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Boruto – Naruto the Movie (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a big fan of the “Naruto” manga/anime series, I highly recommend “Boruto – Naruto the Movie”. Action-packed, full of drama and excitement. Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2007 Shippuden, BMP 2015. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Boruto – Naruto the Movie

ORIGINAL THEATRICAL DATE: 2015

DURATION: 90 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: March 28, 2017


Originally Created by Masashi Kishimoto

Director: Hiroyuki Yamashita

Screenplay: Masashi Kishimoto

Character Design by Hirofumi Suzuki, Masashi Kishimoto, Tetsuya Nishio

Music by -yaiba-, Yasuharu Takanashi

Art by Akemi Konno, Kazuyuki Hashimoto, Kentaro Akiyama, Masanobu Nomura, Mutsuo Koseki, Naruyo Kiriyama, Satoshi Matsuoka

Art Design by Hiroto Tanaka, Masaaki Endou

Chief Animation Director: Tetsuya Nishio

Anime Production: Pierrot


Featuring the following voice talent:

Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki

Yuko Sanpei/Amana C. Miller as Boruto Uzumaki

Akira Ishida/Liam O’Brien as Gaara

Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Uchiha

Daisuke Namikawa/Xander Mobus as Momoshiki

Hana Takeda/Laura Bailey as Kurotsuchi

Hidenori Takahashi/Max Mittelman as Konohamaru Sarutobi

Hiroki Yasumoto/Wally Wingert as Kinshiki Otsusuki

Kokoro Kikuchi/Cherami Leigh as Sarada Uchiha

Kouki Miyata/Brian Beacock as Chōjūrō

Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Uzumaki

Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha

Ryota Takeuchi/Catero Colbert as Darui

Ryūichi Kijima/Robbie Daymond as Mitsuki

Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai

Showtaro Morikubo/Tom Gibis as Shikamaru Nara

Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee

Atsushi Abe/Spike Spencer as Inojin Yamanaka

Hisao Egawa/Catero Colbert as Killer Bee

Kengo Kawanishi/Bryce Papenbrook as Yurui

Kensho Ono/Todd Haberkorn as Shikadai Nara

Saori Hayami/Melissa Fahn as Himawari Uzumaki

Yukari Tamura/Danielle Judovits as Tenten


Boruto: Naruto the Movie takes place in the Hidden Leaf Village with Naruto as the Seventh Hokage. The Hidden Leaf Village is planning to host the Chunin Exams to train new shinobi from the village and from their allied villages. Among the entrants are Sasuke’s daughter, Sarada, Mitsuki, an exceptionally talented yet mysterious shinobi… And Boruto, Naruto’s talented but impetuous son.

Meanwhile, Sasuke who’s been on a mission in another dimension appears before Naruto to warn of a strange impending danger. Shrouded with an evil aura, Momoshiki and Kinshiki appear and attempt to assassinate Naruto. Petrified, Boruto is shielded by Naruto, only to disappear in front of Boruto’s own eyes.


The popular manga series “Naruto” has been going strong since its debut in Shueisha back in 1999 via “Weekly Shonen Jump” magazine.   With 72 volumes published, the manga series ended in November 2014.  Meanwhile, the anime series, the first titled “Naruto” began in 2002-2007 and lasted for 220 episodes.  And would continue with “Naruto: Shippuden” which lasted from 2007-2017 with a total of 500 episodes created.

The original manga by Masashi Kishimoto is about a young ninja named Naruto Uzamaki, a ninja of the Konoha leaf village who grew up facing prejudiced within his fellow ninjas because the evil nine-tailed fox was sealed inside him. But throughout the series, we have seen how Naruto is a kind-hearted boy who has worked hard in protecting his friends and staying true to his word with the goal of someday becoming the next Hokage of the village.

In 2014, Kishimoto wrapped up the “Naruto” manga and in the final chapter (featured in volume 72), Naruto would eventually become the Hokage of the Leaf Village and he and his wife Hinata would have two children, Boruto and Himawari.

Meanwhile, Sasuke and Sakura would have a daughter named Sarada, Shikamaru Nara and Temari would have a son named Shikadai, Sai and Ino would have a son named Inojin and Choji Akimichi and Karui would have a daughter named Chocho.

Everyone has grown up and Naruto is busy as the new Hokage at the village, this causes resentment from Naruto’s son Boruto who feels that his father was never there for him or the family.

This leads us to the film “Boruto – Naruto the Movie” which featured anime production from Studio Pierrot, direction by Hiroyuki Yamashita, a screenplay by Masashi Kishimoto, music by -yaiba- and Yasuharu Takanashi and character design by Hirofumi Suzuki, Masashi Kishimoto and Tetsuya Nishio and art design by Hiroto Tanaka and Masaaki Endou.

The film begins with Boruto telling his story and him and his team partners, Sarada and Mitsuki being trained by Master Konohamaru and trying to capture a bear (or panda).   After their mission, the four go to see Naruto, the Seventh Hokage.

And as Boruto gets into a little argument with his father (for not being part of his life due to his duties as Hokage), he reminds his father about his sister and Naruto’s daughter, Himawari’s birthday and how he needs to be there.

Meanwhile a scientist comes in and introduces the group to a new invention.  Now, a jutsu can be contained in a mini-seal and put into a bracelet which gives anyone, ninja or not, the power to use a jutsu.  No chakra is even needed to use the new technology and the scientists want it used for the upcoming Chunin exam but Naruto is against it and believes a ninja should use their own skills.

Meanwhile, Boruto meets with the scientist and takes the special bracelet.

With the next Chunin exams coming up, Sarada and Mitsuki want to take the exam but Boruto, he has no desire.  He doesn’t want to be like his father and that means not wanting to be Hokage.  But for Sarada, she wants to be Hokage and tries to get Boruto to take part in the Chunin exam to let his father know he could do it.

Meanwhile, Sasuke Uchiha returns to the village and Boruto, not wanting to be anything like his father, goes to Sasuke to take him in as a pupil.  But Sasuke will only agree if Boruto can learn the Sharingan jutsu.

As the groups get ready for their Chunin Exam to see who will become a ninja, round three will be in front of a public audience.  During a battle Boruto uses the bracelet to best his opponent, but for Naruto, he is disappointed that his son resorted to such a tactic and disqualifies his son from the Chunin exam and also taking away his ninja bandana as punishment.

This leads to an argument and Boruto complains that his father is never there for him.  Meanwhile, a new evil force attacks everyone at the Chunin Exam.


VIDEO:

“Boruto – Naruto the Movie” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the film looks vibrant.  Colors look fantastic in HD and with this being a film ,there is a good amount of backgrounds and detail in the background artwork.  Picture quality is fantastic!

I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding issues during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Boruto – Naruto the Movie” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0. Both soundtracks are fantastic and dialogue and music are both crystal clear through the center, front and surround channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Boruto – Naruto the Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • Special Naruto OVA – (10:23) It’s Naruto’s big day as his inauguration as Hokage is about to take place.  But time’s getting late because Boruto and Himawari are arguing.  But what happens when Boruto upsets his little sister?
  • Clean End Credits
  • Storyboards – Featuring a gallery of the storyboards for the film
  • Art Gallery – Featuring an art gallery from the film.
  • Trailer – Featuring the Japanese trailers.

Watching “Boruto – Naruto the Movie”, I can’t help but be entertained by the fact that the film focuses on the children of the characters that many of us grew up reading.

“Naruto” having lasted so long as a manga and anime series was a big part of the lives of many people who watched “Naruto” grow from a child, to a teenager and a young adult.  Seeing how his heart and his passion would inspire so many but also seeing him determined to defeat those who threatened the village or his friends.

With Naruto, he is a student that felt he had to prove himself through hardwork and determination.

So, it’s fascinating to see how Boruto is much different than his father.  Naruto, who had always said he would become Hokage is now the new Hokage of the Leaf Village but this new role means being busy with work and unfortunately, that means no time spent with the family.

Hinata is literally taking care of both children and you can see how Boruto is upset at his father for neglecting them, but he harbors a bit of anger for his father not being there for him.

What’s even more interesting is that Boruto is not too aware of his father’s past and how he grew up, so he is not aware of the challenges or difficulties his father grew up with.

And because of his feelings towards his father, he asks his dad’s rival, Sasuke Uchiha to become his master.

But during this peaceful time, a lot has changed as well.  Scientists have developed bracelets with technology that allow anyone to harness jutsu used by ninjas and to make things worse, a new evil has decided to attack the Leaf Village during the Chunin exams (like what happened to Naruto and friends when he was much younger).

And I’ll leave it that.

This is a new beginning, a new chapter as Boruto will continue the storyline of the ninjas at the Leaf Village and while I’m not sure if “Boruto” will last for another 15 years but for this film to jumpstart the new generation and Naruto’s son, Boruto, now the focal point, needless to say, this series will be interesting, considering that he’s not like his father at all.

And if you think Boruto Uzumaki has special skills learned from his father, wait until one gets to see the included OVA which shows us how powerful Himawari Uzumaki can get.

As for the Blu-ray release, the film is vibrant and with it being a film, has more detail when it comes to art backgrounds.  Lossless soundtrack is also well-done and the voice acting for both Japanese and English dub are magnificent.

Overall, if you are a big fan of the “Naruto” manga/anime series, I highly recommend “Boruto – Naruto the Movie”.  Action-packed, full of drama and excitement.

Recommended

 

Kingdom: The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT Anime on DVD Review)

May 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

kingdom

“Kingdom” is one of the best anime series I have watched in quite some time, and I have to say it is one of the most exciting action-driven anime series I have watched since I have been reviewing anime series since 1993. “Kingdom: The Complete First Season” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Kingdom: The Complete First Season

AIR DATE OF SERIES: 2012-2013

DURATION: Episodes 1-38 (Duration: 975 Minutes, 6 DVD’s)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Japanese Stereo, English Stereo, English subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: January 26, 2016


Originally created by Yasuhisa Hara

Directed by Jun Kamiya

Series Composition by Naruhisa Arakawa

Music by Minako Seki

Art Director by Junichi Higashi

Animation Production by Pierrot


Featuring the following voice talent:

Masakazu Morita/Justin Cook as Ri Shin (Xin)

Jun Fukuyama as Piao/Yin Zing

Junichi Suwabe as Lord Changping

Koji Yusa as Heki

Kouki Miyata as Seikyō

Masaya Takatsuka as Hou Ken

Mie Sonozaki as Yang Duan He (You Tan Hei)

Rie Kugimiya as Karyō Ten

Rikiya Koyama as Ō Ki

Yōko Hikasa as Kyō Kai

Yutaka Nakano as Shōbun-kun


When low-born servant boys Piao and Xin set out to become the world’s greatest war generals, they quickly find themselves caught up in a violent struggle between two noblemen plotting to overthrow the King. After Piao is killed protecting the rightful ruler of the kingdom of Qin, Xin sets out on a campaign for revenge that leads him straight into the fire of war.

Now, with a target on his back and an army of enemies standing in his way, it will be up to a boy with no name and a young king without a throne to return order to their war-torn country in this historical action-drama based on the Tezuka Award-winning manga, Kingdom.


In 2006, mangaka Yasuhisa Hara created his award-winning manga series “Kingdom”.

A fictionalized account of the Warring States period, the series has sold over 20 million copies in 2015 and was the grand prize winner of the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2013.

The anime series adaptation produced by Pierrot aired on NHK in 2012-2013, with a second season having aired in 2013-2014.

And now the first season of “Kingdom” is now available on DVD in the U.S. courtesy of FUNimation.

The anime series begins with the introduction of two war-orphans, Xin and Piao.  Both often training their fighting skills and have their dreams of becoming “Great Generals of the Heavens” in the kingdom of Qin.  But both are peasants and are household slaves.

Xin is more of the hotheaded and blunt of the two, one day while fighting, a minister arrives and gives Piao the opportunity to have a position in the Palace, while Xin who is saddened he would be separated from Piao, knows that if one of them can make their dreams come true to become a general, then their dreams will be fulfilled.

A short time has past and one day, a bloodied and near-death Piao arrives and tells Xin that he must fulfill a mission as he is unable to make it.  Piao tells Xin that an assassin hired by the Cheng Jiao Faction is responsible and that their dreams will now be up to him but he must take a map and fulfill the rest of the mission.  Piao dies and Xin wants revenge on who is responsible for killing him.

Xin is joined by Heliao Dao, the last descendant of her Mountain Tribe, the Kyuumei and has disguised herself as a male.  Both try to find out what happened to Piao and it was learned that the reason why Piao was taken to the palace was to become the body double of King Ying Zheng who was targeted by opposing forces.  A job which Piao was proudly to take.

As Xin takes up the mantle to protect Ying Zheng (in reality, would become the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang and the person responsible for unifying China), the journey of the anime series would show how Xin would develop his skills, learn from the best generals and eventually become a field commander and prepare for his journey to make his dream of becoming a general come true.

But every step of the way, the kingdom of Zhao and their powerful generals are bent on destroying the Qin and their legendary general, Wang Qi.


“Kingdom” consists of:

Xin – The main protagonist.  A young man who dreams of becoming the “World’s Greatest General”.  The story follows this war orphan as he slowly becomes a commander and works and trains to become a general and taking part of many major military campaigns with his “Flying Xin Unit”.

Ying Zheng – The young king of Qin, who looks like Xin’s best friend Piao.  Dreams of uniting China.

Piao – Xin’s childhood friend and he and Xin dream of becoming “Generals of the Heavens”.  One day, he is approached by the minister for a position in the Palace.

Heliao Dao – The last descendant of her Mountain Tribe, the Kyuumei.  She disguises herself as a male and is trying to find her way in the world.  She also has a crush on Xin, who doesn’t know she is a girl.

Changwen-jun – A former warrior and senior adviser of Ying Zheng.

Bi – A loyal subordinate of Changwen Jun and a 1000-man commander.

Qiang Hui – The heir of the legendary assassin clan “Chi You”, only Xin and Dao know that she is female.  A wonderful soldier and strategist.  Obsessed with getting revenge for the one responsible of murdering her sister.

Wang Qi – The legendary Strange Bird general of the Qin Empire and one of the Six Great Generals of Qin who was a general under Ying Zheng’s father.  Responsible for conquering the middle kingdoms and is an excellent warrior and strategist.  He is the mentor of Xin and dreams of uniting China.

Li Mu – The Prime Minister of Zhao and the series primary antagonist.  A brilliant strategist seeking to destroy the Qin.

Pang Nuan – A general for the Zhao, he doesn’t command any troops and proclaims himself “The God of War”.  He is literally a one-man army and has only lost to one man in the past, Wang Qi.


VIDEO :

A fantastic anime series that compliments Yasuhisa Hara’s manga series.  The emotion of the characters are well-displayed, action on the battlefield is wonderfully presented. Colors are vibrant and I really wished this series received a Blu-ray release.  But for the most part, “Kingdom” looks great on DVD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, “Kingdom” is presented in Japanese and English stereo.  Both are well-acted but since I watched the series originally in its Japanese format, I’m a bit more biased towards the Japanese voice acting.  But I’m glad that this series is presented in both Japanese and English and anime action fans can surely enjoy this awesome series.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Kingdom” unfortunately doesn’t come with any special features.


It’s been long time since I have been excited about watching an anime series.

I have been aware of the rave reviews that Yasuhisa Hara’s “Kingdom” manga series had received and watching the anime series, I was in awe of how entertaining this action-driven anime series was.

From its smart display of using strategy of the Qin Empire and its enemies, the storyline is wonderfully written, pacing is excellent and unlike other anime series with plenty of characters, “Kingdom” is not hampered by complicated storylines, too much focus on other characters in order to create filler.

This is a straight-up, action-driven anime series focused on Xin’s learning of the battlefield, growing as a commander and working towards his goal of becoming a general and how he inspires people around him.

When focusing on another character, it gives short glimpses of their past, but never to the point it seems like filler just to extend a battle.  So, for those who are familiar with series such as “Naruto” and “Bleach” and had to wait season after season (several years) just to finish one war, “Kingdom” doesn’t waste any time at all.  And that’s a major plus!

The series also showcases the importance of war, but also how the deaths of comrades lies on the shoulders of generals and episodes show the bonds with a leader and their soldiers.

While the first dozen episodes does a good job of introducing Xin and his temper getting the best of him, but yet showing qualities of a great soldier, it’s the overall pacing of seeing his growth on the battlefield that I found very intriguing, the strategies employed to be fascinating and the storyline is fantastic.

“Kingdom: The Complete First Season” features the first 38 episodes and I can’t wait for season 2.

Presented in both Japanese and English, anime fans who love war and action-driven storylines will enjoy “Kingdom”.  While I wish the anime series was released on Blu-ray, the anime series still looks good on DVD.  There are no special features included.

While not having any special features is unfortunate, the fact that you get all 38-episodes for the first season for this DVD collection at a great price is wonderful!

Overall, “Kingdom” is one of the best anime series I have watched in quite some time, and I have to say it is one of the most exciting action-driven anime series I have watched since I have been reviewing anime series since 1993.

“Kingdom: The Complete First Season” is highly recommended!

Tokyo Ghoul: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

tokyoghoul

For those wanting a dark, violent and action-packed anime series, “Tokyo Ghoul: The Complete Series” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Tokyo Ghoul: The Complete Series

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2014

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080pHigh Definition, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: Suggested 17 and Up

Release Date: September 22, 2015


Originally Created by Sui Ishida

Directed by Shuhei Morita

Series Composition by Chuji Mikasano

Screenplay by Chuji Mikasano

Music by Yutaka Yamada

Character Design by Kazuhiro Miwa

Anime Production by Pierrot


Featuring the following voice talent:

Natsuki Hanae/Ken Kaneki as Ken Kaneki

Sora Amamiya/Brina Palencia as Tōka Kirishima

Ayahi Takagaki/Jamie Marchi as Itori

Kana Hanazawa/Monica Rial as Rize Kamishiro

Katsuyuki Konishi/Mike McFarland as Kōtarō Amon

Mamoru Miyano/J. Michael Tatum as Shū Tsukiyama

Rintarou Nishi/Christopher R. Sabat as Jason

Shintarō Asanuma/Eric Vale as Nishiki Nishio

Sumire Morohoshi/Lara Woodhull as Hinami Fueguchi

Takahiro Sakurai/Aaron Roberts as Uta

Takayuki Sugo/Sean Hennigan as Yoshimura

Toshiyuki Toyonaga/Clifford Chapin as Hideyoshi Nagachika

Yūichi Nakamura/Phil Parsons as Renji Yomo


In modern day Tokyo, society lives in fear of Ghouls: mysterious creatures who look exactly like humans, yet hunger insatiably for their flesh. None of this matters to Ken Kaneki, a bookish and ordinary young man, until a dark and violent encounter turns him into the first ever Ghoul-human half breed. Trapped between two worlds, Ken must survive the violent conflicts of warring Ghoul factions, while attempting to learn more about Ghoul society, his newfound powers, and the fine line between man and monster.


Back in 2011, Sui Ishida created the hit manga series “Tokyo Ghoul” which was featured on Shueisha’s “Weekly Young Jump”.

In 2014, a 12-episode anime series adaptation by studio Pierrot aired on Tokyo MX, followed by a second season featuring 12-episodes titled “Tokyo Ghoul √A“, which is an original story which aired in Japan from Jan. through March 2015.

And now the first season of “Tokyo Ghoul” will be released by FUNimation in Sept. 2015.

The anime series is directed by Shuhei Morita (“Coicent”, “Possessions”) and features a screenplay by Chuji Mikasano.  Music composition is by Yutaka Yamada and character designs are by Kazuhiro Miwa (who worked in key animation for series such as “Bleach”, “Eureka Seven”, “Tokyo Majin”).

Set in Tokyo, Japan, the story of “Tokyo Ghoul” is set during a time when many mysterious and grizzly murders are happening throughout Japan due to monsters known as ghouls.

Monsters known as “Ghouls” like to eat human flesh and have the ability to change themselves to look human.

We are introduced to college students, Ken Kaneki and his friend Hide.

Kaneki is a big fan of horror novels and he often goes to a cafe to see another girl named Rize Kamishiro who likes horror novels.  And because of their similar taste in authors, the two go out on their first date.

And while the date is going very well, things suddenly take a turn when Rize reveals herself to be a ghoul.

Taking a bite out of Kaneki and impaling him and preparing for the final kill, out of nowhere, a metal beam falls from above and crushes Rize.

As the two are taken to the doctor, the doctor avoids waiting for family donors and takes Rize’s organs and transplants it into Kaneki.

As Kaneki heals and is lucky to be alive, he begins to notice that every food he eats and tastes is terrible.  He can’t understand why until he learns that ghouls have that similar problem and he knows that the only way to satisfy his hunger is to kill and eat human flesh, which he will never do, as he intends to maintain his humanity.

He realizes that he has become a ghoul (with one eye showing that he is a ghoul), while he also is human.  But he thirsts for eating humans but rather not do that.

As other ghouls taunt him for his weakness and his inability to eat humans, one ghoul starts to threaten Hide, Ken’s best friend.

What will Ken do about it?


 

VIDEO:

“Tokyo Ghoul” is presented in 1080p High Definition and for the most part, studio Pierrot has done a fine job with the anime adaptation of Sui Ishida’s series.  Characters and environments are well-shaded, but for the most part, the violence of the series is captured including the emotion of a character’s face.  The series tends to utilize a lot of closeups, but for the most part, background art well-detailed.  I didn’t notice any major artifacts during my viewing of the series or any major banding issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Tokyo Ghoul” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  While the voice talent on the Japanese end is well-done, watching it in English, I have to say that voice actor Austin Tindle did a magnificent job playing Ken Kaneki.  Kaneki has to go through a lot of emotions each episode, especially the final episode of season 1, it required tremendous emotion from the character and Tindle delivered!  But the English dub is well-done!

While dialogue and music are crystal clear, there are moments that utilize the surround channels.  But for the most part, the most memorable in terms of the lossless audio are the more emotional moments (as there are plenty), because this series gets uber-violent!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Tokyo Ghoul: The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 4 Commentary – Featuring commentary by ADR Director Mike McFarland, voice talent Austin Tindle (voice of Kaneki), Brina Palencia (voice of Kirishima) and J. Michael Tatum (voice of Tsukiyama).
  • Kaneki in Black and White – (27:42) ADR Director Mike McFarland, Assistant Director J. Michael Tatum (voice of Tsukiyama), voice talent Austin Tindle (voice of Kaneki), Brina Palencia (voice of Kirishima) discuss their characters and the series.
  • Episode 12 Commentary – Featuring commentary by ADR Director Mike McFarland, voice talent Monica Rial (voice of Rize), Austin Tindle (voice of Kaneki) and Christopher R. Sabat (voice of Yamori).
  • Japanese Commercials – (2:12) The original Japanese TV commercials for “Tokyo Ghoul”.
  • Promotional Videos – (2:34) Japanese promotional video for “Tokyo Ghoul”.
  • Preview Collection – (6:22) A hilarious collection of “next episode” previews (in Japanese with English subtitles).
  • U.S. Trailer
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Tokyo Ghoul: The Complete Series” comes with both Blu-ray and DVD discs for the first season.


 

Having read Sui Ishida’s manga series, “Tokyo Ghoul” is no doubt a violent, action-packed anime series that was well-adapted by studio Pierrot.

Featuring all emotion and violence of the manga series and magnified by terrific voice acting by both Natsuki Hanae and Austin Tindle (the Japanese and English dub voice actor for Kaneki), they really did a magnificent job of bring the character of Kaneki alive and it’s what makes the anime series truly work!

The series revolves around teenager Ken Kaneki who falls for a girl named Rize, who happens to be a ghoul.  She wants to devour him, takes a bite and as she is about to kill him, steel beams fall on both of them.  While Rize is dead, Kaneki is saved by a doctor who transplants Rize’s organs into Kaneki and thus turning him into a One-eyed Ghoul.

But as Kaneki tries to keep his humanity and thinking that Ghoul’s are just savage monsters, he befriends a few Ghouls who take him in, understands his hunger for human blood but also understanding his unwillingness to accept being a Ghoul and not wanting to be like them.

But the more he hangs out with the Ghoul’s, the more he stars to learn about the Doves, humans that are no different from savage ghouls that want to eliminate all ghouls.

The first season is a perfect introduction to the characters but also showing us how Kaneki is throughout every major moment after being turned into a ghoul.  For the most part, he is a whiny, good boy.  But when he is put into the situation of trying to make choices of using his ghoul powers, his fear and unwillingness to turn into a ghoul ends up being a detriment to others.

And things start to go downhill for him, unless he makes the decision to accept what he has become.

The series requires Kaneki to become emotional and that is where having the right voice talent becomes important.  And while the Japanese soundtrack features great voice acting, because I prefer a 5.1 lossless track, I went with FUNimation’s English dub soundtrack and Austin Tindle, Brina Palencia, J. Michael Tatum and Monica Rial did a magnificent job.  While the series is not super-immersive via the lossless soundtrack, the soundtrack is crystal clear when it comes to dialogue and music.

In terms of picture quality, studio Pierrot did a very good job as characters are well-animated, art backgrounds are detailed.  But for the most part, the anime series does a good job of complimenting Sui Ishida’s original manga series.

As for the special features, you get two audio commentaries with the ADR Director and English voice dub talent, a video interview with the voice talent and ADR director and also the Japanese commercials and previews.

It’s important to emphasize that this anime series is very violent and those who do not like dark or bloody anime series may want to be aware of that.

Overall, for those wanting a dark, violent and action-packed anime series, “Tokyo Ghoul: The Complete Series” is highly recommended!

Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete Second Season (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The classic old school anime series “Yu Yu Hakusho” is back with an action-packed second season featuring 28 tournament competitive episodes as Team Urameshi fights for their own survival.  Another fantastic season of the popular, classic Japanese anime series worth watching and owning on Blu-ray!

Image courtesy of © Yoshihiro Togashi 1990-1994

TITLE: Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost files – The Complete Second Season

DURATION: Episodes 29-56 (600 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (4×3, HD Native), Dolby TrueHD English 5.1, Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: August 9, 2011

 

Original Story by Yoshihiro Togashi

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Series Composition by Yukiyoshi Ohashi

Script by Hiroshi Hashimoto, Katsuyuki Sumisawa, Shikichi Ohashi, Sukehiro Tomita, Yukiyoshi Ohashi

Music by Yusuke Honma

Character Design by Mari Kitayama, Masaya Onishi, Minoru Yamazawa

Art Director: Shigenori Takada, Yuji Ikeda

Anime Production: Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Megumi Ogata/Christopher R. Sabat as Kurama

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Chuck Huber as Hiei

Nozomu Sasaki/Darren Pleavin as Yuusuke Urameshi

Shigeru Chiba/John Burgmeier as Kazuma Kuwabara

Hisako Kyouda/Linda Young as Genkai

Katsumi Suzuki/Bill Townsley as Toguro Ani

Mayumi Tanaka/Sean Teague as Koenma

Rokuro Naya/Robert McCollum as Sensui

Sanae Miyuki/Cynthia Cranz as Botan

Tomomichi Nishimura/Kent Williams as Jorge Saotome

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Christopher Bevins as Shishiwaka Maru

Yuri Amano as Keiko Yukimura

Ai Orikasa/Amber Cotton as Koto

Ai Orikasa as Shizuru Kuwabara

Akio Nojima as Inmaki

Survival is the order of the day as Yusuke and his allies face off against the worst that the Demon World has to offer. Locked into a competition set up by the criminal underground, more than the fighters’ lives are on the line as the Dark Tournament unfolds round by brutal round. Pain and suffering are redefined, a demon from the past is reawakened, and the mysterious masked fighter steps forth. Their situation is worse than grim as the Tournament Finals are set to begin.

Before there was “Bleach”, there was “Yu Yu Hakusho”, a popular manga series from 1990-1994 and a TV anime series form 1992-1995 written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi.

In the US. the series was featured on “Shonen Jump” from 2003-2010 and the anime series was shown on the Cartoon Network. The series has its share of a strong following worldwide as it is one of the few anime series that had been aired completely in Asia and Eastern Europe.

With the anime series, a total of 112 episodes were created, along with two films and several OVA’s but also including soundtracks, video games and other merchandise.

“Yu Yu Hakusho” is one of the most popular Japanese manga series as it has sold over 40 million copies in Japan and also a winner of the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award in 1993, also earning the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize for 1994 and 1995. In 1993, it came second place to the immensely popular “Sailor Moon” series. Even a decade after its anime debut, in 2001, “Yu Yu Hakusho” was still listed as #53 in Animage’s top 100 anime listing of 2001 and for TV Asahi’s web poll in 2006, was voted #15 as “Best Anime of All time” and the series would eventually become popular in several countries.

While the series has been released on DVD in America, “Yu Yu Hakusho” will now be released in HD for the first time on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment in May 2011. All 28 episodes from the first season will be featured on three Blu-ray discs (note: In Japan, episode 26 kicks off season 2).

“Yu Yu Hakusho” focuses on the character Yusuke Urameshi. Yusuke is literally your street punk. He has an alcoholic mother, no father and beats up other gang members, as well as missing school often. But despite his brash attitude, deep inside, Yusuke is a good guy. And people who believe in him is his childhood friend and classmate, Keiko Yukimura, who wants him to focus on his education and also wants to help him because she likes him. The other person who wants to help him is Kazuma Kuwabara, also a street punk who has set a goal to one day beat Yusuke but usually, Kazuma is the person who ends up getting beaten up.

But one day, as Yusuke leaves his high school, he sees a kid playing with a ball near the street. Yusuke tells him to not play that ball because it’s dangerous and that he can end up getting killed if he plays ball in busy traffic. And as the boy thinks that Yusuke is just wanting to play with him, the boy doesn’t listen to Yusuke’s warning and ends up kicking the ball towards the street and tries to get the ball during incoming traffic.

Seeing this, Yusuke saves the boy but ends up being hit by the car and getting killed. Next thing you know, Yusuke is in the spirit world, floating around and watching people and seeing how they react to his dead body, but also getting to see people who actually, genuinely miss him.

Yusuke is suddenly approached by the grim reaper, Botan who is shocked that Yusuke is in the spirit world because his death was not supposed to happen. So, there were no current plans to have him in Heaven or Hell. But Koenma, the son of the spirit realm ruler King Enma tells Yusuke that because he was not destined to go to either Heaven or Hell, he has a chance to earn the right to be revived and return back home. In fact, back on Earth, both Yusuke’s mother and Keiko realize that something is surprising in the fact that Yusuke is warm and not showing signs that he is actually dead, which gives the two hope that Yusuke may be alive.

But Yusuke learns that with good decisions that are used to help people, he may get a chance at life once again.

But also, being recognized by Koenma that perhaps Yusuke has a special purpose that is to be a spirit detective who can investigate supernatural phenomena in the human world and capture criminals dealing in underworld crime.

And through his adventures as a spirit detective, he will meet friends but also many foes.

The first season of “Yu Yu Hakusho” is broken down to three arcs. The first arc deals with Yusuke’s death and what is needed to bring him back. The second arc deals with Yusuke becoming a spirit detective and needing to find three artifacts and take on three demons (two who are Kurama and the other Heiei) and the third arc features Genkai’s fighting tournament.

The second season of “Yu Yu Hakusho” features the continuation of the Genkai fighting tournament and this time Urameshi and friends must defeat all their opponents or else they die.

Here is a basic spoiler free summary of each episode featured in the second season of “Yu  Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files”:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 29 – Flowers of Blood  – Kurama vs. Roto
  • EPISODE 30 – Dragon of the Darkness Flame  – Hiei vs. Zeru
  • EPISODE 31 – Stumbling Warrior  – Yusuke vs. Chu
  • EPISODE 32 – Knife-Edge Death Match – Yusuke vs. Chu continued.
  • EPISODE 33 – A Day in Waiting – Toguro vs. Team Urameshi
  • EPISODE 34 – Percentage of Victory  – Team Urameshi vs. Dr. Ichigaki Team
  • EPISODE 35 – Glimpse Beneath the Mask – The Masked Fighter of Team Urameshi vs. Dr. Ichigaki Team
  • EPISODE 36 – Ambition Destroyed: A Trial of Light – Dr. Ichigaki vs. Team Urameshi
  • EPISODE 37 – Master of Disguise – Yusuke and Kurama vs. Team Masho’s Toya
  • EPISODE 38 – Kurama’s Stand – Kurama vs. Toya

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 39 – Crushing Revenge – Bakken vs. a comatose Kurama
  • EPISODE 40 – Jin, the Wind Master – Yusuke vs. Jin
  • EPISODE 41 – Reverse Decisions – Yusuke uses his new technique vs. Jin.
  • EPISODE 42 – A Matter of Love and Death – Kuwabara is the last one left to fight and defend the team and gets unexpected support.
  • EPISODE 43 – The Masked Fighter Revealed – The Masked Fighter reveals herself to Yusuke.
  • EPISODE 44 – Yusuke’s Final Test – It’s the semi-finals and Team Urameshi vs. Team Uratogi
  • EPISODE 45 – Hiei Battles On – Hiei vs. Kuromomotaro
  • EPISODE 46 – Many Faces, Many Forms – Hiei vs Kuromomotaro part 2
  • EPISODE 47 – Legendary Bandit: Yoko Kurama – Kurama reverts back to his demon form – Yoko Kurama and takes on Ura Urashima.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 48 – The Cape of No Return – Kuwabara vs. Shishiwakamaru
  • EPISODE 49 – Genkai’s Strength – Genkai vs. Shishiwakamaru
  • EPISODE 50 – Suzuki’s Challenge – Onji reveals his true self.
  • EPISODE 51 – Arch-Rivals – Team Toguro vs. another team in the semi-finals.
  • EPISODE 52 – The Death of Genkai – Toguro vs. Genkai
  • EPISODE 53 – Overcoming Grief – Team Urameshi mourns a fallen friend.
  • EPISODE 54 – The Beginning of the End  – Kurama vs. Karasu
  • EPISODE 55 – The Beast Within – Kurama vs. Karasu part 2.
  • EPISODE 56 – Yoko’s Magic – Yoko Kurama vs. Karasu part 3.

“Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete Second Season” focuses on the main characters:

  • Yusuke Urameshi – The main protagonist who was a street punk that is constantly fighting, ditching school and not doing much with his life. But one day, he is killed when he is struck by a car while trying to save a young child who accidentally walked on to incoming traffic. The episodes feature Yusuke in the spirit world and giving a second chance at life as a Spirit Detective and growing his powers which includes a Spirit Gun which he can shoot from his right index finger.
  • Kazuma Kuwabara – A person who sees himself as Yusuke’s rival and in some ways, Yusuke is a big inspiration to him because it makes him work harder and makes him become stronger. He also has a strong sixth sense of detecting spirits and is able to create a spirit sword (which is unpredictable).
  • Kurama – A former fox demon thief who fused with the unborn child of Shiori Minamino and has made him care for humans. When Yusuke saves him and his mother, he decides to help Yusuke. He has the power to control plants and a rose. Also, great at analyzing opponents.
  • Hiei – The son of an Ice Maiden who had sex with a male (Which is forbidden in their society). He is driven by the thirst to kill those who cast him out to die. His power is the Evil Eye (which grants him power to hypnotize, use telepathy and remote viewing) and is an expert with a Katana.
  • Keiko Yukimura – Yusuke’s childhood friend who has always cared for him but also tried to push him to put more into his studies. She likes Yusuke a lot and is jealous when he sees him around Botan.
  • Botan – The grim reaper who takes the souls of the deceased to the underworld. She is also the person who tries to guide Yusuke and joins him in human form occasionally.
  • Koenma – King Enma Jr., son of spirit realm ruler King Enma, who looks like a toddler with a pacifier in his mouth but he is 700 years old. He is Yusuke’s boss and the person who hands him cases.
  • Genkai – An elderly woman who is a martial arts expert who takes Yusuke as a student.

VIDEO:

“Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete Second Season” is presented in 1080p High Definition (4:3 HD Native).

It’s important to note that this series is old. This was not made during a time where anime was created in HD, nor was it created during a time when anime was created digitally. This series is literally old school and previously to watching this series on Blu-ray, I pulled out my old VHS copy that I recorded from Japanese TV to see how it looked and then to see how it looks on Blu-ray.

And I was floored!

For one, I was expecting not the best considering that this anime series started airing back in 1992 and knowing how “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z” looked, I was expecting dust, scratches and even faded colors. Also, its a TV series, not a film or OVA, so for one, I was not expecting it to look anything like a modern anime series and two, I was not expecting it to see considerable damage.

Well, “Yu Yu Hakusho” had none of that. The colors were vibrant, there was no massive dust or scratches on the print, if anything, this series looked absolutely awesome on Blu-ray, not bad for a 20-year-old anime series!

Granted, hardcore Blu-ray fans should not expect anything close to modern anime HD series but for those who grew up watching anime a long time ago, especially who have a familiarity with “Yu Yu Hakusho” will be happy to see how awesome this anime series looks on Blu-ray and even be excited to know the unlimited possibilities of hopefully seeing more classic titles on Blu-ray. If old school anime looks this good on Blu-ray, I can’t wait what’s coming next!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete Second Season” is presented in Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0. While, the English lossless soundtrack features more ambient and more punch when it comes to the action sequences and the music soundtrack, the Japanese stereo lossless soundtrack is quite clear and may not have the same punch, but if you have a modern receiver that is capable of playing stereo on all channels, for me, that was my preference.

But watching the second season, the surround channels on the English 5.1 soundtrack seem to be mostly used for the competition announcer and her echoes coming from her mic.

But I also watched the series with the English dub soundtrack and similar to “Dragon Ball Z” and other anime series, I felt that FUNimation Entertainment did a fine job with casting for this series! From capturing Yusuke’s bad boy attitude, Kurama’s calm and collected attitude but also Kazuma’s dorkiness, it was well-acted and another TV anime series with very good English dubbing.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete Second Season” comes with the following special features:

  • Textless Opening and Ending Themes
  • Trailers – Funimation Entertainment Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete Second Season” comes with a slip cover case.

With the second season of “Yu Yu Hakusho”, unlike the first season which featured character developing episodes and taking place in the real world with different storylines, the second season is primarily all action and competitive-based.

For those familiar with series such as “Dragon Ball” or “Dragon Ball Z”, competitions should be familiar to the viewer.  The main difference in “Yu Yu Hakusho” is that each episode, there is a different battle and only a few episodes where the battles last around 2-3 episodes.  And unlike “Dragon Ball Z”, where you go through about 20-episodes or so of tournament competition, in “Yu Yu Hakusho”, these competitions are long as they go from qualification matches, semi-finals, etc.

And unlike “Dragon Ball Z”, where it’s one match and one advances to the next bracket, in this case, the competition goes by teams.

For those into action, you’ll love this series.  For me, these long competitions is why I loved the series, especially how it was applied to the video game series.  But for those expecting storyline that was featured in season one, especially with Yusuke and Keiko or Kuwabara and his gang, well…you’re not going to get it.  The second season is tournament-driven and you’re not going to get anything beyond that.

And even through 28-episodes for season two, the competition is still not over as there are about 10 more episodes remaining in the “Dark Tournament Saga” and then begins the “Chapter Black Saga” which we should see both in the upcoming third season release on Blu-ray.

So, for the most part, I’m quite happy with this release and for the most part, we are getting an old school anime series available on Blu-ray!  The picture quality of this classic anime series was much better than I expected and I can’t wait for more!

So, why is the release of “Yu Yu Hakusho” that big of a deal for me? It’s because the potential of seeing classic anime series such as “Sailor Moon” (all versions), “Dragon Ball”, “Urusei Yatsura”, “Rurouni Kenshin”, “Gatchaman”, “Irresponsible Captain Tailor”, “Patlabor”, any classic anime series that was once released in the US, you name it… series from the ’70s up to the ’90s, if these were to be released on Blu-ray and look as good as “Yu Yu Hakusho” does… this would be the ultimate for old school anime fans.

Granted, it makes it a lot easier for FUNimation Entertainment to release this series on Blu-ray since they had dubbed it and they have aired on Cartoon Network at one time. But “Yu Yu Hakusho” was for me, what an anime series like “Bleach” is for anime fans today.

Cool characters, protagonist who tend to often get in trouble in school, taking things on in the spirit world and along the way, meeting more characters and just being an all-out enjoyable anime series. I can easily remember how popular this series was, even remembering going to an anime con back in 1995 and going against some of the anime industry leaders of today (back then, they were just regular otaku) in a video fighting game battle of “Yu Yu Hakusho” ala 3DO in a hotel room.

Back in the early ’90s, “Yu Yu Hakusho” was seen as cool. Teenagers taking on evil demons…and it is an interesting juxtaposition if compared to “Bleach”. While not having as many characters as “Bleach”, the series still managed to be fun and entertaining as it focused on character development, battles and also supernatural topics.

I personally love the fact that FUNimation Entertainment has released this series and while newer anime fans who can’t stand old school anime, especially during the years of hand-drawn anime on cels vs. computerized digital animation, I can only hope that they give this anime series a try. It’s one heck of a classic that manages to stand the test of time quite well and from when I first watched in my late teens, it’s still was fun to watch in my late ’30s and having watched countless anime series since then.

While the Blu-ray release may not contain any special features, you are getting 28-episodes on three Blu-ray discs for a pretty solid price. Compare that when this series was released on DVD for the first time in the US and how expensive it was.

“Yu Yu Hakush0” is a character driven series that is easy to follow and if you stick with it on a long run, you’ll find this series to be quite entertaining and fun! There is a reason why this series and its characters were voted on top of many anime polls in Japan and in other countries, it’s that good!

I can’t wait for season three and if you are open to classic anime series, especially a very popular action-driven series, then definitely give “Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files” a chance!

Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The classic old school anime series “Yu Yu Hakusho” receives its Blu-ray release in America and all I can say is if old school anime looks this good on Blu-ray, I want more!  There is a reason why this series and its characters have topped many anime polls in Japan and in other countries… it’s that good!  If you are an old school anime fan or wanting a very fun and enjoyable anime series on Blu-ray, with 28-episodes for the first season release… “Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete First Season” is highly recommended

Image courtesy of © Yoshihiro Togashi 1990-1994

TITLE: Yu Yu Hakusho – The Complete First Season

DURATION: Episodes 1-28 (600 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (4×3, HD Native), Dolby TrueHD English 5.1, Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: May 31, 2011

 

Original Story by Yoshihiro Togashi

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Series Composition by Yukiyoshi Ohashi

Script by Hiroshi Hashimoto, Katsuyuki Sumisawa, Shikichi Ohashi, Sukehiro Tomita, Yukiyoshi Ohashi

Music by Yusuke Honma

Character Design by Mari Kitayama, Masaya Onishi, Minoru Yamazawa

Art Director: Shigenori Takada, Yuji Ikeda

Anime Production: Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Megumi Ogata/Christopher R. Sabat as Kurama

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Chuck Huber as Hiei

Nozomu Sasaki/Darren Pleavin as Yuusuke Urameshi

Shigeru Chiba/John Burgmeier as Kazuma Kuwabara

Hisako Kyouda/Linda Young as Genkai

Katsumi Suzuki/Bill Townsley as Toguro Ani

Mayumi Tanaka/Sean Teague as Koenma

Rokuro Naya/Robert McCollum as Sensui

Sanae Miyuki/Cynthia Cranz as Botan

Tomomichi Nishimura/Kent Williams as Jorge Saotome

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Christopher Bevins as Shishiwaka Maru

Yuri Amano as Keiko Yukimura

Ai Orikasa/Amber Cotton as Koto

Ai Orikasa as Shizuru Kuwabara

Akio Nojima as Inmaki

From cutting classes to brawling in the streets, Yusuke Urameshi is not your typical role model. In fact, this kid’s nothing more than a fourteen-year-old delinquent with a talent for trouble. But in a single selfless act Yusuke dies while saving another. For such noble sacrifice he is given a second chance at life, but it’s to be a life far different than the one left behind. Now a Spirit Detective, the young man must track down demons and humans alike who desire to rule over the three realms of reality.

Before there was “Bleach”, there was “Yu Yu Hakusho”, a popular manga series from 1990-1994 and a TV anime series form 1992-1995 written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi.

In the US. the series was featured on “Shonen Jump” from 2003-2010 and the anime series was shown on the Cartoon Network.  The series has its share of a strong following worldwide as it is one of the few anime series that had been aired completely in Asia and Eastern Europe.

With the anime series, a total of 112 episodes were created, along with two films and several OVA’s but also including soundtracks, video games and other merchandise.

“Yu Yu Hakusho” is one of the most popular Japanese manga series as it has sold over 40 million copies in Japan and also a winner of the prestigious  Shogakukan Manga Award in 1993, also earning the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize for 1994 and 1995.  In 1993, it came second place to the immensely popular “Sailor Moon” series.  Even a decade after its anime debut, in 2001, “Yu Yu Hakusho” was still listed as #53 in Animage’s top 100 anime listing of 2001 and for TV Asahi’s web poll in 2006, was voted #15 as “Best Anime of All time” and the series would eventually become popular in several countries.

While the series has been released on DVD in America, “Yu Yu Hakusho” will now be released in HD for the first time on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment in May 2011.  All 28 episodes from the first season will be featured on three Blu-ray discs (note: In Japan, episode 26 kicks off season 2).

“Yu Yu Hakusho” focuses on the character Yusuke Urameshi.  Yusuke is literally your street punk.  He has an alcoholic mother, no father and beats up other gang members, as well as missing school often.  But despite his brash attitude, deep inside, Yusuke is a good guy.  And people who believe in him is his childhood friend and classmate, Keiko Yukimura, who wants him to focus on his education and also wants to help him because she likes him.  The other person who wants to help him is Kazuma Kuwabara, also a street punk who has set a goal to one day beat Yusuke but usually, Kazuma is the person who ends up getting beaten  up.

But one day, as Yusuke leaves his high school, he sees a kid playing with a ball near the street.  Yusuke tells him to not play that ball because it’s dangerous and that he can end up getting killed if he plays ball in busy traffic.  And as the boy thinks that Yusuke is just wanting to play with him, the boy doesn’t listen to Yusuke’s warning and ends up kicking the ball towards the street and tries to get the ball during incoming traffic.

Seeing this, Yusuke saves the boy but ends up being hit by the car and getting killed.  Next thing you know, Yusuke is in the spirit world, floating around and watching people and seeing how they react to his dead body, but also getting to see people who actually, genuinely miss him.

Yusuke is suddenly approached by the grim reaper, Botan who is shocked that Yusuke is in the spirit world because his death was not supposed to happen.  So, there were no current plans to have him in Heaven or Hell.  But Koenma, the son of the spirit realm ruler King Enma tells Yusuke that because he was not destined to go to either Heaven or Hell, he has a chance to earn the right to be revived and return back home.  In fact, back on Earth, both Yusuke’s mother and Keiko realize that something is surprising in the fact that Yusuke is warm and not showing signs that he is actually dead, which gives the two hope that Yusuke may be alive.

But Yusuke learns that with good decisions that are used to help people, he may get a chance at life once again.

But also, being recognized by Koenma that perhaps Yusuke has a special purpose that is to be a spirit detective who can investigate supernatural phenomena in the human world and capture criminals dealing in underworld crime.

And through his adventures as a spirit detective, he will meet friends but also many foes.

The first season of “Yu Yu Hakusho” is broken down to three arcs.  The first arc deals with Yusuke’s death and what is needed to bring him back.  The second arc deals with Yusuke becoming a spirit detective and needing to find three artifacts and take on three demons (two who are Kurama and the other Heiei) and the third arc features Genkai’s fighting tournament.

“Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete First Season” focuses on the main characters:

  • Yusuke Urameshi – The main protagonist who was a street punk that is constantly fighting, ditching school and not doing much with his life.  But one day, he is killed when he is struck by a car while trying to save a young child who accidentally walked on to incoming traffic.  The episodes feature Yusuke in the spirit world and giving a second chance at life as a Spirit Detective and growing his powers which includes a Spirit Gun which he can shoot from his right index finger.
  • Kazuma Kuwabara – A person who sees himself as Yusuke’s rival and in some ways, Yusuke is a big inspiration to him because it makes him work harder and makes him become stronger.  He also has a strong sixth sense of detecting spirits and is able to create a spirit sword (which is unpredictable).
  • Kurama – A former fox demon thief who fused with the unborn child of Shiori Minamino and has made him care for humans.  When Yusuke saves him and his mother, he decides to help Yusuke.  He has the power to control plants and a rose.   Also, great at analyzing opponents.
  • Hiei – The son of an Ice Maiden who had sex with a male (Which is forbidden in their society).  He is driven by the thirst to kill those who cast him out to die.  His power is the Evil Eye (which grants him power to hypnotize, use telepathy and remote viewing) and is an expert with a Katana.
  • Keiko Yukimura – Yusuke’s childhood friend who has always cared for him but also tried to push him to put more into his studies.  She likes Yusuke a lot and is jealous when he sees him around Botan.
  • Botan – The grim reaper who takes the souls of the deceased to the underworld.    She is also the person who tries to guide Yusuke and joins him in human form occasionally.
  • Koenma – King Enma Jr., son of spirit realm ruler King Enma, who looks like a toddler with a pacifier in his mouth but he is 700 years old.  He is Yusuke’s boss and the person who hands him cases.
  • Genkai – An elderly woman who is a martial arts expert who takes Yusuke as a student.

VIDEO:

“Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete First Season” is presented in 1080p High Definition (4:3 HD Native).    It’s important to note that this series is old.  This was not made during a time where anime was created in HD, nor was it created during a time when anime was created digitally.  This series is literally old school and previously to watching this series on Blu-ray, I pulled out my old VHS copy that I recorded from Japanese TV to see how it looked and then to see how it looks on Blu-ray.

And I was floored!

For one, I was expecting not the best considering that this anime series started airing back in 1992 and knowing how “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z” looked, I was expecting dust, scratches and even faded colors.  Also, its a TV series, not a film or OVA, so for one, I was not expecting it to look anything like a modern anime series and two, I was not expecting it to see considerable damage.

Well, “Yu Yu Hakusho” had none of that.  The colors were vibrant, there was no massive dust or scratches on the print, if anything, this series looked absolutely awesome on Blu-ray, not bad for a 20-year-old anime series!

Granted, hardcore Blu-ray fans should not expect anything close to modern anime HD series but for those who grew up watching anime a long time ago, especially who have a familiarity with “Yu Yu Hakusho” will be happy to see how awesome this anime series looks on Blu-ray and even be excited to know the unlimited possibilities of hopefully seeing more classic titles on Blu-ray.  If old school anime looks this good on Blu-ray, I can’t wait what’s coming next!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete First Season” is presented in Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0.   While, the English lossless soundtrack features more ambient and more punch when it comes to the action sequences and the music soundtrack, the Japanese stereo lossless soundtrack is quite clear and may not have the same punch, but if you have a modern receiver that is capable of playing stereo on all channels, for me, that was my preference.

But I also watched the series with the English dub soundtrack and similar to “Dragon Ball Z” and other anime series, I felt that FUNimation Entertainment did a fine job with casting for this series!   From capturing Yusuke’s bad boy attitude, Kurama’s calm and collected attitude but also Kazuma’s dorkiness, it was well-acted and another TV anime series with very good English dubbing.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files – The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:

  • Textless Opening and Ending Themes
  • Trailers – Funimation Entertainment Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Yu Yu Hakushi: Ghost Files – The Complete First Season” comes with a slip cover case.

I couldn’t stop smiling when I first received “Yu Yu Hakusho” and played it on Blu-ray.  And that is because of three reasons.

One, is the fact that that “Yu Yu Hakusho”, a series that I watched when it first aired in Japan is finally being released in the US ala HD, the second is because the picture quality of this classic anime series was much better than I expected and this leads to third, classic anime series on Blu-ray in the US!

Why is that a big deal for me?  It’s because the potential of seeing classic anime series such as “Sailor Moon” (all versions), “Dragon Ball”, “Urusei Yatsura”, “Rurouni Kenshin”, “Gatchaman”, “Irresponsible Captain Tailor”, “Patlabor”, any classic anime series that was once released in the US, you name it… series from the ’70s up to the ’90s, if these were to be released on Blu-ray and look as good as “Yu Yu Hakusho” does…  this would be the ultimate for old school anime fans.

Granted, it makes it a lot easier for FUNimation Entertainment to release this series on Blu-ray since they had dubbed it and they have aired on Cartoon Network at one time.  But “Yu Yu Hakusho” was for me, what an anime series like “Bleach” is for anime fans today.

Cool characters, protagonist who tend to often get in trouble in school, taking things on in the spirit world and along the way, meeting more characters and just being an all-out enjoyable anime series.  I can easily remember how popular this series was, even remembering going to an anime con back in 1995 and going against some of the anime industry leaders of today (back then, they were just regular otaku) in a video fighting game battle of “Yu Yu Hakusho” ala 3DO in a hotel room.

Back in the early ’90s, “Yu Yu Hakusho” was seen as cool.  Teenagers taking on  evil demons…and it is an interesting juxtaposition if compared to “Bleach”.  While not having as many characters as “Bleach”, the series still managed to be fun and entertaining as it focused on character development, battles and also supernatural topics.

I personally love the fact that FUNimation Entertainment has released this series and while newer anime fans who can’t stand old school anime, especially during the years of hand-drawn anime on cels vs. computerized digital animation, I can only hope that they give this anime series a try.  It’s one heck of a classic that manages to stand the test of time quite well and from when I first watched in my late teens, it’s still was fun to watch in my late ’30s and having watched countless anime series since then.

While the Blu-ray release may not contain any special features, you are getting 28-episodes on three Blu-ray discs for a pretty solid price.  Compare that when this series was released on DVD for the first time in the US and how expensive it was.

“Yu Yu Hakusho” is a character driven series that is easy to follow and if you stick with it on a long run, you’ll find this series to be quite entertaining and fun!  There is a reason why this series and its characters were voted on top of many anime polls in Japan and in other countries, it’s that good!

I can only hope this is the beginning for more classic anime on Blu-ray and I can’t wait for more “Yu Yu Hakusho” to be released on Blu-ray!

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