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Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement” is a series that will interest those who continue to play the “Sengoku Basara” video games and those who have watched the previous anime series and the animated film. With the many characters featured, literally there can be new “Sengoku Basara” anime series dedicate to various army’s and multiple storylines. This third series focuses on the Battle of Sekigahara and focuses on Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu. All in all, an anime series with a good combination of humor and action but also more of a focus on human emotion after tragedy. If you enjoy “Sengoku Basara”, definitely give “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” a try!

Image courtesy of © CAPCOM/TEAM BASARA. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: December 27, 2016


Directed by Takashi Sano

Series Composition by Natsuko Takahashi

Character Design by Michinori Chiba

Art Director: Daisuke Jinba

Chief Animation Director: Toshimitsu Kobayashi, Yumenosuke Tokuda

Anime Production by Telecom Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kazuya Nakai/Robert McCollum as Date Masamune

Souichiro Hoshi/Johnny Yong Bosch as Sanada Yukimura

Tomokazu Seki/Matthew Mercer as Ishida Mitsunari

Toru Ohkawa/Liam O’Brien as Tokugawa Ieyasu

Ami Koshimizu/Kat Steel as Tsuruhime

Fumihiko Tachiki/Mark Stoddard as Ohtani Yoshitsugu

Jun Fukuyama/Tony Oliver as Kobayakawa Hideaki

Kenichi Ogata/R. Bruce Elliott as Shimazu Yoshihiro

Mamiko Noto/Laura Bailey as Oichi

Masakazu Morita/Eric Vale as Maeda Keiji

Natsuko Kuwatani/Stephanie Sheh as Kasuga

Noriaki Sugiyama/Brittney Karbowski as Otomo Sourin

Rikiya Koyama/Richard Epcar as Kuroda Kanbee

Romi Park/Greg Ayres as Uesugi Kenshin

Takehito Koyasu/Michael Sinterniklaas as Sarutobi Sasauke

Tessho Genda/Chris Ayres as Takeda Shingen

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Travis Willingham as Katakura Kojuro


Get ready for the hacking, slashing battle of a lifetime in a new adaptation of the Sengoku Basara franchise. The new installment, based on the world created by Capcom, revolves around one massive conflict featuring mechanized samurai, mystical ninjas, gun-toting warriors, and a blinding array of deadly special moves! During the turbulent period of warring states, numerous feudal lords sought to rule the land of the rising sun. With Nobunaga defeated, Hideyoshi lead a brutal campaign to wipe out the remaining combatants. His ambitions were crushed, however, when he was betrayed by the idealistic Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu’s rebellion marked the start of a new conflict that would put old and new alliances to the test as Hideyoshi’s loyal followers began plotting their revenge, and the other remaining lords prepared their armies for the showdown at Sekigahara.


When it comes to video games that feature samurai’s and a general taking on hoards of enemies, in the US, “Samurai Warriors” (similar to Dynasty Warriors) from KOEI is well-known. But in Japan, CAPCOM began their own series known as “Sengoku Basara” (Devil Kings) which takes place during the Sengoku period and a similar concept as their rivals and has also earned its strong fan following.

In 2005, the first game was released for the Sony Playstation 2 and was released in the U.S. (as “Devil Kings”) but unfortunately, CAPCOM tried to change the whole story of the Sengoku period by trying to connect it to their “Devil May Cry” series in order to attract players but because of the changes and the localization crew feeling they needed to make it more difficult in America, needless to say, it was a failure. People wanted the same game that was in Japan and within the last six years, there have been numerous video game releases.

In Japan, two seasons of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” aired. Followed by “Sengoku Basara II” in 2010, a film version titled “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” was released in 2011 and in 2014, a third TV series titled “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” based on the video game “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes” was released and was released by Funimation.

What is “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement” about?

The third anime series is much different from the previous two seasons as the previous were animated by Production I.G. and now the series is produced by Telecom Animation Film.  As this storyline is considered an “alternate setting” and instead of focusing on many battles, the storyline focuses on the Sekigahara Battle and takes place after the death of Oda Nobunaga.

The anime series takes place during the Sengoku Period and the warlord Oda Nobunaga was betrayed and killed by his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide.  Toyotomi Hideyoshi would defeat Mitsuhide and would launch an attack on Odawara Castle, home of the Houjoi Clan.

As the Date Army got involved with the battle, they were defeated by Toyotomi’s warrior, Ishida Mitsunari.

Toyotomi’s attack was short-lived as Tokugawa Ieyasu would defeat Toyotomi Hideyoshi and kill him in combat.  But another force tried to attack Tokugawa’s forces, Oda Nobunaga’s sister, Oichi.   As for Toyotomi’s army, the new leader would now be led by Ishida Mitsunari.

Meanwhile, word gets through to Chousokabe Motochika that his land had been attacked by his friend, Tokugawa.  And due to his betrayal, Chousokabe wants revenge.

And as everyone worries about war in the land, new alliances are formed.  Who will be left standing?


VIDEO:

“Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the animation from Telecom Animation is slightly different from Production I.G. when it comes to character design and also background designs.  It’s subjective to the viewer and I’m slightly biased towards Production I.G., but I will say that Telecom Animation did a good job.

Colors are absolutely vibrant and bold. Also, very good lighting effects throughout the film.  I detected no banding, artifacting or anything negative about the picture quality for “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party”.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” is presented in lossless English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. Personally, I enjoyed the Japanese soundtrack because the generals sound much more menacing while I felt the English dub, as good as it is, sometimes I feel certain voice talent are overly used and they sound the same for no matter what characters they play.

Personally, I enjoyed the Japanese soundtrack because the generals sound much more menacing while I felt the English dub, as good as it is, sometimes I feel certain voice talent are overly used and they sound the same for no matter what characters they play. In the first season, I mentioned that although I enjoy Johnny Yong Bosch’s acting work when it comes to “Bleach”, but his Yukimura (Sengoku Basara) sounds like an annoying version of Ichigo (Bleach). But with that being said, the English dub has grown on me and felt the FUNimation English dub actors did a fine job.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“SSengoku Basara: Edge of Judgement” contains the following special features:

  • Episode 01 Audio Commentary – Audio Commentary by Taliesen Jaffe (ADR Director) and Michael Sinterniklaas (voice of Sarutobi Sasuke).
  • Episode 03 Audio Commentary – Audio Commentary by Christopher Bevins (ADR Director), Robert Mccollum (voice of Data Masamune) and Eric Vale (voice of Maeda Keiji).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song – Featuring “Thunderclap” and “Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~”.
  • Trailers

There is no doubt that in Japan, “Sengoku Basara” has a pretty strong fan following from its video games and anime series, especially among the cosplayers who are often seen doing group cosplay of the characters from the series.

For “Sengoku Basara”, it’s a popular video game series that has tried to make these warring clans (that happen to live in the same time period) and generals with amazing abilities take on each other. But in order to keep the storylines fresh for the video games, alternate settings are going to be common place and the same can be said for the “Sengoku Basara” anime series.

In the case of “Sengoku Basara”, because there are many characters, instead of focusing on a certain historical battle of the same two people, the series tends to focus on other characters.

“Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” is the third series and the two characters foucused on is Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu.  For those not familiar with Japanese history, the “Battle of Sekigahara” was a battle that would establish the Tokugawa shogunate and prove to people the power and leadership of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

The series focuses on the storyline of Oda Nobunaga as the person who had control of most of Japan until he was betrayed by his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide.  Toyotomi Hideyoshi avenged his master.  And this is where the anime series differs from history as Tokugawa Ieyasu betrays Toyotomi Hideyoshi, leaving Hideyoshi’s warrior Ishida Mitsunari to seek revenge on his former friend.

In the first series, we saw various battles between Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune vs. Oda Nobunaga and Kojuro vs. Mitsuhide.  In the second series, the series focused on Toyotomi Hideyoshi as the antagonist.

And for this third anime series, we have Ieyasu Tokugawa as the main antagonist and Mitsunari wanting revenge on Ieyasu for killing his master, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

The other characters have significant roles but more of showing which their allegiance lies.  Fans of Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura may be surprised that their significance in the series is decreased, but they still remain important to the storyline.

And it’s probably best to leave it at that because of the numerous characters featured, unless you are familiar with the game and the anime series, just the sheer mention of the characters and the alternate plots will confuse people.

But I will say that if you followed the anime and the video games, “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” is an interesting way to keep the storyline fresh as it’s an anime with new motivations, interesting perspectives but most of all, a focus on different characters, but yet also introducing new characters as well.  Also, how this series tend to show more of the human emotion after the deaths of various leaders and how certain individuals are affected by the deaths.

The third series features a new anime production team with Telecom Animation in charge, but cast of both the Funimation series and the video game series are involved in the third series as it was a collaboration between Funimation and Capcom as mentioned in the first audio commentary.

Animation is very good, but it’s subjective as I’m sure there are those who prefer Production I.G.’s animation and those who may prefer the Telecom Animation animation.  But the anime series is colorful and vibrant and both lossless soundtracks are well-done with the English dub having an edge with the 5.1 lossless soundtrack.

Overall, “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement” is a series that will interest those who continue to play the “Sengoku Basara” video games and those who have watched the previous anime series and the animated film.  With the many characters featured, literally there can be new “Sengoku Basara” anime series dedicate to various army’s and multiple storylines.  This third series focuses on the Battle of Sekigahara and focuses on Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu.  All in all, an anime series with a good combination of humor and action but also more of a focus on human emotion after tragedy.

If you enjoy “Sengoku Basara”, definitely give “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” a try!

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Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete Series” is for the anime fan who loves mystery anime series.  And it’s also easier to follow since it’s only eleven episodes long.  “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is an anime series worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete SeriesThe Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 1-11) 275 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Funimation

Release Date: December 13, 2016


Originally Concept by Rampo Edogawa

Directed by Seiji Kishi

Series Composition by Makoto Uezu

Music by Masaru Yokoyama

Character Design by Kazuaki Morita

Art Director: Ayumi Miyakoshi

Chief Animation Director: Kouji Yamagata, Yusuke Kamata

Anime Production: Lerche


Featuring the following voice talent:

Daiki Yamashita/Justin Briner as Hashiba

Rie Takahashi/Jill Harris as Kobayashi

Takahiro Sakurai/Eric Vale as Akechi

Cho/Mark Stoddard as Nakamura

Jun Fukuyama/Todd Haberkorn as Namikoshi

Kappei Yamaguchi/Jerry Jewell as Shitai-kun (Corpsey)

Katsuyuki Konishi/J. Michael Tatum as Kagami

Saki Fujita/Jad Saxton as Minami

Takehito Koyasu/Sonny Strait as Kage-Otoko (Shadow-Man)

Yōko Hikasa/Mallorie Rodak as Kuro Tokage (Black Lizard)


Inspired by the works of Edogawa Rampo, Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace tells a macabre detective story rife with symbolism and visual tricks that exist somewhere in the delicate balance between gruesome and gorgeous.

Middle school life was dull for the intelligent and charismatic Kobayashi, until the day he was framed for his homeroom teacher’s murder. After the event drew the media’s attention, an infamous high school detective inserted himself into the investigation. Brooding and brilliant, Akechi quickly cleared Kobayashi’s name and took the inquisitive young student on as his assistant. But for every case they closed, two more seemed to open in its place.

The streets were alive with whispers of one deadly name, Twenty Faces–a legendary murderer who killed criminals in the name of justice. With cryptic clues leading the way, Kobayashi and Akechi began following the trail of bodies left by the prolific killer. But will they be able to stop him before countless innocent people, inspired by his deranged cause, start following his lead?


In Japan, one of the most well-respected authors of mystery fiction novels was Edogawa Ranpo (Taro Hirai).  A pseudonym used by Taro is a rendering of one of his favorite writers, Edgar Allan Poe.

In 2015, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Edogawa Ranpo, a series titled “Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace” was produced by Lerche and directed by Seiji Kishi (“Kamisama Dolls”, “Assassination Classroom”, “Fate/Prototype”) and a screenplay by Makoto Uezu (“Akame ga KILL!”, “Assassination Classroom”, “Danganronpa the Animation”).

The anime series is set at a middle school where several murders have taken place.  A 17-year-old middle school boy, who is mistaken for a girl named Kobayashi is blamed for dismembering his homeroom teacher.

A person who loves solving mysteries, Kobayashi and her good friend Hashiba (a popular guy who wants to protect Kobayashi at all costs) want to team up with Kogoro Akechi, a 17-year-old genius detective who solves abnormal crimes.

Kogoro offers Kobayashi to become his assistant only if he can find the killer responsible for dismembering his teacher.

As Kobayashi is successful in helping Kogoro, the trio then work on various cases such as trying to find the Shadow-Man, a thief accused of kidnapping several girls.  But also trying to find a vigilante known as Twenty Faces, who kills murderers who have not been brought to justice and killing them the way the murderers had killed their victims.

But as the trio investigates, Kogoro realizes that Twenty Faces may be tied to a person from his past.


VIDEO:

“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). There is a lot of detail featured in the art backgrounds, a lot of characters featured and these characters have great detail and shadowing. Colors are absolutely vibrant. There is slight softness, but that is expected with anime TV series. But overall, animation is solid throughout.  I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD Stereo 2.0. Both soundtracks are well-acted and are crystal clear through the front channels but with the 5.1 soundtrack, the English dub has an edge due to the use of the surround channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” features the following special features:

  • Episode 6 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Eric Vale, Justin Briner, Jill Harris and Sonny Strait.
  • Promotional Videos
  • Commercials – Japanese commercials
  • Textless Opening and Ending Song

EXTRAS:

“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” comes with a slipcover and also both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the anime series.


In Japan, mystery manga and anime series are quite popular.  In fact, one of the longest running anime series still on television is “Meitantei Conan” (Case Closed) which has been airing since 1996 (and the manga series since 1994).

But part of the excitement surrounding the anime series “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is that it commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of Rampo Edogawa.  An author known for creating mystery fiction novels and many works that were inspired by his original oeuvre.

Set for a modern age, “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is a mystery anime series that focuses on murder cases, but primarily focusing on Twenty Faces, a vigilante who murders people who have not received justice for murdering their victims.

Where other mystery anime series have a humorous side and often a touch of darkness, “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” has that but in a weird, unusual way, one of the main characters, Kobayashi (a boy who is often mistaken for a girl), has a different perspective of seeing things in life.  Perhaps it’s the way she was raised or the challenges in life that she has endured, but sometimes her thinking puts her in odds with her good friend Hashiba (a guy who obviously likes Kobayashi).

Meanwhile, main protagonist Kogoro Akechi is rather interesting in the fact that he also sees life in a different way, similar to Kobayashi.  But he has skeletons in his past that are slowly revealed throughout the anime series.

As for the Blu-ray, animation is fantastic as colors are vibrant and characters are well-drawn.  Lossless soundtrack for both English and Japanese soundtracks are well-done, with the English dub receiving the 5.1 treatment.  But both soundtracks are well-acted.  As for special features, you get an audio commentary (possibly one of the worst Funimation audio commentaries that I’ve listened to), Japanese promotional videos and commercials.

Overall, “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete Series” is for the anime fan who loves mystery anime series.  And it’s also easier to follow since it’s only eleven episodes long.  “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is an anime series worth watching!

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Attack on Titan: Complete First Season (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Attack on Titan” was one of the most heavily anticipated series to be released back in 2014 and as much hype that has come out for this series, the fact that all the hype is warranted. The characters, the storyline, the animation and it’s overall presentation from FUNimation makes this one anime series worth owning! “Attack on Titan” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Attack on Titan: The Complete First season

DURATION: Episodes 1-25 (625 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV M

Release Date: January 24, 2017


Originally created by Hajime Isayama

Directed by Tetsuro Araki

Series Composition by Yasuko Kobayashi

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design: Kyoji Asano

Art Director: Shunichiro Yoshihara

3D Director: Shuhei Yabuta

Director of Photography: Kazuhiro Yamada

Anime Production by Wit Studio


Featuring the following voice talent:

Yui Ishikawa/Trina Nishimura as Mikasa Ackerman

Yuuki Kaji/Bryce Papenbrook as Eren Jaeger

Marina Inoue/Josh Grelle as Armin Arlelt

Daisuke Ono/J. Michael Tatum as Erwin Smith

Hiro Shimono/Clifford Chapin as Conny Springer

Hiroshi Kamiya/Matthew Mercer as Levi

Keiji Fujiwara/David Wald as Hannes

Kishô Taniyama/Mike McFarland as Jean Kirschtein

Romi Park/Jessica Calvello as Hanji (Hange Zoe)

Ryota Ohsaka/Austin Tindle as Marco Bodt

Saki Fujita/Elizabeth Maxwell as Ymir

Shiori Mikami/Bryn Apprill as Christa Renz

Tomohisa Hashizume/David Matranga as Bertholt Fubar (Bertholdt Hoover)

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Robert McCollum as Reiner Braun

Yu Kobayashi/Ashly Bursch as Sasha Browse

Yu Shimamura/Lauren Landa as Annie Leonhart


When the man-eating giants called Titans first appeared, humans retreated behind massive walls. After a hundred years of safety, a colossal-sized Titan smashes through the defenses, unleashing a flood of giants and carnage in the streets. Eren Jaeger watches helplessly as one of the creatures devours his mother.

He vows to kill every Titan walking the earth.

Eren and his surviving friends enlist to fight against the insatiable monsters. The future looks bleak, but there’s more to Eren than meets the eye: he may be humanity’s last hope against extinction. From the director of Death Note and High School of the Dead comes the series Anime News Network calls “an intense, visceral, and graphic thrill ride.” The Titans have come to feast. Anything can happen. No one is safe.


Back in 2006, Hajime Isayama wrote a 65-page one-shot of “Shingeki no Kyojin”. Inspired during an encounter with an irate customer while working at an internet cafe, the encounter would eventually be the basis of his hit series which is known internationally as “Attack on Titan”.

In 2009, “Shingeki no Kyojin” began serialization in Kodanasha’s “Bessatsu Shonen Magazine” and is currently on its 13th tankobon volume.  With several light novel volumes, multiple video games, manga spin-offs and two live-action films, many would discover “Attack on Titan” thanks to its 25-episode anime series which began airing in April 2013.

With the announcement that “Attack on Titan” season two will be created, Funimation has released “Attack on Titan: The Complete First Season” on Blu-ray.

“Attack on Titan” is set in a world that was besieged by giant humanoid creatures over a hundred years ago.   These humanoid creatures nearly wiped out all humans and want nothing but to devour humans.

Humanity has no answer to defeat the Titans but to protect what is left of humanity, the country of surviving humans now live within three enormous walls which include the outer wall Wall Maria, the middle wall known as Wall Rose and the inner wall known as Wall Sina.

And for 100 years, despite having a team that ventures out to confront the Titans, humanity has had no such luck.

We are introduced to three children which includes the impulsive and hotheaded Eren Yeager, his friend that always protects and cares for him, Mikasa Ackerman and the often scared but very smart Armin Arlert.

One day, while these three children were together in what was supposed to be a peaceful land where Titans are unable to enter, lightning has struck and born was a 200 ft. Titan who is taller than the walls that were constructed.  The titan breaches the outer wall, allowing the smaller Titans to enter the village and devour humans.  While Eren tries to find his mother, he finds her pinned under the house.

While a family friend named Hannes is able to rescue the two kids, Eren’s final memory was seeing his mother devoured by a Titan and from that point, he has dedicated his life to defeat and destroy the Titans.

Eren, Mikasa and Armin survives the attack by the Titans and have no choice but to retreat behind Wall Rose.  But he has these nightmares of his father injecting him with something and reminding him about his key and for him to go into the cellar.

As the food shortage hits the country and refugees are forced to work in farms or fight to reclaim Wall Maria, Eren vows to destroy the Titans and to do that, he must join the army in which Mikasa and Armin follow their friend.

Fast forward five years later, Eren, Mikasa and Armin are training in the army and each meets new friends and rivals but just when they thought there was some semblance of peace, the Colossus Titan returns once again.  Mikasa is set to a different squad to backup the front lines, while Eren and Armin must prepare to attack and fight the Titans, learning that the weakness of a Titan is cutting a piece of their flesh from the nape of the Titan’s back neck.

Will the army have what it takes to protect humanity from this new attack from the Titans?


“Attack on Titan features the following main characters:

Eren Yeager – A hotheaded teenager who wants to destroy the Titans for what they have done to his family and people. Often upset that Mikasa is constantly defending him. For some reason, he has nightmares of his father injecting him with something and telling him to bring the key to the cellar.

Mikasa Ackerman – The adoptive child of the Yeager family who was rescued by Eren and her father when she was younger. She is quiet, often wants to protect Eren from trouble and cares deeply for her foster brother.

Armin Arlert – Often bullied by other kids and rescued by Eren and Mikasa, Armin has a sharp mind when it comes to strategy. But he sees himself as a person always in fear and often scared.

Levi Ackerman – A member of the Survey Corps and is seen as humanity’s most powerful soldier. He leads the Special operations Squad.

Annie Leonhart – A former member of the Military Police Brigade. A lone wolf and excels in unarmed combat.

Reiner Braun – A former member of the Survey Corps. A man with a strong sense of duty.

Hange Zoe – A former Squad Leader of the fourth squad. Conducts research on Titans and is obsessed with them.


VIDEO:

“Attack on Titan” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The anime series is absolutely vibrant. Character designs are well-shaded and I like how the series uses the strong darker lines around the character designs which shows plenty of detail. But I felt the transition of Hajime Isayama’s work from the manga series received a fantastic adaptation and bringing these Titans to life. I personally didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the anime series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Attack on Titan” is presented in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1. While both voice acting soundtracks are well-done, as one can expect from the English soundtrack receiving a 5.1 lossless treatment, while the Japanese is crystal clear through the front channels, the English soundtrack is immersive. Great use of sound effects from the surround channels and also great use of LFE.

One thing I also want to add is that FUNimation made the right decision by bringing Mike McFarland to become the ADR Director for this series. He has done an epic job for “One Piece” and for a series this important with a multitude of characters, he’s the man for the job and the casting for the English dub was well-done. Yes, it is different for those who are familiar with the Japanese vocal talent but I felt that the comparable differences and love the fact that the voice casting was not repetitive of talent used in many other FUNimation series.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Attack on Titan: The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 3 Commentary -Featuring audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director), Trina Nishimura, Josh Grelle and Bryce Papenbrook.
  • Episode 13 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director), J. Michael Tatum (Lead Adaptive Writer), Scott Freeman and Clifford Chapin.
  • The Making of Attack on Titan – (52:34) The first  major in-depth FUNimation featurette about how hard they worked in bringing “Attack on Titan” to the United States.
  • Chibi Theater: Fly, Cadets, Fly! – (47:10) Animated shorts in super-deformed format featuring the Cadet Corps.
  • Eyecatch Gallery – Gallery collection.
  • Textless Opening Song “Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen”
  • Textless Closing Song: “Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai”
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer
  • Episode 14 Commentary -Featuring audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director), J. Michael Tatum (Lead Adaptive Writer/voice of Erwin Smith) and Matthew Mercer (voice of Captain Levy).
  • Episode 25 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director), Lauren Landa (Annie Leonhardt) and Bryce Papenbrook (Eren Yeager).
  • Attack on Titan at Anime Expo – (16:21) “Attack on Titan” group cosplayers from Anime Expo and also featuring interviews with producer Joji Wada.
  • Chibi Theater: Fly, Cadets, Fly! – (47:15) Animated shorts in super-deformed format featuring the Cadet Corps.
  • Eyecatch Gallery – Gallery collection.
  • Textless Opening Song “Jiyuu no Tsubasa”
  • Textless Closing Song: “Great Escape”
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer

EXTRAS:

“Attack on Titan: The Complete First Season” features the series on Blu-ray and DVD and comes with a slipcover.


Once in awhile, you run across an anime series or film that becomes not just a hit among anime fans but even non-anime fans.

“Attack on Titan” has captivated fans all over the world thanks to its characters, its story of humanity’s survival but also its fight against humanoid behemoths. And along with the series comes a stylish costume design for its army which have driven people all over the world to cosplay as a military member from the anime series.

Yes, “Naruto” and even “Bleach” have captivated many fans throughout the years but any anime series tied to a Shonen Jump has no doubt become bonafide hits in Japan and outside of the country, “Attack on Titan” is rather unique as it has partnered with various companies from having a car commercial, a burger release and also a live action film that people are heavily anticipating.

The fact is “Attack on Titan” is a captivating, violent but entertaining anime series and there is no slowdown in the pacing of the anime series, it’s just one exciting episode after the other and frankly, having watched anime series and having reviewed them for decades, I found myself becoming a “Shingeki no Kyojin” fan.

I love the us vs. them storyline and this time it’s not a zombie infestation, nor is it an attack by alien species.  To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what the Titans are but they have humanoid features with mouths of monsters wanting to chomp down on any human it comes in contact with.

By the second season of the series becomes very interesting as it was revealed that Eren Yeager has the special ability to transform into a Titan. While he is not sure how to control the power or his rage towards the Titans, despite being thought of as humanity’s threat, because of his determination to stop all Titans, he is also a final resort into protecting of what is left of humanity from the Titans.

As he now becomes part of the team led by Levi Ackerman, one of the best soldiers out there, Eren must learn to keep his temper in check and to become part of a team rather than fight alone.

Meanwhile, a tall female titan has appeared out of nowhere and is causing destruction to those who kill it. But with captive Titans being murdered by an unknown assailant, humanity must push forward into finding how to defeat the Titans but finding a weakness of mobilizing the female titan.

It’s important to note that while the series is popular, by no means should children watch this anime series. It is violent as body part dismemberment are shown, people being eaten or crushed by the Titans are shown and if anything, it’s visual violence adds to the viewer being interested in what happens because simply, you want to see humanity kick some major ass! That is if they can…

As for the Blu-ray, you get great picture quality as colors for the series are vibrant. Black lines are nice and solid and character design is well-done, well-shaded. Backgrounds are nicely painted and for the most part, “Attack on Titan” looks incredible in HD! As for the lossless audio, while I love the Japanese vocal track, the fact is that the Japanese soundtrack is Dolby TrueHD 2.0 while the English dub, which was well-cast, received a much better Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. Great use of special effects and use of the surround channels and LFE. If anything, I loved the fact that there was amazing focus in bringing this series out to the United States with the quality that fans and anime HD fans have come to expect and fortunately received in “Attack on Titan: Complete Season One”.

And I can’t wait until second season of “Attack on Titan” is released hopefully in the near future.

Also, for special features, FUNimation really went out of their way to give fans several audio commentary, an Anime Expo featurette with Studio I.G. producer Joji Wada to show how much time was put into bringing this series to the United States. You also get a Chibi animated shorts special feature and more!

Overall, “Attack on Titan” was one of the most heavily anticipated series to be released in 2014 and to this day, there is still a lot of anticipation for the series completion.  The first season is full of action, full of drama and overall, a captivation storyline with fascinating characters and overall presentation.

“Attack on Titan” is highly recommended!

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One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

February 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five” is another fun, action-packed volume as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates must become stronger and train harder for the next two years before reuniting. But will they be able to get the training to become stronger?

Image courtesy of © 1999 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five

DURATION: Episodes 505-516 (Duration: 300 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English and Japanese stereo

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: December 13, 2016


Originally created by Eiichiro Oda

Directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, Konosuke Uda, Munehisa Sakai

Series Composition by Hirohiko Uesaka

Script by Hirohiko Uesaka, Hiroshi Hashimoto, Junki Takegami, Michiru Shimada, Naoki Koga, Ryota Yamaguchi, Suminori Takegami, Yoshiyuki Suga

Music by Kouhei Tanaka, Shiroh Hamaguchi

Character Design by Kazuya Hisada, Noboru Koizumi

Animation Production by Toei Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy

Akemi Okamura/Luci Christian as Nami

Hiroaki Hirata/Eric Vale as Sanji

Ikue Ohtani/Brina Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper

Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Young as Nico Robin

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Ian Sinclair as Brook

Travis Willingham as Portgas D. Ace

Edward Newgate as Whitebeard


The tragedy at Marineford sends shockwaves around the world, and the Straw Hats struggle desperately to meet again in Luffy’s most heart-wrenching time of grief.

Incapable of protecting his friends, Luffy questions his ability to become the King of the Pirates. His crew members, scattered to the farthest reaches of the globe, are more determined than ever to keep their promise and return to Sabaody Archipelago in three days. But when ”Dark King” Rayleigh offers Luffy a stern suggestion, Luffy must choose between reuniting with his friends or joining Rayleigh in training. Luffy’s decision drives him back to Marineford, where he pays his respects to the fallen and sends a secret message to his friends. The news stirs enemies from all walks of life. Monkey D. Luffy is ringing in the New Age!


As Luffy mourns the death of his brother, the latest episodes featured on “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five” features on the aftermath as Luffy wants to train harder for the next two years, so he can protect those he cares about.

As news of Ace’s death starts to reach the Straw Hat Pirates, they also know that with two years left, until they all meet again, they must get stronger and train.

Meanwhile, Luffy’ makes a daring appearance at Marineford to deliver a message throughout the world.

What is “One Piece”?

“ONE PIECE” is a popular anime series based on the popular manga series serialized in Shonen Jump by Eiichiro Oda. Suffice to say, “ONE PIECE” is the highest selling manga for Weekly Shonen Jump and its popularity has extended to various anime (via the TV series, OVA and films) and video games in America and also worldwide.

The series is so popular, the episode count currently in Japan is in its 18th season and a total of 776 episodes have been aired in Japan.

“ONE PIECE” is an adventure anime about a 17-year-old boy named Monkey D. Luffy who gained enormous strength (and stretching abilities) after eating a magical demon fruit. He eventually teams up with a group of pirates and have the name “The Straw Hats”. Luffy’s driven to one day obtain the most sought out treasure known as “One Piece” and eventually become the King of the Pirates.


The Straw Hat Pirates consists of:

Monkey D. Luffy – A 17-year-old guy who is the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates and dreams to be a pirate king by getting his hands on the “ONE PIECE” artifact. When he was young, he accidentally ate a devil fruit which made his body rubbery and can stretch and blow up. An airhead of sorts, loves to eat but always believes and fights for his friends.

Roronoa Zoro – A 19-year-old skilled swordsman. A skilled and very strong fighter. Wants to be the greatest swordsman in the world.

Nami – The navigator of the group. The main female crew member and really good at weapons.

Usopp – A 17-year-old marksman. A talented inventor and artistic. Known by his long nose, his marksmanship with slingshots and weapons are great. He quit the Straw Hat Pirates and took on a new identity.

Sanji – The chef of the crew. A skilled fighter that uses only kicks in battle and is passionate towards Nami.

Tony Tony Chopper – A reindeer with a blue nose. Ate a devil fruit known as human-human fruit which makes him human in someways but keeping his reindeer look. Able to speak to humans, walk upright and also able to have transformations to become a huge beast. But his talent is his medical skills as he was trained by the Doctrine to become a doctor. Has very low self-confidence because he had been treated badly not only by his kind but also by humans and has not really had a friend but the Doctor and Doctrine.

Nico Robin – The former Vice President of Baroque Works who has become the newest member of the Straw Hat Pirates despite some of the crew not trusting her since she was a former enemy. Has the ability to use her body parts and project them elsewhere and other mysterious abilities not yet known.

Franky – A cyborg who can rebuild his body using pieces of metal and his dream is to build a ship and become its shipwright and sail to the end of the world.

Brook – A pirate from before the time of Roger, he was killed but because of the Paramecia-type-Revive-Revive Fruit, he rose again as a skeleton. An excellent musician, he becomes a member of the Straw Hat Pirates.


VIDEO :

For most television series, because they are created nearly before they are aired on television, unlike film and OVA’s, there typically is not much detail involved in a Japanese animated television series. “ONE PIECE” is probably one of those rare exceptions in that it has really cool character designs and very detailed artistic backgrounds. Of course, since it is on DVD, you will see some artifacting, combing and edge enhancement but it’s not so noticeable unless you are really looking for it.

The anime series is presented in standard 4:3 definition but for a television series, “ONE PIECE” sports cool and unique character designs and beautifully painted artistic backgrounds. Definitely one of the better looking anime series that has remained consistent and has not downgraded since it first aired on television. Character designer Kazuya Hisada (who worked on the “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball GT” series) and Noboru Koizumi (who worked on “Giant Robo”, “Dragon Ball GT” and “Tenchi Universe”) have been very good of capturing “One Piece” creator Eiichiro Oda’s unique style.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, “One Piece” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English Stereo and Japanese Stereo. Of course, the English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound is the better audio choice to listen to, although one who has a receiver that can set their audio to all channels can definitely enjoy the Japanese stereo track as well. But both audio tracks are done very well and I have to admit that “ONE PIECE” has one of the most solid English dub tracks for an anime TV series. Very well done on both audio tracks but again, have been very impressed by the voice talent for the series thus far.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 506 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Brina Palencia (voice of Chopper) and Christopher R. Sabat (voice of Zoro).

DISC 2:

  • One Piece Outtakes: Part 1 – (10:50) Featuring outtakes with the English dub talent for the Straw Hat Pirates.
  • Episode 515 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Ian Sinclair (voice of Brook) and Sonny Strait (voice of Usopp).
  • Textless Opening Song – “Fight Together”

With the release of “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five”, the episodes are the final episodes of the Japanese 14th season (featuring episodes 505-516) as this volume features the aftermath of Ace’s death and Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates know they have two years until they reunite, but with the two years, they must do all that’s necessary to become stronger.

As Luffy needs to get a message to the Straw Hat Pirates, he must take a bold trip to Marineford. Meanwhile, Luffy must learn a new skill in order to become a stronger leader and fighter. And Rayleigh, will do whatever is possible to get Luffy ready.

Chopper must train in Birdie Kingdom and learn more medicine, on Weatheria, Nami must learn on how to become a better navigator and learn from the scientists, on Kurakiri Island, Franky must learn new skills from Dr. Vegapunk’s inventions, on Kamabakka Kingdom, Sanji must learn from Ivankov about newkama cooking, in the Tehna Gehna Kingdom, Brook must train himself to reach 40 degrees and in the Bowin Islands, despite gaining a lot of weight, Usopp is trained by Heracules to become stronger. And Robin joins up with the Revolutionaries at East Blue’s large bridge to improve herself before returning to the group.

As this DVD volume prepares viewers for Season 15 (Japan) and fastforwards two years later, the volume focuses on Luffy and the Strawhat Pirates and their commitment to get stronger and train harder for the next two years.

The episodes also bring back footage from the past as they remember why they joined the Straw Hat Pirates and how Luffy was there for them. But also seeing pirates and even admirals who will become significant characters in the series.

For “One Piece” fans, this latest volume finally showcases the Straw Hat Pirates and seeing what they have been up to since each of them went their separate ways and making a vow to reunite a few years years later.

Needless to say, “One Piece” fans will not be disappointed!

As for the DVD, picture quality is very good on DVD, audio is also crystal clear with both voice acting soundtracks are well done, as “One Piece” is one of the best cast anime series, everyone is right for their role and considering that Toei was strict on the casting for the English dub, FUNimation did a fine job in their cast selection and I was pleased with both Japanese and English dub soundtracks. As for special features, you get two audio commentaries and an outtakes featurette.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five” is another fun, action-packed volume as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates must become stronger and train harder for the next two years before reuniting. But will they be able to get the training to become stronger?

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Fairy Tail vol. 22 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fairy Tail” vol. 22 is an action-packed storyline concluding the Tartaros Arc which features several deaths and a lot of destruction. And the Fairy Tail guild will never be the same.  A fantastic conclusion for season seven!  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2016 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Fairy Tail Vol. 21

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 253-265) 325 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English DolbyTrue HD 5.1, Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation

Release Date: December 6, 2016


Originally created by Hiro Mashima

Directed by Shinji Ishihara

Script by Atsuhiro Tomikoa, Fumihiko Shimo, Masashi Sogo, Shoji Yonemura

Music by Yasuharu Takanashi

Character Design by Aoi Yamamoto

Art Director: Junko Shimizu

Chief Animation Director: Takao Sano

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures, Satelight


Featuring the following voice talent:

Aya Hirano/Cherami Leigh as Lucy Heartfilia

Tetsuya Kakihara/Todd Haberkorn as Natsu Dragneel

Rie Kugimiya/Tia Ballard as Happy

Sayaka Ohara/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Erza Scarlet

Yūichi Nakamura/Newton Pittman as Gray Fullbuster

Shinichi Kotani/R. Bruce Elliot as Makarov

Akira Ishida as Zeref

Daisuke Kishio/Eric Vale as Loki/Loke

Daisuke Namikawa as Jeral/Mystogan

Eri Kitamura/Jamie Marchi as Kana Alberona

Hiroki Touchi as Pantherlily

Hiroki Yasumoto as Elfman

Kazuhiko Inoue as Gildarts Clive

Mai Nakahara as Juvia Loxar

Mariya Ise as Levi Macgarden

Miyuki Sawashiro/Lydia Mackay as Ultear Milkovich

Ryoko Ono/Monica Rial as Mirajane

Satomi Satou as Wendy

Sayaka Narita as Aries

Wataru Hatano as Gajeel Redfox

Yui Horie as Charle


With the battle of Tartaros still raging on, the wizards of Fairy Tail may have finally met their match. The threat of three thousand Faces hangs over them, and the power of the Demon Gates takes their breath away when they reveal their true Etherious Forms.

Right when things begin to look up, an even bigger threat appears Acnologia! Beaten and exhausted, can the wizards find the strength to take on Tartaros and this monstrous dragon? When the fire inside Natsu erupts, he will have a startling and unexpected reunion. But the time for catching up and seeking answers will have to wait E.N.D. and the ready-to-detonate Faces are moments from destroying the magical world as they know it!

The final battle for the magical world happens now!


The seventh season of “Fairy Tail” concludes with a devastating finale.

Gray confronts his father Silver, who reveals that he is a corpse that was brought back to life by Keyes’ necromancy curse and he desperately wants his son to kill him, but can Gray do it?

Meanwhile, the search is over for Natsu as his father, the dragon Igneel has returned, as does Mard Geer and Acnologia who intends to wreak destruction on the world.

Erza takes on Kyoka in a battle to the death.

Who will die?  Who will survive?

Find out in the final episodes of the “Tarturos Arc”.  All this and more in vol. 22 of “Fairy Tail” (episodes 253-265) available now on Blu-ray + DVD combo pack from FUNimation.

What is “Fairy Tail”?

For those who are not familiar with “Fairy Tail”, let’s just say that it’s one of the most exciting, long running anime magic/adventure series to be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

In Japan, “Fairy Tail” is a manga series which began in 2006 and was created by mangaka Hiro Mashima (known for his manga series “Rave Master”). Featured in Weekly Shonen Magazine, the manga series is still ongoing, meanwhile an anime adaptation of the manga series was created in 2009 produced by A-Pictures and Satelight. And similar to the manga series, is also ongoing!

With the 22nd Blu-ray release of “Fairy Tail”, this latest volume features episodes 253-265.

The anime series is directed by Shinji Ishihara (“Aoi Kokuhaku”, “Tenbatsu Angel Rabbie”, “Tokyo Majin” and is written by Masashi Sogo (“Bleach”, “Yukikaze”, “Hunter x Hunter”). The anime series features character design by Aoi Yamamoto, art direction by Junko Shimizu (“Midori Days, “Blue Dragon”, “Trinity Blood”) and music by Yasuharu Takanashi (“Naruto Shippuden”, “Hell Girl”, “Gantz”, Ikki Tosen”).

A Quick Summary of what “Fairy Tail” is about?:

“Fairy Tail” revolves around a 17-year-old celestial wizard named Lucy Heartfilia who dreams of joining a sorcerer guild known as Fairy Tail, a group known and feared for the destruction they cause. One day, she runs into Natsu Dragneel, a guy who is traveling to the land of Fiore along with his partner Happy (a talking blue cat with wings) who is searching for his foster parent, a dragon named Igneel who has disappeared.

While traveling to Fiore, both Lucy and Natsu encounter a sorcerer claiming to be the famous Salamander of Fairy Tail. Natsu is the first to object that the man is a phony but the fans of Salamander are dismayed by Natsu’s comments and beat him up, meanwhile Lucy finds out that this fake Salamander is using his sorcerer abilities to make young women fall for him.

As Lucy tries to show her gratitude to Natsu for breaking the spell that would have otherwise have hypnotized Lucy, the two become friends.

But when the fake Salamander tells Lucy that he would get her into Fairy Tail, she knows he is a fake but any chance of getting to join the guild would make her dream come true, so she decides to visit him.

But it’s all a ruse and the fake Salamander is just trying to find female slaves and because he is so powerful, Lucy does not have the magic necessary to beat him. But coming to Lucy’s rescue is Natsu, who is revealed to be a true member of Fairy Tail and also revealed to be the true “Salamander”. And he easily beats the fake Salamander up.

When Natsu discovers that Lucy’s dream is to become a Fairy Tail member, he asks her to join him and he can help her get into the guild and from that moment on, Lucy becomes Natsu’s partner in various Fairy Tail guild missions and for each mission they beat, the more income they make.

And more money means more keys to gain more powers, which would help Lucy become a powerful celestial wizard!

And together, Natsu and Lucy develop a wonderful friendship as they grow as partners but also a guild members with their other teammates.


“Fairy Tail” Vol. 22 features the following characters:

  • Natsu Dragneel – Also known as “Salamander”, Natsu is a kindhearted, always hungry wizard who travels with his partner Happy in search of Igneel, a dragon who raised Natsu but is now missing. Natsu is a dragon slayer and a wizard who can perform “Lost Magic and can have physical properties of a dragon. He specializes in Fire Dragon Slayer Magic which allows him to breath fire and ingest fire as a form of nourishment.
  • Lucy Heartfilia – A celestial wizard who can summon contracted spirits (with special abilities) through a set of keys known as Gatekeys. She treats these spirits as friends. Her dream is to join Fairy Tail and through meeting Natsu, now her dream can come true.
  • Happy – A blue cat with wings and a best friend to Natsu. He can fly and can carry a person while flying. He is also known to irritate Lucy.
  • Gray Fullbuster – A powerful wizard of Fairy Tail and the opposite of Natsu, in that he has control of ice. Gray has the power of Ice Make which can make him create weapons or anything out of ice. He was raised by the wizard Ur. He also has a bad habit of taking of all his clothes without realizing it.
  • Erza Scarlet – An S-Class wizard (high-ranked) and is the most powerful member of the Fairy Tail guild. She has magic known as “The Knight” which allows her to summon and equip weapons and armor and also has the ability to resist magic attacks. She is feared by others because of her lack of compassion.
  • Mirajane – A 19-year-old S-Class wizard who is the cover girl of Sorcerer’s Weekly magazine and helps Lucy understand what is happening with the members of the Fairy Tail guild. She has the ability to change her appearance to something she previously encountered.
  • Cana Alberona – A short-tempered heaving drinking woman. She uses card magic to cast her spells.
  • Elfman – Mirajane’s younger brother who is known for his physical strength. He can absorb the power of any monster he defeats.
  • Loke – A flirtatious wizard who is often seen in the company of many women.
  • Makarov Dreyer – The elder master of Fairy Tail. He is constantly busy because of his guild members becoming too violent.
  • Juvia Lockser – Originally a member of the Phantom Lord Guild and now a member of Fairy Tail and is obsessed with Gray.
  • Gajeel Redfox – Originally a member of the Phantom Lord Guild, Gajeel is similar to Natsu in the fact that he is a Dragon Slayer raised by the dragon Metalicana. He can transform his body into metal weapons.
  • Jellal Fernandes – A former child slave that grew up with Erza Scarlet. Thought to be dead, he is found by Oracion Seis and revived by Wendy Marvell and is being used to find the destructive spell known as Nirvana.
  • Wendy Marvell – A female Dragon Slayer who is accompanied by her Exceed partner Carla. A master of Sky Dragon Slayer magic, she can heal injuries. She becomes an ally of Fairy Tail.

VIDEO:

“Fairy Tail” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1). It’s important to note that this is a anime TV series, not a film or an OVA and is a weekly anime series. What that means is A-1 Pictures and Satelight, have their hands full, especially if they have other TV series to work on that week. Typically a lot of anime series are quickly done in order to make it by their weekly deadline and sometimes, they are done the day of deadline. So, production values for TV series are typically not that high if they are working on multiple series.

Fortunately A-1 Pictures has become one of the newer studios that have been doing production for quite a number of popular hit series such as “Blue Exorcist” and “Big Windup!” and Satelight does a lot of the in-between animation. So, while they are a smaller, growing company, they are not overburdened as other studios and that means, more time dedicated to the anime series.

“Fairy Tail” features cool production value. A lot of detailed artwork, because of the many adventures, you get so many locations and not the typical regurgitated scenery.

There is a lot of detail featured in the art backgrounds, a lot of characters featured and these characters have great detail and shadowing. Colors are absolutely vibrant, black levels are deep. I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release. If anything, the Blu-ray really brings out the details and colors of the series and looks fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fairy Tail” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Dialogue and music is clear through the front channels for the lossless stereo soundtrack but because the English is 5.1, there is better use of the surround channels.

In fact, I found myself listening to the English dub track for “Fairy Tail” much more than the Japanese soundtrack because of the 5.1 but also, FUNimation did a magnificent job with the casting of this series. I was very pleased especially with the casting of Lucy, Natsu, Happy, Grey and Erza and for the most part, I think whichever you prefer, you will be pleased with Japanese and English audio tracks.

But for the most part, for a TV series, lossless audio is crystal clear and while not the most immersive soundtrack (which I typically don’t expect TV series to boast incredible immersive lossless soundtracks, unlike a film or OVA series), “Fairy Tail” does sound very good on Blu-ray!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fairy Tail” vol. 22 features the following special features:

  • Episode 253 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer/Adapted Script Writer) with voice actor Newton Pittman (voice of Gray).
  • Episode 258 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer/Adapted Script Writer) with Vic Mignogna (voice of Mard Geer) and Janelle Lutz (voice of Kyoka).
  • Fairy Tail in the Booth: Sting, Rogue and Mard Geer – (3:05) Featuring the behind-the-scenes in the studio showcasing the voice actors for Sting, Rogue and Mard Geer.
  • Textless Opening Song: “Believe in Myself”
  • Textless Closing Song: “Azayakana Tabiji”
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer for “Fairy Tail”
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

EXTRAS:

“Fairy Tail” vol. 22 Blu-ray also comes with both a Blu-ray and DVD version.


With the seventh season “Fairy Tail” and the final “Tartaros” arc coming to a close, we have watched as the dark guild of Zeref’s demons are trying to resurrect their master and Zeref’s ultimate creation, E.N.D.!

In the early part of the “Tartaros Arc”, as the Magic Council discusses Tartaros recent activity and the decrease in dark guilds, Jackal of the Nine Demon Gates infiltrates the meeting and destroys the building the council are meeting at and everyone is killed including Lahar.

News of the Magic Council’s assassination spreads throughout the villages and Doranbolt, who is one of the few survivors from the attack, goes to the dungeon to extract information on Tartaros. And more members of the Nine Demon Gates continue their attacks leading to more deaths.

While this latest volume is probably one of the darkest story plots of “Fairy Tail” prior to the “Tartaros Arc” is a storyline that features the demons of Tartaros planning to destroy Fairy Tail. And with a few of the primary characters escaping, it places each character in danger and fighting their most difficult battle yet.

In this latest 22nd volume, the battles continue as Natsu and Gajeel take on Torafuzar and Tempester, Erza takes on the final Demon Gate Kyoka, but just when all battles reach its peak, Acnolgia shows up out of nowhere and wreaks destruction in the area.

But coming to the defense of the guilds is the one dragon that Natsu has looked for, his fire dragon father Igneel.  And to make things worse, Mard Geer steals the book of the E.N.D.

Needless to say, this is a tragic arc with many deaths and something that will change the course of the Fairy Tail guild.

And what’s shocking is that we have seen the Fairy Tail guild take on powerful foes, nearly lose but are able to overcome their challenges.  But can this latest challenge be too much for them?

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good for a TV series and features a good solid lossless soundtrack. It’s important to emphasize that this is a TV series and not a film or OVA, thus the production quality of animated TV shows tend to be lower (and created in a short time) than a film/OVA, so there is a bit of softness and shadowing and detail are not utilized a lot for this series.

As for special features, you do get the English voice actors providing commentary for two episodes and also get to see a short video clip of a few voice talents recording their scene.

Overall, “Fairy Tail” vol. 22 is an action-packed storyline concluding the Tartaros Arc which features several deaths and a lot of destruction. And the Fairy Tail guild will never be the same.  A fantastic conclusion for season seven!  Recommended!

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Ninjaslayer From Animation (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

For those who enjoyed anime such as “Inferno Cop” will no doubt enjoy this series. For those who like anime series that are different from the norm, may enjoy this. Unfortunately, it was probably the worst anime series I have watched in 2016 and that is disappointing, considering I really enjoyed the manga series. If you are considering purchasing this anime series on Blu-ray, do some research and find out if it’s for you.  The good news is that all 26-episodes are included in this Blu-ray/DVD set!  But in my opinion, it’s not recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2016 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Ninja Slayer From Animation

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 1-26) 358 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English and Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATING: TV 14

Release Date: December 16, 2016


Originally created by Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez

Original Art by Yuki Yogo

Original Script by Yoshiaki Tabata

Directed by Akira Amemiya

Storyboards and Episode Director: Noriyoshi Sasaki

Music by Kenji Fujisawa, Shinichi Osawa

Character Design by Hiroyuki Imaishi, saitom, Serere Inato, Yusuke Yoshigaki

Art Director:Akira Katsuta, Young Jae Lee

Anime Production: Trigger


Featuring the following voice talent:

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Kenji Fujikido/Ninja Slayer

Chiwa Saito/Trina Nishimura as Nancy Lee

Goblin/Kent Williams as Narrator

Mamiko Noto/Jad Saxton as Electronic Maiko

Masane Tsukayama/Bill Jenkins as Laomoto Khan

Mugihito/R Bruce Elliott as Naraku Ninja

Risa Taneda/Bryn Apprill as Dragon Yukano

Sho Hayami/Chris Ryan as Fujio Katakura/Darkninja

Sora Amamiya/Monica Rial as Koki Yamoto

Tesshō Genda/Tyler Walker as Clone Yakuza


Domo, civilian, I am Ninja Slayer! Once a common, non-ninja, nine-to-five man, it’s now my duty to send all ninja souls to hell. It’s an insatiable thirst that I must quench to avenge the tragic death of my family. A mysterious spirit filled with rage has penetrated my soul giving me the ultimate power to fulfill my vengeance and destroy any ninja who dares to cross my path. Hell-bent on ninja carnage, I won’t stop slashing and bashing until I hear my enemies kiss their pathetic lives goodbye with a bloodcurdling scream of “Sayonara!” Die ninja. DIE! I am your Grim Reaper!

Ahem.

Won’t you live in my fury, friend? Join me in unleashing burning rage, and watch me spray the blood of a gagillion ninjas all over this nightmarish hell. For I am Ninja Slayer, killer of all ninjas!


“Ninja Slayer” purportedly is the product of American authors Bradley Bond and Phillip “Ninj@” Morzez.  Posted originally on Twitter and translated in Japanese by Honda Yu and Sugi Leika, it would become popular and would be released in 2012 in a volume titled “Ninja Slayer: Neo-Saitama in Flames” by Enterbrain.

In Japan, there have been several tankobon volumes.  In 2013, a second manga adaptation titled “Ninja Slayer: Glamorous Killers” with art by Ageha Saotome was featured on Enterbrain’s “B’s-Log Comic”.  A third manga adaptation titled “Ninja Slayer Kills” was serialized in Kodansha’s “Suiyobi no Sirius”.

A manga adaptation was released in 2015 on Niconico and the TV broadcast was released in 2016.  The anime series simulcast in North America courtesy of FUNimation and now the entire 26-episode series is available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

The anime series was produced by Trigger (“Little Witch Academia”) and the series was directed by Akira Amemiya (“Psychic Squad”, “Gurren Lagann”), storyboards by Noriyoshi Sasaki (“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable”, “Ojisan to Marshmallow”), music by Kenji Fujisawa (“Nanbaka”, “Hyakko”, “Before Green Gables”) and electronic music artist Shinichi Ohsawa.

The series is set in a gritty, futuristic city of Neo-Saitama and many people are getting killed, monsters roam the streets but the most deadly are the menacing army of cybernetic-clad ninjas under the rule of the Soukai syndicate.

But as many citizens are getting killed in the ninja turf war, one heroic ninja known as Ninja Slayer plans to make sure that all ninja are slaughtered by his own hands.

We see the Ninja Slayer interrupt a Massacre Games fight against the Kill-Zone Sumo Wrestler by the Kachigumi Salarymen.

Meanwhile, two teenage ninjas are introduced.  A teenage girl named Yamoto Koki, who’s ninja powers just came out and a mysterious new transfer named Shogo.

we see the aftermath as Shogo has been kidnapped and tortured by the powerful ninja henchman, Sonic Boom.

Sonic Boom wants Shogo to lure Yamoto Koki, so they can control her.

But will Shogo allow that? And will the two be able to face off against the powerful and evil ninja?

In another episode, the after-math between battle of Ninja Slayer and Sonic Boom has led to a major explosion and rumors are quickly swirling that Ninja Slayer was killed in battle.

In Neo-Saitama, a Sumo Shop is the residence of the Kill-Elephant Yakuza Clan led by their Yakuza Boss, Yamahiro.

And because ninja are above the yakuza, they are trying to get payment from the yakuza or else they die.  But one person is there to protect the yakuza, a mysterious being known as Yakuza Tengu.

Meanwhile,  a team of ninja brothers – Green Elephant and Gas Burner are causing trouble in the area and Yamahiro tries to make himself a yakuza samurai hero to protect shop owners from these ninja brothers.

But when the ninjas are on a murdering rampage, can Yakuza Tengu beat them?

Featuring the origin of Yamoto’s ninja power and what happens to Shogo when he is apprehended by police?

The Ninja Slayer is also seeking for an antidote for the anti-ninja virus, “Takeuchi” which has infected his master, Dragon Gendoso.

His search has brought him to journalist and master hacker, Nancy Lee. The problem is that the anti-virus is hidden in Yoroshisan’s Plant, No. 1 and he can’t infiltrate the facility alone. He will need to trust Nancy as a partner. But will the lone ninja be able to trust her?


VIDEO:

“Ninjaslayer From Animation” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1). Having read several volumes of the manga series, I was expecting for an ultraviolent, action-packed anime series with animation that best supports the manga series.

In someway, I was expecting anime and violence along the lines of “Afro Samurai”, instead, we get an animation that looks experimental with typical anime-type scenes to something that looks like it was created on Windows Paint.  Animation that seemed intentional or inevitable because it looked like it was created on a low budget and also, a change of character designs when compared to the manga series in order for it to be shown on television.

No doubt the animation will be subjective to the viewer but personally, having enjoyed the manga series, the anime style was not exactly what I was expecting.

If you enjoyed the animation style of “Inferno Cop”, then you’ll enjoy “Ninjaslayer From Animation”.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Ninjaslayer From Animation” is presented in Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Dialogue and music is clear through the front channels for the lossless stereo soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ninjaslayer From Animation” features the following special features:

  • Episode 25 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer/Adapted Script Writer) with voice actor Christopher R. Sabat (voice of Ninjaslayer).
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

EXTRAS:

“Ninjaslayer From Animation” comes with both a Blu-ray and DVD version.


“Ninja Slayer” on manga is violent, dark and action-packed.  In some ways, it reminds me a little of “Hokuto no Ken” (Fist of the Northstar) and how a city is overrun by madmen and sick monster-like beings. In this case, Neo-Saitama is run by ninja who operate under the rules of the Soukai Syndicate.  But one ninja, known as the Ninja Slayer, will do anything to make sure all ninja are killed.

Highly anticipating the anime series and expecting an anime series along the lines of the violence and action of “Afro Samurai”, no doubt I had my hopes set high for “Ninjaslayer From Animation”.

Of the anime series I have watched in 2016, “Ninjaslayer From Animation” was the worst I have watched all year long because what made the manga so fascinating, exciting and enjoyable was given an anime adaptation that not only was respectful to the manga series, it came out as an animated mess.

Granted, if the goal was to be funny and show the anime series in an experimental style incorporating the anime style that most people are expecting and artwork that looks like a child had drawn it and like a low-budget home-made anime title that resembles anime style work created on Windows Paint that I was used to seeing on PC downloaded files from anime BBS’ from 1993.

Whether the animation style was created this way due to budget or due to a break in banality and give something to audiences at an attempt of humor, whatever the case may be, I am one who dislikes seeing anime adaptations that deviate too much from the original creation.

Sure, there are anime adaptations, that deviate from the original storyline due to the manga series not being complete and original stories have to be written or filler-episodes need to be created, but yet, there is a respect to the original creation.

“Ninjaslayer From Animation” is different and yes, I understand that the “Ninjaslayer” manga series used a fictitious name for its creators (it has not been established if the original creators were actually real people but the majority of the manga readers believe the original creators – Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez are fictitious) but there was a style, fascinatingly dark character designs and way-out there action that had the potential of becoming something different.  Sure, it would have made a great OVA, but as a TV series, a lot of sacrifices were made that made me feel disappointed in the overall anime series.

As for the Blu-ray release, you get a single episode audio commentary.  And even Funimation decided to go experimental with their audio commentary with hums, echo effects and audio commentary played in reverse.

For those who enjoyed anime such as “Inferno Cop” will no doubt enjoy this series.  For those who like anime series that are different from the norm, may enjoy this.   Unfortunately, it was probably the worst anime series I have watched in 2016 and that is disappointing, considering I really enjoyed the manga series.

If you are considering purchasing this anime series on Blu-ray, do some research and find out if it’s for you.  The good news is that all 26-episodes are included in this Blu-ray/DVD set!  But in my opinion, it’s not recommended!

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Fairy Tail vol. 21 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fairy Tail” vol. 21 is an action-packed storyline continuing the battle between Fairy Tail and the demons of Tartaros.  If you have been following the series for this long, you’ll no doubt enjoy the action involving many of the members of the Fairy Tail guild.

Image courtesy of © 2016 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Fairy Tail Vol. 21

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 240-252) 325 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English DolbyTrue HD 5.1, Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation

Release Date: September 6, 2016


Originally created by Hiro Mashima

Directed by Shinji Ishihara

Script by Atsuhiro Tomikoa, Fumihiko Shimo, Masashi Sogo, Shoji Yonemura

Music by Yasuharu Takanashi

Character Design by Aoi Yamamoto

Art Director: Junko Shimizu

Chief Animation Director: Takao Sano

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures, Satelight


Featuring the following voice talent:

Aya Hirano/Cherami Leigh as Lucy Heartfilia

Tetsuya Kakihara/Todd Haberkorn as Natsu Dragneel

Rie Kugimiya/Tia Ballard as Happy

Sayaka Ohara/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Erza Scarlet

Yūichi Nakamura/Newton Pittman as Gray Fullbuster

Shinichi Kotani/R. Bruce Elliot as Makarov

Akira Ishida as Zeref

Daisuke Kishio/Eric Vale as Loki/Loke

Daisuke Namikawa as Jeral/Mystogan

Eri Kitamura/Jamie Marchi as Kana Alberona

Hiroki Touchi as Pantherlily

Hiroki Yasumoto as Elfman

Kazuhiko Inoue as Gildarts Clive

Mai Nakahara as Juvia Loxar

Mariya Ise as Levi Macgarden

Miyuki Sawashiro/Lydia Mackay as Ultear Milkovich

Ryoko Ono/Monica Rial as Mirajane

Satomi Satou as Wendy

Sayaka Narita as Aries

Wataru Hatano as Gajeel Redfox

Yui Horie as Charle


On the demon’s playground, anything can happen. With the devastating Face weapon active, the battle against Tartaros seems desperate. The wizards of Fairy Tail must face down the Nine Demon Gates of Tartaros to stop the mass magic purge, or they will all become powerless. As the clock ticks down, what sacrifices will be made to protect the magic across the land? Will it even be enough? Natsu and his friends will have to use everything they’ve got if they want to prevent E.N.D.’s revival. But when each member is up against a different foe, things aren’t looking good for our heroes. In this battle against demons, anything goes; including their ability to resurrect?! And as if demons weren’t enough, familiar foes join the battle with demonic powers that make them stronger than before. When the battle turns in Tartaros’ favor, can Lucy summon the strength to call on the most powerful celestial spirit the Celestial Spirit King?!


The seventh season of “Fairy Tail” continues!

The demons of Tartaros who think they have destroyed Fairy Tail are now going after Happy, Carla and Lily.

Meanwhile, Natsu and Lisanna have escaped their cell and Erza confronts Kyoka.

Also, Wendy finds a newfound power, while Franmalth plans to absorb Natsu, Lucy and Happy’s souls.

Lucy must also make a tough decision in regards to one of her golden Zodiac keys.  And Gray takes on Silver.

All this and more in vol. 21 of “Fairy Tail” (episodes 240-252) available now on Blu-ray + DVD combo pack from FUNimation.

What is “Fairy Tail”?

For those who are not familiar with “Fairy Tail”, let’s just say that it’s one of the most exciting, long running anime magic/adventure series to be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

In Japan, “Fairy Tail” is a manga series which began in 2006 and was created by mangaka Hiro Mashima (known for his manga series “Rave Master”). Featured in Weekly Shonen Magazine, the manga series is still ongoing, meanwhile an anime adaptation of the manga series was created in 2009 produced by A-Pictures and Satelight. And similar to the manga series, is also ongoing!

With the 21st volume Blu-ray release of “Fairy Tail”, this latest volume features episodes 240-252.

The anime series is directed by Shinji Ishihara (“Aoi Kokuhaku”, “Tenbatsu Angel Rabbie”, “Tokyo Majin” and is written by Masashi Sogo (“Bleach”, “Yukikaze”, “Hunter x Hunter”). The anime series features character design by Aoi Yamamoto, art direction by Junko Shimizu (“Midori Days, “Blue Dragon”, “Trinity Blood”) and music by Yasuharu Takanashi (“Naruto Shippuden”, “Hell Girl”, “Gantz”, Ikki Tosen”).

A Quick Summary of what has taken place in “Fairy Tail” thus far:

“Fairy Tail” revolves around a 17-year-old celestial wizard named Lucy Heartfilia who dreams of joining a sorcerer guild known as Fairy Tail, a group known and feared for the destruction they cause. One day, she runs into Natsu Dragneel, a guy who is traveling to the land of Fiore along with his partner Happy (a talking blue cat with wings) who is searching for his foster parent, a dragon named Igneel who has disappeared.

While traveling to Fiore, both Lucy and Natsu encounter a sorcerer claiming to be the famous Salamander of Fairy Tail. Natsu is the first to object that the man is a phony but the fans of Salamander are dismayed by Natsu’s comments and beat him up, meanwhile Lucy finds out that this fake Salamander is using his sorcerer abilities to make young women fall for him.

As Lucy tries to show her gratitude to Natsu for breaking the spell that would have otherwise have hypnotized Lucy, the two become friends.

But when the fake Salamander tells Lucy that he would get her into Fairy Tail, she knows he is a fake but any chance of getting to join the guild would make her dream come true, so she decides to visit him.

But it’s all a ruse and the fake Salamander is just trying to find female slaves and because he is so powerful, Lucy does not have the magic necessary to beat him. But coming to Lucy’s rescue is Natsu, who is revealed to be a true member of Fairy Tail and also revealed to be the true “Salamander”. And he easily beats the fake Salamander up.

When Natsu discovers that Lucy’s dream is to become a Fairy Tail member, he asks her to join him and he can help her get into the guild and from that moment on, Lucy becomes Natsu’s partner in various Fairy Tail guild missions and for each mission they beat, the more income they make.

And more money means more keys to gain more powers, which would help Lucy become a powerful celestial wizard!

And together, Natsu and Lucy develop a wonderful friendship as they grow as partners but also a guild members with their other teammates.


“Fairy Tail” Vol. 21 features the following characters:

  • Natsu Dragneel – Also known as “Salamander”, Natsu is a kindhearted, always hungry wizard who travels with his partner Happy in search of Igneel, a dragon who raised Natsu but is now missing. Natsu is a dragon slayer and a wizard who can perform “Lost Magic and can have physical properties of a dragon. He specializes in Fire Dragon Slayer Magic which allows him to breath fire and ingest fire as a form of nourishment.
  • Lucy Heartfilia – A celestial wizard who can summon contracted spirits (with special abilities) through a set of keys known as Gatekeys. She treats these spirits as friends. Her dream is to join Fairy Tail and through meeting Natsu, now her dream can come true.
  • Happy – A blue cat with wings and a best friend to Natsu. He can fly and can carry a person while flying. He is also known to irritate Lucy.
  • Gray Fullbuster – A powerful wizard of Fairy Tail and the opposite of Natsu, in that he has control of ice. Gray has the power of Ice Make which can make him create weapons or anything out of ice. He was raised by the wizard Ur. He also has a bad habit of taking of all his clothes without realizing it.
  • Erza Scarlet – An S-Class wizard (high-ranked) and is the most powerful member of the Fairy Tail guild. She has magic known as “The Knight” which allows her to summon and equip weapons and armor and also has the ability to resist magic attacks. She is feared by others because of her lack of compassion.
  • Mirajane – A 19-year-old S-Class wizard who is the cover girl of Sorcerer’s Weekly magazine and helps Lucy understand what is happening with the members of the Fairy Tail guild. She has the ability to change her appearance to something she previously encountered.
  • Cana Alberona – A short-tempered heaving drinking woman. She uses card magic to cast her spells.
  • Elfman – Mirajane’s younger brother who is known for his physical strength. He can absorb the power of any monster he defeats.
  • Loke – A flirtatious wizard who is often seen in the company of many women.
  • Makarov Dreyer – The elder master of Fairy Tail. He is constantly busy because of his guild members becoming too violent.
  • Juvia Lockser – Originally a member of the Phantom Lord Guild and now a member of Fairy Tail and is obsessed with Gray.
  • Gajeel Redfox – Originally a member of the Phantom Lord Guild, Gajeel is similar to Natsu in the fact that he is a Dragon Slayer raised by the dragon Metalicana. He can transform his body into metal weapons.
  • Jellal Fernandes – A former child slave that grew up with Erza Scarlet. Thought to be dead, he is found by Oracion Seis and revived by Wendy Marvell and is being used to find the destructive spell known as Nirvana.
  • Wendy Marvell – A female Dragon Slayer who is accompanied by her Exceed partner Carla. A master of Sky Dragon Slayer magic, she can heal injuries. She becomes an ally of Fairy Tail.

VIDEO:

“Fairy Tail” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1). It’s important to note that this is a anime TV series, not a film or an OVA and is a weekly anime series. What that means is A-1 Pictures and Satelight, have their hands full, especially if they have other TV series to work on that week. Typically a lot of anime series are quickly done in order to make it by their weekly deadline and sometimes, they are done the day of deadline. So, production values for TV series are typically not that high if they are working on multiple series.

Fortunately A-1 Pictures has become one of the newer studios that have been doing production for quite a number of popular hit series such as “Blue Exorcist” and “Big Windup!” and Satelight does a lot of the in-between animation. So, while they are a smaller, growing company, they are not overburdened as other studios and that means, more time dedicated to the anime series.

“Fairy Tail” features cool production value. A lot of detailed artwork, because of the many adventures, you get so many locations and not the typical regurgitated scenery.

There is a lot of detail featured in the art backgrounds, a lot of characters featured and these characters have great detail and shadowing. Colors are absolutely vibrant, black levels are deep. I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release. If anything, the Blu-ray really brings out the details and colors of the series and looks fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fairy Tail” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Dialogue and music is clear through the front channels for the lossless stereo soundtrack but because the English is 5.1, there is better use of the surround channels.

In fact, I found myself listening to the English dub track for “Fairy Tail” much more than the Japanese soundtrack because of the 5.1 but also, FUNimation did a magnificent job with the casting of this series. I was very pleased especially with the casting of Lucy, Natsu, Happy, Grey and Erza and for the most part, I think whichever you prefer, you will be pleased with Japanese and English audio tracks.

But for the most part, for a TV series, lossless audio is crystal clear and while not the most immersive soundtrack (which I typically don’t expect TV series to boast incredible immersive lossless soundtracks, unlike a film or OVA series), “Fairy Tail” does sound very good on Blu-ray!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fairy Tail” vol. 21 features the following special features:

  • Episode 243 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer/Adapted Script Writer) with Aaron Dismuke (writer) and Jeremy Schwartz (voice of Franmalth).
  • Episode 248 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer/Adapted Script Writer) with Cherami Leigh (voice of Lucy) and Jessica Cavanaugh (voice of Aquarius).
  • Katsucon with Cherami Leigh – (7:38) Cherami Leigh talks to “Fairy Tail” cosplayers at Katsucon.
  • Textless Opening Song: “Never-End Tale”
  • Textless Closing Song: “Forever Here”
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer for “Fairy Tail”
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

EXTRAS:

“Fairy Tail” vol. 21 Blu-ray also comes with both a Blu-ray and DVD version.


With the seventh season “Fairy Tail” and the third arc known as “Tartaros” has begun (based on the 40th – 49th volume storyline) in which the dark guild of Zeref’s demons are trying to resurrect their master and Zeref’s ultimate creation, E.N.D.!

As the Magic Council discusses Tartaros recent activity and the decrease in dark guilds, Jackal of the Nine Demon Gates infiltrates the meeting and destroys the building the council are meeting at and everyone is killed including Lahar.

News of the Magic Council’s assassination spreads throughout the villages and Doranbolt, who is one of the few survivors from the attack, goes to the dungeon to extract information on Tartaros. And more members of the Nine Demon Gates continue their attacks leading to more deaths.

While this latest volume is probably one of the darkest story plots of “Fairy Tail” prior to the “Tartaros Arc” is a storyline that features the demons of Tartaros planning to destroy Fairy Tail.  And with a few of the primary characters escaping, it places each character in danger and fighting their most difficult battle yet.

In fact, major characters are having to make difficult decisions or else face death.  And also trying to prevent the powerful Franmalth from absorbing their souls.

If anything, there are major battles between Fairy Tail and the demons, including resurrected souls.

While this volume is action-packed, the concurrent storyline with “Naruto” and the resurrected souls/reanimated corpses didn’t seem all too original and the fact that there are so many characters involved, it’s another situation similar to “Naruto” that one really needs to watch “Fairy Tail” earlier on to know who the characters are, the bond they have with each other and so forth.  There are too relationships at stake with this season alone that fans of the series will appreciate, but it’s not an arc that will be easy for one to jump in, if they never watched earlier seasons.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good for a TV series and features a good solid lossless soundtrack. It’s important to emphasize that this is a TV series and not a film or OVA, thus the production quality of animated TV shows tend to be lower (and created in a short time) than a film/OVA, so there is a bit of softness and shadowing and detail are not utilized a lot for this series.

As for special features, you do get the English voice actors providing commentary for two episodes, voice actress Cherami Leigh at Katsucon and the opening and ending theme songs.

Overall, “Fairy Tail” vol. 21 is an action-packed storyline continuing the battle between Fairy Tail and the demons of Tartaros.  If you have been following the series for this long, you’ll no doubt enjoy the action involving many of the members of the Fairy Tail guild.

Recommended!

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Attack on Titan: The Movie Part 1 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Attack on Titan: The Movie Part 1” may not be the film that die-hard fans have hoped for.  But for those who have seen many of their favorite comic book stores receive live-action adaptations, deviation from the original source is expected.  The most you can hope is that key elements from Hajime Isayama’s popular manga series is incorporated into the film.  And for the most part, the first part of the film is entertaining and action-packed and while not a great film, it’s a decent popcorn action film.

Images courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Attack on Titan: The Movie Part 1

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 98 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH and France

COMPANY: Funimation

RATED: R

RELEASE DATE: October 4, 2016


Based on the manga by Hajime Isayama

Directed by Shinji Higuchi

Screenplay by Yusuke Watanabe, Tomohiro Machiyama

Produced by Yuji Ishida, Genki Kawamura

Music by Shiro Sagisu, Shiro Washizu

Cinematography by Shoji Ehara

Edited by Yusuke Ishida

Production Design by Takeshi Shimizu

Costume Design by Shin’Ichi Mita


Starring:

Haruma Miura as Eren

Kiko Mizuhara as Mikasa

Kanata Hongo as Armin

Satomi Ishihara as Hange

Nanami Sakuraba as Sasha

Takahiro Miura as Jean

Hiroki Hasegawa as Shikishima

Ayame Misaki as Hiana

Pierre Taki as Souda

Jun Kunimura as Kubal

Shu Watanabe as Fukushi

Satoru Matsuo as Sannagi

Rina Takeda as Lil


When the Titans first attacked, life for mankind was forever changed. Fearing the massive man-eating humanoids, survivors constructed three enormous walls for protection. From that point on, humanity lived safely behind the walls for the time being. A century later, life is peaceful.

Eren and his friends live inside the walls, yearning to explore beyond the borders they’ve always known. But the opportunity comes sooner than expected when a Colossal Titan appears above the wall. With a single kick the barricade is pierced, allowing a swarm of titans to pour in and devour their newly exposed prey. Witnessing the devastation, Eren and his friends vow to destroy the man-eating terrors. The future looks bleak, but there’s more to Eren than meets the eye: he may be humanity’s last hope against extinction.


Back in 2006, Hajime Isayama wrote a 65-page one-shot of “Shingeki no Kyojin”. Inspired during an encounter with an irate customer while working at an internet cafe, the encounter would eventually be the basis of his hit series which is known internationally as “Attack on Titan”.

In 2009, “Shingeki no Kyojin” began serialization in Kodanasha’s “Bessatsu Shonen Magazine” and has spawned a popular manga and anime series, three light novel volumes, multiple video games, manga spin-offs.

In 2015, a live-action film titled “Attack on Titan: The Movie” directed by Shinji Higuchi with a screenplay by Yusuke Watanabe and Tomohiro Machiyama was released in theaters.

The film revolves around Eren Yeager, his foster sister Mikasa Ackerman and their childhood friend Armin Arlert.  As they stand around a undetonated missile and see a picture of the ocean, which Mikasa is fascinated with.

Eren wants to show her how the ocean looks like, so the three sneak past a Garrison outpost and climb towards the base of the wall.  Because it’s windy, Eren gives Mikasa his scarf.

The three live in Shinganshina and are protected with huge walls to protect them from huge titans that killed many people over a hundred years ago.  But now, the surviving humans live in peace within the walls.

But no one has seen a titan and even Eren doesn’t believe they exist.  That is until the three fel the ground shake and a Colossal Titan breaches the wall and let other giant humanoid beings enter the village.  Many lost their families and friends and for Eren, he not only lost his mother, he was separated from Mikasa and think she may have died.

Two years later, we find out that Eren and Armin are now scouts for the military and Eren wants to make sure that he gets his revenge on the titans that killed his mother and Mikasa.


VIDEO:

“Attack on Titan: The Movie” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Featuring close-ups with very good detail, the film looks very good as outdoor scenes are colorful and interior scenes are well-lit.  And for the most part, CG for the Colossal Titan was good for the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Attack on Titan: The Movie” is presented in Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. Dialogue and music is crystal clear. Surround channels are primarily for ambiance and music but the overall soundtrack is dialogue and music-driven.   While I am more biased towards the Japanese soundtrack, both soundtracks are well-acted.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Attack on Titan: The Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • Japanese Trailers – Featuring two trailer versions.
  • U.S. Trailer – Featuring the U.S. theatrical trailer version.

EXTRAS:

“Attack on Titan: The Movie” comes with a slipcover, Blu-ray and DVD plus an UltraViolet code.


Having read the manga series and watched anime version of “Attack on Titan”, knowing how most adaptations of manga series for live action are often different, I expected deviation from the manga/anime storyline.

Afterall, I’ve seen it happen also in the United States with superhero films and you just aren’t going to get so much of what is featured in several manga volumes in terms of storyline into one film.  So, I expected the deviation and I expected many fans to get upset by the live-action adaptation.

I did feel that filmmaker Shinji Higuchi had no doubt take on a project that would be scrutinized, I also felt that Higuchi, with his work on the anime series “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water” and the films “Japan Sinks”, “Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess” and “The Floating Castle” had more than enough experience to take on the film, but it would rely on screenwriters Yusuke Watanabe (who worked on the live film adaptations for “Gantz” and “20th Century Boys” films) and Tomohiro Machiyama to bring Hajime Isayama’s popular story to life.

Considering the manga was still ongoing, with two films to write, there was bound to be deviation from the manga series.

But how one felt about the film is subjective.  And because so many people were posting on social media, bashing the film, I didn’t have high expectations and was expecting the worse.

But having watched the film, it’s not terrible, it does deviate from the manga/anime series but it manages to take key events from Hajime Isayama’s story and try to incorporate what it can into a 98-minute film.

Eren is no doubt the focal point in the live-action film and while the friendship between he and Mikasa and Armin are showcased in the film, Eren’s relationship with Mikasa is not as signficant as fans of the manga/anime series would have hoped.

The key points of motivation for Eren wanting to serve in the military and also the political and economic instability was also not prominent in the film.  So, the scout missions and the role of the military prior to Eren joining the military is not as prominent.

So, key elements were stripped away.  Character interactions are changed and so, the adaptation is different.  But again, a lot of live film adaptations deviate from their original source, so I gave Yusuke Watanabe and Tomohiro Machiyama the benefit of the doubt.  And in the end, I was expecting a popcorn action film that would entertain me for the 98-minutes.

And that’s what I got, a 98-minute film with a lot of action and surprising situations that left me wanting to watch the second film and see how they would complete the storyline.

Am I disappointed about how the film is different from the manga series?  It’s like asking a person if they are disappointed with how “X-Men”, “The Avengers”, “Fantastic Four”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “Spider-Man” films, to other superhero related live-action film adaptations that have been made?

I think by now, many of us can expect deviation from the original source, so with that I’m not disappointed.  But what about how the film is executed?  Having read over a dozen graphic novels, I can’t fathom how difficult it was for Yusuke Watanabe and Tomohiro Machiyama but I have seen Watanabe do it with “Gantz”, “20th Century Boys” and also “Gatchman”.  It’s not perfect, but he managed to incorporate enough key elements from the original source but there is way too much story and many characters to fit into one film.  So, I’ll give the writers the benefit of the doubt and with what Shinji Higuchi had to work with, he worked with the screenplay he was given and the budget that he had.

Sure, I know I am lenient more than others who have disliked the film but as a popcorn action film and a live-adaptation of a manga series, it was not the worse I have ever seen, nor was it the great adaptation. To me, it was a popcorn live-action film, nothing more and nothing less.

As for the Blu-ray, picture quality for the most part is solid and voice acting for both English and Japanese soundtracks were well-done.  Lossless audio was well-utilized for the major action sequences and as for special features, all you get is the Japanese and U.S. trailers.

Overall, “Attack on Titan: The Movie Part 1” may not be the film that die-hard fans have hoped for.  But for those who have seen many of their favorite comic book stores receive live-action adaptations, deviation from the original source is expected.  The most you can hope is that key elements from Hajime Isayama’s popular manga series is incorporated into the film.  And for the most part, the first part of the film is entertaining and action-packed and while not a great film, it’s a decent popcorn action film.

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

January 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Death Parade” is an anime series that was refreshing, addictive and badass!  Recommended!anime series with a shorter duration, “Sky Wizards Academy” is worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Death Parade: The Complete Series

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Funimation

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: November 29, 2016


Originally created by Yuzuru Tachikawa

Directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa

Screenplay by Yuzuru Tachikawa

Music by Yauuki Hayashi

Character Design by Shinichi Kurita

Art Director: Satoru Hirayanagi

Anime Production by Madhouse


Featuring the following voice talent:

Asami Seto/Jamie Marchi as Black-haired Woman

Tomoaki Maeno/Alex Organ as Decim

Atsumi Tanezaki as Mayu Arita

Kouki Uchiyama/Leah Clark as Clavis

Rumi Ookubo/Jad Saxton as Nona

Ryoka Yuzuki/Morgan Garrett as Castra

Ryoko Shiraishi/Anastasia Munoz as Quin

Tesshō Genda/Jeremy Schwartz as Oculus

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Robert McCollum as Ginti


When two people die at the same time, they’re sent to a place that’s neither heaven nor hell: a lavish bar between worlds where the stakes are high and the rules are simple: if you win you live again, if you die you’re gone for good.

Decim is the bartender charged with serving the souls who enter Quindecim. He may make a mean cocktail, but his true profession is to play the role of arbiter: a judge who determines whether or not a soul is worthy of reincarnation.

To aid in his judgment, the bar’s patrons are forced to play simple games laced with sadistic twists designed to bring their true natures to light. To Decim, judgment has always been black and white — that is until he meets a mysterious young woman whose fate seems impossible to decide. His indecision shakes the very foundation of the games and raises the biggest question of all: who is fit to judge the dead?

 


From Yuzuru Tachikawa (who worked on series such as “Steins;Gate”, “Attack on Titan”, “Kill la Kill”) and Madhouse comes the anime series “Death Parade”.

Originally a short film titled “Death Billiards”, which was produced by Madhouse for the Young Animator Training Project’s Anime Mirai 2013.  The series aired in Japan between January and March 2015 and each episode was released in the United States not long after the Japan release of an episode.

The anime series is directed and written by Yuzuru Tachikawa, music composition by Yuuki Hayashi (“Gundam Build Fighters”, “Haikyu!!”, “My Hero Academia”), character design by Shinichi Kurita (“Arata-naru Sekai”, “Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV”) and art direction by Satoru Hirayanagi (“Familiar of Zero”, “Guin Saga”, “Shining Hearts”).

And now the anime series will be available on Blu-ray courtesy of Funimation.

The series revolves around two people (different individuals for each episode) who are taken to a building managed by Nona.  And on the 15th floor, they are led into a Quindecim bar by Castra to participate in game. What these individuals are unaware of is that these games are death games.

Greetings them is a bartender named Decim, who has no human emotions.  Who happens to also be an arbiter, the person who must judge each individual and explain to the individuals of the games they are taking part in.  Assisting Decim is a mysterious black-haired woman named Chiyuki who has no memory of her past life or her real-name.

But there is also another bar on the 20th floor known as Viginti, ran by Ginti, like Decim who also must lead individuals to taking part in the death games.

The two people that come in to the bar are unaware they are dead and the purpose of taking part in the game, is to find out who gets reincarnated and who must go to the void.

And in the end of the game, they will be judged.


VIDEO:

“Death Parade” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Animation is from Mad House who did a fantastic job with this series when it comes to detail of the bar, character designs, lighting and overall animation.  Picture quality does have a hint of softness, as one would expect from an anime TV series.  But pallet is colorful and the series looks great on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Death Parade” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The series for the most part features crystal clear dialogue and music. The English dub has the edge with its 5.1 surround soundtrack but both voice acting for Japanese and English are well-acted.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Death Parade: The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 3 Commentary – Featuring ADR director Chris George, Bryn Apprill (voice of Mai Takada) and Micah Solusod (voice of Shigeru Miura.
  • Episode 12 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Zach Bolton (voice of Clavis), Jamie Marchi (voice of Black-Haired Woman), Jad Saxton (voice of Nona) and Alex Organ (voice of Decim).
  • OVA: Death Billiards – Featuring a special episode with Decim and Black-Haired Woman encountering two people who must compete at billiards.
  • Playing with House Money – (6:15) Jad Saxton (voice of Nona), Robert McCollum (voice of Ginti) and Jamie Marchi (voice of Black-Haired Woman) meet up in a bar for a game of billiards.
  • Textless Opening and Five Closing Songs
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Death Parade: The Complete Series” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series plus a slipcover.


For those who have been craving for anime with original stories, “Death Parade” from Madhouse gives anime fans a series built on a fascinating storyline, some that are surprising, others quite tragic and heartbreaking but also showcasing mysterious characters.

The series pretty much is the judgment of individuals of who will be reincarnated and who must spend eternity in the void.

As two people are escorted into a bar to participate in games, they are unaware that these are death games and by playing, it slowly reveals the history and what led to the demise of an individual.

From its mysterious no-emotion bartender named Decim and a human, who is not an arbiter but is working closely for Decim for some unexplained reason.  What is the story about her?

But the stories revolve around two people who take part in death games.

For example, the first episode features Takashi and Machiko, a loving couple who are unaware they are dead.  But the more they play the game of darts, they start to realize that their relationship is troubled.

Takashi remembers when Machiko said she was pregnant but he feared that the pregnancy was due to another man.  Machiko claims that it’s Takashi’s baby but the more viewers start to sympathize with Machiko, the more the game is played, the more is revealed about her dark side or does he have a dark side?

Another two that plays the game is Misaki Tachibana, a hostess of a reality TV show who has a hot temper.  She had a baby by an abusive man and had to raise five children through multiple failed relationships.

Yousuke’s father remarried with Misaki and refused to accept her and avoided her no matter how much Misaki tried to give him love.  But what led to their demise?  And who will be reincarnated and who will go to the void?

These are just a few examples as you will see couples take part in “Death Billiards”, “Death Bowling” and more.

And of course, the series comes to a resolution with its mysterious black-haired woman, Chiyuki.

A satisfying, addictive anime series, it helps that it’s a shorter series that is only 12-episodes long and not drawn out with filler storylines that mean nothing.  In “Death Parade”, each storyline contributes to changes with other characters, especially Chiyuki and through these experiences, the story concludes with a satisfying storyline.  I really enjoyed this series!

And as one can expect from Madhouse, you get wonderful animation, background and foreground artwork and while colorful, it does have a slight softness but that is expected from anime television series.  You also get two audio commentary and a featurette with three of the voice English dub voice talents.  Plus a bonus “Death Billiards” episode.

Overall, “Death Parade” is an anime series that was refreshing, addictive and badass!  Recommended!

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Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series (A J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Sky Wizards Academy – The Complete Series” is an anime series that is easy to follow, is a lot of fun and fully of action. If you enjoy magical academy anime series and are looking for an anime series with a shorter duration, “Sky Wizards Academy” is worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2014

DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Funimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: June 7, 2016


Originally created by Yume Mizusawa

Directed by Hiroyuki Kanbe

Series Composition by Naruhisa Arakawa

Music by Yasaharu Takanashi

Original Character Design by Ayumu Kasuga

Character Design by Kazuaki Morita, Masahiro Yamane

Art Director: Katsuhisa Takiguchi

Art Design by Tsukasa Ohira

Anime Production by Production iMS


Featuring the following voice talent:

Maaya Uchida/Morgan Garrett as Twoearle

Nobunaga Shimazaki/Austin Tindle as Sōji Mitsuka

Sumire Uesaka/Bryn Apprill as Tail Red

Chinatsu Akasaki/Mikaela Krantz as Erina Shindō

Hiromi Igarashi/Jennifer Green as Miharu Mitsuka

M.A.O/Michelle Rojas as Mikoto Sakuragawa

Tesshō Genda/Cris George as Lizadgildy

Tetsu Inada/Chris Rager as Draggildy

Yōko Hikasa/Leah Clark as Anko Isuna

Yuka Aisaka/Sarah Widenheft as Tail Blue

Yukari Tamura/Tia Ballard as Mega Neptune Mk. II


Soji Mitsuka of Gonna Be the Twin-Tail is an ordinary high schooler with an extraordinary obsession. Twin tails are his fire, his air, his will to live! But when a mysterious woman from another world enlists his help to fight hideous monsters with various moe fetishes, Soji must transform into a powerful pigtailed…girl?

With the help of his childhood friend, the class president, and his endless devotion to pigtails, Soji and his crew form a twin-tailed threesome to take on the monsters who feed on the “attribute power” of humans. But Soji’s new pigtailed powers come with a price; his surging popularity as the new heroin in town makes the twin-tailed trend explode, giving the monsters ample attribute powers to feed upon! Don’t miss the action in Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!


“Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu”…What began as a light novel series by Yume Mizusawa and illustrator Ayumu Kasuga, would become an anime adaptation in 2014 courtesy of Production IMS.

And now the anime series known as “Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!” is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

The series revolves around teenager Soji Mitsuka. He has an obsession with twin-tail hair and one day, he comes across a mysterious girl known as Twoearle, who has come from a parallel world.

But when Twoearle arrives, so do many monsters who appear in the city and declare that all twintails belong to them. As the monsters attack and feed off the spiritual energy of humanity, Twoearle gives Soji with Tail Gear, which is an imaginary armor which gives him twintail attributes, turning him to a red-headed twin-tail female warrior.

As Soji names his female warrior persona as Tail Red, she becomes popular and becomes a hero in the city.

His childhood friend Aika has a tsundere personality and is overprotective of Soji, but she also has a crush on him. She becomes jealous when she discovers Soji with Twoearle (because she is well-endowed and Aika is not) and the two women start to have a rivalry with each other. She becomes a Twintail Warrior known as Tail Blue and is excellent in fighting and martial arts.

The three eventually meet Erina Shindo, the Student Council President of Yogetsu Private Academy and she is a masochist and exhibitionist. She falls for Soji and gets aroused when Soji calls her name and she eventually becomes Tail Yellow, despite the fact that she hates twintails.

As these three twintails try to protect humanity from the monsters, they meet another girl from a parallel world named Isuna a.k.a. Tail Black, an obsessed fan of Twoerle and her persona on Earth is a singer named Anko Isuna. Why does Isuna have a deep hatred towards Tail Red? And can Soji keep his secret that he is Tail Red?


VIDEO:

“Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Animation from Production IMS is good as character designs are well-done, art backgrounds are also well-done. There is subtle softness as one can expect from the majority of anime TV series but the anime series is colorful and animation is done well.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The series for the most part features crystal clear dialogue and music. The English dub has the edge with its 5.1 surround soundtrack but both voice acting for Japanese and English are well-acted.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series” features the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Commentary – Featuring a hilarious audio commentary with Austin Tindle (voice of Soji) and Morgan Garrett (voice of Twoerle).
  • Episode 11 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Jerry Jewell, Bryn Apprill as Tail Red and Mikaela Krantz as Tail Yellow.
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • U.S. Trailer – Funimation trailer for “Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series”.

EXTRAS:

“Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series plus a slipcover.


Watching the anime series “Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!!”, there is a part of me that found the anime series reminiscent to the classic ’80s manga/anime series “Ranma 1/2” but also having a touch of the “Neptunia” video game series with dose of fan service included.

The series revolves around a teenager named Soji Mitsuka who has an obsession/fetish with twin-tails. And his love for twin-tails gets him into some trouble when a well-endowed being known as Twoearle comes from a parallel world, bringing monsters following her, that want twin-tails to be their own (as these monsters also have an obsession/fetish towards twin-tails).

So, Soji is given power to fight the monsters, but in the process, he turns into a female warrior with twin-tails.

At first I found the anime series to be a bit awkward, fun and crazy but also action-packed.  And was wondering if this is an anime series that would focus more on comedy or action…or would it be another ecchi perverted fanservice driven anime series.

Fortunately, the former is primarily focused on and we see Soji really getting into the role as a twin-tail warrior and despite the series having female twin-tailed characters that fall for him, he’s a kindhearted person that just has an obsession and not at all not too perverted.  Although, it would be interesting if it did go that direction.

I found the anime series to be simple, fun, action-packed but I have to admit that part of the enjoyment of this anime series came from listening to the audio commentaries, especially the slightly mature and hilarious audio commentary between voice actor Austin Tindle and voice actress Morgan Garrett, which was fun to listen to.  While the audio commentary with Mikaela Krantz and Bryn Apprill was also fun to listen to.

As for picture quality, while not a top-notch quality driven anime series, animation and character designs along with background art is good.  The series is colorful but like many other anime TV series, there is slight softness.

Overall, for those who want an escape and are getting burned out with banal anime and want to laugh and watch a crazy, action-packed anime series, may find “Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!!” to be to their liking.

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