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

March 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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

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


TITLE: Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: December 27, 2016


Directed by Takashi Sano

Series Composition by Natsuko Takahashi

Character Design by Michinori Chiba

Art Director: Daisuke Jinba

Chief Animation Director: Toshimitsu Kobayashi, Yumenosuke Tokuda

Anime Production by Telecom Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kazuya Nakai/Robert McCollum as Date Masamune

Souichiro Hoshi/Johnny Yong Bosch as Sanada Yukimura

Tomokazu Seki/Matthew Mercer as Ishida Mitsunari

Toru Ohkawa/Liam O’Brien as Tokugawa Ieyasu

Ami Koshimizu/Kat Steel as Tsuruhime

Fumihiko Tachiki/Mark Stoddard as Ohtani Yoshitsugu

Jun Fukuyama/Tony Oliver as Kobayakawa Hideaki

Kenichi Ogata/R. Bruce Elliott as Shimazu Yoshihiro

Mamiko Noto/Laura Bailey as Oichi

Masakazu Morita/Eric Vale as Maeda Keiji

Natsuko Kuwatani/Stephanie Sheh as Kasuga

Noriaki Sugiyama/Brittney Karbowski as Otomo Sourin

Rikiya Koyama/Richard Epcar as Kuroda Kanbee

Romi Park/Greg Ayres as Uesugi Kenshin

Takehito Koyasu/Michael Sinterniklaas as Sarutobi Sasauke

Tessho Genda/Chris Ayres as Takeda Shingen

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Travis Willingham as Katakura Kojuro


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VIDEO:

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

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

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

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

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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

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


TITLE: Eureka Seven: The Complete Series

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2016

DURATION: (Episodes 1-50) 1250 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Funimation

RATING: TV 14

Release Date: August 30, 2016


Series Director: Tomoki Kyoda

Series Composition by Dai Sato

Music by Naoki Sato

Character Design by Kenichi Yoshida

Art Director: Atsushi Morikawa, Kazuo Nagai

Chief Animation Director: Kenichi Yoshida

Anime Production: BONES


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kaori Nazuka/Stephanie Sheh as Eureka

Keiji Fujiwara/Crispin Freeman as Holland

Michiko Neya/Kate Higgins as Talho Yuki

Yuko Sanpei/Johnny Yong Bosch as Renton Thurston

Akio Nakamura/Kirk Thornton as Matthieu

Ami Koshimizu/Kari Wahlgren as Anemone

Aya Hisakawa/Melissa Fahn as Ray

Eriko Kigawa/Peggy O’Neal as Maeter

Fumie Mizusawa/Jessica Straus as Gidget/Linck

Juurouta Kosugi/Patrick Seitz as Charles Beams

Kouji Tsujitani/Kim Strauss as Dewey Novac

Mamoru Miyano/Steve Staley as Moondoggie

Mayumi Asano/Megan Hollingshead as Hilda

Michiko Neya/Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Maurice

Rikiya Koyama/Jamieson K. Price as Norb

Shigenori Yamazaki/Peter Doyle as Dominic Sorel

Tamio Ohki/Kyle Hebert as Ken-Goh

Tarô Yamaguchi/Tony Oliver as Hap

Yasunori Matsumoto/Doug Stone as Stoner


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The main characters of the series are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VIDEO:

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

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

NOTE: Japanese audio commentary comes with English subtitles

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

EXTRAS:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sailor Moon R: Season 2 – Set One (A J!-ENT Anime on DVD Review)

November 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

sailormoon-r

For those who are new to the “Sailor Moon R” animated series and never owned the DVD releases before, then I can easily recommend “Sailor Moon R” (moreso for the Blu-ray version than the DVD release for the better picture and audio quality). A classic anime series that continues the sailor soldiers battle against evil and a new person that comes into Usagi’s life, definitely give “Sailor Moon R: Season Two – Set One” a chance!

Image courtesy of © Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation Film. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Sailor Moon R: Season 2 – Set One

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 1992

DURATION: (Episodes 47-68) 530 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English subtitles

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: July 14, 2015


Originally created by Naoko Takeuchi

Director: Junichi Sato, Kunihiko Ikuhara

Script by Katsuyuki Sumisawa, Megumi Sugihara, Shigeru Yanagawa, Sukehiro Tomita

Storyboard by Junichi Sato

Music by Kazuo Satou, Takanori Arisawa, Tetsuya Komoro

Character Design by Kazuko Tadano

Art Director: Junichi Tanijuchi

Art Design by Tadao Kubota, Takamura Mukuo

Produced by Iriya Azuma, Kenji Oota, Munehisa Higuchi


Voiced by:

Aya Hisakawa/Kate Higgins as Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury

Emi Shinohara/Amanda C. Miller as Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter

Kotono Mitsuishi/Stephanie Sheh as Princess Serenity/Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon

Michie Tomizawa/Cristina Vee as Rei Hino/Sailor Mars

Rica Fukami/Cherami Leigh as Minako Aino/Sailor Venus

Keiko Han/Michelle Ruff as Luna

Mika Doi as Queen Serenity

Tohru Furuya/Robbie Daymond as Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Kamen/Prince Endymion

Yasuhiro Takato/Johnny Yong Bosch as Artemis


After their epic battle, the Sailor Guardians are called back to action when some new and a powerful enemies appear! Ail and An are alien siblings bound to the mysterious energy-devouring Makai Tree. And the Black Moon Clan, led by Prince Demande, has the power to destroy all of future Crystal Tokyo! Things get complicated when a mysterious pink-haired girl falls from the sky, demands the Legendary Silver Crystal, and claims Mamoru for her own! Could there also be a new Sailor Guardian?


The second season of “Sailor Moon” has arrived on Blu-ray (and DVD) and is titled “Sailor Moon R”.

After the battle with the Dark Kingdom, Usagi and the Sailor Soldiers are back to their normal selves with no recollection of each other and memories forgotten.  But when a new evil appears in the form of Ail and Ann, Usagi and her friends must come together once again to face off against the new evil that has come to fight them.

Meanwhile, what happens when Usagi confront the Moonlight Knight?  And also, who is this small girl with bright pink that has fallen from the sky and has moved into the home of Usagi?

Find out in “Sailor Moon R: Season 2 – Set One” now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

What is “Sailor Moon”?

Considered as one of the most successful anime franchise in Japan, “Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon” was a manga and anime series that captivated fans worldwide.

Created by mangaka Naoko Takeuchi, the manga was serialized in Nakayoshi from 1991-1997, received 18 tankobon volumes and ran for 200 episodes on TV Asahi from 1992-1997.  Even receiving an English dubbed adaptation during the mid-90s.

The series would spawn three animated films, musicals, video games, toys, clothing and more!  And to this day, the popularity of “Sailor Moon” continues with a new generation of fans.

With a new series titled “Sailor Moon Crystal” released in Japan and licensed for streaming in the USA by Viz Media on Hulu and Neon Alley in 2014, to make sure voice acting is consistent in the new series, the original series was redubbed in English by the current cast.

And to help promote the new series, Viz Media has released the original first 23 episodes of season one on Blu-ray!

The series revolves around  a Juban Middle School teenager named Usagi Tsukino.  A girl who is not too smart, often seen crying and loves eating.  One day, she encounters a black cat with a crescent-shaped symbol on its forehead.  Meanwhile, there is talk around town of a masked vigilante named Sailor V stopping criminals and becoming popular thanks to the media exposure.

But one day, as she comes into contact with the black cat, the cat begins to talk and introduce herself as Luna.  Luna gives Usagi a brooch which allows her to transform into Sailor Moon, whenever she is in danger.

And as Usagi starts to meet other Sailor Soldiers such as the studious and intelligent Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), the Shinto priestess Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), the strong and tall Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter) and the singer Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) along with the mysterious Tuxedo Mask, together they fight any evil that comes their way.

In the second season titled “Sailor Moon R”, a new evil has come to shake things up with the Sailor Soldiers.  Meanwhile, who is the mysterious young girl with pink hair that has fallen from the sky?


The main characters of “Sailor Moon R: Season Two – Set One″ are:

  • Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino – The main protagonist. A teenager attending Juban Middle School who is clumsy, not-too-smart, often crying and often hungry.  But she is a person that has a lot of love, compassion and understanding towards people and animals.  She can transform into Sailor Moon, a soldier of love and justice.
  • Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru Chiba – A student at Usagi’s school, he often teases her and drives her mad.  He is a mysterious persona known as Tuxedo Mask and often aids Sailor Moon and the other Sailor senshi.
  • Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno –Very intelligent and always studying.  Ami can transform into Sailor Mercury, Soldier of Water and Wisdom.  Appears in episode 8.
  • Sailor Mars/Rei Hino – Rei is a miko (shrine maiden) and works as a Shinto priestess.  She has the power of precognition and uses Shinto scrolls to nullify evil.  Sailor Moon is the Soldier of Fire and Passion.  She is often arguing with Usagi.  Appears in episode 10.
  • Sailor Venus/Minako Aino – A Sailor Soldier known as Sailor V.  She dreams of becoming a famous singer and idol.  Similar to Usagi who has Luna, Minako has a white cat named Artemis.
  • Luna – A black cat in Earth form and companion to Usagi. A former advisor and servant to Queen Serenity, she was sent to Earth to look after the Sailor Soldiers.  She is often giving Usagi advice.
  • Artemis – A white cat in Earth form and companion to Minako.  He cares deeply for Luna.
  • Chibiusa – The future daughter of Neo-Queen Serenity and King Endymion in the 30th century.

 


VIDEO & AUDIO

It’s important to note that if you want better picture quality, you will definitely want to watch this series on Blu-ray for better picture quality.

As for the DVD release, “Sailor Moon” is presented in its original size ratio of 4:3 standard definition.  It’s important to note that “Sailor Moon” did not receive the same expensive remastering and restoration as “Ranma 1/2” or “Dragon Ball Z”. So, the series does show its age, moreso on DVD.

With that being said, I watched this series when it first came out in Japan and was distributed via Japanese rental video stores via the VHS years and watched the series when it was presented in bad quality video back then and now want to watching the series again, while the series does exhibit its age and wear, it’s probably the best that this series will look.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

There are no special features that came with “Sailor Moon R: Season 2 – Set One”.

EXTRAS:

“Sailor Moon R: Season 2 – Set One” comes with a slipcover.


During my college years, I was a fan of the “Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon” series.  I watched the original series in Japanese at the time and along with “Dragon Ball Z” and “Dragon Ball GT”, it was one of the few anime series I was watching from Japan during a time when Japanese video rental stores were everywhere in California.

Watching these episodes in not the greatest quality, may it be in Japanese or English fan subtitled, it didn’t matter as I was able to watch the popular hit anime series in America (as a release of the series on video seemed as it was never going to happen in the early ’90s).

I purchased the anime soundtrack to “Sailor Moon R” at the time.  Attended the very early anime conventions in America, in which you would see your few Sailor Moon cosplayers during the early ’90s and I can easily remember playing the “Sailor Moon S” fighting game on the 3DO with a few people who have gone on to be big names in the anime industry and then purchasing “Sailor Moon Super S” for nearly a hundred bucks on PlayStation.

And of course, remembering the U.S. English dub release of “Sailor Moon”.  Reading the Sailor Moon manga series from the old Mixx Zine years and purchasing the Japanese soundtracks of “Sailor Moon”.

So, in some ways, I can easily say that watching “Sailor Moon” was part of young life and possibly my first foray into watching an anime series that featured a cast primarily of strong female characters.

While “Sailor Moon S” will always be my favorite series of all “Sailor Moon” series for its more darker tone, I did enjoy the first season for its lighthearted humor and like all character-building seasons and with the release of “Sailor Moon R” from Viz Media on Blu-ray and DVD, I can say that I enjoyed the series primarily as it focuses on the mysterious girl from the future, Chibiusa.

While I don’t want to get too technical with the series until the second set for “Sailor  Moon R” is released, because I don’t wan to spoil anyone who hasn’t watched the series just yet.  But it’s an interesting take on time trial and how Chibiusa handles herself around Usagi and Mamoru.

With that being said, the series retains its consistency with the first season as the Sailor Soldiers take on various forms of evil in each episode.  The humor and style of the series is carried over from the first season, but the series takes an interesting direction as Mamoru now knows who Usagi is and the two become closer, while a small girl from the future definitely changes Usagi’s life for good.

As for the DVD release, as mentioned, if you want the better quality of the series, the Blu-ray release is the way to go.  But as for the DVD, the series looks good on DVD but the age of the series does show.  The series did not receive the same expensive restoration and remastering as “Ranma 1/2” or “Dragon Ball Z”, so if you owned the older DVD’s, there is no reason to upgrade to this DVD (unless you prefer the newer English voice dub), while I do recommend upgrading to Blu-ray, especially as the Viz Media releases contain more episodes (and are much cheaper than the older DVD releases).

Unfortunately, there are no special features included on this set as well.

Overall, for those who are new to the “Sailor Moon R” animated series and never owned the DVD releases before, then I can easily recommend “Sailor Moon R” (moreso for the Blu-ray version than the DVD release for the better picture and audio quality).  A classic anime series that continues the sailor soldiers battle against evil and a new person that comes into Usagi’s life, definitely give “Sailor Moon R: Season Two – Set One” a chance!

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Expelled from Paradise: Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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Visually gorgeous! “Expelled from Paradise” is an exciting sci-fi action film from director Seiji Mizushima (“Fullmetal Alchemist) and screenwriter Gen Urobuchi (“Fate/Zero”, “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”).  If you love anime and sci-fi, this is a film that is definitely worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2015 Aniplex Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Expelled from Paradise: Limited Edition

DURATION: 104 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese 5.1, Japanese 2.0, English 5.1, Subtitles: English & Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex, Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and up

Release Date: June 5, 2015


Director: Seiji Mizushima

Screenplay by Gen Urobuchi

Music by NARASAKI

Character Design: Masatsugu Saitou

Art Director: Masanobu Nomura

Animation Director: Haruna Gotsu

Director of Photography: Koujirou Hayashi

Anime Production: Graphinica


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya/Johnny Yong Bosch as Frontier Setter

Rie Kugimiya/Wendee Lee as Angela Balzac

Shinichiro Miki/Steven Blum as Zarik “Dingo” Kajiwara

Chika Anzai as Arhan

Daichi Endō as Laszlo


With Earth now left in ruins following the “Nano Hazard,” most of humanity has abandoned the planet they once called home along with their physical bodies and rebuilt their digitalized minds into a society within the cyber universe of “DEVA.”

A.D. 2400, DEVA’s central council detects an incident of unauthorized access into their mainframe. Someone on Earth was trying to hack into the system. The only information DEVA was able to retrieve was that the hacker referred to himself as “Frontier Setter.”

To investigate the mysterious hacker’s motives, the high officials of DEVA dispatch System Security Third Officer Angela Balzak to the Earth’s surface. Equipped with a prosthetic “material body,” Angela attempts to make contact with a local agent Dingo, but what awaited her instead was a swarm of Sandworms now infesting the Earth’s surface. Angela intercepts the gruesome pests with her exoskeletal powered suit Arhan.

Will Angela and Dingo be able to find Frontier Setter on this devastated planet? Their journey to explore the secrets of the world begins now…!


From Seiji Mizushima (director of “Mobile Suit Gundam 00”, “Fulllmetal Alchemist”, “Slayers Next”) and Gen Urobuchi (creator of “Fate/Zero” and screenwriter for”Psycho-Pass” and “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”) comes the animated film “Rakuen Tsuiho” (Expelled from Paradise).

Which was released in America courtesy of Aniplex, Inc. in June 2015.

“Expelled from Paradise” takes place during a time when the Earth was left in ruins after the “Nano Hazard” and humanity has abandoned their planet and physical bodies and rebuilt themselves digitally into a cyber universe known as “DEVA”.

When the DEVA’s central council detects an unauthorized access of its central mainframe by a hacker on Earth known as “Frontier Setter”, they send out DEVA dispatch System Security Third Officer Angela Balzak to investigate the hacker on Earth’s surface.

Transferring her mind into a prosthetic “material body”, she is to join local agent “Dingo” to find “Frontier Setter”.

While both have different mindsets on how to pursue the investigation, Dingo tries to show Angela that how things are on Earth, is very different by the way things are on DEVA.  And both must try to work together and find the hacker known as “Frontier Setter”.


VIDEO:

“Expelled from Paradise: Limited Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition and as one can expect from an animated film, the animation is absolutely gorgeous.  Character designs are well-shaded and in HD, you can see actual dirt marks or scuffs on metallic surfaces.  The Blu-ray definitely showcases the details of the characters and also the art backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous!

I didn’t see any banding or artifact issues during my viewing of this animated film.  “Expelled from Paradise” looks fantastic on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Expelled from Paradise: Limited Edition” is presented in lossless audio Japanese 5.1, 2.0 and with an English 5.1 dub.  The lossless soundtrack for this animated film is immersive as the many action sequences literally envelops the soundscape from the surround channels, rear surround channels and also utilizes LFE.  It’s been awhile since I watched an anime film on Blu-ray with fantastic lossless audio and it’s great to finally watch and hear it!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Expelled from Paradise: Limited Edition” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of Expelled from Paradise – (29:57) featuring interviews with director Seiji Mizushima and the crew responsible for creating “Expelled from Paradise”.
  • Trailers – Featuring Japanese theatrical trailers for “Expelled from Paradise”.

EXTRAS:

“Expelled from Paradise: Limited Edition” comes with a slipcase, a 32-page booklet with character designs plus an interview with writer Gen Urobuchi plus a collectable card.


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For anime fans looking for a sci-fi animated film with action will surely enjoy director Seiji Mizushima and screenwriter Gen Urobuchi’s “Expelled from Paradise”.

The first thing that captivates you once the animated film starts is how colorful and clean the animated film is.  After watching so many anime TV shows and OVA’s, it’s always great to step back and watch an animated film (which is typically bigger budget and features much better visual effects).

And while you are greeted with fantastic animation (and gorgeous backgrounds) especially during the film’s action sequences, 3D CGI animation has come such a long way especially how it is applied to animated films.

A lot was put into the mechanical design with the various space vehicles, suits and technology featured in the film.  There is no denying of how fantastic the film looks but with that being said, while we live in a time where so much is put into the visual look and style of the film, you tend to hope the film will also deliver in the story department and for the most part, Gen Urobuchi’s screenplay is entertaining.

There is no doubt that the creators wanted to attract the otaku fans who are into the mechanical aspects of the film, but with the lead female character in a tiny outfit, there is no doubt that they wanted to attract otaku’s with fan service as well.

While the story starts out with action and humor, the story is an interesting look at artificial intelligence and technology but how an AI has developed consciousness.

Of course, there is more to the story, which I don’t want to spoil, but while not too intellectual for those wanting a simpler storyline, for the most part, sci-fi anime fans can appreciate this storyline about the evolution of humanity and its dependence on technology, its focus on one’s digital life and caring less for other important things that humanity once considered as priority.

As for the Blu-ray release, the picture quality of “Expelled from Paradise” is fantastic.  On my 4K Ultra HD TV, the colors really pop and look amazing.  The lossless audio is also immersive and you hear panning objects, explosions and weaponry all around you and there is also really good LFE as well.  As for special features, you are treated with a half-hour making of and for extras, you get the Aniplex swag with a booklet and collectable card.

Visually gorgeous! “Expelled from Paradise” is an exciting sci-fi action film from director Seiji Mizushima (“Fullmetal Alchemist) and screenwriter Gen Urobuchi (“Fate/Zero”, “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”).  If you love anime and sci-fi, this is a film that is definitely worth watching!

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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 

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“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

aoi-movie-a

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!

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Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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For anyone who is an anime fan and a fan of “Akira”, FUNimation’s 2013 Blu-ray release of “Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition” is an improvement over the 2009 Bandai Blu-ray release and is definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2013 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: AKIRA: 25th Anniversary Edition

YEAR OF FILM: 1988

DURATION: 124 minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High-Definition, 1:85:1 Aspect Ratio,

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: R (RATED R for Graphic Violence and Brief Nudity)

RELEASE DATE: November 12, 2013

Director and Original Manga: Katsuhiro Otomo

Script: Izo Hashimoto, Katsuhiro Otomo

Animation Director: Hiroaki Sato, Yoshio Takeuchi

Supervising Director: Katsuhiro Otomo

Director of Photography: Katsuji Misawa

Executive Producer: Sawako Noma, Shigeru Watanabe

Producer: Ryohei Suzuki, Shunzo Kato

Featuring the Voices of:

Mitsuo Iwata/Jimmy Flinders (Streamline)/Johnny Yong Bosch (Animaze) as Shotaro Kaneda

Nozomu Sasaki/Jan Rabson (Streamline)/Joshua Seth (Animaza) as Tetsuo Shima

Mami Koyama/Lara Cody (Streamline)/Wendee Lee (Animaze) as Kei

Kazuhiro Kando/Cody McKenzie as Masaru (No. 27)

Masaaki Ohkura/Tony Pope (Streamline)/Michael Lindsay (Animaze) as Yamagata

Mizuho Suzuki/Simon Issacson as Doctor Onishi

Sachie Ito/Sandy Fox as Kiyoko (No. 25)

Takeshi Kusao as Kai

Taro Ishida/Tony Page (Streamline)/James Lyon (Animaze) as Colonel Shikishima

Tatsuhiko Nakamura/Cody MacKenzie as Takashi (No. 26)

Tessho Genda/Steve Kramer (Streamline)/Robert Wicks (Animaze) as Ryusaku

Yuriko Fuchizaki/Barbara Goodson (Streamline)/Georgette Rose (Animaze) as Kaori

Clandestine army activities threaten the war-torn city of Neo-Tokyo when a mysterious being with powerful psychic abilities escapes his prison and inadvertently draws a violent motorcycle gang into a heinous web of experimentation. As a result, a biker with a twisted mind embarks on a path of war, seeking revenge against a society that once called him weak.

This 25th Anniversary Edition features both the original 1988 Streamline English dub and the 2001 Pioneer/Animaze English dub!

“AKIRA”, the 1988 anime film that became the masterpiece of mangaka and director Katsuhiro Otomo.

My first viewing of “AKIRA” was back in 1993. I have to be truthful, it was one of those films that I had to watch several times because I felt I was missing something integral. Each time I watched the film, there was always something new that I picked up and for anyone who has seen this animated film, just how much was put into the animation, the detail for an animated film.

In 1988, Disney had “Oliver & Friends” and being touted as the first animation to utilize hand drawn art and computerized graphics and as the film incorporated some darkness that may scare the kiddies, in Japan, “AKIRA” was a film that would set records in the Summer and eventually get a limited release in theaters.

The film would surprise and shock people because this was not a children’s animation, this was geared for adults.

And here we are in 2013, celebrating the 25th anniversary of “Akira” and a new Blu-ray release is set for release in Nov. 2013 courtesy of FUNimation.  Featuring better visuals, better audio (for the English dub), the inclusion of the 1988 Streamline English dub and more special features!

“AKIRA” takes place in 2019, Neo-Tokyo has emerged after World War III and after the annihilation of Tokyo in 1988. Tokyo has become a corrupted cesspool with rioting/anti-government demonstrations against police, biker gangs galore and people doing naught business in daylight on the streets.

In Neo-Tokyo, a major demonstration is taking place between the revolutionaries as the cops watch them with close eyes. Meanwhile, two biker gangs are battling each other. One gang led by Shotaro Kaneda and the other gang known as the Clown gang.

Kaneda’s gang consists of:

Shotaro Kaneda – The cool leader who rides a custom modified motorcycle. Very brash but cares for the people in his gang. Close with Tetsuo because the two grew up together. Falls for a girl named Kei.

Tetsuo Shima – The secondary character who has a major inferiority complex towards Kaneda. Always tries to prove himself as being as strong, if not stronger than Kaneda. He has always been protected by Kaneda when they were smaller. Dates a girl named Kaori.

Yamagata – A prominent member of the gang and the tallest member. Always tends to get into Tetsuo’s face.

Kai – A member of Kaneda’s gang and a close friend with Yamagata.

While the gangs are facing off with each other, at the site of the protest demonstration, we see a guy carefully walking with a young boy who tends to be wrinkly and dark and tries to protect him with gun. The protector of the boy starts shooting at the police and ends up getting killed. The boy reacts with a scream and knocks out the windows of everything around its radius and the situation gets chaotic as the demonstrators fight the police and boy manages to run away. Meanwhile, one of the revolutionary’s at the protest named Kei sees the boy and witnesses his power.

As for Kaneda’s gang and the Clown gang, they continue their battle and Tetsuo who wants to prove himself to Kaneda goes after one of the major Clown gang members. While riding his bike at quick speeds in the freeway, he sees the boy (who was a the demonstration) and tries to avoid him. Tetsuo crashes and gets banged up. Meanwhile, Kaneda and his team arrive in time to check Tetsuo but then all of a sudden, helicopters and soldiers surround the scene and get the boy and Tetsuo and take off.

While the boy is reunited with people of his kind, Tetsuo is undergoing testing and we learn that the boy and two others are known as Espers. Masaru (#27), Takashi (#26) and Kyoko (#25) who are paranormal and are used by the government as ways to influence the events in the country.

We are introduced to Colonel Shikishima, the head of an ongoing project that is monitoring the three Espers and Tetsuo. We also learn that Tokyo was destroyed by a powerful ESPer named Akira in 1988. A boy who has developed god-like abilities and was used as a test subject by the government. His body has been tested by the Colonel and his scientists and they have discovered something special about Tetsuo. It appears that Tetsuo may have the same, similar powers like Akira.

But unlike Akira, Tetsuo who has has an inferiority complex and a thirst for strength and power starts to become corrupted with the power and escapes the hospital where he has been watched and treated and now he is in the outside world and has literally gone psycho. Who can stop Tetsuo?

Of course, there is so much more to the story than what I just summarized. If anything, the film deals with friendship, corruption in the government and there are so much layers into the main storyline of “AKIRA” that it’s too difficult to explain and has to be watched (possibly several times) to be fully understood.

VIDEO:

“Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio).  Because it’s pretty much the same remastering that was done for the Blu-ray release, not much was done in the actual remastering for the FUNimation release.

My comments for the Bandai 2009 Blu-ray release has not changed in 2013:

The colors for the film remain vibrant, I swear I was noticing background art from the film for the first time and that’s considering that I watched this film probably two dozen times already.

Picture quality retains its grain and also there are white specks, so one should know that the picture quality is not pristine.   As for the differences, I felt that the Bandai version had a bit of DNR used because the FUNimation tend to have a bit more grain.

Please not the following images are not direct screen captures, are cropped differently and are not the same frame:

Bandai

FUNimation

 

Granted, it comes down to preference and I’m always about more grain.  But there is a slight difference with picture quality.

AUDIO:

The audio is the same as the Bandai 2009 Blu-ray release with one exception, in addition to the Pioneer 2001 English dub, the original 1988 Streamline dub is now included.  So, for those who complained about the original English dub not being included, FUNimation’s “Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition” brings it back.

This is what I wrote back in 2009 in regards to the “Akira” lossless soundtrack:

Being audiophiles themselves, the full capacity of the Blu-ray disc was used for the audio. “AKIRA” is the first film on Blu-ray that is released in 192 kHz/24-bit in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound. The highest level of sound quality attainable right now on contemporary media.

CD’s are sampled in 44.1 kHz and reproduces at 20 kHz. This Blu-ray is sampled in 192 kHz and reproduces at 96 kHz. CD’s are 16-bit, this Blu-ray Disc, the audio is 24-bit. The original soundtrack of “AKIRA” was originally recorded as a master tape that contained frequencies up to 100 kHz and so, with Blu-ray technology, this soundtrack on the Blu-ray is how the composer intended for people to listen to it.

With that being said, the audio of “AKIRA” is just phenomenal.  From the music and the taiko drums, the the various sound effects of the motorcycles to the crowds that are protesting.  The film just comes alive with this soundtrack on Blu-ray and really, was floored by the outstanding quality.

With that being said, the 2013 FUNimation “Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition” features the 2001 the Japanese soundtrack in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (192 kHz), the English dub 2001 soundtrack in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (96 kHz) which is an improvement over the Bandai Blu-ray release which was 48 kHz  and the 1988 Streamline English dub in Dolby Digital 2.0 in 96 kHz.

With that being said, the audio of “AKIRA” is just phenomenal. From the music and the taiko drums, the the various sound effects of the motorcycles to the crowds that are protesting. The film just comes alive with this soundtrack on Blu-ray and really, was floored by the outstanding quality. There is a noticeable difference for audiophiles when it comes to the Japanese lossless soundtrack and the English soundtrack in terms of clarity but the English version also adds a bit more sound effects as well.

For example, the helicopter scene in 16:30.  You can hear the clarity of the Japanese lossless soundtrack but on the English soundtrack, you hear a bit more in terms of other sounds and the way the audio moves from one surround channel to the other.

And for those who have badly wanted the old school Streamline dub on Blu-ray, fortunately the “Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition” now includes it!

For those wanting the original Japanese LPCM soundtrack that was on the Bandai Blu-ray release, this is not included in the FUNimation 2013 Blu-ray release.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition” comes with the following special features:

  • Akira Sound Clip (1988) – (19:21) The following is the 1988 Akira Soundclip by Geinoh Yamashiro Gumi featuring optional English narration.  Featuring “Music for Akira”, “Kaneda’s Theme”, “Exodus”, “Ethnic Meets Hi-Tech”, “Awakening”, “Mutation” and “Requiem”.
  • Director Interview – (29:10) The original director’s interview featurette with Katsuhiro Otomo.
  • Storyboard Collection – (30:57) Featuring a storyboard collection accompanied by the music from the “Akira” soundtrack.
  • The Writing on the Wall – A translation on the graffiti featured throughout the film.
  • Restoring Akira – (11:00) Featuring a featurette on “restoring Akira” in regards to picture, English voice over and English 5.1 audio mix taken from the original 2001 DVD release.
  • Original Trailers – (3:11) The original Japanese theatrical trailers for “Akira”.
  • Original Commercials – (1:22) The original Japanese commercials for “Akira”.
  • U.S. Trailer – (:55) The 2013 trailer for “Akira: 25th Anniversary”.
  • Glossary – Glossary of terms (in text) featured in “Akira”.

EXTRAS:

“Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition” comes with the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.

“AKIRA” will always be regarded as one of the top animated films of all time. It set a precedence in animation quality in the late 80’s and the 90’s due to its detailed scenery, the vocal dub matching the lips (“AKIRA” was the first anime production featuring voice acting done before the animation was completed) and utilized over 160,000+ animated cels in order to achieve the fluid motion throughout the film. Again, this was animation geared for adults and has become a classic, must-own animated film.

I have to admit that having watched the film so many times, by the time the DVD came out, I think I was burned out on “AKIRA”. So, watching it again on Blu-ray and hearing the audio really bringing the film to life.

It’s hard to explain but having watched this film nearly two dozens times, this was the first time that I actually watched and thoroughly enjoyed the film. I was excited because of how much life the TrueHD audio brought into the animation. Just sitting down and hearing the taiko drums, the motorcycles revving, the people talking and to hear the overall soundtrack, it made a big difference for me watching it now than any of those times watching it before.

I was amazed by the vibrancy of the colors of the film, but I admit that I was waiting for the dust and the scratches and to my surprise, there were none. They cleaned this film up pretty good. So, aside from the much talked about audio, the video is no slouch either.

Last, I know that the direction of the Blu-ray in terms of going for superior audio quality is exciting for the audiophile but for those who want the special features that were featured on the DVD, the good news is that the FUNimation 2013 Blu-ray release does include the special features (not the entire production report) but fans of the original 1988 Streamline release, should be happy of its inclusion on this Blu-ray release.

What has made me even more excited is that the process invested in order to create this 192 kHZ process on Japanese lossless soundtrack on “AKIRA” can hopefully now be used on other Blu-ray releases. “Mobile Suite Gundam” movies on Blu-ray anyone? How about those films in 192 kHZ, 24-bit ala Dolby TrueHD. That would be awesome!

While those who own the 2009 Bandai Blu-ray release may not see a need to upgrade to this “Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition”, those wanting a version with the original 1988 Streamline English dub and Japanese special features will want to purchase this FUNimation version.  Also, there is a slight difference when it comes to the picture quality as the Bandai version appeared to use a bit of DNR and the FUNimation version tends to have more grain.  The other difference is audio as the 2001 English dub receives a 96 kHz version as opposed to the Bandai 48 kHz version.

Overall, FUNimation’s Blu-ray release of “Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition” is an upgrade over its 2009 Blu-ray release.  For videophiles who dislike DNR, the FUNimation release has the train, for those wanting the 1988 Streamline Dub, the FUNimation Blu-ray release has that and a 96 kHz version of the 2001 English Dolby TrueHD soundtrack.  The Bandai release has a booklet, slipcase and an LPCM soundtrack of “Akira” and some may prefer the version with DNR.  And this release also includes both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film as well.

So, I do feel that FUNimation Blu-ray of “Akira” is an improvement over the 2009 Bandai Blu-ray release in content, PQ and AQ.  Unfortunately, the 48-minute “Akira Production Report” was not included on this Blu-ray release, which is a little disappointing as I was hoping it would be included on the 25th anniversary release.  So, for those who own the Pioneer 2001 DVD release, you’ll still want to keep that one in your collection.

But for anyone who is an anime fan and a fan of “Akira”, FUNimation’s 2013 Blu-ray release of “Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition” is an improvement over the 2009 Bandai Blu-ray release and is definitely recommended!

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Blue Exorcist: Limited Edition Blu-ray Set II (a J!-eNT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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The exciting, action-packed finale of “Blue Exorcist” is here!   Twin brothers, Rin and Yukio must join forces in confronting their demonic father, Satan!  “Blue Exorcist” turned out to be an exciting, action-packed series that I highly recommend!  And for fans, “Blue Exorcist: Limited Edition Blu-ray Set II” is definitely worth owning!

Purchase this Blu-ray from Rightstuf

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © 2009 by Kazue Kato/SHUEISHA, Blue Exorcist Committee, MBS. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Blue Exorcist: Limited Edition Blu-ray Set II

YEAR: 2011

DURATION: (Episodes 13-25) 325 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: 13 and Up

Release Date: September 10, 2013

Based on the manga by Kazue Kato

Directed by Tensai Okamura

Series Composition by Ryota Yamaguchi

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design by Keigo Sasaki

Art Director: Masatoshi Kai

Chief Animation Director: Keigo Sasaki

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures

Featuring the following voice talent:

Jun Fukuyama/Johnny Yong Bosch as Yukio Okumura

Kana Hanazawa/Christine Marie Cabanos as Shiemi Moriyama

Kazuya Nakai/Kyle Hebert as Ryūji Suguro

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Bryce Papenbrook as Rin Okumura

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

“Assiah, the realm of humans, and Gehenna, the realm of demons. Normally, these two dimensions would never intersect, but having possessed all material substances, the demons are now intruding on the material world. But among the human race, there are those who can exorcise such demons.”
– the Exorcists.

During a 3-day drill to prepare Rin and fellow Ex-Wires for actual combat, Amaimon suddenly appears and takes Shiemi as a hostage to lure Rin. Angry, Rin fights Amaimon and he ends up going berserk! He regains control of himself only to be captured by the current Paladin, Angel, and sent to the Vatican for trial. As the hearing drags on, the Order finds itself unable to decide on Rin’s fate, as Mephisto has proclaimed him to be “a weapon for counter-attacking Satan.” Rin is now forced to obey the Vatican’s order or face execution!

It’s the battle that “Blue Exorcist” fans have been waiting for… Rin and Yukio and True Cross Academy vs. their father Satan.  And also the backstory is revealed of Rin and Yuko’s human mother and how she died.

Featuring the final second half (episode 13-25) on three Blu-ray discs plus the original soundtrack, a 36-page illustration book and bonus DVD with interviews with the English dub cast (part two) and more in “Blue Exorcist: Limited Edition Blu-ray Set II”!

So, What is “Blue Exorcist”?

“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 (as of January 2012, there have been a total of 30 chapters released).

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. And now the second setof “Blue Exorcist” was released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex.

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.

With volume 2 of “Blue Exorcist”, the story continues as Rin continues to study along with his classmates and each are trying to be Esquires, in order to take on various missions. But others at the Academy and the higher ups want to test Rin and find out if he is a person that can be taught and eventually fight with the other exorcists in defeating demons and Satan himself.

While people question a demon being an exorcist, for Rin, he makes a goal that one day, he will become a Paladin (highest level of exorcism) like his adoptive father, Father Shiro and prove that because he is Satan son, that having a caring father like Shiro can make a big change in the life of a person, even if they are a demon.

With the Demon King of Earth, Amaimon making his attack against Rin and friends during training, there is no way Rin can hide his secret. He will need to draw the Kurikara sword and turn into demon form in order to fight and defend his friends. But by using this sword, Rin can lose control in a very bad way!  It was also revealed in volume three that Rin’s twin brother Yukio, who was assumed to not have any of Satan traits, has now developed it.

And now, all is revealed in the latest, final fourth volume of “Blue Exorcist” as Yukio would do anything to protect his twin brother Rin, but not knowing that a conspiracy within True Cross Academy is leading him to not protect his brother, but actually sacrificing him.

Meanwhile, as Yukio is developing Satan traits, satan looks to use Yukio as his vessel.  This leads to Yukio learning the truth about how his mother was killed and more!

Who shall win the final battle between the Okumura brothers who must take on their father, Satan…but will they have enough power to do so!?

 

“Blue Exorcist” 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.
  • 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.

“Blue Exorcist: Limited Edition Blu-ray Set II″ features episodes 13-25 on three Blu-ray discs. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:

  • EPISODE 13 – Proof – Rin encounters Shura Kiragakure, a high level exorcist and former apprentice of Father Shiro.
  • EPISODE 14 – A Fun Camping Trip – The Esquires are taken to the forest where they are to undergo through training by Yukio and Shura.
  • EPISODE 15 – Act of Kindness – The students are attacked by Amaimon.  In order to protect the other students, Shura gives Rin the sword which transforms him into a demon to fight Amaimon.
  • EPISODE 16 – The Wager – Rin is captured by Arthur Auguste Angel, a Paladin who wants Rin dead and Mephisto to be charged for keeping this secret from the Academy of Rin and Yukio’s true identity.  The Academy must decide whether to have Rin executed or to be used as a weapon to fight Satan.
  • EPISODE 17 – Temptation – While the True Cross Academy is making their decision, Amaimon enters the True Cross Order HQ to continue his fight.  Meanwhile, Mephisto wants to show that Rin will fight for the True Cross.
  • EPISODE 18 – Gufu – With Konekomaru shocked about Rin’s identity and that Rin’s father Satan was responsible for his parent’s death, he doesn’t know if he could be friends with him.  Meanwhile, a bird demon is trying to enter the school.  Meanwhile, Rin must go through special training to become an exorcist immediately.
  • EPISODE 19 – An Ordinary Day – Shiemi and friends decide to have a surprise birthday party for Izumo.  Meanwhile, Izumo becomes suspicious of her classmates.
  • EPISODE 20 – Mask – Someone with a mask has attacked the monastery.  Who is the masked individual?
  • EPISODE 21 – The Secret Garden – Yukio is involved in a secret meeting with Ernst Frederik Egin, a man who claims to be his grandfather and shows him top secret plans to fight against satan.
  • EPISODE 22 – Demon Hunting – Ernst Frederik Egin becomes the new leader of True Cross Academy and Yukio is promoted as Paladin.  But Ernst shows his true intentions of why he needed Yukio.
  • EPISODE 23 – Truth – Satan reveals the truth to Yukio of how his mother was killed and who was responsible.
  • EPISODE 24 – Satan’s Spawn – Rin and friends vs. Satan.
  • EPISODE 25 – Stop, Time – Rin and Yukio take on their father, satan.

VIDEO:

“Blue Exorcist” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9 Widescreen). The anime production is well-done. The surrounding environments are well-detailed, painted nicely, while the character designs are vibrant, clear and just gorgeous on Blu-ray!

If anything, character designer Keigo Sasaki (“Night Raid 1931″, “Sengoku Basara”) does a great job of bringing the characters from Kazue Kato’s manga series to life, while art director Masatoshi Kai (“Akira”, “Dead Girls”, “Earthian”, “Red Garden”) did a wonderful job in bringing the series to life with the scenery and painted backgrounds.

I’m pretty impressed of how this anime looks visually, especially when comparing to the previous DVD release, the Blu-ray release is much more colorful, sharper and gorgeous in HD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Blue Exorcist” is presented in English Linear PCM Stereo and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo with English subtitles.  Audio is clear coming from the front channels.   Japanese voice acting for the series is excellent!  I personally had my receiver set to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack. But dialogue is understandable and English subtitles are easy to read.

As for the English dub track, the overall acting is good but it’s once again an action series with Johnny Yong Bosch as the lead character.  For the most part, the voice acting by the English dub staff is very good.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Blue Exorcist: Limited Edition Blu-ray Set II” comes with the following special features:

  • URA-EKU (Bonus Short Movies) – Featuring three short omake anime stories (about 1:20 per omake) that are shown after an episode is completed.
  • Preview Web Version – Featuring the “next episode” previews voiced by various demon characters (about 17 seconds each).
  • Textless OP and ED – Blue Exorcist opening and ending theme without text.
  • Blue Exorcist English Cast Interview Part 2: Exorcist & Demons – (42:49)  Interviews with the English voice cast part two!  Featuring Sam Regal, Darrel Guilbeau, Wendee Lee, Kirk Thornton, Patrick Seitz, David Vincent and Stephanie Sheh.  This is featured on the bonus DVD included with this limited edition.

EXTRAS:

“Blue Exorcist: Limited Edition Blu-ray Set II” comes with the following extras:

  • Original Soundtrack CD 2 (青の祓魔師 オリジナル・サウンドトラック II)

(Duration: 1 hr., 10 minutes)

Track Listing:

1.  BGM的-suite 1st-Mov.:E戦場-Aria    2:58
2.  BGM的-suite 2nd-Mov.:Technology ORCH.    3:09
3.  BGM的-suite 3rd-Mov.:Hyou×(依+変)    4:40
4.  BGM的-suite 4th-Mov.:BOBOBOぼ~ん    3:40
5.  IiMuRoYa-$.feat 1st-Mov.:M    6:02    澤野弘之
6.  IiMuRoYa-$.feat 2nd-Mov.:CHaos+CHorus    5:41
7.  IiMuRoYa-$.feat 3rd-Mov.:HEiW@→KiZUN@    4:13
8.  IiMuRoYa-$.feat 4th-Mov.:N-tone    3:22
9.  日常用 de SUIT 1st-Mov.:銃剣兄弟GEKIBANger    4:17
10. 日常用 de SUIT 2nd-Mov.:剣兄弟GEKIBANger-Returns    3:09
11. 日常用 de SUIT 3rd-Mov.:銃剣兄弟GEKIBANger-Forever    5:24
12. 日常用 de SUIT 4th-Mov.:銃剣兄弟GEKIBANger-The Final    6:40
13. 交響$weet 1st-Mov.:st-RING    4:23
14. 交響$weet 2nd-Mov.:STN-blood    4:36
15. 交響$weet 3rd-Mov.:call ME    3:20
16. 交響$weet 4th-Mov.:f    3:35

  • 36-Page Illustration Booklet
  • Rigid Box Illustrated by Kazue Kato (manga author)
  • Clear cases with reversible wraps of original Japanese cover design.

As I finished watching the final episode of the “Blue Exorcist” anime series, I have to say that the “Blue Exorcist” storyline was delightful, action-packed and captivating.

And with several volumes of the manga series having been completed, hopefully with Kazue Kato continues the series, fans will be given a new season of “Blue Exorcist”!

The series has  developed quite well in terms of storyline pacing, animation, voice acting and just overall enjoyment.  The third volume was exciting because we got to see more of Rin’s friends involved in the fight against the demons but most importantly, seeing that the straight-laced Yukio has been hiding a major secret, that his demon powers were awakening.

While there was an emphasis on showcasing Rin and friends in previous episodes, the storyline comes full circle in the fact that it comes back to the main two characters, Rin and his younger twin brother Yukio and the fact that they will be going up against their father, Satan.

But as one would expect a banal storyline of Satan being the ultimate evil, once we get to know more about Rin and Yukio’s human mother, we realize that Satan and the woman were indeed in love and also one of the main reasons why satan is trying to attempt in gaining a vessel.  Also, how Shiro was given the duty of raising both Rin and Yukio.  This was an intriguing backstory and you feel for the Rin and Yukio’s mother because she was a compassionate woman, trying to understand how one side could hate something.  Wondering if they even gave the demon a chance?  In her mind, perhaps humans and demons can co-exist, because she was able to see a good side of things.

But as she sided with Satan, she also saw the ugly side of humanity, which even fed the rage to satan and its understandable as religions have shown the fight against evil and to do all that is possible to stop it.  And in this case, despite Rin and Yuki being raised with love and dedicate their lives to fight demons, there are those who believed that no matter how different the twins were raised, as long as they are the children of Satan, they are evil.

So, the final half of the series and the final few episodes was exciting and action-packed.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if you craved for more episodes.

As for the overall series, the character designs are actually pretty cool, especially the costume designs for the characters. Also, the art backgrounds for this series is nicely detailed and range from pastels to really vibrant colors. Something you typically don’t see in a TV Series.

“Blue Exorcist” has a good balance of humor, action and an interesting concept in balance with awesome animation and beautiful art backgrounds. While the action may be it a bit too visual for younger anime viewers (as this is suggested for 13 and up), for fans of action-based anime or manga series such as “Naruto” and “Bleach” will find “Blue Exorcist” to their liking.

And once again, with the release of “Blue Exorcist: Limited Edition Blu-ray Set II”, Aniplex of America continues to deliver in terms of swag with bonus interviews on DVD, the original soundtrack #2, illustration booklet and more!

Overall, “Blue Exorcist” turned out to be an exciting, action-packed series that I highly recommend!  And for fans, “Blue Exorcist: Limited Edition Blu-ray Set II” is definitely worth owning!

Purchase this Blu-ray from Rightstuf

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Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

blueexorcist-complete

An interesting take on exorcist-based storyline, “Blue Exorcist” has a good balance of humor, action, cool characters with an interesting concept plus awesome animation and beautiful art backgrounds. Featuring all 12 episodes for season 1 and the addition of an English dub, “Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season” is  definitely recommended!

PLEASE PURCHASE THIS ANIME SERIES FROM RIGHTSTUF or BANDAI ENT. ONLINE STORE

Image courtesy of © 2009 by Kazue Kato/SHUEISHA, Blue Exorcist Committee, MBS. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (325 minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: English and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0, 16:9 LB, Dolby Digital

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

RELEASE DATE: July 9, 2013

Based on the manga by Kazue Kato

Directed by Tensai Okamura

Series Composition by Ryota Yamaguchi

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Character Design by Keigo Sasaki

Art Director: Masatoshi Kai

Chief Animation Director: Keigo Sasaki

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures

Featuring the following voice talent:

Jun Fukuyama/Johnny Yong Bosch as Yukio Okumura

Kana Hanazawa/Christine Marie Cabanos as Shiemi Moriyama

Kazuya Nakai/Kyle Hebert as Ryūji Suguro

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Bryce Paperbrook as Rin Okumura

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/Brian Beacock as Renzō Shima

Rina Satou/Wendee Lee as Shura Kirigakure

Tetsuya Kakihara/Darrel Guilbeau as Amaimon

Yuuki Kaji/Mona Marshall as Konekomaru Miwa

“Assiah, the realm of humans, and Gehenna, the realm of demons. Normally, these two dimensions would never intersect, but having possessed all material substances, the demons are now intruding on the material world. But among the human race, there are those who can exorcise such demons.”
– the Exorcists.

Rin Okumura and his twin brother Yukio have been raised by Shiro Fujimoto, an eminent priest, so it comes as a shock when Rin discovers their biological father is actually Satan! As the border between “Assiah” (the human world) and “Gehenna” (the demon world) is crossed by evil, Rin vows to become the ultimate exorcist and defeat his own father. To hone his raw skills, Rin enters True Cross Academy to train with other exorcist candidates.

“Blue Exorcist” returns to the U.S. courtesy of Aniplex Inc. with a brand new English dub and all 12 episodes in a DVD and Blu-ray release!

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.

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.  And now the second volume of “Blue Exorcist” will be released on DVD courtesy of Aniplex.

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.

The story continues as Rin continues to study along with his classmates and each are trying to be Esquires, in order to take on various missions.  But others at the Academy and the higher ups want to test Rin and find out if he is a person that can be taught and eventually fight with the other exorcists in defeating demons and satan himself.

While people question a demon being an exorcist, for Rin, he makes a goal that one day, he will become a Paladin (highest level of exorcism) like his adoptive father, Father Shiro and prove that because he is satan’s son, that having a caring father like Shiro can make a big change in the life of a person, even if they are a demon.

“Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season” features episodes 1-12 on three DVD’s. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:

  • EPISODE 1 – The Devil Resides in Human Souls – An introduction to Rin, Yukio and Father Fujimoto. Also, Rin finding out about his true nature.
  • EPISODE 2Gehenna Gate – Father Fujimoto and his companions try to protect Rin from the demons especially from satan.
  • EPISODE 3 – Brothers – Rin is enrolled at True Cross Academy and Rin confronts his brother in regards to his true nature.
  • EPISODE 4 – The Garden of Amahara – Yuko and Rin go to visit the owner of an exorcist-only shop, but the owner’s daughter Shiemi Moriyama has a demon within her.
  • EPISODE 5 – A Boy from the Cursed Temple – As Rin is a flake when it comes to school, it angers his classmate Bon, who has a lot in common with Rin.
  • EPISODE 6 – The Phantom Chef – Rin and Yuko find out who is really cooking the food at the academy.
  • EPISODE 7 – A Flock of Plovers – Shiemi tries to make new friends at school and befriends Izumo Kamiko, a girl who may be using her instead.
  • EPISODE 8 – Now a Certain Man Was Sick – When the class is punished because of Kamiki and Bon’s argument, the students are attacked by a ghoul.
  • EPISODE 9 – Memories – The students learn that the ghoul attack was part of their Esquire exam.  Meanwhile, Neuhaus is planning to test Rin.
  • EPISODE 10 – Black Cat – Father Shiro’s familiar, a demon cat named Kuro has gone crazy when he finds out that Shiro has died.  Not believing any of it, the Academy considers killing it.  But Rin can read the cat’s true feelings.
  • EPISODE 11 – Demon of the Deep Seas  – Rin, Izumo and Shima are sent on their first mission as Esquires to find out about attacks made by the Kraken.  The three meet a boy who awaits his father who went to face the Kraken six months earlier.
  • EPISODE 12 – A Game of Tag – The Esquires must look for the ghost of a child haunting Mephisto Pheles’ amusement park.  But Rin is attacked by the higher demon named Amaimon.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Blue Exorcist” is presented in 16:9 lb and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 with English subtitles. The anime production is well-done. The surrounding environments are well-detailed, painted nicely, while the character designs are vibrant, clear and I wouldn’t be surprised if this series is given the Blu-ray treatment in the near future because it looks very good on DVD.

If anything, character designer Keigo Sasaki (“Night Raid 1931″, “Sengoku Basara”) does a great job of bringing the characters from Kazue Kato’s manga series to life, while art director Masatoshi Kai (“Akira”, “Dead Girls”, “Earthian”, “Red Garden”) did a wonderful job in bringing the series to life with the scenery and painted backgrounds.

I’m pretty impressed of how this anime looks visually.

As for audio, audio is clear coming from the front channels. I personally had my receiver set to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack. With “Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season”, the biggest addition to this DVD release compared to the previous Aniplex DVD release of “Blue Exorcist” is the addition of an English dub soundtrack.  With this release, Bryce Papenbrook, Christine Marie Cabanos, Johnny Yong Bosch and Kyle Hebert do a wonderful job. dialogue is understandable and English subtitles are easy to read.

With that being said, for those who want to watch “Blue Exorcist” in 1080p High Definition and a lossless soundtrack may want to opt for Blu-ray set which comes with better picture quality and audio plus more extra content than the DVD release.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season” features the following special features:

  • Unaired Special Episode – Kuro Runs Away From Home – Kuro is upset that Rin teases him about food and Yukio tries to discipline him about his cat poop.  So, Kuro decides to runaway from home and realizes that perhaps living with Rin and Yukio is better than living without them.
  • URA-EX (Bonus Short Movies) – Featuring six short omake anime stories (about 1:20 per omake) that are shown after an episode is completed.
  • Web Previews – Featuring the “next episode” previews voiced by various demon characters (about 17 seconds each).
  • Textless OP – Blue Exorcist opening theme without text.
  • Textless ED – Blue Exorcist ending theme without text.
  • Credits – Text based credits
  • Aniplex Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Blue Exorcist: Complete 1st Season” comes with a slipcover.

Highly entertaining, enjoyable and action-packed, “Blue Exorcist” has proved itself to be an exciting series, but the episodes featured in the second volume is much better in storyline compared to the first seven episodes.  I love where this series is headed and the additional characters featured, really make “Blue Exorcist” an anime series worth watching.

So far, “Blue Exorcist” has turned out to be an enjoyable anime series thus far.  If anything, this first volume is more to establish how Rin became an exorcist but also to show his relationship with Father Fujimoto and his brother Yukio.  If anything, the series does have a little in common with “Naruto”, in the fact that Naruto has the 9-tailed fox sealed inside him and the character is not exactly the smartest, the same can be said with Rin, as he is a character that is a demon but tries to do all he can to use his powers for good.

While one can make a few comparisons to the series “Naruto” as he was the person no one wanted to be around, mainly because he had a demon inside him but yet, he vowed to fight for those he cares about and one day to become the village leader.  For “Blue Exorcist”, Rin is similar in the fact that he is misunderstood, is a demon, but he wants to fight for those he cares about and to become a Paladin like the man who raised him.

And both share the similarity in that village leaders are concerned with Naruto (having the demon inside him) and for Rin of “Blue Exorcist”, you have exorcists who were wiped out by satan, also concerned that what if Rin turns out to be evil and is uncontrollable.

But despite the similarities and the fact that these students must work together on missions, there are some twists as people responsible for watching over Rin, may have their own personal agenda.  Also, unlike “Naruto” which was geared towards children, there is a lot of violence in this series, to the point where Rin is often stabbed by a sword.  Granted, he is healed but there is a bit of blood and violence at times.

As for the overall series, the character designs are actually pretty cool, especially the costume designs for the characters. Also, the art backgrounds for this series is nicely detailed and range from pastels to really vibrant colors.  Something you typically don’t see in a TV Series.

Having reviewed the original DVD release from Aniplex, the primary difference is the fact that you get all 12 episodes for the first season and most importantly, you get an English dub.  Picture quality is very good on DVD as the colors are vibrant and animation is well-done.  And as for special features, the fact that this  DVD includes the OVA of “Kuro Runs Away From Home”, is actually a wonderful treat for fans who don’t have to wait until the final volume to watch this OVA.

But for those wonder if the DVD release has the usual Aniplex swag, the answer is that if you want the best version of “Blue Exorcist” and the swag, you will want to purchase the Blu-ray release.  While the price of the Blu-ray release is around $139.98 and the DVD version is $69.98 on RightStuf!, the biggest difference between the DVD and Blu-ray release is that the Blu-ray release comes with an original soundtrack, bonus DVD with English cast interviews and a 36-page deluxe illustration booklet and a slipcase.  So, if you want the swag, you’re going to want to purchase the Blu-ray release of “Blue Exorcist”.

Overall, “Blue Exorcist” has a good balance of humor, action and an interesting concept in balance with awesome animation and beautiful art backgrounds.  While the action may be it a bit too visual for younger anime viewers (as this is suggested for 13 and up) and while the first few episodes being more introductory, but as the series progresses, the storyline gets better and better as we get to see Rin and his classmates start to work as a team and also see Rin mature and try to keep his powers in check but also adding a few plot twists along the way.

If you are looking for an action-drive anime series with a cool storyline and exciting characters, “Blue Exorcist” is definitely recommended!

PLEASE PURCHASE THIS ANIME SERIES FROM RIGHTSTUF or BANDAI ENT. ONLINE STORE

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Persona 4: The Animation – Collection Two (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

If you thought the first half of “Persona 4: The Animation” was exciting, wait until you watch “Persona 4: The Animation – Collection Two”.  More action, more exciting battles and even more emotional than the first half of the series.  Definitely one of the better anime series that is based on a video game!  Recommended for fans of the “Shin Megami Tensei” video games and anime fans wanting something different for an action anime series but also something unique, stylish, cool!  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © Index Corporation/P4A Committee. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Persona 4: The Animation – Collection Two

YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2011-2012

DURATION: 13-26 (365 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex/Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14V

Release Date: January 15-2003

Directed by Seiji Kishi

Series Composition by Yuuko Kakihara

Music by Shoji Meguro

Original Character Design by Shigenori Soejima

Character Design by Kazuaki Morita

Art Director: Ayumi Miyakoshi, Shinji Nagaoka

Chief Animation Director: Kiyotaka Nakahara

Anime Production by AIC A.S.T.A.

Featuring the voices of:

Amanda Winn Lee as Yukiko Amagi

Erin Fitzgerald as Chie Satonaka

Johnny Yong Bosch as Yu Narukami

Yuri Lowenthal as Yosuke Hanamura

J.B. Blanc as Ryotaro Dojima

Johnny Yong Bosch as Toru Adachi

Karen Strassman as Nanako Dojima

Laura Bailey as Rise Kujikawa

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Naoto Shirogane

Sam Regal as Teddie

Troy Baker as Kanji Tatsumi

When Yu Narukami moves to the country town of Inaba to stay with his uncle and cousin, he’s expecting a lot more peace and quiet than he’s used to in the big city. What he isn’t expecting is for his uncle’s job as a police detective to spill over into his own life, or for the murders that are occurring across town to be somehow linked to Yu’s own strange experiences, odd local weather patterns, and a mysterious TV show world that seems to be attempting to get Yu to enter it!

Now, together with a new group of friends, Yu must plunge into a bizarre alternate reality where he gains unique abilities that will either help him solve the riddle of the mystery killer… or lead him to his doom.

The “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona” role-playing video game series developed and published by Atlus and has won over fans due to its darker storyline and it’s one of the few games to incorporate a Japanese atmosphere incorporating simulation type games relating to its characters.

Created back in 1996, “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona” has continually evolved and its fifth installment, “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4” (the fifth installment in the SMT: Persona series) was no doubt a popular title in the series when it was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2008.

The video game would inspire a 25-episode anime series titled “Persona 4: The Animation” , which aired on Japanese television in 2011-2012.

In 2012, with the release of the PlayStation Vita version of the game (titled “Persona 4: Golden”) and the fighting game sequel “Persona 4 Arena” for the PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360, what better time than now to release the anime series “Persona 4: The Animation” on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

With the first volume of “Persona 4: The Animation” featuring the first 12-episodes released in September 2012, the second collection featuring 13-26 will be released in January 2013.

What is “Persona 4: The Animation” about?

“Persona 4” begins with a clip inside the limousine as an older man named Igor and his assistant Margaret introduce themselves to someone. They explain their location, The Velvet Room as a place that exists between “dream and reality” and not many people can find this special room.

We are then introduced to high school student Yu Narukami arriving in the countryside of Inaba. Because his parents are working abroad, he must live with his uncle, Ryotaro Dojima, the resident investigator and his cousin Nanako Dojima for the entire year.

While attending Yasogami High School, he meets two people who become his friends. Yosuke Hanamura is a teenager who also moved to Inaba a year prior and his father own the huge department store, Junes (pronounced as “Joo-Ness”). And his friend Chie Satonaka is a teenage girl with an appetite. While she is often teasing and hitting her friend Yosuke, she also hangs out with her best friend Yukiko Amagi.

Meanwhile, a student named Saki Koshi is seen cutting class and discovers the body of TV announcer Mayumi Yamano.

With the murder of a known TV personality scaring people in town, leading to Ryotaro Dojima and his partner Detective Adachi investigating the crime scene, For Yu, he has heard of the rumors at school that a “Midnight Channel” shown on television may be connected to the murders. Apparently, if one watches the channel at midnight, they should be able to see an image of a person When Yu watches the channel at midnight, he sees someone show up. The image is of a young woman. When Yu puts his hand on the TV, he is nearly pulled into the TV.

Yu tries to tell Chie and Yosuke about it but they don’t believe him, but Chie said she wants to see if it would happen on a larger television. So, the three head to Junes Department Store to see if he can duplicate the same situation on a bigger television set and sure enough, when Yu sticks his hand, it goes through the TV set and all three are pulled in.

The trio end up in different world and encounter a bear named Teddie. Teddie explains that they are in a world where if foggy, it would be clear on Earth. If it is clear on Earth, then it would be foggy in his world. And to see things in his world, he must wear special glasses.

The trio are then attacked by shadows and fearing for their lives, the persona of Yu Narukami is awakened. It is learned that Yu has the Persona of the Wild Card and that it could lead to infinite possibilities, which include the use of other Personas or fusing two or more Personas to create something more powerful.

Eventually as Yu and his friends enter the TV set, they encounter other classmates and friends who eventually join the team and together they try to find the culprit responsible for murdering people and also sending people to the alternate world.

“Persona 4: The Animation” consists of the following characters:

  • Yu Narukami – The main protagonist who moves to the countryside of Inaba for a year while his parents are traveling.  He stays with his uncle, local police detective Ryotaro Dojima and his daughter Nanako Dojima.  Yu begins attending Yasogami High School and begins to make friends.  And as he develops these relationships with friends, he begins to attain more stronger persona and is the only person in the group who can use different persona’s during battle.
  • Yosuke Hanamura – A teenager who moved to Inaba a  year before Yu. His father is owner of the Junes Department Store.  He is often thinking about girls and wanting to score!
  • Chie Satonaka – A friend of Yosuke and a girl who is obsessed with kung-fu. She is best friends with Yukiko Amagi and often beating up Yosuke when he is in pervert mode.
  • Yukiko Amagi – Introverted yet popular, Yukiko’s family owns a famous ryokan in the city and is expected to take over the family business.
  • Kanji Tatsumi – A delinquent and bully, but deep inside he’s a tough guy that loves sewing cute things.  He is often teased for liking guys or being interested in Naoto.
  • Teddie – A bear from the TV world, he becomes good friends with Yu and friends and is invited to stay in the human world, where he created a human version of himself.  Always excited and curious, Teddie wants to know more about the human world, but also wanting to remember his past.
  • Naoto Shirogane – A young detective who moves to Inaba to help the police investigate the serial-murder case.  Despite looking like a boy, he’s actually a girl.
  • Ryotaro Dojima – The uncle of Yu and father of Nanako.  Ryotaro is a police detective and is often so busy with his work especially with the escalating crimes, that he has to leave Nanako at home.
  • Nanako Dojima – The young daughter of Ryotaro who looks at Yu as her “Big Bro”.  Nanako likes the companionship of Yu and his friends and although she can take care of herself at home when her father is away, Nanako worries that her father is more interested in catching bad guys than her.

What’s happening in “Persona 4: The Animation – Collection Two”?

In the second half of the anime series, Yu and friends are happy that the serial murderer is behind bars and that their lives can go back to normal.  But young detective Naoto Shirogane is not convinced as there seems to be a few holes that he needs to figure out.  Especially his interest in Yu and friends and their relationship to the case.

Eventually Naoto finds himself in the TV world and Yu and friends must do all they can to save the detective.

Meanwhile, another accident has taken place in the area and it is revealed of what happened to Nanako’s mother and why her father is constantly working late hours.  But with Nanako’s father always at work, Nanako begins to question if her father loves her or prefers catching criminals more.

And things continue to get worse for Yu as he begins receiving letters, threatening him that a family member will die if he continues to save people.  Eventually, the serial-murder case that the group thought was over is not and this time, tragedy hits closer to home.

And finally, a thick fog has entered Inaba and it’s unusual nature has been keeping the residents uneasy. After a major tragedy, the group must work together and find out who is truly responsible for the serial-murders.

VIDEO:

“Persona 4: The Animation” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). The anime series is vibrant and colorful. The overall look of “Persona 4” is stylish and cool, but it’s interesting to see its use of pink with white on the faces of the characters. It’s definitely a different use of coloring for characters but watching this anime series, color plays a big part in this series to set a mood. May it be the looming danger of the fog rolling into Inaba, the use of blues in the Blue Room but for the majority of the anime series, everything is colorful. Chie’s red hair and green/yellow track jacket, Yukiko and Rise’s use of red and of course the beautiful combination of animation and CG elements, for the most part, I felt the series compliments the video game remarkably well.

But overall anime production from AIC A.S.T.A. is fantastic, the series looks wonderful on Blu-ray with no banding or artifacts. The series looked sharp, black levels were nice and deep and colors were absolutely vibrant! “Persona 4: The Animation” looks awesome!

AUDIO:

“Persona 4: The Animation” is presented only with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack. While the English version is well-acted, it is somewhat of a disappointment that the Japanese soundtrack is not included. The reason for this is that the Japanese licensors did not want reverse importation of the Blu-ray release, but yet the DVD will include both soundtracks. It’s sad because the Japanese soundtracks utilize the same voice actors, which would have been nice to see. But the fear of reverse importation does happen and unfortunately some series are released in America without its Japanese soundtrack. Interesting enough, on the video game side of things, the recent U.S. release of “Persona 4 Arena” became the first video game to be region-locked for the PlayStation 3. One again, in fears of reverse importation.

With that being said, dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels. And when it comes to voice acting, Sentai Filmworks brought voice acting veterans to the series such as Johnny Yong Bosch, Amanda Winn Lee, Yuri Lowenthal, Laura Bailey, Karen Strassman and more.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Persona 4: The Animation – Collection Two” comes with the following special features:

  • Clean Opening and Closing Animations
  • Trailers – Trailers for Sentai Filmworks releases

If you thought the first half of “Persona 4: The Animation” was exciting, wait until you watch “Persona 4: The Animation – Collection Two”.  More action, more exciting and even more emotional than the first half.  Definitely one of the best anime series created that is based on a video game!

I’m a big fan of the entire “Shin Megami Tensei” video game series. My first experience with a “Shin Megami Tensei” video game was “Persona II: Eternal Punishment” and I absolutely loved the game for its characters but also it’s darker theme, use of Personas and it’s use of Japanese pop culture ingrained into an RPG game, the video games were a distinct style compared to other games from the major software makers.

And things changed no doubt with “Persona 3” which included a dating simulator and the ability for one to strengthen relationships, friendships and the overall gameplay becoming much more stylish and cool! Suffice to say, when “Persona 4” came out, once again, Atlus was able to create cool characters and further the experience for fans and gamers (who love Japanese RPG’s), but most importantly, making the games different from other companies and continuing to set the “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona” apart from its competitors.

And more American video game critics have started to take notice in the “Shin Megami Tensei” series. While many people who are discovering it are wondering, what is the appeal?

“Persona 4: The Animation” is a series that captures the fun of the video game series but in animated format. It’s one thing to have animated cut scenes but to have a series that compliments the video game is wonderful. Many people who have watched anime series based on video games, may it be “Final Fantasy”, “Xenogears”, “Tekken”, “Street Fighter”, “King of Fighters” will notice that the stories are much different than the video game. While there are series such as the “.Hack” anime that does compliment the video games, it doesn’t use the actual characters of the video game series completely. “Persona 4: The Animation” not only features the characters, but it also showcases the supporting characters and goes into things that make the video game series so fun such as one’s ability to strengthen relationships and friendships.

Like the video game, the main protagonist Yu can make a difference in people’s lives. From making a difference in the life of his cousin, young Nanako to also his relationship with his female friends…Chie, Yukiko and Rise. And like the video game, the series shows how Yu can easily heighten his relationship with these female characters if he focuses on it. The video game of course allows you to build these relationships, but the anime series showcases those relationships and what one can accomplish.

And then there is the Persona element. With most of the Persona games, there is always a character who has the special ability to use more than one Persona. The series uses Igor and Margaret from the Blue Room to start off each episode and shows how Yu has received a new Persona for strengthening his bonds with other people. This is important in the video game and it’s great to see the series start off with the Blue Room and set the tone for the series, may it be to guide Yu or to warn him of major danger.

The second half of the series continues the action, but also the friendships that Yu and friends have.  But how these people function almost like a family.  But just when you think the serial-murder case was over, think again!

And what shocks the audience is when an unexpected tragedy hits close to home and a death you never expected.  Definitely makes the series more emotional but everything works itself out by the end of the series that you can’t help but want to watch more “Persona 4: The Animation”.  A lot of twists and turns with this second half but it was definitely worth watching!

Watching “Persona 4: The Animation” made me feel giddy like a fanboy. Why? Because I absolutely love the video games and to see it explored in such a way, like this anime series and getting it right, I don’t know how many times I have watched an anime series inspired by a video game and felt disappointed because it seemed as if the writers of the anime series were not on the same page as those who developed the video games. But for “Persona 4: the Animation”, the writers were in tune with what happens in the series and managed to incorporate those elements from the video game to this anime series.

The Blu-ray looks absolutely fantastic! Colorful, vibrant, the anime series looks fantastic on Blu-ray. As for the audio, I’m sure there are those who are going to be disappointed that the Japanese soundtrack was not included but once again, fears of reverse importation has happened before for an anime series on Blu-ray and in the case of “Persona 4”, it not only has affected this Blu-ray release but also the most recent release of the “Persona 4 Arena”video game being region-locked.

Sure, the Blu-ray may not have both soundtracks (while the DVD does) but if you do enjoy English dubs, the good news is that Sentai Filmworks brought in their veterans for “Persona 4: The Animation”. From Amanda Winn Lee, Johnny Yong Bosch, Yuri Lowenthall, Karen Strassman, Laura Bailey to name a few, I’m quite pleased with the English dub. As for special features, you get the usual clean opening and ending animations but also both director’s cut and on air versions of the first episode.

If you thought the first half of “Persona 4: The Animation” was exciting, wait until you watch “Persona 4: The Animation – Collection Two”.  More action, more exciting battles and even more emotional than the first half of the series.  Definitely one of the better anime series that is based on a video game!  Recommended for fans of the “Shin Megami Tensei” video games and anime fans wanting something different for an action anime series but also something unique, stylish, cool!

Highly recommended!

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – The Complete Series (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

November 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

For those who grew up with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, this is the ultimate set! “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – The Complete Series” features all three seasons plus the season 3.5 mini-series, new and older special features and more!  What an awesome set that fans will definitely want to own.  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 SCG Power Rangers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – The Complete Series

TV SERIES AIR DATE: 1993-1996

DURATION: Episodes 1-155 (19 DVD’s)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Closed Captions

COMPANY: Saban/Shout! Factory

RATED: TV-Y7 FV

RELEASE DATE: November 20, 2012

Directed by Terence H. Winkless, Robert Hughes, John Stewart, Shuki Levy, Robert Radler, Worth Keeter, Jonathan Tzachor, Jerry P. Jacobs, Armand Garabidian, David Blyth, Adrian Carr, Jeffrey Reiner, John Blizek, Marco Garibaldi, Douglas Sloan, Vickie Bronaugh, Isaac Florentine, Larry Litton, Paul Schrier

Written by Shuki Levy, Stewart St. John, Shell Danielson, Douglas Sloan, Cheryl Saban, Mark Hoffmeier,Mark Litton, Judd Lynn,  Julianne Klemm,Ellen Levy-Sarnoff,  Peggy Nicoll, Gary Glasberg, Dan Sarnoff,  Jeff Deckman, Steve Kramer, Mark Ryan, Ronnie Sperling, Jackie Marchand, Tony Oliver, Chris Schoon, Tomy Wyner, Barbara Oliver, Gilles Wheeler

Executive Producer: Shuky Levy

Supervising Producer: Tony Oliver, Douglas Sloan, Winston Richard

Produced by Ronnie Hadar, Jonathan Tzachor, Ken Fukuyoshi

Co-Producer: Paul Rosenthal, Ann Knapp, Ellen Levy-Sarnoff

Music by Ron Wasserman

Cinematography by Llan Rosenberg

Edited by Charlie Bowyer, Adi Ell-Ad, Sharon Janis, John Blizek

Art Direction by Steven R. Miller

Series Set Decoration by Sonya Edingburgh

Costume Design by Danielle Baker

Featuring:

Richard Steven Horvitz (voice of Alpha 5)

David Yost as Billy Cranston

Amy Jo Johnson as Kimberly Hart

Austin St. John as Jason Lee Scott

Thuy Trang as Trini Kwan

Walter Jones as Zack Taylor

Jason David Frank as Tommy Oliver

Paul Schrier as Farkas “Bulk” Burkmeier

Jason Narvy as Eugene “Skull” Skullovitch

Barbara Goodson as the vice of Rita Repulsa

Machiko Soga as Rita Repulsa

David Fielding as the voice of Zordon

Richard Genelle as Ernie

Robert Axelrod as Finster

Kerrigan Mahan as Goldar

Michael Sorich as Squatt

David Mallow as Baboo

Romy J. SharfSandi Sellner as Alpha 5

Wendee Lee as Scorpina

Johnny Yong Bosch as Adam Park

Steve Cardenas as Rocky DeSantos

Karan Ashley as Aisha Campbell

In 1993 two unsuspecting astronauts unleashed the greatest evil Earth had ever known — the heinous witch Rita Repulsa. In the 20 years since, with each new villain more sinister than the last, the citizens of Earth have relied on the Power Rangers to protect them. As a superhero team comprising “teenagers with attitude,” the Power Rangers must use their individual strengths combined with the virtue of teamwork to vanquish their foes, keeping Earth safe for another day.

After its premiere in August of 1993, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers became a phenomenon in children’s programming unlike anything the world had ever seen. An instant global sensation, the franchise launched a hugely successful toy line, live stage tour, theatrical feature film and, most importantly, two continuous decades of entertainment that captured the imagination of multiple generations of fans. Now you can see where the international sensation began with the complete first series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, on 19 discs, including the ten-episode Alien Rangers miniseries and two discs containing rarely seen archival material and brand-new retrospective featurettes!

1993. It was an intriguing time in the United States as we saw elements of Japanese pop culture starting to make its way to television. From Japanese animation being shown on television, so was a sentai series known as “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”.

Based on the 16th installment of the Super Sentai franchise and known as “Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger” in Japan, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” became an amazing hit as it aired on Fox Kids and made Saban Entertainment a household name for people growing up at that time. Instead of releasing the Japanese version of the series and providing an English dub, Saban Entertainment wrote new episodes and just used the footage featuring the action sequences including the rangers and their mecha vehicles incorporated to the new footage.

And with the 20th Anniversary of the Power Rangers in America taking place in 2013, Shout! Factory will be releasing the complete series via 19-DVD set of “Mighty Morphon Power Rangers: The Complete Series”.  The ultimate set for fans of the original Power Rangers!

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” was a simple story focusing on five teenagers in the fictional city of Angel Grove, California.

The five teenagers, who are good friends, included the fitness jock Jason Lee Scott (as portrayed by Austin St. John), the dancer Zack Taylor (as portrayed by Walter Jones), the gymnast Kimberly Hart (As portrayed by Amy Jo Johnson), the intelligent Billy Cranston (as portrayed by David Yost) and the always happy Trini Kwan (as portrayed by Thuy Trang).

While the teens put hang out at a teen Youth Center owned by Ernie (As portrayed by Richard Genelle) and are often upset at the local wannabe bullies Bulk (as portrayed by Paul Schrier) and Skull (as portrayed by Jason Narvy), everyone likes to have fun at the center.

While in space, two astronauts discover an extraterrestrial container and when they open it, they inadvertently release the evil alien sorceress named Rita Repulsa who was confined in the container for over 10,000 years. And now Rita has her sights of conquering the planet Earth with her evil space aliens and monsters.

The wise sage known as Zordon, who was responsible for capturing Rita and confining her, now needs to make sure Earth is protected. So, Zodon has his robotic assistant named Alpha 5, find five teenagers who can help defend the Earth from Rita’s attacks.

And the five teenagers are brought to headquarters to meet Zordon and Alpha 5 and find out that they have been selected to defend the Planet Earth from Rita Repulsa’s attacks. They will be given the power of the Power Rangers, dino-powered warriors of goodness.

Jason becomes Red Ranger, Zack becomes Black Ranger, Billy becomes Blu Ranger, Trini becomes Yellow Ranger and Kimberly becomes Pink Ranger. The five are given weapons and a vehicle to control. And when their opponent becomes too strong for all five to challenge, the five can use their vehicles to become one huge robot known as the Megazord.

As the five teens use their new powers to defend the planet from Rita Repulsa’s monsters, a new teenager with martial arts skills shows up in Angel Grove. His name is Tommy Oliver (portrayed by Jason David Frank), who has the power of the Green Ranger, but is he friend or foe?

As the first season focused on Rita trying to use the Tommy/green power ranger against the Power Rangers and then trying to regain the power, the second season would introduce new antagonists.

In season two, Rita Repulsa’s superior, Lord Zedd has arrived and upset with her performance, he throws her into the space dumpster and focuses on his own personal campaign to conquer Earth.  But because of the new threat, Zordon and Alpha upgrade the Dinozords into the Thunderzords, with the exception of Tommy who must continue to use the Dragonzord.

Meanwhile, as Zedd ties to focus on eliminating Tommy, Zed creates a special green crystal in order to take away the powers of the Green Ranger and also power up Zedd’s Dark Rangers.  Meanwhile, Jason, Zack and Trini are chosen to attend the World Peace Conference in Switzerland and that means that the Power Rangers will need new members.  And the three’s powers are transferred over to new members Rocky DeSantos (portrayed by Steve Cardenas), the new red ranger; Adam Park (portrayed by Johnny Yong Bosch), the new black ranger and Aisha Campbell (portrayed by Karan Ashley); the new yellow ranger.

This will eventually lead to a new storyline featuring a transformation of Tommy into the White Ranger with a Tigerzord and become the new leader of the group.  As for Rita Repulsa, she makes her re-appearances, albeit with a special makeover to have a younger and prettier face.  Thus creating two power-house antagonists that the Rangers must contend with.

In season three, a new antagonist known as Rito Revolto (Rita’s skeletal brother) has now arrived on Earth and showing his might, destroys the Power Rangers Thunderzords and even the Tiger Zord.  Needing new zords, the Power Rangers seek the creator of the Power Coins, Ninjor and the result is the creation of powerful Ninjazords and the Falconzord and later to the Shogunzords.

The third season introduces us to Katherine Hillard (portrayed by Catherine Sutherland) who arrives from Australia to Angel Grove and becomes the new replacement for Kimberly who chooses to pursue her dreams of competing in the Pan Global Games and becomes the new Pink Ranger.

The third season also, introduces us to Rita’s father, Master vile and turns the Power Rangers into children and leads to the ten-episode mini-series (a.k.a. Season 3.5), Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers (which is included in the season three DVD release).

With Master Vile using the Orb of Doom to turn the Power Rangers into children, Zordon recruits the Alien Rangers of Aquitar for their help.  Meanwhile, Billy tries to find a way to restore everyone back to their normal ages and that is to find the fragments of the Zeo Crystal.

Here is a spoiler-less summary of the episodes featured in the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – The Complete Series”:

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Vol. 1” (Note: The episodes are listed by production code order, not air date)

  • EPISODE 1 – DAY OF THE DUMPSTER – Rita Repulsa has been released from her imprisonment, the sage Zordon selects five teenagers and gives them the dino-powers of goodness to protect the planet.
  • EPISODE 2 – HIGH FIVE – Rita tries to trap the Power Rangers in a Time Warp.
  • EPISODE 3 – TEAMWORK – When Kim and Trini try to shut down a local waste dump, they don’t know the waste dump is owned by Rita.
  • EPISODE 4 – A PRESSING ENGAGEMENT – Rita tries to split the Rangers up during their battle with the King Sphinx.
  • EPISODE 5 – DIFFERENT DRUM – Kimberly’s deaf friend has a problem fitting in at the Youth Center.
  • EPISODE 6 – FOOD FIGHT – Rita sends Finster’s creation, the Pudgy Pig to the Youth Center’s International Food Festival.
  • EPISODE 7 – BIG SISTERS – Kim and Trini become a big sister for teh mischievous Maria. But Rita kidnaps Maria and the Power Rangers must save her.
  • EPISODE 8 – I, EYE GUY – Billy tries to help his youn, intelligent friend Willy with his Virtual Reality device for the Angel Grove Science Fair.
  • EPISODE 9 – FOR WHOM THE BELL TROLLS – Trini brings her favorite doll, an elf named Ticklesneezer to Angel Grove High’s Hobby Week.
  • EPISODE 10 – HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZACK – The Rangers and Ernie plan a surprise birthday party at the Juice Bar for Zack.
  • EPISODE 11 – NO CLOWNING AROUND – Trini takes her cousin Sylvia to the fair but the fair is a front for Rita’s Putties and one turns Sylvia into a cardboard cutout. Can Trini save her cousin and bring her back to normal.
  • EPISODE 12 – POWER RANGER PUNKS – When Billy and Kimberly’s drinks are spiked, they become bullies.
  • EPISODE 13 – PEACE, LOVE AND WOE – Billy bumps into an intelligent girl named Marge and both decide to the upcoming dance together. But what happens when Madame Woe captures Marge?
  • EPISODE 14 – FOUL PLAY IN THE SKY – Kim goes for flying lessons with her Uncle Steve, a pilot. But when Rita puts a sleeping potion in Rita’s drink, Kim must take over the controls of the airplane during flight.
  • EPISODE 15 – DARK WARRIOR – Trini’s scientist uncle Howard drops by to showcase his new invisibility formula, which Rita wants.
  • EPISODE 16 – SWITCHING PLACES – Squat and Bamboo play around with BIlly’s brain switching machine and causes him and Kimberly to swap bodies.
  • EPISODE 17 – GREEN WITH EVIL, PART 1: OUT OF CONTROL – Tommy Oliver has come to town and Kimberly falls for him. But when Rita kidnaps Tommy and turns him into the evil Green Ranger, what happens when he infiltrates the Command Center.
  • EPISODE 18 – GREEN WITH EVIL, PART 2: JASON’S BATTLE – Tommy transports Jason into the Dark Dimension.
  • EPISODE 19 – GREEN WITH EVIL, PART 3: THE RESCUE – Jason is powerless in the Dark Dimension and must fight against Goldar and the Green Ranger.
  • EPISODE 20 – GREEN WITH EVIL, PART 4: ECLIPSING MEGAZORD – Giant Goldar attacks Angel Grove, meanwhile the Power Rangers look for Zordon.
  • EPISODE 21 – GREEN WITH EVIL, PART 5: BREAKING THE SPELL – The Green Ranger’s identity is revealed.
  • EPISODE 22 – THE TROUBLE WITH SHELLSHOCK – Baboo and Squatt create a turtle monster known as Shellshock.
  • EPISODE 23 – ITSY BITSY SPIDER – Trini and Billy try to save the Forest Spirit Statue from being destroyed.
  • EPISODE 24 – THE SPIT FLOWER – Kimberly must design a flower float for teh big Angel Grove Parade.
  • EPISODE 25 – LIFE’S A MASQUERADE – A costume party is being held at the Youth Center but Rita uses the opportunity to mine a special clay on Earth to make Super Putties.
  • EPISODE 26 – GUNG HO! – Jason and Tommy team up for an upcoming Team Ninja competition at the Youth Center.
  • EPISODE 27 – WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE – The Power Rangers are involved in a stage play of Rumpelstiltskin at Angel Grove High.
  • EPISODE 28 – ISLAND OF ILLUSION, PART 1 – Rita sends the six Rangers to her trans-dimensional island where worst fears become a reality.
  • EPISODE 29 – ISLAND OF ILLUSION, PART 2 – The Power Rangers are trapped in the Island of Illusion. Can they escape?
  • EPISODE 30 – THE ROCKSTAR – Jason and his young cousin Jeremy get caught up in a plot by Rita and Scorpina.

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Vol. 2” (Note: The episodes are listed by production code order, not air date)

  • EPISODE 31 – CALAMITY KIMBERLY – Kimberly is having a bad day and Rita sends a Samurai Fan Man to fight the Power Rangers.
  • EPISODE 32 – A STAR IS BORN – Tommy competes against Bulk for a TV commercial and the Raners must take on Scorpina’s pet worm.
  • EPISODE 33 – THE YOLK’S ON YOU – Finster creates the Fang monster for Rita’s birthday, but the monster becomes enraged when Baboo & Squat eat his rare “Gooney Bird” eggs, Goldar tells the Fang monster that the Power Rangers are responsible and now the Fang monster wants revenge.
  • EPISODE 34 – THE GREEN CANDLE, PART 1 – Rita plans to put an end to the Green Ranger.
  • EPISODE 35 – THE GREEN CANDLE, PART 2 – Tommy fights back against the cyclops monster with all his might.
  • EPISODE 36 – BIRDS OF A FEATHER – Zack teaches young students to compete in a karate tournament, meanwhile the Power Rangers must take on a Hatchasaurus monster.
  • EPISODE 37 – CLEAN-UP CLUB – The Rangers organize a Clean-Up club.
  • EPISODE 38 – A BAD REFLECTION ON YOU – Rita has a new monster known as the Twin Man who creates evil doppelgangers of the Power Rangers.
  • EPISODE 39 – DOOMSDAY, PART 1 – Angel Grove throws a big celebration to the Power Rangers, but Goldar has his own plans to defeat the Power Rangers on their special day.
  • EPISODE 40 – DOOMSDAY, PART 2 – The Zords have been damaged and Rita has captured the entire population of Angel Grove and imprisons them in another dimension.
  • EPISODE 41 – RITA’S SEED OF EVIL – The Rangers plant saplings in the park, but Rita also plants something…an Octoplant.
  • EPISODE 42 – A PIG SURPRISE – The Rangers organize a Pet Adoption program and an older lady donates a pig, but the old lady is actually a putty.
  • EPISODE 43 – SOMETHING FISHY – When the Rangers organize a Pet Adoption program, Billy declines to take part of it because of his fears of being bitten by a fish.  Rita exploits this fear by creating a Toxic fish monster.
  • EPISODE 44 – LIONS AND BLIZZARDS – When the Rangers win the Oddball Games, Rita turns their strange trophy into a chimera.
  • EPISODE 45 – CRYSTAL OF NIGHTMARES – The Rangers must study for an upcoming test and head to the cabin up in the mountains, but Goldar uses this moment to use the Crystal of Nightmares on the Rangers.
  • EPISODE 46 – TO FLEA OR NOT TO FLEA  – Ernie’s Youth Center and Juice Bar is going out of business and Rita introduces her newest monster, the Fighting Flea.
  • EPISODE 47 – REIGN OF THE JELLYFISH – Angel Grove High School plants to bury a time capsule and inside the capsule includes a photo of the Power Rangers which makes Rita very jealous that her photo is not included.  So, she unleashes her jellyfish monster to go after the Power Rangers.
  • EPISODE 48 – PLAGUE OF THE MANTIS – Trini trains with Master Li and learns the Praying Mantis Style.
  • EPISODE 49 – RETURN OF AN OLD FRIEND, PART 1 – It’s Parent’s Day at the Youth Center and Rita traps the parents and puts them in another dimension.
  • EPISODE 50 – RETURN OF AN OLD FRIEND, PART 2 – Tommy is teleported to Command Center to become the Green Ranger once again.
  • EPISODE 51 – GRUMBLE BEE – Billy gets a B on his test and feels he must study more.  Meanwhile, Finster creates the Grumble Bee to take on the Rangers.
  • EPISODE 52 – TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE – Baboo and Squatt create a turtle monster known as Shellshock.
  • EPISODE 53 – FOWL PLAY – The Power Rangers take on a two-headed parrot monster.
  • EPISODE 54 – TRICK OR TREAT – Kimberly takes on Skull in the nation’s biggest game show, “Trick or Treat!”.
  • EPISODE 55 – SECOND CHANCE – Ernie selects the lineup for the Angel Grove Junior Soccer team but a young boy named Roger isn’t on it. So, the Rangers try to help them.
  • EPISODE 56 – ON FINS AND NEEDLES – Jason and Tommy teach free karate classes at the Youth Center.  But Rita is sickened by their friendship and sends down a Slippery Shark Monster to end this friendship.
  • EPISODE 57 – ENTER…THE LIZZINATOR – Kimberly tries to help her Cousin make it on the Angel Grove Junior High cheerleading squad, but Squat and Baboo kidnap her.
  • EPISODE 58 – FOOTBALL SEASON – Tommy is struggling on Angel Grove High football team due to his karate training.  Rita sends down a Rhinoblaster to take on the Power Rangers.
  • EPISODE 59 – MIGHTY MORPHIN MUTANTS – With self-improvement week at Angel Grove High, Rita creates her own mutant rangers.
  • EPISODE 60 – AN OYSTER STEW – Zack wants to impress Angela by getting her presents for her birthday, but he doesn’t know the earrings are evil Pearls of Stiffness which freezer her and everyone else around them except Zack and Tommy.

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 2, Vol. 1” (Note: The episodes are listed by production code order, not air date)

  • EPISODE 61 – THE MUTINY, PART 1 – The Rangers take part in a charity 4-wheeler race, meanwhile Lord Zedd has returned to the galaxy!
  • EPISODE 62 – THE MUTINY, PART 2 – Lord Zedd sends out a Pirahntishead to take control of the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord and the Dragonzord.
  • EPISODE 63 – THE MUTINY, PART 3 – If Billy can find a way to get control of the Dinozords, Zordon can upgrade them to Thunderzords.  But will Billy be able to do it?
  • EPISODE 64 – THE WANNA-BE RANGER – Lord Zedd creates the Primator which can transform himself into an exact double of anyone.
  • EPISODE 65 – PUTTY ON THE BRAIN – Lord Zedd puts his power on Billy’s special sunglasses and each time he puts them on, the Rangers will be put on a spell to think their teammates are Putties.
  • EPISODE 66 – BLOOM OF DOOM – When no one joins Kimberly’s gardening club, Lord Zedd puts a spell on Kimberly and making her jealous of Trini.
  • EPISODE 67 – THE GREEN DREAM – Why is Tommy having a dream that he will be losing all his powers?
  • EPISODE 68 – THE POWER STEALER – It’s another clean-up drive in Angel Grove and Lord Zedd sends his Octophantom monster to steal Tommy’s powers.
  • EPISODE 69 – THE BEETLE INVASION – Zedd creats a Stag Beetle monster.
  • EPISODE 70 – WELCOME TO VENUS ISLAND – The group are having fun at the beach but Goldar kidnaps Trini’s young neighbor Hallie..
  • EPISODE 71 – THE SONG OF GUILLARDO – The Rangers have fun at a picnic but Lord Zedd turns a cicada into a Guitardo monster.
  • EPISODE 72 – GREEN NO MORE, PART 1 – Tommy and Kimberly witness a transmission from the future in which Tommy loses all his powers.
  • EPISODE 73 – GREEN NO MORE, PART 2 – Lord Zedd strips the Power Rangers from their Morphers.  Tommy is trapped in another dimension.
  • EPISODE 74 – MISSING GREEN – Jason can’t concentrate on the big karate tournament as he feels guilty for not getting the Green Candle to prevent Tommy from losing his powers.
  • EPISODE 75 – ORCHESTRAL MANEUVERS IN THE PARK – A big jazz concert at the Youth Center but Zedd creates a Trumpet Top monster to go against the Rangers.
  • EPISODE 76 – BEAUTY AND THE BEAST  – Lord Zedd needs a bride and Goldar, Squatt and Baboo kidnap Kimberly.
  • EPISODE 77 – WHITE LIGHT, PART 1 – Tommy vanishes without warning and what is this strange gold object that Bulk and Skull has found in the park?
  • EPISODE 78 – WHITE LIGHT, PART 2 – The Rangers are wondering who is the White Ranger?
  • EPISODE 79 – TWO FOR ONE – Kim and Tommy go out on a date but the two are attacked by the Putties.
  • EPISODE 80 – OPPOSITES ATTRACT – Billy is working on a new experiment and Lord Zedd sends Goldar and the Putties to disrupt the experiment.
  • EPISODE 81 – ZEDD’S MONSTER MASH – It’s Halloween and Ranger Teens are helping at the Youth Center, but the Putties have a surprise waiting.
  • EPISODE 82 – THE NINJA ENCOUNTER, PART 1 – The Power Ranger teens encounter their friends from Stone Canyon High School (Rocky, Aisha and Adam).
  • EPISODE 83 – THE NINJA ENCOUNTER, PART 2 – Rocky, Aisha, Adam and Mr. Anderson are trapped in teh cave and the Power Rangers must save them.
  • EPISODE 84 – THE NINJA ENCOUNTER, PART 3 – The group ties to figure out how to unfreeze, Jason, Zack and Trini and save their friends before they are turned into the dark side.
  • EPISODE 85 – A MONSTER OF GLOBAL PROPORTIONS – Lord Zepp kidnaps the international reps of the World Teen Summit and the Rangers will need help from their new friends.
  • EPISODE 86 – ZEDD WAVES – Rocky, Aisha and Adam compete in a triathalon.  Meanwhile, Lord Zedd sends a Beamcaster monster to disrupt them.

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 2, Vol. 2” (Note: The episodes are listed by production code order, not air date)

  • EPISODE 87 – THE POWER TRANSFER, PART 1 – With Jason, Zack and Trini planning to attend the World Peace Conference in Switzerland, they must give their powers to their new replacements….Aisha, Adam and Rocky.
  • EPISODE 88 – THE POWER TRANSFER, PART 2 – The new Rangers try to find and retrieve the Sword of Light.
  • EPISODE 89 – GOLDAR’S VICE-VERSA – It’s time for the Vice-Versa dance at Angel Grove High but with Adam without a date, Goldar sends in Sabrina to catch his eye.
  • EPISODE 90 – MIRROR OF REGRET – Adam’s young student gets picked on because he is smaller.  Meanwhile, Goldar comes down to Earth to use the Mirror of Regret.
  • EPISODE 91 – WHEN IS A RANGER NOT A RANGER? – Lord Zedd turns Adam’s kaleidoscope into a Scatterbrain monster.
  • EPISODE 92 – ROCKY JUST WANTS TO HAVE FUN – Lord Zedd puts a spell on Red Ranger and Rocky begins to shirk all responsibilities.
  • EPISODE 93 – LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION – The Power Rangers are scheduled to appear on “The Harvey Garvey Show”.
  • EPISODE 94 – WHEN THERE’S SMOKE, THERE’S FIRE – It’s “Fire Safety Week” at Angel Grove High and Aisha is appointed to Fire Safey Captain.  But Lord Zedd creates a Flamehead monster to cause problems.
  • EPISODE 95 – SCAVENGER HUNT – The Rangers take part in a Scavenger Hunt at Angel Grove and Lord Zedd turns one item into a Cannontop monster.
  • EPISODE 96 – THE GREAT BOOKALA ESCAPE – A traveler from the planet Bookala lands in Angel Grove PaArk and Lord Zedd wants to steal the traveler’s special diamond.
  • EPISODE 97 – FOREVER FRIENDS – Aisha’s friend Shawna takes on Kimberly at the gymnastics competition.  But Goldar kidnaps Shawn and Kim.
  • EPISODE 98 – A REEL FISH STORY – Lord Zedd recreates Rita’s water-based monsters while the Rangers are hanging out at Angel Grove Lake.
  • EPISODE 99 – RANGERS BACK IN TIME, PART 1 – Lord Zedd uses the Rock of Time to reverse the Earth’s rotation and everyone reverts to children.
  • EPISODE 100 – RANGERS BACK IN TIME, PART 2 – The Rangers have become children and their only hope are…a young Bulk and Skull?
  • EPISODE 101 – THE WEDDING, PART 1 – The Ranger teens take a class vacation to Australia.  Meanwhile Alpha 5 is corrupted by Finster’s virus.
  • EPISODE 102 – THE WEDDING, PART 2  – The Rangers must take on monsters in an abandoned theater.  Evil Alpha 5 is now in control of the command Center.
  • EPISODE 103 – THE WEDDING, PART 3 – Lord Zedd and a young Rita Repula get married.
  • EPISODE 104 – THE RETURN OF THE GREEN RANGER, PART 1 – Rita and Zedd summon the Wizard of Deception and send the teens back in time.
  • EPISODE 105 – THE RETURN OF THE GREEN RANGER, PART 2 – The White Ranger vs. the Green Ranger.
  • EPISODE 106 – THE RETURN OF THE GREEN RANGER, PART 3 – It’s the 1700s and the Rangers must take on human-sized rats
  • EPISODE 107 – BEST MAN FOR THE JOB – Tommy runs for office at school and his competition…Kimberly?
  • EPISODE 108 – STORYBOOK RANGERS, PART 1 – Angel Grove sponsors a book fair and Zedd and Rita zap Kim, Tommy and Rocky into a storybook.
  • EPISODE 109 – STORYBOOK RANGERS, PART 2 – Rocky, Tommy and Kimberly are stuck in the book, Grumble, the Magic Elf”.
  • EPISODE 110 – WILD WEST RANGERS, PART 1 – Kimberly gets sucked into a timehole and ends up in Angel Grove in 1880.
  • EPISODE 111 – WILD WEST RANGERS, PART 2 – Kimberly is trapped in Angel Grove, 1880 and must find a way to get back to the present time.
  • EPISODE 112 – BLUE RANGER GONE BAD – A girl named Violet creates a statue of Billy, but Goldar, Baboo and Squatt turn it into a life-sized replica of the Blue Ranger.

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 3” (Note: The episodes are listed by production code order, not air date)

  • EPISODE 113 – A FRIEND IN NEED, PART 1 – Alpha’s planet Edenoi is under attack by Count Dregon.
  • EPISODE 114 – A FRIEND IN NEED, PART 2 – The Rangers meet up with the people pf Planet Edenoi and their prince Dex (Masked Rider).
  • EPISODE 115 – A FRIEND IN NEED, PART 3 – The Power Rangers and Masked Rider take on the minions of Count Dregon.
  • EPISODE 116 – NINJA QUEST, PART 1 – Rito Rvolto, brother of Rita, plays a visit to Lord Zedd and Rita and destroys the Thunder Megazord and Tigerzord.
  • EPISODE 117 – NINJA QUEST, PART 2 – Lord Zedd Rita and Rino are having a party to celebrate the destruction of the Thunder Megazord and Tigerzord.  Meanwhile, the Power Rangers seek Ninjor, creator of the Power Coins.
  • EPISODE 118 – NINJA QUEST, PART 3 – The Power Rangers are given the Ninja Zords.
  • EPISODE 119 – NINJA QUEST, PART 4 – The Power Rangers with their Ninja Zords fight Rito.
  • EPISODE 120 – A BRUSH WITH DESTINY – Kimberly has nightmares of moving to Paris and Finster tries to take advantage of the situation.
  • EPISODE 121 – PASSING THE LANTERN – Adam receives a paper lantern with mysterious gifts.  Rito tries to steal the lantern.
  • EPISODE 122 – WIZARD FOR A DAY – Rocky switches places with Mr. Wilton, meanwhile Rito goes to Earth to destroy the Rangers.
  • EPISODE 123 – FOURTH DOWN AND LONG -Rocky’s uncle, a star quarterback comes to Angel Grove to visit.  Finster creates the Centiback to fight the Rangers.
  • EPISODE 124 – STOP THE HATE MASTER, PART 1 – Lord Zedd and Rita creates the evil Hate Master and all Rangers are under his spell except Aisha.
  • EPISODE 125 – STOP THE HATE MASTER, PART 2 – Aisha and Alpha must find a way to break the Hate Master’s spell.
  • EPISODE 126 – FINAL FACE-OFF – Kimberly goes to the museum to learn about a face-stealing monster.
  • EPISODE 127 – THE POTION NOTION – Zedd has a second honeymoon for Rita.  Meanwhile, Rito sends Miss Chief with a love potion to Angel Grove.
  • EPISODE 128 – I’M DREAMING OF A WHITE RANGER  – It’s Christmas Eve and Zedd and Rita send their troops to the North Pole to capture Santa Claus and the elves.
  • EPISODE 129 – A RANGER CATASTROPHE, PART 1 – Kimberly and Aisha find a stray cat and Rita wants to take advantage of the situation.
  • EPISODE 130 – A RANGER CATASTROPHE, PART 2 – The stray cat that Kimberly and Aisha finds, ends up to be Katherine, an old friend of Kimberly.
  • EPISODE 131 – CHANGING OF THE ZORDS, PART 1 – Rita now having control of Katherine uses her to steal Kim’s power coin.
  • EPISODE 132 – CHANGING OF THE ZORDS, PART 2 – The Rangers fight the Incisorator, meanwhile Kimberly is kidnapped by Lord Zedd.
  • EPISODE 133 – CHANGING OF THE ZORDS, PART 3 – Tommy agrees to pilot Lord Zedd’s evil Shogun Zords.
  • EPISODE 134 – FOLLOW THAT CAB – Bulk, Skull and Kimberly try to find a criminal.
  • EPISODE 135 – A DIFFERENT SHADE OF PINK, PART 1 – Kimberly receives an offer from an international gymnast trainer and Kimberly wonders if she can pursue her dream and quit being a Ranger.
  • EPISODE 136 – A DIFFERENT SHADE OF PINK, PART 2 – The Rangers fight the Tenga Warriors and Rito, meanwhile Kimberly is in the hospital.
  • EPISODE 137 – A DIFFERENT SHADE OF PINK, PART 3 – Kimberly makes her decision to follow her dream and Katherine becomes the new Pink Ranger.
  • EPISODE 138 – RITA’S PITA – Rita makes the healthy Tommy want nothing but junk food.
  • EPISODE 139 – ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL – Tommy runs for office at school and his competition…Kimberly?
  • EPISODE 140 – A CHIMP IN CHARGE – Katherine and Aisha to help teach a monkey named Kelly communicate with sign language.  Lord Zedd turns Kelly to a Sinister Simian monster.
  • EPISODE 141 – MASTER VILE AND THE METALLIC ARMOR, PART 1 – Rita and Rito’s father Master Vile has arrived and he transports the Rangers’ zords to another dimension.
  • EPISODE 142 – MASTER VILE AND THE METALLIC ARMOR, PART 2 – Tommy and Katherine try to find the Falcon Zord and Zeo Crystal.
  • EPISODE 143 – MASTER VILE AND THE METALLIC ARMOR, PART 3 – The Rangers must retrieve their zords in another dimension.
  • EPISODE 144 – THE SOUND OF DISCHORDIA – Aisha and Katherine write a song for school and the evil Dischordia is created by Master Vile.
  • EPISODE 145 – RANGERS IN REVERSE – Master Vile turns the Power Rangers into children.

“Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers – Season 3.5” (Note: The episodes are listed by production code order, not air date)

  • EPISODE 146 – ALIEN RANGERS OF AQUITAR, PART 1– The Power Rangers have been turned into their younger selves and Lord Zedd and his minions are causing chaos in Angel Grove.
  • EPISODE 147 – ALIEN RANGERS OF AQUITAR, PART 2 – The young Rangers meet their Alien Ranger allies.
  • EPISODE 148 – CLIMB EVERY FOUNTAIN – Young Billy and the Alien Rangers work together.
  • EPISODE 149 – THE ALIEN TRAP – The kids work on a new device to help the Alien Rangers.
  • EPISODE 150 – ATTACK OF THE 60′ BULK – Zedd and Rita want to create a new monster.
  • EPISODE 151 – WATER YOU THINKING? – The Rangers try to find the shattered pieces of the Zeo Crystal, while Zedd and Rita try to keep water away from the Alien Rangers in order to keep them dry.
  • EPISODE 152 – ALONG CAME A SPIDER – Billy needs to find parts to be used for the Zeo Crystal.
  • EPISODE 153 – SOWING THE SEAS OF EVIL – Young Tommy and Katerine are on their quest, meanwhile Rita and Zedd create a Hydro Hog.
  • EPISODE 154 – HOGDAY AFTERNOON, PART I – Aisha’s quest begins.  Lord Zedd looks for the Zeo Crystal.
  • EPISODE 155 – HOGDAY AFTERNOON, PART II – Aisha’s quest leads them to the final piece of the Zeo Crystal.  But Rito and Goldar want the complete Zeo Crystal.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – The Complete Series” is presented in 4:3 and this is probably the best quality we are going to see of the series. As many ’90s shows (animated or live action) will not receive the HD remastering or cleanup (especially due to the costs involved in remastering and clean up), having owned the VHS copies including the old Matrix Interactive Xiphias multimedia CD of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”, this is probably the best quality that I have seen of the series so far.

But with that being said, the series does look soft, it does feature noise and occasional specks do show up here and there. It’s important to note that the series was low budget in the beginning, it combined Japanese footage with American-made footage, so the sources do differ at times. But back then, Saban made it work! And as the series progresses, the picture quality does get a bit better.

As expected on DVD, with ten episodes on a single DVD, you can expect mild artifacts and banding. But for those who recorded the series on VHS or bought the original VHS or low-res Quicktime multimedia CD like I did back then, this is probably the best looking version of the TV series on any media right now.

As for audio, the audio is actually quite clear via Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0. Dialogue and music is clear and I heard no audio problems during my viewing of the entire series.

There are no English subtitles but closed captions are included.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Morphin Time! – (32:44) A look back ad the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” phenomenon with new interviews with the cast and creative team.
  • A Morphenomenal Cast: A Look at Becoming a Power Ranger – (35:06) Casting director Katy Wallin and the stars of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ” talk about being cast for the show and the camaraderie of teh cast members.
  • Lord Zedd’s Monster Heads – (25:03)  A video montage of the various monsters featured in the series.
  • Alpha’s Magical Christmas – (23:14) The original Power Rangers Christmas special episode featuring Alpha celebrating Christmas with the children.
  • The Good, The Bad and the Stupid! The Misadventures of Bulk and Skull – (52:13)  A special episode featuring Bulk and Skull as Civil Defenders and recalling their past adventures.
  • The Fans Power Up! A Peek Inside the Power Rangers Fandom – (13:46) Fans of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” talk about what they remember of the series when it first aired on television and the cast talk about how the fans are phenomenal and loyal.
  • Rare Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fan Club Video – (29:48) The original video created for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fan Club featuring the original season one cast.  And a chance for fans to learn more about the cast behind the Power Rangers.
  • MMPR Karate Club: The White Ranger Kata – (51:17) The karate club videos that were originally included in the VHS tapes featuring Jason David Frank teaching how to do martial arts.
  • Power Rangers Live: The World Tour – (1:11:59) Featuring the Power Rangers live stage show.

EXTRAS:

Featuring a 40-page booklet with information on the series, character bios, episode summary and more.  The set comes with a big slipcase to old all DVD’s.

Back in 1993, I was a big fan of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”.

At the time, I was running a Japanese animation and pop culture BBS and I remember myself and a group of other adult friends just being happy because we were starting to see Japanese pop culture, may it be anime or sentai (Japanese term for “squadron” but most often used for Ranger-type shows) on American television.

As a big fan of the anime series “Gatchaman” (also known as “G-Force” or “Battle of Planets” in the U.S.), I had this interest in sentai series. Mainly because I thought martial arts and the uniforms were cool, typically there was always a pretty starlet playing a member of the series and just enjoyed the series no matter how corny the storyline or adversaries would be or how the Yellow Ranger (Japanese scenes taken from Zyuranger) in action was played by a guy, while the America’s Yellow Ranger was a female.

My personal favorite in Japan was “Ninja Sentai Kakurangers” and also “Chojin Sentai Jetman”, but when I found out that Kyoryuu Sentai Zyuranger (Dinosaur Task Force Zyuranger) was coming to America with the name “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”, suffice to say, I was excited to see how its American interpretation would be. Especially how it would utilize the Japanese scenes.

And at the time, I can easily remember guys go crazy over Amy Jo Johnson, people wanting to design and have a Power Rangers helmet or costume and saw the excitement with the addition of the Green Ranger/White Ranger Tommy Oliver.

But as the series became popular, I can easily remember news stories of parents of different countries complaining about the violence of the series and children using martial arts on their siblings or other kids. Parents going crazy with the introduction of Lord Zedd and automatically seeing a new person playing Rita Repulsa.

But possibly the biggest shock would be the contract disputes in season two involving Austin St. John, Thuy Trang and Walter Jones and Saban making their statement clear that any cast member can easily be replaced. And by mid-season, three new cast members appeared in the series.

So, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” was an intriguing part of early ’90s pop culture. Many people were captivated by the show and even today, many young people including dedicated fans who have been around since 1993, continue to follow the series.

And because this series was so brand new and introduced people to sentai to larger audience, the original series holds a strong place in the hearts of many sentai fans!  And the fact that I grew up with this series, suffice to say, I have nothing but positive memories of watching the shows with friends and back during those earlier years of being online via BBS or when the internet started to become used in the household, this is one series that I will always remember chatting with people while it was airing on television.  Those were the days!

So, here we are with the fantastic DVD release of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season – The Complete Series”. Over 155-videos on 19 DVD’s. And watching these episodes takes me back to 1993, because I can remember chatting with people about these episodes, reading messages from the Amy Jo Johnson fans but seeing how people were really getting into the series by episode 17. The Green Ranger arc known as “Green with Evil” was so popular that many people would chime in on these episodes and what they thought of new character Tommy Oliver.

I can easily remember when Tommy became the White Ranger and then of course the baton was passed from the first cast to three new members and eventually seeing the Thunderzords, then the Ninja zords and seeing goodbye to Kimberly and Katherine replacing her as the new Pink Ranger.  So, many memories!

Watching it today, sure the series can be a bit corny. With the monsters ala rubber suits, a Black character as Black Ranger and an Asian as Yellow Ranger is a bit stereotypical and seeing the early ’90s fashion definitely makes this series a product of its time. And I’m sure a lot of us had jokes of seeing a Yellow Ranger with an adam’s apple back then and even to my chagrin of seeing Saban Entertainment doing the 3.5 series featuring the Power Rangers turned to children.  How delighted I was that the series did not turn out to be like “Big Bad Beetleborgs”.

But these episodes were fun to watch again and like any fan who is nostalgic for the series, it’s great to have this DVD set, especially containing  all these episodes for a pretty wonderful price! I can remember paying a lot more for the VHS tape including the multimedia disc that had the bad quality, small low-res Quicktime videos at the time. The old multimedia discs were so bad that colors were faded, artifacts galore and they were split up into multiple media files.

So, it’s great to have this all three seasons on DVD. And like many ’80s or early ’90s shows, they are not going to be the greatest in clarity. Picture quality is slightly soft, there are white specks that can be seen as with noise and yes, there is a little interlacing and artifacts that are expected on DVD (note: Mostly noticeable when watching it on big screens but not on smaller televisions) but considering the alternatives out there of watching this series on physical media, this is probably the best looking version you’re going to get for this first season and the good news is that as the series progresses, picture quality does get better.

But all first three seasons and season 3.5 together in one set is fantastic!  And also the inclusion of the special features, quite a few that are new and some of the old features that were on the VHS tapes are included on this DVD set.  While it would have been nice to have one of the convention press conferences being included on the special features or even a cast audio commentary reuniting some of the original members, I am quite pleased that there are newer interviews included with this DVD release but it would be great to have commentary, press conference and also the original pilot, which I was hoping to be included with this DVD set.

But fortunately, fans who want to know more about the Power Rangers that aren’t featured in the special features can still catch the cast at various conventions.  Fortunately original talents such as Austin St. John, Walter Jones, David Yost, Jason David Frank, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy and Rita Repulsa voice actress, Barbara Gordon, are still very active in the convention scene and enjoy meeting with fans of the series but unfortunately a true reunion with all six original members together would be impossible due to the unfortunate death of actress Thuy Trang (Trini/Yellow Ranger), who died in a car accident in 2001.

But there was something magical about this cast.  They were newbies but for us who grew up with them, I think it was positive in the sense that the casting was diverse.  I was also proud of the series back then because it featured a Black and Asian hero. Not sure if Saban was trying to be multi-cultural or politically correct but for me, how proud I was to see the casting of Walter Jones and Thuy Trang. As an Asian American, you just don’t see Asian heroes (outside of martial arts films distributed in America at the time), for me, to have a strong character like Trini, I was grateful for that. And of course, it continued with the newer members with Johnny Yong Bosch, Steve Cardenas and Karan Ashley.  And I’m glad that to this day, people of different ethnicities are still featured in these character roles for the different Power Rangers series within the last 20 years.  I find that pretty awesome!

But nevertheless, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” was a big part of the lives of many children and young adults. I was one of those fans who enjoyed it back then and met many good friends who were fans of the series and as I got older, eventually having friends who were involved in various Power Rangers series, may it be as talent or on the technical end of the series.

Overall, for those who grew up with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, this is the ultimate set! “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – The Complete Series” features all three seasons plus the season 3.5 mini-series, new and older special features and more!  What an awesome set that fans will definitely want to own.  Highly recommended!

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