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Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete Series” is for the anime fan who loves mystery anime series.  And it’s also easier to follow since it’s only eleven episodes long.  “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is an anime series worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete SeriesThe Asterisk War: Limited Edition Blu-ray Vol. 3

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 1-11) 275 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Funimation

Release Date: December 13, 2016


Originally Concept by Rampo Edogawa

Directed by Seiji Kishi

Series Composition by Makoto Uezu

Music by Masaru Yokoyama

Character Design by Kazuaki Morita

Art Director: Ayumi Miyakoshi

Chief Animation Director: Kouji Yamagata, Yusuke Kamata

Anime Production: Lerche


Featuring the following voice talent:

Daiki Yamashita/Justin Briner as Hashiba

Rie Takahashi/Jill Harris as Kobayashi

Takahiro Sakurai/Eric Vale as Akechi

Cho/Mark Stoddard as Nakamura

Jun Fukuyama/Todd Haberkorn as Namikoshi

Kappei Yamaguchi/Jerry Jewell as Shitai-kun (Corpsey)

Katsuyuki Konishi/J. Michael Tatum as Kagami

Saki Fujita/Jad Saxton as Minami

Takehito Koyasu/Sonny Strait as Kage-Otoko (Shadow-Man)

Yōko Hikasa/Mallorie Rodak as Kuro Tokage (Black Lizard)


Inspired by the works of Edogawa Rampo, Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace tells a macabre detective story rife with symbolism and visual tricks that exist somewhere in the delicate balance between gruesome and gorgeous.

Middle school life was dull for the intelligent and charismatic Kobayashi, until the day he was framed for his homeroom teacher’s murder. After the event drew the media’s attention, an infamous high school detective inserted himself into the investigation. Brooding and brilliant, Akechi quickly cleared Kobayashi’s name and took the inquisitive young student on as his assistant. But for every case they closed, two more seemed to open in its place.

The streets were alive with whispers of one deadly name, Twenty Faces–a legendary murderer who killed criminals in the name of justice. With cryptic clues leading the way, Kobayashi and Akechi began following the trail of bodies left by the prolific killer. But will they be able to stop him before countless innocent people, inspired by his deranged cause, start following his lead?


In Japan, one of the most well-respected authors of mystery fiction novels was Edogawa Ranpo (Taro Hirai).  A pseudonym used by Taro is a rendering of one of his favorite writers, Edgar Allan Poe.

In 2015, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Edogawa Ranpo, a series titled “Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace” was produced by Lerche and directed by Seiji Kishi (“Kamisama Dolls”, “Assassination Classroom”, “Fate/Prototype”) and a screenplay by Makoto Uezu (“Akame ga KILL!”, “Assassination Classroom”, “Danganronpa the Animation”).

The anime series is set at a middle school where several murders have taken place.  A 17-year-old middle school boy, who is mistaken for a girl named Kobayashi is blamed for dismembering his homeroom teacher.

A person who loves solving mysteries, Kobayashi and her good friend Hashiba (a popular guy who wants to protect Kobayashi at all costs) want to team up with Kogoro Akechi, a 17-year-old genius detective who solves abnormal crimes.

Kogoro offers Kobayashi to become his assistant only if he can find the killer responsible for dismembering his teacher.

As Kobayashi is successful in helping Kogoro, the trio then work on various cases such as trying to find the Shadow-Man, a thief accused of kidnapping several girls.  But also trying to find a vigilante known as Twenty Faces, who kills murderers who have not been brought to justice and killing them the way the murderers had killed their victims.

But as the trio investigates, Kogoro realizes that Twenty Faces may be tied to a person from his past.


VIDEO:

“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). There is a lot of detail featured in the art backgrounds, a lot of characters featured and these characters have great detail and shadowing. Colors are absolutely vibrant. There is slight softness, but that is expected with anime TV series. But overall, animation is solid throughout.  I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD Stereo 2.0. Both soundtracks are well-acted and are crystal clear through the front channels but with the 5.1 soundtrack, the English dub has an edge due to the use of the surround channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” features the following special features:

  • Episode 6 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Eric Vale, Justin Briner, Jill Harris and Sonny Strait.
  • Promotional Videos
  • Commercials – Japanese commercials
  • Textless Opening and Ending Song

EXTRAS:

“Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” comes with a slipcover and also both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the anime series.


In Japan, mystery manga and anime series are quite popular.  In fact, one of the longest running anime series still on television is “Meitantei Conan” (Case Closed) which has been airing since 1996 (and the manga series since 1994).

But part of the excitement surrounding the anime series “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is that it commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of Rampo Edogawa.  An author known for creating mystery fiction novels and many works that were inspired by his original oeuvre.

Set for a modern age, “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is a mystery anime series that focuses on murder cases, but primarily focusing on Twenty Faces, a vigilante who murders people who have not received justice for murdering their victims.

Where other mystery anime series have a humorous side and often a touch of darkness, “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” has that but in a weird, unusual way, one of the main characters, Kobayashi (a boy who is often mistaken for a girl), has a different perspective of seeing things in life.  Perhaps it’s the way she was raised or the challenges in life that she has endured, but sometimes her thinking puts her in odds with her good friend Hashiba (a guy who obviously likes Kobayashi).

Meanwhile, main protagonist Kogoro Akechi is rather interesting in the fact that he also sees life in a different way, similar to Kobayashi.  But he has skeletons in his past that are slowly revealed throughout the anime series.

As for the Blu-ray, animation is fantastic as colors are vibrant and characters are well-drawn.  Lossless soundtrack for both English and Japanese soundtracks are well-done, with the English dub receiving the 5.1 treatment.  But both soundtracks are well-acted.  As for special features, you get an audio commentary (possibly one of the worst Funimation audio commentaries that I’ve listened to), Japanese promotional videos and commercials.

Overall, “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace: The Complete Series” is for the anime fan who loves mystery anime series.  And it’s also easier to follow since it’s only eleven episodes long.  “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” is an anime series worth watching!

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Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection” is an harem action series.  A series with interesting forms of combat and strategy but also a lot of T&A, perverse humor and fan service.  It’s an anime series that a niche group of anime fans will enjoy and if you are one of them, then by all means, “Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection” is for you!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Sentai Filmworks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection

TV SERIES AIR DATE: 2011

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen), Dolby Digital, Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV 14 VSD

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RELEASE DATE: October 23, 2012

Directed by Keitaro Motonaga

Series Composition by Katsuhiko Takayama

Music by Ryosuke Nakanishi

Character Design by Mayumi Watanabe

Art Director: Hiroshi Ito

Mechanical Design by Yasuniro Moriki

Anime Production by Lerche

Featuring the voices of:

Hiroshi Kamiya/Josh Grelle as Yamato Naoe

Akane Tomonaga/Cynthia Martinez as Kazuko Kawakami

Hyousei/Brittney Karbowski as Miyako Shiina

Shizuka Itou/Tiffany Grant as Christiane Friedrich

Yuko Goto/Emily Neves as Yukie Mayuzumi

Yuu Asakawa/Carli Mosier as Momoyo Kawakami

In Kawakami City, having a samurai ancestor and enormous fighting spirit isn’t just an interesting historical fact, it’s a huge part of how you end up being ranked on the social totem pole. That, in turn, bleeds over into the school curriculum – sometimes, literally. Fortunately, that’s something the local kids like Yamato Naoe have learned to deal with by forming small bands (of samurai, not the musical type). And while the delicate sexual balance of Yamato’s group seemed fine when there were three girls and four boys, the sudden addition of two more girls starts to send everything spinning out of control! Seven’s a band of samurai and nine is a riot as boys, girls, and naked blades all come together!

The Japanese adult visual novel known as “Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!” has its fair share of fans in Japan.

Created by Minato Soft for the PC back in 2009, a manga adaptation for Comp Ace would follow in 2010 which eventually led to a 12-episode anime series in 2011. And now, “Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Sentai Filmworks in October 2012.

“Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls” is a harem anime series which revolves around protagonist Yamato Naoe, the leader and strategist of his group of fighters at Kawakami High School.

As Kawakami City is known for its dedication in honoring its samurai ancestors, for those who attend Kawakami High, clubs must solve their problems through going at war against each other.    And for Yamato, while being the key tactician of his club of four guys and three girls, each that he grew up with.  The truth is that he is in love with Momoyo, one of the best fighters.

When both he and Momoyo were young, the two promised they would be together if they were in equal terms, now that they have grown up and Momoyo has become one of the four powerful students at Kawakami High (also the most beautiful and one of the more well-endowed students), Yamato wants to be something big and that is Prime Minister of Japan.  And only then will he be able to be on equal footing with Momoyo.

No one knows the true history between both individuals but what they do see is Momoyo constantly trying to hurt Yamato and both have this unusual friendship.

Joining the group is the cheerful dog-like Kazuko Kawakami; the cute but shy Miyako Shiina (who has a big crush on Yamato and has dedicated her love for him since he saved her from being bullied); the swordsman Yukie Mayazumi (who has a tendency to talk to her phone strap that she has named Matsukaze) and also has a crush on Yamato; the German fencer and teddy bear loving Christian Friedrich who has a crush on Yamato; the muscular Gakuto Shimazu; the girl chasing Shoichi Kazama, the otaku computer guy Takuya Morooka; the tough Minamoto Tadakatsu and robot known as Cookie.

While the first episode showcases the battle that the group partakes in and their teamwork, the majority of the episodes features on character relationships.  In episode 2, Miyako and Yukie talk about why they love Yamato, Christiane and Kazuko talk about their feelings towards Yamato, Momoyo being jealous as the other girls start to get close with Yamato and literally all girls fighting for their chance to show who is really in love with Yamato.

With these young women wanting to be closer to him, which will Yamato pick?

VIDEO:

“Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio).  While the series is vibrant and colorful, backgrounds are well-detailed and for the most part, the anime series looks good.  As a TV series, there is some softness but overall, the series compliments the visual novel counterpart when it comes to close-ups of the characters.  There is nothing groundbreaking when it comes to the animation but overall, it does look good on Blu-ray and I didn’t notice any artifacts or any major problems while watching the anime series.

AUDIO:

“Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Although I would have preferred to have a more immersive 5.1 lossless soundtrack, “Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection” and its two soundtracks are crystal clear coming through the front channel and there is no difference between the overall mix of both lossless soundtracks.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • 12 Shorts – The omake shorts (12 total) that typically appear at the end of an episode are featured as a special feature.
  • Clean Opening and Closing Animation

“Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls” is another anime series that exemplifies what a harem anime series can be.  With its cover featuring one of the lead protagonist grabbing the antagonist’s breast with one hand and her hands on her rival’s rear, already, anime fans know that this anime series is going to be perverted.

For fans of the ecchi anime series genre, it’s all about how far the anime series will go with its all-out perverseness.

Comparable to series such as “Sekirei” and also other harem anime series which features a protagonist with many female friends who want to be with him and also a series that is based on a adult visual novel, “Majikoi! -Oh! Samurai Girls” starts out being a different type of anime series by showcasing a group using strategy to defeat another fighting club, something we see similar to another series “Tenjo Tenge”.

But while that first episode was trying to establish the characters who are a group of friends now having certain power at their high school because they beat a stellar and wealthy team, the series then changes.

What we end up getting is how the protagonist Yamato becomes the man that each female character desires.

Momoyo is the woman that Yamato grew up with liking, but because he made a promise to her that he won’t be with her unless he can be of equal footing, both try to have this brother and sister relationship.

So, the other ladies look at Yamato as open season.  Momoi’s adoptive younger sister Kazuyo always knew that Momoyo liked Yamato, but because she doesn’t show her feelings of love, she decides to go for Yamato.

Miyako on the other hand is the most aggressive of the young women.  She was saved by Yamato when picked on by bullies and she desperately wants Yamato to have her body and will do anything sexual for him, but he resists.

Yukie is the shy type that likes Yamato but is not good at expressing her emotions, while the German Christian Friedrich doesn’t know too much about Japanese culture and but the fact that Yamato is a great strategist and he was good at nearly getting her to expose herself nude to him, makes her appreciate him more.

And of course, there are Yamato’s male buddies who had a major part in the beginning of the series but not so much throughout.  The series pretty much plays out of how these young women start to follow for Yamato and each wanting to vouch for their love for him, but jealousy developing within each member of who can win Yamato’s love.

And for the anime series, the perversion level for “Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls” is quite high!  Momoyo loves to squeeze Yamato, but because she is so well-endowed, you are not sure if he’s loving it or if he’s really hurting.  Miyako is the ultimate in perversion as she has dreams of Yamato having sex with her and even so far as being blunt to Yamato of what she wants him to do with her body.

And as one can expect from a perverted harem anime series, you get your T&A and other forms of fan service. It’s important to note that this anime series is rated TV 14 VSD, which is quite surprising as I was expecting a rated TV M because of the nudity and sexual themes in certain episodes, especially the ending credits.

But with the characters being fighters who specialize in one-on-one combat and utilization of weaponry, the series has its fair share of action as well.  Actually, a lot of action and while there are antagonists, it may seem that most of the action take place within the core group as each woman fights for Yamato’s affection.

As for the Blu-ray release, the animation is quite vibrant.  For the most part, animation is vibrant as greens and Earth colors really are quite vibrant and certain areas are well-detailed.  Character animation are also good but as one expects from a TV series, some areas do look soft.  Audio is presented in lossless 2.0 but you get an English and Japanese soundtrack and dialogue is crystal clear and there isn’t too much of a big difference between the Japanese and English soundtrack in dynamic range.  And you also get several special features, which are the omake portion at the end of an episode.

Overall, “Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection” is an anime series that doesn’t really break any new ground. It has a banality of other harem action anime series but it’s strength lies within its fan service and because there is a niche of anime fandom that just adores perverted anime, it all comes down if you want more of it on Blu-ray.  So, if you are into perverted anime series with nudity, fan service and mature jokes, then “Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls: Complete Collection” is for you!

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