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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!

The Wild Life (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are looking for an animated film for the entire family featuring a Robinson Crusoe storyline and many talking animals, you may want to consider this animated film.  It’s not exactly the most child-friendly film but it’s an entertaining animated film worth considering for older children.

Images courtesy of © 2016 Summit Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Wild Life

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 91 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

COMPANY: Summit Entertainment

RATED: PG (Mild Action, Peril and some Rude Humor)

RELEASE DATE: November 19, 2016


Directed by Vincent Kesteloot, Ben Stassen

Written by Domonic Paris

Produced by Gina Gallo, Mimi Maynard, Domonic Paris, Ben Stassen, Caroline Van Iseghem

Executive Producer: Olivier Courson, Eric Dillens

Music by Ramin Djawadi

Casting by Gina Gallo, Mimi Maynard, Domonic Paris

Art Direction by Vincent Kesteloot, Anthony Leveque


Starring:

Carlos Alazraqui as Long John Silver

Yuri Lowenthal as Robinson Crusoe

Laila Berzins as Rosie

Joey Camen as Scrubby

Jeff Doucette as Mal/Pango

Sandy Fox as Epi

Kyle Hebert as Tom Cat

Marieve Herington as Kiki

Jay Jones as Friday

Colin Metzger as Carmello

Joe Ochman as Rufus

Michael Sorich as Cecil

Doug Stone as Aynsley

David Howard Thornton as Tuesday

Kirk Thornton as Bosun

Debi Tinsley as May


Things are larger than life on a tropical isle where wild animals rule, until a marooned human arrives in the midst of a furious storm and their lives are forever changed.


Way back in 1719, Daniel Dafoe wrote a novel titled “Robinson Crusoe”about a castaway who spent thirty years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad and trying to survive in hopes of being rescued.

As the tale of Robinson Crusoe has received various adaptations, in 2016, a Belgian-French CG animated film titled “Robinson Crusoe” (and renamed “The Wild Life” in North America) was released in theaters in Europe.

And now “The Wild Life” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Summit Entertainment.

The film begins with a red and green macaw named Mak and his friends living in an island in the South Pacific.  Mak is getting bored and dreams of life over the horizon and wants to explore the world.

Also, a pirate named Long John Silver and his crew of pirates rides the seas…

We are then introduced to Robinson Crusoe and his dog Aynsley who book a passage on a ship to explore the islands but when a tropical storm hits, Crusoe, Aynsley and wild and bad cats named Mel and May are locked in the ship’s hull and survive the storm.

When they awake, everyone is gone and Crusoe and Aynsley try to survive on the island.

As Mak and the animals fear the human and his dog, Mel and May try to attack Mak and kill him but he is rescued by Aynsley and Crusoe takes him in and names the Macaw, Tuesday.

But when Mel and May tell the other animals that Crusoe and Aynsley killed Mak, the animals go on a rampage and try to help the wild cats defeat Crusoe but finding out that they have been lied to by Mel and May.  Unfortunately, Mel and May cause an explosion on the remaining ship and in the process, Aynsley is killed.

Now Tuesday and the animals who now want to help the human Crusoe try to create shelter and help him survive on the island but will the evil cats, Mel and May prevent the animals from succeeding?


VIDEO:

“The Wild Life” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality for the most part is very good. CG animation is very well-done compared to previous European CG films that I have watched.

There is excellent detail throughout the film. For example, for Mak/Tuesday, you can see the wearing right on its beak and the amount of shading and detail, especially for his feathers.  Another example, is during a rainstorm and seeing the puddles of rain on the ship’s deck.  Fantastic!

Textures are also well detailed along with skin details for human characters.

Granted, many will want to compare with Pixar Animation films which cost many millions of dollars but it’s best not to compare and just enjoy of how good this film looks in CG and the evolving quality of Euro CG animated films.  “The Wild Life” looks great on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Wild Life” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and features crystal clear dialogue and great use of the surround channels and LFE for the film’s many actions sequences.

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Wild Life” comes with the following special features:

  • A Wild World: Making the Wild Life – (9:16) The casting and the challenges of animating the film.
  • Meet the Characters – (10:09)  The voice actors discuss their characters.
  • Tips for Your Trip – (3:58) Robinson Crusoe gives tips of what to do if you are stranded in an island.
  • The Wild Life Musical Adventure – (3:13) A featurette showcasing various scenes from the film and the musical score.

EXTRAS:

“The Wild Life” comes with a slipcover, an UltraViolet code and a DVD version of the film.


Perhaps one of the best things that were decided when the Belgian-French film “Robinson Crusoe” was released in North America is changing the film’s title.

As Robinson Crusoe is a classic novel title, the animated film is less about Robinson Crusoe but a CG animated film that revolves more about the birds and animals living in an uninhabited island which Robinson Crusoe happens to be stranded on.

The film revolves around a parrot named Mak/Tuesday who dreams of going beyond the island and discovering life elsewhere, as he has grown bored of the island.

Meeting the stranded Robinson Crusoe and his dog Aynsley, Tuesday looks to Crusoe in hopes of taking him away from the island, not knowing that Crusoe is actually stranded.

But as the animals on the island fear Crusoe and his dog, you have two wild and mangy (and yes, evil) cats who serve as the film’s antagonists.  These cats remind me of the Gremlins (from the classic 1984 film) and somehow, these two cats are persistent and truly evil that their actions leads to one of the deaths of the film’s characters.  No doubt, earning the film it’s PG rating.  But similar to the Gremlins, these cats spawn and create more evil, mangy looking cats to join them in causing problems for Crusoe and animals.

But as the animals band together to help Crusoe, the film starts to focus more on the animals starting to enjoy Crusoe’s presence, but not all.

Meanwhile, throw in Long John Silver’s presence into the film and you have an interesting adventure for Robinson Crusoe and his bird, Tuesday.

Overall, “The Wild Life” is an entertaining CG animated film.  While it’s story is a tame version of what appears on the original Robinson Crusoe novel and focuses on Crusoe and the few animals that live with him, while in essence, this is an animated film, there are moments of peril and you have one character death.  So, parental guidance is definitely suggested.

Also, I have to say that for a European animated film, this is probably one of the better animated films I have seen in the last five years, when it comes to animation quality and detail.

But the film’s problem lies within its storytelling especially at the end. Despite the film’s adventures, the film ends far too soon and abruptly and tries to end its storyline with a brief narration, with still CG sequencs of what happens to the characters.

But I enjoyed the film for what it’s worth.  If you are looking for an animated film for the entire family featuring a Robinson Crusoe storyline and many talking animals, you may want to consider this animated film.  It’s not exactly the most child-friendly film but it’s an entertaining animated film worth considering for older children.

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