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Mob Psycho 100 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Mob Psycho 100” was one of the coolest, wildest and craziest anime series I have watched in 2017.  From ONE, the creator of “One-Punch Man”, this is a different but equally enjoyable anime series worth watching and one that I highly recommend!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Toho Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Mob Psycho 100

DURATION: (12 Episodes) 300 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Funimation

RATED: PG

Release Date: December 5, 2017


Originally Created by ONE

Directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa

Series Composition: Hiroshi Seko

Music by Kenji Kawai

Character Design: Yoshimichi Kameda

Art Director: Ryo Kono

Sound Director: Kazuhiro Wakabayashi

Director of Photography: Mayuko Furumoto

Anime Production: Bones


Featuring the following voice talent:

Setsuo Ito/Kyle McCarley as Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama

Akio Ohtsuka/Michael Sorich as Ekubo

Atsumi Tanezaki/Cherami Leigh as Tome Kurata

Ayumi Fujimura/Abby Trott as Ichi Mezato

Hiroyuki Kagura as Daichi Shiratori/Kaito Shiratori

Kōhei Amasaki/Chris Hackney as Takeshi Hoshino

Miyu Irino/Max Mittelman as Ritsu Kageyama

Rumi Ookubo/Cristina Vee as Ishiguro

Sanae Fuku/Mela Lee as Rei Kurosaki

Takahiro Sakurai/Chris Niosi as Arataka Reigen

Toshihiko Seki/Patrick Seitz as Musashi Goda

Uki Satake/Ryan Bartley as Tsubomi Takane

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Xander Mobus as Sakurai/Tenga Onigawara

Yoshitsugu Matsuoka/Erik Scott Kimerer as Teruki Hanazawa

Yūsuke Kuwahata/Bobby Thong as Gou Asahi


Mob is an 8th grader with powerful psychic abilities who wants to be normal. When not exorcising evil spirits he attempts to suppress his powers, causing stunted emotions. But when he hits 100 percent, his pent-up feelings unleash a dark power.


Manga artist ONE became viral when his webcomic series “One-Punch Man” debuted.  While it had no official publisher and his art for the most part was quite rough, when the manga was remade into a digital manga illustrated by Yusuke Murata (best known for “Eyeshield 21”) and was serialized in “Weekly Young Jump”.

As ONE would become popular worldwide, he would go on to create another series from 2012-2017 titled “Mob Psycho 100”, which was serialized on the online version “Weekly Shonen Sunday” site, “Ura Sunday”.

With a total of 15 manga volumes published, a one season anime series which aired in July-September 2016 and a live action TV drama starting in January 2018, “Mob Psycho 100” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

The anime series revolves around Shigeo Kagayama, who looks like an average boy and is given the nickname “Mob” (which means “background character” in Japanese).

While Mob may look nerdy and weak, the truth is that he is a powerful Esper.

Mob works for Arataka Reigen, a self-proclaimed psychic but in truth, he is a con artist who happens to excel in persuasion and perception but also quite clever and agile, with a lot of skills that makes one wonder if he’s a very skilled person.  Who happens to also be Mob’s mentor.

And through Reigen, Mob has learned one important lesson from his master and that is to never use his Esper abilities against anyone.

Partly becomes if Mob’s feelings reach 100%, he is overcome with a strong emotion that makes him unable to control his powers and he literally becomes a black-souled being that can destroy and hurt people.

And his younger brother Ritsu had witness this.  Ritsu is different from Mob that he exceeds in athletics and academically.  He is taller, more handsome and popular.  But he wishes he has his brothers psychic power and is often envious of his older brother.

Meanwhile, Mob runs to various obstacles, from ghosts to other ESPers that want to fight him and with Mob trying to control his emotions and keeping to the promise to never use his powers on anyone living, how will things turn out for Mob when the going gets rough?

What happens when Mob meets an upper class evil spirit named Dimple who can possess the bodies of others?  And what happens when Mob confronts a “hidden boss” named Teruki Hanazawa whose intent is to beat Mob to a pulp.

And just when things are starting to get peaceful, what happens when Ritsu’s ESPer power starts to develop and an evil ESPer organization known as Claw starts to reveal themselves?


VIDEO:

“Mob Psycho” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Colors are vibrant and backgrounds are extremely detailed. Character designs are fantastic and are respectful to ONE’s original digital manga (with better detail of course).  But the series looks great in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Mob Psycho” is presented in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 and English 5.1. Featuring crystal clear dialogue and music along with wonderful sound effects during the more action-driven scenes that utilize the surround channels.  And both the Japanese and English soundtrack, the voice actors were well-cast for both.  And as for the English dub, I have to say that I noticed names for the English dub that I have heard before and the casting was wonderful because I found Kyle McCarley’s Mob and Chris Niosi for Arataka Reigen.

I suppose I have been critical of Funimation in the past for using the same voice actors over and over for various anime series and as talented as they are, I don’t want to hear that same voice for every character because an ADR director felt comfortable with that person and wanted to use them for every series.  Lately, Funimation has been doing a great job of stepping outside of that circle, casting new talent and this is a series indicative of that.  Great casting and the English dub voice actors on this series did a wonderful job!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Mob Psych0 100.” comes with the following special features:

  • Mob Psycho Shorts – (39:54) 8-bit video-game like animation featuring the “Mob Psycho 100” characters.
  • Promo Video
  • Flipbook Video
  • Commercials
  • Textless Closing Song

I’m not sure how often I come across an anime series that captivates your attention through fascinating characters, wild concepts and surreal plotlines, but “Mob Psycho 100” does just that.

A story of a teen trying to keep his powers in check and to not bring his emotions up to 100%, he has shut his emotions, not have had any social interactions and has pretty much kept to himself.

But despite not having any friends and not having any true skills (beyond his ESPer powers), he does want to improve his life and be better.

But lately Mob is learning that he is not the only ESPer in town and there are many out there like him, those who have yet to make a decision of how they would use their powers for good, others for evil.

What makes this series work is that it’s wild, crazy and a whole lot of fun.  The many characters at first was a cause of worry because there are many of them, but the way the series is able to develop these characters and build them into the story was done well.  So, big credit to Hiroshi Seko for the overall series composition.

But I absolutely was proud of the direction from Yuzuru Tachikawa of making this series faithful to ONE’s original works.  It has that crazy, wild style of “ONE-PUNCH MAN” but it’s so much different and refreshing that I had a lot of fun watching this anime series.  No doubt one of the best anime series I have watched in 2017.

As for the Blu-ray, the anime series is vibrant in HD and the lossless soundtrack is wonderfully done, with the voice acting for both Japanese and English dub soundtrack to be exceptional.

And you also get numerous extras such as Mob Psycho Shorts, promo videos, flipbook videos and more.

Overall, “Mob Psycho 100” was one of the coolest, wildest and craziest anime series I have watched in 2017.  From ONE, the creator of “One-Punch Man”, this is a different but equally enjoyable anime series worth watching and one that I highly recommend!

Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Blu-ray Box Set 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

fate-unlimited-2

Much better than the original anime series in terms of story, character development and animation, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” just rocks!  And it’s an anime series that I highly recommend!

Image courtesy of © TYPE-MOON, ufotable, FSNPC All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Blu-ray Box Set 2

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2014

DURATION: Episodes 13-25 + OVA (325 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition/16×9, English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex of America Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: February 16, 2016


Directed by Takahiro Miura

Screenplay by Akira Hiyama, Kazuharu Sato, Tatsuki Ichinose

Music by Hideyuki Fukasawa

Original Concept by Kinoku Nasu

Original Character Design by Takashi Takeuchi

Character Design by Atsushi Ikariya, Hisayuki Tabata, Tomonori Sudou

Art Director: Koji Eto

Anime Production by ufotable


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayako Kawasumi/Kari Wahlgren as Saber

Junichi Suwabe/Kaiji Tang as Archer

Kana Ueda/Mela Lee as Rin Tohsaka

Noriaki Sugiyama/Bryce Papenbrook as Shirō Emiya

Atsuko Tanaka/Megan Hollingshead as Caster

Hiroshi Kamiya/Kyle McCarley as Shinji Matō

Jouji Nakata/Crispin Freeman as Kirei Kotomine

Mai Kadowaki/Stephanie Sheh as Illyasviel von Einzbern

Masaki Terasoma/Lex Lang as Sōichirō Kuzuki

Miki Itou/Julie Ann Taylor as Taiga Fujimura

Nobutoshi Canna/Tony Oliver as Lancer

Noriko Shitaya/Cristina Vee as Sakura Matō

Rikiya Koyama/Matthew Mercer as Kiritsugu Emiya

Shinichiro Miki/Todd Haberkorn as Assassin

Tomokazu Seki/David Earnest as Gilgamesh

Yuu Asakawa/Melissa Fahn as Rider


Fuyuki City will be changed forever following the events that will come to be known as the Fifth Holy Grail War. With the Masters and Servants slowly revealing themselves and their intentions, the stage is set for the grand finale, and at the center of it all is Shirou Emiya and Rin Tohsaka.

The Holy Grail War continues, with each Master and Servant duo making their move for the omnipotent wish granter. Caster’s plans have been set in motion, beginning with taking Saber captive while Rin and Archer go their separate ways to continue their fights on their own. Without Saber’s aid, Shirou’s principles are put to the ultimate test. With many battles to come with expected and unexpected enemies, Shirou’s resolve begins to take form. Is his desire to protect people and become a hero, genuine? Or are they simply borrowed feelings? And will it be enough to carry him to the end?


When it comes to video games and its characters, I don’t think I’ve seen a title derived from a video game, within the last decade, achieve so much attention than the “Fate” series from TYPE-MOON. This series has captivated people from all over the world, merchandise continues to sell very well (considering its price for importing) and it’s quite impressive to see how the fanbase continues to grow and are dedicated to “Fate”!

My first introduction to the “Fate/stay night” was just hearing about the original anime TV series. But it was the first PSP video game release (“Fate/unlimited codes” on the PlayStation Network that actually got me hyped for this series and made me learn more about the characters.

The more I researched, the more I started to noticed that a lot of people online were excited about this video game and discussing the anime series and while I never really understood the commotion of the series, I figured there were so many fighting games in Japan with characters that people go crazy for.

But then the Sony PSP game came out on the PlayStation Network and the huge number of posts on Danny Choo’s official website in regards to dolls or figures, may they be the release of Nendoroids from Good Smile! or FIGMA figures from Max Factory, suffice to say, I’ve seen the popularity for this “Fate/stay night” achieve critical mass not just in Japan but all over the world.

While “Fate/stay night” and “Fate/zero” were released first and the 2010 film “Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works” was released in the U.S. several years ago, in 2014-2015, the action/fantasy anime series, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” aired on Japanese television and is an adaptation of the “Unlimited Blade Works” storyline from the “Fate/stay night” visual novel.

The first half of the anime series was released in the U.S. courtesy of Aniplex in August 2015 and here we are with the second and final half on Blu-ray in February 2016.

It’s important to note, in order to prevent any confusion, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” takes a page out of visual novels in which you choose your adventure, this is the same for this anime series. This is not a sequel, it’s not remake, it’s another route in which the story unfolds.

Where “Fate/stay night” focused on the character of Shiro, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” focuses on the character of Rin.

Before I go on about “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”, let’s first discuss “Fate/stay night”.

What is “Fate/stay night”?

“Fate/stay night” is a Japanese visual novel developed by Type-Moon and was originally an adult game for the PC and then later released for the PlayStation 2. The popularity of the video games led to a manga series which was serialized in Shonen Ace magazine and in 2007, a 24-episode anime series was released and a total of four video games. In April 2012, “Fate/Zero” aired on television. While the previous serious featured anime production by Studio Deen, the 2014 series, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”, features anime production by Ufotable.

While there are some differences between the various “Fate” storylines, the story of the Holy Grail War remains the same.

“Fate/stay night” takes place during a time in which a war is developing between the magi. For two centuries, seven sorcerers have gathered and engaged in a war known as “The Holy Grail War” in which the winner will be able to make their wish come true.

The Holy Grail War has occurred every 60 years and one war happened prematurely a decade ago.

For each of these magis, they will each be given a servant from one of seven classes: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Berserker, Rider, Assassin and Caster. And these servants must abide by their master’s request. And as the magi will be able to make a wish, so will the servant.

“Shiro Emiya, like his father, he wants to be a man of justice. While staying late at school, he witnesses a fight between two servants: Archer vs. Lancer. And because Shiro witnessed it, he is killed by Lancer.

Archer’s master, Rin, comes to the aid of Shiro by bringing him back to life. Shiro has now been made to a magi and has been given the servant named Saber, and with this new power, Shiro vows to end this war for “The Holy Grail”.

But while each of the seven magi are to be enemies, Shiro is not that kind of person. He respects Rin for saving his life and considers her his friend. She tells him that they must be enemies but he refuses.

What is “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” about?

“Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” begins with episode 0 and focuses on the character of Rin Tosaka and wonders why her clocks have been set an hour earlier. While she often has dreams about her final moments with her father Tokiomi, Rin must now prepare for the Holy Grail War.

As she performs a summoning ritual and hoping to summon a Saber class, instead she summons a Servant of the Archer class, which she reacts with displeasure.

But as the two get to know each other, she eventually prepares to go to battle with Archer against other Servants, including an early fight between Archer vs. Lancer, which was viewed by Shiro.

But while each of the seven magi are to be enemies, Shiro is not that kind of person. He respects Rin for helping him and Sabre considers her his friend. She tells him that they must be enemies but he refuses. As Shiro, Saber and Rin are talking, they are attacked by Illyasviel von Einzbern and her giant servant known as Berserker.

While Saber does all she can to fight Berserker and protect her master Shiro, Rin also tries to protect Shiro….but her servant Archer is not thrilled that she has teamed up with Shiro/Saber. Rin tells him that for now, it would be good to work as a team and fight the other magi/servants.

And during the process of fighting against Berserker, Archer aims a devastating arrow towards both Berserker and Saber, hoping to kill both. But Shiro manages to protect Saber and take the brunt of the damage.

The following morning, Shiro has completely healed (thanks to his self-healing magical capabilities) and this leads to Shiro wanting to learn more about Saber, while Rin must make a decision to make Shiro her enemy or trust him and work together with him, despite the fact that the Holy Grail War is supposed to make them enemies.

In this version of the story, both Shiro and Rin are becoming closer, as he has fallen in love with her, while Rin has trouble of communicating her feelings, considering that she is finding herself falling for Shiro.

Also, by the second half, Shiro is no longer the master of Sabre and as for Rin and Archer?  You will need to find out what happens in the second half.

There are a good number of twist and turns in the storyline and the series concludes with literally a major bang.  And to tie things up, an OVA showing what happens several years later with the two main protagonists.

While both “Fate/stay night” and “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” have similar stories, look at both to be different and similar to the visual novel, two different routes. Also, the original Studio Deen series, “Fate/stay night” tends to add their own storyline not featured in the visual novel, handles characters a bit differently but also trying to incorporate other routes in the original anime series. There is also more character development and a noticeable difference in how action is depicted in ufotable’s “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”.


VIDEO:

“Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” is much better than the original 2006 anime series. May it be budget differences, but one thing noticeable in ufotable’s “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” is how much detail there is when it comes to background art, character designs and also action sequences. Ufotable really went all out in creating an anime series in which the action is more developed and looks more effective. Colors are vibrant, CG use is well-done but the detail for background artwork is magnificent!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” is presented in English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0. In terms of voice acting, both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-done. I actually prefer the voice acting in “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” versus the original 2006 series and the acting is much more emotional and captivating considering there is much better character development in this 2014 series. As for the lossless soundtrack, dialogue and music, including sound effects are crystal clear.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Blu-ray Box Set 2″ comes with the trailer, TV spot, CM, PV collections and textless opening and endings.

EXTRAS:

“Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Blu-ray Box Set 2” comes with a slipcase with package illustrated by Takashi Takeuchi, a 24-page booklet featuring an introduction, art production gallery, production notes, conversation between scenario writer/novelist Kinoku Nasu and Takahiro Miura (animator/episode director). Also, an exclusive Weiss Schwarz Collectible PR card.

Also, included is the “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Original Soundtrack II”. The soundtrack is 1 hr. and 12 minutes long and features 24 tracks (23 tracks by Hideyuki Fukasawa, and “LAST STARDUST” by Aimer).


fate-unlimited-2

Having watched the final second half of “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”, I can honestly say that I loved this storyline and it’s the best “Fate/stay night” storyline thus far!

In this alternate storyline to keep consistent with the virtual novel of choosing your own path, in this storyline, we see Shiro and Rin almost like boyfriend and girlfriend.  He is in love with her, she’s quite tsundere and without spoiling the second half, the antagonist is….  Let’s just say there are a few twist and turns in the series and you’ll be shocked.

But the build-up of the storyline and its unpredictable nature is what I loved about this series.

In previous stories, we saw Shiro and Saber as the two fighting against all odds but this time around, Sabre has been captured by Castor and to say the least, Saber is not featured as much in the second half until the final episodes.

Also, it was interesting to see the twisted nature of some of the servants, I think by the end of the series and also with the included OVA, that fans of the series will be happy with this alternate storyline.

As for the artwork, the character designs are well-drawn, well-shaded, while the art backgrounds are detailed and gorgeous. A lot of work went into this series and there is a noticeable difference between Studio Deen’s 2006 anime series with this 2014 series in terms of artwork, in terms of action sequences.

With the original, while there are many action sequences, the battles were simplistic, while for “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”, the artwork is fantastic as there are many sequences involved in each battle.

But possibly what makes “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” even better is how this latest series handles the characters of Rin and Archer, Shiro and Saber and the amount of character development featured. There is more emotion and a much better Shiro this time around!

And with the better development of animation, action sequences and character development, it makes a huge difference that I don’t even know if I want to recommend anyone to watch the original 2006 “Fate/stay night”. Granted, this series and the original are to be treated as “different routes”, but considering not everyone is going to play the visual novel version, if you had to choose one, I would go for “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”.

I do recommend watching the darker and more violent “Fate/zero”, while I don’t really recommend the film version of “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” because they improved the storyline with the anime series.

As for the Blu-ray release, as mentioned, the animation and character designs look magnificent. I didn’t notice any banding issues or artifacts and for the most part, I’m quite pleased of how this series looks in HD. The lossless soundtrack are English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 and dialogue and musical score are crystal clear.

You get the standard trailer, TV spot, CM, PV Collections and textless opening and endings for special features and as for extras, you do get a slipcase, 24-page booklet, a Weiss Schwarz Collectible PR card and the second original soundtrack for “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”.

Overall, if you are new to “Fate” or a fan who has watched the previous anime series such as “Fate/stay night” and “Fate/zero” will find “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” to be well-produced, much better in terms of honoring the original visual novel. But also an improvement when it comes to animation, character development and action sequences.

Much better than the original anime series in terms of story, character development and animation, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” just rocks!  And it’s an anime series that I highly recommend!

Fate/stay night – Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fate/stay night” is an enjoyable action-packed anime series and one of the better series based off a video game.  If you love the video games or just craving for an action anime series, “Fate/stay night – Collection 1” is recommended.

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © 2013 Sentai Filmworks.  All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fate/stay night – Collection 1

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2006

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080i High Definition/16×9, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14V

Release Date: January 29, 2013

Directed by Yuji Yamaguchi

Screenplay by Takuya Sato

Music by Kenji Kawai

Original Concept by Kinoku Nasu

Original Character Design by Takashi Takeuchi

Character Design by Megumi Ishihara

Art Director: Toshihisa Koyama

Anime Production by STUDIO DEEN

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayako Kawasumi/Michelle Ruff as Saber

Junichi Suwabe/Liam O’Brien as Archer

Kana Ueda/Mela Lee as Rin Tohsaka

Noriaki Sugiyama/Sam Regal as Shirou Emiya

Atsuko Tanaka/Tara Platt as Caster

Hiroshi Kamiya/Doug Erholtz as Shinji Matou

Jouji Nakata/Taylor Henry as Kirei Kotomine

Mai Kadowaki/Jennifer Sekiguchi as Illyasviel von Einzbern

Miki Itou/Julie Ann Taylor as Taiga “Tiger / Fuji-nee” Fujimura

Nobutoshi Canna/Tony Oliver as Lancer

Noriko Shitaya/Sherry Lynn as Sakura Matou

Shinichiro Miki/David Vincent as Assassin

Tadahisa Saizen/Michael McConnohie as Berserker

Tomokazu Seki as Gilgamesh

Yuu Asakawa/Kevin Strassman as Rider

Kazuhiro Nakata/Patrick Seitz as Soichiro Kuzuki

Rikiya Koyama/ as Kiritsugu Emiya

Raised by a mysterious sorcerer after the horrific death of his parents, Shiro Emiya has only just begun to help others using the small tidbits of magic that he’s learned. However, when he’s suddenly caught in a battle between two more powerful Magus, Shiro finds himself performing a spell above his expected ability, summoning the beautiful spirit warrior Saber to protect him! But safety is only momentary as Shiro and Saber now find themselves thrust into in a secret world of dark magic and deadly challenges: a no-holds barred duel to the death known as the Holy Grail War!

At stake is a prize of unimaginable power, but can the inexperienced Shiro and Saber survive long enough to even enter the contest? First they’ll have to withstand waves of treachery and assassination, even as Shiro scrambles to learn everything he’ll need to know to stay alive as seven teams of Magus and Spirit Servants face off in mortal combat!

When it comes to video games and its characters, I don’t think I’ve seen a title derived from a video game, within the last decade, achieve so much attention than the “Fate” series from TYPE-MOON.  This series has captivated people from all over the world, merchandise continues to sell very well (considering its price for importing) and it’s quite impressive to see how the fanbase continues to grow and are dedicated to “Fate”!

My first introduction to the “Fate/stay night” was just hearing about the original anime TV series.  But it was the first PSP video game release (“Fate/unlimited codes” on the PlayStation Network that actually got me hyped for this series and made me learn more about the characters.

The more I researched, the more I started to noticed that a lot of people online were excited about this video game and discussing the anime series and while I never really understood the commotion of the series, I figured there were so many fighting games in Japan with characters that people go crazy for.

But then the Sony PSP game came out on the PlayStation Network and the huge number of posts on Danny Choo’s official website in regards to dolls or figures, may they be the release of Nendoroids from Good Smile! or FIGMA figures from Max Factory, suffice to say, I’ve seen the popularity for this “Fate/stay night” achieve critical mass not just in Japan but all over the world.

At Anime Expo 2011, I attended a press conference which featured the release of a “Fate Extra” and once again, I’ve seen fans going crazy.  In 2012, the Blu-ray and DVD of “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works” was released by Sentai Filmworks and now in 2013, the first volume of the original 2006 anime series will be released in January 2013.

The TV series is directed by Yuji Yamaguchi (“Yami to Boshi to Hon no Tabibito”, “Angel Links”, “Fate/stay night”), screenplay by Takuya Sato (“Armored Troopers Votoms Case; Irvine”, “Mission-E”, “Ichigo Mashimaro”), music by Kenji Kawai (“Devilman”, “Eyeshield 21″, “Eden of the East”, “Dai-Guard”, “Blue Seed”), character designs by Megumi Ishihara (“Moonlight Lady”, “Kakyusei”) and art direction by Toshihisa Koyama (“.hack//Liminality”, “Halo Legends”, “Kiddy Grade”, “Outlaw Star”).  Anime Production is by Studio DEEN.

What is “Fate/stay night”?

“Fate/stay night” is a Japanese visual novel developed by Type-Moon and was originally an adult game for the PC and then later released for the PlayStation 2.  The popularity of the video games led to a manga series which was serialized in Shonen Ace magazine and in 2007, a 24-episode anime series was released and a total of four video games.  In April 2012, the latest in the “Fate” anime series titled “Fate/Zero” (which is set 10 years before the events of “Fate/stay night”) began airing in Japan and the second season is still airing on television.

In 2010, Studio Deen released the film “Fate/stay night” and in 2012, Sentai Filmworks released the animated film, “Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works” on Blu-ray and DVD.  The film was comprised of important scenes from the original TV series that is 24-episodes long (12 hours) but unfortunately, with an abridged film at 105-minutes long, you miss out on a lot of story.

So, “Fate/stay night” will now be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

“Fate/stay night” takes place during a time in which a war is developing between the magi.  For two centuries, seven sorcerers have gathered and engaged in a war known as “The Holy Grail War” in which the winner will be able to make their wish come true.

The Holy Grail War has occurred every 60  years and one war happened prematurely a decade ago.

For each of these magis, they will each be given a servant from one of seven classes:  Saber, Archer, Lancer, Berserker, Rider, Assassin and Caster.  And these servants must abide by their master’s request.  And as the magi will be able to make a wish, so will the servant.

The film focuses on a young man named Shiro Emiya, like his father, he wants to be a man of justice.  While staying late at school, he witnesses a fight between two servants: Archer vs. Lancer.  And because Shiro witnessed it, he is killed by Lancer.

Archer’s master, Rin, comes to the aid of Shiro by bringing him back to life.  Shiro has now been made to a magi and has been given the servant named Saber, and with this new power, Shiro vows to end this war for “The Holy Grail”.

But while each of the seven magi are to be enemies, Shiro is not that kind of person.  He respects Rin for saving his life and considers her his friend.  She tells him that they must be enemies but he refuses.  As Shiro, Saber and Rin are talking, they are attacked by Ilya and her giant servant known as Berserker.

While Saber does all she can to fight Berserker and protect her master Shiro, Rin also tries to protect Shiro….but her servant Archer is not thrilled that she has teamed up with Shiro/Saber. Rin tells him that for now, it would be good to work as a team and fight the other magi/servants.

And during the process of fighting against Berserker, Archer aims a devastating arrow towards both Berserker and Saber, hoping to kill both.  But Shiro manages to protect Saber and take the brunt of the damage.

The following morning, Shiro has completely healed and this leads to Shiro wanting to learn more about his servant and his new friend Rin, but also wanting to protect them.  And as Rin tries to explain that his sense of justice is going to hurt him (as they are all supposed to be enemies), Rin continues on the path of justice and wanting to protect the people he cares about.

But Shiro will quickly learn that while he may have Rin on his side, he and Saber have now become a target for the other five magi and their servants.

Will there be a true winner for this latest “Holy Grail War” or will Shiro find a way to end it?

VIDEO:

It’s important for people to know that “Fate/stay night” is an older anime series.  Not old-school but I usually feel that with series that were released 2009 and later, they tend to be HD native and look better.  But for older series, they either are remastered at a higher bitrate and in the case of “Fate/Stay night”, it’s a 1080i High Definition (16×9) release.

Fortunately, the series does look good for its age.  Colors are robust and while TV series are expected to have softness, fortunately the series is not too soft but you will see some banding and artifacts (not a lot but they are there).

But for those who have wanted “Fate/stay night” to be released on Blu-ray, for this 2006 anime series, you should be pleased by its overall picture quality as it does look better than many series that were upconverted to Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fate/stay night” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  Typically, English soundtracks tend to have a more dynamic range as they are often fixed up for its US release.  In the case of this series, the Japanese audio actually has better dynamic range.  But both are well-acted and dialogue, music and sound effects are clear through the front channel.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fate/stay night” does not come with any special features.

Finally!  I can understand what the “Fate/stay night” storyline is all about!

Having played the video games and having seen the large dedicated fanbase for the “Fate/stay night” series in Japan, America and all over the world…I don’t think I have seen a video game receive so much recognition by fans worldwide.  You just don’t see people going crazy for “Street Fighter” or “King of Fighters” action figures but look online and there are fans that just go crazy for the video games and action figures.  And while I do feel that the character designs of the characters of “Fate/stay night” are quite cool to look at, I was drawn to it because of the character designs and for the fact that I am a fan of Japanese fighting video games.

And I am very  happy that Sentai Filmworks have released this animated series in the US.  Primarily to satisfy those who are big fans or are newer fans thanks to the video gae and the previous movie release.

While I do know that Japanese companies that sell the merchandise have done a fantastic job in making “alter” version and just continuing to give fans these wonderful looking versions of the characters and detailed outfits with the dolls and figures in Japan, here in America, more and more people are jumping on the “Fate/stay night” bandwagon.

As mentioned earlier, last summer I attended the “Fate Extra” reveal for the video game and the crowd went nuts when they saw the announcement of the game.  And similar to the video games, there is also innovation by trying to release the video games encompassing various genres instead of fighting video games.  From the adult PC game to the recent strategy tactic PSP game, fans are really enjoying the “Fate/stay night” series.  May it be the action figures, the dolls or the games, this is one series that fans all over the world are passionate about.

And therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if fans go after the Blu-ray or DVD release of “Fate/stay night”.

I’m quite biased towards the characters already and to finally now the context of what the story is about and the war between the seven magi’s, it’s a rather enjoyable concept, not necessarily unique, but it’s the characters that make this worthwhile.  There is non-stop action and while the animated series tends to focus more on Shiro and Rin, Saber and Archer fans will also enjoy this series.

A lot of action is featured throughout each episode and as mentioned earlier, unlike the movie which is 105 minutes of footage taken from the series, fans who saw the movie first, should be happy that they can see the series in its entirety on Blu-ray.

As for the Blu-ray release, it’s a 2006 anime TV series, so it is an upconvert, but compared to other anime series upconverts, it does look good.  Colors are vibrant at times but there are hints of softness, artifacts and banding as well.  But it’s expected for a series that is slightly older.  My only disappointment is the lack of any special features.

Exciting and action-packed, the first half of the series pretty much focuses on Shiro Emiya and Saber developing a relationship and taking on various challenges.  But things are definitely going to become much more difficult for the second half of the series.

Overall, “Fate/stay night” is an enjoyable action-packed anime series and one of the better series based off a video game.  If you love the video games or just craving for an action anime series, “Fate/stay night – Collection 1” is recommended.

 

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