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March Comes in Like a Lion vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 14, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are looking for a slice-of-life anime series that deals with human emotion and complex relationships, definitely give “March Comes in Like a Lion” volume 1 a chance!  Recommended!

Purchase from RightStuf

Image courtesy of © Aniplex. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: March Comes in Like a Lion vol. 1

DURATION: Episodes 1-11 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: Japanese and English

COMPANY: Aniplex of America Inc.

RATED: 13 and Up

Release Date: December 19, 2017


Originally Created by Chica Umino

Series Director: Kenjiro Okada

Director: Akiyuki Simbo

Series Composition: Akiyuki Simbo, Fuyashi Tou

Script by Yukito Kizawa

Music by Yukari Hashimoto

Character Design: Nobuhiro Sugiyama

Art Director: Seiki Tamura

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kengo Kawanishi/Khoi Dao as Rei Kiriyama

Ai Kayano/Laura Post as Akari Kawamoto

Akio Ohtsuka/Taylor Henry as Raidō Fujimoto

Akira Ishida/Todd Haberkorn as Tōji Sōya

Daisuke Sakaguchi/Lucien Dodge as Okuyasu Yokomizo

Hiroki Touchi/Ray Chase as Masamune Gotō

Kana Hanazawa/Kayli Mills as Hinata Kawamoto

Kenjiro Tsuda/Kellen Goff as Morio Shigeta

Marina Inoue/Lauren Landa as Kyōko Kōda

Misaki Kuno/Xanthe Huynh as Momo Kawamoto

Mitsuo Iwata/Joe J. Thomas as Manabu Yasui

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Zach Aguilar as Harunobu Nikaidō

Shigeru Chiba as Sōmeiji Kawamoto

Shinichiro Miki/Kirk Thornton as Kai Shimada

Subaru Kimura as Issa Matsumoto

Takahiro Sakurai as Takashi Hayashida

Tesshō Genda as Takanori Jingūji (Japan Shogi League President)

Tomokazu Sugita/Keith Silverstein as Tatsuyuki Misumi

Toru Ohkawa/Cam Clarke as Masachika Kōda

Yōji Ueda/Doug Stone as Hanaoka

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Chris Hackney as Yūsuke Takahashi

Yūichi Nakamura/Xander Mobus as Takeshi Tsujii

Yūji Ueda/Arnie Pantoja as Eisaku Noguchi


From Chica Umino, the author of Honey & Clover, comes the award-winning coming-of-age manga about a shogi player and the meaning of family—now brought to life in full animation for the first time by director Akiyuki Shimbou (Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the Monogatari series)!

Rei Kiriyama is a seventeen year old professional shogi player. Among the youngest in history to go pro, he has many expectations for the future, yet his recent separation from his foster family has left him conflicted and his career has stagnated. However, after meeting a family of three sisters, color slowly returns to his life.


Mangaka Chica Umino is best known for her award-winning manga series “Honey and Clover”, which was adapted into an anime and live-action film.

Umino would followup with “Sangatsu no Raion” (March Comes in like a Lion), an ongoing manga series which began in 2007 and serialized in “Young Animal” and a total of 12 manga volumes have since been published.

In 2016, an anime series adaptation was produced by Shaft and a second season completed at the end of 2017.  A two-part live-action film adaptation was released in March and April 2017 and now the first season of Umino’s anime series will be released in America on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Aniplex of America, Inc.

The series revolves around a 17-year-old professional shogi player named Rei Kirayama.

Shogi is a Japanese version of chess and is a two-player strategy board game which originated in India back in the 6th century and tournaments are held in Japan and the best players compete professionally.

Rei is a loner and often retreated to his room and the only thing he knew in his life was shogi. Often bullied throughout his life and at a young age, his parents and younger sister were killed in a car accident.  Because he was good at shogi, he was taken adopted by his father’s friend and shogi rival, Koda  and would become his apprentice in shogi.

Because Koda put a lot of interested in Rei, he often was hard on his own two kids who were trying to be great shogi players to gain favor with their father but because they were not as good as Rei, he was often bullied and beaten by his older step sister Kyoko.

Because of the abuse at home, Rei left home early to become a professional shogi player, quitting school and trying to live life alone.  But unfortunately things didn’t go well for Rei and one day, he was found abandoned and sick by a young woman named Akari Kawamoto.

Akari is the eldest of three sisters and lives in Sangatsu-cho (March Town) and raises her two younger sisters after their mother died.  She often helps her elder grandfather run a traditional wagashi (Japanese confectionery) shop and in the evening, works as a hostess at a bar in Ginza.

Akari and her two sisters, middle school student Hinata and preschool student Momo care about Rei like a family member and often are concerned about him.

But for Rei, while he was considered a shogi prodigy, he has lost two matches and on the brink of being demoted.  And now he must take on a variety of people including Harunobu Nikaido, a wealthy shogi player who considers Rei his best-friend and lifelong rival.

But as Rei lives in darkness, not knowing what is out there in life if he loses in shogi, will that mean there is nothing left in life for him?

The people he comes in contact with will play a big part in trying to show Rei that he is not alone but will he open his eyes to the people around him and show that there is so much more to his life and how he has made an impact on the people around him?


VIDEO:

“March Comes in Like a Lion” is presented in 1080p High Definition. SHAFT did a wonderful job with this anime series and immediately, you can see, by watching the anime series is how the brought Chica Umino’s characters to life with this anime series.  The character designs and art backgrounds are colorful, vibrant and look great in HD!

I didn’t notice any banding or artifact issues while watching this series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

The lossless soundtrack for “March Comes in Like a Lion” is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM. The lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue and both soundtracks are well-acted.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“March Comes in Like a Lion” vol. 1 comes with a Textless Opening & Ending, Trailer and Commercial, Meow Shogi Song, “Moving Meow Shogi” Special.

EXTRAS:

“March Comes in Like a Lion” vol. 1 comes with a Digest plus a deluxe booklet, rigid box with package illustrated by Nobuhiro Sugiyama.


I was a huge fan of Chica Umino’s “Honey and Clover”, which was more or less a slice-of-life manga series that focused on art school students and complex relationships.

The same thing could be said about Umino’s “March Comes in Like a Lion” which focuses on a 17-year-old professional shogi player named Rei, who has gone through a lot of tragedy and abuse in his life that his only solace in life is playing shogi and coming home alone, so he would no longer be hurt.

And he left home with his adoptive family to escape abuse (from his older step-sister) to focus on becoming a professional shogi player and quitting school in order to live on his own.

Unfortunately, life is not going easy for Rei, once called a shogi prodigy, he has lost a few matches and any more losses will lead to a demotion and it would take years to build his rank back up.

And because he has known nothing in life but shogi, the depression is setting upon him.  He has lived through so many terrible things in life, with the death of his parents and younger sister, relatives not watching to keep him and the only person willing to take him in is his father’s shogi rival and friend Koda.

Leaving home and moving to Sangatsu-cho (March Town) has given him his own freedom but Rei has not had many social relationships and the depression and pain he harbors is still within him but that has all changed when he met the Kawamoto family, which consists of Akari, Hinata and Momo, who took him in like a family member and often invite him to their home, despite eldest Akari often having to take care of the family with the money she makes working at her grandfather’s confectionery shop and a hostess job in Ginza.

But the Kawamoto sisters care for Rei and when they saw him sleeping with his glasses with tears in his eyes, the sisters are not aware of what kind of pain he has gone through but want to be there for him.

The series also introduces us to Shogi players that are part of Rei’s life, even though he doesn’t want to be that close to them.

One includes the wealthy Harunobu Nikaido, a four-dan shogi player who self-proclaims himself as Rei’s best friend and lifelong rival.  While Nikaido gets on Rei’s nerves, he has a lot of great qualities and also hides the fact that he is chronically ill.

And there are other shogi players that Rei often comes in contact.

But while Rei worries about his losing streak and how he needs to win more matches in order to not lose his ranking, out of nowhere, his abusive older step-sister Kyoko Koda has mysteriously shown up to him recently.

The first season of “March Comes in Like a Lion” is a fantastic series that manages to capture human emotion, where “Honey and Clover” tend to focus on love triangles, problematic relationships and graduation and employment angst, this series focuses on shogi, which is usually rare in manga or anime series.  But also focuses on complex relationships, good and bad.

Umino has done a great job with character development and series director Kenjiro Okada, director Akiyuki Simbo and writers Simbou and Fuyashi Tou have done a great job in adaptating Umino’s manga to an anime series.  Everything is on-point with is pacing and the character designs and background art are absolutely beautiful to look at.

The Blu-ray is vibrant in HD and the lossless soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue and music.  Both Japanese and English dub soundtracks are well-acted.  As for special features, there aren’t many aside from the textless opening and ending, commercial, trailers plus a “Meow Shogi Song” and “Moving Meow Shogi” Special.  And as one can expect from Aniplex, you get a deluxe booklet including end card illustrations and packaging illustration by Nobuhiro Sugiyama.

Overall, as an Umino fan, I may be biased towards her work but she’s such a good artist and storyteller that SHAFT has done a great job of giving her series an anime adaptation that focuses on wonderful storytelling, artwork and voice acting.

If you are looking for a slice-of-life anime series that deals with human emotion and complex relationships, definitely give “March Comes in Like a Lion” volume 1 a chance!  Recommended!

Purchase from RightStuf

Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu (A J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you thought “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” and “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” were fantastic, you definitely owe it to yourself to watch “Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu”, the final film in the trilogy! It’s absolutely a must-own Blu-ray release for fans of the “Monogatari” series! Recommended!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu

FILM YEAR: 2017

DURATION: 68 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: November 21, 2017


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shimbo

Directed by Tatsuya Oishi

Storyboard by Tatsuya Oishi

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Character Design by Akio Watanabe, Hideyuki Morioka

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Takahiro Sakurai as Meme Oshino


PART 3: REIKETSU STORY

With help from Meme Oshino, the apparition specialist, Koyomi defeats the three powerful vampire hunters: Dramaturgy, Episode and Guillotinecutter. Koyomi takes back all the limbs of Kiss-Shot-Acerola-Orion-Heart-Underblade in order to become a human again. But, when he returns to Kiss-Shot, she reveals to him the cold truth of what it means to be a vampire—a creature of the night. Unable to take back what he has done, Koyomi feels nothing but regret and can only deny his dreadful fate. While Koyomi is struggling to face reality, his “friend” Tsubasa Hanekawa comes to him with a certain plan…


We have watched Koyomi Araragi take on a variety of opponents thanks to his vampiric traits.  But why is he not fully a vampire?  And why is he no longer fully human?

The final film of the “Kizumonogatari” trilogy, “Reiketsu” explores how Koyomi Araragi’s current situation came to be and why he is forever connected to Shinobu Oshino (a.k.a. Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade).

What is the Monogatari films and series all about?

In 2005, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

And while the series focused on the character of Koyomi, other series and episode arcs would focus on other characters in the “Monogatari” series.

In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which focuses on the character Suruga Kanbaru.

And in October through November 2015, the Owarimonogatari novels received an anime adaptation which aired on Japanese television.

Which now leads us to the three-part film series known as “Kizumonogatari”.  The films would serve as a prequel to “Bakemonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari Kuro” and features an adaptation of the Koyomi Vamp arc.

The first film known as “Tekketsu” would feature Naoetsu Private High School loner Koyomi Araragi and how he would meet the character Tsubasa Hanekawa for the very first time.  But also how Koyomi encountered the vampire Kiss-shot-Acerola-orin Heart-under-blade and how he was turned into a vampire and how he badly wants to be a human again.

With the second film “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu”, after learning in the first film of the sacrifice that Koyomi had taken to save the vampire Kiss-shot-Acerola-orin Heart-under-blade and that was by offering his blood, he becomes a vampire subordinate.

Now he has been given the task to retrieve Kiss-shot’s missing limbs that vampire hunters have taken.  But knowing the danger he’s in, as much as he loves to have Tsubasa Hanakawa near him.  He knows he can’t put her in danger, so he tries to do all he can to upset her, to drive her away.  But she is unwilling.  She wants to be by Koyomi’s side.

And now he must take on the most powerful vampire hunters such as the gigantic vampire known as Dramaturgy and the vampire-human half-breed known as Episode who has Kiss-shot’s legs and the most deadly hunter, the fully human priest known as Guillotine Cutter who has her arms.

But this is an extreme battle in which Koyomi will find himself in the most violent, bloodiest and no doubt highly risky situation he has ever been in, in his entire life.

Will he be successful?

And here we are with the third film as Koyomi has found all of Kiss-Shot’s body parts and with the help of Meme Oshino, he can go back to becoming human.  So, he thinks.

What happens when Koyomi puts Kiss-Shot back together?  And the truth of why Koyomi and the vampire Shinobu Oshino/Kiss-Shot are forever together is revealed.


VIDEO:

“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the overall animation for the film is much different compared to the TV series. The film uses a lot of pinkish colors with an emphasis on brown, red and white. Also, a heavy use of 3D CGI backgrounds and real-life photos versus the abstract, 2D backgrounds as shown in the TV series.

But as one can expect from a film, bigger budget, vibrant colors and a different style, it’s no doubt refreshing visual look especially for some of the primary characters that we have seen in the “Monogatari” TV series.

“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” is presented in uncompressed Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and being a film, while the TV series is front-channel driven, the film makes great use of music and also sound effects ala ambiance through the surround channels. Also, the musical soundtrack is also crystal clear!

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” comes the following special features:

  • PV – Japanese Promotional Video
  • CM – Japanese Commercials

EXTRAS:

“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” comes with a 68-minute, 27-track original soundtrack, a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 44-page deluxe booklet and a four pinup postcard set.


If you thought the first two “Kizumonogatari” films were excellent, the final film in the trilogy finally answers questions that fans of the series have been wanting to know and why is Koyomi and the vampire Shinobu Oshino forever bonded together.

I have to say that it was interesting because the first two films, Koyomi was quite dedicated in helping find the limbs of Kiss-Shot and trying to make her whole again.  But what he didn’t realize that by doing so, he was creating a monster that fed on humans.  After all, she’s a vampire.

It was a realization that Koyomi never really figured out, thinking that since they both were hungry, he thought he meant going to grab regular food to eat.  Not knowing the monster that he had unleashed.

For the most part, this third film was quite bloody, action-packed and even went to the pervy/creepy mode as the lecherous Koyomi, is quite desperate in wanting to touch Tsubasa Hanekawa’s breasts.  While I think the scene was a bit overboard, I’m sure the perverts and those who dig that type of fan service that we often see in the “Monogatari” OVA’s with Koyomi’s behavior at times, may be no surprise.  But no doubt, it was taken up a notch for this third film.

The television series and the last film, they always have had an artsy, artistic visual side that I absolutely loved but a pretty unique style of story presentation that watching it once is not enough, you’ll probably discover new things if you watch each episode a few times.

But as the TV series featured a lot of comedy and the visual art made the series vibrant and unique, the films have been more on the darker, edgier side of a monogatari storyline.

This prequel allows us to understand the sacrifices that Koyomi has made to save Kiss-Shot but also the deadly sacrifices he will undertake in the second film to get her legs and arms back to make her whole and as an adult once again to the third film, which is a discovery of what he truly had done.

The artwork is magnificent and I was blown away of how well-balanced the story and art was but how captivating the storyline was that really drew me in and couldn’t stop watching.  The third film was magnificent and also important in answering a lot of questions which “Monogatari” fans probably had.

 

As mentioned, “Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu”, like the first film, is violent and bloody and has sexual situations, so you don’t want to show this animated film to young children.

As for the lossless soundtrack, also a major difference is you get a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in Japanese 5.1 and 2.0. No English dub was included for this Blu-ray release.

And while special features are the usual CM and PV’s, you also get the second original soundtrack on CD and also a 44-page booklet and a four postcard set.  Along with a package illustrated by character designer, Akio Watanabe.

Because this is the beginning of Koyomi’s storyline and a prequel to the monogatari TV series, once can easily jump into this film and start with the “Kizumonogatari”  films.  watch and see how Koyomi met key people like Kiss-Shot and Tsubasa Hanakawa and then watch the anime series from it “Bakamonogatari” up to “Owarimonogatari”. The visual style is a bit different from the film, as one can expect from a bigger budget film vs. a TV series. But because the series is always creative, vibrant and unique, the film exhibits creativity, different uses of color and a different presentation that fans will probably enjoy, especially for its refreshing visual presentation and its use of pinks, red and whites.

Overall, if you thought “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” and “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” were fantastic, you definitely owe it to yourself to watch “Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu”, the final film in the trilogy! It’s absolutely a must-own Blu-ray release for fans of the “Monogatari” series!

Recommended!

Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc)

May 15, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you thought “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” was great, “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” is fantastic! Action-packed, great character development and wonderful animation and artistic backgrounds. It’s absolutely a must-own Blu-ray release for fans of the “Monogatari” series! Recommended!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu

FILM YEAR: 2016

DURATION: 68 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: May 9, 2017


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shimbo

Directed by Tatsuya Oishi

Storyboard by Tatsuya Oishi

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Character Design by Akio Watanabe, Hideyuki Morioka

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Takahiro Sakurai as Meme Oshino


PART 2: NEKKETSU STORY

Koyomi Araragi was turned into a vampire by the legendary vampire, Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade, and he needs to revive the weakened vampire back to her complete form to return to being human again. The only way for Koyomi to achieve his goal is to fight the three vampire hunters – Dramaturgy, Episode and Guillotinecutter.


In 2005, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

And while the series focused on the character of Koyomi, other series and episode arcs would focus on other characters in the “Monogatari” series.

In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which focuses on the character Suruga Kanbaru.

And in October through November 2015, the Owarimonogatari novels received an anime adaptation which aired on Japanese television.

Which now leads us to the three-part film series known as “Kizumonogatari”.  The films would serve as a prequel to “Bakemonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari Kuro” and features an adaptation of the Koyomi Vamp arc.

The first film known as “Tekketsu” would feature Naoetsu Private High School loner Koyomi Araragi and how he would meet the character Tsubasa Hanekawa for the very first time.  But also how Koyomi encountered the vampire Kiss-shot-Acerola-orin Heart-under-blade and how he was turned into a vampire and how he badly wants to be a human again.

With the second film “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu”, after learning in the first film of the sacrifice that Koyomi had taken to save the vampire Kiss-shot-Acerola-orin Heart-under-blade and that was by offering his blood, he becomes a vampire subordinate.

Now he has been given the task to retrieve Kiss-shot’s missing limbs that vampire hunters have taken.  But knowing the danger he’s in, as much as he loves to have Tsubasa Hanakawa near him.  He knows he can’t put her in danger, so he tries to do all he can to upset her, to drive her away.  But she is unwilling.  She wants to be by Koyomi’s side.

And now he must take on the most powerful vampire hunters such as the gigantic vampire known as Dramaturgy and the vampire-human half-breed known as Episode who has Kiss-shot’s legs and the most deadly hunter, the fully human priest known as Guillotine Cutter who has her arms.

But this is an extreme battle in which Koyomi will find himself in the most violent, bloodiest and no doubt highly risky situation he has ever been in, in his entire life.

Will he be successful?


VIDEO:

“Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the overall animation for the film is much different compared to the TV series. The film uses a lot of pinkish colors with an emphasis on brown, red and white. Also, a heavy use of 3D CGI backgrounds and real-life photos versus the abstract, 2D backgrounds as shown in the TV series.

But as one can expect from a film, bigger budget, vibrant colors and a different style, it’s no doubt refreshing visual look especially for some of the primary characters that we have seen in the “Monogatari” TV series.

“Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” is presented in uncompressed Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and being a film, while the TV series is front-channel driven, the film makes great use of music and also sound effects ala ambiance through the surround channels. Also, the musical soundtrack is also crystal clear!

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” comes the following special features:

  • PV – Japanese Promotional Video
  • CM – Japanese Commercials

EXTRAS:

“Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” comes with a 46-minute, 28-track original soundtrack, a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 40-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.


As a faithful watcher and reviewer of the “Monogatari” anime series, after watching the first film “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu”, I felt the film was refreshing, captivating and quite enjoyable to watch.  Now having watched “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu”, I can easily say that this is the best Monogatari storyline I have watched yet!

The television series and the last film, they always have had an artsy, artistic visual side that I absolutely loved but a pretty unique style of story presentation that watching it once is not enough, you’ll probably discover new things if you watch each episode a few times.

But as the TV series featured a lot of comedy and the visual art made the series vibrant and unique, the films have been more on the darker, edgier side of a monogatari storyline.

This prequel allows us to understand the sacrifices that Koyomi has made to save Kiss-Shot but also the deadly sacrifices he will undertake in the second film to get her legs and arms back to make her whole and as an adult once again.

But with the first film, Koyomi sacrificed his humanity to save Kiss-Shot, but in part two, he has to make a major decision if he’s willing to lose his humanity in order to save someone he cares about.

A more action-driven storyline, what I enjoyed about “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” is that not only is the action well-done, but the visual presentation, the artwork to show motion, there was a lot of attention paid to making things look fluid and sometimes life-like.  The artwork is magnificent and I was blown away of how well-balanced the story and art was but how captivating the storyline was that really drew me in and couldn’t stop watching.  This second film was that good!

The second film also builds upon the friendship between Koyomi and Tsubasa and it’s great to see how close these two were earlier on but how different she was compared to what transpires with her character in “Nekomonogatari” and also as seen in the books.  Nevertheless, great character dynamics and how these two characters were developed in this film.

And with this being a film, there is a visual style that was refreshing to see and how it differs from the TV series. From character design, animation, the use of colors and 3D CG, the film looks great on HD!

It is important to note that “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu”, like the first film, is violent and bloody, so you don’t want to show this animated film to young children.

As for the lossless soundtrack, also a major difference is you get a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in Japanese 5.1 and 2.0. No English dub was included for this Blu-ray release.

And while special features are the usual CM and PV’s, you also get the second original soundtrack on CD and also a 40-page booklet and a six postcard set.  Along with a package illustrated by character designer, Akio Watanabe.

Because this is the beginning of Koyomi’s storyline and a prequel to the monogatari TV series, once can easily jump into this film and start with the “Kizumonogatari”  films.  watch and see how Koyomi met key people like Kiss-Shot and Tsubasa Hanakawa and then watch the anime series from it “Bakamonogatari” up to “Owarimonogatari”. The visual style is a bit different from the film, as one can expect from a bigger budget film vs. a TV series. But because the series is always creative, vibrant and unique, the film exhibits creativity, different uses of color and a different presentation that fans will probably enjoy, especially for its refreshing visual presentation and its use of pinks, red and whites.

Overall, if you thought “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” was great, “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” is fantastic!

Action-packed, great character development and wonderful animation and artistic backgrounds.  It’s absolutely a must-own Blu-ray release for fans of the “Monogatari” series!

Recommended!

Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc)

January 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” is a must-own for fans of the “Monogatari” series!  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu

FILM YEAR: 2016

DURATION: 63 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: December 27, 2016


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shimbo

Directed by Tatsuya Oishi

Storyboard by Tatsuya Oishi

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Character Design by Akio Watanabe, Hideyuki Morioka

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Takahiro Sakurai as Meme Oshino


PART 1: TEKKETSU STORY

One day, Koyomi Araragi encounters the horrifying vampire, Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade A.K.A. the “King of Apparitions.” He saves the fatally wounded Kiss-shot by offering his blood at the expense of his own life as a human. Now Koyomi has to face the vampire hunters to retrieve Kiss-shot’s limbs which were taken by these hunters…

THE ORIGIN STORY OF MONOGATARI SERIES!

This highly anticipated film has brought together an all-star creative team including Director Tatsuya Oishi (Series Director of BAKEMONOGATARI), Character Designer Akio Watanabe (Monogatari Series), Chief Director Akiyuki Shimbou (Madoka Magica, Monogatari Series, NISEKOI) and Studio SHAFT (Madoka Magica, Monogatari Series, NISEKOI).


In 2005, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which is about the character Suruga Kanbaru.

And in October through November 2015, the Owarimonogatari novels anime adaptation aired on Japanese television.

In 2016, a three-part film series was planned and the series would be known as “Kizumonogatari”.  And the films would serve as a prequel to “Bakemonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari Kuro” and features an adaptation of the Koyomi Vamp arc.

The first film known as “Tekketsu” would feature Naoetsu Private High School loner Koyomi Araragi and how he would meet Tsubasa Hanekawa for the very first time.

But how he encountered the vampire Kiss-shot-Acerola-orin Heart-under-blade and how he was turned into a vampire and how he badly wants to be a human again.

And now “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” has been released in the U.S. on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex!


VIDEO:

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the overall animation for the film is much different compared to the TV series.  The film uses a lot of pinkish colors with an emphasis on brown, red and white.  Also, a heavy use of 3D CGI backgrounds and real-life photos versus the abstract, 2D backgrounds as shown in the TV series.

But as one can expect from a film, bigger budget, vibrant colors and a different style, it’s no doubt refreshing visual look especially for some of the primary characters that we have seen in the “Monogatari” TV series.

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” is presented in uncompressed Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and being a film, while the TV series is front-channel driven, the film makes great use of music and also sound effects ala ambiance through the surround channels.  Satoru Kosaki’s musical soundtrack is also crystal clear!

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” comes the following special features:

  • PV – Japanese Promotional Video
  • CM – Japanese Commercials

EXTRAS:

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” comes with a 47-minute, 29-track original soundtrack featuring music from Satoru Kousaki, slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 40-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.


As a faithful watcher and reviewer of the “Monogatari” anime series, watching “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” was refreshing, captivating and quite enjoyable to watch.

We get to see how Koyomi Araragi first met Tsubasa Hanekawa and his first encounter with the vampire Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade and also how he met oddity specialist Meme Oshino.

While the first film is straightforward, as it was a big part of “Bakamonogatari”, the film puts us into perspective of how Koyomi Araragi was when he met Tsubasa (the film’s delivery of fan service and comedy) and how it quickly transitions to something more violent, bloody with the introduction of Kiss-Shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade and how Koyomi and her came into contact and why Koyomi turned into a vampire.  And how far Koyomi would go to turn human.

The first film is putting that whole arc into a visual perspective but of course, providing us the initial story for the sequel.

And with this being a film, there is a visual style that was refreshing to see and how it differs from the TV series.  From character design, animation, the use of colors and 3D CG, the film looks great on HD!

It is important to note that “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” is violent and bloody, so you don’t want to show this animated film to young children.

As for the lossless soundtrack, also a major difference is you get a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in Japanese 5.1 and 2.0.  No English dub was included for this Blu-ray release.

And while special features are the usual CM and PV’s, you also get the original soundtrack on CD and also a 40-page booklet and a six postcard set.

Because this is the beginning of Koyomi’s storyline, once can easily jump into this film and watch and see how Koyomi met key people in the anime series and then watch the anime series from it “Bakamonogatari” up to “Owarimonogatari”.  The visual style is a bit different from the film, as one can expect from a bigger budget film vs. a TV series.  But because the series is always creative, vibrant and unique, the film exhibits creativity, different uses of color and a different presentation that fans will probably enjoy, especially for its refreshing visual presentation and its use of pinks, red and whites.

Overall, “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” is a must-own for fans of the “Monogatari” series!  Recommended!

Nisekoi: False Love – Second Season, Volume 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

nisekoi-s2v2

“Nisekoi: False Love” is an enjoyable, humorous and crazy anime series and with this latest volume, you get a few episodes focusing on the Onodera sisters, especially the introduction of Kosaki’s younger sister Haru. But how will Haru behave when she meets the guy that her sister likes…Ichijo? If you love romantic comedies, “Nisekoi: False Love” is an enjoyable, fun anime series which I can easily recommend!

Image courtesy of © Naoshi Komi/SHUEISHA, SHAFT, MBS. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Nisekoi: False Love: Season 2, Volume 2

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: Episode 27-32 (Season 2: Episodes 7-12) (144 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English and Japanese

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: August 23, 2016


Originally created by Naoshi Komi

Chief Director: Akiyuki Simbo

Director: Naoyuki Tatsuwa

Script by Akiyuki Simbo, Fuyashi Tou

Character Design by Nobuhiro Sugiyama

Art Director: Ken Naito

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kana Hanazawa as Kosaki Onodera

Kouki Uchiyama as Raku Ichijō

Nao Tōyama as Chitoge Kirisaki

Kana Asumi as Marika Tachibana

Mikako Komatsu as Seishirō Tsugumi

Takehito Koyasu as Claude

Yumi Uchiyama as Ruri Miyamoto

Yuuki Kaji as Shū Maiko


10 years ago, Raku made a secret promise with a girl he met that they would “get married when they reunite.” Since then, he never let go of the pendant she gave him…

It is spring. Kosaki’s little sister, Haru, is now a first-year at Bonyari High School, and she’s bursting with anticipation over her new life. But on her very first day, she finds herself in a huge predicament – surrounded by delinquents!

The last thing Haru sees just before she passes out from terror, is a boy wearing the uniform of her own school, coming to her defense. She believes that this was a fateful encounter with a “prince” whose face she never saw, and whose name she doesn’t know. Will she meet him once again…? Find out in Nisekoi 2 Volume 2!


There’s a new girl in school and she absolutely despises Raku…or does she?

Her name is Haru Onodera, the younger sister of Kosaki and she will do anything to protect her older sister.

Meanwhile, Onodera has been eating quite a bit of snacks lately.  But what happens when she thinks she is gaining weight and feels that Ichijo will no longer want to be near her?

What happens when Ichijo finds out that Onodera’s birthday is coming up and he asks her younger sister Haru for shopping tips?

It’s the conclusion of the second season for “Nisekoi: False Love″!

What is “Nisekoi: False Love”?

Naoshi Komi’s manga work is well-known for readers of “Weekly Shonen Jump”.

From “Koi no Kami-sama”, “Williams” and “Double Arts”, Komi’s manga “Nisekoi” (False Love) was created as a one shot for Jump NEXT! in 2011 but then receiving the go-ahead as a weekly manga serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”. It was also one of the first manga to receive an English translation online courtesy of Shueisha and also received a 20-episode anime series which aired on Tokyo MX and a second season in 2015 featuring 12 episodes and an OVA.

The anime series produced by SHAFT and was directed by Naoyuki Tatsuwa (“Katteni Kazo”, “Kofuku Graffiti”), series composition by Akiyuki Simbo (“Hidamari Sketch”, Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko”, “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”) and Fuyashi Tou (“Bakemonogatari”, “Hanamonogatari”, “Tsukimonogatari”), character design by Nobuhiro Sugiyama (“Puella Magi Madoka”, “ef: a tale of memories”, “Arakawa Under the Bridge”) and art direction by Ken Naito (“Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, “Hanamonogatari”, “Koufuki Graffiti”, “CODE-E”).

“Nisekoi: False Love” revolves around high school Raku Ichijou. When Ichijou was a kid, he met a girl and he kept a lock, she kept the key and promised each other to get married if they one day find each other.

Since then, Ichijou has kept his promise and has worn the lock around his neck and has been hoping to meet her again.

But Ichijou’s life is a little complicated. While a good-natured individual, unfortunately for him, he is the son of the leader of the Shuei-gumi yakuza syndicate. He has no interested in become part of the yakuza but everyone expects him to be the next one to lead the syndicate in the future.

Meanwhile, while going to school, he sees a foreign girl jumping from a wall and landing on him. He loses the lock on his neck and is very upset of what had transpired. Next thing you know in class, that same girl becomes a new student in his class.

Chitoge Kirisaki just moved from the U.S. to Japan and since her mom is Japanese and her dad is America, she is fluent in both Japanese and English. And suffice to say, when both Ichijou and Kirisaki see each other, they start yelling at each other and she nails him with a hit after he calls her “monkey girl”. People see how tough she is but to make them get along, his teacher puts Ichijou in charge of showing her around school.

He tries his best but the two are like oil and water, they just don’t get along. For the next week of trying to assist her, the two end up arguing and getting in each other’s faces.

If anything, Ichijou focus is more on finding the lock that was lost when Kirisaki landed on him. And he wonders if Kosaki Onodera, the popular girl in school and a person who has treated him with nothing but kindness is the girl that he made the promise with. He hopes it is her.

But just when Ichijou is about to give up, Onodera pleads with him to keep his promise and Ichijou is reminded that a promise is a promise and he intends to keep it. But wants to ask Onodera if there is any chance she may be the girl he made the promise too.

What he doesn’t know is that Onodera does have a key and she has always liked Ichijou but doesn’t have the guts to tell him.

But as Ichijou wonders if Onodera is the girl he made a promise too and excited for the possibility that it might be, when he gets home, his father talks to him about something important.

The problem is that the Shuei-gumi and the rival Beehive Gang are in the brink of all-out war that would damage both yakuza gangs, he and the other leader have come up with the plan. Ichijou must pretend to be dating the daughter of the leader of the Beehive Gang.

Ichijou doesn’t want to get involved and his father told him that he must forget dating any other girl and focus liking this girl they set him up with.

When the two are introduces, Ichijou is shocked that the girl is Chitoge Kirisaki. And for both of them, they must promise to be boyfriend and girlfriend for three whole years and be convincing to both yakuza gangs that they are truly in love.

Both don’t want to be involved with each other but they have no choice. But now they must find a way to co-exist with each other as both yakuza gangs are suspicious of their relationship especially Kirisaki’s guardian, Claude.

Meanwhile, Ichijou still wants to ask Onodera if she is the girl with the key and Onodera is about to let him know that she is. But before they can, the whole school are told that both Ichijo and Kirasaki are boyfriend and girlfriend.

And now it has made things tough for both Ichijou and Kirisaki, but can they keep this charade of being in love with each other, especially if they despite one another?

For the start of the second season, it’s a new school year as Onodera’s sister Haru becomes a new student who absolutely despises Raku.  And now, she wants to do all she can to protect her older sister.

Meanwhile, Onodera wants to continue to get Ichijo’s attention but when she gains weight, she starts to avoid him.


The main characters of “Nisekoi: False Love″ are:

  • Raku Ichijou – While a good-natured individual, unfortunately for him, he is the son of the leader of the Shuei-gumi yakuza syndicate. He has no interested in become part of the yakuza but everyone expects him to be the next one to lead the syndicate in the future. He is forced to pretend he is in a relationship with Chitoge Kirisaki in order to prevent a gang war. He sees Chitoge to be rude and cold, and he has always liked Kosaki Onodera. Raku wears a lock on his necklace and made a promise to marry the person who has the key to open the lock.
  • Chitoge Kirisaki – Chitoge just moved from the U.S. to Japan and since her mom is Japanese and her dad is America, she is fluent in both Japanese and English. She has blonde hair and her father is the leader of a rival gang. She must pretend to be in a relationship with Raku Ichijo in order to prevent a gang war. She is not refined as is often beating or saying something cold to Raku.
  • Kosaki Onodera – Raku’s classmate and the girl he has always liked. He doesn’t know that Kosaki has always liked him and happens to have a key that may open the lock that Raku has. She is very shy and it not a good cook.
  • Haru Onodera – Kosaki’s younger sister who is starting high school.  She falls for the guy who saved her, but because she was fainting, she is not aware that Ichijo is responsible for saving her.  Meanwhile, Haru can’t stand that her sister has fell for a guy that has all these girls around him.
  • Ruri Miyamoto – Onodera’s best friend who is doing all she can to help her gain the courage to tell Raku how she feels.
  • Seishiro Tsugumi – Known as “The Black Tiger”, a hitwoman raised and trained by Claude. While a tomboy, she starts to develop feelings towards Raku.
  • Marika Tachibana – Another girl from Raku’s past. She had loved Raku as a child and went as far as changed herself to the way he asked her to. Also, Raku’s father neglected to tell him that he made an agreement with the Police Comissioner (Marika’s father) that they were engaged in order to build relationship between the gang and the police. Unlike the other girls who are shy to show their feelings towards Raku, Marika is more upfront about her feelings and her actions.
  • Claude – The assistant to Chitoge’s father. He doesn’t believe that Raku and Chitoge is in a relationship and will do anything to find out the truth.

VIDEO:

“Nisekoi: False Love” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The anime series is absolutely vibrant and colorful. The background, especially the foreground artwork are beautifully painted and well-detailed, while the character designs are well-done and well-shaded. This is a gorgeous looking anime series and definitely a series a television series that caught my attention because it’s not soft, if features amazing detail and is full of colors!

SHAFT did a wonderful job on the animation and the series definitely compliments Naoshi Komi’s manga series!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Nisekoi: False Love” is presented in Japanese linear PCM stereo. Dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels and I heard no distortion while watching this anime series. The voice acting by Kana Hanazawa, Kouki Uchiyama and Nao Toyama are well-done!

It’s important to emphasize to those interested in this series on Blu-ray that there are no English dubbed soundtrack included.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nisekoi: False Love – Season Two, Volume 2″ comes with the Textless Opening for “Magical*Styling”, Textless Ending for “Toriame drop”, “marchen ticktack” and “Crayon Cover”.

EXTRAS:

“Nisekoi: False Love – Season Two, Volume 2″ comes with a slipcase and eight collectable cards.


With the latest volume of “Nisekoi: False Love”, we have storylines that focus on both Kosaki and Haru Onodera.

Kosaki’s younger sister Haru is now going to high school and because she is unaware of guys (since she came from an all girl school), nor has she had contact with foreigners, seeing all these women around Ichijo upsets her, because she knows her sister likes him a lot.

But for Haru, she is unaware that the mysterious guy she has fallen for (because he saved her) is Ichijo.

Meanwhile, when the Onodera sisters get sick, what happens when Ichijo must take care of both of them?

Also, what happens when Chitoge loses her favorite ribbon and Ichijo tries to find it.  A sweet bonding time for the two but will Chitoge confess her true feelings for Ichijo?

For Onodera, she feels that she has gained too much weight from eating plenty of snacks, so she starts to avoid Ichijo.  What happens when she does that?

Sure, there have been many anime series that have tapped into the story of a promise made in childhood of marriage from “Love Hina” to “Ore no Kanojo to Osanajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru” (better known as “Oreshura”).

But what “Nisekoi” does differently is throw a major wrench into this possible love romance by putting the male protagonist in search of his future wife, to fulfill a family promise to have a relationship with the daughter of a rival gang, a girl that he detests.

Both hate each other and while Ichijou is a guy with a positive outlook in life, when he meets Chitoge Kirisaki, she is abrasive, cold and not good at holding her aggression as she is constantly beating up on Ichijou.

And to make things worse for Ichijou, the most popular girl that he always liked, Kosaki Onodera, is in fact the girl that has (or may have) the key, to his lock that he has worn on his neck and promised to marry.  Add in Marika Tachibana and even Chitoge’s bodyguard, all of them start to fall for Ichijo…but can he pick which one he really likes?

So far, I really enjoy this anime series, especially the episodes on this third Blu-ray release because it’s fresh take on the young promise made by youngsters to marry each other and it also has that similarity to “Ranma 1/2″ of two people arranged by their parents to be together, although not to be married but to have this fake romance for three years. And then having multiple young ladies vying for his attention.

As for the Blu-ray release, the anime series is presented in 1080p and is absolutely vibrant! Lossless soundtrack is in Japanese Linear PCM and there are no English dub soundtrack, but I can see this series receiving an English dub treatment in the future!

While there are no additional special features aside from the usual Opening and Textless endings, you do get Aniplex swag with a slipcase and collectable pin-ups.

Overall, “Nisekoi: False Love” is an enjoyable, humorous and crazy anime series and with this latest volume, you get a few episodes focusing on the Onodera sisters, especially the introduction of Kosaki’s younger sister Haru.  But how will Haru behave when she meets the guy that her sister likes…Ichijo?

If you love romantic comedies, “Nisekoi: False Love” is an enjoyable, fun anime series which I can easily recommend!

 

Nisekoi: False Love – Second Season, Volume 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

nisekoi-s2-v1

“Nisekoi: False Love” is an enjoyable, humorous and crazy anime series and with this latest volume, you get a few emotional episodes with Chitoge trying to capture the attention of the mother she never gets to see but also a lot of fun episodes including a Valentine’s Day episode. If you love romantic comedies, “Nisekoi: False Love” is an anime series which I can easily recommend!

Image courtesy of © Naoshi Komi/SHUEISHA, SHAFT, MBS. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Nisekoi: False Love: Season 2, Volume 1

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: Episode 21-26 (Season 2: Episodes 1-6) (144 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English and Japanese

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: June 21, 2016


Originally created by Naoshi Komi

Chief Director: Akiyuki Simbo

Director: Naoyuki Tatsuwa

Script by Akiyuki Simbo, Fuyashi Tou

Character Design by Nobuhiro Sugiyama

Art Director: Ken Naito

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kana Hanazawa as Kosaki Onodera

Kouki Uchiyama as Raku Ichijō

Nao Tōyama as Chitoge Kirisaki

Kana Asumi as Marika Tachibana

Mikako Komatsu as Seishirō Tsugumi

Takehito Koyasu as Claude

Yumi Uchiyama as Ruri Miyamoto

Yuuki Kaji as Shū Maiko


10 years ago, Raku made a secret promise with a girl he met that they would “get married when they reunite.” Since then, he never let go of the pendant she gave him…

In order to put an end to the war between the yakuza clan Shuei-gumi and the Beehive Gang, Raku Ichijo and Chitoge Kirisaki must fake being boyfriend and girlfriend. At first, they clashed frequently, but little by little, they came to understand each other.

One day, Chitoge finally realizes that what she’s feeling towards Raku is, in fact, love. What will become of their “Fake Love” relationship now? Find out in Nisekoi 2 Volume 1!


Chitoge is starting to have feelings towards Raku, but is not sure how he can get him to pay attention to her even more.  Meanwhile, Seishirou Tsugumi’s rival, “Black Tiger” has come to challenge her and Chitoge’s mother, Hana is coming to visit her.  But why is Chitoge so terrified?

Meanwhile, it’s the beginning of the New Year and the girls try to win Raku’s affection.  But when Valentine’s Day is around the corner, how will Chitoge Kirisaki, Kosaki Onodera, Marika Tachibana and Seishiro Tsugumi win Raku’s heart?

It’s the start of a new second season for “Nisekoi: False Love″ available now on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex!

What is “Nisekoi: False Love”?

Naoshi Komi’s manga work is well-known for readers of “Weekly Shonen Jump”.

From “Koi no Kami-sama”, “Williams” and “Double Arts”, Komi’s manga “Nisekoi” (False Love) was created as a one shot for Jump NEXT! in 2011 but then receiving the go-ahead as a weekly manga serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”. It was also one of the first manga to receive an English translation online courtesy of Shueisha and also received a 20-episode anime series which aired on Tokyo MX and a second season in 2015 featuring 12 episodes and an OVA.

The anime series produced by SHAFT and was directed by Naoyuki Tatsuwa (“Katteni Kazo”, “Kofuku Graffiti”), series composition by Akiyuki Simbo (“Hidamari Sketch”, Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko”, “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”) and Fuyashi Tou (“Bakemonogatari”, “Hanamonogatari”, “Tsukimonogatari”), character design by Nobuhiro Sugiyama (“Puella Magi Madoka”, “ef: a tale of memories”, “Arakawa Under the Bridge”) and art direction by Ken Naito (“Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, “Hanamonogatari”, “Koufuki Graffiti”, “CODE-E”).

“Nisekoi: False Love” revolves around high school Raku Ichijou. When Ichijou was a kid, he met a girl and he kept a lock, she kept the key and promised each other to get married if they one day find each other.

Since then, Ichijou has kept his promise and has worn the lock around his neck and has been hoping to meet her again.

But Ichijou’s life is a little complicated. While a good-natured individual, unfortunately for him, he is the son of the leader of the Shuei-gumi yakuza syndicate. He has no interested in become part of the yakuza but everyone expects him to be the next one to lead the syndicate in the future.

Meanwhile, while going to school, he sees a foreign girl jumping from a wall and landing on him. He loses the lock on his neck and is very upset of what had transpired. Next thing you know in class, that same girl becomes a new student in his class.

Chitoge Kirisaki just moved from the U.S. to Japan and since her mom is Japanese and her dad is America, she is fluent in both Japanese and English. And suffice to say, when both Ichijou and Kirisaki see each other, they start yelling at each other and she nails him with a hit after he calls her “monkey girl”. People see how tough she is but to make them get along, his teacher puts Ichijou in charge of showing her around school.

He tries his best but the two are like oil and water, they just don’t get along. For the next week of trying to assist her, the two end up arguing and getting in each other’s faces.

If anything, Ichijou focus is more on finding the lock that was lost when Kirisaki landed on him. And he wonders if Kosaki Onodera, the popular girl in school and a person who has treated him with nothing but kindness is the girl that he made the promise with. He hopes it is her.

But just when Ichijou is about to give up, Onodera pleads with him to keep his promise and Ichijou is reminded that a promise is a promise and he intends to keep it. But wants to ask Onodera if there is any chance she may be the girl he made the promise too.

What he doesn’t know is that Onodera does have a key and she has always liked Ichijou but doesn’t have the guts to tell him.

But as Ichijou wonders if Onodera is the girl he made a promise too and excited for the possibility that it might be, when he gets home, his father talks to him about something important.

The problem is that the Shuei-gumi and the rival Beehive Gang are in the brink of all-out war that would damage both yakuza gangs, he and the other leader have come up with the plan. Ichijou must pretend to be dating the daughter of the leader of the Beehive Gang.

Ichijou doesn’t want to get involved and his father told him that he must forget dating any other girl and focus liking this girl they set him up with.

When the two are introduces, Ichijou is shocked that the girl is Chitoge Kirisaki. And for both of them, they must promise to be boyfriend and girlfriend for three whole years and be convincing to both yakuza gangs that they are truly in love.

Both don’t want to be involved with each other but they have no choice. But now they must find a way to co-exist with each other as both yakuza gangs are suspicious of their relationship especially Kirisaki’s guardian, Claude.

Meanwhile, Ichijou still wants to ask Onodera if she is the girl with the key and Onodera is about to let him know that she is. But before they can, the whole school are told that both Ichijo and Kirasaki are boyfriend and girlfriend.

And now it has made things tough for both Ichijou and Kirisaki, but can they keep this charade of being in love with each other, especially if they despite one another?

For the start of the second season, Chitoge wants Raku to pay more attention to her.  But what can she do to make him pay attention to her?

Meanwhile, out of the blue, Tsugumi’s rival “Black Tiger” has come to challenge her and the winner gets to kiss Raku!

And the key story revolves around Tsugumi’s mother Hana, a workaholic business woman that only visits Chitoge during Christmas.  Feared by many, she is in need of an assistant and chooses Raku to be her assistant.

Meanwhile, Raku is determined in getting Hana to recognize Chitoge even more.

Also, when Valentine’s Day comes along, if chocolate is a way to show one’s love during Valentine’s Day, how will Chitoge, Kosaki, Marika and Seishiro win Raku’s heart?


The main characters of “Nisekoi: False Love″ are:

  • Raku Ichijou – While a good-natured individual, unfortunately for him, he is the son of the leader of the Shuei-gumi yakuza syndicate. He has no interested in become part of the yakuza but everyone expects him to be the next one to lead the syndicate in the future. He is forced to pretend he is in a relationship with Chitoge Kirisaki in order to prevent a gang war. He sees Chitoge to be rude and cold, and he has always liked Kosaki Onodera. Raku wears a lock on his necklace and made a promise to marry the person who has the key to open the lock.
  • Chitoge Kirisaki – Chitoge just moved from the U.S. to Japan and since her mom is Japanese and her dad is America, she is fluent in both Japanese and English. She has blonde hair and her father is the leader of a rival gang. She must pretend to be in a relationship with Raku Ichijo in order to prevent a gang war. She is not refined as is often beating or saying something cold to Raku.
  • Kosaki Onodera – Raku’s classmate and the girl he has always liked. He doesn’t know that Kosaki has always liked him and happens to have a key that may open the lock that Raku has. She is very shy and it not a good cook.
  • Ruri Miyamoto – Onodera’s best friend who is doing all she can to help her gain the courage to tell Raku how she feels.
  • Seishiro Tsugumi – Known as “The Black Tiger”, a hitwoman raised and trained by Claude. While a tomboy, she starts to develop feelings towards Raku.
  • Marika Tachibana – Another girl from Raku’s past. She had loved Raku as a child and went as far as changed herself to the way he asked her to. Also, Raku’s father neglected to tell him that he made an agreement with the Police Comissioner (Marika’s father) that they were engaged in order to build relationship between the gang and the police. Unlike the other girls who are shy to show their feelings towards Raku, Marika is more upfront about her feelings and her actions.
  • Claude – The assistant to Chitoge’s father. He doesn’t believe that Raku and Chitoge is in a relationship and will do anything to find out the truth.

VIDEO:

“Nisekoi: False Love” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The anime series is absolutely vibrant and colorful. The background, especially the foreground artwork are beautifully painted and well-detailed, while the character designs are well-done and well-shaded. This is a gorgeous looking anime series and definitely a series a television series that caught my attention because it’s not soft, if features amazing detail and is full of colors!

SHAFT did a wonderful job on the animation and the series definitely compliments Naoshi Komi’s manga series!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Nisekoi: False Love” is presented in Japanese linear PCM stereo. Dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels and I heard no distortion while watching this anime series. The voice acting by Kana Hanazawa, Kouki Uchiyama and Nao Toyama are well-done!

It’s important to emphasize to those interested in this series on Blu-ray that there are no English dubbed soundtrack included.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nisekoi: False Love – Season Two, Volume 1″ comes with the Textless Opening for “Rally Go Round”, Textless Ending for “Aimai Hertz”, Textless Ending for “TrIGgER”, Textless Ending for “Sleep zzz…” and Textless Ending for “Matador Love”

EXTRAS:

“Nisekoi: False Love – Season Two, Volume 1″ comes with a slipcase and eight collectable cards.


With the latest volume of “Nisekoi: False Love”, it has been an interesting journey so far as we have seen a number of girls fall for Raku and of course, him being oblivious to what is happening.

W see Chitoge trying to get Raku to recognize her, Tsugumi’s rival challenging her for a chance to kiss Raku, Ruri trying to tell Raku that Onodera has always loved him but possibly one of the most touching and interesting chapters to read is the introduction to Chitoge’s mother, Hana.

If you thought Chitoge was tough, she is nothing like Hana, beautiful but cold, feared by many but yet independent and successful.  But she is a workaholic to the point that she is never there for Chitoge and the only passing conversation is short.

But when Raku is forced to become Hana’s assistant, Raku sees it as an opportunity to bring mother and daughter closer.  But can he?

Also, with Valentine’s Day being a special day for one to show how much they care for someone, to what great extremes would each go in order to present Raku with a chocolate?

Sure, there have been many anime series that have tapped into the story of a promise made in childhood of marriage from “Love Hina” to “Ore no Kanojo to Osanajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru” (better known as “Oreshura”).

But what “Nisekoi” does differently is throw a major wrench into this possible love romance by putting the male protagonist in search of his future wife, to fulfill a family promise to have a relationship with the daughter of a rival gang, a girl that he detests.

Both hate each other and while Ichijou is a guy with a positive outlook in life, when he meets Chitoge Kirisaki, she is abrasive, cold and not good at holding her aggression as she is constantly beating up on Ichijou.

And to make things worse for Ichijou, the most popular girl that he always liked, Kosaki Onodera, is in fact the girl that has (or may have) the key, to his lock that he has worn on his neck and promised to marry.

So far, I really enjoy this anime series, especially the episodes on this third Blu-ray release because it’s fresh take on the young promise made by youngsters to marry each other and it also has that similarity to “Ranma 1/2″ of two people arranged by their parents to be together, although not to be married but to have this fake romance for three years. And then having multiple young ladies vying for his attention.

As for the Blu-ray release, the anime series is presented in 1080p and is absolutely vibrant! Lossless soundtrack is in Japanese Linear PCM and there are no English dub soundtrack, but I can see this series receiving an English dub treatment in the future!

While there are no additional special features aside from the usual Opening and Textless endings, you do get Aniplex swag with a slipcase and collectable ending card pin-ups.

Overall, “Nisekoi: False Love” is an enjoyable, humorous and crazy anime series and with this latest volume, you get a few emotional episodes with Chitoge trying to capture the attention of the mother she never gets to see but also a lot of fun episodes including a Valentine’s Day episode.

If you love romantic comedies, “Nisekoi: False Love” is an anime series which I can easily recommend!

 

Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

tsukimonogatari

Can Koyomi stop his progression of being turned into a vampire completely? Find out in “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll”. If you stayed with this series for the long run, “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2014

DURATION: 4 Episodes (100 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: September 15, 2015


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Kei Haeneoka

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima, Ken Naito

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Saori Hayami as Yotsugi Ononoki

Chiwa Saito as Hitagi Senjōgahara

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Kaori Mizuhashi as Ougi Oshino

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Ryoko Shiraishi as Yozuru Kagenui

Takehito Koyasu as Tadatsuru Teori

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

 


One day in February, Koyomi Araragi was taking a bath with his younger sister Tsukihi amidst finishing his studies for the college entrance exam. This was also following the incident involving Nadeko Sengoku, which was successfully amended behind the scenes by Deishu Kaiki. Koyomi noticed a change on his body “that could not be overlooked” and sought advice from Shinobu Oshino leading him to contact Yoduru Kagenui and Yotsugi Ononoki. Was this change signifying retribution for everything that Koyomi has done?!

First arc to the Monogatari series’ final season.


Continuing the stories of the “Monogatari” series about various characters, the 2014 season kicked off with what was known as “Monogatari Series: Second Season +a”.

With “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition” (previously released by Aniplex) airing in August 2014, the next arc is titled “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll” which is a return to a storyline featuring main protagonist Koyomi Araragi and his two sisters Karen and Tsukihi but a discovery made my Koyomi about himself that concerns him greatly.

Has Koyomi become a vampire?

Find out in “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” from Aniplex!

Before “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari”, “Nekomonogatari”, “Monogatari Series Second Season” and “Hanamonogatari”

In 2006, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses more on a character, instead of a two-episode storyline, we get four-episode arcs. And with “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa”, episodes 12-15 focus on Nadeko starting to see a giant snake apparition and the arc beginning with her confronting Shinobu and Koyomi and Nadeko stabbing Koyomi in the heart.

The story then explains what has been happening to Nadeko leading up to the confrontation and what the giant snake apparition may be.

In August 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which is about the character Suruga Kanbaru.

The episodes are set after the graduation of Koyomi Araragi and Hitagi Senjougahara and Suruga is beginning her third year in high school.

As she continues to deal with her left monkey arm (which happened when she made a wish on a mysterious monkey’s paw back in elementary school), she hears of a story of a devil that communicates with students who tries to solve their problems.

Suruga wants to know who the person is (or if it can be her), but finds out that the devil is in fact a basketball rival from junior high, Rouka Numachi.

But when Suruga confronts Rouka, she wants to know why she took on the role of becoming the “devil” and what is the connect between Suruga and Rouka?

Which leads us to the latest four episodes released on December 31, 2014.  As the story returns back to Koyomi and his sisters Karen and Tsukihi, Koyomi realizes that his reflection is no longer showing up in the mirror.

Could he have turned into a vampire?  Shinobuu recommends that Koyomi see a specialist, who happens to be Yozoru Kagenui and Yotsugi.  In hopes that they can stop it.

Meanwhile, Koyomi’s sisters and Suruga have been kidnapped.


VIDEO:

“Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is vibrant and gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.

Unlike the older regular/series which included comedy bits of well-drawn characters to goofy, cartoonish characters, what does remain consistent is SHAFT’s gorgeous art backgrounds and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a textless opening and ending, PV Collections and CM Collections.

EXTRAS:

“Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set”comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 20-page deluxe booklet and a four pinup postcard set.


tsukimonogatari-b

As we come closer to the final episodes of the “Monogatari” series, for those who enjoyed the earlier “Monogatari” episodes with perverted Koyomi big brother and his two younger sisters Karen and Tsukihi, the fun and taboo situations return.

It’s import to note that you will see scenes such as Koyomi bathing with his younger sister, so for those who are sensitive to such scenes, you have been warned.

While some people may feel certain scenes to be inappropriate, it’s important to note that there are cultural differences as for a few families in Japan, a parent or siblings bathing together, as they get older, it does happen and it’s certainly a topic that is often featured on Japanese variety shows.

But these scenes are not a focal point, the main storyline for this arc is centered around Koyomi, and that is the fact that he is slowly becoming a vampire.

As Koyomi has used his vampire power increasingly over the years, because of the overuse of power, he is now slowly turning into a vampire, which Koyomi wants to find a way to stop it. If at all possible.

Shinobu recommends Koyomi to meet with Yozoru and Yotsugi Ononoki (the Shikigami doll who acts human due to the fact she is created from parts of a human corpse).  But as he tries to find ways to stop the progression of turning into a vampire, things get sidetracked for Koyomi when he discovers that his sisters and Suruga have been kidnapped.  Who is responsible?

As for the Blu-ray release,”Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.

As for special features, you get the usual textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections. As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 20-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package.

Overall, can Koyomi stop his progression of being turned into a vampire completely?  Find out in “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll”.  If you stayed with this series for the long run, “Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 31, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

hanamonogatari

If you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is worth following if you are a fan of the series and want to know more about Suruga Kanbaru.   Featuring cool character designs, gorgeous art backgrounds and a fascinating story, this latest “Monogatari” volume is recommended!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2014

DURATION: Episodes 1-5 (125 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: April 21, 2015


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Kei Haeneoka

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima, Ken Naito

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kana Asumi as Rōka Numachi

Miyuki Sawashiro as Suruga Kanbaru

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Kaori Mizuhashi as Ougi Oshino

Michiko Neya as Tooe Kanbaru

Shinichiro Miki as Deishū Kaiki

Yōko Hikasa as Higasa

 


One morning, Suruga Kanbaru meets Ougi Oshino, who calls himself a nephew of Meme Oshino. He tells Suruga about a rumor of “the Lord Devil” that grants any wish. Suruga is worried that the identity of the Lord Devil is none other than herself because she made a wish on “the Monkey’s Paw.” The item was left behind by her mother, and turned Suruga into a Rainy Devil and made her try to kill Koyomi Araragi. In order to find out the identity of the Lord Devil, Suruga decides to meet the Lord Devil, but who she sees at the meeting spot is the most unexpected person – Rouka Numachi, Suruga’s old archrival…


Continuing the stories of the “Monogatari” series about various characters, the 2014 season kicked off with what was known as “Monogatari Series: Second Season +a”.

Episodes 1-5 kicks off a story about Suruga Kanbaru, the star of the school’s basketball team, a lesbian and also into fujoshi, lolicon and masochism.  When she was in elementary school, she made a wish to a Monkey’s Paw and the paw eventually grew out of her left arm.  Thus having to wear a bandage around it.

In the arc “Suruga Devil”, there is a rumor in school about a devil solving people’s problems.  She wonders if she is the person that people are talking about, but she begins doing an investigation and finds out that rumored Devil is someone she knows.  But what is Suruga’s connection to this other person?

Find out in the first arc of the second season of the “Monogatari” series in “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” from Aniplex!

Before “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari”, “Nekomonogatari”, “Monogatari Series Second Season” and “Hanamonogatari”

In 2006, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses more on a character, instead of a two-episode storyline, we get four-episode arcs. And with “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa”, episodes 12-15 focus on Nadeko starting to see a giant snake apparition and the arc beginning with her confronting Shinobu and Koyomi and Nadeko stabbing Koyomi in the heart.

The story then explains what has been happening to Nadeko leading up to the confrontation and what the giant snake apparition may be.

In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which is about the character Suruga Kanbaru.

The episodes are set after the graduation of Koyomi Araragi and Hitagi Senjougahara and Suruga is beginning her third year in high school.

As she continues to deal with her left monkey arm (which happened when she made a wish on a mysterious monkey’s paw back in elementary school), she hears of a story of a devil that communicates with students who tries to solve their problems.

Suruga wants to know who the person is (or if it can be her), but finds out that the devil is in fact a basketball rival from junior high, Rouka Numachi.

But when Suruga confronts Rouka, she wants to know why she took on the role of becoming the “devil” and what is the connect between Suruga and Rouka?


VIDEO:

“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.

Unlike the older regular/series which included comedy bits of well-drawn characters to goofy, cartoonish characters, what does remain consistent is SHAFT’s gorgeous art backgrounds and  many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a “omnibus III” video (which is actually episode 16 – summary from the TV series and is a narration of the “Tsubasa Cat and Nisemonogatari”), promotional video and commercial collections and the textless opening and ending themes.

EXTRAS:

“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set”comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 24-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.


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With the latest episodes of the “Monogatari” series, we get a new story that revolves around Suruga Kanbaru.

In the past, we have seen Suruga, more of a character that Koyomi visits and her room is full of red books and she is often seen naked.

But we get to know more about her, her left arm in which she has an ape-like arm because of a wish she made to a monkey’s paw but for the most part, we get to see Suruga in a different way and get to see a more emotional side of her come to play.

The story starts off with Suruga trying to find out who the “Lord Devil” is at her school.  A person that has been helping people with their problems.  But to her surprise, the person turns out to be Roka Numachi, a basketball rival from her junior high year.  When she goes to confront Roka and find out why she helps people, she finds out that Roka is a collector of misfortunes and could care less about helping people.  To her surprise, after meeting up with Roka, the biggest surprise is that after her meeting with Roka, she wakes up the following morning to find her left arm returning to normal.

But after she is brought back to normal, rumors start to go around school that “Lord Devil” is no longer giving any counsel to other people.  And now, Suruga wants to find the whereabouts of Roka and figure out how her arm turned back to normal and more.

It’s important to let fans of the series know that Koyomi is not the main character in this arc and you will only see him in the final episode of the arc.  The series focuses on Suruga, Roka and you also get to see the return of Deishu Kaiki.

As for the Blu-ray release,”Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.

As for special features, you get a the usual textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections. As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is worth following if you are a fan of the series and want to know more about Suruga Kanbaru.

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