Top

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!

Purchase from Rightstuf

The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Season 1, Part 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The second volume continues with Arslan and his companions journeys for recruiting more people to go to battle alongside with him, the volume is important to setup for the second season of the series. If you are into deeper, action-driven anime about warring states and groups on the battlefield, “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © Kodansha, Arslan Project Committee MBS. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Season 1, Part 2

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 14-25) 325 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Funimation

Release Date: November 8, 2016


Originally created by Hiromu Arakawa, Yoshiki Tanaka

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Series Composition by Makoto Uezu

Music by Taro Iwashiro

Character Design by Kazuo Watanabe, Ushio Tazawa

Art Director: Tadashi Kudo

Chief Animation Director: Kazuo Watanabe, shingo Ogiso, Ushio Tazawa

Anime Production: Liden Films, Sanzigen Animation Studio


Featuring the following voice talent:

Daisuke Namikawa/Christopher Bevins as Narsus

Kenn/Jerry Jewell as Gieve

Maaya Sakamoto/Rachel Robinson as Falangies

Natsuki Hanae/Justin Briner as Elam

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Rico Fajardo as Daryun

Yūsuke Kobayashi/Aaron Dismuke as Arslan

Yuuki Kaji/Vic Mignona as Silvermask

Atsuko Tanaka as Tahamine

Hiroki Yasumoto/Jarrod Greene as Kishuard

Hiroshi Yanaka as Sām

Katsuyuki Konishi/Josh Grelle as Shapur

Kenta Miyake/Chris Ryan as Kubad

Kousuke Toriumi/Ian Sinclair as Rajendra

Manami Numakura/Jad Saxton as Alfreed

Masakazu Morita/Clifford Chapin as Xandes

Shiro Saito/Mark Stoddard as Bodan

Takayuki Sugo/Christopher R. Sabat as Andragoras III

Takehito Koyasu/Eric Vale as Giskarl

Toru Ohkawa/Kent Williams as Kharlan

Toshiharu Sakurai/Jeremy Inman as Innocentius VII

Wataru Hatano/Marcus D. Stimac as Jaswant

Yumi Uchiyama/Ryan Reynolds as Etoile


An incomparable anime epic from the original creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa, The Heroic Legend of Arslan brings political intrigue, thrilling action, and a colorful cast of characters together for a grand adventure filled with treachery and triumph.

As Arslan gathers forces to fight for his cause, his progress is suddenly halted by the warring Princes of the neighboring country, Sindhura. Both brothers believe they have equal claim to the throne, but only one can succeed their father. Sensing the opportunity to form a powerful alliance, Arslan’s trusted advisor, Narsus forms a plan to end the feud once and for all. But their detour in Sindhura gives Lord Silver Mask and his followers time to strengthen their own influence back in Pars. The mystery surrounding Arslan’s true parentage has loyal Parsians questioning his right to rule. Shocked by the revelation that he may be fighting for a throne that isn’t his, Arslan has to wonder: Is blood truly what makes a king?  Or is the love he has for Pars and its people enough to see him through.


As Arslan and his companions continue their journey and to find people to fight alongside with them, they meet Prince Rajendra who is competing with his older brother Prince Gadevi who is also from the Kingdom of Sindhura and both are fighting for power.

As Arslan plans to team up with Prince Rajendra, they are provided a Sindhuran guide name Jaswant.  But Prince Gadevi is planning his attack against Rajendra.  Who will become victorious?

Also, Xandes must take on Daryun for the Battle of the “Keep of Saint Emmanuel”.

What is “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” about?

Back in 1986, author Yoshiki Tanaka would create a fantasy novel series titled “Arslan Senki” (a.k.a. “The Heroic Legend of Arslan”).

With a total of 15 novels having been published, the series would then receive a four-part OVA adaptation in the 1990’s, followed by a manga series adaptation (1991-1996), two animated film adaptations and a new manga adaptation in 2013 featuring illustrations by Hiromu Arakawa for “Bessatsu Shonen Magazine”.

In 2015, a TV series anime adaptation based on this 2013 manga aired on television and while a second season began airing in Japan, in the United States, the anime series with an English dub will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

The series is directed by Noriyuki Abe (“Bleach”, “Black Butler” series, “GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka”), series composition by Makoto Uezu (“Akame ga KILL!”, “Assassination Classroom”, “Yumeria”), music by Taro Iwashiro (who composed the music for the live action versions of “Azumi”, “Prince of Tennis”, “Rurouni Kenshin”), character designs by Kazuo Watanabe (“Kamen no Maid Guy”, “Oku-sama wa Joshi Kosei”, “Kamen no Maid Guy”) and Ushio Tazawa (“Senyu”) and art direction by Tadashi Kudo (“Gestalt”, “Katanagatari”, “Dokkoida?”).

The series revolves around the kind-hearted Arslan. The Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Pars, who was not originally raised in royalty and has always cared for people. And as he starts to see the world in a bad state, he wants to make a difference.

So, he takes part in the first battle against Lusitania but when King Adragoras III, Arslan’s father is killed by one of his own generals, his loyal servant Daryun rescues him from trouble and they retreat along with the Parsian army.

Wanting to make a different, Arslan and Daryun try to recruit well-known soldiers such as the retired tactician Narsus, his page Elam, the priestess Farangis, the womanizer Gieve and others to their cause.

Meanwhile a mysterious man wearing a silver mask wants nothing more but to see Arslan and his people destroyed.


VIDEO:

“The Heroic Legend of Arslan” 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. Very good animation during the more action intense sequences.

The anime series is colorful but features a slight softness, but that is expected with anime TV series. But overall, wonderful animation especially during the action sequences by Sanzigen Animation Studios and Liden Films.

I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Heroic Legend of Arslan” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The series for the most part features crystal clear dialogue and music and there is good use of the surround channels during sequences with a lot of people, army battles and for action sequences.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Season 1, Part 2 features the following special features:

  • Chapter XVI Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Christopher Bevins (voice of Narsus), Ian Sinclair (voice of Prince Rajendra), J. Michael Tatum (voice of Prince Gadevi) and Marcus Stimek (voice of Jaswant).
  • Chapter XXIV Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Christopher Bevins (voice of Narsus) and voice talents Vic Mignona (voice of Hilmes) and Aaron Dismuke (voice of Prince Arslan).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • U.S. Trailer – Funimation trailer for “The Heroic Legend of Arslan”

EXTRAS:

“The Heroic Legend of Arslan” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series plus a slipcover.


For those who enjoy adventure-driven anime series that deals with warring countries in political stryfe will find “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” to be a series worth their time.

My first brush with “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” were the old Central Park Media OVA releases back in the ’90s and to be truthful, because the English dubs were inconsistent and releases took way too long.

So, I found “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” animated TV series to be more entertaining because there is a lot of focus on character development, a lot of emphasis in the growth of the character of Arslan, not just as a fighter but also his vision of the world.

Also, another major plus is the character development on the people that surround Arslan and watching their adventures, as they are able to recruit allies and some who don’t hesitate in stabbing them in the back. But also showing us the various antagonists throughout the series and how the situations from episode to episode become more complex but also entertaining.

It has a feel of an epic series and while I only have watched the first 13 episodes, from what I have watched thus far, I’m really enjoying this series!

Are there any caveats? I think for those who don’t like series with too many characters or series that are quite long, may find “The Heroic Legend of Arlsan”. These episodes are continuing and there are two seasons but not as long as series such as “One Piece”, “Naruto” or “Dragon Ball”.

As “The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Season 1, Part 2” features the ongoing journey of Arslan and his companions, this latest volume features how Arslan meets Prince Rajendra and together, they join forces to take on Prince Gadevi, Rajendra’s older brother.

Also, we see more confrntations between Arslan and Silvermask.  And we also get to see more Daryun take part in battle with Xandes and Hilmes.

As for the Blu-ray, picture quality is good. The series is colorful and I really didn’t see any issues with artifacts or banding. As for the lossless soundtrack, the English dub is very well-acted and the Japanese soundtrack as well. But the English dub gets a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD treatment, while the Japanese soundtrack only gets 2.0 (which is typical of anime TV series). And as for special features, you get two audio commentaries and more.

Overall, “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” is a series that will entertain those who enjoy adventure-driven anime series, with political intrigue, warring countries and many characters. I enjoyed it more than the oldschool OVA’s and felt the storyline had a good balance of humor but also plots focused on character development. While the second volume continues with Arslan and his companions journeys for recruiting more people to go to battle alongside with him, the volume is important to setup for the second season of the series.

If you are into deeper, action-driven anime about warring states and groups on the battlefield, “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” is recommended!

The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Season 1, Part 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“The Heroic Legend of Arslan” is a series that will entertain those who enjoy adventure-driven anime series, with political intrigue, warring countries and many characters. I enjoyed it more than the oldschool OVA’s and felt the storyline had a good balance of humor but also plots focused on character development. So far, I am enjoying this series a lot and I can’t wait for volume 2! “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © Kodansha, Arslan Project Committee MBS. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Season 1, Part 1

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 1-13) 325 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Funimation

Release Date: August 23, 2016


Originally created by Hiromu Arakawa, Yoshiki Tanaka

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Series Composition by Makoto Uezu

Music by Taro Iwashiro

Character Design by Kazuo Watanabe, Ushio Tazawa

Art Director: Tadashi Kudo

Chief Animation Director: Kazuo Watanabe, shingo Ogiso, Ushio Tazawa

Anime Production: Liden Films, Sanzigen Animation Studio


Featuring the following voice talent:

Daisuke Namikawa/Christopher Bevins as Narsus

Kenn/Jerry Jewell as Gieve

Maaya Sakamoto/Rachel Robinson as Falangies

Natsuki Hanae/Justin Briner as Elam

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Rico Fajardo as Daryun

Yūsuke Kobayashi/Aaron Dismuke as Arslan

Yuuki Kaji/Vic Mignona as Silvermask

Atsuko Tanaka as Tahamine

Hiroki Yasumoto/Jarrod Greene as Kishuard

Hiroshi Yanaka as Sām

Katsuyuki Konishi/Josh Grelle as Shapur

Kenta Miyake/Chris Ryan as Kubad

Kousuke Toriumi/Ian Sinclair as Rajendra

Manami Numakura/Jad Saxton as Alfreed

Masakazu Morita/Clifford Chapin as Xandes

Shiro Saito/Mark Stoddard as Bodan

Takayuki Sugo/Christopher R. Sabat as Andragoras III

Takehito Koyasu/Eric Vale as Giskarl

Toru Ohkawa/Kent Williams as Kharlan

Toshiharu Sakurai/Jeremy Inman as Innocentius VII

Wataru Hatano/Marcus D. Stimac as Jaswant

Yumi Uchiyama/Ryan Reynolds as Etoile


An incomparable anime epic from the original creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa, The Heroic Legend of Arslan brings political intrigue, thrilling action, and a colorful cast of characters together for a grand adventure filled with treachery and triumph.

Pars Era, the year 320—war is on the horizon. As the soldiers of Pars prepare for battle, a traitor within their ranks turns the tides in favor of the enemy kingdom, Lusitania. Arslan, the young Prince of Pars, survives the massacre to discover that his father has gone missing and his life is in grave danger. Unsure who to trust, Arslan escapes the battlefield, evading capture until he’s found by his loyal friend Daryun, the formidable Black Knight of Pars. With nothing but Arslan’s title and Daryun’s skill, the pair set off on a journey to return the Prince to his rightful place on the throne of Pars.


Back in 1986, author Yoshiki Tanaka would create a fantasy novel series titled “Arslan Senki” (a.k.a. “The Heroic Legend of Arslan”).

With a total of 15 novels having been published, the series would then receive a four-part OVA adaptation in the 1990’s, followed by a manga series adaptation (1991-1996), two animated film adaptations and a new manga adaptation in 2013 featuring illustrations by Hiromu Arakawa for “Bessatsu Shonen Magazine”.

In 2015, a TV series anime adaptation based on this 2013 manga aired on television and while a second season began airing in Japan, in the United States, the anime series with an English dub will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

The series is directed by Noriyuki Abe (“Bleach”, “Black Butler” series, “GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka”), series composition by Makoto Uezu (“Akame ga KILL!”, “Assassination Classroom”, “Yumeria”), music by Taro Iwashiro (who composed the music for the live action versions of “Azumi”, “Prince of Tennis”, “Rurouni Kenshin”), character designs by Kazuo Watanabe (“Kamen no Maid Guy”, “Oku-sama wa Joshi Kosei”, “Kamen no Maid Guy”) and Ushio Tazawa (“Senyu”) and art direction by Tadashi Kudo (“Gestalt”, “Katanagatari”, “Dokkoida?”).

The series revolves around the kind-hearted Arslan.  The Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Pars, who was not originally raised in royalty and has always cared for people.  And as he starts to see the world in a bad state, he wants to make a difference.

So, he takes part in the first battle against Lusitania but when King Adragoras III, Arslan’s father is killed by one of his own generals, his loyal servant Daryun rescues him from trouble and they retreat along with the Parsian army.

Wanting to make a different, Arslan and Daryun try to recruit well-known soldiers such as the retired tactician Narsus, his page Elam, the priestess Farangis, the womanizer Gieve and others to their cause.

Meanwhile a mysterious man wearing a silver mask wants nothing more but to see Arslan and his people destroyed.


VIDEO:

“The Heroic Legend of Arslan” 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.  Very good animation during the more action intense sequences.

The anime series is colorful but features a slight softness, but that is expected with anime TV series. But overall, wonderful animation especially during the action sequences by Sanzigen Animation Studios and Liden Films.

I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Heroic Legend of Arslan” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  The series for the most part features crystal clear dialogue and music and there is good use of the surround channels during sequences with a lot of people, army battles and for action sequences.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Season 1, Part 1 features the following special features:

  • Chapter II Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Christopher Bevins (voice of Narsus), Jeremy Inman (Assistant Director), Rico Fajardo (voice of Daryun) and Aaron Dismuke (voice of Arslan).
  • Chapter XIII Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Christopher Bevins (voice of Narsus) and voice talents Rachel Robinson (voice of Farangis), Jerry Jewell (voice of Gieve), Aaron Dismuke (voice of Prince Arslan).
  • Promotional Video – (1:31) Japanese PV for “Arslan Senki”
  • Commercial Collection #1 and #2
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • U.S. Trailer – Funimation trailer for “The Heroic Legend of Arslan”

EXTRAS:

“The Heroic Legend of Arslan” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series plus a slipcover.


For those who enjoy adventure-driven anime series that deals with warring countries in political stryfe will find “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” to be a series worth their time.

My first brush with “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” were the old Central Park Media OVA releases back in the ’90s and to be truthful, because the English dubs were inconsistent and releases took way too long.

So, I found “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” animated TV series to be more entertaining because there is a lot of focus on character development, a lot of emphasis in the growth of the character of Arslan, not just as a fighter but also his vision of the world.

Also, another major plus is the character development on the people that surround Arslan and watching their adventures, as they are able to recruit allies and some who don’t hesitate in stabbing them in the back.  But also showing us the various antagonists throughout the series and how the situations from episode to episode become more complex but also entertaining.

It has a feel of an epic series and while I only have watched the first 13 episodes, from what I have watched thus far, I’m really enjoying this series!

Are there any caveats?  I think for those who don’t like series with too many characters or series that are quite long, may find “The Heroic Legend of Arlsan”.  These episodes are continuing and there are two seasons but not as long as series such as “One Piece”, “Naruto” or “Dragon Ball”.

As for the Blu-ray, picture quality is good.  The series is colorful and I really didn’t see any issues with artifacts or banding.  As for the lossless soundtrack, the English dub is very well-acted and the Japanese soundtrack as well.  But the English dub gets a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD treatment, while the Japanese soundtrack only gets 2.0 (which is typical of anime TV series). And as for special features, you get two audio commentaries and more.

Overall, “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” is a series that will entertain those who enjoy adventure-driven anime series, with political intrigue, warring countries and many characters.  I enjoyed it more than the oldschool OVA’s and felt the storyline had a good balance of humor but also plots focused on character development.  So far, I am enjoying this series a lot and I can’t wait for volume 2!

“The Heroic Legend of Arslan” is recommended!

Assassination Classroom, Season 1, Part 2 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Assassination Classroom” is an enjoyable, humorous and exciting action-packed anime series.  And with the second part of season one, the series just gets better and better!  I can’t wait for season two! 

Image courtesy of © 2016 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Assassination Classroom, Season 1, Part 2

YEAR: 2015

DURATION: Episodes 12-22 (275 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: August 16, 2016


Originally Created by Yusei Matsu

Directed by Seiji Kishi

Screenplay by Makoto Uezu

Music by Naoki Sato

Character Design by Kazuaki Morita

Art Direction by Ayumu Miyakoshi, Kazuto Shimoyama

Mechanical Design by Tomohito Hirose

Production by Lerche


Featuring the following voice talent:

Aya Suzaki/Monica Rial as Kaede Kayano

Jun Fukuyama/Sonny Strait as Koro-sensei

Mai Fuchigami/Lindsay Seidel as Nagisa Shiota

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Apphia Yu as Karma Akabane

Ayaka Suwa/Michelle Rojas as Tōka Yada

Chie Matsuura/Morgan Garrett as Megu Kataoka

Eiji Miyashita/Kyle Phillips as Sōsuke Sugaya

Fuko Saito/Terry Doty as Kirara Hazama

Hisako Kanemoto as Hinano Kurahashi

Junji Majima as Ryūnosuke Chiba

Kana Ueda as Yuzuki Fuwa

Kenta Miyake as Akira Takaoka

Kouki Harasawa as Takuya Muramatsu

Mamoru Miyano as Gakushū Asano

Manami Numakura as Rio Nakamura

Megumi Ogata as Itona Horibe

Miho Hino as Sumire Hara

Minami Tanaka as Hinata Okano

Ryo Naitou as Taiga Okajima

Ryota Ohsaka as Yūma Isogai

Saki Fujita as Jiritsu “Ritsu” Shikō Kotei Hōdai

Satomi Satou as Yukiko Kanzaki

Sayuri Yahagi as Manami Okuda

Shiho Kawaragi as Rinka Hayami

Shintarō Asanuma as Hiroto Maehara

Shinya Takahashi as Kōki Mimura

Shizuka Itou as Irina Jelavic

Sho Hayami as Gakuhō Asano

Shunsuke Kawabe as Masayoshi Kimura

Subaru Kimura as Ryōma Terasaka

Takahiro Mizushima as Kōtarō Takebayashi

Takehito Koyasu as Gastro

Tomokazu Sugita as Tadaomi Karasuma

Yoshitaka Yamaya as Tomohito Sugino

Yoshiyuki Shimozuma as Taisei Yoshida


From the studio behind Danganronpa and Monster Musume comes Assassination Classroom! After the battle with Itona, the students of Class 3-E settle back into a normal routine. Well, normal for a class filled with would-be assassins! As the weather turns warm, the class can’t afford to laze about, and up their training under the guidance of Karasuma. But with the semester already half over, the government decides to send a new teacher to take over their training. Are his methods too extreme? Or will it be the push they need to become real killers?

While training is all well and good, they can’t forget about final exams! And if they want to up their chances of taking out Koro Sensei, they’re going to have to do their very best. The stakes are raised even higher when Class A makes a bet that could send Class E on the best summer vacation ever. Could an island retreat help them set up the perfect assassination?


What happens when Class 3-E gets a sadistic instructor as their new P.E. teacher?

Meanwhile, what happens when the students are poisoned by a deadly virus and the remaining students must get the antidote by infiltrating a high-security hotel and taking on their deadliest rivals yet?

All this and more in “Assassination Classroom, Volume 1, Part 2”!

What is “Assassination Classroom” all about?

In 2012, mangaka Yusei Matsui created the manga series “Assassination Classroom” (Ansatsu Kyoshitsu).

Matsui, who was known for the manga series “Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro” and also was a former assistant of mangaka, Yoshio Sawai, would eventually create one of the best selling manga series in the past few years.

Serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”, a total of 12 volumes have been collected into Tankobon format and the first volume has had over one million copies printed and was on the list for best-selling manga in 2013. Came second in Media Factory’s “Book of the Year” and won the #1 position for “2014 Kono Manga ga Sugoi!” voted by male readers for Takarajimasha.

With an anime adaptation in Japan that debuted in 2015, the first part of the first season of “Assassination Classroom” was released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNIMATION.

The anime series is produced by Lerche (“Danganronpa the Animation”, “Persona 4: The Animation”, “Re: Hamatora”) and was directed by Seiji Kishi (“Angel Beats!”, “Persona 4: The Animation”, “Ragnarok the Animation”, “RE: Hamatora”), a screenplay by Makoto Uezu (“Kamisama Dolls”, “Arslan Senki: Fujin Ranbu”, “Quiz Magic Academy”, “Is This a Zombie?”), music by Naoki Sato (“Blood-C”, “Eureka Seven”, “Heroic Age”), character design by Kazuaki Morita (“Kamisama Dolls”, “Tentai Senshi Sunred”, “Persona 4: The Animation”) and art direction by Ayumu Miyakoshi (“Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Noba DC”) and Kazuto Shimuyama (“Daganronpa the Animation”, “Devil Survivor 2: The Animation”).

The series begins by introducing us to a powerful alien creature that destroyed 70% of the moon, making it a crescent moon forever. The alien has said that within a year, he will destroy the Earth but he does give mankind a chance to prevent it.

Having special speed and quick reflexes, with a number of tentacles like an octopus, the alien known as Koro-sensei, becomes a teacher for the lowly class 3-E at the prestigious Kunugigaoka Junior High School.

Government worker Tadaomi Karasuma tells the entire class 3-E what problems they are facing and how Koro-sensei will destroy the Earth. But the deal the alien made with the government and military is that if he is assassinated before the end of the year, he will spare Earth. So, Tadaomi Karasuma announces that the focus of class 3-E is to kill their homeroom teacher.

And Koro-sensei is hoping the students can do it..but can they?

For volume 1, we are introduced to Nagisa Shiota, a weak student but very observant and smart and studies Koro-sensei’s color-changing moods and tries to find any weakness that he can.

Meanwhile, bad boy Karma Akabane joins class 3-E and was suspended from school prior to Korosensei’s arrival and now, Karma wants to do all he can to kill Koro-sensei.

But each time the students try to kill Koro-sensei, his mach 5 ability makes him difficult to see and kill and all fail. But when they try to kill him, Koro-sensei tries to teach each student on becoming a better person and in someways, making him likeable to a point.

With the destruction of Earth many months away, can these students kill Koro-sensei before it’s too late.

Also, a new English teacher is brought to Kunugigaoka Junior High School. Her name is Irina Jelavich who is very fashionable, sexy and no doubt has her own ways to charm the guys. But in truth, this new teacher is a mercenary and one of the best. But will she be skillful enough to assassinate Koro-sensei?

Meanwhile, we are introduced to Kunugigaoka Private Academy’s principal Gakuho Asano and learn how he views Class E!

In the second part of the first season.  Government worker Tadaomi Karasuma’s former teacher in special forces replaces him as teacher for 3E, but his methods are not the most kindest and includes torture.  How will the class of Koro Sensei’s 3-E respond to their new teacher?

Many of the students of Class 3-E were inflicted with a deadly virus and the person responsible for the virus is demanding that Koro-sensei’s head be delivered to him at the Fukuma Denjo Hotel, in exchange for an antidote.

But Class 3-E must use their skills which they have learned to go against high-level assassins waiting for them.

Will they survive the ordeal?


VIDEO:

“Assassination Classroom” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The anime series is colorful and vibrant.

Backgrounds are well-painted and it was interesting to see the darker character lines for how the main characters are drawn. But for the most part, the animation does compliment the manga series very well! And the overall anime series looks fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Assassination Classroom” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD stereo. “Assassination Classroom” is a series that features crystal clear dialogue. Both soundtracks are well-acted but I felt the English dialogue had the advantage of the use of the surround channels when it comes to lossless audio utilization.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Assassination Classroom” Season 1, Part 2 comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 14 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Sonny Strait (voice of Koro-sensei) and Lindsay Seidel (voice of Nagisa)
  • Episode 17 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Martha Harms (voice of Irina Jelavich) and Chris Ryan (voice of Tadaomi Karasuma).
  • Top 10 Moments – (11:17) Featuring the “Assassination Classroom” voice dub cast (Sonny Straight, Apphia Yu, Chris Ryan, Lindsay Seidel, Monica Rial, Micah Solusud) discussing the top 10 moments from the first season.
  • Textless Opening Song – “Jiriki Hongan Revolution” Version 1 and 2
  • Textless Closing Song – “Hello, shooting-star”
  • U.S. Trailer

EXTRAS:

“Assassination Classroom” Season 1, Part 2 comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series.


We have seen the students within Class 3-E grow. Grow as friends, grow as assassins, even seeing their own respect for their alien teacher. And each time they have tried to assassinate Koro-sensei, they would lose, thanks to Koro-sensei’s super speed.

But part of what makes Koro-sensei so quick and powerful is the use of his tentacles. And through failure, the class have grown adept in their ways of assassination.

In the second half of the season, we get to see the class work as a team in a baseball challenge, but also see them get a new pool.  But the main storyline is the hiring of Akira Takaoka of the Ministry of Defense Special Task Department.

He has been hired to be in charge of the training for the students, while Mr. Karasuma looks for more assassins.

But for Karasuma, leaving the kids with Takaoka freaks him out because he remembers how Takaoka, as a trainer, used torture to get what he wants.  Does he follow the chief’s order to let Takaoka teach the kids, or does he actually care for the kids and wants to protect them?

But now they must put their skills to use as classmates have been inflicted with a deadly virus and now they need to obtain the antidote from the person responsible.

Also, as students of Class 3-E were inflicted with a deadly virus, time is in the essence of getting an antidote to save them.  So, a few of the students along with Koro-sensei, Ministory of Defense teacher Tadaomi Karasuma and Ms. Irina Jelavich must infiltrate Fukuma Denjo Hotel, where the person who was responsible is staying.  But not only is he waiting for them, so are many high level assassins.

Can Class 3-E survive?

With this second part of the first season, the storyline is exciting as class 3-E finally get to use all what they learned and put it to practice, as they take on their greatest challenge yet!  And while this is all happening, of course, class 3-E continues to find ways to assassinate Koro-sensei.

As for the Blu-ray release, animation is vibrant and colorful, voice acting for both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-done. You also get a good number of special features included, from two audio commentary, top 10 moments and more.

Overall, “Assassination Classroom” is an enjoyable, humorous and exciting action-packed anime series.  And with the second part of season one, the series just gets better and better!  I can’t wait for season two!

Assassination Classroom, Season 1, Part 1 Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

assassination-classroom-1a

“Assassination Classroom” is an enjoyable, humorous and exciting action-packed anime series!

Image courtesy of © 2016 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Assassination Classroom, Season 1, Part 1 Limited Edition

YEAR: 2015

DURATION: Episodes 1-11 (275 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: May 17, 2016


Originally Created by Yusei Matsu

Directed by Seiji Kishi

Screenplay by Makoto Uezu

Music by Naoki Sato

Character Design by Kazuaki Morita

Art Direction by Ayumu Miyakoshi, Kazuto Shimoyama

Mechanical Design by Tomohito Hirose

Production by Lerche


Featuring the following voice talent:

Aya Suzaki/Monica Rial as Kaede Kayano

Jun Fukuyama/Sonny Strait as Koro-sensei

Mai Fuchigami/Lindsay Seidel as Nagisa Shiota

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Apphia Yu as Karma Akabane

Ayaka Suwa/Michelle Rojas as Tōka Yada

Chie Matsuura/Morgan Garrett as Megu Kataoka

Eiji Miyashita/Kyle Phillips as Sōsuke Sugaya

Fuko Saito/Terry Doty as Kirara Hazama

Hisako Kanemoto as Hinano Kurahashi

Junji Majima as Ryūnosuke Chiba

Kana Ueda as Yuzuki Fuwa

Kenta Miyake as Akira Takaoka

Kouki Harasawa as Takuya Muramatsu

Mamoru Miyano as Gakushū Asano

Manami Numakura as Rio Nakamura

Megumi Ogata as Itona Horibe

Miho Hino as Sumire Hara

Minami Tanaka as Hinata Okano

Ryo Naitou as Taiga Okajima

Ryota Ohsaka as Yūma Isogai

Saki Fujita as Jiritsu “Ritsu” Shikō Kotei Hōdai

Satomi Satou as Yukiko Kanzaki

Sayuri Yahagi as Manami Okuda

Shiho Kawaragi as Rinka Hayami

Shintarō Asanuma as Hiroto Maehara

Shinya Takahashi as Kōki Mimura

Shizuka Itou as Irina Jelavic

Sho Hayami as Gakuhō Asano

Shunsuke Kawabe as Masayoshi Kimura

Subaru Kimura as Ryōma Terasaka

Takahiro Mizushima as Kōtarō Takebayashi

Takehito Koyasu as Gastro

Tomokazu Sugita as Tadaomi Karasuma

Yoshitaka Yamaya as Tomohito Sugino

Yoshiyuki Shimozuma as Taisei Yoshida


Only nostrils of steel can prevent massive blood loss during this super sexy second season of Maken-Ki! Brought to you by the director of Ikki Tousen!

Takeru and his Leadership Committee comrades are the last line of defense when it comes to ridding Tenbei Academy of mischievous Maken users. But saving all these succulent student bodies from a hoard of hocus pocus hornballs is no easy trick. Not when there’s a pervy creeper pinning bras to the bulletin board, a magical feline turning coed cuties into irresistible sex kittens, and a must-see manga fest where the costumes get mysteriously shrunken down to scandalous sizes! Through it all, Takeru keeps his mind on the mammaries – and the mammaries on his mind – as the luscious ladies of the Leadership Committee prove that their magic is breast in class!


In 2012, mangaka Yusei Matsui created the manga series “Assassination Classroom” (Ansatsu Kyoshitsu).

Matsui, who was known for the manga series “Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro” and also was a former assistant of mangaka, Yoshio Sawai, would eventually create one of the best selling manga series in the past few years.

Serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”, a total of 12 volumes have been collected into Tankobon format and the first volume has had over one million copies printed and was on the list for best-selling manga in 2013.  Came second in Media Factory’s “Book of the Year” and won the #1 position for “2014 Kono Manga ga Sugoi!” voted by male readers for Takarajimasha.

With an anime adaptation in Japan that debuted in 2015, the first part of the first season of “Assassination Classroom” was released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNIMATION.

The anime series is produced by Lerche (“Danganronpa the Animation”, “Persona 4: The Animation”, “Re: Hamatora”) and was directed by Seiji Kishi (“Angel Beats!”, “Persona 4: The Animation”, “Ragnarok the Animation”, “RE: Hamatora”), a screenplay by Makoto Uezu (“Kamisama Dolls”, “Arslan Senki: Fujin Ranbu”, “Quiz Magic Academy”, “Is This a Zombie?”), music by Naoki Sato (“Blood-C”, “Eureka Seven”, “Heroic Age”), character design by Kazuaki Morita (“Kamisama Dolls”, “Tentai Senshi Sunred”, “Persona 4: The Animation”) and art direction by Ayumu Miyakoshi (“Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Noba DC”) and Kazuto Shimuyama (“Daganronpa the Animation”, “Devil Survivor 2: The Animation”).

The series begins by introducing us to a powerful alien creature that destroyed 70% of the moon, making it a crescent moon forever.  The alien has said that within a year, he will destroy the Earth but he does give mankind a chance to prevent it.

Having special speed and quick reflexes, with a number of tentacles like an octopus, the alien known as Koro-sensei, becomes a teacher for the lowly class 3-E at the prestigious Kunugigaoka Junior High School.

Government worker Tadaomi Karasuma tells the entire class 3-E what problems they are facing and how Koro-sensei will destroy the Earth.  But the deal the alien made with the government and military is that if he is assassinated before the end of the year, he will spare Earth.  So, Tadaomi Karasuma announces that the focus of class 3-E is to kill their homeroom teacher.

And Koro-sensei is hoping the students can do it..but can they?

For volume 1, we are introduced to Nagisa Shiota, a weak student but very observant and smart and studies Koro-sensei’s color-changing moods and tries to find any weakness that he can.

Meanwhile, bad boy Karma Akabane joins class 3-E and was suspended from school prior to Korosensei’s arrival and now, Karma wants to do all he can to kill Koro-sensei.

But each time the students try to kill Koro-sensei, his mach 5 ability makes him difficult to see and kill and all fail.  But when they try to kill him, Koro-sensei tries to teach each student on becoming a better person and in someways, making him likeable to a point.

With the destruction of Earth many months away, can these students kill Koro-sensei before it’s too late.

Also, a new English teacher is brought to Kunugigaoka Junior High School.  Her name is Irina Jelavich who is very fashionable, sexy and no doubt has her own ways to charm the guys.  But in truth, this new teacher is a mercenary and one of the best.  But will she be skillful enough to assassinate Koro-sensei?

Meanwhile, we are introduced to Kunugigaoka Private Academy’s principal Gakuho Asano and learn how he views Class E!


VIDEO:

“Assassination Classroom” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The anime series is colorful and vibrant.

Backgrounds are well-painted and it was interesting to see the darker character lines for how the main characters are drawn.  But for the most part, the animation does compliment the manga series very well!  And the overall anime series looks fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Assassination Classroom” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD stereo. “Assassination Classroom” is a series that features crystal clear dialogue. Both soundtracks are well-acted but I felt the English dialogue had the advantage of the use of the surround channels when it comes to lossless audio utilization.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Assassination Classroom” Season 1, Part 1 comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Co-ADR Directors: Joel McDonald and Apphia Yu.
  • Episode 7 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Monica Rial (voice of Kaede Kayano), Leah Clark (voice of Yukiko Kanzaki) and Clifford Chafin (voice of Tomohito Sugino).
  • Episode 0 “Meeting Time”– (10:06) Koro-sensei’s story of how he met Karasuma.
  • Interview with the Cast – (20:22) Interviews with the English dub actors Sonny Straight, Austin Tindle, Apphia Yu and Martha Harms.
  • Textless Opening Song – “Seishun Satsubatsuran”
  • Textless Closing Song – “Hello, shooting-star”
  • U.S. Trailer

EXTRAS:

“Assassination Classroom” Season 1, Part 1 comes with a chipboard box, four postcards, student handbook & school diary, slipcase for season 1 (part 1 and 2) and a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series.


My first introduction to “Assassination Classroom” was from the Vita video game “J-Stars Victory Vs.”  And was wondering why there is yellow octopus in the game.

After googling and doing my research, I eventually learned about “Assassination Classroom” and wasn’t sure if it was a horror-based storyline or a manga series with humor and action.

So, I have been anticipating Yusei Matsui’s “Assassination Classroom” and it being adapted to an anime series because it has done so well in Japan.

The anime series is quite interesting as an alien who threatens to destroy the planet, unless the students of class 3-E can kill him before the year is over.  I wonder how Yusei Matsui came up with the idea to make this series. It’s so far out but yet you welcome anything new and fresh.

And while the series features many characters, we are slowly introduced to the primary characters such as the weak but smart Nagisa Shiota; the cunning, smart and coldblooded Karma Akabane; and then there is Tomohito Sugino, who dreamed of becoming a baseball player, but his hopes lost when his grades got worse and thus, having him become part of class 3-E.

As the students do all they can to kill Koro-sensei, we get to learn how difficult it is because he is lightning quick and has various tricks, also many tentacles to have him do multiple things all at once.

But it’s not just students.  We are introduced to a sexy English teacher named Irina Jelavich, who is an actual assassin who has succeeded in using her sexy charm to allure men and then kill them.  And now, she is brought to the Academy to kill Koro-sensei…but can she?  And will her style even fit in a school setting as a teacher?

We are introduced to the principal of the academy, Gakuho Asano and we start to learn how much they despise Class E.  Of course, no one in Class E knows about Koro-sensei and the plan to assassinate him, but we learn how hostile the student body is towards the class.

Meanwhile, the government turns to a professional assassin known as “Red Eye” to assassinate Koro-sensei, as well as a fighting machine known as “Autonomous Intelligence Fixed Artillery” joins Class E.  And much more!

The story and premise of what the students must do is the same.  As the students do all they can to kill Koro-sensei, we get to learn how difficult it is because he is lightning quick and has various tricks, also many tentacles to have him do multiple things all at once.

But each time they know they must kill him, they start to learn that he’s actually teaching them a lot about survival, their studies and are doing much better than they were before.  In fact, he’s become quite likable.  But can students kill a teacher that they like?  Unfortunately, with this alien teacher planning to destroy the planet in one year unless they kill him…they have no choice.

As for the Blu-ray release, animation is vibrant and colorful, voice acting for both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-done.  You also get a good number of special features included, from audio commentary to an interview with a few of the voice talent and more.  Also, you get a slipcase (which can hold part 1 and part 2 of season one), a chipboard and art cards.

Overall, “Assassination Classroom” is an enjoyable, humorous and exciting action-packed anime series!

Is This a Zombie?: The Complete Series – Anime Classics (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Review)

March 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

isthisazombie

Fun, crazy, perverted and entertaining, “Is This a Zombie?: The Complete Series” will entertain harem anime fans wanting something a bit different.  And if that is the case, then “Is This a Zombie?” is for you!

Image courtesy of © FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Is This a Zombie?: The Complete Series – Anime Classics

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2009

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: 17+

COMPANY: FUNimation

RELEASE DATE: March 25, 2014

Originally created by Shinji Kimura

Directed by Takaomi Kanasaki

Series Composition by Makoto Uezu

Screenplay by Makoto Uezu, Shigeru Morita, Touko Machida

Music by Shinji Kakijima

Original Character Design by Kobuichi, Muririn

Character Design by Shinobu Tagashira

Art Director: Kei Ichikura

Anime Production: Studio DEEN

Featuring the voices of:

Iori Nomizu/Jad Saxton as Haruna

Junji Majima/Austin Tindle as Ayumu Aikawa

Midori Tsukimiya/Cherami Leigh as Eucliwood Hellscythe

Ai Shimizu/Monica Rial as Dai-sensei (Head Teacher)

Aya Gōda/Caitlin Glass as Salas

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Anthony Bowling as Orito

Hisako Kanemoto/Brittney Karbowski as Yuki “Tomonori” Yoshida

Koji Yusa/Eric Vale as King of the Night

Mina/Emerick Jade as Kanami Mihara

Noriko Shitaya/Lindsay Seidel as Kyōko

Rie Yamaguchi/Erica Harte as Taeko Hiramatsu

Yōko Hikasa/Morgan Garrett as Sera (Seraphim)

Some guys have no luck; he’s got no pulse. That’s life for unfortunate, undead Ayumu. First, he was murdered by a serial killer. Total bummer. Then he was resurrected as a zombie by a cute little necromancer. That seemed pretty cool until she moved into his house, refused to speak, and forced his rotting carcass to do all the cooking. After that, a magical girl in a pretty pink dress used her matching chainsaw to chop his corpse in half.

Luckily, the necromancer’s powers of resurrection trumped those of the chainsaw chick, so instead of dying (again), Ayumu became the world’s first magical girl zombie. There’s also a voluptuous vampire ninja who thinks zombie boy’s a pervert – and a hideous crayfish demon who wants to devour him. Confused? All you gotta know is this: zombies, frilly dresses, demons, and moe chainsaws. Pink. It’s the new dead.

In 2009, Shinichi Kimura wrote the Japanese light novel series “Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?” (Is this a Zombie?) featuring illustrations by Kobuichi and Muririn.

With the popularity of “Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?”, a total of five different manga adaptations were created and a 12-episode anime series adaptation was produced by Studio Deen and shown on TV Saitama from January through March 2011.  Followed by a ten episode TV series +2 OVA’s which aired on Tokyo MX.

The harem anime series is directed by Takaomi Kanasaki (“Magician’s Academy”, “School Rumble: 2nd Semester”), series composition by Makoto Uezu (“Ah My Buddha”, “Sola”, “Utawarerumono”, “My Bride is a Mermaid”), music by Shinji Kakijima (“Uta~Kata”, “Transformers: Cybertron”), character design by Shinobu Tagashira (“Shonen Onmyouji”, “Yume o Kanaero Zo”, “Hunter x Hunter”) and art direction by Kei Ichikura (“Odolm@ster: Xenoglossia”, “Strike Witches 2″, “Freedom”).

And now “Is This a Zombie?” has been released on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation.

“Is this a Zombie?” revolves around a teenager named Ayumu Aikawa.  A high school boy that was killed by a serial killer and resurrected to a zombie courtesy of a necromancer named Eucliwood Hellscythe.  As a teenager, Ayumu used to be quite active in school but now, he tries to keep things downlow, so no one will find out that he’s a zombie.

With his parents traveling the world, Ayumu let’s Eucliwood live with him temporarily.  And as Ayumu tries to keep himself out of trouble, he encounters a Maso-Shojo (Magical Garment Girl) named Haruna who is fighting against a demon.  But somehow her magical powers are absorbed by Ayumu due to Eucliwood’s power of resurrection being stronger than Haruna’s magic.  And because Haruna needs to defeat the demons known as Megalos, with Ayumu having her power, she needs Ayumu to take on the role as a Maso-Shojo.

Unfortunately, by transforming to a magical garment girl, everyone in school catches Ayumu in a magical girl outfit and think he’s a weirdo or tranny.  And because Ayumu has Haruna’s power, he has no choice but to let her move in with him.

Meanwhile, another girl comes to Ayumu’s home, her name is Seraphim, a servant of Eucliwood and one that happens to be a vampire ninja.  But when she comes to the house, she is asked to serve Ayumu, which he rejects.  But despite her heavy tsundere attitude, she also begins living with Ayumu.

And with these four living together and often getting at each other’s nerves, each must work together to take on various evils and hopefully help Ayumu find the serial killer responsible for killing him.

 

“Is This a Zombie?” features the following characters:

  • Ayumu Aikawa – The main protagonist of the series.  Ayumi is a normal teenager who attends high school but his life is changed when he is killed by a serial killer.  He is revived as a zombie by Eucliwood Hellscythe and with his new power, he is immortal, invincible and has great strength.  But he can still feel pain and easily dries out in sunlight.  Adding to his superhuman strength, due to having the ability to absorb magic, he accidentally absorbed Haruna’ s Maso-Shojo power and now Ayumu has the ability to turn into a magical garment girl.  His goal is to find the person responsible for killing him.
  • Haruna – Haruna is a Maso-Shojo from Villiers and her primary weapon is a chainsaw which she named Mystletainn.  Her job is to defeat Megalos and because Ayumu has absorbed some of her powers and needs Ayumu’s help to fight the Megalos demons, she moves in with him.  Moreso, because she has fallen for him.
  • Eucliwood Hellscythe – Eucliewood is a necromancer responsible for bringing Ayumu back to life.  She is a powerful magic user and because she can easily kill people by muttering words, she chooses not to talk but use written notes.  She also experiences a lot of pain when she uses magic.  She cares for Ayumu, because he is grateful that she gave him a second chance at life.
  • Seraphim – A vampire ninja known for her well-endowed assets.  She uses the power of the Secret Sword Technique: Swallow Cut and is the true tsundere character and thinks that everything that Ayumu does, even if it’s something good natured as a sign of deviance.  She needs blood to stay alive.  Despite her attitude towards Ayumu, she is starting to fall for him as well.
  • Mael Strom – A vampire ninja from a different faction than Seraphim, Mael goes by Yuki Yoshida and she finds herself falling for Ayumu because of his courage.
  • Sarasvati – Seraphim’s superior and goes by the name of Kirara Hoshikawa.  Her job was to make sure that Eu was killed because she is a Megalo magnet.

VIDEO:

“Is This a Zombie?: The Complete Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  For picture quality, the animation is pretty good, as characters are fun and well-shaded and art backgrounds are detailed well.  There is a bit of softness but the series is quite colorful.  I did not notice any banding issues or artifacts during my viewing of this series.

AUDIO:

“Is This a Zombie?: The Complete Series” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD. As for the soundtrack, the English dub track has a better dynamic range as it is presented in 5.1, so action scenes are much more active through the surround channels during the action scenes.  And as the English dub is well-acted, as well as the Japanese soundtrack, especially for the more emotional scenes of the series.  But overall, dialogue is clear, fidelity is good.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Is This a Zombie?: The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

 

  • Episode 3 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with ADR Director Tyler Walker with voice talents Austin Tindle (Ayumu) and Anthony Bowling (Orito).
  • Episode 7 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with ADR Director Tyler Walker with voice talents Morgan Garrett (Seraphim) and Jade Saxton (Haruna).
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer for “Is This a Zombie?”
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs
  • Trailers – FUNimation trailers

“Is this a Zombie?” is a fun, perverted, harem anime with a twist!

Sure, anime fans…we have seen harem anime series before.  Well-endowed or characters that constantly show their panties and your protagonist guy who is either a really kind individual or a crazy pervert.

But where “Is This a Zombie?” tries to be different from other anime series is the fact that its main protagonist is teenage guy who is a zombie and also a magical garment girl!  And I know, some of you are reading this and asking yourselves…”what?”.

And to add to the twist is that each member has a tsundere attitude towards the protagonist (but yet falls for him despite him ticking them off in some way or other) and joininh the harem is a necromancer, the other a maso-shojo, three vampire ninjas and suffice to say, the main protagonist Ayumu Aikawa, is just a guy trying to play it cool and cares for each of them as a good friend (but being a teenage guy who is interested in sex, he also has perverted things going through his head at times).

While the majority of the episodes for “Is This a Zombie?” are introductory episodes of each character and are fun and upbeat.  It’s the way these individuals interact with each other that makes the anime series so fun.  Throw in Ayumu’s perverted classmate Orito and strange and crazy things start to happen.  For example, because Ayumu has part of Haruna’s Majo-Shojo power, he is now a magical garment girl and he will turn into one, with small clothes and exposing panties.  I don’t think I have ever seen an anime series where a guy turns into a magical girl and to make things even more funny, those fan service shots that are usually reserved for magical girls also have the same result on Ayumu.  So, yes… Ayumu has panty shots as well, which may make some fans shiver.

And while a lot of episodes are fun and games, with the group out for bowling, the girls competing in a singing contest or having fun at the pool, there are some episodes where you will see some antagonists.

In the first half of the season, we are introduced to Kyoko, who looks like your sweet and average girl but she’s actually a Maso-shojo and also a serial killer, which she uses human souls to be added to her life if anything bad happens to her.

And the second half of the series, introduces us to another zombie created earlier by Eucliwood and unlike Ayumu, his heart is full of malice.

So, there is more to this anime than just perverted humor with fun and games.

Also, included with “Is This a Zombie?: The Complete Series” is the 13th episode, an OVA about Ayumu and the young ladies going out to a festival for some fun and Seraphim cooking a vampire ninja recipe for the group and a Uta-garuta tournament at school.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good.  While there is slight softness, as one can expect from a TV anime series, the series looks good and the OVA 13th episode looks even better.  Dialogue for both Japanese and English soundtracks are crystal clear and understandable, with the English 5.1 soundtrack the better of the two in terms of dynamic range.  But both are well-acted.   And as for special features, you get two audio commentaries featuring the English dub voice talents.

As for the series overall, there are better harem anime series such as “Love Hina” or “Aoi Yori Aoishi”, or those who want comedy will enjoy “Magikano”, “Rosario + Vampire” or “Nyan Koi!” and for those who are primarily in it for the perverted fan service, will probably enjoy anime series such as “Sekirei”, “Samurai Harem” or “Heaven’s Lost Property”.

But “Is This a Zombie?: The Complete Series” tries to incorporate the comedy and fan service but featuring characters that are not always nice to Ayumu and Ayumu has very good qualities when it comes to protecting his friends, but at the same time, being a teenage boy, he also has that perverted curiosity.   It’s not entirely original but it does try to be different thanks to its characters (a zombie, necromancer, magical girl and vampire ninjas…you’re just not going to find this type of unusual grouping in any other anime series).

Fun, crazy, perverted and entertaining, “Is This a Zombie?: The Complete Series” will entertain harem anime fans wanting something a bit different.  And if that is the case, then “Is This a Zombie?” is for you!

Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

March 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

“Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” may not groundbreaking or anything unique or new, it is a fun teen romantic comedy with harem qualities and an upbeat, vibrant style.  It may not be for everyone and it may not have as much titillating scenes as one would expect from a series based on an adult video game, but in the end, it is fun and enjoyable and if you want something that is not too deep or dark, then give “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” a chance!

Image courtesy of © feng, Amitie Climbing Club 2008. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Complete Collection

DURATION: 12 episodes +1 OVA (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, Japanese 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14VD

Release Date: March 8, 2011

Creaeted by feng

Original Character Design by Manabu Aoi, Naturalton, Ryohka, Tsubasu Izumi

Directed by Keitaro Motonaga

Series Composition/screenplay by Makoto Uezu

Music by Kenichiro Suehiro

Character Design by Kumi Horii, Madoka Hirayama

Chief Animation Director: Shoji Hara

Sound Director: Yasunori Ebina

Director of Photography: Ryouhei Kasai

Anime Production by TNK

Featuring the following voice talent:

Aya Hirano as Minato Nagase

Rie Kugimiya as Yuuhi Katagiri

Wataru Hatano as Jun’ichi Nagase

Emiri Katou as Karen Ayanokouji

Erino Hazuki as Mikoto Tachibana

Marina Inoue as Tsukasa Kiryuu

Rie Tanaka as Mitsuki Shiina

Ryou Hirohashi as Nagomi Shiraishi

Akira Ishida as Fuyuhiko Nishino

Junichi Nagase was a real delinquent in middle school; one nasty enough that he earned the nickame “Geno Killer.” It’s by this less than flattering epithet that Yuuhi Katagiri first comes to know him when he rescues her from two thugs one evening. Needless to say, both are stunned when not only does Yuuhi find herself transferred into the same high school class as “the Killer,” but that shock grows into outright stupefaction when Yuuhi shows up at Junichi’s house with the mind-blowing announcement that she’s supposed to move in with him!

It seems that they’re engaged, and since this is the first that Junichi and his younger sister Minato have first heard of the arranged marriage set up by their parents, it’s an idea that’s going to take a little getting used to.

Back in 2007, software developer Feng created an adult Japanese visual novel titled “Akane iro ni Somaru Saka” and was released for the PC on DVD, followed by a non-adult version released in 2008 for the Sony PlayStation 2 and in 2009 for the Sony PSP.

The popularity of the visual novel led to two light novels, an Internet radio show and a manga adaptation for Kadokawa Shoten’s “Comp Ace” in 2008, followed by an anime series produced by TNK aired between October-December 2008. And now the anime series will be released as a complete collection from Sentai Filmworks.

The anime series is directed by Keitaro Motonaga (“Kikaider”, “Malice@Doll”, “Phantom”, “School Days”), series composition and screenplay by Makoto Uezu (“My Bride is a Mermaid”, “Seto no Hanayome”, “Yumeria”, “School Days”) and character design by Kumi Horii (“Zone of the Enders”, “Lovedol ~Lovely Idol~”, “Student Council’s Discretion”) and Madoka Hiraya (“Lovedol ~Lovely Idol~”, “Sentimental Journey”, “Zone of the Enders”).

“Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka” revolves around two characters: Jun’ichi Nagase and Yuuhi Katagiri.

One day while walking nearby a school, Yuuhi Katagiri was waiting for someone but is approached by two guys who are forcing her to come along with them to have some fun.  A guy named Jun’ichi Nagase comes to her rescue and tell the guys to stop and when the two guys see him, they start cringing in fear as they say the guy is “the Geno Killer”.

Needless to say, Jun’ichi saves the girl and Yuuhi Katagiri becomes curious about this guy.

In reality, Jun’ichi is not a killer.  He lives with his adopted sister Minato who tends to take care of her older brother and cook for him and reminds him of his studies as he is addicted to video games and anime.  The rumor of him being “The Geno Killer” was created by Fuyuhiko Nishino, his best friend who often tends to get Jun’ichi into trouble.

When Jun’ichi goes to school the next day, he is shocked that the girl he helped, Yuuhi, has joined the classroom.  And to everyone’s shock, Yuuhi tells him that she wants to go out with him (which was a misunderstanding as she meant as for tea or coffee, not as in a relationship).

The following day, Jun’ichi’s friend puts thoughts into his head that Yuuhi wants to be a boyfriend and when Jun’ichi goes to talk to her, he kisses her, shocking the whole class.  Instead of being happy, Yuuhi is livid and upset and kicks Jun’ichi in the groin area.

That afternoon, Yuuhi has come to the home of the Nagase’s and tells Jun’ichi and his sister that she is moving in, because she is engaged to marry Jun’ichi as arranged by her father.  Both Jun’ichi and Minato are shocked but when their father calls, he quickly tells Jun’ichi that he will be engaged to Yuuhi and quickly ends the conversation.

Despite a rocky start, both Jun’ichi and Yuuhi try to understand each other but at the same time, other female characters get involved and start to want their time with Jun’ichi, complicating and even making Yuuhi jealous.  But to make things even more angsty, Jun’ichi’s adoptive sister Minato is also in love with him.

Here is a basic summary of each episode of “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Complete Collection”:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 –  A Madder Red First Kiss – Jun’ichi saves Yuuhi from two guys who wouldn’t leave her alone.  When she enrolls in the same classroom, Jun’ichi thinks that she is falling for him and wants to make his next move.
  • EPISODE 2 – A Madder Red Approach – Since Jun’ichi and Yuuhi are engaged, Yuuhi wants to cook just as good as Minato for Jun’ichi.
  • EPISODE 3 – A Mysterious Scream – Jun’ichi’s teacher Seijirou Sugishita goes missing around the school area and Jun’ichi and friends must try to find him.
  • EPISODE 4 – An Indigo Mad Party – Jun’ichi’s classmate Karen Ayanokouji invites him to a party (along with Yuuhi and Minato) and the party turns out to be a formal party.
  • EPISODE 5 – A Madder Red First Date – When Jun’ichi asks his sister Minato to watch a movie with him, Yuuhi is jealous that Jun’ichi didn’t bother to include her.
  • EPISODE 6 – A Golden Yellow Montage – Karen invites Jun’ichi, Yuuhi, Minato including the teacher and friends to a mountain hotel resort.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 7 – A Steel Festival – It’s time for the school cultural festival and Yuuhi, Karen, Fuyuhiko and Tsuka and friends do a Yakisoba Cafe but they must compete against Minato’s awesome cooking, as she is with the Tennis Club.
  • EPISODE 8 – A Twilight Desire – Tsukasa embarasses Jun’ichi when she shows him an embarrassing picture of he and Yuuhi, which prompts Jun’ichi to get back at Tsukasa by bringing up embarrassing things about her.
  • EPISODE 9 – A Madder Red Birthday – Tsukasa’s photo of Jun’ichi and Yuuhi from the Cultural Festival comes in first place as “Best Amitie”.  Meanwhile, Yuuhi cooks Jun’ichi a cake and someone gets jealous.
  • EPISODE 10 –  A Madder Red Confusion – Yuuhi starts to know that she has feelings for Jun’ichi, as does Karen. But Minato wants to let him know of her feelings towards him.
  • EPISODE 11 – A Madder Red Puzzlement – Yuuhi meets her father and rejects the engagement to Jun’ichi.  Meanwhile, Minato decides to let Jun’ichi know about how she feels about him.
  • EPISODE 12 – A Madder Red Hill – Jun’ichi professes his love…but to who?
  • OVA – It’s the Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka Hardcore OVA, Big Brother!! – Jun’ichi and friends visit one of the islands owned by the Ayanouji family and their school president wants to make this trip as perverted as possible.

VIDEO:

There are people who may be familiar with the PC version of “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” and those who may be familiar with the PS2/PSP version of the game and wonder if the anime series will exhibit some of that fan service.  The series is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen and it’s important to note that while the series tends to showcase more closeups of the characters and instead of all out fan service, there is more legs/thighs than blatant nudity.  There is a little of it (for example, Yuuhi and Minato bathing with each other) but this is not a series that showcases a lot of nudity nor a lot of fan service.  Which was actually surprising, considering that the series is based on an adult video game.

Also, because of it’s closeups, the artistic backgrounds are not a factor at all for this series.  You’ll see big objects with color but the emphasis was put more towards the characters than having an artistic background.

But outside of that, I did enjoy the colors for “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” which are quite vibrant, while character designs tend to have a certain banality of other anime, so there is no significant characters that stickout.  But for the most part, animation is fine, picture quality for the DVD is fine (there is some interlacing if watched on a computer versus a television).

AUDIO:

Audio is presented in Japanese 2.0 and voice acting well-done.  Dialogue is clear, as is the music as it comes from the front channels.  Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Complete Collection” comes with clean opening and closing themes and Sentai Filmworks trailers.

“Akane iro ni Somaru Saka” is one of those harem-style anime series that definitely shows ties to Japanese visual novels in which the main character can definitely choose his own path of which woman to be with. And while the series doesn’t throw too many female characters, there is a banality towards this series because it has been done before.  But with one exception, one of the females in the protagonist, Jun’ichi’s life is his sister, Minato.

Minato loves him and despite having feelings towards the other female characters, he also has love for his sister.  Afterall, for Jun’ichi, his sister Minato has pretty much taken care of him.  From cooking, laundry to getting him ready for school or when he gets home, it’s almost like having a mother and wife.

And it’s one of those storylines that is not anything unique to anime but it’s rather how one perceives the notion of sister (or step-sister) falling for her brother.  While some may embrace the free thinking of Japanese culture, western fans may be turned off by the fact that of all the girls he can be with, Jun’ichi always turns to his sister.  Whether or not you dig this, it’s up to you?

While I did find the anime series to be fun and enjoyable, compared to similar anime series such as “Girl’s Bravo”, “Nyan Koi”or anime that is derived from something ecchi or hentai, if you’re going to have storylines that try to be bold, might as well make the series be bold and have it a little more mature.  You kind of feel while watching “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka”, that it’s being restrained from what fans truly loved about the series and it tries to have a sense of being something else, when you know and can feel by the undertones that this should probably be more perverted than it is.

We know that Jun’ichi has a perverted side to him, we can tell the animators want to show some sexiness at times…well, instead of making things quite pedestrian, they should have made “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” embody that ecchi fan service type of style.

But “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka” still manages to have an enjoyable storyline and at 12 episodes + a bonus OVA, it’s easily accessible for viewers but it’s a rather average anime series.  Nothing groundbreaking, just a straightforward rom-com teen harem anime series.

Once again, it’s not mature-themed but it does have brief nudity.  So, for those hardcore otakus that are into ecchi-based anime series especially since this series is based on an adult video game, this is not of those series.  But if you are looking for a fun, teen romance comedy that is not too deep, then “Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Complete Collection” is definitely fro you.

Bottom