the Lowlands to follow Dax, but can they trust him?
  • EPISODE 9 – Eye – Dax joins the team, but no one trusts him.
  • EPISODE 10 – Deceit – Dax joins the group and Chase wonders if the fifth member should be Dax.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Monsuno” is an interesting animated series because right off the bat, it looks like an anime series but the character designs seem a bit different from most anime television series and that is probably because the studio was focusing on making the series look and feel like an anime but with a western animated feel. Character and monster designs are well animated and the art backgrounds look well-detailed and look very good on DVD.

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and is front channel driven and English dialogue is clear and well-acted.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Monsuno: Power” comes with short video profiles for Dr. Klipse and Jinja.

The group continues to grow with the addition of Beyal and Dax in the latest episodes of “Monsuno”!

“Monsuno” is an entertaining animated series featuring a joint-collaboration between American and Japanese companies and literally a series that helps promote the toyline courtesy of Jakks Pacific.

While the series has the feel of “Pokemon”, what makes the series so different is that the main protagonists are older teenagers and they tend to get themselves into trouble often. The series is action-packed but also tied to their toyline, so the teenagers are often seen throwing their “Monsuno” capsules to release them.

While I’m not sure how the toys are, since the debut of the first DVD, I’ve been seeing a lot of “Monsuno” toys on the shelves, so I’m guessing the series has a dedicated audience.

“Monsuno” is also diverse as it features a Japanese (or Japanese American) protagonist with Chase Suno, Jinja is an independent, intelligent and kick-butt female protagonist and while Bren does a lot of whining, he makes up for it with his excellent computer skills. “Monsuno: Power” adds Beyal and Dax, two individuals who are also of a different race and adds to the diverse cast of the animated series so far.

My 10-year-old son is a big Pokemon fan but immediately after watching these five episodes, he was really getting into the series and wanted to check out the “Monsuno” toys immediately after watching. The whole concept of tossing your GlowBlade toy with a Monsuno coming out is quite interesting and I have no doubt that this series will appeal to children who will most likely ask their parents to purchase them the toys.

So far, the first five episodes of the series have been enjoyable but for parents who are wondering if the series is safe for their children, I would recommend it for older children.

The monsters may seem scar to younger children and the fact that Chase and friends are constantly being chased down by soldiers with weapons and they do get injured at times, while not super violent, parents may want to watch the series with their child to see if its right for them. But no doubt, I know that with these episodes alone, more than likely like my child, your children will be wanting the toys.

As for the DVD, while I prefer watching the series as a full complete season versus a five episode DVD release, I can only hope that Shout Factory does plan to release the whole series as a full set, otherwise, one will probably have to purchase several volumes just to complete a season.

Overall, “Monsuno” is a fun and entertaining animated series that has similarities to shows such as “Pokemon” or “Digimon” but a unique story that ties in with their toy merchandise line very well. An animated series that parents (who are young at heart) will enjoy watching with their children, me and my son really enjoyed “Monsuno” and look forward to the next DVD release.

“Monsuno: Power” is recommended!

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