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anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day TV Series Complete Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 8, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Emotional, uplifting, tragic but also a film of hope,  “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is an animated film that will captivate you and a Blu-ray release that I highly recommend!

Image courtesy of © ANOHANA PROJECT. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day

YEAR OF FILM: 2011

DURATION: 11 Episodes (256 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: July 15, 2014


Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai

Script: Mari Okada

Music by REMEDIOS

Character Design: Masayoshi Tanaka

Art Director: Takayoshi Fukushima

Art by Takayoshi Fukushima

Chief Animation Director: Masayoshi Tanaka

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Kayano/Xanthe Huynh as Meiko “Menma” Honma

Haruka Tomatsu/Erica Lindbeck as Naruko “Anaru” Anjō

Miyu Irino/Griffin Burns as Jinta “Jintan” Yadomi

Saori Hayami/Erica Mendez as Chiriko “Tsuruko” Tsurumi

Takahiro Sakurai/Ray Chase as Atsumu “Yukiatsu” Matsuyuki

Takayuki Kondou/Kaiji Tang as Tetsudō “Poppo” Hisakawa

Aki Toyosaki/Abby Trott as Tetsudō (child)

Asami Seto/Michelle Ruff as Yukiatsu (child)

Kaoru Mizuhara/Cherami Leigh as Haruna (child)

Mitsuru Ogata/Kirk Thornton as Atsushi Yadomi (child)

Asami Seto/Michelle Ruff as Atsumu (child)

Mutsumi Tamura/Tara Sands as Jinta (child)

Yui Makino/Brianna Knickerbocker as Aki (child)


“Jintan? I have a wish I want you to grant for me!”

The critically acclaimed drama series anohana returns with a brand new English dub written and directed by Patrick Seitz, now on Blu-ray for the first time!

Jinta Yadomi and his group of childhood friends had become estranged after a tragic incident split them apart. Now in their high school years, an unexpected surprise forces each of them to confront their guilt over what happened that day. They must overcome the burdens of their past, and come to terms with years of shame, hard feelings, and heartaches.


It was one of the saddest anime series to debut back in 2011, the series “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai” or “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day” debuted on television.

An 11-episode series produced by A-1 pictures and directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai (“My-HiME”, “A Certain Scientific Railgun”) and written by Mari Okada (“AKB0048”, “Vampire Knight”, “Black Rock Shooter”, “Black Butler”), the series revolves around six childhood friends that drifted apart after one of them dies in an accident.

A novelization by Mari Okada was released in 2011, a manga series adaptation was released in 2012, then an animated film was released in theaters in 2013, followed by a live action television drama series was released in September 2015.

While the animated film was released in the US back in 2014, the anime series will be released as a complete series on Blu-ray in 2017.

The animated series begins with an introduction to Jinta “Jintan” Yadomi, a teenager who looks as if he was hanging around with a girl named Menma.   When his childhood friend Naruko arrives, Menma tells him that no one can see her.

We then realize that Jinta is a teenager who has not gotten over Menma’s death.  He has not gone to school and he has not had any contact with his childhood friends since.

Jintan sees Menma’s ghost (or it’s his imagination) as he tries to piece together things in his mind about her death and then suddenly, he begins to remember the things he wanted to say to Menma on the day of her death.

As he runs into a forest area, it happens to be the old clubhouse (their secret base) where he and his friends used to hang out.  He then sees his old friend Tetsudo “Poppo” Hisakawa and tells him that she is able to see her ghost.

We then start to see each of these individuals start to see each other but circumstances have changed, friendships lost and not all of them get along.

And with each individual, they have a tie to the past that they regret and we start to see glimpses of the past and how Menma’s death changed everyone.

We learn that together with their friends (which they are known as the “Super Peace Busters”) included Naruko “Anaru” Anjo (who had a crush on Jinta), Atsumu “Yukiatsu” Matsuyuki (who likes Menma and looked at Jinta as his rival for Menma’s feelings), Chiriko “Tsuruko” Tsurumi (has feelings towards Asumu) and Tetsudo “Poppo” Hisakawa (always looked at Jinta as “cool”).

On the day before “Menma” died, everyone wanted to know if Jinta loved Menma but being a child and embarrassed, he said he would never fall for someone like her.  Embarrassed, he ran away.  But when she tried to find him, by the time he went to look for her an apologize, it was too late.  She slipped and fell into a river and drowned.

Fast forward into the future and Jinta has become depressed and anti-social after the death of his mother and Menma.  But when Menma reappears as a ghost, at first he thinks it’s his stress manifesting, but when he starts to realize that she has returned, Jinta slowly reunites with his old friends to tell him about his visions of Menma.

Of course, not everyone believes him, as he is the only person that can see her.  But some fans give him the benefit of the doubt and Poppo believes that she may be stuck on Earth because she has a goal that she must reach or a wish that she must fulfill.  But as Menma hears this, she is not sure about her thoughts nor does she remember much.

But as these friends slowly reunite, we learn that not only does Jinta feel guilty about Menma’s death, each of them do for some sort of reason.

And as the eleven episodes delve into each character’s life in the present, they also share with each other their thoughts and the pain they have felt all these years and in many ways, allowing each to receive some type of closure in regards to Menma’s death but giving them the chance to say their final goodbye and vice-versa.


VIDEO:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day” is a TV series that looks great in HD.  Animation is vibrant, while character designs are shaded, the background art is well-detailed and for the most part, you are drawn with the many cut-scenes and flashbacks but the lush green and vibrant colors instantly grab you.  There is a slight softness as one can expect from a TV series but I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding issues, while watching the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day” is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0.  This is primarily a dialogue and music-driven soundtrack, so one should not expect to hear a lot coming from the lossless soundtrack.  If anything, the surround channels are more about environment and ambiance.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary by the English Dub Cast and Director
  • English Dub Teaser
  • English Dub Trailer
  • English Dub Bloopers
  • Web Previews
  • Commercials and Trailers 
  • Textless Opening and Endings

EXTRAS:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day” comes with the awesome a slipcover case, a 60-page deluxe booklet.


Emotional, uplifting, tragic but also a film of hope,  “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day is an animated series that will captivate you but it’s also an emotional series that will no doubt make you cry.

“anohana” was an animated series that was one of the saddest anime series to come out in 2011 but one that made you watch because like all childhood friends, everyone drifts apart.  But in the case of these friends, it was because one friend’s tragic death, everyone had went on their separate ways.

Some harboring guilt or feelings about their friend, Menma’s death that they have kept in their heart for so long.

And now as these young children have grown up to be young adults, they are brought together once again, because of their deceased friend.  Menma has started to show up for some reason and only Jinta can see her.

The film is about child innocence but also holding on to emotions that were kept inside but never said.  The film has a message of letting people know how much you care about them before it’s too late.  And while most people don’t get the opportunity to tell that person how they truly feel, what if you were given that final chance.

I often think about films such as “Ghost” (the classic romantic drama with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore), where the film’s protagonist is murdered and comes back as a ghost and needing to fix things in order to go back to heaven.  With “anohana”, Menma is somewhat a ghost but one that can be seen by Jinta and also one that is unaware of why she was brought back and not knowing if she would disappear if she was able to make a wish come true.  She doesn’t know.

Of course, Jinta seeing the deceased Menma is hard to believe for some individuals until Jinta shares details that only they and Menma knows about.  And to see everyone coming together, but also having these unresolved feelings… it makes for a dramatic and emotional animated series.

 

As for the Blu-ray release of “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day”, the picture quality is vibrant, the character design is well done and the background art is fantastic for a TV series!  While the lossless soundtrack is more dialogue and music-driven with ambiance played through the surround channels.

With the Blu-ray release, you get the an English dub commentary, trailer, teaser, textless opening and endings and of course, the Aniplex swag of a cool case and 60-page deluxe booklet.

Overall, “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day” is an animated series that will make viewers easily laugh and cry thanks to its well-written storyline from Mari Okada.  It no doubt stands out among the many emotional anime series that revolved around tragedy.

Emotional, uplifting, tragic but also a film of hope,  “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day” is an animated series that will captivate you, that will make you shed tears and a Blu-ray Box Set release that I highly recommend!

anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

anohana-eiga-1

Emotional, uplifting, tragic but also a film of hope,  “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is an animated film that will captivate you and a Blu-ray release that I highly recommend!

Image courtesy of © ANOHANA PROJECT. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie

YEAR OF FILM: 2013

DURATION: 99 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM 2.0, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 CH, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai

Screenplay: Mari Okada

Storyboard: Tatsuyuki Nagai

United Director: Shinobu Yoshioka

Music by REMEDIOS

Character Design: Masayoshi Tanaka

Art Director: Tsutomu Ishigaki

Art by Takayoshi Fukushima

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Kayano as Meiko “Menma” Honma

Haruka Tomatsu as Naruko “Anaru” Anjō

Miyu Irino as Jinta “Jintan” Yadomi

Saori Hayami as Chiriko “Tsuruko” Tsurumi

Takahiro Sakurai as Atsumu “Yukiatsu” Matsuyuki

Takayuki Kondou as Tetsudō “Poppo” Hisakawa

Aki Toyosaki as Tetsudō (child)

Asami Seto as Atsumu (child)

Mutsumi Tamura as Jinta (child)

Jintan, Menma, Anaru, Yukiatsu, Tsuruko, and Poppo – six grade-school students who were the best of friends. As the “Super Peace Busters,” they always played together at their “secret base” until Menma died in a tragic accident.

Five years later, Menma appeared before Jintan, now a high school freshman. No one could see her but Jintan, and Menma told him that she wanted the Super Peace Busters to grant her a certain wish. But not even Menma herself remembered what that wish was.

Having been traumatized by Menma’s death, the five had drifted apart, but after giving vent to their bottled-up feelings in an emotionally-charged moment, they gradually went back to being the “gang” of years past. And then Menma said goodbye, leaving letters to everyone of the Super Peace Busters.

One year later – once again, they gather at their secret base, each of them with a letter to Menma in hand.

It was one of the saddest anime series to debut back in 2011, the series “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai” or “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day” debuted on television.

An 11-episode series produced by A-1 pictures and directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai (“My-HiME”, “A Certain Scientific Railgun”) and written by Mari Okada (“AKB0048”, “Vampire Knight”, “Black Rock Shooter”, “Black Butler”), the series revolves around six childhood friends that drifted apart after one of them dies in an accident.

Jinta “Jintan” Yadomi is the main protagonist and as a kid, he was very close to Meiko “Menma” Honma

Together with their friends (which they are known as the “Super Peace Busters”) included Naruko “Anaru” Anjo (who had a crush on Jinta), Atsumu “Yukiatsu” Matsuyuki (who likes Menma and looked at Jinta as his rival for Menma’s feelings), Chiriko “Tsuruko” Tsurumi (has feelings towards Asumu) and Tetsudo “Poppo” Hisakawa (always looked at Jinta as “cool”).

On the day before “Menma” died, everyone wanted to know if Jinta loved Menma but being a child and embarrassed, he said he would never fall for someone like her.  Embarrassed, he ran away.  But when she tried to find him, by the time he went to look for her an apologize, it was too late.  She slipped and fell into a river and drowned.

Fast forward into the future and Jinta has become depressed and anti-social after the death of his mother and Menma.  But when Menma reappears as a ghost, at first he thinks it’s his stress manifesting, but when he starts to realize that she has returned, Jinta slowly reunites with his old friends to tell him about his visions of Menma.

Of course, not everyone believes him, as he is the only person that can see her.  But some fans give him the benefit of the doubt and Poppo believes that she may be stuck on Earth because she has a goal that she must reach or a wish that she must fulfill.  But as Menma hears this, she is not sure about her thoughts nor does she remember much.

But as these friends slowly reunite, we learn that not only does Jinta feel guilty about Menma’s death, each of them do for some sort of reason.

And a the eleven episodes delves into each character’s life in the present, they also share with each other their thoughts and the pain they have felt all these years and in many ways, allowing each to receive some type of closure in regards to Menma’s death but giving them the chance to say their final goodbye and vice-versa.

With the film adaptation of “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie”, the film does its best to condense all eleven episodes down to a 99 minute film with new footage to showcase how the characters are doing since their experience (seen in episode 11 of the TV series) with helping out Jinta but also showing flashbacks from those episodes to make up one emotional story.

VIDEO:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is a film that looks gorgeous.  While character designs are shaded, the background art is well-detailed and for the most part, you are drawn with the many cut-scenes and flashbacks but the lush green and vibrant colors instantly grab you.  I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding issues,

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is presented in Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  This is primarily a dialogue-driven soundtrack, so one should not expect to hear a lot coming from the lossless soundtrack.  If anything, the surround channels are more about environment and ambiance.  There is no English dub included.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • TV Spot & Trailers
  • Announcement– (2:32) Film announcement
  • TextlessOpening (Special O.A. Version)

EXTRAS:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” comes with the awesome Aniplex Inc. swag that you expect from the company.  Included is a musical soundtrack which include the following tracks:

  1. Aoi Shiroi 5:39 Galileo Galilei
  2. The Next Morning 1:03 REMEDIOS
  3. Beautiful Seasons With You 4:06 REMEDIOS
  4. Thin Moonlight – Thin As Ice 2:04 REMEDIOS
  5. Secret Feelings – Hidden Feelings of Love 2:52 REMEDIOS
  6. Sink – Frozen Memories 1:35 REMEDIOS
  7. All About her Death – It Has To Do With Her Not Being Here 1:29 REMEDIOS
  8. My Star… – Steady As A Star 4:31 REMEDIOS
  9. Guitar Afternoon – Lazy Afternoons 2:31 REMEDIOS
  10. Secret Feelings – Tender 2:02 REMEDIOS
  11. Before It Gets Dark – While the Sun Sets 1:27 REMEDIOS
  12. I Left You – Did I Leave You 1:58 REMEDIOS
  13. Dynamic Sunset – Words I Heard in the Silent Dawn 1:40 REMEDIOS
  14. Lost Childhood – Wondering About 1:44 REMEDIOS
  15. Dear Love – My Sweet and Most Dearest Love 2:12 REMEDIOS
  16. Sounds Inside The House 1:53 REMEDIOS
  17. Still… – Follow you Still… 1:21 REMEDIOS
  18. On A Silent Afternoon – Childhood Marks On the Wall 2:03 REMEDIOS
  19. Going Crazy Over You – Going Crazy Over Her 3:19 REMEDIOS
  20. I Left You – I’m Here To Make You Cry 6:49 REMEDIOS
  21. Leaving The Ceremony 2:11 REMEDIOS
  22. Not As Friends – Can We Make It Not As Friends 5:40 REMEDIOS
  23. Last Train Home – Twinkle Train Take Us Home 2:47 REMEDIOS
  24. secret base – Kimi ga kureta mono (10 years after Ver.) 5:53 Meiko Homa, Naruko Anjo and Chiriko Tsurumi
  25. When It All Comes To An End 1:25 REMEDIOS
  26. Epilogue… From Time to Time 3:34 REMEDIOS
  27. Circle Game 4:43 Galileo Galilei

Also, include is a slipcover artbox illustrated by character designer Masayoshi Tanaka, a 20-page booklet, four memorial postcards and a double-sided Menma poster.   Also, included is a Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.

Emotional, uplifting, tragic but also a film of hope,  “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is an animated film that will captivate you!

Once in awhile, with a lot of action-driven anime films or films that are deep, hilarious and dramatic, once in awhile, you will run into a film that makes you laugh, makes you cry but most of all, makes you feel happy that you watched it because you enjoyed it so much.

“anohana” was an animated series that was one of the saddest anime series to come out in 2013 but one that made you watch because like all childhood friends, everyone drifts apart.  But in the case of these friends, it was because one friend’s tragic death, everyone had went on their separate ways.

Some harboring guilt or feelings about their friend, Menma’s death that they have kept in their heart for so long.

And now as these young children have grown up to be young adults, they are brought together once again, because of their deceased friend.  A friend who has shown up for some reason and only Jinta can see her.

The film is about child innocence but also holding on to emotions that were kept inside but never said.  The film has a message of letting people know how much you care about them before it’s too late.  And while most people don’t get the opportunity to tell that person how they truly feel, what if you were given that final chance.

I often think about films such as “Ghost” (the classic romantic drama with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore), where the film’s protagonist is murdered and comes back as a ghost and needing to fix things in order to go back to heaven.  With “anohana”, Menma is somewhat a ghost but one that can be seen by Jinta and also one that is unaware of why she was brought back and not knowing if she would disappear if she was able to make a wish come true.  She doesn’t know.

Of course, Jinta seeing the deceased Menma is hard to believe for some individuals until Jinta shares details that only they and Menma knows about.  And to see everyone coming together, but also having these unresolved feelings… it makes for a dramatic and emotional film.

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is more or less an extension of the film.  Like any animated film that tries to condense many episodes of story into one animated film, the fact is that you lose a lot of details, a lot of story and some key emotional moments that made the series so wonderful.

But what you do get is extra footage of the characters in the present time but also connecting the dots to the original series with new scenes that will no doubt make fans appreciative of the new scenes, no matter how heartbreaking or sad those scenes are.  If anything, it was great to see how each individual handles Menma’s return but also dealing with these unresolved emotions they have kept inside.

As for the Blu-ray release of “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie”, the picture quality is vibrant, the character design is well done and the background art is fantastic!  While the lossless soundtrack is more dialogue-driven with ambiance played through the surround channels.

While special features are not as many in this release, Aniplex makes up in swag.  You get a 20-page booklet, a musical soundtrack, memorial postcards and a double-sided poster plus an illustrated slipcase.

Overall, “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is a film that manages to carry on the emotional storyline from the 11-episode TV series to an animated film.  While an extension of the series, one who has not seen the film will easily laugh and cry by its storyline and possibly lead them into watching the entire series.

Emotional, uplifting, tragic but also a film of hope,  “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is an animated film that will captivate you and a Blu-ray release that I highly recommend!

 

A Certain Scientific Railgun – Season One, Part Two (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“A Certain Scientific Railgun” is a humorous, fun and action-packed series with characters that eventually grow on you overtime.  Again, it is different from “A Certain Magical Index” but that’s probably a good thing as the series focuses more on the friendships of the girls trying to enjoy teenage life but yet have super abilities.  If you enjoyed “A Certain Magical Index” or an anime fan who is looking for an action series that is fun and primarily featuring all female characters, definitely give “A Certain Scientific Railgun” a chance!

Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: A Certain Scientific Railgun – Season One, Part Two

DURATION: Episodes 13-24

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: 13+

Release Date: April 16, 2013

Originally created by Kazuma Kamachi

Original Manga by Motoi Fuyukawa

Original Character Designs by Kiyotaka Haimura

Directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai

Series Composition by Seishi Minakami

Music by Maiko Iuchi

Character Design by Yuichi Tanaka

Art Director: Tomonori Kuroda

Mecha Animation Director: Yukinobu Tuneki

Anime Production by J.C. Staff

Featuring the following voice talent:

Rina Satou/Brittney Karbowski as Mikoto Misaka

Satomi Arai/Alison Viktorin as Kuroko Shirai

Aki Toyosaki/Cherami Leigh as Kazari Uiharu

Atsuko Tanaka/Anastasia Munoz as Harumi Kiyama

Kana Ueda/Trina Nishimura as Mii Konori

Kanae Itō/Brina Palencia as Ruiko Saten

Minako Kotobuki/Jamie Marchi as Mitsuko Kongō

Misaka’s electro-manipulation abilities – and delightfully destructive Railgun projectile move – make her a rockstar in Academy City. The techno-metropolis is packed with supernaturally powered students known as espers, including Misaka’s flirty friend and roommate, Kuroko. She uses her teleportation skills as a member of the Judgment law enforcement team, fighting crime alongside her fellow agent Uiharu.

Joined by their friend Saten, a spunky Level 0 esper, Misaka, Kuroko, and Uiharu have a blast taking on danger whenever and wherever it arises. Luckily, in a city full of super-powered gangs, mad scientists, and the occasional weird monster, the girls have no problem finding plenty of excitement, action, and adventure!

Contains episodes 13-24.

What is causing the “Poltergeist” incidents around the city and are multiple espers suffering from RSPK syndrome and losing control of their abilities simultaneously? Mikoto and friends try to find out in “A Certain Scientific Railgun – Season One, Part Two”!

In 2004, writer Kazuma Kamachi and illustrator Kiyotaka Haimura began working on the light novel series “Toaru Majutsu no Index” (A Certain Magical Index). The novel would then receive a manga adaptation in 2007 which was published on “Monthly Shonen Gangan” and a year later, receiving an 24-episode anime adaptation courtesy of J.C. Staff, followed by a second season airing in 2010-2011.

The series would go on to have a spinoff manga series titled “A Certain Scientific Railgun” (Toaru Kagaku no Rerugan) which would be published in 2007 and a release in the US in 2011. The anime series for “A Certain Scientific Railgun” aired on Tokyo MX in 2009-2010 and with the second season airing in Japan in April 2013 titled “Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S”, FUNimation is releasing the first season on DVD in America on April 16, 2013.

Like “A Certain Magical Index”, “A Certain Scientific Railgun” is produced by J.C. Staff and is directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai (“My-HIME”, “anohana: The Flower We Saw that Day”, “Waiting in the Summer”), series composition by Seishi Minakami (“Birdy the Mighty: Decode”, “Shakugan no Shana III: Final”, “Living for the Day After Tomorrow”, “Bakuman”), music by Maiko Iuchi (“Dog Days”, “Waiting in the Summer”), character designs by Yuichi Tanaka (“Mass Effect: Paragon Lost”, “Natsuiro Kiseki”, “Samurai 7”) and art direction by Tomonori Kuroda (“Sola”, “Aria the Scarlet Ammo”, “Ai Yori Aoishi”, “Hayate the Combat Butler!!”).

“A Certain Scientific Railgun” is set during the same time of “A Certain Magical Index” and in Academy City, a technologically advanced academic city located in Western Tokyo which studies scientifically advanced superhuman students with powers. Some who join an organization known as Judgment and using their special abilities for good and keeping peace in the city.

The series focuses on Mikoto Misaka, an electromaster and the third most powerful of the seven Level 5 espers in Academy City. Mikoto attends Tokiwadai Middle School, one of the elite schools in the city.

The city is currently holding a “System Scan” to test the power levels of several schools including Tokiwadai Middle School.

In the latter part of the first half of the season, it was revealed that Dr. Kiyama was assigned by her boss, Gensei Kihara, to be a teacher of a group of “Child Errors” and prepare them for an experiment.  Dr. Kiyama began to be fond of these children but somehow these children had ended up in comas and Kihara covered it up.

So, Dr. Kiyama has been trying to find ways to save her students using a Tree Diagram, but was denied. And due to the frustrations that she experienced, an AIM burst had manifested.  And the result was Mikoto taking on the AIM Burst.

By second season, it’s back to the fun and games for the girls.  Episode 13, begins with the group participating in a swimsuit photoshoot, Mitsuko gets attacked by the Skill-Out gang Big Spider but is saved by a mysterious red-headed man with a spider tattoo.  A man who may have a link to Mii.

As the group participates in a video game battle, a trip to the park and Midsummer festival, things start to go crazy once against when a Poltergeist incident occurs where the girls are.  Is it Dr. Kiyama or is someone else involved?

The main characters of “A Certain Scientific Railgun” are:

  • Mikoto Misaka – A powerful Electromaster who is known as “The Railgun”. She attends Tokiwadai Middle School, a school for the wealthy and one of the elite schools of Academy City. She also has a strong sense of morals and hates injustice.
  • Kuroko Shirai – A level 4 psychic and a member of Judgment. She is an eser that can teleport and has a big crush on Mikoto. She gets very jealous when others get Mikoto’s attention, especially Toma.
  • Kazari Uiharu – A student at Sakugawa Middle School and a member of Judgment. Best friends with Ruiko Saten and is known for wearing flowers on her head. Often shy and humble, but known for her sweet tooth.
  • Mitsuko Kongou – A student at Tokiwadai Middle School that can utilize the “Aero Hand”. She is Kuroko’s rival.
  • Ruiko Saten – A student at Sakugawa Middle School who does not have an esper ability. Best friends with Kazari Uiharu and is addicted to urban legends.
  • Mii Konori – A member of Judgement and senpai to Kuroko and Uiharu. She is also the Chief of the 177th Branch of Judgment and has the power of X-ray vision.
  • Telestina Kihara Lifeline – The head of the Multi Active Rescue unit (MAR) and is currently investigating earthquakes happening in Academy City.
  • Toma Kamijo – The main protagonist for “A Certain Magical Index”. A teenager who has a high sense of justice and despite having a psychic rank of zero, has a mysterious power of the Imagine Breaker which nullifies all magic, psychic or divine powers and unfortunately, his good luck. But because of his sense of justice, each person he comes in contact with develop respect or love towards Toma because of his willingness to protect them.
  • Dr. Harumi Kiyama – A Cerebral physiologist who tends to want to take off her clothes when she’s hot.  Revealed to be a scientist trying to save a group of children that she experimented on.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“A Certain Scientific Railgun” is an anime series presented in 1080p High Definition. Art backgrounds are well-detailed, with some environements looking very beautiful and character designs are well-shaded. For those familiar with “A Certain Magical Index” will be familiar with J.C. Staff’s style to this anime series. But for the most part, the series looks very good and surprised it was not released on Blu-ray.

Audio is presented in English 5.1 surround and Japanese stereo. The English soundtrack has better dynamic range as one would expect form its 5.1 soundtrack compared to the front-channel driven Japanese stereo track. Voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“A Certain Scientific Railgun – Season One, Part Two” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 17 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Jade Saxton (Komoe), Martha Harnes (Yomokawa) and Kara Edwards (Tesso).
  • Episode 24 Audio Commentary– Featuring audio commentary by Zac Bolton (ADR Director), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Therestina) and Anastasia Munoz (Kiyama).
  • Textless Opening and Ending Songs – Textless version of “Only My Railgun”, “Level 5”, “Dear My Friend” and “Real Force”.
  • Trailers – FUNimation trailers

For those looking for an anime series with a dose of humor, fun and action, will surely find “A Certain Scientific Railgun” to their liking.

A bit different from “A Certain Magical Index” which had a more darker storyline, a big part of the charm of “A Certain Scientific Railgun” are its characters and their mannerisms.

And after a considerable battle featured in the first half, things become more fun as the girls partake in a bikini photoshoot, going to the park, going to the festival but also dealing with people from one’s past.  But for those wanting those major battles and that special twist will surely find it by episode 20.

But for the most part, this is a series about friendship and a group of girls with abilities that somehow get involved in situations involving criminals or bad people. We see both Mikoto and Kuroko get into the thick of things but we eventually learn each other’s character traits. Mikoto’s naiveness, Kuroko who is from Judgment is still a girl with a teenage crush on Mikoto and then other characters who lend their expertise (or somehow get involved in the trouble), getting themselves involved.

And of course, the humor with Kuroko always wanting to glomp Mikoto or Dr. Kiyama always wanting to take off her clothes when hot, is quite funny because it always happens in the most unexpected situations.

But there is this underlying storyline created from the first half that relates to the Poltergeist incidents and the girls wondering if Dr. Kiyama is up to no good or is she a person worth trusting?  Also, a new antagonist is revealed, and I suppose one can say “expect the unexpected” when the reveal is made.

As for the DVD, the animation and art background by J.C. Staff is very well done. It does surprise me that there is no Blu-ray release of this series but for the most part, the series is well-acted on both English and in Japanese with the English getting a better treatment with its 5.1 soundtrack over its Japanese 2.0 counterpart. But fans should be pleased with the animation, art and voice acting of “A Certain Scientific Railgun”. Also, you get two audio commentaries included in part one.

Is there anything negative about the series, really there isn’t anything that I can think of that is negative unless one compares it to the more action-driven “A Certain Magical Index”. But it’s good to keep things different and “A Certain Scientific Railgun” is more upbeat and fun, but you can also expect a good dose of action as well.

Overall, “A Certain Scientific Railgun” is a humorous, fun and action-packed series with characters that eventually grow on you overtime.  Again, it is different from “A Certain Magical Index” but that’s probably a good thing as the series focuses more on the friendships of the girls trying to enjoy teenage life but yet have super abilities.

If you enjoyed “A Certain Magical Index” or an anime fan who is looking for an action series that is fun and primarily featuring all female characters, definitely give “A Certain Scientific Railgun” a chance!

A Certain Scientific Railgun – Season One, Part One (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“A Certain Scientific Railgun” is a humorous, fun and action-packed series that is recommended for fans who enjoyed “A Certain Magical Index”!

Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: A Certain Scientific Railgun – Season One, Part One

DURATION: Episodes 1-12

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: 13+

Release Date: April 16, 2013

Originally created by Kazuma Kamachi

Original Manga by Motoi Fuyukawa

Original Character Designs by Kiyotaka Haimura

Directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai

Series Composition by Seishi Minakami

Music by Maiko Iuchi

Character Design by Yuichi Tanaka

Art Director: Tomonori Kuroda

Mecha Animation Director: Yukinobu Tuneki

Anime Production by J.C. Staff

Featuring the following voice talent:

Rina Satou/Brittney Karbowski as Mikoto Misaka

Satomi Arai/Alison Viktorin as Kuroko Shirai

Aki Toyosaki/Cherami Leigh as Kazari Uiharu

Atsuko Tanaka/Anastasia Munoz as Harumi Kiyama

Kana Ueda/Trina Nishimura as Mii Konori

Kanae Itō/Brina Palencia as Ruiko Saten

Minako Kotobuki/Jamie Marchi as Mitsuko Kongō

Misaka’s electro-manipulation abilities – and delightfully destructive Railgun projectile move – make her a rock star in Academy City. The techno-metropolis is packed with supernaturally powered students known as espers, including Misaka’s flirty friend and roommate, Kuroko. She uses her teleportation skills as a member of the Judgment law enforcement team, fighting crime alongside her fellow agent Uiharu.

Joined by their friend Saten, a spunky Level 0 esper, Misaka, Kuroko, and Uiharu have a blast taking on danger whenever and wherever it arises. Luckily, in a city full of super-powered gangs, mad scientists, and the occasional weird monster, the girls have no problem finding plenty of excitement, action, and adventure!

In 2004, writer Kazuma Kamachi and illustrator Kiyotaka Haimura began working on the light novel series “Toaru Majutsu no Index” (A Certain Magical Index).  The novel would then receive a manga adaptation in 2007 which was published on “Monthly Shonen Gangan” and a year later, receiving an 24-episode anime adaptation courtesy of J.C. Staff, followed by a second season airing in 2010-2011.

The series would go on to have a spinoff manga series titled “A Certain Scientific Railgun” (Toaru Kagaku no Rerugan) which would be published in 2007 and a release in the US in 2011. The anime series for “A Certain Scientific Railgun” aired on Tokyo MX in 2009-2010 and with the second season airing in Japan in April 2013 titled “Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S”, FUNimation is releasing the first season on DVD in America on April 16, 2013.

Like “A Certain Magical Index”, “A Certain Scientific Railgun” is produced by J.C. Staff and is directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai (“My-HIME”, “anohana: The Flower We Saw that Day”, “Waiting in the Summer”), series composition by Seishi Minakami (“Birdy the Mighty: Decode”, “Shakugan no Shana III: Final”, “Living for the Day After Tomorrow”, “Bakuman”), music by Maiko Iuchi (“Dog Days”, “Waiting in the Summer”), character designs by Yuichi Tanaka (“Mass Effect: Paragon Lost”, “Natsuiro Kiseki”, “Samurai 7”) and art direction by  Tomonori Kuroda (“Sola”, “Aria the Scarlet Ammo”, “Ai Yori Aoishi”, “Hayate the Combat Butler!!”).

“A Certain Scientific Railgun” is set during the same time of “A Certain Magical Index” and in Academy City, a technologically advanced academic city located in Western Tokyo which studies scientifically advanced superhuman students with powers.  Some who join an organization known as Judgment and using their special abilities for good and keeping peace in the city.

The series focuses on Mikoto Misaka, an electromaster and the third most powerful of the seven Level 5 espers in Academy City.  Mikoto attends Tokiwadai Middle School, one of the elite schools in the city.

The city is currently holding a “System Scan” to test the power levels of several schools including Tokiwadai Middle School.

In the first few episodes, we are introduced to a few members of Judgment and how they become friends with Mikooto and how some of them use their abilities against criminals.  Meanwhile, Mikoto is irked whenever she runs into a guy named Toma Kamijo, a teenager who has a high sense of justice and despite having a psychic rank of zero, has a mysterious power of the Imagine Breaker which nullifies all magic, psychic or divine powers and unfortunately, his good luck. But because of his sense of justice, each person he comes in contact with develop respect or love towards Toma because of his willingness to protect them.   For Mikoto, she is unaware of her feelings but knowing that for some reason, Toma bothers her.

Meanwhile, the girls begin to work with Dr. Kiyama, but is she friend or foe?

The main characters of “A Certain Scientific Railgun” are:

  • Mikoto Misaka – A powerful Electromaster who is known as “The Railgun”. She attends Tokiwadai Middle School, a school for the wealthy and one of the elite schools of Academy City. She also has a strong sense of morals and hates injustice.
  • Kuroko Shirai – A level 4 psychic and a member of Judgment.  She is an eser that can teleport and has a big crush on Mikoto.  She gets very jealous when others get Mikoto’s attention, especially Toma.
  • Kazari Uiharu – A student at Sakugawa Middle School and a member of Judgment.  Best friends with Ruiko Saten and is known for wearing flowers on her head.  Often shy and humble, but known for her sweet tooth.
  • Mitsuko Kongou –  A student at Tokiwadai Middle School that can utilize the “Aero Hand”. She is Kuroko’s rival.
  • Ruiko Saten – A student at Sakugawa Middle School who does not have an esper ability.  Best friends with Kazari Uiharu and is addicted to urban legends.
  • Mii Konori  – A member of Judgement and senpai to Kuroko and Uiharu.  She is also the Chief of the 177th Branch of Judgment and has the power of X-ray vision.
  • Telestina Kihara Lifeline – The head of the Multi Active Rescue unit (MAR) and is currently investigating earthquakes happening in Academy City.
  • Toma Kamijo – The main protagonist for “A Certain Magical Index”. A teenager who has a high sense of justice and despite having a psychic rank of zero, has a mysterious power of the Imagine Breaker which nullifies all magic, psychic or divine powers and unfortunately, his good luck. But because of his sense of justice, each person he comes in contact with develop respect or love towards Toma because of his willingness to protect them.
  • Dr. Harumi Kiyama – A Cerebral physiologist who tends to want to take off her clothes when she’s hot.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“A Certain Scientific Railgun” is an anime series presented in 1080p High Definition.  Art backgrounds are well-detailed, with some environements looking very beautiful and character designs are well-shaded.  For those familiar with “A Certain Magical Index” will be familiar with J.C. Staff’s style to this anime series.  But for the most part, the series looks very good and surprised it was not released on Blu-ray.

Audio is presented in English 5.1 surround and Japanese stereo. The English soundtrack has better dynamic range as one would expect form its 5.1 soundtrack compared to the front-channel driven Japanese stereo track. Voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“A Certain Scientific Railgun – Season One, Part One” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 3 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Brina Palencia (Ruiko) and Cherami Leigh (Kazari).
  • Episode 6 Audio Commentary– Featuring audio commentary by Brittney Karbowski (Mikoto) and Alison Viktorin (Kuroko).
  • Textless Opening and Ending Songs – Textless version of “Only My Railgun” and “Dear My Friend”.
  • Trailers – FUNimation trailers

For those who have watched “A Certain Magical Index” and enjoyed the anime series, will find “A Certain Scientific Railgun” to be a show that continues the fun and humor of the series but also its action and that is one thing viewers can expect from this series, to be action-packed!

While I enjoyed “A Certain Magical Index” for its darker tone, “A Certain Scientific Railgun”, for its first half of the season, is primarily character building episodes.  Featuring a variety of female characters who are friends of Mikoto and how each of them are around her and how they get involved in a variety of cases or happen to be in the wrong place in the wrong time.

There is a difference between the two series.  With “A Certain Magical Index”, there was this back-story revolving around Index and people trying to capture her and of course, Toma being a low level Esper but actually having a special ability that makes him even more powerful than other powerful Espers.  But we get to see how Mikoto ends up running into Toma and the correlation between both series.

But for the most part, this is a series about friendship and a group of girls with abilities that somehow get involved in situations involving criminals or bad people.  We see both Mikoto and Kuroko get into the thick of things but we eventually learn each other’s character traits.  Mikoto’s naiveness, Kuroko who is from Judgment is still a girl with a teenage crush on Mikoto and then other characters who lend their expertise (or somehow get involved in the trouble), getting themselves involved.

And of course, the humor with Kuroko always wanting to glomp Mikoto or Dr. Kiyama always wanting to take off her clothes when hot, is quite funny because it always happens in the most unexpected situations.

But the series does start to get a bit darker and more complex around episode 9.  Especially when the girls become intrigued with a “Level Upper” that levels up a person’s skills.  But is it real or a myth?

As for the DVD, the animation and art background by J.C. Staff is very well done. It does surprise me that there is no Blu-ray release of this series but for the most part, the series is well-acted on both English and in Japanese with the English getting a better treatment with its 5.1 soundtrack over its Japanese 2.0 counterpart. But fans should be pleased with the animation, art and voice acting of “A Certain Scientific Railgun”. Also, you get two audio commentaries included in part one.

Is there anything negative about the series, really there isn’t anything that I can think of that is negative unless one compares it to the more action-driven “A Certain Magical Index”.  But it’s good to keep things different and “A Certain Scientific Railgun” is more upbeat and fun, but you can also expect a good dose of action as well.

Overall, “A Certain Scientific Railgun” is a humorous, fun and action-packed series that is recommended for fans who enjoyed “A Certain Magical Index”!

Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia – Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

October 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” is an anime series that combines its characters from the idol world of the popular video game series with an alternative mecha storyline that Sunrise Studios is known for.  The first half features an action-packed, enjoyable and captivating storyline and I can’t wait to see how the second half of the season plays out.  If you are looking for a mecha anime series with upbeat characters (primarily all-female), definitely give “Idolm@aster: Xenoglossia” a chance!

Image courtesy of © Sunrise/Bandai Visual. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia – Collection 1

DURATION: Episode 1-13 (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, Japanese 2.0, Dolby Digital, English subtitles

COMPANY: Sunrise/ Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14 VD

Release Date: October 16, 2012

Originally created by Hajime Yatate

Original Character Design by Toshiyuki Kubooka

Directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai

Music by Tsuneyoshi Saito

Character Design by Hiroshi Takeuchi

Art Director: Toshiyuki Tokuda

Chief Animation Director: Hiroshi Takeuchi

Mechanical Design by Junichi Akutsu

Anime Production: Bandai Visual/Sunrise

Featuring the following voice talent:

Yui Horie as Yukiho Hagiwara

Yuka Iguchi as Haruka Amami

Yukari Tamura as Iori Minase

Ami Koshimizu as Yayoi Takatsuki

Eri Kitamura as Makoto Kikuchi

Kaori Nazuka as Ami Futami

Kaori Shimizu as Chihaya Kisaragi

Mai Nakahara as Ritsuko Akizuki

Momoko Saito as Mami Futami

Tomo Sakurai as Azusa Miura

Akeno Watanabe as Hakobe

Akira Ishida as Karasu

Chihiro Kusaka as Gojou

Daisuke Ono as Naraba Daido

Eiji Miyashita as Yoshinaga

Emiri Katō as Hotoke

Hiroshi Naka as Yokoyama

Kazuhiro Nakata as Joseph Shingetsu

Mamiko Noto as Naze Munakata

Mikako Takahashi as Sorewa Suzuki

Naomi Shindoh as Chikako Minamoto

Nozomi Sasaki as Suzuna

Ryoka Yuzuki as Hotaru Yasuhara/Serika

107 years ago, the Moon was destroyed in a massive cataclysm that shattered Earth’s former satellite into 81 quintillion tons of orbital debris. However, thanks to super-science, the Earth itself was saved and today no one really thinks much about that century-past disaster. Which is why when teenage Haruka Amami auditions for something called the Idolmaster Project, she thinks she’s trying out to be a singing idol. Instead, Haruka finds herself at a secret school run by the Mondenkind Agency, living with a group of other girls who have also been selected as candidates to pilot an IDOL – an advanced robot specifically designed to intercept falling chunks of moon rock.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough Idols for all the potential pilots, and there are some who will do anything to earn the coveted seats, even if the consequences are lethal. And then there’s the question of whether the Idols are really just robots, because from almost the first moment, Haruka starts to feel emotions resonating from within the Idol called Imber. The mysteries are mounting, the competition is furious and the mission to save Earth is on!

Back in 2005, Namco would create the popular arcade video game known as “The Idolm@ster”.  Based on the career of a fictional producer for a production studio, many games have been released for the XB360, Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3 and its characters would appear in other Namco Bandai video games.

In 2007, the first anime series titled “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” is based on the video game series and was created by the anime studio, Sunrise (best known for their Gundam and mecha series).

And why not combine the idol-factor of “The Idolm@ster” and Sunrise’s mecha themed series?  But taking the characters that were popular from the video games and putting them in a brand new mecha-themed storyline?   And sure enough, you get “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia”.

The anime series begins with Haruka Amami, a teenage girl who dreams of becoming an idol.  She’s shy, not so confident of herself but during an audition, she captures the attention of the staff.

And next thing you know, Haruka receives a letter that she has passed her audition and will become an idol and must leave to Tokyo to start her new career and meet with her new agency.

While she and also another girl named Yukiho Hagiwara who has also been invited to the agency are excited for their new singing careers, other members such as the very hotheaded Iori Minase, the tomboyish but proud Makokoto Kikuchi await for Haruka to arrive.  So they can begin training.

But as Haruka and Yukiho arrive and enjoy the scenery of Tokyo and see the fragments of what was once the moon (a.k.a. “Kompeito”) before meeting with their agency Mondenkind, the two are caught in the middle between a skirmish between member of Mondenkind and Turiavita.  Mondenkind trying to protect the world, while Turiavita are more determined to find and acquire all IDOLS.

The fight gets so rough, that Haruka’s communication device awakens a mecha known as Imber, a mecha that has been dormant and non-functional for a long time.  But somehow Haruka has awaken it, to the surprise to the members of Mondenkind and Turiavita.  When the Turiavita attacks, the mecha Prometheus-1 Imber comes to Haruka’s rescue and places her into its cockpit.  And the skirmish between both groups, comes to an end.

When Haruka arrives to meet with the agency and ask about the idol position, she is informed that she was auditioned to become an idol.  But not a singing idol, but an IDOLmaster who can pilot the the mecha to save the world from drops.

A drop is the remnants of the moon, after its destruction 107 years ago that is falling towards Earth.  It’s up to the IDOLmasters to pilot their IDOLS to destroy  the drops.  It’s also important to note that IDOLmasters can only be female and the IDOL must pick out their IDOLmaster.  And in this case, Imber has chosen Haruka to be its IDOLmaster.

But Haruka’s naivety and inexperience, she makes up with determination and persistence.  And as her relationship with fellow IDOLmasters begins to strengthen, as wit her bond with her IDOL, what happens when she gets attacked by the rival agency who try to kill her?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen and in Japanese 2.0 with English subtitles.

When it comes to anime series, “Sunrise” is one of the longer running, well-known anime studios in Japan.  And “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” manages to keep the look of the characters as seen in the “idolm@ster” video game series but also feature beautiful background art and mecha design.  The background scenery is well-painted and well-detailed.  Fans of the “Idolm@ster” games will no doubt enjoy the look for the series and for those who expect the quality from Sunrise, they deliver with so many different locations and scenes, characters design featuring different outfits and also use of technology.

It would have been great to see an anime series such as “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” in HD via Blu-ray but for the most part, the series looks very good on DVD!

Subtitles are in English and are in yellow with a black border and are easy to read.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia – Collection 1” comes with the following special features:

DISC 2:

  • SHORTS 1-5:  Featuring a total of five comedy shorts (on disc 2) that are about 5 minutes long.

 

As a fan of the “Idolm@ster” video games, at first, I was curious about “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” because the anime studio behind the anime was Sunrise.  Typically, with Sunrise, I’m use to watching mecha or sci-fi anime related series, so I found a bit odd at first.

But with “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia”, you get both idol and mecha together in one anime series.

Fans of the video game series will be happy to see characters like Haruka, Yukiho, Iori and Makoto (to name a few), appear in the series.  And the characters and their traits are somewhat carried over to “Xenoglossia”.

The series pretty much focuses on one girl for the first half.  Haruka is naive, a bit clumsy and thinks that she is going to be an idol pop singer.  But in reality, she’s going to be an IDOLmaster that pilots mecha known as IDOLS.  Through the series, we see how she gets along with her fellow IDOLmaster teammates.

Haruka was the primary character of “The Idolm@ster” and for the first few episodes, she is the primary focus.  But then the series starts to focus on the actual team itself.

Unlike the video games, Yukiho is not a cry baby but more of a person who sleeps a lot, more of the cheerleader of the group and also is often looked at special because her breasts are bigger than the other girls.  Iori’s snobbish behavior of the video game also extends to the anime series.  Thinking she is the best, she is not afraid to speak her mind.  And Makoto, who was seen as the “pretty-boy” idol in the video games, has the tomboyish appearance in the anime series and these young women all represent Mondenkind.

And like “The Idolm@aster” which pitted Studio 765 vs. Studio 961, the anime series pits two organizations against each other…Modenkind vs. Turiavita.

So, fans should be happy that “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” does retain the character styles from the video games.  And while music is not the focal point of these idols, there is quite a bit of music featured in the series soundtrack.

But this is a mecha anime series.  Plenty of action and emotional angst, while “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” can be comparable to other mecha-related series such as “Bubblegum Crisis”, the camaraderie of “Strike Witches” and even a little “Gunbuster” thrown in.  But then for your antagonist, you have another side of female pilots of Turiavita with their IDOLS who don’t seem too evil or bad, but because they are enemies, we see how the Turiavita will do all they can to hurt the Mondenkind pilots.

With the first half of the series, as mentioned, the series focused on Haruka but manages to integrate the other team members.  While Haruka is able to treat her IDOL Imber with compassion, Yukiho is unable to have that similar connection.  Meanwhile, Makoto who is Mondekind’s best pilot does not have any emotional feelings towards her IDOL.  She sees them as mecha to be controlled not as beings or like Haruka tries to have an emotional connection with them.

And because of this, the series storyline ends with her being at her most vulnerable when she needs the power of her IDOL, Prometheus-2 Nebula.  And what happens because of that lack of connection to her IDOL.

And will definitely lead to a more chaotic second half because who knows what will happen to Mondekind without their best pilot.

As for the DVD, as one can expect from Sunrise, animation compliments the video game series while the art background and mecha design are trademarks of the studio.  For a TV series, the art backgrounds are well-detailed and painted and it’s one of those series that you wish was released in HD because it looks very good for an animated TV series.  You do get five comedy shorts included as special features as well!

Overall, the first half of “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia” is quite promising.  For fans of the video games, the characters are given new life in this alternative world storyline and as a mecha anime series with its fair share of action, the series also is fascinating, action-packed and a lot of fun!

If you are looking for an action-packed mecha anime series with upbeat characters (primarily all-female), definitely give “Idolm@aster: Xenoglossia – Collection 1” a chance!

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