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Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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: Kyoto Saga 1

YEAR: 2017

DURATION: (Episodes 1-6) 147 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: 13 and Up

Release Date: November 14, 2017


Based on the manga by Kazue Kato

Directed by Koichi Hatsumi

Series Composition by Toshiya Ono

Music by Hiroyuki Sawano, Kohta Yamamoto

Character Design by Keigo Sasaki

Art Director: Maho Takahashi

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Bryce Papenbrook as Rin Okumura

Jun Fukuyama/Johnny Yong Bosch as Yukio Okumura

Kana Hanazawa/Christine Marie Cabanos as Shiemi Moriyama

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


Blue Exorcist, the manga by Kazue Kato which has surpassed 15 million copies in sales. Following a TV anime series and a theatrical film, the long-awaited new series has come back! Set in Kyoto, a new chapter of Blue Exorcist is about to begin…

Born the spawn of Satan, Rin Okumura decides to hide his origins, and become an exorcist. He enrolls at the Exorcism Cram School, a training institute for exorcists located on the True Cross Academy grounds. But, his cover is blown during an attack by Amaimon, the King of Earth, and he is revealed to be the son of Satan. Terrified of Satan’s blue flames, his friends start to distance themselves from Rin…

It is then that someone steals the Left Eye of the Impure King, sealed away in the deepest part of the academy, and Rin and the others find themselves embroiled in an unexpected crisis…


Nearly six years since “Blue Exorcist” first aired on Japanese television, now the 12-episode anime series “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga” has aired in Japan and will now be released on Blu-ray in the U.S. courtesy of Aniplex of America, Inc.

In the “Kyoto Saga”, Rin’s secret that he is the son of Satan has been exposed and for some his friends, they realize that Rin is the son of the demon that killed their family and friends.  And because of Rin showed signs of trying to use his power against evil, to be used as a weapon if his father was to reappear, he has been given a second chance.  Mess up and he will be executed.

Meanwhile, the “Left Eye of the Impure King”, a demon relic was stolen from True Cross Academy.  And now someone is trying to steal the right eye…who among the Myoda sect are responsible?

What is the secret to Rin’s sword and how did his father come to acquire it?  And can Rin stay out of trouble to prevent being executed?

Find out in “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga” vol. 1!

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 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” 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.

VIDEO:

“Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga” 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 Mahot Takahashi (“Pumpkin Scissors”, “Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee”, “Tokko”) did a wonderful job in bringing the series to life with the scenery and painted backgrounds.

Animation is vibrant, colorful and the series looks great on Blu-ray!

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: Kyoto Saga 1” comes with the Japanese PV’s, trailers and textless opening and closing themes.

EXTRAS:

“Blue Exorcist:Kyoto Saga” comes with a 38-page booklet and comes with three collectable postcards.


I’ve always enjoyed “Blue Exorcist” from the manga and the original series and Rin and his brother Yukio trying to keep a secret that they are the children of Satan.  While Rin is the primary one who has the blue flames and literally needs to control his power or he will become a demon.  While Yukio looks like the level-headed, intelligent brother but in reality, he is trying to hid something dark within him.

As “Kyoto Saga” takes place after Rin’s secret is revealed, his friends are starting to treat him differently.  Primarily because his father is the one who slaughtered their friends or family and for some, having a friend who can turn to evil is not easy for them.

So, for Rin, what matters most is trying to control his power and try not to get in trouble or else face the consequence and that is execution.

For “Kyoto Arc”, there is a new nemesis and one who is trying to revive the Impure King by stealing its left and right eye and to return it back to the demon.  Who is responsible?  And what is the secret of Rin’s sword and how did his father come to acquire it?  All this is revealed in first volume of this saga!

The series has developed quite well in terms of storyline pacing, animation, voice acting and just overall enjoyment and the second season is consistent.  There is a lot of action, humor and drama, especially as Rin is dragged into things and his anger tends to get the best of him.

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: Kyoto Saga I”, Aniplex of America continues to deliver in terms of swag with a special booklet and collectable postcards.

Overall, “Blue Exorcist” turned out to be an exciting, action-packed series that I highly recommend! And for fans who loved the first season, “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga 1” is definitely worth watching!

Purchase this Blu-ray from Rightstuf

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

June 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions” is a captivating fantasy tale that will no doubt attract RPG video gamers and action/adventure anime fans. With several volumes of the light novel having been published, one can only hope that more episodes and seasons are created because this is one anime series that I would love to watch more of. Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Ao Jumonji, OVERLAP/Grimgar. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Gangsta.: The Complete Series

ORIGINAL TV AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: 12 Episodes (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: May 16, 2017


Originally created by Kohske

Series Director: Koichi Hatsumi

Directed by Shukou Murase

Series Composition by Shinichi Inotsume

Music by Tsutchie

Character Design by Yoichi Ueda

Art Director: Masatoshi Kai

Chief Animation Director: Yoichi Ueda

Animation Production by Manglobe


Featuring the following voice talent:

Junichi Suwabe/Ian Sinclair as Worick Arcangelo

Kenjiro Tsuda/Brandon Potter as Nicolas Brown

Mamiko Noto/Felecia Angelle as Alex Benedetto

Ami Koshimizu/Jad Saxton as Constance Raveau

Aoi Yūki/Bryn Apprill as Nina

Atsumi Tanezaki/Clifford Chapin as Mikhail

Hideyuki Umezu/Greg Dulcie as Uranos Corsica

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Greg Ayres as Doug

Junji Majima/Ricco Fajardo as Emilio Benedetto

Kaito Ishikawa/Aaron Roberts as Cody Balfour

Kana Ueda/Alexis Tipton as Loretta Cristiano Amodio

Katsuhisa Houki/Mark Stoddard as Daniel Monroe

Koji Yusa/R Bruce Elliott as Domenico Arcangelo

Mari Yokoo as Georgiana “Big Mama

Masako Isobe/Rachel Robinson as Joel Raveau

Mikako Komatsu/Jamie Marchi as Ginger

Satoshi Mikami/Robert McCollum as Dr. Theo

Sayaka Ohara/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Beretta



In the city of Ergastulum, the area is full of thieves, whores and murderers.  And as for the police, they are corrupted and chaos is king.

This is the setting for the manga series known as “Gangsta.”, written and illustrated by female mangaka Kohske.

Debuting in 2009 with the short story “Postman” for Shonen GanGan Magazine, “Gangsta” has been running in “Monthly Comic Bunch” in 2011 and a total of seven tankobon volumes have been published in Japan.  Along a spinoff series titled “Gangsta: Cursed – EP_MARCO ADRIANO” which three volumes have been released in Japan so far.

In 2015, a 12-episode anime series from Manglobe was released in Japan and now, the anime series was released in the United States in May 2017 courtesy of FUNimation.

The series director is Koichi Hatsume, director is Shukou Murase, series composition by Shinichi Inotsume, character design by Yoichi Ueda and art direction by Masatoshi Kai.

“Gangsta.” begins with a prostitute being assaulted outside a building.  Meanwhile, inside a building are two owners of the business known as “Handymen”, Nic and Worick, two men paid to take on assassination or difficult jobs that police or big business can’t handle.

As Nic and Worick are completing a job with the elder businesswoman inside the building, they see the beaten prostitute going inside the building.

The Handymen are then called for business with the police department and are sent to go after a gang leader named Barry Abbot (the man seen beating on the prostitute in the opening pages).  Both Nick and Worick are hired by the inspector to eliminate him and his gang (including his prostitutes) as they are doing business in the restricted zone.  They work out a deal that they can take whatever they can in return for killing them.

As Nic and Worick go after the gang and eliminated everyone including the gang leader known as Barry. They run into the prostitute and give her the opportunity to escape.  But instead, the prostitute named Alex comes back and instead of killing her, they decide to take her (as in agreement with the inspector) and make her as part of the Handymen as one of their employees.

Meanwhile, as Alex continues to work for the Handymen, she tries to figure both Nic and Worick out.   Is Nic an ex-mercenary, does he talk at all?  Why does Worick wear an eyepatch?

One day, Alex sees a newspaper article about a massacre of the Arcangelo family 20-years-ago, all were killed except a 13-year-old boy who was 13 at the time.  And the perpretator, said to be a boy hired as a mercenary by the family.  And Alex begins to wonder, can the two boys be Worick and Nic?  Is Worick the missing boy that was never found?

But as Alex starts to wonder about the two men that she is working for, the Handymen get involved in major trouble as they must take on a gang that is threatening Dr. Theo and his assistant, Nina.a gang war seems to be inevitable as Corsica and Cristiano are engaged in a battle of outwitting each other and destroy each other’s families with the use of Twilights.  But what happens when the Handymen come and Nic must take on another Twilight A/O.


VIDEO:

“Gangsta.” is presented in 1080p High Definition and Manglobe did a wonderful job with this series. Capture Kohske’s world that was featured in the manga, character designs were done very well.  Characters are well-shaded and backgrounds are pained and are well-done.  There is a slight softness for some scenes, as one can expect from a TV series but for the most part, the anime looks great on Blu-ray and the reds (especially with the high amount of blood) is vibrant.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Gangsta.” is presented in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Dialogue and music including environment and ambiance are well-utilized throughout the surround channels for the lossless English dub soundtrack. Both soundtracks are well-acted but in terms of channel utilization, with the English lossless soundtrack receiving a 5.1 treatment, that soundtrack has an edge.  And as the voice acting is well-done on both soundtracks, for the English dub, Brandon Potter, Felecia Angelle and Ian Sinclair did a wonderful job but also great care was made in trying get Nicolas Brown’s speech right, because he is deaf and Brandon Potter did a solid job with the speech patterns.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Gangsta.” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 01 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with ADR Director Chris Bevins, Ian Sinclair (voice of Worick Arcangelo), Brandon Potter (voice of Nicolas Brown) and Felecia Angelle (voice of Alex Benedetto).
  • Episode 2 Video Commentary  – Featuring a video commentary with Ian Sinclair (voice of Worick Arcangelo), Brandon Potter (voice of Nicolas Brown) and Felecia Angelle (voice of Alex Benedetto).
  • Episode 9.5 – A “Gangsta.” recap episode. (Japanese only)
  • Promo Videos
  • Commercial
  • Textless Opening and Closing Themes
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Gangsta.: The Complete Series” comes with the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.


With the release of “Gangsta.”, we get to see somewhat of a western influence in this manga series by Kohske.

Reminiscent of Frank Miller’s “Sin City”, where the world has gone corrupt and in the city of Ergastulum, a city overrun by thugs, gangs, mafia, whores and murderers, the police are just as bad and when the going gets tough, the only way for the police to maintain order is by hiring mercenaries, in this case, the Handymen, Nic and Worick.

Nic is the silent, deadly killer with a sword. Worick is the playboy with an eyepatch that is good with a gun and together, they are two men who aren’t afraid of taking on the most corrupt people in Ergastulum. And it’s not a duty done for the sake of morality but to them, it’s money and survival.

As these two men are mysterious individuals and through the eyes of former prostitute Alex, who joins the Handymen as their personal secretary or whatever she can be used for in order to get the job done, even Alex, has her thoughts on both men and their mysterious background.

But in this city, there is no normal.  There is no peace.  And right now, a major gang war is about to ignite between the Corsica and Cristiano gang.  And for the Handymen, they have their hands tied in trying to keep people alive while Twilight A/O’s have been hired to assassinate major gang members but now all of a sudden have become the hunted as anti-twilight groups are infiltrating Ergastulum to kill them off..

Meanwhile, Alex is wallowing in her depression, not knowing what has happened to her young brother that she was unable to protect.

With “Gangsta.”, we get to see how corrupt this world they live in but how they fit in to all the chaos. There is no one that is pure in Ergastulum, everything is corrupt, a lot of violence over runs the city but there is a sense of kindness for some people and with the Handymen, while killing is their job, the act of kindness of having Alex as an employee is rather fascinating.

Kohske has developed a intriguing series full of sex and violence but also an illustration style that is unique to her style of work. The anime series is respectful to the original manga content and there is a western influence and it will be interesting to see how the story of “Gangsta.” will continue considering there is other stories left for the anime to explore in the future.

And Manglobe and anime production crew did a wonderful job with this series and staying true to the original manga.  The anime series looks and sounds wonderful on Blu-ray and there are good number of special features included as well.

Overall, “Gangsta.” is an action-packed anime series about mysterious two assassins for hire in a crime-filled land and a former prostitute who starts working for them. An intriguing and rare manga series to come from Japan, if you are looking for a manga series with a little sex and plenty  of violence, “Gangsta.” by Kohske is a manga series worth recommending!

Deadman Wonderland: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

October 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

From the creators of “Eureka Seven” comes an anime series that is a little mix of “Hunger Games”, “Battle Royale” and “Guyver”!  And for those who enjoy more mature, violent and bloody anime series will surely enjoy the chaotic, action-packed episodes of “Deadman Wonderland”!

Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Deadman Wonderland: The Complete Series

DURATION: 12 Episodes (Duration: 325 Minutes, 3 DVD’s)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, Japanese and English 2.0 Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV M

Release Date: October 9, 2012

Directed by Koichi Hatsumi

Series Composition: Yasuyuki Muto

Music by NARASAKI

Originally Created by Jinsei Kataoka, KAzuma Kondou

Character Design by Masaki Yamada

Art Director: Michie Watanabe

Mechanical Design by Takayuki Yanase

Anime Production: Manglobe

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kana Hanazawa/Monica Rial as Shiro

Romi Park/Greg Ayres as Ganta Igarashi

Iori Nomizu/Leah Clark as Minatsuki Takami

Junichi Suwabe/Eric Vale as Tamaki Tsunenaga

Masayuki Katou/Patrick Seitz as Kiyomasa Senji/Crow

Mina/Lydia Mackay as Rei Takashima

Takako Honda/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Chief Makina

Yuuki Kaji/Aaron Dismuke as Yo Takami

Ganta is the only survivor after a mysterious man in red slaughters a classroom full of teenagers. He’s framed for the carnage, sentenced to die, and locked away in the most twisted prison ever built: Deadman Wonderland. Then it gets worse.

At Deadman Wonderland, convicts are forced into brutal deathmatches for the amusement of the masses, the cheers of the crowd drowning out the screams of the dismembered. Even when Ganta befriends Shiro, an unusual female inmate, his dark fate crushes all hope – until he discovers a strange ability to wield his spilled blood as a weapon. Ganta learns his new skill might be related to the murderous man in red and uncovers disturbing secrets that could expose those who stole his freedom. He’s determined to see justice served – but first he’ll have to fight for his life in a prison that holds a million ways to die.

From the creators of “Eureka Seven” comes a violent sci-fi prison anime series known as “Deadman Wonderland”.  Created by Jinsei Kataoka and illustrated by Kazuma Kondou, “Deadman Wonderland” was a manga series published in Shonen Ace back in 2007.

An anime adaptation based on the first 21 chapters was created and released on Japanese television from April through July 2011 and aired on Adult Swim’s Toonami block.

The anime production is by manglobe and is directed by Koichi Hatsumi (Aishiteruze Baby”, “Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor”, “Moribito – Guardian of the Spirit”), series composition by Yasuyuki Muto (“Basilisk”, “Afro Samurai”, “Sengoku Basara – Samurai Kings”), character designs by Masaki Yamada (“Appleseed”, “Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040”, “Great Dangaioh”), art direction by Michie Watanabe (“Eureka Seven”, “Haibane Renmei”, “Wolf’s Rain”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”) and music by NARASAKI (“Penguin Drum”, “Dragon Crisis!”, “Aquarian Age the Movie”).

And now the series will be released on DVD courtesy of FUNimation in October 2012.

“Deadman Wonderland” takes place during a time when Tokyo has been ravaged by a massive earthquake and 3/4 of Tokyo is now submerged in the ocean.

Ten years later, we are introduced to a kind middle-school student named Ganta Igarashi.  Ganta loves hanging out with his friends and all was going great one day, until some man clad in red is seen floating outside of the school window and destroys the classroom.

When Ganta wakes up, his classmates are all dead, including his best friend, who’s head is being held by the man in red.  The man in red then implants something into Ganta’s chest and he collapses.

When Ganta wakes up in the hospital, he is accused of murdering all the students at school.  Ganta tries to plead his innocence but the authorities do not listen to him.  Despite having a lawyer represent him, footage is shown to the judges and parents of the deceased students of Ganta bragging about killing all his school classmates.  Knowing that is not him, Ganta is shocked that there is video of him saying such a bad thing.

Unfortunately, due to the number of people killed, Ganta is sentenced to death and will be incarcerated in a theme-park like prison known as “Deadman Wonderland”. A prison that houses prisoners from all over Japan and raises money from its brand of violent entertainment among prisoners to raise money to rebuild Japan.

At “Deadman Wonderland”, all prisoners must wear a special collar which monitors their activity and location.  The special collar injects poison into his bloodstream but can only be neutralized if he eats a specialized candy every three days.  And the only way to get access to the candy is by performing activities in prison.

But the most significant activity is winning Cast Points which allows a prisoner to purchase ordinary lunches, furniture, take years off their sentence and also purchase the specialized candy.

But Ganta quickly learns that at “Deadman Wonderland”, Chief Guard Makina is the law.  Harsh, cold and has no qualms of slashing prisoners for disobedience, she is known for being severely harsh and also being well-endowed.   Also, within the prison, prisoners are used for entertainment courtesy of Assistant Warden Tsunenaga Tamaki, a sadist who butchers prisoners for amusement and profit.

While in the prison, Ganta makes friends with a mysterious albino girl named Shiro, a girl that reminds him of his best friend Mimi.  She has become good friends with Ganta and seems to possess special abilities which include superhuman strength and also knowledge of the prison.

Ganta also befriends Yo Takami, a thief and informant sent to watch over Ganta for Assistant Warden Tamaki.  But the real reason he is in in prison and doing these services is to help find his sister Minatsuki and buy her freedom by accumulating cast points.

While in prison, Ganta sees the man in red trying to kill people within the prison.  Upset for being incarcerated for the murders  that he did not do, and that the red man is responsible for, after nearly being killed, Ganta’s special ability (known as “The Branch of Sin”) from the crystal embedded in his chest from the Man in Red that he encountered, allows his blood to be manipulated to weapons and automatically begins attacking the Red Man.

Wanting to fight for his innocence, Ganta hears that the Man in Red that he is after may be inside one of the secret rooms inside Deadman Wonderland.  But the more Ganta and friends research the hidden areas of the prison, Ganta learns that others inside the prison have the same special ability and are Deadmen being prompted to battle and fight each other to the death inside the Deadman Wonderland arena.

Since Ganta is not a person used to fighting, will he be able to survive this ordeal of facing experienced fighters who want to kill him?

“Deadman Wonderland” the anime series comes with the 12-episodes of the first season plus the OVA that revolves around one of the Deadmen characters, Senji, who becomes a police officer and must catch criminals.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Deadman Wonderland” is presented in 16:9 widescreen with audio presented in Japanese and English 2.0.  The character designs and animation are very cool and chaotic at times!  As one should expect from a violent anime series, there is a lot of blood featured in “Deadman Wonderland”.  Not because many people are killed, but also because the Deadmen’s “Branch of Sin” powers is about utilizing one’s blood to create weapons.  So, a character like Senji can create a large sword using his blood.  Or Minatsuki who uses her hair to turn into blades and impale enemies or grab hold of them.

But when it comes to animation, Manglobe did a wonderful job balancing out animation with CG.  I am a bit surprised that this series was not anime series released on Blu-ray, since it was released on Blu-ray and DVD in  Japan.

As for audio, audio for the series is primarily Japanese and English 2.0 stereo.  But as the Japanese soundtrack is well-done especially during the more emotional scenes, the English dub actually makes things much more intriguing because as one would expect in a prison, these people talk with a lot of profanity.  In fact, this is probably the most profane when it comes to dialogue that you will hear on a FUNimation animated series, also with the audio commentary as the English dub voice talent go crazy with the F-bombs and C-word.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Deadman Wonderland” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 6 Audio Commentary – Featuring Audio commentary with Leah Clark and Aaron Dismuke.  (Note: Because this anime series is rated mature, the audio commentary features profanity)
  • Episode 12 Audio Commentary – Featuring Audio commentary with Monica Rial and Greg Ayres. (Note: Because this anime series is rated mature, the audio commentary features profanity)
  • U.S. Video Commentary – (24:27)  A wonderful video commentary with ADR Director Joel McDonald and voice talent Greg Ayres, Monica Rial and Leah Clark.
  • Promo Videos – (6:57) Japanese promotional videos for “Deadman Wonderland”.
  • Original Commercials – (1:25) Japanese commercials for the Blu-ray and DVD release
  • Textless Opening Song “One Reason”
  • Textless Opening Song “One Reason” (Director’s Version)
  • Textless Closing Song “Shiny Shiny”
  • U.S. Trailer

From the creators of “Eureka Seven” comes a new, violent and bloody anime series titled “Deadman Wonderland”!

But while the anime series may prove to be too violent for some viewers, the concept is quite interesting.  Because Japan is in dire need to rebuild after a devastating earthquake, one of the popular areas of entertainment is the “Deadman Wonderland” theme park facility.

While the place attracts many people and makes quite a bit of money, not many people realize that inside the theme park is where gladiator battles between Deadmen take place.  And of course, the scientists of the facility are experimenting on the prisoners for the sake of monetary and political gain (of course, in the effort to help rebuild Japan).

What is interesting about the series is that the prison is home to vicious criminals, but somehow, Ganta Igarashi, a middle school student is targeted and framed for murdering his classmates and then being injected with the Deadman power, which is utilizing one’s blood to become a weapon of destruction.

And so, this meek boy must be put in a prison full of dangerous criminals.   Ganta is your banal weak character who gets stronger as he learns to become brave and wants to protect the people that he cares about.

Then you have Shiro, a mysterious albino girl who loves being around Ganta.  We know that she is gifted with amazing power but at the same time, she is naive and is always cheerful, wanting to play or eat pudding.

But the series features really interesting characters.  Some who are jerks and badasses, and some who are are just really wicked looking.  And for the most part, by the second half of season one, these characters start to become an integral part of this series.

The 12-episode TV series plays out like a prison-escape film, but each time Ganta encounters people who also want to escape from prison, there is always an antagonist who are Deadmen with amazing power and happen to be quite sadistic.  Also, included is an OVA, but instead of featuring Ganta and Shiro, it focuses on Deadman Senji, who becomes a police officer two years after the Red Hole incident.

While the series is violent and bloody, the English dub takes the series dialogue and enhances it was mature language, to make it more raw and real and what you would expect from a major prison holding the worst criminals.

The dialogue that you hear, coming out of the mouths of the characters is really surprising because it’s really profane.  Shocking even the voice talent who were beaming about playing these roles, because they had the opportunity to really say some crazy, dirty and profane dialogue.

The only caveat with the series is that it ends in hopes that a second season would perhaps continue the storyline and end it with a similar ending to the manga series.  There are a lot of questions that were not answered in the first season and unfortunately, the second audio commentary does spoil things by providing the answer of who exactly was responsible for murdering all the students and Ganta being framed for it.  So, if you don’t want to know, it’s best not to listen to the second audio commentary.

As for the animation, expected to see a lot of red blood splashing everywhere.  Not because of people getting murdered or maimed, but it’s because the Deadman’s power is the ability to use their blood to form weapons.  It’s not that scary, there are people getting slaughtered but it’s not too gory.  But the animation from Manglobe was wonderful and it’s a shame that the series was not released on Blu-ray, as it was released on BD and DVD in Japan.

As for special features, there are two naughty audio commentaries and as a FUNimation first, a video commentary which I hope becomes common in all upcoming Blu-ray and DVD releases from FUNimation!  But you also get promo videos, commercials and textless opening and closing songs.

While “Deadman Wonderland” has similarities to films such as “Battle Royale” and maybe even a little “Hunger Games” mixed in with anime series such as “Guyver”, the violence is not too bad and the story is actually quite fascinating and action-packed.  Also, I have to give FUNimation a thumbs up.  Although I’m not too big on profane anime series, the dialogue for “Deadman Wonderland” fit.  It’s a prison setting filled with vicious criminals, so why not make the dialogue fit the setting.  And the writers at FUNimation did just that!

For anime fans wanting a more mature and violent, bloody anime series, you’ll definitely want to give “Deadman Wonderland” a chance!

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