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Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series (A J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Sky Wizards Academy – The Complete Series” is an anime series that is easy to follow, is a lot of fun and fully of action. If you enjoy magical academy anime series and are looking for an anime series with a shorter duration, “Sky Wizards Academy” is worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2014

DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Funimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: June 7, 2016


Originally created by Yume Mizusawa

Directed by Hiroyuki Kanbe

Series Composition by Naruhisa Arakawa

Music by Yasaharu Takanashi

Original Character Design by Ayumu Kasuga

Character Design by Kazuaki Morita, Masahiro Yamane

Art Director: Katsuhisa Takiguchi

Art Design by Tsukasa Ohira

Anime Production by Production iMS


Featuring the following voice talent:

Maaya Uchida/Morgan Garrett as Twoearle

Nobunaga Shimazaki/Austin Tindle as Sōji Mitsuka

Sumire Uesaka/Bryn Apprill as Tail Red

Chinatsu Akasaki/Mikaela Krantz as Erina Shindō

Hiromi Igarashi/Jennifer Green as Miharu Mitsuka

M.A.O/Michelle Rojas as Mikoto Sakuragawa

Tesshō Genda/Cris George as Lizadgildy

Tetsu Inada/Chris Rager as Draggildy

Yōko Hikasa/Leah Clark as Anko Isuna

Yuka Aisaka/Sarah Widenheft as Tail Blue

Yukari Tamura/Tia Ballard as Mega Neptune Mk. II


Soji Mitsuka of Gonna Be the Twin-Tail is an ordinary high schooler with an extraordinary obsession. Twin tails are his fire, his air, his will to live! But when a mysterious woman from another world enlists his help to fight hideous monsters with various moe fetishes, Soji must transform into a powerful pigtailed…girl?

With the help of his childhood friend, the class president, and his endless devotion to pigtails, Soji and his crew form a twin-tailed threesome to take on the monsters who feed on the “attribute power” of humans. But Soji’s new pigtailed powers come with a price; his surging popularity as the new heroin in town makes the twin-tailed trend explode, giving the monsters ample attribute powers to feed upon! Don’t miss the action in Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!


“Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu”…What began as a light novel series by Yume Mizusawa and illustrator Ayumu Kasuga, would become an anime adaptation in 2014 courtesy of Production IMS.

And now the anime series known as “Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!” is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

The series revolves around teenager Soji Mitsuka. He has an obsession with twin-tail hair and one day, he comes across a mysterious girl known as Twoearle, who has come from a parallel world.

But when Twoearle arrives, so do many monsters who appear in the city and declare that all twintails belong to them. As the monsters attack and feed off the spiritual energy of humanity, Twoearle gives Soji with Tail Gear, which is an imaginary armor which gives him twintail attributes, turning him to a red-headed twin-tail female warrior.

As Soji names his female warrior persona as Tail Red, she becomes popular and becomes a hero in the city.

His childhood friend Aika has a tsundere personality and is overprotective of Soji, but she also has a crush on him. She becomes jealous when she discovers Soji with Twoearle (because she is well-endowed and Aika is not) and the two women start to have a rivalry with each other. She becomes a Twintail Warrior known as Tail Blue and is excellent in fighting and martial arts.

The three eventually meet Erina Shindo, the Student Council President of Yogetsu Private Academy and she is a masochist and exhibitionist. She falls for Soji and gets aroused when Soji calls her name and she eventually becomes Tail Yellow, despite the fact that she hates twintails.

As these three twintails try to protect humanity from the monsters, they meet another girl from a parallel world named Isuna a.k.a. Tail Black, an obsessed fan of Twoerle and her persona on Earth is a singer named Anko Isuna. Why does Isuna have a deep hatred towards Tail Red? And can Soji keep his secret that he is Tail Red?


VIDEO:

“Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Animation from Production IMS is good as character designs are well-done, art backgrounds are also well-done. There is subtle softness as one can expect from the majority of anime TV series but the anime series is colorful and animation is done well.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series” 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. The English dub has the edge with its 5.1 surround soundtrack but both voice acting for Japanese and English are well-acted.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series” features the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Commentary – Featuring a hilarious audio commentary with Austin Tindle (voice of Soji) and Morgan Garrett (voice of Twoerle).
  • Episode 11 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Jerry Jewell, Bryn Apprill as Tail Red and Mikaela Krantz as Tail Yellow.
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • U.S. Trailer – Funimation trailer for “Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series”.

EXTRAS:

“Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! – The Complete Series” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series plus a slipcover.


Watching the anime series “Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!!”, there is a part of me that found the anime series reminiscent to the classic ’80s manga/anime series “Ranma 1/2” but also having a touch of the “Neptunia” video game series with dose of fan service included.

The series revolves around a teenager named Soji Mitsuka who has an obsession/fetish with twin-tails. And his love for twin-tails gets him into some trouble when a well-endowed being known as Twoearle comes from a parallel world, bringing monsters following her, that want twin-tails to be their own (as these monsters also have an obsession/fetish towards twin-tails).

So, Soji is given power to fight the monsters, but in the process, he turns into a female warrior with twin-tails.

At first I found the anime series to be a bit awkward, fun and crazy but also action-packed.  And was wondering if this is an anime series that would focus more on comedy or action…or would it be another ecchi perverted fanservice driven anime series.

Fortunately, the former is primarily focused on and we see Soji really getting into the role as a twin-tail warrior and despite the series having female twin-tailed characters that fall for him, he’s a kindhearted person that just has an obsession and not at all not too perverted.  Although, it would be interesting if it did go that direction.

I found the anime series to be simple, fun, action-packed but I have to admit that part of the enjoyment of this anime series came from listening to the audio commentaries, especially the slightly mature and hilarious audio commentary between voice actor Austin Tindle and voice actress Morgan Garrett, which was fun to listen to.  While the audio commentary with Mikaela Krantz and Bryn Apprill was also fun to listen to.

As for picture quality, while not a top-notch quality driven anime series, animation and character designs along with background art is good.  The series is colorful but like many other anime TV series, there is slight softness.

Overall, for those who want an escape and are getting burned out with banal anime and want to laugh and watch a crazy, action-packed anime series, may find “Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!!” to be to their liking.

Laughing Under the Clouds: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Laughing Under the Clouds: The Complete Series” is an anime series that will entertain those who enjoy action-driven anime series with a good balance of humor and drama, cool characters and set in the Meiji era dealing with samurai and ninjas. How cool is that?  “Laughing Under the Clouds: The Complete Series” is worth checking out!

Image courtesy of © Kara Kemuri/MAG Garden, NTV, VAP. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Laughing Under the Clouds: The Complete Series

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2016

DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Funimation

RATING: TV 14

Release Date: August 23, 2016


Originally created by Kemuri Karakara

Directed by Hiroshi Haraguchi

Series Composition by Yuuya Takahashi

Music by Shuichiro Fukuhiro

Character Design by Takao Maki

Art Director: Yuki Ikenoue

Chief Animation Director:Takao Maki

Anime Production: Doga Kobo


Featuring the following voice talent:

Yuichi Nakamura/Christopher Wehkamp as Tenka Kumo

Yuuki Kaji/Dave Trosko as Soramaru Kumo

Tsubasa Yonaga/Terri Doty as Chutaro Kumo

Kenichi Suzumura/Micah Solusod as Abe no Hirari

Rina Satou/Morgan Garrett as Botan

Takahiro Sakurai/Robert McCollum as Shirasu Kinjo

Hiroki Yasumoto/Christopher R. Sabat as Seiichirō Takamine

Yuuki Fujiwara/Clifford Chapin as Mutsuki Ashiya

Sayaka Ohara/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Kiiko Sasaki

Kousuke Toriumi/Eric Vale as Abe no Sōsei

Shinichiro Miki/Ian Sinclair as Naoto Kagami

Koji Yusa/J. Michael Tatum as Kotaro Fuma

Mamiko Noto/Jamie Marchi as Nishiki

Hiro Shimono/Joel McDonald as Rakucho Takeda


Under the cloudy skies of turn-of-the-century Japan, three brothers shine brightly. Orphaned at a young age, the responsibility of providing for the Kumo family fell to the eldest brother, Tenka. A skilled swordfighter and proud guardian of his rambunctious younger siblings, Soramaru and Chutaro, Tenka Kumo walks through life with unfailing optimism and devotion to his family. 

But heavy clouds are beginning to settle over their secluded shrine — a growing gloom that signals the return of a deadly serpent known as the Orochi. As the Japanese military’s Yamainu Squad searches for the serpent’s human vessel, the unrest caused by the strict laws of the Meiji era spreads rebellion across the countryside. 

As the Kumo family’s ancient connection to the Orochi comes to light, old rivalries will be reignited, and the brothers’ carefree life will give way to the darkness of an ancient prophecy. As long as they stick together, what’s the worst that could happen?


In 2011, manga artist Karakara-Kemuri would create a supernatural manga series titled “Donten ni Warau” (Laughing Under the Clouds) which was serialized by Mag Garden on “Monthly Comic Avarus”.

A 12-episode anime series adaptation was created by Doga Kobo in 2014 and now, the anime series will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.  The series was also the first anime series for Funimation to show on their network, not long after the episode aired in Japan.  So, where directors and voice actors have time to shoot episodes and it being released months later, this series was a move to a direction where viewers want to see an episode released in US immediately after it is shown in Japan.

The series was directed by Hiroshi Haraguchi (“KAHEY – A Certain Captain’s  Life”), series composition by Yuuya Takahashi (“Luck & Logic”, “Lupin the Third”, “Tiger & Bunny”), music by  Shuichiro Fukuhiro (“Genshiken: Second Generation”, “Robot Girls Z” series), character design by Takao Maki *”Zegapain”, “Majestic Prince”) and art direction by Yuki Ikenoue (“Outbreak Company”, “Himouto! Umaruchan”).

The series is set around 1878 and takes place around the Maiji Restoration (which established imperial rule of Japan to Emperor Meiji and led to the end of the shogunate).  This would lead to samurai rebelling against the system and many escaping jail.

As the government builds a giant prison in the middle of Lake Biwa, the people responsible of taking them to the prison are the Kumo Brothers.

The Kumo Brothers also try to protect the Orochi’s vessel.  The Orochi is a serpent that has cursed Japan since ancient times and can bring havoc if it’s not sealed. Every several hundred years, Orochi tries to reincarnate into the body of a human and possess them.

The Kumo Brothers consists of:

  • Tenka Kumo – The eldest brother who is the parent of his younger brothers after the death of his parents.  He prefers to take on the enemies and not let his younger brothers fight.
  • Soramaru Kumo – The middle child who was entrusted with the family’s twin swords.  He feels that he needs to prove to people that he is strong and can protect the Kumo household like his brother.  Unfortunately, Soramaru suffers from amnesia due to a childhood trauma and witnessing his parent’s murder and nearly being strangled to death.  So, he does not like anyone touching his neck area.
  • Chutaro Kumo – The youngest brother and is the fastest of the brothers. He is always trying to prove himself to his brothers.

The brothers are assisted by Shirasu Kinjou, one of the last remaining members of the Fuma ninja clan and is currently freeloading at the Kumo shrine.

But trouble starts to set when people are after the Orochi vessel in hopes of resurrecting Orochi.


VIDEO:

“Laughing Under the Clouds: The Complete Series” 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.

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

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Laughing Under the Clouds: The Complete Series” 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 the action sequences.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Laughing Under the Clouds: The Complete Series” features the following special features:

  • Chapter 1 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by voice talents Christopher Wehkamp (voice of Tenka Kumo), Terri Doty (voice of Chutaro Kumo) and Dave Trosko (voice of Soramaru Kumo).
  • Episode 10 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Lead Adaptive Writer J. Michael Tatum (voice of Narsus) and voice talents Robert McCollum (voice of Shirasu)
  • Textless Opening Song #1 and #2 and Closing Song
  • U.S. Trailer – Funimation trailer for “Laughing Under the Clouds”

EXTRAS:

“Laughing Under the Clouds: The Complete Series” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series plus a slipcover.


For those wanting an action series that focuses on action, there is no doubt that many people will be entertained with the series “Laughing Under the Clouds”.

For one, it’s a short anime series with only 12-episodes, there are a lot of action sequences and a lot of cool characters, especially as it deals with three brothers taking on unforgiving samurai’s and also ninjas.

But the series is an interesting take on the Meiji era when the shogunate was disbanded, many samurai lost their jobs and those who didn’t like what happened, rebelled and crime rates increased.  And many samurai’s escaping incarceration.

In “Laughing Under the Clouds”, to house these criminals, an inescapable lake prison was created.  And the Kumo brothers led by the eldest brother, Tenka, are responsible for taking these criminals by water to the prison.  But the Kumo family does more than ferry criminals, they are also protecting the orochi vessel, which a monstrous orochi has been sealed for hundreds of years.

The Japanese military’s Yamainu Squad is looking for it but also others are looking for this vessel in order to unleash the Orochi.

While we see many people try to obtain the orochi vessel and people you think are on the side of good, showing their bad side, and also some on the bad side of things, showing their good side, “Laughing Under the Clouds” with its humor and action seems like a simple anime series but actually it’s quite complex.  And there are also many scenes that will no doubt touch you as some tragic things may happen throughout the series.  So, I’ll leave it at that and just say that for those who have interest in series revolving around samurai and ninjas, will enjoy this action-driven anime series.

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, “Laughing Under the Clouds: The Complete Series” is an anime series that will entertain those who enjoy action-driven anime series with a good balance of humor and drama, cool characters and set in the Meiji era dealing with samurai and ninjas.  How cool is that?

“Laughing Under the Clouds: The Complete Series” is worth checking out!

The Empire of Corpses (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

empireofcorpses

M”The Empire of Corpses” is an an animated film that is complex, smartly written, featuring wonderful animation and art backgrounds but while entertaining, the film may prove to be too complex for some viewers and thus may require multiple viewings in order to grasp the storyline. But if you are looking for a beautiful and smartly written animated film, “The Empire of Corpses” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2016 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Empire of Corpses

DURATION: 120 Minutes

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: July 5, 2016


Directed by Ryoutarou Makihara

Screenplay by Hiroshi Seko, Koji Yamamoto, Midori Gotou

Original Creator: Project Itoh, Toh Enjoe

Original Character Design: redjuice

Character Designs by Takaaki Chiba

Chief Animation Director: Hirotaka Kato, Takaaki Chiba

Mechanical Design by Gorou Murata, Hitoshi Fukuchi, Junjya IShigaki, Shinobu Tsuneki

Art Direction by Yusuke Takeda

Music by Yoshihiro Ike

Anime Production: Wit Studio


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayumu Murase/Todd Haberkorn as Friday/Noble_Savage_007

Kana Hanazawa/Morgan Garrett as Hadaly Lilith

Taiten Kusunoki/J. Michael Tatum as Frederick Barnaby

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Jason Liebrecht as John H. Watson

Akio Ohtsuka/Sean Hennigan as M

Daiki Yamashita/Micah Solusod as Nikolai Krasotkin

Shinichiro Miki/Mike McFarland as Alexei Karamazov

Houko Kuwashima/Caitlin Glass as Moneypenny


From the studio that produced Attack on Titan comes The Empire of Corpses, a captivating historical action thriller based on a Phillip K. Dick Award winning novel by Project Itoh. In an alternate version of 19th century London, the world has been revolutionized by “corpse reanimation technology” creating armies of undead who serve the living as laborers across the globe.

In an attempt to revive his dearly departed friend, young medical student John Watson becomes obsessed with replicating the work of Dr. Victor Frankenstein – the legendary corpse engineer whose research produced the only re-animated corpse to possess a soul. But when his illegal experiments put him at odds with the British government, Watson is drafted into a worldwide race to find the lost research notes of Victor Frankenstein before the secrets of the human soul fall into the wrong hands.


From anime production studio Wit Studio and director Ryoutarou Makihara (“Hal”, “Umi Monogatari”) comes “The Empire of Corpses” (Shisha no Teikoku).

An animated film adaptation of Project Itoh (creator of “Harmony and “Genocidal Organ”) and Toh Enjoe’s novel, the film was released in Japan in 2015 and had a limited theatrical release in the US courtesy of FUNimation.

And now, the animated film is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

The film features a screenplay by Hiroshi Seko (“Ajin”, “Mob PSycho 100”, “Seraph of the End”), Koji Yamamoto (“Harmony”) and Midori Gotou (“Attack on Titan: Junior high”, “Hozuki no Reitetsu”, “Loups=Garous – The Motion Picture”, music by Yoshihiro Ike (“Gundam Evolve”, “Rage of Bahamut”, “Cobra the Animation”, “Blood: The Last Vampire”), character designs by Takaaki Chiba (“Sengoku Basara”, “Attack on Titan”) and art direction by Yusuke Takeda (“Armitage III”, “009-1”, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” and “Eden of the East”).

The film is set in an alternative future of 18th Century England during a time where English scientist Victor Frankenstein has created “The One” (Frankenstein) which revolves reanimating a corpse with a soul in order to think, feel and speak.

But after his creation was destroyed, another method to replace a missing soul was developed and is known as “Necroware”, which can be programmed and upgraded but unlike “The One”, it has no ability to think, feel or speak.  It follows commands.

The world has brought many corpses alive in order to use them as servants which has boosted the economy as they can be used as workers but also by the military, who can use corpse technology for military use.

The film introduces us to John H. Watson, a corpse engineer who has illegally created his own Necroware and has resurrected his deceased friend, who he names it Friday.

Watson is visited by two mysterious individuals and one of them, M, is a member of the British Secret Service and has information that Watson was experimenting with illegal Necroware.  So, he tells John that he can either go to prison or become an agent of the British Empire.  John Watson decides to join the British Empire.

Their first mission is to go to India and follow U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant but they are immediately attacked by corpse assassins who have a grenade embedded inside them and when they pull a pin from their neck, they can explode.

Fortunately for both Watson and Friday, they are rescued by Captain Frederick Burnaby and Watson receives his mission from M that he must find Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov, a Russian corpse engineer who stole “The Memorandum”, the research material belonging to Victor Frankenstein on how to reanimate a corpse with a soul.

But as the three who are joined by Ulysses S. Grant’s secretary Hadaly Lilith and their guide Nikolai Krasotkin, are chased and are targeted by corpse assassins, these assassins have the ability to move differently than a regular corpse.  They are quick and also surprise Watson by showing the ability to possibly talk.

But what happens when they come across Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov and learn more about “The Memorandum” and why is John Watson so interested in it?


VIDEO:

“The Empire of Corpses” is presented in 1080p High Definiton (16:9 anamorphic widescreen). The animation features wonderful character design and gorgeous art backgrounds.

I was struck by how detailed the background art was. How beautiful these painted backgrounds looked and how it complimented the characters.   Overall, picture quality was fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Empire of Corpses” is presented in English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1. As for the lossless audio, both Japanese and English soundtrack feature crystal clear dialogue and music. Action sequences (such as the fights with the zombie corpses, explosions galore, people screaming and the sounds of the live corpses) utilized the surround channels very well and the voice acting for both soundtracks are fantastic.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Empire of Corpses” contains the following special features:

  • Funimation Short Empire of Corpses – (7:38) Featuring director/writer J. Michael Tatum (voice of Alexei Karamazov) and Mike McFarland (voice of Frederick Burnaby), Morgan Garrett (voice of Hadaly Lilith) and Jason Liebrecht (voice of Dr. John Watson) discussing working on “The Empire of Corpses”.
  • Promo Videos – Featuring two Japanese promo videos
  • Original Trailer – The original theatrical trailer

EXTRAS:

“The Empire of Corpses” comes with a slipcover and both the Blu-ray + DVD discs of the film. The Blu-ray also comes with an UltraViolet code for those wanting to watch the film on their PC/Mac, tablet or cell phone via Digital HD.


What happens when you take an alternative version of England, throw in zombie corpses that are revived and used by society to better the economy.  No more having to worry about how long one can work, these corpses can work 24/7 and follow their master’s request.

These corpses have feel no pain, can’t speak nor do they have a soul to share any emotion towards anyone.

But one corpse was given a soul and that was the creation made by Victor Frankenstein but that creation ended up being destroyed.  So, now we have John Watson trying to follow the footsteps of Frankenstein by digging up and turning his best friend into a living corpse and naming him Friday.

Unfortunately for Watson, he is caught and is given a choice…work for the British government or go to prison.  And of course, Watson chooses to become an agent for the government and try to find a Russian scientist who has obtained documents of the work of Victor Frankenstein.

But what Watson, Friday and the others are not aware of, someone has created a new type of corpse. Faster, humanlike movement and they appear to be wanting to speak.

And as Watson and others try to look for these documents known as “The Memorandum”, their research starts to uncover who is the real culprit pulling the strings of these frightening occurrences.

“The Empire of Corpses” is a complex animated film with so many twists and turns that one probably will find themselves watching multiple times, to see if they have missed anything important.

The film manages to capture the essence of zombies, combined with Frankenstein, showcasing an alternate universe of a world dependent on corpses and what happens when these controlled corpses are being utilized as weapons and possibly used for nefarious situations.

The Blu-ray release features wonderful picture quality as character designs are well-done, the art backgrounds are highly detailed and done magnificently well.  As for special features, you do get a short featurette, promotional videos and a trailer.  And you also get a digital HD code.

Overall, “The Empire of Corpses” is an an animated film that is complex, smartly written, featuring wonderful animation and art backgrounds but while entertaining, the film may prove to be too complex for some viewers and thus may require multiple viewings in order to grasp the storyline.

But if you are looking for a beautiful and smartly written animated film, “The Empire of Corpses” is recommended!

 

Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!: The Complete Series + OVA’s (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray review)

November 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

wannabe

“Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!: The Complete Series + OVA’s:” is a mature anime series for those who love wrestling, idol groups and fan service galore.  But while the series is no doubt targeted for men who love sexy fan service, the story of an idol-turned-wrestler was quite enjoyable and made the anime series worth watching.

Image courtesy of © ESE/Project SekaiTsuyo Project. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!: The Complete Series + OVA’s

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2013

DURATION: 12 Episodes (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATING: TV MA

Release Date: June 2, 2015


Originally Created by ESE

Directed by Rion Kujo

Series Composition by Kazuho Hyodo

Music by Kayo Konishi, Yukio Kondoo

Character Design by Rin-Sin

Art Director: Minoru Maeda

Anime Production: ARMS


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayana Taketatsu/Elizabeth Lewis as Sakura Hagiwara

Kana Asumi/Monica Rial as Elena Miyazawa

Chiaki Takahashi/Lydia Mackay as Jackal Tōjō

Eri Kitamura/Vanessa DeSilvio as Makoto Kirishima

Haruka Tomatsu/Martha Harms as Rio Kazama

Hisako Kanemoto/Cristina Vee as Moe Fukuoka

Kana Hanazawa/Megan Shipman as Juri Sanada

Kyōko Narumi/Leah Clark as Misaki Toyoda

Miku Itō/Didi Duron as Yūho Mochizuki

Rina Satou/Bryn Apprill as Kanae Fujishita

Sora Amamiya/Kristin Sutton as Aika Hayase

Sora Tokui/Elizabeth Evans as Hornet

Sumire Uesaka/Morgan Garrett as Kurea Komiyama

Suzuko Mimori/Anastasia Munoz as Chinatsu Suzumoto

Yuka Ōtsubo/Michelle Lee as Nanami Kanno

Ayahi Takagaki/Heather Walker as Yunbo Yamamoto

Fumihiko Tachiki/David Thompson as Seiichi Inoba

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Greg Ayres as Chairman (Sakura Hagiwara Fan Club President)

Yoshiko/Alex Moore as Yoshiko


The eye-popping world of women’s professional wrestling is sweaty, sadistic, and savagely sexy. Famous Japanese pop idol Sakura Hagiwara is better suited for the dance floor than the wrestling ring, but this ravishing songstress is about to put her body to the ultimate test.

When she and fellow idol Elena are assigned to pose as wrestlers for a very special show, a vicious lady brawler by the name of Rio decides to teach the girls a lesson they won’t soon forget. Rio unleashes a flurry of ferocious of attacks on Elena, contorting her divine female form into an array of very naughty positions. Shocked by the blush-inducing beating taken by her friend, Sakura vows to get her heavenly curves ready to rumble and redeem the good name of idols everywhere by becoming a bona fide diva of the pro-wrestling world!


Back in 2013, the anime adaptation of “Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai!” produced by ARMS Corporation and directed by Rion Kujo (“Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero”, “Love Doll”) and a screnplay by Kazuho Kyodo (“Mobile Suit Gundam AGE”, “Robot Girls”, “Bakegyamon”) aired on television.

Based on the manga series by ESE and Kiyohito Natsuki, the series was released on Blu-ray + DVD courtesy of FUNimation.

Sakura Hagiwara is the leader and center of the idol group, Sweet Diva.

Having won the center position four straight times, Sakura’s friend and teammate Elena Miyazawa has always been inspired to work harder to someday become center.

As the group becomes popular, the group has received a request to participate in a TV special in which the idols take part in a wrestling match.  Sakura enlists herself, which Elena follows.

But as Sakura and Elena head to Berserk Gym, they begin their training and are insulted by wrestler Rio Kazama who tells them that idols should not be in the ring as they are not atheletes.  As Elena takes on Rio, Rio easily beats on Elena, prompting Sakura to challenge Rio in a wrestling match for the TV special.  The loser will get their hair cut off.

As Sakura and Rio get into the televised wrestling match, she is instantly defeated, humiliated and her long hair is cut.

Disappointed and embarrassed by her loss, she and Sweet Diva are further shamed by Rio.  Upset, Sakura issues Rio another challenge for a rematch and will train to be as a wrestler in order to take on Rio in their rematch.  This leaves Elena being the temporary leader/center of Sweet Diva.

As idol singer Sakura prepares her training for pro wrestling, she must overcome all the pain and train with all her might in order to prepare for her rematch.


 

VIDEO:

“Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!: The Complete Series + OVA’s” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The animation focuses on closeups and most of the frames are primarily of fan service quality or in relation to wrestling.  Character designs are good, shading is well-done.  Background art is primarily not utilized as much as they are just solid walls and basic paint jobs, most of the focus by ARMS is Sakura or her rival’s facial expressions during a wrestling match or often showcasing their boobs or crotch area.

Overall, picture quality is vibrant, colorful and saw no major banding or artifact problems during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!: The Complete Series + OVA’s” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  Voice acting for both Japanese and English are done very well.  The series pretty much lies on the shoulder of Ayana Taketatsu and Elizabeth Lewis’ shoulders as the character Sakura Hagiwara is put into grueling training sessions and the voice actresses have to showcase their character in intense pain and varying emotional high and lows.

The series is primarily dialogue and music driven but there is good use of ambiance for the audience in the wrestling hall.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!: The Complete Series + OVA’s” Blu-ray also comes with the following:

  • Episode 01 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Elizabeth Lewis and Martha Harms and also featuring comments from other voice actresses participating on a “FUNimation Fight Night – Wanna Be the Strongest in the World! Round 1”.
  • Episode 07 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Leah Clark and Lydia Mackay and also featuring comments from other voice actresses participating on a”FUNimation Fight Night – Wanna Be the Strongest in the World! Round 2″.
  • OVA’s – (23:59)Featuring six mature-themed OVA’s.
  • Textless Opening Song “Beautiful Dreamer”
  • Textless Closing Song “Fan Fanfare!!!”
  • U.S. Trailer

EXTRAS:

Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!: The Complete Series + OVA’s” come with both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the series.


Back when I was just starting off in college, myself and a group of friends would watch GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling).

The wrestling focused on sexy female wrestlers who looked different than the female wrestler shown on other wrestling shows.  And as they engaged in wrestling and suffice to say, for college kids, we were captivated each weekend.  Suffice to say GLOW, found a way to captivate an audience by combining sex and wrestling.

A lot has changed since then, as the WWE has been focusing on sexy wrestlers but also honing on those with wrestling talent and audiences are still captivated.

Meanwhile, in Japan, variety shows experiment with having popular idols take on pro female wrestlers and interject a mix of comedy, these specials tend to be a big hit among viewers.

Watching the anime series “Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!”, which is an adaptation of ESE’s manga series, he had no doubt has found a way to bring the sexy and wrestling and make a mature series.

The concept is popular in Japan as mentioned, bring popular idols who wrestle against a professional female wrestler or two.  But most of the time, they are staged and we actually see the idol on television performing several moves.  But “Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!” takes the story into another direction with the idols trying to prove they can take whatever pro female wrestlers can dish.

And sure enough, the idols get their butts kicked.  But for Sweet Diva team leader Sakura Hagiwara, having always been the darling of the media and leader/center of Sweet Diva, she had been accustomed to winning, not losing.  And now, having felt the embarrassment and shame brought by female wrestler Rio, Sakura announces that she will take a break from being an idol to train as a wrestler until she can beat Rio in their rematch.

And of course, the road to training for Sakura is not going to be easy, as the wrestlers will not give her any special favors.  If she’s wanting to be a wrestler, then she’s going to have to deal with all the pain and misery, until she can finally wrestle and take care of herself.

Meanwhile, #2 member of Sweet Diva, Elena, is distraught because she is thrust to the leadership position, when she has depended so much on Sakura for guidance but also inspiration as her rival.

The anime series, while very good (if you enjoy pro wrestling and Japanese idol groups), is mature.  There is a lot of nudity and of course, the usual fan service of Sweet Diva girls wanting to feel up on Sakura because she is well-endowed or the numerous closeups focused on a wrestler’s breast or crotch throughout a matchup.

But for those who love fan service, will no doubt get a lot of it in this series and even moreso in the included short OVA’s.

Picture quality is quite vibrant and I saw problems with artifacts or banding.  The lossless audio is dialogue and musically-driven but I have to say that the voice acting on both the English and Japanese soundtracks were fantastic.  Both Ayana Taketatsu and Elizabeth Lewis do a phenomenal job playing the main protagonist role of Sakura.

The two audio commentaries were far out as the English dub female voice actresses discuss a real fight that took place in their life involving them and some of the stories were quite wild and crazy.

And as mentioned, you get the six short OVA’s and even more nudity is featured.

Overall, “Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!: The Complete Series + OVA’s:” is a mature anime series for those who love wrestling, idol groups and fan service galore.  But while the series is no doubt targeted for men who love sexy fan service, the story of an idol-turned-wrestler was quite enjoyable and made the anime series worth watching.

Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 2 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray review)

May 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

inuyashamovies

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 2” is recommended for fans who love sci-fi anime with a harem twist!

Image courtesy of © 2013 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 2 (異世界の聖機師物語)

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2010

DURATION:  Episodes 8-13 (271 Minutes)

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

RATED: TV 14 LD

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: May 21, 2013

Original Creator: Masaki Kajishima

Original Character Designs by Hajime Watanabe

Directed by Koji Yoshikawa

Series Composition by Hideki Shirane

Music by Akifumi Takada

Character Design by Hajime Watanabe

Art Director: Kyou Inoue

Chief Animation Director: Hajime Watanabe

Mechanical Design by Naohiro Washio

Anime Production by AIC Spirits/BeSTACK

Featuring the voices of:

Ayumi Tsunematsu/Jami Marchi as Mexiah Furan

Hiro Shimono/Jason Liebrecht as Kenshi Masaki

Madoka Yonezawa/Jad Saxton as Lashara Aasu XXVIII

Natsuko Kuwatani/Morgan Garrett as Chiaia Furan

Chiaki Kanou/Trina Nishimura as Jozzy

Eri Taruta as Mahya, Yeliss

Erika Sudou/Karen Bright as Hannah

Hiroki Yasumoto/R. Bruce Elliot as Babalun

Hiromi Konno/Alexis Tipton as Lapis Razz

Hyo-sei/Shelley Calene-Black as Emera

Junko Noda/Lydia Mackay as Aura Shurifon

Kana Oomura/Caitlin Glass as Lithia Po Chiina

Young Kenshi Masaki has his hands full catering to the whims of an entire academy of oversexed schoolgirls, but a darkness looms on the horizon that will soon cast his life into chaos. The mysterious and enchanting Doll, controlled from afar by a power hungry madman, leads an unthinkable invasion that attacks the nubile students of the academy from inside its once protective walls.

To save his bevy of galactic playmates, Kenshi must summon the power of a Sacred Mechanoid and fight to preserve peace in a world that hovers on the brink of destruction. Should he survive, Kenshi will be mobbed by a hoard of comely coeds who want to make the hero their husband!

Babalun, Dagmeyer and the male Sacred Mechamasters have begun their attack on the Holy Land and have captured it!  But with all hope is lost, the women of the Holy Land have one person they can put their trust in…one who may be able to save their lives…Kenshi!

Can Kenshi pull it off and will Kenshi ever return back home?  Or will his friends or the temptation of so many girls wanting to marry him, will make him want to stay? Find out in the final part 2 of “Tenchi Muyou!: War on Geminar”.

What is “Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar”?

In 2009, a spinoff OVA series that is a spin-off of “Tenchi Muyo!” was created by original creator Masaki Kajishima.

Presented in 13 OVA episodes which was released from March 2009-March 2010 and produced by AIC Spirits and BeSTACK, the OVA series would lead to a light novel adaptation by Atsushi Wada in 2009, a manga adaptation serialized in Comic REX in 2010 and now released in America on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation.

According to Kajishima, the anime is part of the “Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki” continuity and takes place 15 years after the events of “Tenchi Muyo! GXP”. Because “Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar” features the debut of Tenchi’s half brother Kenshi, this would lead many fans to discuss theories of Kenshi and its connection to the original series.

The series revolves around 15-year-old Kenshi Masaki who ended up in an alternate world of Geminar. This world has been waging war against each other using Sacred Mechanoids (humanoid weapons discovered in ancient ruins).

We are first introduced to Lashara Earth XXVIII, the 12-year-old ruler of the Shrtrayu Empire and her bodyguard Chiaia Flan who fights against intruders in the Holy Land. One of these intruders proves to be an excellent fighter and is revealed to be Kenshi.

Kenshi has been ordered to assassinate Lashara Earth XXVIII but can’t do it as he is not a killer. Seeing good within Kenshi, as the group hold him captive and to find out his whereabouts, it is quickly learned that Kenshi is not of this world. In fact, he was being used by the enemies of Shtrayu Empire who had promised him a safe return back to his homeworld, which became false.

Finding out he had been betrayed, he is rescued by Dark Elf Aura Shurifon, who returns him back to Lashara. But they realize that he has caught a disease and will die unless he receives treatment. So, everyone works quickly to try and save him.

For now, Kenshi can be useful to the empire who is suffering from enormous debt. So, as they try to find a way for Kenshi to return back home, Lashara Earth XXVIII has Kenshi become her assistant, so he can learn and assimilate with society (which the female population outnumber males by a very large margin). So, naturally many of the women he comes into contact with are impressed by his demeanor, his work ethic and are amazed by his uncanny fighting skills and bravery.

But as Lashara and those working for her try to keep Kenshi’s identity secret, there are those in the Holy Land who are working for the enemy and are keeping their eyes on Kenshi.

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar” features the following characters:

Kenshi Masaki – The younger half-brother of Tenchi Msaki and the son of Tenchi’s father Nobuyuki Masaki and his second wife, Rea. Kenshi traveled from Earth to the alternate world of Geminar and is trying to find a way to go back home. He was used by one faction to assassinate Lashara Earth XXVIII in exchange for information to bring him back home, but not a killer, Kenshi made the decision to not hurt her. So, Lashara decides to help Kenshi but he may disguise her as her servant and keep the fact that he is from another world as a secret. So, for now, he must try to fit in with the people in the Holy Land.

Lashara Earth XXVII– The 12-year-old ruler of the Shtrayu Empire. She is thrusted to inherit the throne and rule the land after her father’s sudden death. She takes Kenshi in as a servant and tries to get him to take part in duties int he Holy Land. She may have feelings towards Kenshi but because of her royal status, she is unable to show those feelings towards him.

Chiaia Flan – Lashara’s personal escort and bodyguard. Attends Holy Land Academy to complete her Sacred Mechamaster training. She has a crush on her childhood friend Dagmyer, but although she is seen getting upset at Kenshi a lot, she may be having some feelings towards him.

Maria Nanadan – A young princess from the country of Havoniwa and is currently attending Holy Land Academy with Lashara. Both are cousins but they are not fond with each other and are constantly trying to one up each other. Although she supports Yukine’s emotions towards Kenshi, she seems to also be falling for Kenshi.

Yukine Mare – A shy servant of Maria but very skilled at information gathering. She is attracted to Kenshi.

Wahanly Shume – A brillliant inventor and good friend of Lashara. She looks like a teenager but she is actually 97-years-old. She also starts to have feelings towards Kenshi.

Lithia Po Cheena – Granddaughter of the Pope of Geminar and President of Holy Land Academy’s Student council. She is bitter, sarcastic and blunt. She sees Kenji as a “wild animal” (in a literal way) but she may have feelings towards him.

Aura Shurifon – The Dark Elf Princess of the Shurifon Kingdom and member of the Pilgrimage Route Guard. She is often protective of Kenshi and develops feelings towards him.

Mexiah Flan – Mexiah is a person who is very sexual around Kenshi and often seen taking off her clothes when she is around him, often making Chiaia concerned when Mexiah is near Kenshi.

Dagmyer Mesut – Chiaia’s childhood friend and the one responsible for manipulating Kenshi into assassinating Lashara. He is constantly recruiting students for the invasion of Holy Land.

Ulyte Mesut – Dagmyer’s uncle and the younger brother of Babalun. He is a instructor at the Academy and also wants to invade the Holy Land for another reason.

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 2” features the first six episodes. Here is a brief spoilerless summary of each episode:

  • EPISODE 8 – Dagmeyer and the male Sacred Mechamasters attack the Holyland.  Meanwhile, Chiaia’s big sister Mexiah…is she friend or foe?
  • EPISODE 9 – With Babalun taking over the Holy Land and having the Shield of Gaia in his possession , meanwhile Chiaia is ordered to kill Kenshi.  Can she do it?
  • EPISODE 10 – Kenshi and the King partake in a competition, meanwhile the Church is attacked by Doll.
  • EPISODE 11 – Ceres is attacked by bandits, Kenshi must go to the aid of Ceres.
  • EPISODE 12 – Babalun tries to take control over Kenshi, leading to a battle.
  • EPISODE 13 – The final battle between Dagmeyer and Kenshi.  Gaia has been revived with a Doll inside of it and Kenshi must take on the Doll.

VIDEO:

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Because the series is an OVA series and not a television series, I was expecting the picture quality to be vibrant and fully-detailed. If anything, “Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar” seems more like a television series when it comes to picture quality.

There is a hint of softness, but the series does feature good shading, character and mechanical designs designs but similar to the original series, tends to use a lot of lush backgrounds, blue skies, mountains, a lot of trees, etc. But there are some emphasis on building structures, cement walls and most importantly its use of mechanical designs with Mecha featured throughout the series. There is also a good use of CG for floating structures and backgrounds. There are some indoor scenes which are nicely detailed but overall, picture quality is good but it is a bit soft.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar” is presented in Japanese and English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. I have to admit that I was so excited for the lossless soundtrack because the opening theme really comes out crystal clear and utilizes the surround channels immediately. But the overall presentation, while clear, is not as immersive as I would have hoped. Audio is primarily dialogue driven and center and front-channel, while music gets the surround sound treatment. But for a television series, audio is could and didn’t notice any difference in terms of surround sound use on both Japanese or English lossless tracks.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 2” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary for Episode 13 – Joe McDonald, ADR Director interviews the English dub voice talent and technical crew.
  • Information and Sneak Peek of the Pay-Per-View Program 7-13 – (3:33) The Japanese previews for the pay-per-view commercials for “Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar”.
  • Presale Promotional Videos – (:43) Promotional videos for the “Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar” DVD.
  • Teaser Trailers 3-5 – (4:27) Teaser trailers for “Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar”.
  • A Taste of a Day Recording Tenchi Muyou! War on Geminar’s Radio Broadcast – (8:04) Featuring personality Hiro Shimono (voice of Kenshi) and guest Mie Sonozaki (voice of Yukine) and a footage from the episode radio broadcast.
  • Web Trailers – (3:42) The web trailers for “Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar”.
  • Textless Opening Song “Follow Me”
  • Textless Opening Song “Destino”
  • U.S. Trailer – U.S. Trailer for “Tenchi Muyou!: War on Geminar”
  • Trailers – FUNimation trailers

EXTRAS:

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 2” comes with the Blu-ray and DVD version of episodes 8-13.

I have been watching every “Tenchi Muyo!” series since it was first released in Japan. A big fan of the original OVA’s and animated films, it’s always fascinating to see how the storyline is without the characters that fans have followed for many years.

First with “Tenchi Muyo! GXP” and now with “Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar”, what will interest fans the most is the introduction of a 15-year-old named Kenshi, the half brother of Tenchi Masaki. How did this happen? Fans will find theories from other fans about who Kenshi may be. But in terms of the series, we have Kenshi stuck in another world and for the first half, the series is more introductory to the characters and a secret plot taking place behind-the-scenes.

The second half of “Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar” focuses on Babalun and his son Dagmyer along with the male Sacred Mechmasters of the Academy capturing the Holy Land.  But also Babalun possessing the Shield of Gaia and trying to defeat Kenshi and restore the Sacred Mechalord Gaia.  But to save the land, Kenshi must do all that is necessary to stop Gaia’s revival.

The series does tend to play out as a harem anime series with flocks of women, not just a few, wanting to marry Kenshi.  But fortunately, a much more deeper storyline is presented in the final half of the OVA series.

There are references to the “Tenchi Muyo!” characters in the anime series such as Washu and others when Kenshi is questioned about his home and these crystals that belong to him. But also his unusual abilities that surpass normal people in the planet.

As mentioned in my review of “part 1”, there is a little sexual humor in the series, so you may not want to watch this series with children in the room.

As for the Blu-ray release, I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that the OVA series looked more like a television series. Back in the day, “Tenchi Muyo!” was a series that captivated our attention at anime club screenings as the series was known as a quality series on LaserDisc at the time. Fast forward to 2010, when this series was first released, while shown on the Animax pay per view channel, I was hoping for sharper, crisper animation and less softness. But the series was soft and while many scenes did have good detail for its art backgrounds and some scenes and characters were well-shaded, it seemed more like the picture quality of a TV series than OVA series.

As for the lossless soundtrack, I loved how the music was utilized for the surround channels but I was hoping the action sequences would feature a bit more LFE and surround use. Dialogue and music are crystal clear but was hoping for something more immersive.

For special features, you get many of the Japanese special features included such as the commercial previews or trailers, a behind-the-scenes radio featurette and an audio commentary featuring the English dub voice talent and the FUNimation crew that worked on the series.

Overall, “Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar” is a harem sci-fi anime series that is enjoyable and fun.  While the first half of the series is more about the fun and harem side of Tenchi, his gullible nature and the women who love him, there is more story, more action and things become a bit more deeper for the second and final of the OVA series.

If you are a fan of “Tenchi Muyo!”, while none of the original characters appear in this OVA series, we are introduced to Kenshi Masaki, a 15-year-old half brother of Tenchi that is stuck in an alternate world and with his kind nature and his special ability, he proves himself as important in the lives of many people.  But will he stay or will he go home back to Earth?

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 2” is recommended for fans who love sci-fi anime with a harem twist!

Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 1 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray review)

May 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

inuyashamovies

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar” is a harem sci-fi anime series that is enjoyable and fun!  The first half is primarily full of laughs and comedy, but expect the second half to feature much more action and s a serious storyline.  If you are a “Tenchi Muyo!” fan, “Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar” is an OVA series worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2013 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 1

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2010

DURATION: 7 episodes (322 Minutes)

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

RATED: TV 14 LD

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: May 21, 2013

Original Creator: Masaki Kajishima

Original Character Designs by Hajime Watanabe

Directed by Koji Yoshikawa

Series Composition by Hideki Shirane

Music by Akifumi Takada

Character Design by Hajime Watanabe

Art Director: Kyou Inoue

Chief Animation Director: Hajime Watanabe

Mechanical Design by Naohiro Washio

Anime Production by AIC Spirits/BeSTACK

Featuring the voices of:

Ayumi Tsunematsu/Jami Marchi as Mexiah Furan

Hiro Shimono/Jason Liebrecht as Kenshi Masaki

Madoka Yonezawa/Jad Saxton as Lashara Aasu XXVIII

Natsuko Kuwatani/Morgan Garrett as Chiaia Furan

Chiaki Kanou/Trina Nishimura as Jozzy

Eri Taruta as Mahya, Yeliss

Erika Sudou/Karen Bright as Hannah

Hiroki Yasumoto/R. Bruce Elliot as Babalun

Hiromi Konno/Alexis Tipton as Lapis Razz

Hyo-sei/Shelley Calene-Black as Emera

Junko Noda/Lydia Mackay as Aura Shurifon

Kana Oomura/Caitlin Glass as Lithia Po Chiina

Fifteen-year-old Kenshi Masaki has been taken from his home planet, transported to a galaxy far, far away, and captured by a gorgeous princess! This royal beauty quickly claims Kenshi as her personal servant – and lends him out to all the lecherous ladies at her prestigious boarding school.

On the rare occasion Kenshi doesn’t have his hands full with a curvaceous coed, he can be found training for the intergalactic mecha battle royale looming on the horizon. Helping the princess save her planet is Kenshi’s ticket home, but losing means he’ll be stuck scrubbing backs in the interstellar sauna for the rest of his life!

This limited edition comes with a collectible rigid art box designed to hold both parts 1 and 2 plus a 16-page art booklet.

Contains episodes 1-7.

In 2009, a spinoff OVA series that is a spin-off of “Tenchi Muyo!” was created by original creator Masaki Kajishima.

Presented in 13 OVA episodes which was released from March 2009-March 2010 and produced by AIC Spirits and BeSTACK, the OVA series would lead to a light novel adaptation by Atsushi Wada in 2009, a manga adaptation serialized in Comic REX in 2010 and now released in America on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation.

According to Kajishima, the anime is part of the “Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki” continuity and takes place 15 years after the events of “Tenchi Muyo! GXP”.  Because “Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar” features the debut of Tenchi’s half brother Kenshi, this would lead many fans to discuss theories of Kenshi and its connection to the original series.

The series revolves around 15-year-old Kenshi Masaki who ended up in an alternate world of Geminar.  This world has been waging war against each other using Sacred Mechanoids (humanoid weapons discovered in ancient ruins).

We are first introduced to Lashara Earth XXVIII, the 12-year-old ruler of the Shrtrayu Empire and her bodyguard Chiaia Flan who fights against intruders in the Holy Land.  One of these intruders proves to be an excellent fighter and is revealed to be Kenshi.

Kenshi has been ordered to assassinate Lashara Earth XXVIII but can’t do it as he is not a killer.  Seeing good within Kenshi, as the group hold him captive and to find out his whereabouts, it is quickly learned that Kenshi is not of this world.  In fact, he was being used by the enemies of Shtrayu Empire who had promised him a safe return back to his homeworld, which became false.

Finding out he had been betrayed, he is rescued by Dark Elf Aura Shurifon, who returns him back to Lashara.  But they realize that he has caught a disease and will die unless he receives treatment.  So, everyone works quickly to try and save him.

For now, Kenshi can be useful to the empire who is suffering from enormous debt.  So, as they try to find a way for Kenshi to return back home, Lashara Earth XXVIII has Kenshi become her assistant, so he can learn and assimilate with society (which the female population outnumber males by a very large margin).  So, naturally many of the women he comes into contact with are impressed by his demeanor, his work ethic and are amazed by his uncanny fighting skills and bravery.

But as Lashara and those working for her try to keep Kenshi’s identity secret, there are those in the Holy Land who are working for the enemy and are keeping their eyes on Kenshi.

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar” features the following characters:

Kenshi Masaki – The younger half-brother of Tenchi Msaki and the son of Tenchi’s father Nobuyuki Masaki and his second wife, Rea.  Kenshi traveled from Earth to the alternate world of Geminar and is trying to find a way to go back home.  He was used by one faction to assassinate Lashara Earth XXVIII in exchange for information to bring him back home, but not a killer, Kenshi made the decision to not hurt her.  So, Lashara decides to help Kenshi but he may disguise her as her servant and keep the fact that he is from another world as a secret.  So, for now, he must try to fit in with the people in the Holy Land.

Lashara Earth XXVII– The 12-year-old ruler of the Shtrayu Empire.  She is thrusted to inherit the throne and rule the land after her father’s sudden death.  She takes Kenshi in as a servant and tries to get him to take part in duties int he Holy Land.  She may have feelings towards Kenshi but because of her royal status, she is unable to show those feelings towards him.

Chiaia Flan – Lashara’s personal escort and bodyguard. Attends Holy Land Academy to complete her Sacred Mechamaster training.  She has a crush on her childhood friend Dagmyer, but although she is seen getting upset at Kenshi a lot, she may be having some feelings towards him.

Maria Nanadan – A young princess from the country of Havoniwa and is currently attending Holy Land Academy with Lashara.  Both are cousins but they are not fond with each other and are constantly trying to one up each other.  Although she supports Yukine’s emotions towards Kenshi, she seems to also be falling for Kenshi.

Yukine Mare – A shy servant of Maria but very skilled at information gathering.  She is attracted to Kenshi.

Wahanly Shume – A brillliant inventor and good friend of Lashara.  She looks like a teenager but she is actually 97-years-old. She also starts to have feelings towards Kenshi.

Lithia Po Cheena – Granddaughter of the Pope of Geminar and President of Holy Land Academy’s Student council.  She is bitter, sarcastic and blunt.  She sees Kenji as a “wild animal” (in a literal way) but she may have feelings towards him.

Aura Shurifon – The Dark Elf Princess of the Shurifon Kingdom and member of the Pilgrimage Route Guard.  She is often protective of Kenshi and develops feelings towards him.

Mexiah Flan – Mexiah is a person who is very sexual around Kenshi and often seen taking off her clothes when she is around him, often making Chiaia concerned when Mexiah is near Kenshi.

Dagmyer Mesut – Chiaia’s childhood friend and the one responsible for manipulating Kenshi into assassinating Lashara.  He is constantly recruiting students for the invasion of Holy Land.

Ulyte Mesut – Dagmyer’s uncle and the younger brother of Babalun.  He is a instructor at the Academy and also wants to invade the Holy Land for another reason.

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 1” features the first seven episodes.  Here is a brief spoilerless summary of each episode:

  • EPISODE 1 – Kenshi Masaki is ordered to kill Lashara Earth but is unable to.  Meanwhile, Kenshi is dying of the diseases known as Rodeshiatore and has six hours to live.  Can Aura and Mexiah save him?
  • EPISODE 2 – Kenshi Masaki is made a servant to Lasara.  We are introduced to Lashara’s cousin Maria Nanadan and her assistant Yukine.
  • EPISODE 3 – In order to integrate Kenshi in the Holy Land, he is introduced to the Headmistress of Holy Land Academy and is assigned various jobs.
  • EPISODE 4 – Maria tries to get Yukine and Kenshi together, meanwhile Kenshi talks about his past to Lashara and Chiaia.
  • EPISODE 5 – Kenshi becomes a member of the Student Council, making him more popular with the girls.  Female upperclassmen and underclassmen form an alliance in hopes of capturing Kenshi.
  • EPISODE 6 – Flora Nanada, the Queen of Havoniwa invites Maria and Lashara to visit her but also, so she can meet Kenshi.
  • EPISODE 7 – As Dagmyer recruits bandits, Lan who remembers Kenshi tries to recruit him as part of their group.  The race begins for the Warrior Tournament.

VIDEO:

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 1” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  Because the series is an OVA series and not a television series, I was expecting the picture quality to be vibrant and fully-detailed.  If anything, “Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar” seems more like a television series when it comes to picture quality.

There is a hint of softness, but the series does feature good shading, character and mechanical designs designs but similar to the original series, tends to use a lot of lush backgrounds, blue skies, mountains, a lot of trees, etc.  But there are some emphasis on building structures, cement walls and most importantly its use of mechanical designs with Mecha featured throughout the series.  There is also a good use of CG for floating structures and backgrounds. There are some indoor scenes which are nicely detailed but overall, picture quality is good but it is a bit soft.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar” is presented in Japanese and English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  I have to admit that I was so excited for the lossless soundtrack because the opening theme really comes out crystal clear and utilizes the surround channels immediately.  But the overall presentation, while clear, is not as immersive as I would have hoped.  Audio is primarily dialogue driven and center and front-channel, while music gets the surround sound treatment.  But for a television series, audio is could and didn’t notice any difference in terms of surround sound use on both Japanese or English lossless tracks.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 1” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary for Episode 1 – Joe McDonald, ADR Director at FUNimation interviews English dub voice talent and technical crew.
  • About the Making of the Closing Theme “Destino” by Alchemy – (3:51) Behind-the-scenes of the making of “Destino” and the duo talking about the song.
  • Digest in Commemoration of Sales release (Second Half of Episode 1-2) – (8:30) A collection of clips from episode 1 and 2.
  • Stills of Recording the Music for “Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar” – (1:10) Photo stills featuring composer Akifumi Takada and orchestra played along with music.
  • Information and Sneak Peek of the Pay Per View Program 1-6 – (3:02) The Japanese previews for the pay-per-view commercials for “Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar”
  • Teaser Trailers 1-2 – (2:43) The teaser trailers for “Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar”.
  • Textless Opening Song “Follow Me”
  • Textless Opening Song “Destino”
  • Trailers – FUNimation trailers

EXTRAS:

The “Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar – Part 1” comes with an artbox slipcase to hold both parts and a 16-page art booklet. (Note: We were not provided with the limited edition boxes or booklet, so I am unable to comment on them)

I have been watching every “Tenchi Muyo!” series since it was first released in Japan.  A big fan of the original OVA’s and animated films, it’s always fascinating to see how the storyline is without the characters that fans have followed for many years.

First with “Tenchi Muyo! GXP” and now with “Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar”, what will interest fans the most is the introduction of a 15-year-old named Kenshi, the half brother of Tenchi Masaki.  How did this happen?  Fans will find theories from other fans about who Kenshi may be.  But in terms of the series, we have Kenshi stuck in another world and for the first half, the series is more introductory to the characters and a secret plot taking place behind-the-scenes.

While the latter is setting up the storyline for the second half of the OVA series, the first half tends to be more harem like.

Because Geminar is a female dominated planet, because Kenshi has special abilities, speed, strength and a good guy overall, many female characters want to marry him.  Actually, many of the female student body at the Academy wants to be with Kenshi.

There are references to the “Tenchi Muyo!” characters such as Washu and others when Kenshi is questioned about his home and these crystals that belong to him.  But also his unusual abilities that surpass normal people in the planet.

Harem anime fans will enjoy the sexual humor as women want to be naked with Kenshi, women tease Kenshi that if he saw them naked, he would have to marry him.  And there are a lot of scenes that feature these women and teenage girls really doing all they can to be close to him.

While harem storyline is nothing new to the “Tenchi Muyo!” series, the main difference is that a large number of women and teenage girls want to be near Kenshi.  In fact, in episode 6, one of the girl’s mothers just wants to have her fun around Kenshi and somehow Kenshi has earned a reputation of having magic “massaging” hands.

But the first part of “Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar” are character establishing episodes and how any of these women want Kenshi badly.  It sounds like a story that came from a visual novel, but I hope the storyline does become more serious in the second half.  But because of the sexual humor, you may not want to watch this series with children in the room.

As for the Blu-ray release, while I can’t refer to the packaging or the booklet which comes with part 1, I can comment on the picture quality.  I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that the OVA series looked more like a television series.  Back in the day, “Tenchi Muyo!” was a series that captivated our attention at anime club screenings as the series was known as a quality series on LaserDisc at the time.  Fast forward to 2010, when this series was first released, while shown on the Animax pay per view channel, I was hoping for sharper, crisper animation and less softness.  But the series was soft and while many scenes did have good detail for its art backgrounds and some scenes and characters were well-shaded, it seemed more like the picture quality of a TV series than OVA series.

As for the lossless soundtrack, I loved how the music was utilized for the surround channels but I was hoping the action sequences would feature a bit more LFE and surround use.  Dialogue and music are crystal clear but was hoping for something more immersive.

For special features, you get many of the Japanese special features included with part 1 and you also get a single audio commentary featuring the English dub voice talent and the FUNimation crew that worked on the series.

Overall, “Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar” is a harem sci-fi anime series that is enjoyable and fun, but expect the second half to feature much more action and a more serious storyline.  If you are a fan of “Tenchi Muyo!”, while none of the original characters appear in this OVA series, we are introduced to Kenshi Masaki, a 15-year-old half brother of Tenchi that is stuck in an alternate world and must find a way back home.   But also stuck in a planet that is primarily all-female, so for a guy like Kenshi…it’s open season for many of these young women and teenage girls.

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