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Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 4 Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

aldnoah-4

The final episodes of second season of “Aldnoah.Zero” is action-driven and for the most part concludes with an ending that fans of the series will be content with! If you love deep, well-written and exciting mecha sci-fi, then definitely give “Aldnoah.Zero” a chance! Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Olympia Knights/Aniplex, Project AZ. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 4 Limited Edition

YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 19-24 (150 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: April 19, 2016


Original Created by Gen Urobuchi

Directed by Ei Aoki

Series Composition by Katsuhiko Takayama

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design by Masaki Matsumoto

Art Director by Akira Ito

Anime Production by A-1 Pictures, TROYCA


Featuring the voices of:

Kensho Ono/Zach Aguilar as Slaine Troyard

Natsuki Hanae/Max Mittelman as Inaho Kaiduka

Sora Amamiya/Erika Harlacher as Asseylum Vers Allusia

Ai Kakuma/Christine Marie Cabanos as Nina Klein

Ai Kayano/Julie Anne Taylor as Darzana Magbaredge

Hiroki Yasumoto/Patrick Seitz as Vlad

Inori Minase/Sandy Fox as Eddelrittuo

Kazuya Nakai/Matthew Mercer as Koichiro Marito

Kengo Kawanishi/Kyle McCarley as Kisaki Matsuribi

Kousuke Toriumi/Ethan Murray as Soma Yagarai

Makoto Furukawa/Alan Lee as Shigou Kakei

Mikako Komatsu/Erica Mendez as Inko Amifumi

Sachika Misawa/Cristina Vee as Rayet Areash

Sayaka Ohara/Erica Lindbeck as Yuki Kaiduka

Shinji Ogawa/Geoffrey Chalmers as Rayregalia Vers Rayvers

Sho Hayami/Lex Lang as Cruhteo

Sōma Saitō/Lucien Dodge as Yuutarou Tsumugi

Taishi Murata/Bryce Papenbrook as Calm Craftman

Takahiro Sakurai /Todd Haberkorn as Trillam

Toru Ohkawa as Saazbaum

Yoshitaka Yamaya/Bobby Thong as Okisuke “Okojo” Mikuni

Yu Shimamura/Trina Loo as Kaoru Mizusaki

Yuki Kaida/Carrie Kernanen as Femieanne


At long last, the war between Earth and VERS is about to come to an end. Many have shed tears at the sight of the battlefield, where numerous lights flare, then die out. Slaine, resigned to his fate, is determined to commit all his forces to prepare for the final showdown. Inaho steels himself to answer the call of his own destiny, along with the crew of the Deucalion. Elsewhere, a solitary girl resolves to confront her fate and watches over the final moments of their battle…


The second season of “Aldnoah.Zero” continues with a storyline that is set two years after what had happened at Saazbaum’s Landing Castle.

As Slaine continues on his goal to create a new world, Lemrina Vers Envers pretends to be Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia as she is healing from her wounds.

But when Princess Asseylum wakes up, what will she think about this new world that Slaine is trying to create?

Find out in the final fourth volume of “Aldnoah.Zero”!

What is “ALDNOAH.ZERO” all about?

From Gen Urobuchi, the creator of “Fate/Zero”, “Phantom – The Animation” and writer for “Psycho-Pass” and “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, comes the 2014 sci-fi anime series titled “ALDNOAH.ZERO”.

Featuring anime production from A-1 Pictures and TROYCA, the series is directed by Ei Aoki (“Fate/Zero”, “Ga-Rei Zero”, “Girls Bravo”), screenplay by Katsuhiko Takayama (“Cat Planet Cuties”, “Baka and Test – Summon the Beats”, “ef: a tale of melodies”, “Stratos 4”), music by Hiroyuki Sawano (“Blue Exorcist”, “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings”, “Attack on Titan”), character designs by Masako Matsumoto and art direction by Akira Ito (“AKB0048”, “Baccano!”, “Durara!!”, “Elfen Lied”).

The 24-episode anime series debuted back in July 2014 and ended in March 2015. And now the anime series has been released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex Inc.

“Aldnoah.Zero” begins with how Earth was attacked by the Vers Empire.

Back in 1972, an ancient alien hypergate was discovered on the moon and humans have used this technology to migrate to Mars and begin colonizing the planet. The settlers on Mars discovered new advanced technology and would create the Vers Empire and later claim the planet Mars and the advanced technology as their own. The Vers Empire look at them as elite and evolved versions of humanity and are prejudice against the Terrans (Earth-born humans).

The Vers Empire would declare war on Earth and in 1999, the hypergate on the Moon was destroyed but in the process, shattering the Moon leaving debris floating around the planet Earth.

This would lead to a cease fire for nearly 15 years until the Vers Empire would once again launch a new attack in order to conquer Earth.

We are introduced to Inaho Kaizuki, a pilot in training, who lives in the city of Shinawara with his sister Yuki, a Kataphrakt pilot for the Earth’s military.

One day when Inaho and friends go to see the arrival of Asseylum Vers, the Princess of Vers, terrorists attack and it is assumed that the Princess was killed. In retaliation, the Martian Vers Orbital Knights do a full assault on Earth and destroying a number of major cities.

While holed up in school, Inaho and his friends decide to fight against the Vers.

In vol. 2, the conflict escalates as Sauzbaum makes a direct attack on UFE headquarters in order to kill the princess! Can she be protected during the full onslaught?

As the finale of the first season features both Asseylum and Inaho left for dead, vol. 3 takes place 19 months after the incident with Inaho making his return after being shot by Slaine.

As UFE forces and the Vers are lead into battle, Inaho and Slaine will confront each other once again!

In volume 4, Slaine continues on with his goal to create a new world.  As he has Lemrina disguising herself as Princess Asseylum, she announces for the Martian Knights to unite under Slaine’s banner.

Meanwhile, Princess Asseylum recovers from her deep coma but what will happen when she finds out what Slaine has done and how he has changed?


“Aldnoah.Zero” consists of the following main characters:

  • Inaho Kaizuka – A pilot in training living on Earth and the top of his class. He lives with his older sister, Yuki and is often stoic and showing no emotion. He is good with coming up with strategies to fight against the Martian Knights.
  • Slaine Troyard – A Terran (Earth-born human) who is a slave to the Versian County Cruhteno and the nemesis of Inaho. He is close to Princess Asseylum and is responsible for saving her. He is very loyal to the Princess.
  • Asseylum Vers Allusia – The First Princess of the Vers Empire and is close to Slaine. She is curious about Earth and unlike the Vers Empires, she has no ill feelings towards the Terrans.
  • Inko Amifumi – Inaho’s childhood friend and classmate. She is a member of the Student Council Committee and has feelings towards Inaho.
  • Rayet Areash – A Martian girl living on Earth. She and her friends are responsible for the assassination attempt on Princess Asseylum, in exchange for the promise of extraction back to Mars and knighthood under the Vers Empire.
  • Eddelrittuo – A young Martian girl who serves Princess Asseylum as her maid.
  • Cruhteo – A Count of the Vers Empire and one of the Martian Knights who often abuses Slaine.
  • Saazbaum – A County ofthe Vers Empire, one of the Martian Knights and one desperately wanting a war between Mars and Earth.
  • Yuki Kaizuka – Older sister of Inaho and a Warrant Officer in the United Forces of Earth. She can pilot a Kataphract and often worries about her younger brother.
  • Koichiro Marito – A Lieutenant in the United Forces of Earth. He is a training instructor at Inaho’s high school. A veteran of the War of 1999 and suffers PTSD due to the war, he is fearful of the power of Aldnoah, having witnessed it first hand. He also is aware that the governments of Earth has not publicized any information about what happened 15 years ago.
  • Lemrina Vers Envers – A princess of the Vers Empire and Princess Asseylum’s half-sister.  She is often jealous of her sister and Slaine’s fondness towards Asseylum.  She is handicapped and is in a wheelchair.
  • Klancain – The eldest son of Count Cruhteo who is loyal to Princess Asseylum.

 

VIDEO:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 4” is presented in 1080p High Definition. One of the first things you will notice is how detailed backgrounds are and also mechanical designs. As a sci-fi series, the futuristic settings are gorgeously painted, the mecha are well-designed and as for character designs, while line art is simple, but shaded, it’s the backgrounds and environments that helps boost the overall presentation of the anime series.

But overall anime production from A-1 Pictures is very good and I didn’t notice any banding issues or artifacts.

AUDIO:

“Aldnoah.Zero” is presented only with a Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 soundtrack.Both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-acted and with that being said, dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 4” comes with the following special features:

  • Textless Opening “Harmonious”
  • Textless Ending “Genesis”

EXTRAS:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 4” comes with a slipcase with an two collectible postcards and a special booklet “Mecha Archives 2” by ALDNOAH.ZERO xI-IV (Mecha Design.


For sci-fi and mecha fans, every few years, there is an always an anime series that captivates you because of its deep storyline, with heavy attention to mecha, its characters and typically revolving around some sort of war, “Aldnoah.Zero” is one of those series that does a magnificent job of capturing the politics and challenges of war.

And here we are with the final volume of “Aldnoah.Zero”!

Slaine is determined to create his new world, knowing that Princess Asseylum would not support his selfish goal.

As Princess Asseylum awakes from her deep coma, what happens when she regains all her memories and finds out what Slaine has done.

On Earth, Inaho prepares a strategy to fight the Martian Knights, but what will happen to him if he continues to over use his eye?

The storyline of the Vers Empire vs. Earth concludes!  Who will become the victor?  Or will someone find a way to prevent Slaine from creating his twisted concept of the world?

As for the Blu-ray release, A-1 Pictures has done a great job in providing a series with gorgeous art backgrounds and mechanical design. Picture quality is very good via HD and the lossless audio soundtrack is stereo but dialogue and sound effects are crystal clear, as with its captivating musical score. Both Japanese and English soundtracks sound great and voice talents on both ends are well-done! There are not many special features with this fourth volume but you do get a special booklet and collectable pin-ups.

Overall, the final episodes of second season of “Aldnoah.Zero” is action-driven and for the most part concludes with an ending that fans of the series will be content with!

If you love deep, well-written and exciting mecha sci-fi, then definitely give “Aldnoah.Zero” a chance!

Recommended!

Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 3 Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

aldnoah-3

The second season of “Aldnoah.Zero” begins with heavy action as the battle between the UFE and Vers heats up and setting up the latest confrontation between Inaho and Slaine! If you love deep, well-written and exciting mecha sci-fi, then definitely give “Aldnoah.Zero” vol. 3 a chance!  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Olympia Knights/Aniplex, Project AZ. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 3 Limited Edition

YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 13-18 (150 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: January 26, 2016


Original Created by Gen Urobuchi

Directed by Ei Aoki

Series Composition by Katsuhiko Takayama

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design by Masaki Matsumoto

Art Director by Akira Ito

Anime Production by A-1 Pictures, TROYCA


Featuring the voices of:

Kensho Ono/Zach Aguilar as Slaine Troyard

Natsuki Hanae/Max Mittelman as Inaho Kaiduka

Sora Amamiya/Erika Harlacher as Asseylum Vers Allusia

Ai Kakuma/Christine Marie Cabanos as Nina Klein

Ai Kayano/Julie Anne Taylor as Darzana Magbaredge

Hiroki Yasumoto/Patrick Seitz as Vlad

Inori Minase/Sandy Fox as Eddelrittuo

Kazuya Nakai/Matthew Mercer as Koichiro Marito

Kengo Kawanishi/Kyle McCarley as Kisaki Matsuribi

Kousuke Toriumi/Ethan Murray as Soma Yagarai

Makoto Furukawa/Alan Lee as Shigou Kakei

Mikako Komatsu/Erica Mendez as Inko Amifumi

Sachika Misawa/Cristina Vee as Rayet Areash

Sayaka Ohara/Erica Lindbeck as Yuki Kaiduka

Shinji Ogawa/Geoffrey Chalmers as Rayregalia Vers Rayvers

Sho Hayami/Lex Lang as Cruhteo

Sōma Saitō/Lucien Dodge as Yuutarou Tsumugi

Taishi Murata/Bryce Papenbrook as Calm Craftman

Takahiro Sakurai /Todd Haberkorn as Trillam

Toru Ohkawa as Saazbaum

Yoshitaka Yamaya/Bobby Thong as Okisuke “Okojo” Mikuni

Yu Shimamura/Trina Loo as Kaoru Mizusaki

Yuki Kaida/Carrie Kernanen as Femieanne


The year is 2016— a year and a half after the assassination of Princess Asseylum. Despite his status as a Terran, Slaine has been granted the title of Mars Knight, is now served by his own personal subordinate, and has been taking part in battles against the United Forces of Earth. Meanwhile on Earth, the Deucalion is finishing up its repairs as, one by one, the ship’s former crew members return in order to proceed to a new battlefront.


The second season of “Aldnoah.Zero” begins with a storyline that is set 19 months after what had happened at Saazbaum’s Landing Castle and what happened to Asseylum and Inaho but also Slaine and Saazbaum.

Meanwhile, the UFE forces at Trident Base prepare for an attack on an asteroid base, Marineros which is owned by the Vers which leads to a confrontation between Inaho and Slaine once again!

But what about Princess Asseylum?  Is she alive?

Find out in “Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 3”!

What is “ALDNOAH.ZERO” all about?

From Gen Urobuchi, the creator of “Fate/Zero”, “Phantom – The Animation” and writer for “Psycho-Pass” and “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, comes the 2014 sci-fi anime series titled “ALDNOAH.ZERO”.

Featuring anime production from A-1 Pictures and TROYCA, the series is directed by Ei Aoki (“Fate/Zero”, “Ga-Rei Zero”, “Girls Bravo”), screenplay by Katsuhiko Takayama (“Cat Planet Cuties”, “Baka and Test – Summon the Beats”, “ef: a tale of melodies”, “Stratos 4”), music by Hiroyuki Sawano (“Blue Exorcist”, “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings”, “Attack on Titan”), character designs by Masako Matsumoto and art direction by Akira Ito (“AKB0048”, “Baccano!”, “Durara!!”, “Elfen Lied”).

The 24-episode anime series debuted back in July 2014 and ended in March 2015. And now the anime series has been released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex Inc.

“Aldnoah.Zero” begins with how Earth was attacked by the Vers Empire.

Back in 1972, an ancient alien hypergate was discovered on the moon and humans have used this technology to migrate to Mars and begin colonizing the planet. The settlers on Mars discovered new advanced technology and would create the Vers Empire and later claim the planet Mars and the advanced technology as their own. The Vers Empire look at them as elite and evolved versions of humanity and are prejudice against the Terrans (Earth-born humans).

The Vers Empire would declare war on Earth and in 1999, the hypergate on the Moon was destroyed but in the process, shattering the Moon leaving debris floating around the planet Earth.

This would lead to a cease fire for nearly 15 years until the Vers Empire would once again launch a new attack in order to conquer Earth.

We are introduced to Inaho Kaizuki, a pilot in training, who lives in the city of Shinawara with his sister Yuki, a Kataphrakt pilot for the Earth’s military.

One day when Inaho and friends go to see the arrival of Asseylum Vers, the Princess of Vers, terrorists attack and it is assumed that the Princess was killed. In retaliation, the Martian Vers Orbital Knights do a full assault on Earth and destroying a number of major cities.

While holed up in school, Inaho and his friends decide to fight against the Vers.

In vol. 2, the conflict escalates as Sauzbaum makes a direct attack on UFE headquarters in order to kill the princess! Can she be protected during the full onslaught?

As the finale of the first season features both Asseylum and Inaho left for dead, vol. 3 takes place 19 months after the incident with Inaho making his return after being shot by Slaine.

And now, as UFE forces and the Vers are lead into battle, Inaho and Slaine will confront each other once again!


“Aldnoah.Zero” consists of the following main characters:

  • Inaho Kaizuka – A pilot in training living on Earth and the top of his class. He lives with his older sister, Yuki and is often stoic and showing no emotion. He is good with coming up with strategies to fight against the Martian Knights.
  • Slaine Troyard – A Terran (Earth-born human) who is a slave to the Versian County Cruhteno and the nemesis of Inaho. He is close to Princess Asseylum and is responsible for saving her. He is very loyal to the Princess.
  • Asseylum Vers Allusia – The First Princess of the Vers Empire and is close to Slaine. She is curious about Earth and unlike the Vers Empires, she has no ill feelings towards the Terrans.
  • Inko Amifumi – Inaho’s childhood friend and classmate. She is a member of the Student Council Committee and has feelings towards Inaho.
  • Rayet Areash – A Martian girl living on Earth. She and her friends are responsible for the assassination attempt on Princess Asseylum, in exchange for the promise of extraction back to Mars and knighthood under the Vers Empire.
  • Eddelrittuo – A young Martian girl who serves Princess Asseylum as her maid.
  • Cruhteo – A Count of the Vers Empire and one of the Martian Knights who often abuses Slaine.
  • Saazbaum – A County ofthe Vers Empire, one of the Martian Knights and one desperately wanting a war between Mars and Earth.
  • Yuki Kaizuka – Older sister of Inaho and a Warrant Officer in the United Forces of Earth. She can pilot a Kataphract and often worries about her younger brother.
  • Koichiro Marito – A Lieutenant in the United Forces of Earth. He is a training instructor at Inaho’s high school. A veteran of the War of 1999 and suffers PTSD due to the war, he is fearful of the power of Aldnoah, having witnessed it first hand. He also is aware that the governments of Earth has not publicized any information about what happened 15 years ago.

 

VIDEO:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 3” is presented in 1080p High Definition. One of the first things you will notice is how detailed backgrounds are and also mechanical designs. As a sci-fi series, the futuristic settings are gorgeously painted, the mecha are well-designed and as for character designs, while line art is simple, but shaded, it’s the backgrounds and environments that helps boost the overall presentation of the anime series.

But overall anime production from A-1 Pictures is very good and I didn’t notice any banding issues or artifacts.

AUDIO:

“Aldnoah.Zero” is presented only with a Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 soundtrack.Both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-acted and with that being said, dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 3” comes with the following special features:

  • Textless Opening “&Z”
  • Textless Ending “Genesis”
  • Trailer – Featuring the English version trailer of “Aldnoah.Zero”
  • Commercials – Featuring three commercials
  • ALDINOAH.ZERO EXTRA ARCHIVES – (47:37) Featuring various scenes from the first 12 episodes.

EXTRAS:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 3” comes with a slipcase with an illustration by I-IV (Mecha Design), two collectible postcards, a 48-page manga for “ALDNOAH.ZERO EXTRA EPISODE”.


aldnoah-3b

For sci-fi and mecha fans, every few years, there is an always an anime series that captivates you because of its deep storyline, high attention to mecha, its characters and typically revolving around some sort of war.

While the concept is quite banal in Japanese animation, what’s more important is how the story sticks out, while others await for an anime series that can deliver in serious plots and battles in comparison to anime classic “Mobile Suit Gundam” or “Neon Genesis Evangelion”.

While “Aldnoah.Zero” has elements that people have seen before, in some ways, the anime series feels as if it was inspired by classic “Mobile Suit Gundam” and the sci-fi series “Stargate”.

With the third volume of “Aldnoah.Zero”, the first six episodes of season two (or episodes 13-18) features what had happened to Inaho and Asseylum after they were shot.

Fastforwarding 19 months later, Inaho is back after surviving a near tragic ordeal, but what has happened to Prince Asseylum?  Meanwhile, because of that incident, Inaho may have benefited from what had transpired and with Inaho’s return, this may be the help that the UFE needs to fight back against their enemies.

Meanwhile, the Vers Empire has named another Princess, Lemrina, who has disguised herself as Asseylum.  But what has happened to the real Princess Asseylum?  Did she survive the shooting?

Featuring heavy-action as the UFE and Vers continue their battle with once another, Inaho and Slaine will once confront each other once again in battle!

As for the Blu-ray release, A-1 Pictures has done a great job in providing a series with gorgeous art backgrounds and mechanical design. Picture quality is very good via HD and the lossless audio soundtrack is stereo but dialogue and sound effects are crystal clear, as with its captivating musical score. Both Japanese and English soundtracks sound great and voice talents on both ends are well-done! Also, included on the Blu-ray are several special features a special compilation of the first 12 episodes.  As for extras, you get an awesome “ALDNOAH.ZERO EXTRA EPISODE” manga booklet.

Overall, the second season of “Aldnoah.Zero” begins with heavy action as the battle between the UFE and Vers heats up and setting up the latest confrontation between Inaho and Slaine! If you love deep, well-written and exciting mecha sci-fi, then definitely give “Aldnoah.Zero” vol. 3 a chance!  Recommended!

Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 2 Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

aldnoah-2a

The conclusion of the first season of “Aldnoah.Zero” is quite riveting and all-out exciting and the first season concludes with a very shocking finale! If you love deep, well-written and exciting mecha sci-fi, “Aldnoah.Zero” vol. 2 is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Olympia Knights/Aniplex, Project AZ. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 2 Limited Edition

YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 7-12 (150 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: October 27, 2015


Original Created by Gen Urobuchi

Directed by Ei Aoki

Series Composition by Katsuhiko Takayama

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design by Masaki Matsumoto

Art Director by Akira Ito

Anime Production by A-1 Pictures, TROYCA


Featuring the voices of:

Kensho Ono/Zach Aguilar as Slaine Troyard

Natsuki Hanae/Max Mittelman as Inaho Kaiduka

Sora Amamiya/Erika Harlacher as Asseylum Vers Allusia

Ai Kakuma/Christine Marie Cabanos as Nina Klein

Ai Kayano/Julie Anne Taylor as Darzana Magbaredge

Hiroki Yasumoto/Patrick Seitz as Vlad

Inori Minase/Sandy Fox as Eddelrittuo

Kazuya Nakai/Matthew Mercer as Koichiro Marito

Kengo Kawanishi/Kyle McCarley as Kisaki Matsuribi

Kousuke Toriumi/Ethan Murray as Soma Yagarai

Makoto Furukawa/Alan Lee as Shigou Kakei

Mikako Komatsu/Erica Mendez as Inko Amifumi

Sachika Misawa/Cristina Vee as Rayet Areash

Sayaka Ohara/Erica Lindbeck as Yuki Kaiduka

Shinji Ogawa/Geoffrey Chalmers as Rayregalia Vers Rayvers

Sho Hayami/Lex Lang as Cruhteo

Sōma Saitō/Lucien Dodge as Yuutarou Tsumugi

Taishi Murata/Bryce Papenbrook as Calm Craftman

Takahiro Sakurai /Todd Haberkorn as Trillam

Toru Ohkawa as Saazbaum

Yoshitaka Yamaya/Bobby Thong as Okisuke “Okojo” Mikuni

Yu Shimamura/Trina Loo as Kaoru Mizusaki

Yuki Kaida/Carrie Kernanen as Femieanne


While being interrogated under the assumption that he knew something, Slaine remained silent to protect Princess Asseylum, who had saved his life when they first met five years ago. Meanwhile, Inaho, Asseylum, and the others head to the United Forces of Earth Headquarters on the Deucalion, as Count Saazbaum prepares to launch his attack. Having learned Count Saazbaum’s ulterior motives, Slaine sets out to save Asseylum.

The fierce battle on the snowy field build in intensity – there, Inaho, Slain, and Asseylum find themselves in an unexpected situation.


Slaine has been captured and is being tortured for information, meanwhile, Rayet’s plan to assassinate Princess Asseylum goes into effect.

All this and more as Count Saazbaum launches his attack against the United forces of Earth Headquarters and what happens when Inaho and Slaine confront each other?

More action that one can expect in this second volume of the exciting anime series “Aldoah.Zero”!

What is “ALDNOAH.ZERO” all about?

From Gen Urobuchi, the creator of “Fate/Zero”, “Phantom – The Animation” and writer for “Psycho-Pass” and “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, comes the 2014 sci-fi anime series titled “ALDNOAH.ZERO”.

Featuring anime production from A-1 Pictures and TROYCA, the series is directed by Ei Aoki (“Fate/Zero”, “Ga-Rei Zero”, “Girls Bravo”), screenplay by Katsuhiko Takayama (“Cat Planet Cuties”, “Baka and Test – Summon the Beats”, “ef: a tale of melodies”, “Stratos 4”), music by Hiroyuki Sawano (“Blue Exorcist”, “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings”, “Attack on Titan”), character designs by Masako Matsumoto and art direction by Akira Ito (“AKB0048”, “Baccano!”, “Durara!!”, “Elfen Lied”).

The 24-episode anime series debuted back in July 2014 and ended in March 2015. And now the anime series has been released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex Inc.

“Aldnoah.Zero” begins with how Earth was attacked by the Vers Empire.

Back in 1972, an ancient alien hypergate was discovered on the moon and humans have used this technology to migrate to Mars and begin colonizing the planet. The settlers on Mars discovered new advanced technology and would create the Vers Empire and later claim the planet Mars and the advanced technology as their own. The Vers Empire look at them as elite and evolved versions of humanity and are prejudice against the Terrans (Earth-born humans).

The Vers Empire would declare war on Earth and in 1999, the hypergate on the Moon was destroyed but in the process, shattering the Moon leaving debris floating around the planet Earth.

This would lead to a cease fire for nearly 15 years until the Vers Empire would once again launch a new attack in order to conquer Earth.

We are introduced to Inaho Kaizuki, a pilot in training, who lives in the city of Shinawara with his sister Yuki, a Kataphrakt pilot for the Earth’s military.

One day when Inaho and friends go to see the arrival of Asseylum Vers, the Princess of Vers, terrorists attack and it is assumed that the Princess was killed. In retaliation, the Martian Vers Orbital Knights do a full assault on Earth and destroying a number of major cities.

While holed up in school, Inaho and his friends decide to fight against the Vers.

In vol. 2, the conflict escalates as Sauzbaum makes a direct attack on UFE headquarters in order to kill the princess!  Can she be protected during the full onslaught?


“Aldnoah.Zero” consists of the following main characters:

  • Inaho Kaizuka – A pilot in training living on Earth and the top of his class. He lives with his older sister, Yuki and is often stoic and showing no emotion. He is good with coming up with strategies to fight against the Martian Knights.
  • Slaine Troyard – A Terran (Earth-born human) who is a slave to the Versian County Cruhteno and the nemesis of Inaho. He is close to Princess Asseylum and is responsible for saving her. He is very loyal to the Princess.
  • Asseylum Vers Allusia – The First Princess of the Vers Empire and is close to Slaine. She is curious about Earth and unlike the Vers Empires, she has no ill feelings towards the Terrans.
  • Inko Amifumi – Inaho’s childhood friend and classmate. She is a member of the Student Council Committee and has feelings towards Inaho.
  • Rayet Areash – A Martian girl living on Earth. She and her friends are responsible for the assassination attempt on Princess Asseylum, in exchange for the promise of extraction back to Mars and knighthood under the Vers Empire.
  • Eddelrittuo – A young Martian girl who serves Princess Asseylum as her maid.
  • Cruhteo – A Count of the Vers Empire and one of the Martian Knights who often abuses Slaine.
  • Saazbaum – A County ofthe Vers Empire, one of the Martian Knights and one desperately wanting a war between Mars and Earth.
  • Yuki Kaizuka – Older sister of Inaho and a Warrant Officer in the United Forces of Earth. She can pilot a Kataphract and often worries about her younger brother.
  • Koichiro Marito – A Lieutenant in the United Forces of Earth. He is a training instructor at Inaho’s high school. A veteran of the War of 1999 and suffers PTSD due to the war, he is fearful of the power of Aldnoah, having witnessed it first hand. He also is aware that the governments of Earth has not publicized any information about what happened 15 years ago.

 

VIDEO:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition. One of the first things you will notice is how detailed backgrounds are and also mechanical designs. As a sci-fi series, the futuristic settings are gorgeously painted, the mecha are well-designed and as for character designs, while line art is simple, but shaded, it’s the backgrounds and environments that helps boost the overall presentation of the anime series.

But overall anime production from A-1 Pictures is very good and I didn’t notice any banding issues or artifacts.

AUDIO:

“Aldnoah.Zero” is presented only with a Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 soundtrack.Both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-acted and with that being said, dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 2” comes with the following special features:

  • Textless Ending “A/Z” and “aLIEz”
  • Trailers – Featuring the English version trailer of “Aldnoah.Zero”

EXTRAS:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 2” comes with a slipcase with an illustration by I-IV (Mecha Design), two collectible postcards, a 36-page booklet titled “ALDNOAH.ZERO x I-IV “MECHA ARCHIVES'” (featuring character information and sketches) and two collectible pin-up postcards.


aldnoah-2b

For sci-fi and mecha fans, every few years, there is an always an anime series that captivates you because of its deep storyline, high attention to mecha, its characters and typically revolving around some sort of war.

While the concept is quite banal in Japanese animation, what’s more important is how the story sticks out, while others await for an anime series that can deliver in serious plots and battles in comparison to anime classic “Mobile Suit Gundam” or “Neon Genesis Evangelion”.

While “Aldnoah.Zero” has elements that people have seen before, in some ways, the anime series feels as if it was inspired by classic “Mobile Suit Gundam” and the sci-fi series “Stargate”.

While I don’t want to spoil the anime series for those interested in watching the first volume which includes the first six episodes, the story does show parallel lives of one living in Mars and despised by the Martian inhabitants because he is Terran (an Earth-born human), while we get to see another side of a Martian in Earth, with the perspective of the Princess.

For the first volume, the early episodes is more about introducing us to the war and the history between Earth and Mars, the Vers Empire and its main protagonists and antagonists, but trying to show how war was inevitable and how far others would go to see both planets break the peace treaty and fight.

With “Aldoa.Zero” vol. 2, the battles escalate as Slaine will do anything to find Asseylum and protect her but Saazbaum and his Landing Castle lands on UFE headquarters for a full scale attack in order to kill Asseylum.  Will Inaho or Slaine be able to protect her?

Also, we get to see the opposites, Inaho and Slaine in battle with one another and also are given a shocking season finale that no one would expect coming!

As for the Blu-ray release, A-1 Pictures has done a great job in providing a series with gorgeous art backgrounds and mechanical design. Picture quality is very good via HD and the lossless audio soundtrack is stereo but dialogue and sound effects are crystal clear, as with its captivating musical score. Both Japanese and English soundtracks sound great and voice talents on both ends are well-done! Also, included on the Blu-ray are several special features including a “making-of” with interviews with the Japanese staff of the series.

As for extras, you get an awesome “ALDNOAH.ZERO x I-IV “MECHA ARCHIVES” booklet plus two pin-up postcards.

Overall, the conclusion of the first season of “Aldnoah.Zero” is quite riveting and all-out exciting and the first season concludes with a very shocking finale! If you love deep, well-written and exciting mecha sci-fi, “Aldnoah.Zero” vol. 2 is recommended!

Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 1 Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

aldnoah-v1a

As the first six episodes are no doubt thrilling, smart and exciting, I look forward to see how the story for “Aldnoah.Zero” progresses overtime! So, if you love deep, well-written and exciting mecha sci-fi, then definitely give “Aldnoah.Zero” vol. 1 a try! Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Olympia Knights/Aniplex, Project AZ.  All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 1 Limited Edition

YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 1-6 (150 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: July 21, 2015


Original Created by Gen Urobuchi

Directed by Ei Aoki

Series Composition by Katsuhiko Takayama

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design by Masaki Matsumoto

Art Director by Akira Ito

Anime Production by A-1 Pictures, TROYCA


Featuring the voices of:

Kensho Ono/Zach Aguilar as Slaine Troyard

Natsuki Hanae/Max Mittelman as Inaho Kaiduka

Sora Amamiya/Erika Harlacher as Asseylum Vers Allusia

Ai Kakuma/Christine Marie Cabanos as Nina Klein

Ai Kayano/Julie Anne Taylor as Darzana Magbaredge

Hiroki Yasumoto/Patrick Seitz as Vlad

Inori Minase/Sandy Fox as Eddelrittuo

Kazuya Nakai/Matthew Mercer as Koichiro Marito

Kengo Kawanishi/Kyle McCarley as Kisaki Matsuribi

Kousuke Toriumi/Ethan Murray as Soma Yagarai

Makoto Furukawa/Alan Lee as Shigou Kakei

Mikako Komatsu/Erica Mendez as Inko Amifumi

Sachika Misawa/Cristina Vee as Rayet Areash

Sayaka Ohara/Erica Lindbeck as Yuki Kaiduka

Shinji Ogawa/Geoffrey Chalmers as Rayregalia Vers Rayvers

Sho Hayami/Lex Lang as Cruhteo

Sōma Saitō/Lucien Dodge as Yuutarou Tsumugi

Taishi Murata/Bryce Papenbrook as Calm Craftman

Takahiro Sakurai /Todd Haberkorn as Trillam

Toru Ohkawa as Saazbaum

Yoshitaka Yamaya/Bobby Thong as Okisuke “Okojo” Mikuni

Yu Shimamura/Trina Loo as Kaoru Mizusaki

Yuki Kaida/Carrie Kernanen as Femieanne


Fifteen years have passed since the hypergate collapsed on the moon’s surface – a catastrophe known as the Heaven’s Fall. The war between Earth and the VERS Empire of Mars is now in a cease-fire.

The VERS’ Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia descends upon Earth as an ambassador hoping to encourage reconciliation while some citizens are not willing to compromise. Inaho Kaizuka, a Terran high school student… and Slaine Troyard, who swears his allegiance to Princess Assylum… Their fates cross as both societies watch in horror as a missile crashes on Asseylum’s motorcade. This incident marks the beginning of a new war.


From Gen Urobuchi, the creator of “Fate/Zero”, “Phantom – The Animation” and writer for “Psycho-Pass” and “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, comes the 2014 sci-fi anime series titled “ALDNOAH.ZERO”.

Featuring anime production from A-1 Pictures and TROYCA, the series is directed by Ei Aoki (“Fate/Zero”, “Ga-Rei Zero”, “Girls Bravo”), screenplay by Katsuhiko Takayama (“Cat Planet Cuties”, “Baka and Test – Summon the Beats”, “ef: a tale of melodies”, “Stratos 4”), music by Hiroyuki Sawano (“Blue Exorcist”, “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings”, “Attack on Titan”), character designs by Masako Matsumoto and art direction by Akira Ito (“AKB0048”, “Baccano!”, “Durara!!”, “Elfen Lied”).

The 24-episode anime series debuted back in July 2014 and ended in March 2015.  And now the anime series will be released on Blu-ray in July 2015 courtesy of Aniplex Inc.

“Aldnoah.Zero” Vol. 1 sets up the story of how Earth was attacked by the Vers Empire.

Back in 1972, an ancient alien hypergate was discovered on the moon and humans have used this technology to migrate to Mars and begin colonizing the planet.  The settlers on Mars discovered new advanced technology and would create the Vers Empire and later claim the planet Mars and the advanced technology as their own.  The Vers Empire look at them as elite and evolved versions of humanity and are prejudice against the Terrans (Earth-born humans).

The Vers Empire would declare war on Earth and in 1999, the hypergate on the Moon was destroyed but in the process, shattering the Moon leaving debris floating around the planet Earth.

This would lead to a cease fire for nearly 15 years until the Vers Empire would once again launch a new attack in order to conquer Earth.

We are introduced to Inaho Kaizuki, a pilot in training, who lives in the city of Shinawara with his sister Yuki, a Kataphrakt pilot for the Earth’s military.

One day when Inaho and friends go to see the arrival of Asseylum Vers, the Princess of Vers, terrorists attack and it is assumed that the Princess was killed.  In retaliation, the Martian Vers Orbital Knights do a full assault on Earth and destroying a number of major cities.

While holed up in school, Inaho and his friends decide to fight against the Vers.


“Aldnoah.Zero” consists of the following main characters:

  • Inaho Kaizuka – A pilot in training living on Earth and the top of his class.  He lives with his older sister, Yuki and is often stoic and showing no emotion.  He is good with coming up with strategies to fight against the Martian Knights.
  • Slaine Troyard – A Terran (Earth-born human) who is a slave to the Versian County Cruhteno and the nemesis of Inaho.  He is close to Princess Asseylum and is responsible for saving her.  He is very loyal to the Princess.
  • Asseylum Vers Allusia – The First Princess of the Vers Empire and is close to Slaine.  She is curious about Earth and unlike the Vers Empires, she has no ill feelings towards the Terrans.
  • Inko Amifumi – Inaho’s childhood friend and classmate.  She is a member of the Student Council Committee and has feelings towards Inaho.
  • Rayet Areash – A Martian girl living on Earth.  She and her friends are responsible for the assassination attempt on Princess Asseylum, in exchange for the promise of extraction back to Mars and knighthood under the Vers Empire.
  • Eddelrittuo – A young Martian girl who serves Princess Asseylum as her maid.
  • Cruhteo – A Count of the Vers Empire and one of the Martian Knights who often abuses Slaine.
  • Saazbaum – A County ofthe Vers Empire, one of the Martian Knights and one desperately wanting a war between Mars and Earth.
  • Yuki Kaizuka – Older sister of Inaho and a Warrant Officer in the United Forces of Earth.  She can pilot a Kataphract and often worries about her younger brother.
  • Koichiro Marito – A Lieutenant in the United Forces of Earth.  He is a training instructor at Inaho’s high school.  A veteran of the War of 1999 and suffers PTSD due to the war, he is fearful of the power of Aldnoah, having witnessed it first hand.  He also is aware that the governments of Earth has not publicized any information about what happened 15 years ago.

 

VIDEO:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 1” is presented in 1080p High Definition. One of the first things you will notice is how detailed backgrounds are and also mechanical designs.  As a sci-fi series, the futuristic settings are gorgeously painted, the mecha are welldesigned and as for character designs, while line art is simple, but shaded, it’s the backgrounds and environments that helps boost the overall presentation of the anime series.

But overall anime production from A-1 Pictures is very good and I didn’t notice any banding issues or artifacts.

AUDIO:

“Aldnoah.Zero” is presented only with a Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 soundtrack.Both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-acted and with that being said, dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 1” comes with the following special features:

  • Textless Opening for “Heavenly blue”
  • Trailers – Featuring two trailers for “Aldnoah.Zero”
  • Commercials – Featuring six commercials for “Aldnoah.Zero”
  • Count to A/Z – (23:43) A featurette about the making of “Aldnoah.Zero” and featuring interviews with the staff.

EXTRAS:

“Aldnoah.Zero Vol. 1” comes with a slipcase, a 36-page booklet titled “ALDNOAH.ZERO x TAKAKO SHIMURA ‘CHARACTER ARCHIVES'” (featuring character information and sketches) and two collectible pin-up postcards.


aldnoah-v1b

For sci-fi and mecha fans, every few years, there is an always an anime series that captivates you because of its deep storyline, high attention to mecha, its characters and typically revolving around some sort of war.

While the concept is quite banal in Japanese animation, what’s more important is how the story sticks out, while others await for an anime series that can deliver in serious plots and battles in comparison to anime classic “Mobile Suit Gundam” or “Neon Genesis Evangelion”.

While “Aldnoah.Zero” has elements that people have seen before, in some ways, the anime series feels as if it was inspired by classic “Mobile Suit Gundam” and the sci-fi series “Stargate”.

While I don’t want to spoil the anime series for those interested in watching the first volume which includes the first six episodes, the story does show parallel lives of one living in Mars and despised by the Martian inhabitants because he is Terran (an Earth-born human), while we get to see another side of a Martian in Earth, with the perspective of the Princess.

Of course, the early episodes is more about introducing us to the war and the history between Earth and Mars, the Vers Empire and its main protagonists and antagonists, but trying to show how war was inevitable and how far others would go to see both planets break the peace treaty and fight.

As for the Blu-ray release, A-1 Pictures has done a great job in providing a series with gorgeous art backgrounds and mechanical design.  Picture quality is very good via HD and the lossless audio soundtrack is stereo but dialogue and sound effects are crystal clear, as with its captivating musical score.  Both Japanese and English soundtracks sound great and voice talents on both ends are well-done!    Also, included on the Blu-ray are several special features including a “making-of” with interviews with the Japanese staff of the series.

As for extras, you get an awesome “ALDNOAH ZERO x TAKAKO SHIMURA “CHARACTER ARCHIVES” booklet plus two pin-up postcards.

Overall, as the first six episodes are no doubt thrilling, smart and exciting, I look forward to see how the story for “Aldnoah.Zero” progresses overtime!  So, if you love deep, well-written and exciting mecha sci-fi, then definitely give “Aldnoah.Zero” vol. 1 a try!  Recommended!

Blue Exorcist the Movie: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

aoi-movie-b

“Blue Exorcist the Movie: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is a magnificent Blu-ray release that fans of the series will love and it’s also one of the most gorgeous anime films on Blu-ray for 2013.  Highly recommended!

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © Kazue Kato/Shueisha. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Blue Exorcist the Movie: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

THEATRICAL RELEASE DATE: 2012

DURATION: 88 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS 5.1 Master Audio, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: 13 and Up

Release Date: December 17, 2013

Original Creator: Kazue Kato

Directed by Atsushi Takashi

Script by Reiko Yoshida

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design by Keigo Sasaki

Art Director: Shinji Kimura

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures

Featuring the following voice talent:

Jun Fukuyama/Johnny Yong Bosch as Yukio Okumura

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Bryce Papenbrook as Rin Okumura

Kana Hanazawa/Christine Marie Cabanos as Shiemi Moriyama

Rie Kugimiya/Cassandra Lee as Usamaro

Hidenobu Kiuchi/Todd Haberkorn as Cheng-Long Liu

Kazuya Nakai/Kyle Hebert as Ryūji Suguro

Ayahi Takagaki/Stephanie Sheh as Kuro

Eri Kitamura/Kira Buckland as Izumo Kamiki

Hiroshi Kamiya/Sam Regal as Mephisto Pheles

Keiji Fujiwara/Kirk Thornton as Shirō Fujimoto

Koji Yusa as Renzō Shima

Rina Satou/Wendee Lee as Shura Kirigakure

Tetsuya Kakihara/Darrel Guilbeau as Amaimon

Yuuki Kaji as Konekomaru Miw

When his adopted father, Shiro Fujimoto, was killed by his biological father, Satan, Rin Okumura swore to become an exorcist to avenge Shiro’s death declaring war on his own blood-relatives of the underworld…

Everyone is in the midst of preparing for a festival which is celebrated once every 11 years in True Cross Academy Town. However, behind the scenes in the shadows, a “Phantom Train” goes berserk while the barriers protecting the town from demon intrusions are under repair. Rin, Yukio, and Shiemi are sent to exorcise the Phantom Train, but as usual Rin complicates the situation.

Amidst the chaos, Rin meets a demon in the form of a young boy. Meanwhile, Cheng-Long Liu, a Senior Exorcist First Class from the Taiwan Branch joins Shura in the repair operation and the story takes an unexpected turn as all their fates cross…

This limited edition box set includes a bonus DVD featuring an exclusive staff interview, a deluxe booklet, and exclusive illustration postcards all housed in a rigid box illustrated by Kazue Kato.

The characters of “Blue Exorcist” are back in a brand new movie as chaos comes to the city and Rin meets a demon in the form of a young boy named Usamaro, which the exorcists intends on sealing.   Which puts him and his brother Yukio with two different opinions on how to handle the matter.

An emotional and visually beautiful holiday film, “Blue Exorcist the Movie: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” will be available on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex Inc.

So, What is “Blue Exorcist” about?

“Ao no Exorcist” (Blue Exorcist) is an anime adaptation of a manga series written and illustrated by Kazue Kato, a mangaka who won a Tenkaichi Manga Award back in 1999 at the age of 19 and won a Tezuka Award in 2000 for his manga “The Witch and the Rabbit”. Kato is also known for his 2006 manga series “Robot Usakichi” (Space Traveler Robo & Usakichi).

“Blue Exorcist” was serialized on Jump Square Magazine by Shueisha since April 2009 and is still an ongoing manga series in Japan.

With the popularity of the manga series, an anime adaptation was produced by A-1 Pictures with Hitoshi Okamura as the producer. The series began back in April 2011 and 25-episodes have aired in Japan.

The anime series revolves around a hotheaded teenager named Rin Okumura. Both he and his brother Yukio have been raised by Father Fujimoto at the Cross Academy Town – Southern Cross Boys Monastery. While Yuki shows great intelligence and is attending school at True Cross Academy to become a doctor, Rin is quite the opposite. He tends to get himself in trouble, fights a lot and is continually told by Father Fujimoto to find a job.

Unfortunately for Rin, finding and holding onto a job is difficult. But one day, while working at a supermarket, he sees a monster in a girl’s scarf. He tells Father Fujimoto of what he has seen and Father Fujimoto starts to fear that something is happening. One day, Rin encounters a group of thugs and its leader that he had beaten up earlier and suddenly sees him turn into a demon. The demon tells Rin that satan is waiting for him and immediately, Father Fujimoto is there to save him and exorcise the demon. Fortunately, Father Fujimoto is there to help but it is all revealed to Rin about why he can see monsters.

It’s the fact that he is not truly human. He is the son of a human woman and satan. And the monsters he have seen, it is explained to Rin that in the world, there is Assiah, the realm of humans, and Gehenna, the realm of demons. Both are not supposed to come in contact with each other but they have and as an exorcist, it is his duty to send the demons back to where they belong. And Satan wants to reunite with his son.

To protect Rin, Father Fujimoto gives him the Kamkakushi key, so he can hide anything. And he is also given the Koma Sword, a magic sword passed down from generation to generation and a sword where Rin’s powers have been sealed since birth. Rin’s flame resides inside the sword and is sealed by the scabbard. If he draws it, he will assume his demonic nature and will never be able to live as a human again.

One day, he and Father Fujimoto try to prepare for an imminent attack and tells Rin that he must seek shelter where satan can’t get to him but Rin takes it as his father trying to get rid of him forever. In return, Rin said some hurtful things to Father Fujimoto and the pain that Father Fujimoto felt was enough for Satan, the demon to possess him.

Satan shows up to claim his son and attacks Father Fujimoto. Satan reveals that he created Rin from a human woman in order to create a container that would be powerful enough to hold him.

But it’s something that Father Fujimoto will not let happen to the boy, he looked at as a son. In order to save Rin, Father Fujimoto risks his own life to keep Satan away and is killed in the process.

Now Rin mourns for the one person he knew as his father and when Mephisto Pheles, a friend of Father Fujimoto comes to visit, he tells him that they represent the Knights of the True Cross and they exorcise demons. And Rin has two choices, they will kill him, or he kills the demons. Instead, Rin tells him that he could care less about being human or a demon, he wants to become an exorcist like Father Fujimoto and avenge him and that means defeating his own father.

So, from that point on, Rin must be trained to become an exorcist and will have to follow special rules (which includes not revealing his true nature). But the first thing that he will need to do is enroll at the same school that his brother Yukio attends. When Rin sees his brother, Yukio is in the top of the class and that he is a special leader that people follow at the school and he is no longer the scrawny younger brother he once knew.

As Rin is now a student at the Knights of the True Cross, many of the elders are not too thrilled because Rin is the son of Satan and because Rin tends to be more of a hothead, they are not too sure if he can fit into the Academy. But Rin is determined to make good on his promise to his deceased father and to protect people, but most of all, to kill Satan.

Blue Exorcist The Movie

The movie begins with a story that Rin and Yukio was read by the priest Shiro Fujimoto when they were younger.

The story was about boy who finds a demon and they become friends.  The boy brings the demon back home and everyone in the village becomes friend with the demon and have fun.  But they all forget their duties and when an exorcist comes to the village, the demon is sealed.

Fastforward to the present time, as Yukio, Rin and Shiemi are on a mission to capture a Phantom Train and the True Cross Academy exorcists are on alert as they prepare for a major festival that is held once in every eleven years.  So, the ridding of demons during the festival is very important to protect the city.

As Yuki and Shiemi arrive on the Phantom Train (and Rin is late as usual), Shiemi notices that there are ghosts inside the train and feels the must do something to help them, but Yukio wants her and his twin brother Rin to focus on the mission.  As Yukio takes out the demon, the two just have to pull on the brakes when he tells them.

Unfortunately, as Yukio takes on the demon, Shiemi and Rin try to help out the ghosts as Shiemi wants to use a Chinese lantern to attract them and have them freed.  As Rin goes to check on his brother, Yukio is shocked that Rin abandoned his post and did not follow his instructions.  The demon on the Phantom Train grows and as Rin tries to fight it off, Yukio tries to help Shiemi.

As massive destruction is caused by the demon, Rin manages to cut parts of the sludge demon but fails in stopping it.

Meanwhile, Cheng-Long Liu, an Upper First Class Exorcist from the Taiwan Branch is in the area for a festival but also to help Shura work on an operation.  He wants to meet the twins but while they are completed with their operation, they also see the destruction caused by the demon and seeing the brothers failing their mission.

In the end, the demon escapes and Rin ends up saving some young demon boy that acts wild.

Because of the failure of the mission and the extreme amount of damage caused in the mission, the True Cross Academy Council with Mephisto decide to punish Yukio with a permanent blemish on his once-perfect record and as for Rin and Shiemi, they are suspended for five days.  Upset at Rin, Yukio tells his brother that he must use his five days to catch up on homework and study.

And as for Rin, the demon boy that he found and must be caged, he must take care of him for five days and make sure it doesn’t get into any trouble or else they will seal it.

And at first, the relationship between Rin and the demon boy is a bit complicated as the boy acts wild.  But when Rin offers the boy water, the boy starts to act nicely to Rin and tells him that his name is Usamaro.

Rin then bonds with the demon by bathing him, introducing him to his friends and even cooking his favorite meals for the boy.  Usamaro is happy to be around Rin and instead of caging it, Rin treats Usamaro with respect and has him sleep with him in his bed.

As Usamaro is going through Rin’s box of old toys, he finds the book that Rin and Yukio’s father read to them when they were younger.  As Rin reads the story to Usamaro, Usamaro is upset by the book and tells Rin that it’s not true.

Immediately after, as Rin has to study his homework, Usamaro asks him that if he forgets his homework, would he be much happier.  Rin tells him that he would be much happier and so Usamaro uses his power to feed on a person’s memory, so they can forget it.

When Yukio arrives, he finds Rin and Usamaro sleeping in bed.  Upset that he is not studying and that Usamaro is not in his cage, the two get into an argument and Rin behaves as if he never knew he had to do any homework, which upsets Yukio.

Meanwhile, Rin’s friends and the other exorcists continue to be on high alert in preparation for the festival and are repeatedly getting caught with the remnants of the demons they fight against.  Often having to use Rin’s bath, everyone loves getting together and playing with Usamaro.

But they know they must get back to work and unfortunately miss the festival, because they will be working.

When Usamaro asks if everyone would be happy if they didn’t have to work, everyone tells him that it would be great if everyone in True Cross Academy didn’t have to work.  And so, in order to make his new friends happy, Usamaro uses his power to make everyone in True Cross Academy forget that they have to work.

Not knowing that by having all exorcists forgetting, all demons will begin attacking the city all at once.

And with everyone forgetting about their mission, Yukio, Cheng-Long Liu, Shura and a few others must try to fend off the demons and try to get the exorcists ready for an onslaught of demons that they were supposed to contain and now have headed straight to the city.

“Blue Exorcist the Movie” features the following characters:

  • Rin Okamura – The main protagonist. The son of Satan but born from a human mother. He and his brother Yukio are twins but he inherited his father’s powers. Rin’s power was sealed inside a sword by Mephisto Pheles, so he can live a human life. Rin was raised by the priest Shiro Fujimoto as normal humans with compassion and love. Despite getting into a lot of trouble and his abilities tend to be more of fighting or cooking, since discovering his power and identity, he vows to use his power to avenge his adoptive father Shiro Fujimoto’s death and defeat Satan. He vows to attend True Cross Academy and do all it takes to become a Paladin and a “Meister” (Knight). Rin also has taken in a dog demon (Cat Sith) which he names Kuro.
  • Yukio Okamura – The son of Satan but born from a human mother. Unlike Rin he did not inherit Satan’s powers. Known as the intellectual person of the family, unbeknown to Rin was that he has been secretly trained to become an exorcist since the age of seven in order to protect his brother. So, now he is an instructor at True Cross Academy and responsible for looking after his brother. But he harbors a secret…dark spots are starting to appear on his body which Yukio has told no one about, despite being tested daily if Satan’s power is in him.
  • Usamaro – A demon rabbit who takes the appearance of a human child.  Has the power to eat memories.
  • Cheng-Long Liu – An Upper First Class Exorcist from the Taiwan Branch.
  • Mephisto Pheles – The Chairman of True Cross Academy. He and Shiro Fujimoto worked together in order to seal Rin’s power and make him human. Mephisto is a powerful exorcist but because he is a demon, many do not believe him while others believe he has proven he is on the side to fight against Satan.
  • Ryuji Suguro – Also known as “Bon” to his classmates. He has a high temper and is often fighting and arguing with Rin. But despite his attitude, he is the best student in the class and dedicated to his studies. Part of his drive is because Satan destroyed his family temple.
  • Shiemi Moriyama – The daughter of a woman who runs an exorcist-only shop. She lacks confidence and she is quite sheltered (having lived with her grandmother and her only friends were plants) but when given the chance to meet and make friends at True Cross Academy, being in school gives her a new lease on life. It appears that both Rin and Yukio may have feelings towards her. Shiemi is a tamer and can summon a greenman spirit to produce herbs and barriers.
  • Izumo Kamiki – She always has a cold attitude and known for her eyebrows. The only friend she is close to is her best friend Paku but slowly (very slowly), she is starting to befriend her classmates. She can summon two Baykko (foxes) to fight.
  • Konkomaru Miwa – Very smart but very shy. He is the strategist and is loyal to his best friend Ryuji and Renzo, since they grew up at the same temple that was destroyed. His parents were killed by Satan.
  • Renzo Shima – Carefee, loves to flirt with girls (especially Paku and Izumi) but has a major phobia of insects. He also grew up with Ryuji and Konekomaru. Renzo carries a K’rik staff to fight.
  • Shura Kirigakure – The carefree, hardly wears anything, loves alcohol, upper first class exorcist who was asked by priest Shiro Fujimoto to train Rin and help him become a “Meister”. She can draw a demon sword from her chest and stomach and is an excellent fighter.
  • Shiro Fujimoto – The priest of Southern Cross Monastery who raised both Yukio and Rin as a loving father. He is a Paladin in the True Cross Order and was the strongest exorcist. Was thought to be the only man who could not be possessed by Satan but after an argument with Rin (and Rin saying some hurtful things) which shocked Shiro, it was enough time for Satan to possess Shiro. In order to protect himself from hurting Rin and Yukio, Shiro sacrificed himself.

VIDEO:

“Blue Exorcist the Movie” is presented in 1080p High Definition and I must emphasize how this is one of the most beautiful animated films I have seen in my life.

It’s one thing to watch the anime series but what they did for “Blue Exorcist the Movie” was to create this entire city and add plenty of detail of city landscapes, buildings and what one can expect to see in a metropolitan area and make it look so beautiful.    Character animations are well-detailed, shaded and look fantastic.

And that’s not it, they even went as far as to create detail in the festival which is modeled after Chinese-style festivals and the detail of structures, banners or anything related to the parade is highly detailed.  There is no doubt that A-1 Pictures went all out in creating this expansive world for the animated film.  Animated films are always bigger budget, require much more production time and involve a larger staff but the amount of detail put into “Blue Exorcist the Movie” is magnificent.

I detected no banding, no artifacts or any problematic issues with picture quality.  I was very impressed! This is one of the best looking anime films on Blu-ray for 2013, if not the best I have seen for 2013.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Blue Exorcist” is presented in English and Japanese DTS 5.1.  Also, in Japanese LPCM Stereo.

The dialogue, music and special effects are crystal clear through the front and center channels.  Surround channels are utilized during the more action-intense scenes and there is also good use of LFE during various moments of the film.

The soundtrack for both English and Japanese are the same, with obvious dialogue differences between the two.  But for the most part, both Japanese and English dub are well-acted.  Watching the Japanese straight-through, I was wondering how Cassandra Lee would do as Usamaro as Rie Kugimya was fantastic, but for the English dub, Cassandra Lee did a fantastic job.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Blue Exorcist the Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary 1 – Featuring audio commentary by Nobuhiko Okamoto (voice of Rin), Hidenobu Kikuchi (Voice of Cheng-Long Liu), director Atsushi Takahashi and A-1 Pictures’ Kenichi Hayashi.
  • Audio Commentary 2 – Featuring audio commentary by Jun Fukuyama (voice of Yukio), Rie Kugimiya (voice of Usamaro), director Atsushi Takahashi and Aniplex Inc.’s Takamitsu Inoue.
  • News  – Featuring “Blue Exorcist the Movie” news, 15 and 30 second spots.
  • Trailers  – Featuring “Blue Exorcist the Movie” news, 15, 30 and 100 second spots.
  • Promotional Video – (1:02) Promotional video for “Blue Exorcist the Movie”.
  • CM – Featuring the Japanese action and emotional commercial versions of “Blue Exorcist the Movie”.
  • English Trailer – (1:44) English theatrical trailer for “Blue Exorcist the Movie”.

Disc 2:

  • Exclusive Staff Interview – (32:24) Interview with Atsushi Takashi (Director), Kenichi Hayashi (Animation Producer) and Takamitsu Inoue (Producer).

EXTRAS:

“Blue Exorcist the Movie” comes with the following extras:

  • Deluxe 32-Page Booklet – Featuring illustrations, image board of the festival, picture book illustrations and artwork.
  • Exclusive Postcard Set – Featuring four “Blue Exorcist the Movie” postcards.
  • Deluxe Box – Featuring a deluxe slipcase illustrated by Kazue Kato

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As a fan of the “Blue Exorcist” anime and also manga series, I have been highly anticipating a “Blue Exorcist” film for over a year and now, “Blue Exorcist the Movie” has been released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.

The film was a major surprise because I was expecting better production quality, an action film and many characters from the series.

But what I was surprised was how gorgeous the film looked visually.  This is beyond the quality of what we have seen with the TV series as there is tremendous detail when it comes to the landscape of everything you can think of.  Outdoors overlooking the city, the detail of the festival, outside Rin’s home and also inside his home.

It’s one thing to expected better animation, better shading and better fight scenes but “Blue Exorcist the Movie” goes beyond what most action anime series usually do for the film and I have to say it’s one of the my top 3 picks for best looking animated film on Blu-ray for 2013.  This film is absolutely vibrant, colorful and gorgeous.

Another positive for the film is the voice acting.  Having watched the series in Japanese and then most recently with the English dub with the new Aniplex Blu-ray releases, one thing that I loved about the Japanese version of the film is emotion.  This is an emotional film.  A film that features a wide range of emotions from fear, anger, sadness, happiness and quite often, the English dub doesn’t quite have the same emotional level as its Japanese counterpart.

But having watched this film, the English dub voice actors delivered and in this case, Cassandra Lee was able to do a fantastic job with the character of Usamaro.

And what lent to the efficacy of this film was its original story.

Ryota Yamaguchi was able to craft an original story that manages to incorporate many of the characters from the manga/anime series but also introduce new characters.  But most importantly, the film focuses on relationships, we see the difference between Rin and Yukio, as their approach towards demons are quite different from each other.

The film focuses on his relationship with his friends and of course, his acceptance towards the mischievous demon Usamaro.  Others want the demon to be sealed but Rin is one to see the positive aspect of Usamaro earlier on and him wanting to protect it.  But most importantly, knowing himself to be the son of satan and also as a half human and demon, he also believes there are good demons out there and trying to show others how he feels.  Despite how unpopular it is for an exorcist who’s sole job is to rid of demons.

But overall, the story for this film was well-crafted, not to say that other anime films are not, but typically many anime films based on an action-film are merely non-canon popcorn action films and a storyline that most often, you don’t find yourself coming back to.  In the case of “Blue Exorcist the Movie”, it’s a very good film that I can find myself watching again and again.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is fantastic and the lossless soundtrack is well-done, with crystal clear dialogue, music and special effects.  Surround channels are used and I did hear moments of LFE utilization during the more action-driven scenes as well.

And as always, with Aniplex releases, you are usually used to Aniplex swag and in this case, you get a limited edition Blu-ray box set featuring illustrated art by Kazue Kato (the author of the manga series) with a 32-page booklet, exclusive postcard set, a bonus DVD featuring an exclusive staff interview and two audio commentary tracks and more.

Overall “Blue Exorcist the Movie: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is a magnificent Blu-ray release that fans of the series will love and it’s also one of the most gorgeous anime films on Blu-ray for 2013.

Highly recommended!

Sengoku Basara: The Last Party (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” is an action-packed, samurai fighting storyline that continues where the first two seasons have left off.  For fans of the video game and anime series, “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” is recommended!

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

TITLE: Sengoku Basara: The Last Party

DURATION: 95 Minutes

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

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED 14+

Release Date: November 6, 2012

 

Directed by Kazuya Nomura

Screenplay by Yasuyuki Muto

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Original Character Design by Makoto Tsuchibayashi (CAPCOM)

Character Design by Tooru Ookubo

Art Director: Iho Narita

Chief Animation Director: Tooru Ookubo

Anime Production by Studio I.G.

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kazuya Nakai/Robert McCollum as Date Masamune

Norio Wakamoto/John Swasey as Oda Nobunaga

Souichiro Hoshi/Johnny Yong Bosch as Sanada Yukimura

Mamiko Noto/Laura Bailey as Oichi

Romi Park/Greg Ayres as Uesugi Kenshin

Takehito Koyasu/Michael Sinterniklaas as Sarutobi Sasauke

Tessho Genda/Chris Ayres as Takeda Shingen

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Travis Willingham as Katakura Kojuro

Toyotomi Hideyoshi is defeated, but feudal Japan isn’t safe yet. The fallen villain’s most loyal and lethal minion – Ishida Mitsunari – is obsessed with carrying on Toyotomi’s legacy of violence in the name of vengeance. Ishida brutally cuts a bloody path across the countryside even as the nation’s other warlords rally toward an era of harmony. Unfortunately, for peace to finally be achieved the fires of war must be unleashed once more.

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

In 2005, the first game was released for the Sony Playstation 2 and was released in the U.S. (as “Devil Kings”) but unfortunately, CAPCOM tried to change the whole story of the Sengoku period by trying to connect it to their “Devil May Cry” series in order to attract players but because of the changes and the localization crew feeling they needed to make it more difficult in America, needless to say, it was a failure. People wanted the same game that was in Japan and within the last six years, there have been four video game releases and now CAPCOM has released “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes” for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo Wii in the US in October 2010.

In Japan, two seasons of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” aired. And in 2010, to coincide with this videogame release, FUNimation Entertainment released the first season of the anime series “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” on Blu-ray and DVD (including the first 12 TV episodes + Blu-ray/DVD only 13th episode).

On Feb. 2012, with the release of the second season on Blu-ray and DVD, FUNimation Entertainment will be re-releasing the first season of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” via a Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack.

What is “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” about?

The anime series is produced by Production I.G. and is directed by Itsuro Kawasaki (“Arc the Lad”, “Rental Magica”, “Yumedamaya Kidan”), screenplay by Yasuyuki Muto (“Afro Samurai: Resurrection”, “Basilisk”, “Mobil Suit Gundam UC”), character designs by Tooru Ookubo, art direction by Shunichiro Yoshihara (“Gurren Lagann”, “Cromartie High School”, “Slayers”) and music by Hiroyuki Sawano (“Soul Link”, “Mobil Suit Gundam UC”).

The anime series takes place during the Sengoku Period. Various generals and their warriors are fighting each other. For the Takeda clan led by Lord Takeda Shingen, his young hot-headed warrior Sanada Yukimura has a rivalry with the cocky warlord Date Masamune. Both are hot-headed that they fight against each other but they also value their battles with one another because they are equally matched.

As the two occasionally battle one another, all warring clans are worried about Oda Nobunaga, the devil king. The ruthless king who wants to destroy everything in his path and his followers Akechi Mitsuhide, a sadistic psychopath and the weapons master Nohime (Nobunaga’s wife) intend to carryout his wishes by killing the leaders of the various clans.

The only way to stop Nobunaga is for each of the warring generals to work and team up together in order to stop him. But can these warriors all work together or will their ego and pride get in the way?

In the second season of “Sengoku Basara”, And as the two sides begin to fight again, they are interrupted by the soldiers of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.   Toyotomi wants to unite Japan and make the country stronger but as each warrior supports their own clan and leader, he warns everyone that if they oppose him, they will be face his wrath.

Quickly, clans who try to take on Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his soldiers are quickly met with defeat.  He is too powerful and for Masamune, Shingen and Kenshin, they stand no chance against him.

But as each clan tries to find a way to defeat Hideyoshi, Maeda Kanji who knows Toyotomi very well, tries to get his friends Maeda Toshiie and Matsu to stop Toyotomi’s tirade against the other clans, but he finds out that even his friends have aligned with Toyotomi.

Meanwhile, the other clans begin to visit others with the hope of rival clans joining forces to fight against Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his army.

And now, here we are with the conclusion to “Sengoku Basara” with “The Last Party”.

Ishida Mitsunari, who worked as a minion of Toyotomi Hideyoshi is now carrying a major grudge against Date Masamune for killing his master.  With Tokugawa now choosing a different path for unity, Date Masamune knows that he must prepare for the final battle against Ishida, but unknown to everyone in the land, a new evil force is looming in the land and a former enemy has been resurrected!

VIDEO:

“Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” is presented in 1080p High Definition and like most Production I.G. releases, they always provide excellent artistic backgrounds for their series and the same goes for the film.   Mountains, rocks, trees, skies are very well painted and the animation is also nice and fluid. It’s important to note that this is a film and not a TV series, so characters are better shaded, art backgrounds are better detailed and really good of CG elements in the film.

Colors are absolutely vibrant and bold. Also, very good lighting effects throughout the film. Personally, I expected nothing less from Production I.G., the series definitely looks absolutely awesome on Blu-ray! Also, I detected no banding, artifacting or anything negative about the picture quality for “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party”.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

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

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“SSengoku Basara: The Last Party” contains the following special features:

  • Four Panel Theater: Another Last Party – (7:48) Still panel theater featuring chibi versions of the characters.
  • Making of The Last Party – (49:27) A very cool featurette about the popularity of “Sengoku Basara” and what was involved in the making of “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party”.
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song – Featuring T.M. Revolution’s “FLAGS” and “The Party Must Go On”.
  • Trailer and Commercial Collection – (8:58) The Japanese film and television commercials for “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party”.

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

For “Sengoku Basara”, it’s a popular video game series that has tried to make these warring clans (that happen to live in the same time period) and generals with amazing abilities take on each other.  And with the first two seasons of the anime series and also with this final film, what people enjoy is the humor and the action involved.

With “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party”, the series and the video games have always focused on Masamune Date, Yukimura Sanada, Mitsunari Ishida and Tokogawa Ieyasu and the final film ends with these primary characters as they must join forces in taking on the latest evil to cause chaos in the land.

Like the television series before it, there is a new threat and the four must put away their egos in order to join forces and work for the greater good.   But the question is can they.  With Mitsunari wanting revenge on Masamune for killing Hideyoshi Toyotomi.  And of course, there is Yukimura always wanting to see who is more powerful, he or Masamune and both wanting to get into a duel with each other.  And this time, Tokogawa Ieyasu is the peace keeper trying to achieve unity.

And as much as “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” may seem like the final, I really have a hard time believing that.  This series will continue in video games, as it was recently continuing via live action drama in Japan (“Sengoku Basara: Moonlight Party”) and I’m sure we will see more of these guys in some new anime series, OVA or film in the near future.

As for the Blu-ray release, one of the positive aspects of “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” is that it’s a film, so that means better animation and better detailed backgrounds coming from Production I.G.  Also, no more 2.0 lossless soundtrack in Japanese, this time around both English and Japanese soundtracks are presented in Dolby TrueHD5.1.  And as for special features, I’m quite happy that a making of feature showing the making of the film but also the popularity of the series has been in Japanese pop culture.

For those who have already committed themselves to watching the first two seasons of “Sengoku Basara” will definitely want to watch the film.  I don’t recommend watching the film first, as you want to know the context of the characters, their rivalries and respective clans.  But for those who have no time to watch the TV series, fortunately there is an opening introduction explaining what had taken place from those two seasons before the movie.

Overall, “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” is an action-packed, samurai fighting storyline that continues where the first two seasons have left off.  For fans of the video game and anime series, “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” is recommended!

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – Season Two (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The second season of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” surpasses the first season in story, action, better character integration and for fans of the video game series, a much more enjoyably experience.   So, for anyone who watched the first season of “Sengoku Basara” or for those just wanting a feudal Japan, action-packed, samurai fighting storyline that is “kick-ass” awesome! Definitely give “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – Season Two” a try!

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

TITLE: Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – Season Two

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED 14+

Release Date: February 7, 2012

 

Directed by Kazuya Nomura

Screenplay by Yasuyuki Muto

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Original Character Design by Makoto Tsuchibayashi (CAPCOM)

Character Design by Tooru Ookubo

Art Director: Shunichiro Yoshihara

Chief Animation Director: Tooru Ookubo

Anime Production by Studio I.G.

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kazuya Nakai/Robert McCollum as Date Masamune

Norio Wakamoto/John Swasey as Oda Nobunaga

Souichiro Hoshi/Johnny Yong Bosch as Sanada Yukimura

Akiria Ishida/Chris Casn as Takenaka Hanbei

Keiji Fujiwara as Matsunaga Hisahide

Masakazu Morita/Eric Vale as Maeda Keiji

Ryotaro Okiayu/Christopher R. Sabat as Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Ryuuzou Ishino/Patrick Seitz as Chosokabe Motochika

Shigeru Nakahara/Sam Regal as Mori Motonari

Hiroki Shimowada/Maxey Whitehead as Ranmaru Mori

Kouji Tsujitani/Christopher Bevins as Nagamasa Asai

Mamiko Noto/Laura Bailey as Oichi

Natsuko Kuwatani/Stephanie Sheh as Kasuga

Romi Park/Greg Ayres as Uesugi Kenshin

Sho Hayami/Vic Mignogna as Akechi Mitsuhide

Takehito Koyasu/Michael Sinterniklaas as Sarutobi Sasauke

Tessho Genda/Chris Ayres as Takeda Shingen

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Travis Willingham as Katakura Kojuro

Japan’s toughest warlords are on the move, leading massive armies against their rivals in a thrilling quest for total domination. Wielding insane weaponry and unleashing the elements to boost their already awesome power, these warrior generals roar into the fray atop turbo-charged stallions, slicing through the enemy with six blades at once.

 

They brandish explosive shotguns and swing swords the size of men. They crush the opposition with rolling battle fortresses and incinerate their foes with solar death rays. Hordes of ninja assassins and samurai fight to vanquish every adversary in their sight. As loyalties crumble and new alliances are forged in the scorching heat of battle, heroes become conquerors and conquerors become legends. This is war!

 

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

In 2005, the first game was released for the Sony Playstation 2 and was released in the U.S. (as “Devil Kings”) but unfortunately, CAPCOM tried to change the whole story of the Sengoku period by trying to connect it to their “Devil May Cry” series in order to attract players but because of the changes and the localization crew feeling they needed to make it more difficult in America, needless to say, it was a failure. People wanted the same game that was in Japan and within the last six years, there have been four video game releases and now CAPCOM has released “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes” for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo Wii in the US in October 2010.

In Japan, two seasons of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” aired. And in 2010, to coincide with this videogame release, FUNimation Entertainment released the first season of the anime series “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” on Blu-ray and DVD (including the first 12 TV episodes + Blu-ray/DVD only 13th episode).

On Feb. 2012, with the release of the second season on Blu-ray and DVD, FUNimation Entertainment will be re-releasing the first season of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” via a Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack.

The anime series is produced by Production I.G. and is directed by Itsuro Kawasaki (“Arc the Lad”, “Rental Magica”, “Yumedamaya Kidan”), screenplay by Yasuyuki Muto (“Afro Samurai: Resurrection”, “Basilisk”, “Mobil Suit Gundam UC”), character designs by Tooru Ookubo, art direction by Shunichiro Yoshihara (“Gurren Lagann”, “Cromartie High School”, “Slayers”) and music by Hiroyuki Sawano (“Soul Link”, “Mobil Suit Gundam UC”).

The anime series takes place during the Sengoku Period (several years before the video game storyline). Various generals and their warriors are fighting each other. For the Takeda clan led by Lord Takeda Shingen, his young hot-headed warrior Sanada Yukimura has a rivalry with the cocky one-eyed warlord Date Masamune. Both are hot-headed that they fight against each other but they also value their battles with one another because they are equally matched.

And as the two sides begin to fight again, they are interrupted by the soldiers of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.   Toyotomi wants to unite Japan and make the country stronger but as each warrior supports their own clan and leader, he warns everyone that if they oppose him, they will be face his wrath.

Quickly, clans who try to take on Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his soldiers are quickly met with defeat.  He is too powerful and for Masamune, Shingen and Kenshin, they stand no chance against him.

But as each clan tries to find a way to defeat Hideyoshi, Maeda Kanji who knows Toyotomi very well, tries to get his friends Maeda Toshiie and Matsu to stop Toyotomi’s tirade against the other clans, but he finds out that even his friends have aligned with Toyotomi.

Meanwhile, the other clans begin to visit others with the hope of rival clans joining forces to fight against Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his army.

VIDEO:

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” is presented in 1080p High Definition and like most Production I.G. releases, they always provide excellent artistic backgrounds for their series. Mountains, rocks, trees, skies are very well painted and the animation is also nice and fluid. Colors are absolutely vibrant and bold. Also, very good lighting effects throughout the series.

Personally, I expected nothing less from Production I.G., the series definitely looks absolutely awesome on Blu-ray! Also, I detected no banding, artifacting or anything negative about the picture quality of this anime series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” is presented in lossless English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and lossless Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD.

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

And when it comes to channel utilization, the English dubbed soundtrack is much more livelier because of its lossless 5.1 soundtrack.  Personally, I felt that he Japanese soundtrack was my preference but it is all subjective to the listener and what language they typically prefer.  Regardless, you get a very well done English dub with a better losless soundtrack.  Japanese soundtrack is very good but it’s lossless 2.0 and is a bit low on the scale of dynamic range compared to its 5.1 counterpart.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – Season Two” contains the following special features:

  • Episode 6 Commentary – Featuring a fun commentary by voice director and writer Christopher Bevins and Patrick Seitz (co-writer and voice actor for Chosokabe Motchika).
  • Episode 12 Commentary – Featuring Eric Vale (voice actor of Maeda Keiji), Robert McCallum (voice actor of Date Masamune) and Chris Cason (voice actor for Takenaka Hanbei).
  • New Anime – Sengoku Basara II Katakura-Kun – (26:00) Featuring seven episodes of a mini Katakura.
  • Textless Opening Song – Featuring the opening theme song “Sword Summit” by T.M. Revolution.
  • Textless Closing Song – Featuring the ending themes “El Dorado” and “Ruisen”.
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation Entertainment releases.

EXTRAS:

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – Season Two” comes with both the Blu-ray and DVD versions of the TV series.  Included is a slipcase that will hold both season two and also season one (sold separately).

Quite often, when it comes to anime series, there is always a fictional account of traditional Japanese history and its warlords.

For “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings”, it’s a popular video game series that has tried to make these warring clans (that happen to live in the same time period) and generals with amazing abilities take on each other.

Obviously, watching the anime series is a treat for those who have played the video games and I personally enjoy the video game series and its chaotic gameplay.  But with the first season of the anime series, I have to admit that I was let down a little because I was expecting too much of the video game, but then again, having watched many anime adaptations of video games, may they be “Street Fighter V”, “Tekken”, “Virtua Fighter”, even the “Final Fantasy” anime series, they weren’t necessarily all great.

But by the end of season one, I started to appreciate the storyline a bit more, but still I felt it was lacking excitement.  Too much action, but a slightly weak storyline that probably I enjoyed a bit more because of Production I.G.’s production quality.

But here we are with season two and this time, there is a new threat with the arrival of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a powerful man who just craves even more power, despite abusing it and thinking he is doing the country of Japan any good.  And this is where, the series gets more exciting because the characters we watched in season 1, warring and rival clans now team up for the greater good in hopes of defeating Toyotomi and his army.

And of course, the first confrontation, everyone gets their butt kicked.  How will Yukimura Sanada, Date Masamune and others fight against this new evil warlord.

For those playing the “Sengoku Basara” video game will enjoy how the writers tried to include so many characters from the video game into this anime series.  So, Maeda Keiji, Maeda Toshiie, Matsu to pirate Chosokabe Motochika even Oichi have their part in this anime series.

But most importantly, the storyline doesn’t seem to banal, boring or overly-focused on the action.  There are deep moments as characters like Yukimura Sanada will need to learn how life is outside of his clan,  Katakura Kojuro (bodyguard of Date Masamune) being captured, Maeda Keiji having to deal with his beloved family (Toshiie and Matsu) joining forces with Toyotomi and knowing that he may need to fight them to the death.  There are a few plot twists, darker moments and of course, plenty of humor.  Yes, Yukimura and Oda Nobunaga punching each other out is still a big part of the series, including the screams of passion as Kasuga moans whenever Uesugi Kenshin compliments her.

But for those who watched season one on Blu-ray, I can easily say that this second season is much better when it comes to writing, even animation and art backgrounds look slightly better than the first season.   You also get the DVD versions of the series, so you can compare and see how much vibrant the series is on Blu-ray compared to DVD.

As for special features, you get the chibi comedy anime series “Sengoku Basara II Katakura-Kun”.  Also, it was great to see FUNimation Entertainment included two audio commentaries by those involved with the English dub.

Similar to the first season, picture quality of the Blu-ray is very good and vibrant.  Audio is very good but not as immersive as I would have hoped, but it’s still good.  The lossless 5.1 English dub is better when it comes to dynamic range compared to its 2.0 lossless Japanese counterpart as expected.  But both are well-acted and have to say that the English dub grew on me.

Overall, I felt that “Sengoku Basara: Samura Kings – Season Two” was a major improvement over the first season.  It utilized the characters much better than the first, integrating them into this deeper, action-packed storyline and I do believe that this series was created for those who love the video game, as they tried to include as many characters from the video game as possible.

Its important to note that while it does help to watch the first season or even play the “Sengoku Basara” video game series, it is not essential in order to enjoy this second season.  You can easily jump on aboard the second season and still enjoy the series.

So, for anyone who watched the first season of “Sengoku Basara” or for those just wanting a feudal Japan, action-packed, samurai fighting storyline that is “kick-ass” awesome! Definitely give “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – Season Two” a try!

 

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – Season One (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Plenty of action, characters galore…for those who loved the “Sengoku Basara” video games will definitely enjoy this action-driven storyline of warring clans!

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

TITLE: Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – Season One

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED 14+

Release Date: February 7, 2012

 

Directed by Itsuro Kawasaki

Screenplay by Yasuyuki Muto

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Original Character Design by Makoto Tsuchibayashi (CAPCOM)

Character Design by Tooru Ookubo

Art Director: Shunichiro Yoshihara

Chief Animation Director: Tooru Ookubo

Anime Production by Studio I.G.

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kazuya Nakai/Robert McCollum as Date Masamune

Norio Wakamoto/John Swasey as Oda Nobunaga

Souichiro Hoshi/Johnny Yong Bosch as Sanada Yukimura

Hiroki Shimowada/Maxey Whitehead as Ranmaru Mori

Kouji Tsujitani/Christopher Bevins as Nagamasa Asai

Mamiko Noto/Laura Bailey as Oichi

Natsuko Kuwatani/Stephanie Sheh as Kasuga

Romi Park/Greg Ayres as Uesugi Kenshin

Sho Hayami/Vic Mignogna as Akechi Mitsuhide

Takehito Koyasu/Michael Sinterniklaas as Sarutobi Sasauke

Tessho Genda/Chris Ayres as Takeda Shingen

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Travis Willingham as Katakura Kojuro

Sengoku Basara drops you directly into the burning battlefields of feudal Japan, where rival warlords hack and slash their way to total domination. Each conqueror wields a special attack that boosts their powers of devastation, and each commands a horde of relentless warriors. But when a supreme evil – the Demon Lord – threatens the land, these fierce generals launch a co-op campaign of annihilation and build an army of armies to obliterate their common foe.

As the front line grows crowded with gun-toting, mechanized samurai and mystical ninja, some will say that war is hell – but Sengoku Basara proves it can also be kick ass.

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

In 2005, the first game was released for the Sony Playstation 2 and was released in the U.S. (as “Devil Kings”) but unfortunately, CAPCOM tried to change the whole story of the Sengoku period by trying to connect it to their “Devil May Cry” series in order to attract players but because of the changes and the localization crew feeling they needed to make it more difficult in America, needless to say, it was a failure. People wanted the same game that was in Japan and within the last six years, there have been four video game releases and now CAPCOM has released “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes” for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo Wii in the US in October 2010.

In Japan, two seasons of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” aired.  And in 2010, to coincide with this videogame release, FUNimation Entertainment released the first season of the anime series “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” on Blu-ray and DVD (including the first 12 TV episodes + Blu-ray/DVD only 13th episode).

On Feb. 2012, with the release of the second season on Blu-ray and DVD, FUNimation Entertainment will be re-releasing the first season of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” via a Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack.

The anime series is produced by Production I.G. and is directed by Itsuro Kawasaki (“Arc the Lad”, “Rental Magica”, “Yumedamaya Kidan”), screenplay by Yasuyuki Muto (“Afro Samurai: Resurrection”, “Basilisk”, “Mobil Suit Gundam UC”), character designs by Tooru Ookubo, art direction by Shunichiro Yoshihara (“Gurren Lagann”, “Cromartie High School”, “Slayers”) and music by Hiroyuki Sawano (“Soul Link”, “Mobil Suit Gundam UC”).

The anime series takes place during the Sengoku Period. Various generals and their warriors are fighting each other. For the Takeda clan led by Lord Takeda Shingen, his young hot-headed warrior Sanada Yukimura has a rivalry with the cocky warlord Date Masamune. Both are hot-headed that they fight against each other but they also value their battles with one another because they are equally matched.

As the two occasionally battle one another, all warring clans are worried about Oda Nobunaga, the devil king. The ruthless king who wants to destroy everything in his path and his followers Akechi Mitsuhide, a sadistic psychopath and the weapons master Nohime (Nobunaga’s wife) intend to carryout his wishes by killing the leaders of the various clans.

The only way to stop Nobunaga is for each of the warring generals to work and team up together in order to stop him. But can these warriors all work together or will their ego and pride get in the way?

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – The Complete 1st Season” features 13 episodes on two Blu-ray discs. Here is a brief summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – “Azure and Crimson, A Fateful Encounter!” – Takeda Shingen plans to attack his rival Uesugi Kenshin. Meanwhile, the “One-Eyed Dragon” Date Masamune wants to go after Kenshin but Takeda sends his young warrior Yukimura to go after Masamune.
  • EPISODE 2 – “Horrific! Confrontation at Okehazama!” – Sanada Yukimura vs. Date Masamune.
  • EPISODE 3 – “Vagabond, Maeda Keiji!” – Maeda Keiji wants to build an alliance with the generals to defeat the demon king, Oda Nobunaga.
  • EPISODE 4 – “Waverling Scarlet Flower – Loyalty that Brings Sorrow!” – Azai Nagamasa knows his brother-in-law Oda Nobunaga is a tyrant and wants to stop him from going to war with Akasaka. But Oda uses his sister as a bargaining chip for Nagamasa to fight alongside with him.
  • EPISODE 5 – “Brutal! The Righteous Battle of Nagashino and Shitaragahara! – With the new alliance by the Takeda, Date and Uesegi clan, they try to recruit Tokugawa Ieasu but Tokugawa believes in his alliance with Nobunaga Meanwhile, Nagamasa is betrayed.
  • EPISODE 6 – Bonds Torn Asunder – Mortifying Retreat for Masamune! – Ieyasu discovers the true nature of Nobunaga, meanwhile Date is critically injured.
  • EPISODE 7 – Marauding Villain! Two Dragons Duel in Earnest Under the Moon! – Date Masamune is recovering from his near-death injuries but his men have been kidnapped by Matsunaga Hisahide who wants Masamune’s six swords and his armor. Date’s right eye protector Kojuro goes to rescue the three men with help from Sanada Yukimura.
  • EPISODE 8 – Great Temple of Carnage! Kojuro in Dire Straits! –Kojuro vs. Matsunaga Hisahide.
  • EPISODE 9 – The Tiger of Kai Dies at Midaigawa! – A thunderstorm threatens to flood Takeda Shingen’s village and others try to help him. But unbeknown to Takeda, the psychopath Akechi Mitsuhide is preparing to kill him.
  • EPISODE 10 – Yukimura Beyond Recovery?! The Date Army’s Tearful Disbandment! – With Takeda Shingen nearly killed, Date Masamune wants to take on Oda Nobunaga alone. Will Yukimura join him or stay by the side of his lord.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 11 – Mitsuhide’s Betrayal! Jonnoji Temple Goes Up in Flames! – The psychopath Akechi Mitsuhide reveals his true intention.
  • EPISODE 12 – Azuchi Castle Keep – A Fight to the Death for Tomorrow! – Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune vs. Oda Nobunaga. Kojuro vs. Mitsuhide.
  • EPISODE 13 – Clash in the Inland Sea of Seto! Fugaku, the Great Fire-Belching Fortress of the Sea! – Maeda Keiji tries to use his wit to unite other generals.

VIDEO:

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” is presented in 1080p High Definition and like most Production I.G. releases, they always provide excellent artistic backgrounds for their series. Mountains, rocks, trees, skies are very well painted and the animation is also nice and fluid. Colors are absolutely vibrant and bold. Also, very good lighting effects throughout the series. Personally, I expected nothing less from Production I.G., the series definitely looks absolutely awesome on Blu-ray! Also, I detected no banding, artifacting or anything negative about the picture quality of this anime series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” is presented in lossless English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and lossless Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD.

Personally, I enjoyed the Japanese soundtrack because the generals sound much more menacing while I felt the English dub, as good as it is, sometimes I feel certain voice talent are overly used and they sound the same for no matter what characters they play. I enjoy Johnny Yong Bosch’s acting work when it comes to “Bleach” but his Yukimura (Sengoku Basara) sounds like an annoying version of Ichigo (Bleach). Also, I had to increase my center channel volume a bit more as well. But of course, when it comes to channel utilization, the English dubbed soundtrack is much more livelier because of its lossless 5.1 soundtrack.

Personally, I feel the Japanese soundtrack was my preference but it is all subjective to the listener and what language they typically prefer.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – The Complete 1st Season” contains the following special features:

  • New Anime – Sengoku Basara Chosokabe Motochika-Kun and Mori-Kun – (43:02) Featuring seven episodes about two commanders who are not so happy that they don’t have a much bigger spot on the anime series. It’s important to note that the Blu-ray release has seven of these episodes while the DVD release has only three.
  • Textless Opening Song – Featuring the opening theme song “Jap” by Abingdon Boys School.
  • Textless Closing Song – Featuring the ending theme “Break&Peace” by Dustz.
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation Entertainment releases.

I have to admit that I am quite biased towards “Sengoku Basara” because I am a fan of those type of video games and for me, it was quite interesting to see how the characters were integrated into the anime series and for the most part, they captured the action one hundred bodies flying all over the place type of mayhem which “Sengoku Basara” is known for.

But putting myself in the shoe for those who have never played the video game, I believe that one who watched it all the way through can appreciate it. But at the same time, I think that there are people who will watch the first few episodes and get confused by the many characters featured in the series and wondering how everyone fits in. Especially if they are not familiar with Japanese history and the “Sengoku Period”, one of the bloodies moments of Japanese history as various generals tried to conquer each other’s states for control of Japan. It’s also important to know that the creators of the series took liberties on Japanese history and included some wacky situations such as Date Masamune (who represents the element “lightning”) rides with a rag tag group of warriors that remind you of biker gangs with their hairstyle and their uncouth dialogue. In fact, Date tends to speak English at times.

Then the ninjas, as quick as they are, they are also quite interesting to watch as the female ninja Kasuga wears barely anything and she serves Uesugi Kenshin (who represents blue) and each time she is treated so nicely by him, she reacts with an unusual orgasmic reaction. Another character that is quite interesting to see is the huge giant robot samurai named Honda Tadakatsu (who represents lightning) and serves the young general Tokugawa Ieyasu. Tadakatsu has jet engines that make him fly and futuristic weaponry which makes him out of place with the other characters but I suppose in the context of the video game, it does work.

But possibly the most notable are Lord Takeda Shingen and Sanada Yukimura who represent “fire”. Yukimura is the young warlord trying to live up to Lord Shingen but sometimes he ends up questioning his Lord and ends up being pummeled. But somehow, the two get into this moment where they start yelling each other’s name very loudly, which is quite embarrassing but yet interesting to see.

So, each of these generals and warlords have a supernatural type of element that they use in battle. Yes, it’s crazy but this is what makes this series work is because the video game is so unbelievably wacky and cool, the anime pays homage to that. And some people may find it too ridiculous but others who are familiar with the game can just enjoy and see how much of those antics in the video game will make it into the anime series.

It’s important to note that there are differences with the video game and the anime series.  Mainly with the character of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who is much younger and very different from his video game counterpart.

As for the Blu-ray release of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings”, the good news is that the picture quality is quite vibrant and looks very good on Blu-ray, audio I found it to be much more clearer and more balanced through the Japanese soundtrack but the English soundtrack is fine as well (despite having to increase the center channel volume). And also, you do get the mini-anime episode bonus features as well.

Overall, “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” is an enjoyable anime series but it was more enjoyable for me because I enjoyed the video game and I enjoy those type of games. For me, I enjoyed how the series pays homage to the video games but at the same time, those not familiar with the video games may find “Sengoku Basara” to be much more action eye-candy than a samurai TV series that is plot driven ala “Basilisk” or “Samurai Seven”.

Also, just a reminder to those who purchased the 2010 Blu-ray version of the first season, this is the same release (despite the different cover art to match the second season’s cover art), so you don’t have to buy it again.  All you need is the second season.

With that being said, I’m quite sure the video game fans of the series will pick this Blu-ray up… but if you aren’t familiar with the series and are looking for an action-packed, feudal Japan with warring clans with characters with amazing special abilities, and yet a good amount of humor… then you will enjoy this anime TV series on Blu-ray. Definitely give “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” a try!

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – The Complete 1st Season (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

For fans of the “Sengoku Basara” video game series,  you can definitely find enjoyment of seeing the characters in animated format.  But for those not familiar with the video game series, may not understand the craziness of the popular action video game of bodies flying everywhere and the various generals and their attitudes towards each other presented in the anime series.  But still “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” still has a enough crazy samurai and ninja action to keep action anime fans interested!

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

TITLE: Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – The Complete 1st Season

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED 14+

Release Date: October 12, 2010

 

Directed by Itsuro Kawasaki

Screenplay by Yasuyuki Muto

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Original Character Design by Makoto Tsuchibayashi (CAPCOM)

Character Design by Tooru Ookubo

Art Director: Shunichiro Yoshihara

Chief Animation Director: Tooru Ookubo

Anime Production by Studio I.G.

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kazuya Nakai/Robert McCollum as Date Masamune

Norio Wakamoto/John Swasey as Oda Nobunaga

Souichiro Hoshi/Johnny Yong Bosch as Sanada Yukimura

Hiroki Shimowada/Maxey Whitehead as Ranmaru Mori

Kouji Tsujitani/Christopher Bevins as Nagamasa Asai

Mamiko Noto/Laura Bailey as Oichi

Natsuko Kuwatani/Stephanie Sheh as Kasuga

Romi Park/Greg Ayres as Uesugi Kenshin

Sho Hayami/Vic Mignogna as Akechi Mitsuhide

Takehito Koyasu/Michael Sinterniklaas as Sarutobi Sasauke

Tessho Genda/Chris Ayres as Takeda Shingen

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Travis Willingham as Katakura Kojuro

Sengoku Basara drops you directly into the burning battlefields of feudal Japan, where rival warlords hack and slash their way to total domination. Each conqueror wields a special attack that boosts their powers of devastation, and each commands a horde of relentless warriors. But when a supreme evil – the Demon Lord – threatens the land, these fierce generals launch a co-op campaign of annihilation and build an army of armies to obliterate their common foe.

As the front line grows crowded with gun-toting, mechanized samurai and mystical ninja, some will say that war is hell – but Sengoku Basara proves it can also be kick ass.

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

In 2005, the first game was released for the Sony Playstation 2 and was released in the U.S. (as “Devil Kings”) but unfortunately, CAPCOM tried to  change the whole story of the Sengoku period by trying to connect it to their “Devil May Cry” series in order to attract players but because of the changes and the localization crew feeling they needed to make it more difficult in America, needless to say, it was a failure.  People wanted the same game that was in Japan and within the last six years, there have been four video game releases and now CAPCOM has released “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes” for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo Wii in the US in October 2010.

To coincide with this videogame release, FUNimation Entertainment will be releasing the anime series “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” on Blu-ray and DVD (including the first 12 TV episodes + Blu-ray/DVD only 13th episode).

The anime series is produced by Production I.G. and is directed by Itsuro Kawasaki (“Arc the Lad”, “Rental Magica”, “Yumedamaya Kidan”), screenplay by Yasuyuki Muto (“Afro Samurai: Resurrection”, “Basilisk”, “Mobil Suit Gundam UC”), character designs by Tooru Ookubo, art direction by Shunichiro Yoshihara (“Gurren Lagann”, “Cromartie High School”, “Slayers”) and music by Hiroyuki Sawano (“Soul Link”, “Mobil Suit Gundam UC”).

The anime series takes place during the Sengoku Period.  Various generals and their warriors are fighting each other.  For the Takeda clan led by Lord Takeda Shingen, his young hot-headed warrior Sanada Yukimura has a rivalry with the cocky warlord Date Masamune.  Both are hot-headed that they fight against each other but they also value their battles with one another because they are equally matched.

As the two occasionally battle one another, all warring clans are worried about Oda Nobunaga, the devil king.  The ruthless king who wants to destroy everything in his path and his followers Akechi Mitsuhide, a sadistic psychopath and the weapons master Nohime (Nobunaga’s wife) intend to carryout his wishes by killing the leaders of the various clans.

The only way to stop Nobunaga is for each of the warring generals to work and team up together in order to stop him.  But can these warriors all work together or will their ego and pride get in the way?

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings  – The Complete 1st Season” features 13 episodes on two Blu-ray discs.  Here is a brief summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – “Azure and Crimson, A Fateful Encounter!” – Takeda Shingen plans to attack his rival Uesugi Kenshin.  Meanwhile, the “One-Eyed Dragon” Date Masamune wants to go after Kenshin but Takeda sends his young warrior Yukimura to go after Masamune.
  • EPISODE 2 – “Horrific! Confrontation at Okehazama!” – Sanada Yukimura vs. Date Masamune.
  • EPISODE 3 – “Vagabond, Maeda Keiji!” – Maeda Keiji wants to build an alliance with the generals to defeat the demon king, Oda Nobunaga.
  • EPISODE 4 – “Waverling Scarlet Flower – Loyalty that Brings Sorrow!” – Azai Nagamasa knows his brother-in-law Oda Nobunaga is a tyrant and wants to stop him from going to war with Akasaka.  But Oda uses his sister as a bargaining chip for Nagamasa to fight alongside with him.
  • EPISODE 5 – “Brutal! The Righteous Battle of Nagashino and Shitaragahara! – With the new alliance by the Takeda, Date and Uesegi clan, they try to recruit Tokugawa Ieasu but Tokugawa believes in his alliance with Nobunaga  Meanwhile, Nagamasa is betrayed.
  • EPISODE 6 – Bonds Torn Asunder – Mortifying Retreat for Masamune! – Ieyasu discovers the true nature of Nobunaga, meanwhile Date is critically injured.
  • EPISODE 7 – Marauding Villain! Two Dragons Duel in Earnest Under the Moon! – Date Masamune is recovering from his near-death injuries but his men have been kidnapped by Matsunaga Hisahide who wants Masamune’s six swords and his armor.  Date’s right eye protector Kojuro goes to rescue the three men with help from Sanada Yukimura.
  • EPISODE 8 – Great Temple of Carnage! Kojuro in Dire Straits! –Kojuro vs. Matsunaga Hisahide.
  • EPISODE 9 – The Tiger of Kai Dies at Midaigawa! – A thunderstorm threatens to flood Takeda Shingen’s village and others try to help him.  But unbeknown to Takeda, the psychopath Akechi Mitsuhide is preparing to kill him.
  • EPISODE 10 – Yukimura Beyond Recovery?! The Date Army’s Tearful Disbandment! – With Takeda Shingen nearly killed, Date Masamune wants to take on Oda Nobunaga alone.  Will Yukimura join him or stay by the side of his lord.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 11 – Mitsuhide’s Betrayal! Jonnoji Temple Goes Up in Flames! – The psychopath Akechi Mitsuhide reveals his true intention.
  • EPISODE 12 – Azuchi Castle Keep – A Fight to the Death for Tomorrow! – Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune vs. Oda Nobunaga.  Kojuro vs. Mitsuhide.
  • EPISODE 13 – Clash in the Inland Sea of Seto! Fugaku, the Great Fire-Belching Fortress of the Sea! – Maeda Keiji tries to use his wit to unite other generals.

VIDEO:

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” is presented in 1080p High Definition and like most Production I.G. releases, they always provide excellent artistic backgrounds for their series.  Mountains, rocks, trees, skies are very well painted and the animation is also nice and fluid.  Colors are absolutely vibrant and bold.  Also, very good lighting effects throughout the series. Personally, I expected nothing less from Production I.G., the series definitely looks absolutely awesome on Blu-ray!  Also, I detected no banding, artifacting or anything negative about the picture quality of this anime series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” is presented in lossless English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and lossless Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD.

Personally, I enjoyed the Japanese soundtrack because the generals sound much more menacing while I felt the English dub, as good as it is, sometimes I feel certain voice talent are overly used and they sound the same for no matter what characters they play.  I enjoy Johnny Yong Bosch’s acting work when it comes to “Bleach” but his Yukimura (Sengoku Basara) sounds like an annoying version of Ichigo (Bleach).  Also, I had to increase my center channel volume a bit more as well.  But of course, when it comes to channel utilization, the English dubbed soundtrack is much more livelier because of its lossless 5.1 soundtrack.

Personally, I feel the Japanese soundtrack was my preference but it is all subjective to the listener and what language they typically prefer.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – The Complete 1st Season” contains the following special features:

  • New Anime – Sengoku Basara Chosokabe Motochika-Kun and Mori-Kun – (43:02) Featuring seven episodes about two commanders who are not so happy that they don’t have a much bigger spot on the anime series.  It’s important to note that the Blu-ray release has seven of these episodes while the DVD release has only three.
  • Textless Opening Song – Featuring the opening theme song “Jap” by Abingdon Boys School.
  • Textless Closing Song – Featuring the ending theme “Break&Peace” by Dustz.
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation Entertainment releases.

I have to admit that I am quite biased towards “Sengoku Basara” because I am a fan of those type of video games and for me, it was quite interesting to see how the characters were integrated into the anime series and for the most part, they captured the action one hundred bodies flying all over the place type of mayhem which “Sengoku Basara” is known for.

But putting myself in the shoe for those who have never played the video game, I believe that one who watched it all the way through can appreciate it.  But at the same time, I think that there are people who will watch the first few episodes and get confused by the many characters featured in the series and wondering how everyone fits in.  Especially if they are not familiar with Japanese history and the “Sengoku Period”, one of the bloodies moments of Japanese history as various generals tried to conquer each other’s states for control of Japan.  It’s also important to know that the creators of the series took liberties on Japanese history and included some wacky situations such as Date Masamune (who represents the element “lightning”) rides with a rag tag group of warriors that remind you of biker gangs with their hairstyle and their uncouth dialogue.  In fact, Date tends to speak English at times.

Then the ninjas, as quick as they are, they are also quite interesting to watch as the female ninja Kasuga wears barely anything and she serves Uesugi Kenshin (who represents blue) and each time she is treated so nicely by him, she reacts with an unusual orgasmic reaction. Another character that is quite interesting to see is the huge giant robot samurai named Honda Tadakatsu (who represents lightning) and serves the young general Tokugawa Ieyasu. Tadakatsu has jet engines that make him fly and futuristic weaponry which makes him out of place with the other characters but I suppose in the context of the video game, it does work.

But possibly the most notable are Lord Takeda Shingen and Sanada Yukimura who represent “fire”.  Yukimura is the young warlord trying to live up to Lord Shingen but sometimes he ends up questioning his Lord and ends up being pummeled.  But somehow, the two get into this moment where they start yelling each other’s name very loudly, which is quite embarrassing but yet interesting to see.

So, each of these generals and warlords have a supernatural type of element that they use in battle.  Yes, it’s crazy but this is what makes this series work is because the video game is so unbelievably wacky and cool, the anime pays homage to that.  And some people may find it too ridiculous but others who are familiar with the game can just enjoy and see how much of those antics in the video game will make it into the anime series.

As for the Blu-ray release of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings”, the good news is that the picture quality is quite vibrant and looks very good on Blu-ray, audio I found it to be much more clearer and more balanced through the Japanese soundtrack but the English soundtrack is fine as well (despite having to increase the center channel volume).  And also, you do get the mini-anime episode bonus features as well.

Overall, “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” is an enjoyable anime series but it was more enjoyable for me because I enjoyed the video game and I enjoy those type of games.  For me, I enjoyed how the series pays homage to the video games but at the same time, those not familiar with the video games may find “Sengoku Basara” to be much more action eye-candy than a samurai TV series that is plot driven ala “Basilisk” or “Samurai Seven”.

With that being said, I’m quite sure the video game fans of the series will pick this Blu-ray up… but if you aren’t familiar with the series and are looking for an action-packed, yet humorous anime TV series on Blu-ray, definitely give “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” a try!

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