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

May 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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

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


TITLE: Boruto – Naruto the Movie

ORIGINAL THEATRICAL DATE: 2015

DURATION: 90 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: March 28, 2017


Originally Created by Masashi Kishimoto

Director: Hiroyuki Yamashita

Screenplay: Masashi Kishimoto

Character Design by Hirofumi Suzuki, Masashi Kishimoto, Tetsuya Nishio

Music by -yaiba-, Yasuharu Takanashi

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

Art Design by Hiroto Tanaka, Masaaki Endou

Chief Animation Director: Tetsuya Nishio

Anime Production: Pierrot


Featuring the following voice talent:

Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki

Yuko Sanpei/Amana C. Miller as Boruto Uzumaki

Akira Ishida/Liam O’Brien as Gaara

Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Uchiha

Daisuke Namikawa/Xander Mobus as Momoshiki

Hana Takeda/Laura Bailey as Kurotsuchi

Hidenori Takahashi/Max Mittelman as Konohamaru Sarutobi

Hiroki Yasumoto/Wally Wingert as Kinshiki Otsusuki

Kokoro Kikuchi/Cherami Leigh as Sarada Uchiha

Kouki Miyata/Brian Beacock as Chōjūrō

Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Uzumaki

Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha

Ryota Takeuchi/Catero Colbert as Darui

Ryūichi Kijima/Robbie Daymond as Mitsuki

Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai

Showtaro Morikubo/Tom Gibis as Shikamaru Nara

Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee

Atsushi Abe/Spike Spencer as Inojin Yamanaka

Hisao Egawa/Catero Colbert as Killer Bee

Kengo Kawanishi/Bryce Papenbrook as Yurui

Kensho Ono/Todd Haberkorn as Shikadai Nara

Saori Hayami/Melissa Fahn as Himawari Uzumaki

Yukari Tamura/Danielle Judovits as Tenten


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VIDEO:

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

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

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I’ll leave it that.

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

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

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

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

Recommended

 

The Last Naruto the Movie (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

thelastnarutomovie

“The Last Naruto the Movie” is the best Naruto film that I have watched and a storyline that I have waited more than decade to see happen. It’s also an important film that transitions to the next generation of Masashi Kishimoto’s next work. “Good things come for those who wait” and for Naruto fans, “The Last Naruto the Movie” is a story that was a long time coming but for many fans who have waited for a Naruto/Hinata storyline, will absolutely enjoy this film!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Last Naruto the Movie

MOVIE RELEASE DATE: 2014

DURATION: 90 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: October 6, 2015


Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Director: Tsuneo Kobayashi

Screenplay: Maruo Kyozuka

Music by -yaiba-, Yasuharu Takanashi

Character Design by Hirofumi Suzuki, Masashi Kishimoto, Tetsuya Nishio

Background Art: Akemi Konno

Anime Production: Studio Pierrot


Featuring the following voice talent:

Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki

Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Hyuga

Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha

Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai

Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Haruno

Jun Fukuyama as Toneri Osutsuki

Showtaro Morikubo as Shikamaru Nara

Ai Hashizume as Kaede the Kunoichi

Arisa Shida/Robbie Daymond as Tenmonkata

Kazuhiko Inoue/Dave Wittenberg as Kakashi Hatake

Keiko Nemoto/Megan Hollingshead as Shizune

Masako Katsuki/Debi Mae West as Tsunade

Kentarou Itou/Robbie Rist as Chouji Akimichi

Ryoka Yuzuki Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Hanabi Huga/Ino Yamanaka

Hisao Egawa/Catero Colbert as Killer Bee


Two years have passed since the fated battle between Naruto and Sasuke in the Village Hidden in the Leaves. A comfortable peace has fallen over the village and the winter festival approaches with a bit more excitement than usual. Seasons of war have transformed Naruto and his friends into elite young warriors, but now they grow into the adults they were meant to be, forming bonds beyond friendship. Naruto and Hinata approach this next stage with trepidation and find their progress stalled when a mysterious and dangerous man appears with a disturbing message: the end of the world is upon them. Once again Naruto and his friends are sent to investigate and stop the impossible, a falling moon! What is the tragic fate that connects this disaster with Hinata’s Hyuga Clan? And to what lengths will Naruto go to speak the words that will change his life? The Last is the final story of Naruto as you knew him, the hero who was once an outcast, and the first chapter of the bond that will define his future.


DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE ENDING OF THE MANGA SERIES, AS “THE LAST NARUTO THE MOVIE” INCLUDES MAJOR SPOILERS!!!!

For many fans of the “Naruto” manga and anime series, we have watched Naruto grow from a young boy trying to fit in and dreams of becoming hokage.  And we have seen him change the hearts of many people, friend and foe.

Since the early “Naruto” episodes, there has been one character that has always been willing to be there for him, to die for him and has had nothing but unconditional love for him… and that character is Hinata Hyuga.

In November 2014, the manga series came to an end and with that final chapter, we see a glimpse of the future as characters that we have watched when they were youngsters, have now grown up to become parents with children.

As the series will now go to the next chapter featuring Naruto and Hinata’s young son, Boruto, there were questions of how Naruto and Hinata ended up together.

And so the final Naruto film titled “The Last Naruto the Movie” will answer that question and the film was released on Blu-ray+DVD courtesy of Viz Media.

“The Last Naruto the Movie” takes place two years after the events of the Fourth Shinobi War.  Many of the characters have matured, Naruto has become famous, Kakashi has become the Sixth Hokage and still, Hinata Hyuga has watched Naruto from afar.  Trying to build her confidence to give Naruto a scarf.

We see from a flashback of Hinata’s first encounter with Naruto, when they were young children and Naruto coming to her Hinata’s defense, as she was bullied by other youngsters because of her byakugan ability.  And a brash young Naruto, coming to her defense and getting beaten up and his scarf laying in tatters.  Hinata has kept that scarf and now as an adult, in her free time, has tried knitting one exactly like the one he had.

But with many of the village’s young ladies wanting to be with him and Naruto now sporting a new scarf, Hinata is not sure if she can give him the scarf and tell him how he really feels about her.

Meanwhile, the moon that Hagoromo Otsutsuki created long ago to seal away the Ten-Tails’ body begins to descent towards the earth and the moon has now become a meteor that can destroy everything upon impact.

It is revealed that the person responsible is Toneri Otsutsuki, a descendant of Hamura Otsutsuki and is dedicated to fulfill his ancestor’s legacy to punish mankind for using chakra as weapons throughout the course of time.

But as Hinata is unable to give him the gift, Toneri infiltrates Konoha and kidnaps Hinata’s younger sister Hanabi, but Naruto manages to prevent him from kidnapping Hinata.  But Toneri gives him a warning that he is coming back to get Hinata.

Due to the severity of the mission, Kakashi sends Shikamaru, Naruto, Hinata, Sakura and Sai on a mission to rescue Hanabi and prevent the planet from being destroyed by the moon.

As the group goes on their mission, they journey through the village of the Otsutsuki clan and through there, Naruto somehow enters Hinata’s memories and sees all the moments in time when Hinata was there for him and realizes for the first time, that Hinata has always wanted to be by his side since they were children.

What happens when Naruto discovers Hinata’s true feelings?  Can each of them prevent the world from being destroyed and beat Toneri Otsutsuki?

Find out in “The Last Naruto the Movie”!


 

VIDEO:

“The Last Naruto the Movie” tends to have this look that is appropriate for television, but for a summer movie in Japan, you expect better, detailed artistic backgrounds and the good news is that is what you get with this film. Presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), the film looks absolutely vibrant. From Naruto’s transformation to the overall character designs and closeups, there is a lot of detail in the artwork.

I detected no artifacts during my viewing of the film, nor did I see any banding. Colors are vibrant, black levels are perfect and the artistic backgrounds look so gorgeous. A lot of detail in the trees, the ground, as well as the scenery.

For Viz Media’s first anime film on Blu-ray, the film looks absolutely great in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Last Naruto the Movie” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0. And once again, I applaud Viz Media for giving anime fans a wonderful lossless soundtrack!

This is an immersive soundtrack. It’s one thing to have clear dialogue and music coming from the center and front channels, but because of the non-stop action and explosions galore, there are great directional sounds that are panning from left to right and right to left through the surround channels.

In fact, there are many moments where the LFE just sounds magnificent as you can hear and feel those explosions around you. This is an immersive soundtrack and because it is a film, they really went all out in making this film sound fantastic in HD! Impressive!

Similar to a series like “Dragon Ball Z”, with “Naruto”, I have always enjoyed the voice acting of the English dub series. It’s well done and the voices fit the characters very well. Especially Maile Flanagan’s Naruto Uzumaki. Personally, I didn’t think there would be a voice actor that could capture Junko Takeuchi’s Naruto vocals and sure enough, Flanagan does a great job. And I have watched the series in Japanese and English and for the most part, voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Last Naruto the Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • Japanese Commercial Videos
  • Japanese Promotional Videos
  • Japanese Movie Trailers
  • Art Gallery

EXTRAS:

“Naruto: Special Episode ~After the Last~” two-page manga by Masashi Kishimoto featuring Naruto and Hinata’s first date.


DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE ENDING OF THE MANGA SERIES, AS “THE LAST NARUTO THE MOVIE” INCLUDES MAJOR SPOILERS!!!!

I have had the pleasure to grow up and watch “Naruto” since the first anime episode came out and to later read the manga series once it became available in the United States.

I have watched and reviewed a good number of “Naruto” films but watching “The Last Naruto the Movie”, I’m confident to say that this film is the best “Naruto” film I have watched.

And I enjoyed it even more, because the film has relevance in the Naruto storyline as it shows viewers of how Naruto and Hinata became a couple and also transitioning to them being parents of two children and having a son named Boruto, who will now become the focus of the next series and animated film in Japan.

While the films have had their own share of deadly antagonists, personally, I felt that Toneri was a worthy foe but in the concept of why this film was being made and so many people grew up watching “Naruto” and have waited for over a decade to see if Naruto would finally open his eyes to Hinata and not recognizing it due to his naivety, this film and its story was a long time coming.

The writers took great care in making sure they crafted a storyline and while you get a lot of action, the storyline is romantic and will no doubt leave some in tears (of joy).  And it’s probably one of the most memorable and enjoyable musical scores I have listened to from a “Naruto” film.

And I highly recommend those who watch this film, to watch through the credits and also what happens after the credits.

So, when it comes to this review as a fan, I absolutely loved this film and felt that it was a storyline that I have been waiting for over a decade to see happen.

In a way, it’s hard to believe that the series has come to an end and to see Naruto and friends now grown up but finally seeing how these two get together.  And the great news is that this was not some story that Masashi Kishimoto didn’t approve of, because not only did he have interaction in this film, but included with this Blu-ray release is a two-page manga by Masashi titled “Naruto: Special Episode ~After the Last~” featuring Naruto and Hinata’s first date.

And like previous Blu-ray releases for “Naruto” films, the animation is vibrant and looks fabulous in HD.  The lossless audio and voice acting for both Japanese and English dub is excellent.  And you also get the Japanese promotional video and commercials as well!

Overall, “The Last Naruto the Movie” is the best Naruto film that I have watched and a storyline that I  have waited more than decade to see happen.  It’s also an important film that transitions to the next generation of Masashi Kishimoto’s next work.

“Good things come for those who wait” and for Naruto fans, “The Last Naruto the Movie” is a story that was a long time coming but for many fans who have waited for a Naruto/Hinata storyline, will absolutely enjoy this film!

Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Five: Original & Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

bleach-25

A fascinating storyline after the Arrancar arc, we knew life would not be the same for Ichigo Kurosaki, and this latest volume shows how life 17-months later has been tough on him since losing his powers. If you have stayed with this series for the long haul, this second-to-last volume of “Bleach DVD: Original & Uncut” is worth watching!

Image courtesy of © Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Pierrot. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Five – Original and Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 343-354 (288 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Bilingual Japanese & English, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: June 23, 2015


Originally created by Tite Kubo

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Masashi Kudo

Art Director: Natsuko Suzuki, Sawako Takagi

Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot


Featuring the following voice talent:

Fumiko Orikasa/Michelle Ruff as Rukia Kuchiki

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ichigo Kurosaki

Hiroki Yasumoto/Jamieson Price as Sado “Chad” Yasutora

Kentarou Itou/Wally Wingert as Abarai Renji

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Hollow Ichigo

Noriaki Sugiyama/Derek Stephen Prince as Ishida Uryuu

Satsuki Yukino/Wendee Lee as Shihouin Yoruichi (human form)

Shinichiro Miki/Michael Lindsay as Urahara Kisuke

Yuki Matsuoka/Stephanie Sheh as Inoue Orihime

Kaya Matsutani/Megan Hollingshead as Rangiku Matsumoto

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Vic Mignogna as Ikkaku Madarame

Jun Fukuyama/Brian Beacock as Yumichika Ayasegawa

Romi Paku/Steve Staley as Toshiro Hitsugaya


A year has passed since Ichigo lost his Soul Reaper powers and resumed the life of a normal teenager. But those ordinary days come to an end when Ichigo meets a mysterious man named Kugo Ginjo, who offers to help him get his Soul Reaper powers back-and gives him only a day to decide! Ichigo is dead set against it, until Uryu is injured by an unknown attacker. Ichigo, powerless to help, turns to Ginjo and is introduced to the group Xcution, whose Fullbring powers Ichigo must face in battle if he ever hopes to get strong again!


Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenager who has developed incredible powers has lost it all during his battle with Aizen 17-months earlier.  Since then, he has kept him distant from his family and friends.

No powers, unable to feel the hollow’s spiritual energy, Ichigo Kurosaki feels that he is no use to anyone anymore.  But will Ichigo ever recover his powers?

Find out what happens in “Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Five” which features season 16 (episodes 343-354)!


 

So, what is “Bleach”?

“Bleach” is one of those titles, alongside “Naruto” and “Dragon Ball Z” that has managed to capture the attention of anime fans and continues to reinvent itself with new sagas and characters. Created in 2001 by mangaka Tite Kubo, the manga has been published on Weekly Shonen Jump and the animated series has been airing on Japanese television since 2004.

The series has manged to grow its fandom worldwide, especially in the US as the series has aired on television on the Cartoon Network and the various video games for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP have also been popular among the fans as well.

The manga series revolves around teenager Ichigo Kurosaki, who has the ability to see Soul Reapers (a military group that escorts the souls of the dead) and in this case, Ichigo has seen a female Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki. One day, a hollow (a monster that was once a human soul) has come to attack and when Rukia was injured, she transferred her spirit pressure to Ichigo in order for him to fight the hollow.

The series focused on Ichigo and Rukia’s friendship as somehow nearly all her spirit pressure had been transferred to Ichigo and stripping away her soul reaper power and thus Ichigo now has the power to take on the hollows while Rukia helps guide him through the battles with her knowledge. As Rukia temporarily lives with Ichigo, the two together battle hollows.

With the release of “Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Five: Original and Uncut”, while the manga series continues after this arc, the anime series ends.  So, this volume begins the 16th season and vol. 26 will be the final season of “Bleach” for the time being (these episodes were released in Japan back in 2012) and there may be a possibility of more episodes with the completion of the manga series.

In this latest volume, Ichigo has lost his power.  While his friends continue to fight against the Hollows, including his sister Karin who has developed the power to see and fight Hollows, 17-months later and Ichigo is still down in the dumps.  Feeling that the loss of power, he can’t do greater things to help the world like he used too.  He also misses seeing his friends from the Soul Society and all he can do is participate in school activities and go to work.

But there is someone keeping his eye out for Ichigo and even Orihime senses that he is being followed.  As does Uryu, and when he goes towards Ichigo’s home, Uryu sees someone running with unbelievable speed.  And the person is not a Soul Reaper.

And by the time Uryu goes to catch him, the assailant injures him.

What is going on and who are these people with special abilities and who is following Ichigo?

The main characters of “Bleach” are:

  • Ichigo Kurosaki – The main protagonist. A teenager who becomes a substitute soul reaper after absorbing Rukia’s powers. Accepting his new powers and wanting to protect everyone around him. Ichiro manages to grow in power with every battle he gets involved in.
  • Rukia Kuchiki – A Soul Reaper who transferred her spiritual power to Ichigo.
  • Orihime Inoue – A longtime classmate of Ichigo who is very caring and manages to develop her spiritual awareness and after her brother is killed by a hollow, she has managed to grow in power which is tied to a hairpin that her brother had given her.
  • Yasutora “Chad” Sado – A friend of Ichigo and very quiet. Developed a sense of seeing hollows and eventually gaining a power of strength and a right arm that is literally a weapon to fight against hollows.
  • Uryu Ishida – A classmate of Ichigo and a descendant of a priest group that hunted hollows known as Quincy. Earlier on, Uryu was a rival of Ichigo due to his hatred towards the Soul Reapers and eventually becomes friends with him.
  • Kon – A modsoul who’s life soul is put into a stuffed lion. When Ichigo is a Soul Reaper, Kon takes over Ichigo’s body, so no one including Ichigo’s family knows that Ichiro is actually not there. Mostly a comedy-driven character known for his perverseness and always complaining about something.
  • Kisuke Urahara – Owner of the Urahara shop and a former captain of the 12th Division in the Soul Society. He caught Aizen converting Soul Reapers to Visoreds but before he can save them, Aizen framed him for the crimes and Urahara fled to the real world.
  • Yoruichi Shihoin – An old friend of Kisuke Urahara who can turn into a black cat. She is the former captain of the 2nd Division and former Commander in Chief of the Secret Mobile Corps.
  • Renji Abarai – Lt. of the 6th Division in the Gotei 13 under Captain Byakuya Kuchiki. Known to be cocky about his skills, Renji cares deeply for Rukia and thus the reason why he is seen with Ichigo and friends.
  • Byakuya Kuchiki – 28th head of the Kuchiki Clan and Captain of 6th Division in the Gotei 13. Stepbrother of Rukia.
  • Toshiro Hitsugaya – Captain of the 10th Division in the Gotei 13.
  • Rangiku Matsumoto – Lieutenant of the 10th Division of the Gotei 13.

VIDEO:

If there is one thing that I’ve always enjoyed about “Bleach” is that for a TV series that is cranked out in Japan, the TV series features a good amount of detail in the background art. The series tends to really showcase quite a bit of locations and thus, not always reusing scenes.

Also, the character designs, despite not always being detailed, is shown great care by character designer Masashi Kudo who definitely respects the original illustrations of Tite Kubo. Some closeups are really well done and there is a good amount of focus on the actual animation during the battle sequences.

For a TV series, especially knowing how in Japan, many of these studios tend to crank them out because they have other deadlines taking on other series, “Bleach” continues to look very good.

As for picture quality, of course on DVD, you are going to see some softness, banding and edge enhancement but for the most part, picture quality is very good on DVD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Five – Original and Uncut” is presented in stereo English and Japanese. Both dialogue tracks are clear and understandable. For those with a modern receiver may want to set their setting to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Five – Original and Uncut” comes with the following special features:

  • Clean Opening and Ending – The clean opening and ending themes.
  • Omake – The ending omake for episodes 343-354.

17-months after his battle with Aizen and losing all his powers, it’s interesting to see how dissatisfied he is with life because he can contribute and help out his friends.  Being normal is starting to get on his nerves and he is starting to push family and friends away.

Without spoiling anything with this volume, what I can say is that someone is following Ichigo and there is a new group of supernatural people that have their eyes on not just Ichigo but also his friends.  Something bad is going on and when one of them makes contact with Ichigo, looking for his father.  Suffice to say, it’s driving Ichigo crazy because he can’t do anything to protect his family.

But when Uryu is severely injured, this puts Ichigo in a problematic situation.  What can he do?  And who are these mysterious individuals?

With this latest volume of “Bleach”, it sets up the final volume on DVD for now (the anime series ends with this season/arc).  The storyline is no doubt a new chapter in the life of Ichigo Kurosaki.  Powerless and now just a normal human being, you know that the lead protagonist can only be powerless for so long.  The question is how will he get his powers back?  These new mysterious people in town may have the answers that Ichigo has been looking for.

If you are a fan of “Bleach” and stood with this anime series from the very beginning or have followed the anime/manga series for a very long time , “Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Five: Original and Uncut” features a new storyline not featured on the manga series and no doubt will entertain “Bleach” fans! A fascinating storyline after the Arrancar arc, we knew life would not be the same for Ichigo Kurosaki, and this latest volume shows how life 17-months later has been tough on him since losing his powers.

If you have stayed with this series for the long haul, this second-to-last volume of “Bleach DVD: Original & Uncut” is worth watching!

Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Three: Original & Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

January 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

bleach-23

If you are a fan of “Bleach” and stood with this anime series from the very beginning or have followed the anime/manga series for a very long time , “Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Three: Original and Uncut” features a new storyline not featured on the manga series and no doubt will entertain “Bleach” fans!  The series does manage to connect things quite well after the Aizen battle but for the most part, each episode features quite a bit of action and an interesting storyline and if you are a fan of “Bleach” the animated series, then definitely give this latest DVD a try!

Image courtesy of © Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Pierrot. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Three – Original and Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 317-329 (307 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Bilingual Japanese & English, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: December 16, 2014

Originally created by Tite Kubo

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Masashi Kudo

Art Director: Natsuko Suzuki, Sawako Takagi

Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Fumiko Orikasa/Michelle Ruff as Rukia Kuchiki

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ichigo Kurosaki

Hiroki Yasumoto/Jamieson Price as Sado “Chad” Yasutora

Kentarou Itou/Wally Wingert as Abarai Renji

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Hollow Ichigo

Noriaki Sugiyama/Derek Stephen Prince as Ishida Uryuu

Satsuki Yukino/Wendee Lee as Shihouin Yoruichi (human form)

Shinichiro Miki/Michael Lindsay as Urahara Kisuke

Yuki Matsuoka/Stephanie Sheh as Inoue Orihime

Kaya Matsutani/Megan Hollingshead as Rangiku Matsumoto

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Vic Mignogna as Ikkaku Madarame

Jun Fukuyama/Brian Beacock as Yumichika Ayasegawa

Romi Paku/Steve Staley as Toshiro Hitsugaya

With Aizen’s defeat, peace has returned to the both the Soul Society and the World of the Living. But soon reports begin to surface of Soul Reapers going missing in the Precipice World, and Ichigo is a prime suspect. He and Rukia go on the run from the 13 Court Guard Squads, while in the World of the Living, Kon finds an unconscious girl lying in the street. When Ichigo and Rukia find out more about the girl, Nozomi, they realize their world, as well as the Soul Society, is in danger, and the Soul Reapers pursuing them and Nozomi are actually imposters known as Reigai, who have switched places with the missing Soul Reapers!

With the downfall of Aizen, all things should be peaceful in the Soul Society.

But strange events have taken place in the Soul Society as numerous Soul Reapers have disappeared without a trace.  Ichigo Kurosaki and friends investigate the phenomenon and must prepare for whoever may be responsible, despite losing his powers during his previous battle with Aizen.

Find out what happens in “Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Three” which features season 15 (episodes 317-329)!

So, what is “Bleach”?

“Bleach” is one of those titles, alongside “Naruto” and “Dragon Ball Z” that has managed to capture the attention of anime fans and continues to reinvent itself with new sagas and characters. Created in 2001 by mangaka Tite Kubo, the manga has been published on Weekly Shonen Jump and the animated series has been airing on Japanese television since 2004.

The series has manged to grow its fandom worldwide, especially in the US as the series has aired on television on the Cartoon Network and the various video games for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP have also been popular among the fans as well.

The manga series revolves around teenager Ichigo Kurosaki, who has the ability to see Soul Reapers (a military group that escorts the souls of the dead) and in this case, Ichigo has seen a female Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki. One day, a hollow (a monster that was once a human soul) has come to attack and when Rukia was injured, she transferred her spirit pressure to Ichigo in order for him to fight the hollow.

The series focused on Ichigo and Rukia’s friendship as somehow nearly all her spirit pressure had been transferred to Ichigo and stripping away her soul reaper power and thus Ichigo now has the power to take on the hollows while Rukia helps guide him through the battles with her knowledge. As Rukia temporarily lives with Ichigo, the two together battle hollows.

It’s important to note that because of how quickly the animated series has caught up with the manga series, in order to give Tite Kubo enough time to continue the storyline on the manga series, an original storyline was crafted for the 15th season of “Bleach”.

For this season, Ichigo and friends must find out why numerous Soul Reapers are disappearing without a trace in the Soul Society.  Who is responsible?

The main characters of “Bleach” are:

  • Ichigo Kurosaki – The main protagonist. A teenager who becomes a substitute soul reaper after absorbing Rukia’s powers. Accepting his new powers and wanting to protect everyone around him. Ichiro manages to grow in power with every battle he gets involved in.
  • Rukia Kuchiki – A Soul Reaper who transferred her spiritual power to Ichigo.
  • Orihime Inoue – A longtime classmate of Ichigo who is very caring and manages to develop her spiritual awareness and after her brother is killed by a hollow, she has managed to grow in power which is tied to a hairpin that her brother had given her.
  • Yasutora “Chad” Sado – A friend of Ichigo and very quiet. Developed a sense of seeing hollows and eventually gaining a power of strength and a right arm that is literally a weapon to fight against hollows.
  • Uryu Ishida – A classmate of Ichigo and a descendant of a priest group that hunted hollows known as Quincy. Earlier on, Uryu was a rival of Ichigo due to his hatred towards the Soul Reapers and eventually becomes friends with him.
  • Kon – A modsoul who’s life soul is put into a stuffed lion. When Ichigo is a Soul Reaper, Kon takes over Ichigo’s body, so no one including Ichigo’s family knows that Ichiro is actually not there. Mostly a comedy-driven character known for his perverseness and always complaining about something.
  • Kisuke Urahara – Owner of the Urahara shop and a former captain of the 12th Division in the Soul Society. He caught Aizen converting Soul Reapers to Visoreds but before he can save them, Aizen framed him for the crimes and Urahara fled to the real world.
  • Yoruichi Shihoin – An old friend of Kisuke Urahara who can turn into a black cat. She is the former captain of the 2nd Division and former Commander in Chief of the Secret Mobile Corps.
  • Renji Abarai – Lt. of the 6th Division in the Gotei 13 under Captain Byakuya Kuchiki. Known to be cocky about his skills, Renji cares deeply for Rukia and thus the reason why he is seen with Ichigo and friends.
  • Byakuya Kuchiki – 28th head of the Kuchiki Clan and Captain of 6th Division in the Gotei 13. Stepbrother of Rukia.
  • Toshiro Hitsugaya – Captain of the 10th Division in the Gotei 13.
  • Rangiku Matsumoto – Lieutenant of the 10th Division of the Gotei 13.

VIDEO:

If there is one thing that I’ve always enjoyed about “Bleach” is that for a TV series that is cranked out in Japan, the TV series features a good amount of detail in the background art. The series tends to really showcase quite a bit of locations and thus, not always reusing scenes.

Also, the character designs, despite not always being detailed, is shown great care by character designer Masashi Kudo who definitely respects the original illustrations of Tite Kubo. Some closeups are really well done and there is a good amount of focus on the actual animation during the battle sequences.

For a TV series, especially knowing how in Japan, many of these studios tend to crank them out because they have other deadlines taking on other series, “Bleach” continues to look very good.

As for picture quality, of course on DVD, you are going to see some softness, banding and edge enhancement but for the most part, picture quality is very good on DVD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Three – Original and Uncut” is presented in stereo English and Japanese. Both dialogue tracks are clear and understandable. For those with a modern receiver may want to set their setting to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Three – Original and Uncut” comes with the following special features:

  • Clean Opening and Ending – The clean opening and ending themes.
  • Omake – The ending omake for episodes 317-329.

As the fight against Aizen had come to an end, while the manga series in Japan was continuing slowly, the writers needed to come up with original episodes for the 15th season to give Tite Kubo some time to work on his manga series.

And the result was this new storyline about Soul Reapers suddenly disappearing from the Soul Society.  As a weakened Ichigo (due to his battle with Aizen) and his friends investigate the phenomena, they are attacked by Renji and Ikkaku.  Fortunately, Yoriuchi comes to their aid but explains that the Soul Reapers are being replaced secretly by Reigai, which houses the spiritual essence of Soul Reapers and thus functioning like a Gigai.

To make things much more challenging, the reigan contains near-perfect copies of a Soul Reaper’s memories, personalities and behaviors.

But who is responsible for this?

And suffice to say, there are fans who will enjoy this new storyline that was created for the series and those who have followed the manga series and will feel this season was all-filler.

But this is a common ongoing situation with “Bleach” as the anime series is catching up to the manga series very quickly and the only way to give Tite Kubo enough time to craft more stories is to let him do what he has to do for the next seven months, while writers can focus on this new storyline.

In some ways, while these episodes were never featured in the manga series, writers were able to craft episodes that take place right after the Aizen conflict but also focus on stories of a weakened Ichigo.  And his struggles of losing his power after fighting Aizen.

So, for now, one can expect DVD set 23-25 to focus on the Gotei 13 Invading Army Arc before getting back to episodes that reflect what is happening in the manga.

If you are a fan of “Bleach” and stood with this anime series from the very beginning or have followed the anime/manga series for a very long time , “Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Three: Original and Uncut” features a new storyline not featured on the manga series and no doubt will entertain “Bleach” fans!  The series does manage to connect things quite well after the Aizen battle but for the most part, each episode features quite a bit of action and an interesting storyline and if you are a fan of “Bleach” the animated series, then definitely give this latest DVD a try!

The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

legendofkorra-b2

“The Legend of Korra” is one of the best animated series on television and the writing and animation has gotten better for “The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits”. The series looks and sounds so much better in HD and the additional featurettes plus audio commentary on each episode featuring the creators and the crew makes this series worth owning on Blu-ray! “The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits” is highly recommended. Five stars!

Image courtesy of © 2013 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits

YEAR: 2013

DURATION: Episodes 1-14 Minutes (330 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Nickelodeon/Viacom/Paramount

RATED: NOT RATED

Release Date: July 1, 2014

Directed by Ian Graham, Colin Heck

Written by Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Joshua Hamilton, Tim Hedrick

Produced by Tim Yoon

Music by Jeremy Zuckerman

Casting by Shannon Reed

Art Direction by Joaquim Dos Santos, Bryan Konietzko, Ki Hyun Ryu

Featuring the following voice talent:

Janet Varney as Korra

Dee Bradley Baker as Various Voices

David Faustino as Mako

P.J. Byrne as Bolin

J.K. Simmons as Tenzin

Jeff Bennett as Radio Braodcaster

Seychelle Gabriel as Asami Sato

Steve Blum as Amon

Darcy Rose Byrnes as Ikki

Mindy Sterling as Lin Beifong

Logan Wells as Meelo

Lance Henriksen as Lieutenant

Kiernan Shipka as Jinora

Richard Riehle as Bumi

Adrian LaTourelle as Unalaq

Lisa Edestein as Kya

Aubrey Plaza as Eska

Aaron Himelstein as Desna

Maria Bamford as Pema

John Michael Higgins as Varrick

Steve Blum as Amon

James Remar as Tonraq

Jonathan Adams as Vaatu

Korra and Team Avatar embark on a new journey deep into the mythology of the mystical Spirit World, encountering creatures like nothing they’ve seen before and discovering the truth about the very first Avatar!

With a battle for the fate of the world between the light and dark spirits Raava and Vaatu fast approaching, Korra delves deeper into the Avatar’s past and realizes what she must do in order to restore balance between the physical and spirit worlds.

Six months after the events of “Book One: Air”, Korra believes she is a master of airbending, Mako works as a police officer, Asami is trying to keep the fledgling and cash strapped Future Industries afloat.  But after certain events, Korra leaves her training with Uncle Tenzin and joins her uncle, tribal chief Unalaq, who will now be her main mentor.

But as the two travel to the South Pole for training, she learns more about her father Tonraq and his banishment from the Northern Water Tribe.  But as Korra steps into a new life where tensions between the Southern and Northern Water Tribe is at an all time high and wanting to ask the Fire Nation for support, life takes an unexpected turn as Korra faces personal challenges but also a new nemesis who is intent in destroying the world.

Will Korra rise to the occasion and defeat her most powerful enemy yet?

Find out in “The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits” available now on Blu-ray and DVD!

What is “The Legend of Korra” about?

From Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators of the popular Nickelodeon animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, comes the sequel to the series titled “The Legend of Korra”.

Originally planned as a 12-episode mini-series, “The Legend of Korra” was greenlit for a total of 52-episodes (four seasons) for a total of four books with 12-14 episodes each.

The first season known as “Book One: Air” features animation from Korea’s Studio Mir and the series would receive critical acclaim and also drawing an average of 4.3 million viewers, having the highest audience total for an animated series in the U.S. for 2012.

And now “The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in July 2013.

“The Legend of Korra” is set 70-years in the future after the events of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and how the world was brought into peace. The world which features the four nations which include the Water Tribes, the Air Nomads, the Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation have people trained to “Bend” the element that they are associated with their nation (so, a person can bend water, earth, fire or air).

But for Korra of the Southern Water Tribe, at 4-years-old, she was able to bend fire and earth and thus was trained to become the Avatar to the Order of the White Lotus. Now at 17-years-old, she can “bend” water, earth and fire but yet is unable to “air-bend”.

She is to be trained to “air-bend” from Tenzin, the youngest child of Aang (the last airbender and the protagonist of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”) and Katara (the water bender from the Southern Water Tribe who was the first to discover Aang and free him from an iceberg – episode 1 of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”) but the problem is that Republic City has become unstable and Tenzin will not be able to stay in the Southern Water Tribe to train her and must leave.

Upset that Tenzin won’t train her , Korra who feels that because she can bend three elements, she’s powerful enough and wants to see the world and perhaps Tenzin may train her in Republic City. Master Katara (who is also Tenzin’s mother) accepts Korra’s reasoning and allows her to go to Republic City alone.

But immediately when Korra arrives in the Republic City, trying to save people from a bending gang, she is arrested by Republic City’s metalbending police force and immediately is not well-liked by the police chief Lin Beifong (daughter of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” character Toph Beifong), but to her aid comes Tenzin who takes her in. To ease tensions, it is revealed to the media that the Avatar, Korra is staying in the city and for Korra, she tells everyone that her goal is to protect the people of Republic City.

Meanwhile, something ominous is happening in the city as a mysterious masked man named Amon who leads the Equalists (non-benders) and their goal is to bring equality between the benders and the non-benders. But Amon has shown that he has some power to eliminate one’s bending abilities.

For “Book Two: Spirits”, the storyline is set six months after the events in the season final of “Book One: Air”.

Korra is now being trained by her uncle, Unalaq and has discovered that restless spirits have been terrorizing the south seas.  And she needs to find the way to calm the dark spirits.

But as she and her father Tonraq goes to the area of the Water Tribes, she discovers something ominous and one who is trying to merge with the dark spirit known as Vaatu in order to become the Dark Avater.

But will Korra have what it takes to calm the Dark Spirits and face the Dark Avatar?

The main characters of “The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits” are:

  • Korra – A 17-year-old girl who has mastered fire, earth and water but not wind-bending. She is the successor of Aang and thus was kept hidden in order to protect her. But because of her temper and rebellious side, she tends to do things on her own pace, even though it may get her into a lot of trouble. In Book Two: Spirits, despite having more control of her airbending abilities, she will be put to the test when she comes across a new enemy intent on destroying the world.
  • Mako – A firebender and member of the Fire Ferrets bending team. He is a firebender that came from the streets, he is seen as a dark individual. He is dating Asami Sato, daughter of the wealthy industrialist Hiroshi Sato but also is attracted to Korra.   In Book Two: Spirits, he is Korra’s boyfriend and is a police officer.
  • Bolin – The younger brother of Mako who is an earth bender and is lighthearted, gullible and humorous. The opposite of his brother.
  • Asami Sato – Mako’s ex-girlfriend and the daughter of Hiroshi Sato, the wealthy industrialist. She loves Mako but is jealous of Korra, because of the attention he tends to give to her.  In Book Two: Spirits, she is now responsible for keeping Future Industries afloat and restore the corporation’s reputation.
  • Master Tenzin – The youngest son of Aang and Katara. He tries to fulfill his father’s wishes and was assigned to train Korra in air bending.
  • Republic City police chief Lin Beilong – A former girlfriend of Tenzin and the daughter of Toph Beiphong. She is very strict when it comes to honoring the laws of the land and it puts her in odds with Korra.  She is brave and loyal.
  • Pema – Tenzin’s caring wife and mother of Jinora, Ikki, Meelo and Rohan, who are young children training to become air benders.
  • Tonraq – The father of Korra and a waterbending master and older brother of Unalaq.  He had kept his past secret from Korra.
  • Unalaq – The uncle of Korra and waterbending master.  He was the chief of the Northern and Southern Water Tribe.  He is now responsible for training Korra.
  • Raava – The spirit of peace and light.
  • Vaatu – The spirit of chaos and darkness in thew orld.

VIDEO:

“The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits” is presented in 1080p High Definition and my thoughts in watching the series is how impressive the character designs, the detail and shading of the characters and how breathtaking the background art is for the series, as well as the mechanical design. The series is vibrant and colorful, I didn’t see any artifacts or any problematic issues during my view of the 14-episodes. If anything, fans of the series will be thrilled of how beautiful “The Legend of Korra” looks in HD and Studio Mir and Studio Pierrot has done an amazing job for this second season!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 2.0 Stereo. The lossless soundtrack for “The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits” sounds fantastic. Action scenes come alive and utilizes the surround channels very well, especially for environment ambiance.  Dialogue and music are crystal clear!

Subtitles are in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – All 14 episodes of “The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits” features audio commentary by the creators and crew.  The majority of the commentary features creator and executive producers Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, co-executive producer Joaquin Dos Santos and the following crew participate in a few episodes of commentary: Writers Tim Hedrick, Josh Hamilton, Track Team Music sound designers Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, supervising producers Laura Montgomery and Ki Hyun Ryu, Director Ian Graham and Colin Heck.
  • Scene Bending – Each episode has a 5+ minute comparison of storyboards and final cut animation comparisons.
  • Kindred Spirits: Tenzin Journey – (5:16) The pressure on the character of Tenzin and his focus on “Book Two: Spirits” as a father and his relationship with his siblings.
  • Inside the Book of Spirits – (9:09) The planning that went on about the spirits and the spirit world.
  • The re-telling of Korra’s Journey – (33:42) A special episode showcasing Korra’s journey (culmination of scenes from Book One: Air) and a primer for those who want to be kept up to speed before watching “Book Two: Spirits”.
  • Feuding Spirits: Korra’s Family – (5:07) Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko discuss Korra’s parents.  (NOTE: Do not watch before watching the series as this featurette contains many spoilers)

EXTRAS:

“The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits” comes with a slipcover.

With the second season (book) of “The Legend of Korra”, we get to experience the family perspective of both Korra and Tenzin.

For Korra, the dysfunctional relationship she has with her father but also facing the difficult of making hard decisions because she is the Avatar.  While, Tenzin who has faced the difficulty of being the son of Aang and teaching Korra, now having to go back home and be a father to his young children and to be there for his siblings but always worrying about Korra and the path that she has chosen.

Also, with the second season, we see production at all new heights creatively, artistically and also the writing continuing to be top notch.

As a fan of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, for anyone who watched the series, you can’t help but to become excited for “The Legend of Korra” and to see how much of the world has changed since Aang and friends have literally changed the world. Also, to see how much the series will change in terms of characters, tone and also in terms of how the series would look compared to the original series.

I realize that for sequels, it’s not always easy for the creators to come up with another hit as many who grew up with the original, tend to be stuck with the original. But sometimes, you get something different and sometimes something even better.

And so far, from the fans perspective, both Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino have proven that they can make smart, captivating animated series that can attract people of all ages.

With “The Legend of Korra”, is it better than “Avatar: The Last Airbender”? Well, for one, these two are two different series and features characters of different age groups.

Part of the allure of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is the naivety of young Aang, Katara, Sokka and friends. Innocent kids who tend to grow up quickly due to their surroundings. And there is always a sense of a cat and mouse storyline as they are in continually pursued by the Fire Nation.

For “The Legend of Korra”, Korra is somewhat the opposite of Aang. She has a hot-temper, she is rebellious and she is not as friendly and humorous as Aang. If anything, she’s a person that tends to do things impulsively, learns from her actions and as much as she wants to do things for the greater good, she tends to do things at her own pace.

Fortunately, she is joined by a supporting cast of people who also tend to get themselves into a bit of trouble but also are doing things for the greater good. With “Book Two: Spirits”, part of the excitement is seeing Korra in a new direction, getting to know her family but also facing the ultimate betrayal.  Making difficult decisions that will not always be popular and also having to watch the original Avatar, Wan in action.

The series had its fair share of exciting episodes but I have to say that the two episodes, “Beginnings, Part 1 & 2” featuring Wan, the first Avatar was amazing.  Yes, Japan has its share of animated dramas, but the United States, has more animated comedy for mature viewers and these two episodes alone, were creatively/artistically beautiful in illustration but also in story.  It’s like traditional art coming alive in animation, and I loved that.

Of course, every other episode featuring Korra and friends were just as exciting.  The way that “The Legend of Korra” is able to tack spiritualism, secularism, politics and creating a smart series but yet not too cerebral for viewers to understand and enjoy is incredible and not an easy feat.

Animation-wise, the character designs and the art backgrounds for this series is magnificent. I love the character designs for Korra and friends but also the antagonists. The art backgrounds compliment the entire series and the action elements are smooth and well-done.

On Blu-ray, the animation is absolutely vibrant while lossless audio for the series including its music is crystal clear.  And as for special features, every episode has audio commentary, you get scene bending featurettes for each episode (comparison of storyboards and final cut), featurettes and also “The Re-telling of Korra’s Journey”, for those who want to be up to speed of what happened in the series prior to watching “Book Two: Spirits”.  (Note: The Blu-ray has more special features than its DVD counterpart)

As “Avatar: The Last Airbender” did over a decade ago by becoming an animated series that had a storyline and animation as good as anime series are in Japan, “The Legend of Korra” continued the quality a decade later. There is not many series in America that have this level of production and “The Legend of Korra” is one of the better looking animated series currently airing on television.

Every episode featured is captivating, edgy and action-packed! I reviewed this series and watched it along with my ten-year-old son and we were both hooked. It’s a wonderful series and while I always enjoy “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, its characters and storyline, rather than compare the two, I prefer to see this series as something different. The series of course has the connection of bending and a connection between its characters and its descendants but times have changed and the world has changed in the last 70-years and the characters reflect that change.

Overall, “The Legend of Korra” is one of the best animated series on television and the writing and animation has gotten better for “The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits”. The series looks and sounds so much better in HD and the additional featurettes plus audio commentary on each episode featuring the creators and the crew makes this series worth owning on Blu-ray!

“The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits” is highly recommended. Five stars!

Bleach DVD Set Twenty: Original & Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

June 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

bleach-20

The Soul Reapers vs. the Arrancars and it’s a battle to the death! Aizen, Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tosen make their move in “Bleach DVD Set Twenty – Original and Uncut”! Recommended!

Image courtesy of © Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Pierrot. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Bleach DVD Set Twenty – Original and Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 280-291 (282 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Bilingual Japanese & English, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: March 18, 2014

Originally created by Tite Kubo

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Masashi Kudo

Art Director: Natsuko Suzuki, Sawako Takagi

Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Fumiko Orikasa/Michelle Ruff as Rukia Kuchiki

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ichigo Kurosaki

Hiroki Yasumoto/Jamieson Price as Sado “Chad” Yasutora

Kentarou Itou/Wally Wingert as Abarai Renji

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Hollow Ichigo

Noriaki Sugiyama/Derek Stephen Prince as Ishida Uryuu

Satsuki Yukino/Wendee Lee as Shihouin Yoruichi (human form)

Shinichiro Miki/Michael Lindsay as Urahara Kisuke

Yuki Matsuoka/Stephanie Sheh as Inoue Orihime

Kaya Matsutani/Megan Hollingshead as Rangiku Matsumoto

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Vic Mignogna as Ikkaku Madarame

Jun Fukuyama/Brian Beacock as Yumichika Ayasegawa

Romi Paku/Steve Staley as Toshiro Hitsugaya

The Soul Reapers form an uneasy alliance with the Visoreds, and the battle against the Espadas resumes. Barragan, the former ruler of Hueco Mundo who was displaced by Aizen, appears to be defeated by the combined efforts of Hachigen and Soi Fon until they discover him forcing open Hachigen’s Shiju Saimon barrier.

Later, Ichigo is troubled that he can’t seem to use his Hollowfication to full effect. And with the ultimate battle with Aizen looming, he’ll need every ounce of power!

The epic battle between the Soul Reapers and Aizen’s Espadas continues in “Bleach DVD Set Twenty: Original and Uncut”!

For many episodes, we have seen the Soul Reapers take on the Espadas/Arrancars.  Both have suffered tragedy and extreme casualties.    But when Aizen arrives with Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tosen, will they aid the Espadas?

And for the Soul Reapers, what happens when Shinji Hirako arrives with the Visoreds.  Will the Visoreds who don’t care for the Soul Reapers want to help them out in the battle?

Meanwhile, #0 Espada, Yammy Llargo…the most powerful, huge Espada who has already hurt Renji, Rukia is left to fight against him.  But out of nowhere, she gets some help from a familiar face!

Meanwhile, Shinji Hirako having seen his friend Hiyori Sarugaki cut down, prepares for his battle against Aizen.  Meanwhile, Kaname Tosen takes on Seventh Division Captain Sajin Komamura and Ninth Division’s Shuhei Hisagi.

So, what is “Bleach”?

“Bleach” is one of those titles, alongside “Naruto” and “Dragon Ball Z” that has managed to capture the attention of anime fans and continues to reinvent itself with new sagas and characters. Created in 2001 by mangaka Tite Kubo, the manga has been published on Weekly Shonen Jump and the animated series has been airing on Japanese television since 2004.

The series has manged to grow its fandom worldwide, especially in the US as the series has aired on television on the Cartoon Network and the various video games for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP have also been popular among the fans as well.

The manga series revolves around teenager Ichigo Kurosaki, who has the ability to see Soul Reapers (a military group that escorts the souls of the dead) and in this case, Ichigo has seen a female Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki. One day, a hollow (a monster that was once a human soul) has come to attack and when Rukia was injured, she transferred her spirit pressure to Ichigo in order for him to fight the hollow.

The series focused on Ichigo and Rukia’s friendship as somehow nearly all her spirit pressure had been transferred to Ichigo and stripping away her soul reaper power and thus Ichigo now has the power to take on the hollows while Rukia helps guide him through the battles with her knowledge. As Rukia temporarily lives with Ichigo, the two together battle hollows.

It’s important to note that because of how quickly the animated series has caught up with the manga series, the ongoing arc between the war between Soul Reapers and the Arrancars have temporarily put on hiatus to allow Tite Kubo to finish the chapters of the manga series. So, Studio Pierrot created an alternative story arc titled “Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale arc” (Zanpakuto Ibun Hen).

With volume 19 of “Bleach”, it’s Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Ulquiorra Cifer. A powerful Arrancar with a second stage, not many know of the extent of his true power but Ulquiorra will do whatever he can to destroy Ichigo. But no matter what happens, Ichigo is determined to never give up.

And now, the fight between the Soul Reapers and Espadas continue, but this time around, things are not looking so good for the Soul Reapers as they take on the most powerful Espadas, who may be more powerful than they had expected.

And here we are with the 20th volume of “Bleach DVD: Original & Uncut”.

Aizen, Ichimaru and Tosen make their appearance during the battle between the Soul Reapers vs. Espadas.  As Captain Hitsugaya takes on Halibel, Soi Fon and Marechiyo Omaeda take on Barragan and Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake take on Stark.

But just when you think the Espadas are going to win, the Visoreds have come to join forces with the Soul Reapers.  An uneasy alliance.  But who will become the victor of this battle?

With Ichigo having defeated Ulquiorra, he rushes to help out his friends.  With Rukia in a difficult battle with the #0 Espada, will Ichigo be able to save Rukia from getting killed by Yammy?  Meanwhile, Captain Komamura and Shuhei Hisagi take on their former friend Kaname Tosen.  But Tosen has a surprise for his former friends!

And with Aizen sizing his competition for battle, Shinji knows believes that the only person that can defeat Aizen is Ichigo, but with Ichigo out helping Rukia, does Shinji Hirako have any chance of fighting against Aizen by himself?

The main characters of “Bleach” are:

  • Ichigo Kurosaki – The main protagonist. A teenager who becomes a substitute soul reaper after absorbing Rukia’s powers. Accepting his new powers and wanting to protect everyone around him. Ichiro manages to grow in power with every battle he gets involved in.
  • Rukia Kuchiki – A Soul Reaper who transferred her spiritual power to Ichigo.
  • Orihime Inoue – A longtime classmate of Ichigo who is very caring and manages to develop her spiritual awareness and after her brother is killed by a hollow, she has managed to grow in power which is tied to a hairpin that her brother had given her.
  • Yasutora “Chad” Sado – A friend of Ichigo and very quiet. Developed a sense of seeing hollows and eventually gaining a power of strength and a right arm that is literally a weapon to fight against hollows.
  • Uryu Ishida – A classmate of Ichigo and a descendant of a priest group that hunted hollows known as Quincy. Earlier on, Uryu was a rival of Ichigo due to his hatred towards the Soul Reapers and eventually becomes friends with him.
  • Kon – A modsoul who’s life soul is put into a stuffed lion. When Ichigo is a Soul Reaper, Kon takes over Ichigo’s body, so no one including Ichigo’s family knows that Ichiro is actually not there. Mostly a comedy-driven character known for his perverseness and always complaining about something.
  • Kisuke Urahara – Owner of the Urahara shop and a former captain of the 12th Division in the Soul Society. He caught Aizen converting Soul Reapers to Visoreds but before he can save them, Aizen framed him for the crimes and Urahara fled to the real world.
  • Yoruichi Shihoin – An old friend of Kisuke Urahara who can turn into a black cat. She is the former captain of the 2nd Division and former Commander in Chief of the Secret Mobile Corps.
  • Renji Abarai – Lt. of the 6th Division in the Gotei 13 under Captain Byakuya Kuchiki. Known to be cocky about his skills, Renji cares deeply for Rukia and thus the reason why he is seen with Ichigo and friends.
  • Byakuya Kuchiki – 28th head of the Kuchiki Clan and Captain of 6th Division in the Gotei 13. Stepbrother of Rukia.
  • Toshiro Hitsugaya – Captain of the 10th Division in the Gotei 13.
  • Rangiku Matsumoto – Lieutenant of the 10th Division of the Gotei 13.

VIDEO:

If there is one thing that I’ve always enjoyed about “Bleach” is that for a TV series that is cranked out in Japan, the TV series features a good amount of detail in the background art. The series tends to really showcase quite a bit of locations and thus, not always reusing scenes.

Also, the character designs, despite not always being detailed, is shown great care by character designer Masashi Kudo who definitely respects the original illustrations of Tite Kubo. Some closeups are really well done and there is a good amount of focus on the actual animation during the battle sequences.

For a TV series, especially knowing how in Japan, many of these studios tend to crank them out because they have other deadlines taking on other series, “Bleach” continues to look very good.

As for picture quality, of course on DVD, you are going to see some softness, banding and edge enhancement but for the most part, picture quality is very good on DVD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Bleach DVD Set  Twenty –  Original and Uncut” is presented in stereo English and Japanese. Both dialogue tracks are clear and understandable. For those with a modern receiver may want to set their setting to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bleach DVD Set Twenty – Original and Uncut” comes with the following special features:

  • Clean Opening and Ending – The clean opening and ending themes.
  • Omake – The ending omake for episodes 280-291.

With another action-packed DVD volume of “Bleach”, episodes 280-291 are quite fascinating as we finally get to see Kenpachi Zaraki fight in battle, but also for a long time coming, we finally get to see Kaname Tosen in action.  A former Soul Reaper who has chosen the path to follow Aizen,what’s interesting is seeing Shuhei Hisagi going against his former leader, Tosen but also seeing Sajin Komamura taking on his former friend.

We also have seen the tide go back and forth between the Soul Reapers and Espadas. Both sides suffering from major casualties and now the battle continues in its last legs as now the battle shifts back to the Soul Reapers vs. Espadas and to tell you the truth, seeing Aizen and friends and the Visored’s appearance definitely made things even more interesting.  How would these two forces impact the battles as Captain Hitsugaya takes on Halibel, Soi Fon and Marechiyo Omaeda take on Barragan and Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake take on Stark.  And what about the killer Lilinette?

And as for the battle between Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake vs. Stark, they get some help from Love Aikawa and Rojuro Otoribashi.  And Mashiro Kuna goes to take on the sadistic Espada child Lilinette.

As for Captain Hisugaya’s battle with Haibel, let’s just say that you have to read to see what happens.   Shocking twist!

And let’s just say the body count continues to grow with this latest volume as it concludes the battle between the Soul Reapers vs. Espadas but transitions to a much more futile battle.

It’s a battle to the death as the body count continues to grow in this latest volume of “Bleach” as two characters die.  But who lives and who dies?

Meanwhile, we start to see how much Ichigo’s powers have grown and his friends see a new, more powerful Ichigo.  But at what cost is it to him, having all this power?

So, for me, the highlight of this volume, now that the Espadas are out of the way, we are going to see more of Aizen, Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tosen.  And with this volume, it begins with Captain Komamura and Hisagi engaged in battle with Tosen to the death.

This buildup leading to the battle with Aizen, Ichimaru and Tosen has been a very long time for “Bleach” fans.  And it took a long time just to get to this point since the three defected from the Soul Society, so for those who have been patient to wait this long for this battle.

And suffice to say, Tite Kubo has a number of twists coming along the way.  For manga readers, for the most part, there are some additional storyline not featured in the manga and we get to see more backgrounds in regards to characters and also the violence is toned down a little.  But for those who have enjoyed the anime series, you’ll still find these episodes exciting and captivating.

If you are a fan of “Bleach” and stood with this anime series from the very beginning or have followed the anime/manga series for a very long time , “Bleach DVD Set Twenty: Original and Uncut” is exciting and definitely worth owning!

Bleach DVD Set Nineteen: Original & Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

February 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

bleach-19

The Soul Reapers vs. the Arrancars and it’s a battle to the death! Who will survive and who will die?  Find out in the original and uncut episodes of “Bleach DVD Set Nineteen – Original and Uncut”!  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Pierrot. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Bleach DVD Set Nineteen – Original and Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 268-279 (287 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Bilingual Japanese & English, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: December 10, 2013

Originally created by Tite Kubo

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Masashi Kudo

Art Director: Natsuko Suzuki, Sawako Takagi

Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Fumiko Orikasa/Michelle Ruff as Rukia Kuchiki

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ichigo Kurosaki

Hiroki Yasumoto/Jamieson Price as Sado “Chad” Yasutora

Kentarou Itou/Wally Wingert as Abarai Renji

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Hollow Ichigo

Noriaki Sugiyama/Derek Stephen Prince as Ishida Uryuu

Satsuki Yukino/Wendee Lee as Shihouin Yoruichi (human form)

Shinichiro Miki/Michael Lindsay as Urahara Kisuke

Yuki Matsuoka/Stephanie Sheh as Inoue Orihime

Kaya Matsutani/Megan Hollingshead as Rangiku Matsumoto

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Vic Mignogna as Ikkaku Madarame

Jun Fukuyama/Brian Beacock as Yumichika Ayasegawa

Romi Paku/Steve Staley as Toshiro Hitsugaya

Ichigo and the Soul Reapers find themselves in a brutal battle against their own Zanpakuto, who are being controlled by Muramasa. But the chaos in the Seireitei is just one part of Muramasa’s plan. His true objective lies in the World of the Living, and Ichigo is the key to his achieving it!

It’s the battle to the death…one lives, one dies.  Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Ulquiorra Cifer, a powerful Arrancar with a second stage, not many know of the extent of his true power but Ulquiorra will do whatever he can to destroy Ichigo. But no matter what happens, Ichigo is determined to never give up.

But with Ulquiorra being so powerful, what happens when Uryu comes to lend a hand.

Also, the fight between the Soul Reapers and Espadas continue, but this time around, things are not looking so good for the Soul Reapers as they take on the most powerful Espadas, who may be more powerful than they had expected.

The Soul Reapers vs. Espads as Captain Hitsugaya takes on Halibel, Soi Fon and Marechiyo Omaeda take on Barragan and Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake take on Stark.

With the Espadas in control, do the Soul Reapers have what it takes to survive?

Find out in “Bleach DVD Set Nineteen: Original & Uncut”!

So, what is “Bleach”?

“Bleach” is one of those titles, alongside “Naruto” and “Dragon Ball Z” that has managed to capture the attention of anime fans and continues to reinvent itself with new sagas and characters. Created in 2001 by mangaka Tite Kubo, the manga has been published on Weekly Shonen Jump and the animated series has been airing on Japanese television since 2004.

The series has manged to grow its fandom worldwide, especially in the US as the series has aired on television on the Cartoon Network and the various video games for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP have also been popular among the fans as well.

The manga series revolves around teenager Ichigo Kurosaki, who has the ability to see Soul Reapers (a military group that escorts the souls of the dead) and in this case, Ichigo has seen a female Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki. One day, a hollow (a monster that was once a human soul) has come to attack and when Rukia was injured, she transferred her spirit pressure to Ichigo in order for him to fight the hollow.

The series focused on Ichigo and Rukia’s friendship as somehow nearly all her spirit pressure had been transferred to Ichigo and stripping away her soul reaper power and thus Ichigo now has the power to take on the hollows while Rukia helps guide him through the battles with her knowledge. As Rukia temporarily lives with Ichigo, the two together battle hollows.

It’s important to note that because of how quickly the animated series has caught up with the manga series, the ongoing arc between the war between Soul Reapers and the Arrancars have temporarily put on hiatus to allow Tite Kubo to finish the chapters of the manga series. So, Studio Pierrot created an alternative story arc titled “Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale arc” (Zanpakuto Ibun Hen).

With volume 19 of “Bleach”,  it’s Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Ulquiorra Cifer. A powerful Arrancar with a second stage, not many know of the extent of his true power but Ulquiorra will do whatever he can to destroy Ichigo. But no matter what happens, Ichigo is determined to never give up.

And now, the fight between the Soul Reapers and Espadas continue, but this time around, things are not looking so good for the Soul Reapers as they take on the most powerful Espadas, who may be more powerful than they had expected.

The main characters of “Bleach” are:

  • Ichigo Kurosaki – The main protagonist. A teenager who becomes a substitute soul reaper after absorbing Rukia’s powers. Accepting his new powers and wanting to protect everyone around him. Ichiro manages to grow in power with every battle he gets involved in.
  • Rukia Kuchiki – A Soul Reaper who transferred her spiritual power to Ichigo.
  • Orihime Inoue – A longtime classmate of Ichigo who is very caring and manages to develop her spiritual awareness and after her brother is killed by a hollow, she has managed to grow in power which is tied to a hairpin that her brother had given her.
  • Yasutora “Chad” Sado – A friend of Ichigo and very quiet. Developed a sense of seeing hollows and eventually gaining a power of strength and a right arm that is literally a weapon to fight against hollows.
  • Uryu Ishida – A classmate of Ichigo and a descendant of a priest group that hunted hollows known as Quincy. Earlier on, Uryu was a rival of Ichigo due to his hatred towards the Soul Reapers and eventually becomes friends with him.
  • Kon – A modsoul who’s life soul is put into a stuffed lion. When Ichigo is a Soul Reaper, Kon takes over Ichigo’s body, so no one including Ichigo’s family knows that Ichiro is actually not there. Mostly a comedy-driven character known for his perverseness and always complaining about something.
  • Kisuke Urahara – Owner of the Urahara shop and a former captain of the 12th Division in the Soul Society. He caught Aizen converting Soul Reapers to Visoreds but before he can save them, Aizen framed him for the crimes and Urahara fled to the real world.
  • Yoruichi Shihoin – An old friend of Kisuke Urahara who can turn into a black cat. She is the former captain of the 2nd Division and former Commander in Chief of the Secret Mobile Corps.
  • Renji Abarai – Lt. of the 6th Division in the Gotei 13 under Captain Byakuya Kuchiki. Known to be cocky about his skills, Renji cares deeply for Rukia and thus the reason why he is seen with Ichigo and friends.
  • Byakuya Kuchiki – 28th head of the Kuchiki Clan and Captain of 6th Division in the Gotei 13. Stepbrother of Rukia.
  • Toshiro Hitsugaya – Captain of the 10th Division in the Gotei 13.
  • Rangiku Matsumoto – Lieutenant of the 10th Division of the Gotei 13.

VIDEO:

If there is one thing that I’ve always enjoyed about “Bleach” is that for a TV series that is cranked out in Japan, the TV series features a good amount of detail in the background art. The series tends to really showcase quite a bit of locations and thus, not always reusing scenes.

Also, the character designs, despite not always being detailed, is shown great care by character designer Masashi Kudo who definitely respects the original illustrations of Tite Kubo. Some closeups are really well done and there is a good amount of focus on the actual animation during the battle sequences.

For a TV series, especially knowing how in Japan, many of these studios tend to crank them out because they have other deadlines taking on other series, “Bleach” continues to look very good.

As for picture quality, of course on DVD, you are going to see some softness, banding and edge enhancement but for the most part, picture quality is very good on DVD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Bleach DVD Set Nineteen – Original and Uncut” is presented in stereo English and Japanese. Both dialogue tracks are clear and understandable. For those with a modern receiver may want to set their setting to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bleach DVD Set Nineteen – Original and Uncut” comes with the following special features:

  • Production Art – Using your remote, you can view “Bleach” production art.
  • Clean Opening and Ending – The clean opening and ending themes.
  • Omake – The ending omake for episodes 268-279.

For the last few volumes, we have seen the tide go back and forth between the Soul Reapers and Espadas.  Both sides suffering from major casualties and now the battle continues in its last legs as now the battle shifts back to the Soul Reapers vs. Espadas as Captain Hitsugaya takes on Halibel, Soi Fon and Marechiyo Omaeda take on Barragan and Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake take on Stark.

The action kicks off with Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra but the action is literally non-stop as Captain Hitsugaya is in a  battle with Tier Halibel, who has the power of turning her zanpakuto into a shark and using water manipulation.

Shunsui takes on Stark and for “Bleach” fans, we are not entirely sure what Shunsui’s true power is but during battle, Jushiro doesn’t want Shunsui to reveal his bankai true power, so he offers to take on Stark himself.

And just when you think that the tide has turned towards the Soul Reapers in power, the Espadas get some help from three powerful individuals.  And just when you think that the Soul Reapers are done for, let’s just say that the Soul Reapers get some welcome help from a group you least suspect.

With that being said, I don’t want to spoil the storyline of this issue and who shows up.  But you can’t help but be excited of what Tite Kubo has planned for the upcoming volumes.

Needless to say, there are major twists and turns as we get to learn more about the Vizoreds.

“Bleach DVD Set Nineteen: Original and Uncut” brings back the heavy hitting action between the Soul Reapers vs. the Arrancars and things will continue to heat up as the storyline builds up for more epic battles leading to “Bleach DVD Set Twenty”.

If you are a fan of “Bleach” and stood with this anime series from the very beginning or have followed the anime/manga series for a very long time , “Bleach DVD Set Nineteen: Original and Uncut” is exciting and definitely worth owning!

Bleach DVD Set Seventeen – Original and Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

June 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Zanpakuto has rebelled against their Soul Reaper masters by taking a human form and declaring war. But what about their leader, the mysterious zanpakuto known as Muramasa.  And what exactly is he really up to? Find out in the original and uncut episodes of “Bleach DVD Set Seventeen – Original and Uncut”!

Image courtesy of © Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Pierrot. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Bleach DVD Set Seventeen – Original and Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 243-255 (320 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Bilingual Japanese & English, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: June 11, 2013

Originally created by Tite Kubo

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Masashi Kudo

Art Director: Natsuko Suzuki, Sawako Takagi

Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Fumiko Orikasa/Michelle Ruff as Rukia Kuchiki

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ichigo Kurosaki

Hiroki Yasumoto/Jamieson Price as Sado “Chad” Yasutora

Kentarou Itou/Wally Wingert as Abarai Renji

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Hollow Ichigo

Noriaki Sugiyama/Derek Stephen Prince as Ishida Uryuu

Satsuki Yukino/Wendee Lee as Shihouin Yoruichi (human form)

Shinichiro Miki/Michael Lindsay as Urahara Kisuke

Yuki Matsuoka/Stephanie Sheh as Inoue Orihime

Kaya Matsutani/Megan Hollingshead as Rangiku Matsumoto

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Vic Mignogna as Ikkaku Madarame

Jun Fukuyama/Brian Beacock as Yumichika Ayasegawa

Romi Paku/Steve Staley as Toshiro Hitsugaya

Ichigo and the Soul Reapers find themselves in a brutal battle against their own Zanpakuto, who are being controlled by Muramasa. But the chaos in the Seireitei is just one part of Muramasa’s plan. His true objective lies in the World of the Living, and Ichigo is the key to his achieving it!

The zanpakuto of Soul Reapers have been released by Muramasa, a mysterious zanpakuto spirit and now they are rebelling against their masters?

The Soul Reaper zanpakuto have renounced them and are now declaring war!  Things are not looking good for the Soul Reapers as Soifon takes on Tengen and Gonryomaru, but to get attacked by her own zanpakuto Suzumebachi.  Izutru takes on Kazeshini, Yumichika takes on Ruriiro Kujaku, Ichigo takes on Senbonzakura and for some reason, Byakuya has aligned with Muramasa and attacks Renji and Zabimaru.  This leads a battle between Kenpachi vs. Byakuya.

But why is Muramasa so intent of destroying the Seireitei?

Find out in “Bleach DVD Set Seventeen” featuring episodes 243-255.

So, what is “Bleach”?

“Bleach” is one of those titles, alongside “Naruto” and “Dragon Ball Z” that has managed to capture the attention of anime fans and continues to reinvent itself with new sagas and characters. Created in 2001 by mangaka Tite Kubo, the manga has been published on Weekly Shonen Jump and the animated series has been airing on Japanese television since 2004.

The series has manged to grow its fandom worldwide, especially in the US as the series has aired on television on the Cartoon Network and the various video games for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP have also been popular among the fans as well.

The manga series revolves around teenager Ichigo Kurosaki, who has the ability to see Soul Reapers (a military group that escorts the souls of the dead) and in this case, Ichigo has seen a female Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki. One day, a hollow (a monster that was once a human soul) has come to attack and when Rukia was injured, she transferred her spirit pressure to Ichigo in order for him to fight the hollow.

The series focused on Ichigo and Rukia’s friendship as somehow nearly all her spirit pressure had been transferred to Ichigo and stripping away her soul reaper power and thus Ichigo now has the power to take on the hollows while Rukia helps guide him through the battles with her knowledge. As Rukia temporarily lives with Ichigo, the two together battle hollows.

It’s important to note that because of how quickly the animated series has caught up with the manga series, the ongoing arc between the war between Soul Reapers and the Arrancars have temporarily put on hiatus to allow Tite Kubo to finish the chapters of the manga series. So, Studio Pierrot created an alternative story arc titled “Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale arc” (Zanpakuto Ibun Hen).

With volume 17 of “Bleach”, this DVD continues the battles between the zanpakuto and the Soul Reapers but also Muramasa’s history with the Kuchiki family.

As the soul reapers try to fight their own zanpakuto, they are unaware that Muramasa has intentions beyond freeing them from their masters and learned that they have been duped by Muramasa.  Meanwhile,  Muramasa travels to Karakura Town and intends to use the knowledge from General Yamamoto’s world to break the seal of his former master, Koga Kuchiki, a former soul reaper who went insane.  But having been separated from Koga for centuries, Muramasa wants to remove the seal and free the insane and powerful, Koga Kuchiki.

The main characters of “Bleach” are:

  • Ichigo Kurosaki – The main protagonist. A teenager who becomes a substitute soul reaper after absorbing Rukia’s powers. Accepting his new powers and wanting to protect everyone around him. Ichiro manages to grow in power with every battle he gets involved in.
  • Rukia Kuchiki – A Soul Reaper who transferred her spiritual power to Ichigo.
  • Orihime Inoue – A longtime classmate of Ichigo who is very caring and manages to develop her spiritual awareness and after her brother is killed by a hollow, she has managed to grow in power which is tied to a hairpin that her brother had given her.
  • Yasutora “Chad” Sado – A friend of Ichigo and very quiet. Developed a sense of seeing hollows and eventually gaining a power of strength and a right arm that is literally a weapon to fight against hollows.
  • Uryu Ishida – A classmate of Ichigo and a descendant of a priest group that hunted hollows known as Quincy. Earlier on, Uryu was a rival of Ichigo due to his hatred towards the Soul Reapers and eventually becomes friends with him.
  • Kon – A modsoul who’s life soul is put into a stuffed lion. When Ichigo is a Soul Reaper, Kon takes over Ichigo’s body, so no one including Ichigo’s family knows that Ichiro is actually not there. Mostly a comedy-driven character known for his perverseness and always complaining about something.
  • Kisuke Urahara – Owner of the Urahara shop and a former captain of the 12th Division in the Soul Society. He caught Aizen converting Soul Reapers to Visoreds but before he can save them, Aizen framed him for the crimes and Urahara fled to the real world.
  • Yoruichi Shihoin – An old friend of Kisuke Urahara who can turn into a black cat. She is the former captain of the 2nd Division and former Commander in Chief of the Secret Mobile Corps.
  • Renji Abarai – Lt. of the 6th Division in the Gotei 13 under Captain Byakuya Kuchiki. Known to be cocky about his skills, Renji cares deeply for Rukia and thus the reason why he is seen with Ichigo and friends.
  • Byakuya Kuchiki – 28th head of the Kuchiki Clan and Captain of 6th Division in the Gotei 13. Stepbrother of Rukia.
  • Toshiro Hitsugaya – Captain of the 10th Division in the Gotei 13.
  • Rangiku Matsumoto – Lieutenant of the 10th Division of the Gotei 13.

VIDEO:

If there is one thing that I’ve always enjoyed about “Bleach” is that for a TV series that is cranked out in Japan, the TV series features a good amount of detail in the background art. The series tends to really showcase quite a bit of locations and thus, not always reusing scenes.

Also, the character designs, despite not always being detailed, is shown great care by character designer Masashi Kudo who definitely respects the original illustrations of Tite Kubo. Some closeups are really well done and there is a good amount of focus on the actual animation during the battle sequences.

For a TV series, especially knowing how in Japan, many of these studios tend to crank them out because they have other deadlines taking on other series, “Bleach” continues to look very good.

As for picture quality, of course on DVD, you are going to see some softness, banding and edge enhancement but for the most part, picture quality is very good on DVD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Bleach DVD Set Seventeen – Original and Uncut” is presented in stereo English and Japanese. Both dialogue tracks are clear and understandable. For those with a modern receiver may want to set their setting to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bleach DVD Set Seventeen – Original and Uncut” comes with the following special features:

  • Production Art – Using your remote, you can view “Bleach” production art.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Omake – The ending omake for episodes 243-255.

As explained from the last volume, as Tite Kubo needs time to complete chapters for his manga and because the anime series has caught up with the manga, the only way to put some distance between the manga and the anime is to either put the show on hiatus or to come up with new stories.

And eventually, they chose the latter by taking a break from the Arrancar War and dedicate a season (in Japan, these episodes are part of the 13th season and aired in Japan on July 2009 through April 2010) to a brand new storyline dubbed the Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale Arc.

And for this volume, the storyline continues Muramasa’s attempt to free the zanpakuto’s from their masters and lead a rebellion against the Soul Society.  But in truth, Muramasa is after his old master, the insane Koga Kuchiki, who had been sealed for centuries.  And with Muramasa’s power growing weaker, his time to save Koga is growing shorter.

So, while the story focuses on Muramasa trying to seal his mater, we also learn his backstory between Koga/Muramasa and how Koga ended up insane after being framed by jealous soul reapers of killing his own allies and was imprisoned.  This led to Koga becoming evil and trying to murder anyone who stands against him.

And as Muramasa’s goal is to release the insane Koga inside the Seireitei to exact his revenge against soul reapers, Ichigo and others must do all they can to stop both Muramasa and Koga.

Having watched many “Bleach” filler episodes or alternate story arcs, so far the writers have been pretty good in creating original storylines and with the release of “Bleach DVD Set Seventeen – Original and Uncut”.   Sure, it may not be canon with the manga series but if you are a “Bleach” fan, you either have a choice of not having a series or having filler episodes and for those who don’t feel too bad about having the latter, this latest arc is action-packed and includes certain Soul Reaper characters that are not utilized all that much.  In this case, you get to see Kenpachi, Byakuya, Soifon and Yoruichi take part in major battles.

“Bleach DVD Set Seventeen – Original and Uncut” is another action-packed volume of “Bleach”.  While this season focuses on Muramasa and why he intends to free Koga Kuchiki, the next 18th volume should conclude the 13th season “Zanpukto: The Alternate Tale” episodes and by 19th volume, what many fans are waiting for, the return to the episodes featuring the final battle against the Arrancars.

If you are a fan of “Bleach” and stood with this anime series from the very beginning or have followed the anime/manga series for a very long time , “Bleach DVD Set Seventeen – Original and Uncut” may is worth checking out!

Legend of the Millennium Dragon: Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Based on Takafumi Takada’s novels comes the anime adaptation of “Onigamiden” titled “Legend of the Millennium Dragon”.  Entertaining, action-packed and not dark or excessively violent, “Legend of the Millennium Dragon” is a film about one young man’s search for his inner strength.  An anime film worth checking out!

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Images courtesy of © 2011 Takafumi Takada/Kodansha and Legend of The Millennium Dragon Film Partners. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Legend of the Millennium Dragon: Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2011

DURATION: 98 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 2:35:1), Japanese and English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish

RATED: PG-13 (Some Violence and Scary Images)

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: October 4, 2011

Directed by Hirotsugu Kawasaki

Script by Hirotsugu Kawasaki, Naruhisa Arakawa

Storyboards by Hidekazu Ohara, Hirotsugu Kawasaki, Mamoru Sasaki

Unit Director: Yoriyasu Kogawa

Music by Eitetsu Hayashi, Ryudo Uzaki

Original Work by Takafumi Takada

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio

Art Direction by Mutsuo Koseki, Satoshi Matsuoka

3D Director: Takayuki Chiba

Sound Director: Yota Tsuruoka

Director of Photography by Atsuho Matsumoto

Anime Production by Studio Pierrot

Featuring the voice talent:

Kensho Ono as Jun Tendo

Satomi Ishihara as Mizuha

Shidou Nakamura as Gen’un

A spectacular journey of an unwilling young hero thrust into a mysterious past full of monsters, dragons, and strange hidden powers. Through a series of out of this world battles and adventures, Jun, a shy middle school boy, is transformed into a hero destined to battle evil and ensure harmony and tranquility in the world.

A beautiful action film adaptation of Takafumi Takada’s “Onigamiden” novels, “Legend of the Millenium Dragon” on Blu-ray features the director’s cut, a Blu-ray +DVD Combo Pack and also another visual and audio treat via HD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment!

In 2010, director Hirotsugu Kawasaki (“Naruto” films, “Record of Lodoss War”) and Studio Pierrot took on Takada’s historical sci-fi novel.  Featuring a screenplay adaptation by Naruhisa Arakawa (“D.N.Angel”, “Blue Seed”, “Spice and Wolf”) and music by Ryudo Uzaki (“Queen Millennia”, “Kamen Rider” films, “Dagger of Kamui”), “Legend of the Millennium Dragon”.

The film begins in the distant past as an army of Oni (devil) are attacking a village of humans and many die trying to fight the evil monsters but as they create a giant monster, a monk is able to use his supernatural power to destroy it and temporarily stop the war.  The monk wonders what will happen next?

“Legend of the Millennium Dragon” revolves around a 15-year-old named Jun Tendo who lives in Kyoto.  His father died years ago after saving a child who was about to be hit by a train and without a father, Jun has been left to live with his mother and pretty much not have a father to take care of him.  While his father is considered to be a brave hero, his mother has wanted him to follow his father’s example and be strong.

But whenever Jun sees things that are not right, he knows he doesn’t have the strength or the guts to do anything about it.

One day, while walking outside a shrine, one of the oni show up and tries to attack Jun.  Jun runs inside the shrine where he meets the monk, Gen’un who tells him that he is a member of a warrior tribe that fought and destroyed the oni back in the past using the Orochi (an eight-headed dragon).  Of course, Jun doesn’t believe any of it, but when Gen’un brings the Oni out of the paintings inside the shrine, Jun collapses.

When he wakes up, he sees Gen’un but also wakes up to meet a young warrior named Raikou.  Raikou is shocked to see Jun at the shrine because he is the boy that is told in the prophecy, the one who will defeat the oni.  But to Raikou, Jun does not resemble any kind of warrior and he is right.  Jun is not a warrior, nor does he know how to fight.

Jun also realizes that he is not in his own time.  He is back in the distant past of Japan where man is fighting oni and the village is putting all their trust in Jun to defeat them.

But Jun has no idea what they are talking about.  He has no special ability or power.  But Gen’un tells Jun that the tattoo that he was born with is a symbol of an ancestry of special warriors who used the dragons Orochi to defeat the oni.  But for Jun, he is not a fighter nor did he want to be involved in any of this.

But the following day, the village is attacked by the Oni and the village is being destroyed.  As Jun sees all the destruction, he realizes that many people need him to use his power.  But for Jun, he doesn’t believe that he has any power.

But when he sees Raikou nearly killed, Jun unleashes a power that wakes Orochi and also saves his new friend.

And Jun finds himself riding on the Orochi and not knowing how to control it.

Orochi takes Jun to another village and when Jun goes to find someone, he runs into a wounded oni.  But the villagers manage to take it’s helmet off and what he sees is not a monster but a regular girl.  As the village warriors try to kill it, Jun escapes with orochi along with the oni girl named Mizuha.

Meanwhile, word gets out to Gen’un about Jun helping an oni and he is not pleased.  He sends Raikou out to find him.

As Orochi takes Jun to get medical help for Mizuha, they end up in the village of the oni.

Scared for his life, everyone in the village removes their helmets and Jun quickly learns, these are not bad people.  They just wear helmets that give the appearance that they are mean looking.  And their story is that Gen’un has kicked these villagers out of their homes and Gen’un took control of it for his own selfish reasons.  And the reason why an oni went to Jun’s real reality was to find him and ask for his help to defend and fight with the Oni to stop the evil Gen’un.

But for Jun, he has heard two different tales from both warring factions.  Both sides needs his help to destroy the others, but Jun is not like that.  He doesn’t want anyone to fight anyone.  He’s not a fighter.

So, Jun feels the best thing to do is send him back home.  There is no way he can fight any of these people.  They are good people and he doesn’t want to get mixed up in anyone’s war.

But when it is revealed that one side is actually lying…will Jun stay and fight?  Or will he go back home and let one group suffer because he didn’t use his power?

VIDEO:

“Legend of the Millennium Dragon” is presented in 1080p High Definition and anime production is by Studio Pierrot.  For those familiar with the “Naruto” TV series and films, will notice Tetsuya Nishio’s work for the character designs for this film.  It’s a different style than what most people are used to seeing in an anime series but for the most part, the action sequences of this film are well-done and are quite fluid.

The beauty of this film lies within its art backgrounds as the modern day Kyoto is actually based on real-life areas of the city.  The creators of the film wanted to capture the authenticity of modern-day Kyoto that they worked with various companies for tie-ins to promote the film.  From store chains to shrines, nearly everything featured in the modern-day setting is based on actual Kyoto business and buildings.

The film is vibrant with colors and there is a good amount of detail on the art backgrounds and for the most part, picture quality for the Blu-ray release of “Legend of the Millennium Dragon” is fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Legend of the Millennium Dragon” is presented in Japanese and English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and also French, German, Portuguese and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  I did a test listening to both soundtracks and for the most part, dialogue is crystal clear from the center channel while action and music comes clearly through the front and surround channels.

The good news is that it is an active soundtrack and for every action sequence, may it be building being destroyed, crowds of people fighting each other, fireballs, Orochi hitting objects, etc.  There is a lot of that throughout the film, so it’s an active soundtrack.

The Japanese voice acting is well-done and the English dub, the good news is that the casting of the characters sound nearly the same with their Japanese counterpart, but some of the acting for the English dub was OK.  Granted, I’m more biased to watching films in their original language, but for the most part, fans who prefer to watch anime in English, will probably feel the dub is quite suitable for them.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Legend of the Millennium Dragon” comes with a concept art gallery (viewed by remote control selection).

“The Legend of the Millennium Dragon” is a beautiful action film showcasing one young man’s search for his inner strength.

The storyline does have its share of banal plots such as one going back to the past and being involved in an epic war and making big decisions and the usual “I will protect those I care about”.  From “Fushigi Yuugi” to “Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~” to name a few, when I think of similar anime, typically the heroine from the future is typically a female, but in this case, we have a young kid who lost his father and has to find his own strength.

But what I enjoyed about the film is the twist and finding out that the oni are not “devils” but people who were forced out of their village and are just trying to survive.

And when you look at life historically, Americans had done the same with native Americans and making them out to be the most horrible people on the planet, when in fact, by colonizing, we literally took their land that they were trying to protect.  The same can be said in Japan, and the treatment of early Japanese ala the Ainu’s, who also have had their share of unfortunate prejudice that even takes place today.

But in the end, “Legend of the Millennium” is an action film geared to people of all ages.

The Blu-ray release looks fantastic while the characters designs have a lot in common with an anime series like “Naruto” courtesy of Tetsuya Nishio who worked on the “Naruto” series and films, while the art backgrounds are beautifully painted, thanks to Studio Pierrot.  The lossless audio is also well done as you hear the action and the music being well utilized from the surround channels and for the most part, an anime film with a solid soundtrack.

Special features were a bit lacking with only a concept art gallery but if anything, the good news is that the Blu-ray does shine in the PQ and AQ department.

Overall, “Legend of the Millennium Dragon” is an enjoyable anime film.  Especially those who enjoy the underdog being transported to the feudal era in Japan and having to prepare to fight, despite not knowing how to fight.  The main character Jun Tendo can get on your nerves as its evident that the character is not much of a fighter and would rather not fight.  But at the same time, it’s the film’s strength because this character eventually needs to find his true strength in order to protect people and we get to see how Jun Tendo eventually grows up.

Entertaining, action-packed and not dark or excessively violent, “Legend of the Millennium Dragon” is a film worth checking out!

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