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Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Review)

December 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

I found the storyline of “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” to be extremely satisfying and as a person who has watched the series and loved nearly every episode, I really enjoyed seeing the progression of Kirito and Asuna’s relationship and how that relationship plays a big part in the film’s storyline. I really do feel that fans will enjoy this SAO film! A wonderful and engrossing storyline filled with action and drama, “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of  2018 © REKI KAWAHARA/PUBLISHED BY KADOKAWA CORPORATION ASCII MEDIA WORKS/SAO MOVIE Project. © RK/KC AMW/SM


TITLE: Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2017

DURATION: 120 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

Release Date: December 19, 2017


Originally created by Reki Kawahara

Original Character Design by abec

Directed by Tomohiko Ito

Scenario by Reki Kawahara, Tomohiko Ito

Music by Yuki Kajiura

Character Design: Shingo Adachi

Art Director: Takayuki Nagashima

Chief Animation Director: Shingo Adachi

Sound Director: Yoshikazu Iwanami

CGI Director: Ryuta Undo

Director of Photography: Kentaro Waki

Anime Production by A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Haruka Tomatsu/Cherami Leigh as Asuna Yūki

Yoshitsugu Matsuoka/Bryce Papenbrook as Kazuto Kirigaya/Kirito

Ayahi Takagaki/Sarah Ann Williams as Rika Shinozaki/Lizbeth

Ayana Taketatsu/Cassandra Morris as Suguha Kirigaya/Leafa

Hiroaki Hirata/Kirk Thornton as Klein

Hiroki Yasumoto/Patrick Seitz as Andrew Gilbert Mills/Agil

Kanae Itō/Stephanie Sheh as Yui

Miyuki Sawashiro/Michelle Ruff as Shino Asada/Sinon

Rina Hidaka/Christine Marie Cabanos as Keiko Ayano/Silica

Sayaka Kanda/Ryan Bartley as Yuna

Takeshi Kaga/Jamieson Price as Professor Shigemura

Yoshio Inoue/Chris Patton as Eiji

Kouichi Yamadera/Marc Diraison as Akihiko Kayaba


After its overwhelmingly successful worldwide theatrical release, Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- makes its debut on Blu-ray and DVD!

The NerveGear, the world’s first dedicated full-dive device developed by the genius programmer, Akihiko Kayaba in 2022…a revolutionary machine that opened up infinite possibilities for the world of VR (Virtual Reality). 4 years later…. A next-generation, wearable multi-device called the Augma has been released to compete with the NerveGear’s successor, the Amusphere. A cutting-edge machine boasting the ability to enhance AR (Augmented Reality) to the maximum, the Augma offers a safe, user-friendly experience, as it can be used while the player is awake, making it an instant hit. Its most popular title is an ARMMORPG developed exclusively for the Augma, “Ordinal Scale (a.k.a. OS).”

Kirito is about to join Asuna and the others as an Ordinal Scale player, but they’re about to find out that it isn’t all fun and games…


The year 2026.

Two years after the “Sword Art Online” fiasco perpetrated by SAO creator Akihiko Kayaba which left many gamers injured or dead, a new technology is to be released.  A technology that is thought to be safe and nothing like the Nerve Gear that was used in “Sword Art Online”.

Now people can use the Augma, the successor to the Amusphere full-dive system which allows a player to play a game that simulates reality while the player is conscious (via augmented reality).

And one of the popular games created for the Augma is “Ordinal Scale”.  A game which has quickly gain popularity that Asuna, Lisbeth and Silica are playing it, but surprisingly Kirito hasn’t jumped aboard to play the game just yet until now.

As people get into the game, part of the main appeal to “Ordinal Scale” is the game’s mascot, an AI idol singer named Yuna who appears during the game to increase the stats of players.

While everyone is playing, the #2 ranked player Eiji helps the Kirito, Asuna and team defeat the level boss but Eiji uses the words “switch”, a term that was used in SAO to Asuna.

Meanwhile, Asuna tells Kirito that Eiji is most likely a member of the Knights of the Blood Oath named Nautilus, Yui tells them that the appearance of Aincrad bosses in “Ordinal Scale” are similar to the line up with the SAO dungeon maps.

As Asuna goes to play the game with her friends again, immediately Yuna and Eiji appear and Eiji pushes Asuna towards the level boss.

When Asuna is hit, she passes out and suddenly, Asuna starts to realize that her memories from SAO are starting to disappear. Concerned, Kirito takes Asuna to the hospital to get checked out and it is learned that the Augma device has scanned her brain for SAO memories, and it may have happened to other SAO players that are playing “Ordinal Scale”.

With Asuna’s memory loss of SAO, that means her memories of her friends, but most importantly her memories of Kirito will disappear.

A desperate Kirito tries to search for answers and promises that he will do whatever he can to get Asuna’s memories back.  But what will his search unveil?

What is “Sword Art Online”?

In 2002, writer Reki Kawahara wrote a novel series titled “Sword Art Online” under the name Fumio Kunori.

While Kawahara would receive critical acclaim for his novel “Accel World” in 2009, which earned Kawahara an ASCII Media Works’ 15th Dengeki Novel Prize and winning the Grand Prize in 2008, the popularity of “Accel World” would lead to “Sword Art Online” being republished and featuring the art work of abec.

This time using his real name on ASCII Media Works’ Dengeku Bunko label from April 10, 2009 and a spin-off series in 2012. The series has since spawned a total of ten manga adaptations. The anime series produced by A-1 Pictures was released in Japan between July and December 2012 and airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami in July 27, 2013.  And in 2014-2015, a 24-episode series titled “Sword Art Online II” aired on television.  And since then a TV special has been released.

In addition, a total of ten video games have been released and it was announced that an American live-action TV adaptation of “Sword Art Online” is being created.

And the animated film “Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale” was produced by A-1 Pictures and was directed by Tomohiko Ito and was released in Japan, Southeast Asia and Germany back in February 2017.

In the first series, Kirito and Asuna have become an online couple and while Kirito was able to succeed and free everyone by defeating the final boss of “Sword Art Online”, he has been utilized by law enforcement to assist in troubles that have affected users (as seen in “Sword Art Online II”).

In reality, Kazuto Kirigaya (Kirito) and Asuna Yuuki (Asuna) have continued their relationship outside of the game.  Asuna dreams of marrying Kazuto and having a family with him in the future.

And with the 2017 animated film “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”, with Asuna’s memories of SAO fading, the dreams of her and Kirito being together may now be in jeopardy.


VIDEO:

“Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Because of the ever changing landscape within the online game, there is a good balance between well-painted buildings and interiors and also beautiful painted backgrounds for outdoor scenes. Black levels are nice and deep but its the colorful palette and the beautiful backgrounds that captivate you. Wonderful anime production from A-1 Pictures.

Colors are absolutely vibrant and I didn’t notice any problems with artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  Dialogue and musical soundtrack are crystal clear in English and Japanese, while action sequences utilize the surround channels.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” features the following special features:

  • Sword Art Offline – Ordinal Scale – (14:27) Featuring Asuna and Kirito in super deformed format discussing the film.
  • PV & CM Colletions
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by the Japanese staff.  Yoshitsugu Tomatsu (Kirito), Haruka Tomatsu (Asuna) and Tomohiko Ito (Director)

EXTRAS:

This limited Edition of “Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale” contains a Bonus Music CD, 60-page deluxe booklet, Bushiroad’s Weiß Schwarz Exclusive Collectible PR Card (while supplies last), and rigid box.


If there is one thing that “Sword Art Online” has proved over the years, that Reki Kawahara’s light novels and the anime adaptation inspired from it, are popular among many fans worldwide.

I had no doubt in my mind that “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” would do well as a theatrical release, not just in Japan but other countries worldwide, especially the United States.

Considering the film is not a Studio Ghibli film or an animated film with no Disney or Hollywood movie studio connect, “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” grossed $1.35 million in the first four days of its North American run.

In fact, the film set an opening weekend record for an Aniplex of America theatrical release and has played in 560 theaters nationwide.

And that is for a film that debuted in American theaters with Japanese voice acting and English subtitles.  And for those who dislike reading during their films, Aniplex of America will be releasing the film with an English dub soundtrack in April 2017 for a limited theatrical engagement.

Watching “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”, it has everything that fans have loved in the series.  A lot of action, a lot of humor but also emotional drama as viewers have watched and seen the relationship between Kazuto (Kirito) and Asuna evolve and in this film, you really see how far their love for each other has blossomed.  And so, this film has become a fight for love and Kazuto doing all that is necessary to make sure that the young woman he loves is saved from losing her memories due to a new threat.

Fans will also love seeing characters from the past making their appearance in the video game but one will no doubt be anticipating the next SOA storyline as the ending teaser (after all the credits are done) shows us another menacing threat that will surely surprise fans of the series.

Animation is fantastic as A-1 Pictures did a wonderful job with capturing emotion in the faces of the characters but also within action sequences.  Voice acting is wonderful for both Japanese and English soundtracks.

If there was anything that I didn’t get into all that much in regards to “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is the overuse of AI idol singer Yuna (but I know that is quite subjective to the viewer).

Music plays a big part in the film and where idol singers through battle is something we are accustomed to seeing in “Macross” anime series or film, it was not something I expected all that much in “Sword Art Online” and felt it was done a little bit too much for my tastes but at the same time, I’m sure it benefits Aniplex for music soundtrack sales and I’m sure fans who loved the music in the film will no doubt be wanting the soundtrack.

The film looks fantastic and vibrant on Blu-ray, while the soundtrack is is presented in both Japanese and English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and dialogue and musical score are crystal clear.  Surround channels are well-utilized during the action sequences.

And for special features, you get the audio commentary and special short animation of “Sword Art OFFline”.  But for the hardcore fans who love the music for the film, the musical soundtrack for “Ordinal Scale” is included.  As well as an awesome 60-page deluxe booklet!

I absolutely enjoyed “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” but I do recommend people who know nothing about the series to at least watch the SAO series before jumping into the film.

Overall, I found the storyline of “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” to be extremely satisfying and as a person who has watched the series and loved nearly every episode, I really enjoyed seeing the progression of Kirito and Asuna’s relationship and how that relationship plays a big part in the film’s storyline.  I really do feel that fans will enjoy this SAO film!

A wonderful and engrossing storyline filled with action and drama, “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is highly recommended!

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!

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

August 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

monsuno-combatchaos

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

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

DVD TITLE: Monsuno: Combat Chaos

DURATION: Episodes 28-31 (110 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, NTSC, English Dolby Digital 2.0

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

RATED: TV Y7 FV

Release Date: August 27, 2013

Director: Yoshiaki Okumura

Produced By: Jared Wolfson, Yukio Kusumoto

Producer: Chapman Maddox

Associate Producer: Joh Hudson, Yuichi Kinishita

Story Editor: Michael Ryan

Character Design: Yuichiro Hayashi

Creature Design: Designmate

Animation Creature Design: Hiroto Kato

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

Art Director: Tomoko Iwasa

Mecha / Prop Design: Yasuhiro Moriki

Background Director: Shigemi Ikeda

Background Art: Shigemi Ikeda

Music by Michael Taera

Cinematography by Naoki Serizawa

Edited by Masaki Sakamoto

Casting by Rene Veilleux

Featuring the following voice talent:

Cam Clark as Chase

Christopher Smith as Bren

Karen Strassman as Jinja

Keith Silverstein as Dax

Kirk Thornton as Beyal

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

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

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

What is Monsuno?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIDEO & AUDIO:

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

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Monsuno: Combat Chaos” is recommended!

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

May 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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

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

DVD TITLE: Monsuno: Power

DURATION: Episodes 6-10 (110 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, NTSC, English Dolby Digital 2.0

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

RATED: TV Y7 FV

Release Date: May 21, 2013

Director: Yoshiaki Okumura

Produced By: Jared Wolfson, Yukio Kusumoto

Producer: Chapman Maddox

Associate Producer: Joh Hudson, Yuichi Kinishita

Story Editor: Michael Ryan

Character Design: Yuichiro Hayashi

Creature Design: Designmate

Animation Creature Design: Hiroto Kato

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

Art Director: Tomoko Iwasa

Mecha / Prop Design: Yasuhiro Moriki

Background Director: Shigemi Ikeda

Background Art: Shigemi Ikeda

Music by Michael Taera

Cinematography by Naoki Serizawa

Edited by Masaki Sakamoto

Casting by Rene Veilleux

Featuring the following voice talent:

Cam Clark as Chase

Christopher Smith as Bren

Karen Strassman as Jinja

Keith Silverstein as Dax

Kirk Thornton as Beyal

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

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

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

What is Monsuno?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIDEO & AUDIO:

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

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Monsuno: Power” is recommended!

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