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Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you enjoy anime that is set in high school and focuses on a hardcore otaku teacher trying to help his students through unusual ways, will no doubt want to give “Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 2” a try!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part Two

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 13-14) 300 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Funimation

Release Date: February 1, 2017


Originally created by Takeshi Azuma

Directed by Masato Sato

Series Composition by Atsushi Maekawa

Music by Ryuuichi Takada

Character Design by Isao Sugimoto

Art Director: Daiki Kuribayashi

Art Design by Iho Narita

Anime Production by A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya/Anthony Bowling as Jun’ichirō Kagami

Rena Matsui/Mikaela Krantz as Suzune Kagami

Aki Toyosaki/Tia Ballard as Kōtarō Araki

Aya Hirano as Yamato Tōne

Ayahi Takagaki as Tim Berners Lynn

Ayane Sakura as Kisaki Tenjōin/Sachiko Tanaka

Azusa Tadokoro/Dawn M. Bennett as Kiriko Shikishima

Daisuke Namikawa/Eric Vale as Hell Gates

Kana Hanazawa/Lindsay Seidel as Reiko Mukyō

M.A.O/Alexis Tipton as Madoka Kuramachi

Rina Hidaka/Monica Rial as Kanon Chinami

Risa Taneda/Kristi Yang as Matome Nishikujō

Risae Matsuda/Felecia Angelle as Taki Komiya

Saori Ōnishi/Caitlin Glass as Makina Momozono

Satsumi Matsuda/Bryn Apprill as Nagaru Komiya

Shiina Natsukawa/Leah Clark as Moemi Kushinada

Sora Amamiya/Sarah Wiedenheft as Minako Kanō

Suzuko Mimori/Jad Saxton as Koyomi Hiiragi

Tomoko Tsuzuki/Terri Doty as Kazuya Momozono


The ultimate otaku teacher, Junichiro Kagami, is back with his unique group of students. But as the school year goes on, things start to get…spooky! When tasked to clean out the old dorms, Kagami and his students stumble upon the ghost of a former classmate. All she wants to do is pass on to the next life but is having a little trouble. Are they up for this spiritual lesson?

Things heat up when conflict arises between a gang leader and pop idol. Are street smarts more important than school smarts? Once things start to calm down, even Kagami’s most troubled students start settling into better lives. Realizing that he’s neglected things he used to care about like his blog, figurines, and anime, Kagami begins to question if teaching is where he truly belongs. When the opportunity to work on his Anywhere Door arises, he’ll have to make a tough choice.

What does Kagami really yearn to do: teach or research?


In 2011, mangaka Takeshi Azuma created the manga series “Denpa Kyoshi” (which translates to “electromagnetic-wave teacher”).

As the series is still ongoing in Japan, an anime adaptation was produced by A-1 Pictures in 2015 and the anime has now be released in two parts on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

The anime series is directed by Masato Sato (“Explorer Woman Ray”, “Silent Mobius”, “Montana Jones”), script by Atsushi Maekawa (“Digimon Adventure”, “Bakugan Battle Brawlers”, “Dragon Ball Z”), music by Ryuuichi Takada (“Idolm@ster”, “Dusk maiden of Amnesia”), character design by Isao Sugimoto (“Bakuon!!”, “Kemeko Deluxe!”, “Maze”) and background art by Daiki Kuribayashi (“Show By Rock!!”, “Code: Breaker”, “Chaos;Child”).

The anime series introduces us to Jun’ichiro Kagami, a 24-year-old mega-otaku who rather work on his anime blog. But while a big otaku, Jun’ichiro was once an intelligent physics major who published a paper that would make headwaves in the scientific world when he was 17. And Jun’ichiro was scouted to work at one of the most important research centers in the world. But when he wanted to create the “Anywhere Door” that allows teleportation, he became ridiculed by academics and so far, his efforts to dispute his critics have failed and he hasn’t developed the technology to create it.

So, Jun’ichiro decudes that he suffers from “YD” and only wants to work that he yearns to do and not do anything else. And that is be a hardcore otaku.

But his younger sister Suzune is tired of him staying at home and not making a living, and because she is responsible for the family finances, she forces her brother to get a job. Or else she will beat him up.

So, Jun’ichiro takes up a job to become a teacher at Hiiragi Academy and help students and teach students his own way. So, he can balance his teaching job (doing things his way) and also focus on his otaku lifestyle. But can he teach these students with his otaku style?

In the second part of “Ultimate Otaku Teacher”, new characters are introduced such as Tim Bernards Lynn, the head scientist at CERM Particle Physics Laboratory; Madoka Kuramachi, the student council treasurer; Joe Odawara, a student of Jun’ichiro who wants to confess his love to Makina; gang leader Taki Komiya and childlike intern, Reiko Mukyo.

Also, what happens when Jun’ichiro challenges Hell Gates, the CEO of Activision Frigate and a computer game world champion. If Jun’ichiro wins, Hell Gates must takeover KMC. If Hell Gates wins, Jun’ichiro can never play any computer game ever again.

And what is the results of Jun’ichiro teaching at the academy? Does he pass or fail?


VIDEO:

“Ultimate Otaku Teacher” 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. A vibrant anime series from A-1 Pictures.

I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Ultimate Otaku Teacher” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The series for the most part features crystal clear dialogue and music and is front-channel driven.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 2” features the following special features:

  • Episode 15 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Kyle Phillips, Alexis Tipson (voice of Madoka Kuramachi) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (voice of Tim Berners Lynn) and script writer and voice actor, Clifford Chapin (voice of Joe Odawara).
  • Episode 21 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Kyle Phillips and voice talents Felecia Angelle (voice of Taki Komiya), Mallorie Rodak (voice of Yamato Toune) and Bryn Apprill (voice of Nagare Komiya)
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • U.S. Trailer – Funimation trailer for “Ultimate Otaku Teacher”.

EXTRAS:

“Ultimate Otaku Teacher” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series plus a slipcover.


What happens when you get a former intelligent academic student turned hardcore otaku and make him a teacher and allow him to teach his students with his otaku style?

This is the story of Jun’ichiro Kagami, a hardcore otaku who has kept away from working professionally because he wants a job which he can be himself.

Unfortunately, not many jobs are open to that until Koyomi Hiiragi, chairman of Icho Academy who wants Japan to be a more amusing place. Having spied and followed Jun’ichiro, she feels that his teaching methods, no matter how absurd they may be, can teach the students at the Academy.

Each episode features how Jun’ichiro helps out a student. In Part 2, for example, Jun’ichiro wants to save student council treasurer, Madoka Kuramachi. Madoka’s family owns the KMC company who makes a video game that Jun’ichiro plays. And the company is about to be take over by Activision Frigate, a rival company and she is being forced to marry the rival company’s CEO, Hells Gate.

Another episode has Jun’ichiro trying to help a ghost who is a big fan of “Kisaki Tenjoin” and wants to know how the manga ended before author Sachiko could complete it. And the ghost wants desperately to know how the manga would have ended.

And how will Jun’ichiro help Taki Komiya, a gang leader named Taki, whose twin sister happens to be to be idol singer, Komi-Ryu.

And the series culminates as we learn the results of Jun’ichiro being at teacher. Will he succeed?

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is vibrant and colorful, while lossless audio for both Japanese and English soundtracks are 2.0 DTS-HD MA. For special features, you get two audio commentary.

Overall, “Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 2” is an anime series that may be compared to “Assassination Classroom”, teachers who have their own way of teaching their own students, students who are truant or have major problems at school. Where “Assassination Classroom” is more action-packed and driven by the fact the students must grow in order to assassinate their alien teacher who plans to destroy the planet, “Ultimate Otaku Teacher” is about an otaku teacher who loves his anime, video games and figurines.

While he is obsessed with otaku duties, the fact that he is given an opportunity to teach at an Academy and be himself is a major plus to him. So, using his love for video games, anime, etc. allows him to reach out to these troubled students.

The series has elements of what people tend to enjoy in an anime series. From having an otaku protagonist, a tsundere sister and students who are helped by Jun’ichiro’s otaku ways, may it be through video games or something really weird or awkward, he manages to get the job done.

Overall, if you enjoy anime that is set in high school and focuses on a hardcore otaku teacher trying to help his students through unusual ways, will no doubt want to give “Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 2” a try!

Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you have enjoyed the various “Monogatari” anime series thus far and you intend to stay with the series for the long run, “Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is definitely worth following if you are a dedicated fan of the series.

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2015

DURATION: Episodes 8-13 (150 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: December 20, 2016


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shimbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shimbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Kei Haeneoka

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Ken Naito

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Kaori Mizuhashi as Ougi Oshino

Marina Inoue as Sodachi Oikura

Chiwa Saito as Hitagi Senjōgahara

Kana Hanazawa as Nadeko Sengoku

Miyuki Sawashiro as Suruga Kanbaru

Saori Hayami as Yotsugi Ononoki

Satsuki Yukino as Izuko Gaen

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa


Koyomi’s Rival Appears!!

After the summer break, Koyomi breaks the link with Shinobu Oshino and returns to being human again for the first time in six months. He heads to the cram school ruin with Suruga Kanbaru, but they are attacked by a strange entity wearing Japanese armor. Saved by Yotsugi Ononoki, they head to Izuko Gaen for her advice, but she starts telling them an unbelievable story about Shinobu’s past.


In 2005, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses more on a character, instead of a two-episode storyline, we get four-episode arcs. And with “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa”, episodes 12-15 focus on Nadeko starting to see a giant snake apparition and the arc beginning with her confronting Shinobu and Koyomi and Nadeko stabbing Koyomi in the heart.

The story then explains what has been happening to Nadeko leading up to the confrontation and what the giant snake apparition may be.

In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which is about the character Suruga Kanbaru.

And in October through November 2015, the Owarimonogatari novels anime adaptation aired on Japanese television.

And now we have the release of the 13-episode anime series on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.  The first seven episodes were released in November 2016 and now the final half was released in December 2016.

In the last volume of “Owarimonogatari”, the anime series begins with Koyomi Aragi and Ougi Oshino being trapped in a classroom.

The story shows us how Suruga Kanbaru introduces Ougi to Koyomi for the first time. Ougi had introduced Koyomi to a mysterious room in the school and the two investigate. This leads to both of them being trapped inside and the room is a manifestation of a traumatic memory from Koyomi’s freshman year.

Apparently around that time, the class president, Sodachi Oikura was looking for those who cheated on a math test and no one can leave the class until the cheater was found. Ougi figures that the two are unable to leave until the mystery is revealed.

But as these two start to investigate, they start to learn more about Sodachi Oikura and why she despises Koyomi.

In volume 2 of “Owarimonogatari”, the series focuses on the Shinobu Mail Arc.

Koyomi goes to meet his athletic basketball playing friend, Suruga Kanbaru at an abandoned cram school.  But they see a samurai in full armor and a fight breaks out and Suruga is fighting against the samurai.  As the building catches fire, Yozuru’s shikigami, Yotsugi appears and stops the fire.  And saves both Koyomi Araragi and Suruga Kanbaru.

Yotsugi wants Koyomi to meet with Izuko Gaen (as she appears to know everything) but when a mysterious apparition shows up, Koyomi, Suruga and Koyomi’s vampire friend, Shinobu take on the mysterious apparition.  But why did Yotsugi want Koyomi to meet up with Izuko?


VIDEO:

“Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.

As this is a more modern of the “Monogatari” series, animation is crisp and colors are vibrant. Black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Owarimonogatari” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes the following special features:

  • Textless Opening and Ending
  • PV –  Japanese Promotional Videos
  • CM – Japanese Commercials

EXTRAS:

“Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 20-page deluxe booklet and an eight pinup postcard set.


For years, we have watched the “Monogatari” series blossom to something unusual, unexpected, complex, entertaining, audacious and for the most part, unpredictable.

It’s a sci-fi series in which storylines are connected but yet focus on certain characters.

As for 2015, the “Owarimonogatari” series was released and in some ways, for those who have watched previous “Monogatari” episodes or seasons will like the fact that characters are reunited and the mysterious apparition once again makes his appearance.

With this final half of “Owarimonogatari”, both Koyomi and Suruga encounter mysterious characters, but its not until they are told by Yotsugi that Koyomi must meet with Izuko Gaen, and mysteries surrounding the mysterious apparition are revealed.

As for the Blu-ray release,”Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.

As for special features, you get a the usual textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections. As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 20-page deluxe booklet, an eight pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

If anything, the “Monogatari” series is one that people love because it’s original, artistic and definitely a breath of fresh air for those wanting creativity and something totally different from the norm.

But with that being said, because the storyline is not one for people to jump in and anywhere, one will want to watch it from the beginning and work yourself up to “Owarimonogatari” for a better understanding of the impact that each character has made throughout the various series.

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Owarimonogatari: Volume 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is worth following if you are a dedicated fan of the series.

Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you enjoy anime that is set in high school and focuses on a hardcore otaku teacher trying to help his students through unusual ways, will no doubt want to give “Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 1” a try!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 1

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Funimation

Release Date: November 15, 2016


Originally created by Takeshi Azuma

Directed by Masato Sato

Series Composition by Atsushi Maekawa

Music by Ryuuichi Takada

Character Design by Isao Sugimoto

Art Director: Daiki Kuribayashi

Art Design by Iho Narita

Anime Production by A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya/Anthony Bowling as Jun’ichirō Kagami

Rena Matsui/Mikaela Krantz as Suzune Kagami

Aki Toyosaki/Tia Ballard as Kōtarō Araki

Aya Hirano as Yamato Tōne

Ayahi Takagaki as Tim Berners Lynn

Ayane Sakura as Kisaki Tenjōin/Sachiko Tanaka

Azusa Tadokoro/Dawn M. Bennett as Kiriko Shikishima

Daisuke Namikawa/Eric Vale as Hell Gates

Kana Hanazawa/Lindsay Seidel as Reiko Mukyō

M.A.O/Alexis Tipton as Madoka Kuramachi

Rina Hidaka/Monica Rial as Kanon Chinami

Risa Taneda/Kristi Yang as Matome Nishikujō

Risae Matsuda/Felecia Angelle as Taki Komiya

Saori Ōnishi/Caitlin Glass as Makina Momozono

Satsumi Matsuda/Bryn Apprill as Nagaru Komiya

Shiina Natsukawa/Leah Clark as Moemi Kushinada

Sora Amamiya/Sarah Wiedenheft as Minako Kanō

Suzuko Mimori/Jad Saxton as Koyomi Hiiragi

Tomoko Tsuzuki/Terri Doty as Kazuya Momozono


Junichiro Kagami is on his sister’s last nerve. Despite his genius and scientific accomplishments, he’s spent most of his adult life cooped up inside, surrounded by anime and manga, working on trivial things like a blog. But now, it’s time for him to get a real job! His reason for being such a bum? He suffers from YD: a debilitating illness that means he can only do things he yearns to do. Tired of this lame excuse, his sister gets him a job doing something he’d never expect teaching!

Teaching is the last thing Kagami yearns to do, at least until he comes across the various problems his students face outside of the classroom. Between their quirky dreams, serious attitude problems, and surprising secrets, Junichiro is definitely in for some far-out lessons.

What he teaches these kids will be beyond the books!


In 2011, mangaka Takeshi Azuma created the manga series “Denpa Kyoshi” (which translates to “electromagnetic-wave teacher”).

As the series is still ongoing in Japan, an anime adaptation was produced by A-1 Pictures in 2015 and now the anime will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

The anime series is directed by Masato Sato (“Explorer Woman Ray”, “Silent Mobius”, “Montana Jones”), script by Atsushi Maekawa (“Digimon Adventure”, “Bakugan Battle Brawlers”, “Dragon Ball Z”), music by Ryuuichi Takada (“Idolm@ster”, “Dusk maiden of Amnesia”), character design by Isao Sugimoto (“Bakuon!!”, “Kemeko Deluxe!”, “Maze”) and background art by Daiki Kuribayashi (“Show By Rock!!”, “Code: Breaker”, “Chaos;Child”).

The anime series introduces us to Jun’ichiro Kagami, a 24-year-old mega-otaku who rather work on his anime blog.  But while a big otaku, Jun’ichiro was once an intelligent physics major who published a paper that would make headwaves in the scientific world when he was 17.  And Jun’ichiro was scouted to work at one of the most important research centers in the world.  But when he wanted to create the “Anywhere Door” that allows teleportation, he became ridiculed by academics and so far, his efforts to dispute his critics have failed and he hasn’t developed the technology to create it.

So, Jun’ichiro decudes that he suffers from “YD” and only wants to work that he yearns to do and not do anything else.  And that is be a hardcore otaku.

But his younger sister Suzune is tired of him staying at home and not making a living, and because she is responsible for the family finances, she forces her brother to get a job.  Or else she will beat him up.

So, Jun’ichiro takes up a job to become a teacher at Hiiragi Academy and help students and teach students his own way.  So, he can balance his teaching job (doing things his way) and also focus on his otaku lifestyle.

But can he teach these students with his otaku style?


VIDEO:

“Ultimate Otaku Teacher” 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.  A vibrant anime series from A-1 Pictures.

I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Ultimate Otaku Teacher” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The series for the most part features crystal clear dialogue and music and is front-channel driven.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 1” features the following special features:

  • Chapter 3 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Kyle Phillips, Mikaela Krantz (voice of Suzune Kagami), Jad Saxton (voice of Koyomi Hiiragi) and Anthony Bowling (voice of Junichiro Kagami).
  • Chapter 9 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Kyle Phillips and voice talents Apphia Yu (voice of Kisaki Tenjoin/Sachiko Tanaka), Jarrod Greene  (voice of Seijuro Nanami) and Tia Ballard (voice of Kotaro Araki).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • U.S. Trailer – Funimation trailer for “Ultimate Otaku Teacher”.

EXTRAS:

“Ultimate Otaku Teacher” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series plus a slipcover.


What happens when you get a former intelligent academic student turned hardcore otaku and make him a teacher and allow him to teach his students with his otaku style?

This is the story of Jun’ichiro Kagami, a hardcore otaku who has kept away from working professionally because he wants a job which he can be himself.

Unfortunately, not many jobs are open to that until Koyomi Hiiragi, chairman of Icho Academy who wants Japan to be a more amusing place.  Having spied and followed Jun’ichiro, she feels that his teaching methods, no matter how absurd they may be, can teach the students at the Academy.

Each episode features how Jun’ichiro helps out a student.  For example, Jun’ichiro has to help a delinquent named Seijuro Nanami (who left school because his father, a disgraced baseball player is in heavy debt) and to help him, he challenges him to a game of soccer.

Another episode features Jun’ichiro trying to help his sister’s friend Kanan Chinami, a woman who has a voice of an anime character.  Embarrassed by this, she stops talking and only communicates via text.  So, Jun’ichiro must find a way to get Kanan to finally talk.

In another episode, Jun’ichiro finds out his partner Luce, who he plays online via the MMORPG Uroboros is a boy named Kotaro Araki who is an anti-social cross-dresser and prefers to look like a girl.  But Kotaro is afraid of how people in school may think of him because he prefers to be a cross-dresser, so Jun’ichiro must find a way to get Kotaro to not be afraid to reveal himself to his classmates.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is vibrant and colorful, while lossless audio for both Japanese and English soundtracks are 2.0 DTS-HD MA.  For special features, you get two audio commentary.

Overall, “Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 1” is an anime series that may be compared to “Assassination Classroom”, teachers who have their own way of teaching their own students, students who are truant or have major problems at school.  Where “Assassination Classroom” is more action-packed and driven by the fact the students must grow in order to assassinate their alien teacher who plans to destroy the planet, “Ultimate Otaku Teacher” is about an otaku teacher who loves his anime, video games and figurines.

While he is obsessed with otaku duties, the fact that he is given an opportunity to teach at an Academy and be himself is a major plus to him.  So, using his love for video games, anime, etc. allows him to reach out to these troubled students.

It will be interesting to see how the series develops overtime.  If the focus is about a teacher helping out his students with each episode, that is something that can get quite old.    So, I hope that the storyline shows some dramatic elements and doesn’t become too banal episode after episode.

If anything the series has elements of what people tend to enjoy in an anime series.  From having an otaku protagonist, a tsundere sister and students who are helped by Jun’ichiro’s otaku ways, may it be through video games or something really weird or awkward, he manages to get the job done.

Overall, if you enjoy anime that is set in high school and focuses on a hardcore otaku teacher trying to help his students through unusual ways, will no doubt want to give “Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 1” a try!

Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is worth following if you are a dedicated fan of the series.

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2015

DURATION: Episodes 1-7 (175 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: November 25, 2016


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shimbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shimbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Kei Haeneoka

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Ken Naito

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Kaori Mizuhashi as Ougi Oshino

Marina Inoue as Sodachi Oikura

Chiwa Saito as Hitagi Senjōgahara

Kana Hanazawa as Nadeko Sengoku

Miyuki Sawashiro as Suruga Kanbaru

Saori Hayami as Yotsugi Ononoki

Satsuki Yukino as Izuko Gaen

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa


“I don’t know anything. But YOU know about it, Araragi.”

One day, Suruga Kanbaru introduces Koyomi Araragi to a new transfer student by the name of Ougi Oshino. She claims that she is the niece of Meme Oshino. She tells Koyomi that she draws a map of every school she transfers to, and she points out there is a mysterious hidden classroom in the Naoetsu High. After getting trapped in the classroom which shouldn’t exist in this world, Koyomi starts remembering some incidents from his past…


In 2005, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses more on a character, instead of a two-episode storyline, we get four-episode arcs. And with “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa”, episodes 12-15 focus on Nadeko starting to see a giant snake apparition and the arc beginning with her confronting Shinobu and Koyomi and Nadeko stabbing Koyomi in the heart.

The story then explains what has been happening to Nadeko leading up to the confrontation and what the giant snake apparition may be.

In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which is about the character Suruga Kanbaru.

And in October through November 2015, the Owarimonogatari novels anime adaptation aired on Japanese television.

And now the first volume featuring episodes 1-7 of the 12-episode anime series will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.

In “Owarimonogatari”, the anime series begins with Koyomi Aragi and Ougi Oshino being trapped in a classroom.

The story shows us how Suruga Kanbaru introduces Ougi to Koyomi for the first time.  Ougi had introduced Koyomi to a mysterious room in the school and the two investigate.  This leads to both of them being trapped inside and the room is a manifestation of a traumatic memory from Koyomi’s freshman year.

Apparently around that time, the class president, Sodachi Oikura was looking for those who cheated on a math test and no one can leave the class until the cheater was found.   Ougi figures that the two are unable to leave until the mystery is revealed.

But as these two start to investigate, they start to learn more about Sodachi Oikura and why she despises Koyomi.


VIDEO:

“Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.

As this is a more modern of the “Monogatari” series, animation is crisp and colors are vibrant.  Black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Owarimonogatari” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with trailers for the anime series, PV & CM collections and the textless opening and ending themes.

EXTRAS:

“Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 28-page deluxe booklet and a ten pinup postcard set.


For years, we have watched the “Monogatari” series blossom to something unusual, unexpected, complex, entertaining, audacious and for the most part, unpredictable.

It’s a sci-fi series in which storylines are connected but yet focus on certain characters.

As for 2015, the “Owarimonogatari” series, the first seven episodes focus on three characters: Koyomi Araragi, Ougi Oshino and Sodachi Oikura.

As Koyomi and Ougi are trapped in a mysterious room in school and none of them are able to leave until they solve a two-year-old mystery of a culprit who cheated on their math test and no one was able to leave class until the culprit was found, both Koyomi and Ougi start to look into the class president, Sodachi Oikura, who was looking for the culprits at the time.

Back then, Sodachi voted that Koyomi was the cheater, but the majority of the class had chosen her.  This led to Sodachi to stop coming to school and for Koyomi, losing his trust in people and become a recluse until he met the girls who would eventually lead him to the path that he is currently at in life.

As both Koyomi and Ougi try to figure out who was the true culprit, the two want to know why Sodachi harbors hatred towards Koyomi.

While the series may not feature a lot of the other female characters that revolve around Koyomi’s life, this is a mystery series that focuses on Koyomi, Ougi and Sodachi for the first seven episodes.

As for the Blu-ray release,”Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.

As for special features, you get a the usual textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections. As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 28-page deluxe booklet, a ten pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Owarimonogatari: Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is worth following if you are a dedicated fan of the series.

Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

tsukimonogatari

Can Koyomi stop his progression of being turned into a vampire completely? Find out in “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll”. If you stayed with this series for the long run, “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2014

DURATION: 4 Episodes (100 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: September 15, 2015


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Kei Haeneoka

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima, Ken Naito

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Saori Hayami as Yotsugi Ononoki

Chiwa Saito as Hitagi Senjōgahara

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Kaori Mizuhashi as Ougi Oshino

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Ryoko Shiraishi as Yozuru Kagenui

Takehito Koyasu as Tadatsuru Teori

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

 


One day in February, Koyomi Araragi was taking a bath with his younger sister Tsukihi amidst finishing his studies for the college entrance exam. This was also following the incident involving Nadeko Sengoku, which was successfully amended behind the scenes by Deishu Kaiki. Koyomi noticed a change on his body “that could not be overlooked” and sought advice from Shinobu Oshino leading him to contact Yoduru Kagenui and Yotsugi Ononoki. Was this change signifying retribution for everything that Koyomi has done?!

First arc to the Monogatari series’ final season.


Continuing the stories of the “Monogatari” series about various characters, the 2014 season kicked off with what was known as “Monogatari Series: Second Season +a”.

With “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition” (previously released by Aniplex) airing in August 2014, the next arc is titled “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll” which is a return to a storyline featuring main protagonist Koyomi Araragi and his two sisters Karen and Tsukihi but a discovery made my Koyomi about himself that concerns him greatly.

Has Koyomi become a vampire?

Find out in “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” from Aniplex!

Before “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari”, “Nekomonogatari”, “Monogatari Series Second Season” and “Hanamonogatari”

In 2006, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses more on a character, instead of a two-episode storyline, we get four-episode arcs. And with “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa”, episodes 12-15 focus on Nadeko starting to see a giant snake apparition and the arc beginning with her confronting Shinobu and Koyomi and Nadeko stabbing Koyomi in the heart.

The story then explains what has been happening to Nadeko leading up to the confrontation and what the giant snake apparition may be.

In August 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which is about the character Suruga Kanbaru.

The episodes are set after the graduation of Koyomi Araragi and Hitagi Senjougahara and Suruga is beginning her third year in high school.

As she continues to deal with her left monkey arm (which happened when she made a wish on a mysterious monkey’s paw back in elementary school), she hears of a story of a devil that communicates with students who tries to solve their problems.

Suruga wants to know who the person is (or if it can be her), but finds out that the devil is in fact a basketball rival from junior high, Rouka Numachi.

But when Suruga confronts Rouka, she wants to know why she took on the role of becoming the “devil” and what is the connect between Suruga and Rouka?

Which leads us to the latest four episodes released on December 31, 2014.  As the story returns back to Koyomi and his sisters Karen and Tsukihi, Koyomi realizes that his reflection is no longer showing up in the mirror.

Could he have turned into a vampire?  Shinobuu recommends that Koyomi see a specialist, who happens to be Yozoru Kagenui and Yotsugi.  In hopes that they can stop it.

Meanwhile, Koyomi’s sisters and Suruga have been kidnapped.


VIDEO:

“Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is vibrant and gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.

Unlike the older regular/series which included comedy bits of well-drawn characters to goofy, cartoonish characters, what does remain consistent is SHAFT’s gorgeous art backgrounds and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a textless opening and ending, PV Collections and CM Collections.

EXTRAS:

“Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set”comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 20-page deluxe booklet and a four pinup postcard set.


tsukimonogatari-b

As we come closer to the final episodes of the “Monogatari” series, for those who enjoyed the earlier “Monogatari” episodes with perverted Koyomi big brother and his two younger sisters Karen and Tsukihi, the fun and taboo situations return.

It’s import to note that you will see scenes such as Koyomi bathing with his younger sister, so for those who are sensitive to such scenes, you have been warned.

While some people may feel certain scenes to be inappropriate, it’s important to note that there are cultural differences as for a few families in Japan, a parent or siblings bathing together, as they get older, it does happen and it’s certainly a topic that is often featured on Japanese variety shows.

But these scenes are not a focal point, the main storyline for this arc is centered around Koyomi, and that is the fact that he is slowly becoming a vampire.

As Koyomi has used his vampire power increasingly over the years, because of the overuse of power, he is now slowly turning into a vampire, which Koyomi wants to find a way to stop it. If at all possible.

Shinobu recommends Koyomi to meet with Yozoru and Yotsugi Ononoki (the Shikigami doll who acts human due to the fact she is created from parts of a human corpse).  But as he tries to find ways to stop the progression of turning into a vampire, things get sidetracked for Koyomi when he discovers that his sisters and Suruga have been kidnapped.  Who is responsible?

As for the Blu-ray release,”Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.

As for special features, you get the usual textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections. As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 20-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package.

Overall, can Koyomi stop his progression of being turned into a vampire completely?  Find out in “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll”.  If you stayed with this series for the long run, “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

hamatara-a

“Hamatora” is a fascinating and action-packed series on a world with individuals with supernatural powers and the protagonist is a leader of a detective agency.  Featuring a good balance of humor and action, the series does become much more darker and violent towards the end.  But for the most part, an entertaining action-packed anime series worth checking out!

Image courtesy of © cafe nowhere / Hamatora Project. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2014

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080pHigh Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV MA VS

Release Date: September 22, 2015


Original Concept by Natsu Shobu, Yuki Kodama

Original Character Design by Yuki Kodama

Chief Director: Seiji Kishi

Directed by Hiroshi Kimura

Series Composition by Jun Kumagai, Touko Machida

Music by Makoto Yoshimori

Character Design by Yu Wazu

Art Director: Kouki Nagayoshi

Anime Production by NAZ


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya/Leraldo Anzaldua as Art

Ryota Ohsaka/Adam Gibbs as Nice

Wataru Hatano/David Wald as Murasaki

Atsushi Ono/Carl Masterson as Master

Ayaka Ohashi/Juliet Simmons as Rei

Ayami/Kasi Hollowell as Chiyū

Emiri Katō/Christina Kelly as Hajime

Eri Kitamura/Margaret McDonald as Honey

Jun Fukuyama/Blake Shepard as Birthday

Katsuki Murase/George Manley as Three

Kiyono Yasuno/Nancy Novotny as Koneko

Megumi Ogata/Carli Mosier as Momoka

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Greg Ayres as Seo

Takuya Eguchi/Mike Yager as Mao

Yūichi Nakamura/Andrew Love as Ratio

Yuuki Ono/Chris Patton as Moral


Nowhere may seem like just another Yokohama cafe, but as with many of its employees, this apparently innocent eatery leads a double life. Because Nowhere is also where you can find Hamatora, the mysterious detective agency run by P.I.s who are also M.H.s. That’s M.H. as in Minimum Holders, individuals gifted with extraordinary powers and abilities.

For the right price, you can hire founder Nice, who moves at the speed of sound, and partner Murasaki, whose super strength and near invulnerability are a significant asset. Of course, with incredible talents like these up their sleeves, Nice may not decide to take a case unless it personally interests him. But when a series of serial murders all turn out to involve other Minimum Holders, that interest is about to become extremely personal. Something monstrous is going on, and Minimum Holders as a class may be targeted for extinction!


In 2013, writer Yukino Kitajima and illustrator Yuki Kodama created the manga series “Hamatora” (which derives from the words “Yokohama Troubleshooter”).

The manga series was serialized in Shueisha’s “Young Jump” magazine and several months later, an anime TV series for the first 12 episodes produced by NAZ debuted on TV Tokyo from January through March 2014, followed by a second series titled “Re:_Hamatora” several months later produced by Lerche and a Ninteno 3DS RPG game titled “Hamatora: Look at Smoking World”.

And now the first season will be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

“Hamatora” takes place in today’s modern time but when several humans known as Minimum Holders are discovered to possess supernatural abilities.  These special individuals are then trained at Facultas Academy to develop their powers and their existence is confidential to the world.

The series revolves around a Minimum Holder named Nice who has a detective agency known as “Hamatora” in Yokohama and together with his partner Murasaki, they take on cases that involve other Minimum Holders.

But instead of having a few of these enemy Minimum Holders serving time, they are given a chance to become allies and partner up with Hamatora.

But recently, crimes are being committed by people who posses a Minimum but they were not born with it.  Who is turning regular humans to Minimums and who is also responsible for the murder of other Minimum Holders?

Find out in “Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection”!

The following characters in “Hamatora” are:

  • Nice – The main protagonist and the founder of the detective agency known as “Hamatora”.  A former member of the Facultas Academy and despite being a genius, because he doesn’t take any job, he is often broke.  When he puts his headphones on, he is able to use his power, Sonic Minimum.
  • Murasaki – A former agent of Facultas who was sent to capture Nice, but ends up becoming his partner.  He is a rational thinker and has the Holder ability known as Gravity minimum.  His goal is to someday defeat Nice.
  • Hajime – A girl who tends to stay at Nowhere Cafe and likes to eat.  She has a powerful Holder ability.  She is one of the founders of Hamatora and close to Nice. She also has for some reason, lost all her memories.
  • Koneko – An employee of Nowhere Cafe and also is Hamatora’s receptionist and contract negotiator.

 

VIDEO:

“Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  The anime series is colorful and vibrant.  Characters are well-designed and well-shaded, while background art is good.  Interesting choices to have these red splatters on the bodies, which at first made me do a second take if those were artifacts or some sort of splotchiness, but those are intentional art that was utilized by NAZ.   But for the most part, picture quality is very good and didn’t notice any major artifacts or banding issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  Dialogue and music are crisp and clear through the front channels.  I heard no hiss or problematic issues with the audio.  Both Japanese and English voice acting are well done.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection” comes with Clean Opening and Closing, Japanese Disclaimers, Japanese Promos.


 

I first discovered “Hamatora” while in Japan looking at the Nintendo 3DS game.  Having no idea what the series was about, watching the first season on Blu-ray made me feel reminiscent of the X-Men.

While the X-Men, the storyline revolves around the fear of mutants (individuals with supernatural abilities) and the struggle between the good and the bad, “Hamatora” has similarities but revolves around a detective agency trying to uncover cases that involve the killing of Minimum Holders (the name given to individuals with special abilities) and also humans given the Minimum power, despite not being born with it.

For the most part, the first season serves as an introduction to the characters and seeing Nice and Murasaki take on various humans given the minimum power, who will later become allies.  But also learning who is responsible and how demented the person really is and why he is giving normal people these abilities.

As the story progresses, it goes from lighthearted to something much darker and more violent and yes, even a bit bloody.

While the first season is only 12-episodes, the first season is fascinating and if you enjoy stories like the “X-Men”, then you will enjoy the special abilities that each person has.  The protagonist Nice is an interesting character.  A genius, yet a person who is often broke, he is also a person trying to understand why these humans would want to have a minimum power and when he confronts those who are on the wrong side of the law, it’s interesting to see him and others use their supernatural ability.

As for the Blu-ray release, “Hamatora the Animation – Complete Collection” features a colorful and vibrant palette, but NAZ gave an interesting animated style for the first season.  I didn’t notice any extensive banding issues or artifacts, but the series looks very good in HD.  Lossless soundtrack is presented in Japanese and English DTS-Master Audio 2.0.  The dialogue and musical score are crystal clear through the front channels.  Special features are your typical clean opening and closing theme, Japanese promos and disclaimers.

Overall, “Hamatora” is a fascinating and action-packed series on a world with individuals with supernatural powers and the protagonist is a leader of a detective agency.  Featuring a good balance of humor and action, the series does become much more darker and violent towards the end.  But for the most part, an entertaining action-packed anime series worth checking out!

 

Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

otorimono-a

Another enjoyable arc in the “Monogatari” anime series, “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” focuses on character Nadeko Sengoku, who is haunted by a white snake apparition.  An enjoyable arc worth recommending to Monogatari fans!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 12-16 (100 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: October 28, 2014


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Takahiro Sakura as Meme Oshino


Nadeko encounters a giant snake who claims to be a deity named Kuchinawa. Kuchinawa promises Nadeko that he would grant her wish if she aids him in the search of his object of worship. Little does Nadeko know that obtaining the object of worship will cost her more than what she expected. Koyomi tries to convince Nadeko to let go of the object of worship, but it’s too late, and Nadeko swallows the object and becomes a snake apparition! To make things worse, now Nadeko wants to kill Koyomi and Shinobu Oshino!

Third arc to the Monogatari series’ second season.


Continuing the episodes from the second season of the “Monogatari” series, the storyline focuses on Nadeko Sengoku, Tsukihi Koyomi’s friend since elementary school and a good friend to his sisters.  But one day, she was put in a curse by a classmate in which an invisible snake tried to strangle her.

As the first series, “Bakemonogatari” episodes 9-10 went into the storyline of how Nadeko was cursed by two snakes, this arc features Nadeko as she tries to deal with a giant snake apparition.  Is she imagining things or is this snake for real?

Find out in episode 12-15 of the “Monogatari” series in “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Blu-ray Set Limited Edition” from Aniplex!

Before “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari”

In 2006, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses more on a character, instead of a two-episode storyline, we get four-episode arcs.  And with “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa”, episodes 12-15 focus on Nadeko starting to see a giant snake apparition and the arc beginning with her confronting Shinobu and Koyomi and Nadeko stabbing Koyomi in the heart.

The story then explains what has been happening to Nadeko leading up to the confrontation and what the giant snake apparition may be.


VIDEO:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.

From regular/series looking characters to goofy, cartoonish characters and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a “omnibus III” video (which is actually episode 16 – summary from the TV series and is a narration of the “Tsubasa Cat and Nisemonogatari”), promotional video and commercial collections and the textless opening and ending themes.

EXTRAS:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition”comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.


otorimono-b

With the latest arc of the “Monogatari” series, the focus shifts towards Nadeko Sengoku, Koyomi’s shy, childhood friend that has liked him.

Unfortuantely, she was cursed by a guy that liked her and a guy she had rejected and became possessed by snake apparitions.  But despite thinking that the snakes were gone, she begins seeing a giant white snake apparition, which survived the events in the “Nadeko Snake” episodes (as seen on the first season of “Bakemonogatari”).

And now the white snake wants her to atone for what she did.

Without revealing too much of what happens during Nadeko’s dealing with the white snake, I will say that this arc was quite interesting to see how Nadeko goes through major changes, as we have seen her more of a shy and even jealous girl.  But this time around, we get to see a bad mouthed version of her, which was quite interesting to see and voice actress Hanazawa Kana did a magnificent job of playing the character for this arc.

As for the Blu-ray release,”Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack. As for special features, you get a 25-minute “Omnibus III” video (which is episode 16 in Japan, a recap of “Tsubasa Cat” and “Nisemonogatari”), on air version textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections.

As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is a storyline that features the psychological challenges that Nadeko Sengoku must face as she is plagued by a white snake apparition.  Is it real or is it all in her head?

Recommended.

Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

kabukimonogatari-a

A well-written, enjoyable arc in the “Monogatari” anime series, “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Blu-ray Set Limited Edition

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 7-10 (100 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: August 26, 2014

Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Takahiro Sakura as Meme Oshino

At the end of summer vacation, upon the morning of the opening ceremony for the second semester, Tsubasa Hanekawa encounters an enormous tiger on the way to school.

“White. So white… So purely, blandly white…”

Proclaiming Tsubasa as such, the white tiger strides past her and vanishes. Later, Tsubasa’s house is destroyed in a fire. But this is just the beginning of a series of unfortunate incidents for her and the people around her. Koyomi Araragi decides to save her with help from the former “Kiss-Shot,” a legendary vampire.

This limited edition includes a deluxe booklet and a pinup postcard set, with packaging illustrated by character designer Akio Watanabe!

Continuing the episodes from the second season of the “Monogatari” series, the storyline focuses on Mayoi Hachikuji, a fifth-grade elementary school girl ghost that Koyomi keeps seeing.

As Mayoi continues to reach her mother’s home (even though she was killed in a car accident), she is only seen by people who are not wanting to reach their destination.

As a wandering spirit, Koyomi and Shinobu accidentally travel 11 years into the past, the day before Mayoi’s death.

As Koyomi is elated that now he can save Mayoi from her traffic accident and preventing her from turning into a wandering spirit, what happens when Koyomi saves her and how will that affect the timeline in the present?

Find out in episode 7-10 of the “Monogatari” series in “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Blu-ray Set Limited Ediiton” from Aniplex!

Before “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari”

In 2006, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses on Koyomi’s two sisters Karen and Tsuki with chapters titled “Karen Bee” and “Tsukihi Phoenix”.

The series begins with Koyomi being held captive. When he wakes up, he finds out that Hitagi has captured and imprisoned him. And we are taken to a flashback days before this happened.

While Koyomi was making his rounds of meeting his female friends, one day he comes into contact with an ominous man named Kaiki Deishu. When he tells Hitagi about the man he met, she imprisons him in the sake of protecting him from Kaiki. And that she is determined in getting revenge on the man.

But things hit close to home when Koyomi finds out that Kaiki also unleashed a lethal, supernatural bee on his sister Karen.

In the second storyline for “Tsukihi Phoenix”, after the events of “Karen Bee”, Koyomi starts to recognize his sister Karen in a different way. Especially with his sister flirting with her brother and looking more feminine, Koyomi tries to distract himself from paying attention to his sister, who is wanting her brother to introduce her to his friend Suruga Kanbaru. Knowing that Suruga is not a good influence and worries about his sister being close to her, he issues her a contest of allowing him to brush her teeth for five minutes without stopping him.

Meanwhile, as Koyomi and Karen are heading towards Suruga’s home, they are encountered by Yozuru Kagenui, who is looking for directions. When Koyomi spends time with Mayou, they are both encountered by a girl named Yotsugi Ononoki, also looking for the same address.

What Koyomi doesn’t know is that these two onmyougi’s have targeted someone who is precious to him.

The four episode series “Nekomonogatari (Kuro)” (in Japanese, “Kuro” means black). The story goes into full detail of Tsubasa’s connection to the bakeneko which was featured in episode 11 of “Bakemonogatari” (which featured Koyomi reminiscing of what happened to Tsubasa during Golden Week).

The series starts out with Koyomi and his sister Tsukihi discussing the concept of love and trying to figure out if Koyomi is in love with Tsubasa Hanekawa, the class representative.

During Golden Week, Tsubasa finds a dead white cat in the middle of the road. Wanting to pay her respects to the deceased cat, instead, she is possessed by a bakeneko who happens to gain control of her due to the stress she has been suffering because of her adoptive family.

With the possession of Tsubasa, the apparition is of a woman wearing nothing but underwear with white cat characteristics.

And now bakeneko is on a rampage by trying to attack as many people in order to consume Tsubasa completely.

While “Nekomonogatari Black -Tsubasa Family” is a 4-part OVA prequel to “Bakemonogatari”, the five episode series “Nekomonagatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” is the first story arc of the Second Season titled “Monogatari Series Second Season” (note: there are 26 episodes in the second season).

This time, the series is told by Tsubasa Hanekawa and we learn more about her family background, her feelings towards Koyomi and how she became friends with Hiotagi Senjougahara and also why there were mysterious fires happening in areas that she is familiar with and related to people she knows.

And with “Kabukimonogatari”…

The “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” series continues with episodes 7-10 as the focus is on the fifth grade ghost, Mayoi Hachikuji.

This latest arc features Koyomi and Shinobu accidentally going into the past right before Mayoi is killed in a traffic accident.  Wanting to spare Mayoi from turning into a wandering spirit, what happens when Koyomi decides to save her in the past, how will that affect the present?

VIDEO:

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.

From regular/series looking characters to goofy, cartoonish characters and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a 24:18 “omnibus 2” video (which is actually episode 11 – summary from the TV series and is a narration of the “Mayoi Jiangshi” arc), and the textless on air version opening and ending theme.

EXTRAS:

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set”comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.

kabukimonogatari-b

With the latest arc of the “Monogatari” series, the focus shifts towards Mayoi Hachikuji, the ghost girl that Koyomi often sees walking around.

For those who enjoy this cheery character and the somewhat perverted interactions between Koyomi and Mayoi, viewers can now find out through this arc of why she became a ghost and why she seems to be lost.

But in a twist, seeing what happens when Koyomi and Shinobu go back to the past and instead of Mayoi dying, how saving her has changed the timeline.  And without spoiling the story, let’s just say… all hell breaks loose!

I have to say that this arc was well-planned.  It’s more or less a time-travel story of how changing events can have repercussions, in this case, the repercussions were quite severe.  Unfortunately, just mentioning or summarizing parts of any episode in this arc would be a major spoiler, So, I’ll just leave it as that and say that fans of the “Monogatari” series, will surely enjoy what happens!

As for the Blu-ray release,”Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack. As for special features, you get a 25-minute “Omnibus” video (which is episode 11 in Japan, a recap of the arc), on air version textless opening and ending themes.  Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections.

As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is a storyline that features the happy ghost girl Mayoi, but the repercussions that Koyomi and Shinobu must face after traveling back in time and saving Mayoi from the traffic accident that killed her.

A well-written, enjoyable arc in the “Monogatari” anime series, “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

tsubasatiger-a

If you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger-” is essential in learning more about the character of Tsubasa Hanekawa and also the kickoff episodes for the second season of the “Monogatari” anime series. A dramatic and enjoyable five-episode arc, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limtied Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 1-5 (127 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: June 24, 2014

Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Takahiro Sakura as Meme Oshino

At the end of summer vacation, upon the morning of the opening ceremony for the second semester, Tsubasa Hanekawa encounters an enormous tiger on the way to school.

“White. So white… So purely, blandly white…”

Proclaiming Tsubasa as such, the white tiger strides past her and vanishes. Later, Tsubasa’s house is destroyed in a fire. But this is just the beginning of a series of unfortunate incidents for her and the people around her. Koyomi Araragi decides to save her with help from the former “Kiss-Shot,” a legendary vampire.

This limited edition includes a deluxe booklet and a pinup postcard set, with packaging illustrated by character designer Akio Watanabe!

After the events of “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family”, we learned more about Tsubasa Hanekawa and that the threat of the bakeneko was not completely over.

Now a white tiger has been reborn and this time, unfortunate incidents have followed Tsubasa.   But why does misfortune follow Tsubasa and can she be helped?

Find out in Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger”, available now on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.

Before “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Family”

In 2006, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses on Koyomi’s two sisters Karen and Tsuki with chapters titled “Karen Bee” and “Tsukihi Phoenix”.

The series begins with Koyomi being held captive. When he wakes up, he finds out that Hitagi has captured and imprisoned him. And we are taken to a flashback days before this happened.

While Koyomi was making his rounds of meeting his female friends, one day he comes into contact with an ominous man named Kaiki Deishu. When he tells Hitagi about the man he met, she imprisons him in the sake of protecting him from Kaiki. And that she is determined in getting revenge on the man.

But things hit close to home when Koyomi finds out that Kaiki also unleashed a lethal, supernatural bee on his sister Karen.

In the second storyline for “Tsukihi Phoenix”, after the events of “Karen Bee”, Koyomi starts to recognize his sister Karen in a different way. Especially with his sister flirting with her brother and looking more feminine, Koyomi tries to distract himself from paying attention to his sister, who is wanting her brother to introduce her to his friend Suruga Kanbaru. Knowing that Suruga is not a good influence and worries about his sister being close to her, he issues her a contest of allowing him to brush her teeth for five minutes without stopping him.

Meanwhile, as Koyomi and Karen are heading towards Suruga’s home, they are encountered by Yozuru Kagenui, who is looking for directions. When Koyomi spends time with Mayou, they are both encountered by a girl named Yotsugi Ononoki, also looking for the same address.

What Koyomi doesn’t know is that these two onmyougi’s have targeted someone who is precious to him.

And then there was “Nekomonogatari Black”…

The four episode series “Nekomonogatari (Kuro)” (in Japanese, “Kuro” means black). The story goes into full detail of Tsubasa’s connection to the bakeneko which was featured in episode 11 of “Bakemonogatari” (which featured Koyomi reminiscing of what happened to Tsubasa during Golden Week).

The series starts out with Koyomi and his sister Tsukihi discussing the concept of love and trying to figure out if Koyomi is in love with Tsubasa Hanekawa, the class representative.

During Golden Week, Tsubasa finds a dead white cat in the middle of the road. Wanting to pay her respects to the deceased cat, instead, she is possessed by a bakeneko who happens to gain control of her due to the stress she has been suffering because of her adoptive family.

With the possession of Tsubasa, the apparition is of a woman wearing nothing but underwear with white cat characteristics.

And now bakeneko is on a rampage by trying to attack as many people in order to consume Tsubasa completely.

And now there was “Nekomonogatari White”…

While “Nekomonogatari Black -Tsubasa Family” is a 4-part OVA prequel to “Bakemonogatari”, the five episode series “Nekomonagatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” is the first story arc of the Second Season titled “Monogatari Series Second Season” (note: there are 26 episodes in the second season).

This time, the series is told by Tsubasa Hanekawa and we learn more about her family background, her feelings towards Koyomi and how she became friends with Hiotagi Senjougahara and also why there were mysterious fires happening in areas that she is familiar with and related to people she knows.

VIDEO:

“Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.

From regular/series looking characters to goofy, cartoonish characters and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a 25-minute “omnibus 1” video, and the textless on air version textless ending theme.

EXTRAS:

“Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and a seven pinup postcard set.

tsubasatiger-b

For those who have followed the “Monogatari” anime series, the release of Aniplex’s “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” marks the beginning of the second season and its first five episodes but the “Tsubasa Tiger” storyline also marks a storyline that relies less on the perverted Koyomi Araragi and focuses more on the life of his classmate Tsubasa Hanekawa.

Tsubasa being the popular student and class representative was shown in previous serious as a teenage girl who seemed quite fine but behind the scenes, her emotions were quite a bit in a turmoil thanks to her relationship with her parents and of course, her true feelings of Koyomi.

These emotions manifested into something entirely and in the process, the bakaneko that once possessed her is now white and one that has seemed to despise her.

These episodes explores Tsubasa discovering the truth about these two entities but also slowly discovering her emotions, her relationship with her parents and friendships with Koyomi and others, but also to find out who has been causing random fires and affecting those who are her friends.

For “Monogatari” fans, these five episodes are essential in knowing more about Tsubasa but at the same time, for those wanting more Koyomi or more of his twin sisters or even Mayou,  Suruga, Nadeko, you’re not going to get it.  These episodes are primarily Tsubasa-driven and she does come in contact with a few people but that contact is only a few minutes long.

On the other hand, for those who want more of the fan service, you are going to get it with the interesting scenes with Hitagi Senjogahara and Tsubasa Hanekawa, so just make sure you don’t have any children around the room while watching these episodes.

As for the Blu-ray release,”Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great.  Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film.  As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo.  While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.  As for special features, you get a 25-minute “Omnibus” video, on air version textless ending and PV & CM collections.

As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for.  The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, seven pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger-” is essential in learning more about the character of Tsubasa Hanekawa and also the kickoff episodes for the second season of the “Monogatari” anime series.  A dramatic and enjoyable five-episode arc, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limtied Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Crazy antics, perverted humor, fan service, violence and action…”Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition” is a Blu-ray set worth owning if you are a “Monogatari” fan!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 1-4 (107 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: April 22, 2014

Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Takahiro Sakura as Meme Oshino

This story is about an incident that happened before Bakemonogatari.

On his way to the bookstore, Koyomi Araragi encounters Tsubasa Hanekawa whose face is covered with a bandage. The incident allows Koyomi to learn what has been happening in the Hanekawa household, but Tsubasa begs him not to tell anyone about it, saying she’ll do anything to keep him quiet.

Without revealing her family’s circumstances, Koyomi tells of the day’s incident – he and Tsubasa buried a “cat” that had been hit by a car – to Meme Oshino. Meme tells Koyomi that he must immediately go to confirm Hanekawa’s safety. He heads to her house, only to find…

So begins the nightmarish nine days of Golden Week.

What does it mean to be in love?  How do you know you are in love?

For Koyomi Araragi, there is one person he has always been captivated by…Tsubasa Hanekawa.  The class representative, who is very smart, courteous and also a body that Koyomi just loves too look at.

But is he truly in love?  And what happens when the girl he has fallen for, becomes possessed by an apparition?

Find out in “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family”, available now on Blu-ray!

Before “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” there was “Nisemonogatari” and “Bakamonogatari”

In 2006, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses on Koyomi’s two sisters Karen and Tsuki with chapters titled “Karen Bee” and “Tsukihi Phoenix”.

The series begins with Koyomi being held captive. When he wakes up, he finds out that Hitagi has captured and imprisoned him. And we are taken to a flashback days before this happened.

While Koyomi was making his rounds of meeting his female friends, one day he comes into contact with an ominous man named Kaiki Deishu. When he tells Hitagi about the man he met, she imprisons him in the sake of protecting him from Kaiki. And that she is determined in getting revenge on the man.

But things hit close to home when Koyomi finds out that Kaiki also unleashed a lethal, supernatural bee on his sister Karen.

In the second storyline for “Tsukihi Phoenix”, after the events of “Karen Bee”, Koyomi starts to recognize his sister Karen in a different way. Especially with his sister flirting with her brother and looking more feminine, Koyomi tries to distract himself from paying attention to his sister, who is wanting her brother to introduce her to his friend Suruga Kanbaru. Knowing that Suruga is not a good influence and worries about his sister being close to her, he issues her a contest of allowing him to brush her teeth for five minutes without stopping him.

Meanwhile, as Koyomi and Karen are heading towards Suruga’s home, they are encountered by Yozuru Kagenui, who is looking for directions. When Koyomi spends time with Mayou, they are both encountered by a girl named Yotsugi Ononoki, also looking for the same address.

What Koyomi doesn’t know is that these two onmyougi’s have targeted someone who is precious to him.

And Nekomonogatari Black…

Which leads us to the four episode series “Nekomonogatari (Kuro)” (in Japanese, “Kuro” means black).  The story goes into full detail of Tsubasa’s connection to the bakeneko which was featured in episode 11 of “Bakemonogatari” (which featured Koyomi reminiscing of what happened to Tsubasa during Golden Week).

The series starts out with Koyomi and his sister Tsukihi discussing the concept of love and trying to figure out if Koyomi is in love with Tsubasa Hanekawa, the class representative.

During Golden Week, Tsubasa finds a dead white cat in the middle of the road.  Wanting to pay her respects to the deceased cat, instead, she is possessed by a bakeneko who happens to gain control of her due to the stress she has been suffering because of her adoptive family.

With the possession of Tsubasa, the apparition is of a woman wearing nothing but underwear with white cat characteristics.

And now bakeneko is on a rampage by trying to attack as many people in order to consume Tsubasa completely.

Koyomi must find a way to save Tsubasa but can he?

VIDEO:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design. From regular/series looking characters to goofy, cartoonish characters and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” comes with a “Bakemonogatari” Digest Video, “Monogatari Series” 2nd Season Trailer and the textless opening and ending themes.

EXTRAS:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition” comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and pinup postcard set.

For those looking for a smaller sampling of Nisio Isin’s popular “Monogatari” series, “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” has all the entertainment, fan service, violence, and all-out craziness that was featured in “Bakemonogatari” and “Nisemonogatari” but all in four episodes.

There is no doubt that the “Monogatari” series has its fan following.  It’s a series that has a creative way of showcasing stories, sometimes images and situations that happen so quickly or so random, that you find yourself rewinding to see what you have missed.

But with this latest “Monogatari” series, “Nekomonogatari Black” is based on the sixth novel by Nisio Isin.

The four episodes pretty much explains what had happened to Tsubasa Hanekawa during Golden Week, which was only told by vague and short flashbacks featured in “Bakemonogatari”.  From the origin of the white cat apparition and how a black version was created and how.

But we start to see the correlation and instability of Tsubasa Hanekawa and how she will evolve as a character in the upcoming “Monogatari Series Second Season”.

While fans of the previous two seasons will no doubt find “Nekomonogatari Black” quite enjoyable, for those not familiar with the series and plan to start watching these four episodes first will notice that it’s not exactly a harem anime series but it does provide action, violence and also plenty of fan service.

Some may feel a bit weird (or inappropriate) about Koyomi’s closeness with his sister Tsukihi, especially in this series but as always with the “Monogatari” storylines, there are some strange and unusual things in store for viewers with each series.

So, I have no doubt that there are people who will see these actions as wrong and those who don’t like seeing this, will probably not want to watch this animated series.  While those who look past it will find this series to be Japanese animation and a different perspective than its western counterpart when it comes to brother and sister closeness.

The whole sister complex maybe too crazy for viewers but this series was never created to be politically correct. In fact, this is a perverted anime series plays upon taboo situations with humor. And it’s been a major point of “Bakemonogatari” and “Nisemonogatari”, the writers intend to be audacious but not to the point of taking away from the entire series.

But as mentioned in my reviews for the past two series,  the allure of “Monogatari” is its changing animation and not following banal anime tradition by being like any other series. There is no doubt that the object was to be more perverted and crazy but to also pull off the series with cool style. From its use of colors, use of location, use of differing animated character designs. I enjoyed the series for being different and being crazy!

As for the limited edition Blu-ray set for “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition”, picture quality is fantastic and vibrant, while its uncompressed LPCM 2.0 soundtrack is crisp and clear with English subtitles that are easy to read. You get a slipcase with artwork by Akio Watanabe, character designer of the series and a 24-page booklet. Plus you get an awesome postcard set!

Crazy antics, perverted humor, fan service, violence and action…”Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition” is a Blu-ray set worth owning if you are a “Monogatari” fan!  The four-episode series helps set up the upcoming second season and it also explains in full detail of what happened to Tsubasa Hanekawa during Golden Week (featured in a flashback in “Bakemonogatari”).  And as always, you get the awesome Aniplex swag with the Blu-ray limited edition release.

Recommended!

 

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