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Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions” is a captivating fantasy tale that will no doubt attract RPG video gamers and action/adventure anime fans. With several volumes of the light novel having been published, one can only hope that more episodes and seasons are created because this is one anime series that I would love to watch more of. Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Ao Jumonji,  OVERLAP/Grimgar. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions

ORIGINAL TV AIR DATE: 2016

DURATION: 12 Episodes (335 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: May 2, 2017


Originally created by Ao Jumonji

Directed by Ryosuke Nakamura

Script by Ryosuke Nakamura

Music by R.O.N.

Original Character Design by Eiri Shirai

Character Design by Mieko Hosoi

Art Director: Hidetoshi Kaneko

Chief Animation Director: Mieko Hosoi

Animation Production by A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Ricco Fajardo as Haruhiro

Chika Anzai/Jad Saxton as Mary

Daisuke Namikawa/Todd Haberkorn as Kikkawa

Fukushi Ochiai/Jarrod Greene as Moguzo

Haruka Terui/Sarah Wiedenheft as Shihoru

Hiroki Yasumoto/Mike McFarland as Brittany

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Orion Pitts as Ranta

Mamiko Noto/Jamie Marchi as Barbara

Mikako Komatsu/Jeannie Tirado as Yume

Nobunaga Shimazaki/Justin Briner as Manato

Tomokazu Seki/Jason Liebrecht as Renji



Back in 2013, writer Ao Jumonji and illustrator Eiri Shirai collaborated on a Japanese light novel series titled “Hai to Genso ni Gurimugaru” (“Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions”).  With a total of nine novels created, a manga adaptation by Mutsumi Okubashi was serialized in “Gangan Joker” in 2015.

Due to the popularity of the series, a 12-episode anime series produced by A-1 Pictures aired in Japan from January through March 2016 and an OVA followed afterward.

The series is directed and written by Ryosuke Nakamura (“Aiura”, “Nana”, “Psychic School Wars”, “Moryo no Hako”), music by R.O.N. (“Aquarion Logos”, “Solty Rei”, “Unlimited Fafnir”), character design by Mieko Hosoi (“Aiura”, “Aoi Bungaku”) and art direction by Hidetoshi Kaneko (“”Devil Hunter Yohko”, “Chance Pop Session”, Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals”, “Jubei-Chan the Ninja Girl”, “Mermaid’s Scar”, “X”).

And now the “Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions” is available on Blu-ray/DVD courtesy of FUNimation.

The story follows a young man named Haruhiro and several people who awaken in a fantasy world and remember nothing but their own names.  They all find out that they must become Trainee Volunteer Soldiers and must support themselves to survive and that is by killing goblins to earn money.  As many of the strong join groups, Haruhiro and others were not chosen and so they form their own group.

As Haruhiro and his friends become Trainee Volunteer Soldiers, they must join forces to survive and train and use their skills to defeat goblins.

The primary characters in “Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions” are:

  • Haruhiro – A softspoken person who is level-headed and becomes the group’s thief.
  • Yume – She is brave and is the hunter of the group.   She often tries to protect Shihoru and is att odds with Ranta.
  • Shihoru – The shy member of the group. She is a mage.
  • Ranta – The Dark Knight of the group.  He is perverted and outspoken and tends to cause trouble with the group because of his rash decisions.
  • Manato – The teams priest (healer) and the group leader.  A strategist that sees the positive in each member of the group.
  • Moguzo – The tallest and heaviest member of the group and the team’s warrior.  Loves cooking.
  • Mary – A priest (healer) who became colder due to the death of her friends.
  • Renji – Arried the same time Haruhiro and others but has graduated from being a trainee quickly.

VIDEO:

“Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions” is presented in 1080p High Definition and A-1 Pictures did a wonderful job with this series.  The backgrounds are nicely painted and look like it was painted with watercolors.  Meanwhile, characters are well shaded and colors are vibrant.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions” is presented in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  Dialogue and music including environment and ambiance are well-utilized throughout the surround channels for the lossless English dub soundtrack.  Both soundtracks are well-acted but in terms of channel utilization, with the English lossless soundtrack receiving a 5.1 treatment, that soundtrack has an edge.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions” comes with the following special features:

  • OVA 2.5 – Staking Our Youths on the Bath Wall – One More Centimeter
  • Episode 04 Video Commentary – Featuring Funimation staff Godswill (social media coordinator), Casey (promo video) and Ian (senior graphic designer)
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions” comes with the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.


For those who play video games, I’m sure the gamer had once thought, “what if we were in our own video game?”.

It’s something I know my RPG-loving friends have joked about and while we have seen anime where characters’s avatars or consciousness were trapped in a video game (ala “.Hack” or “Sword Art Online”) but what if people were transported into a fantasy world where they fought in classes like an RPG video game?

This is somewhat of the idea in “Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions”.  Numerous people transported to a fantasy world and they have no choice but to fight or die.

Fighting is the only option for one to make money, buy food or purchase things and to do that, you must become a soldier.  And for these new people who have arrived, they immediately must become Trainee Volunteer Soldiers and join up in guilds.  Train and learn new skills and fight goblins who will do all they can to kill you.

The anime series focuses on a group of people who were not selected to join a major guild, so they join forces and become their own group.  And as they become friends and try to learn how to use their skills to fight goblins, they don’t know how bad the dangers are until one of their own is killed.

And now they must find a way to continue on, grow as a team and protect each other.

Featuring beautiful animation and beautifully painted backgrounds courtesy of A-1 Pictures, the anime series looks vibrant and gorgeous on Blu-ray.  The lossless soundtrack for both English and Japanese soundtracks are fantastic but the English soundtrack gets an edge as it was made into a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, while the Japanese version is a stereo lossless soundtrack.

“Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions” come with an OVA and an episode 4 video commentary by the English dub talent.

Overall, “Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions” is a captivating fantasy tale that will no doubt attract RPG video gamers and action/adventure anime fans.  With several volumes of the light novel having been published, one can only hope that more episodes and seasons are created because this is one anime series that I would love to watch more of.

Recommended!

Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement” is a series that will interest those who continue to play the “Sengoku Basara” video games and those who have watched the previous anime series and the animated film. With the many characters featured, literally there can be new “Sengoku Basara” anime series dedicate to various army’s and multiple storylines. This third series focuses on the Battle of Sekigahara and focuses on Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu. All in all, an anime series with a good combination of humor and action but also more of a focus on human emotion after tragedy. If you enjoy “Sengoku Basara”, definitely give “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” a try!

Image courtesy of © CAPCOM/TEAM BASARA. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: December 27, 2016


Directed by Takashi Sano

Series Composition by Natsuko Takahashi

Character Design by Michinori Chiba

Art Director: Daisuke Jinba

Chief Animation Director: Toshimitsu Kobayashi, Yumenosuke Tokuda

Anime Production by Telecom Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kazuya Nakai/Robert McCollum as Date Masamune

Souichiro Hoshi/Johnny Yong Bosch as Sanada Yukimura

Tomokazu Seki/Matthew Mercer as Ishida Mitsunari

Toru Ohkawa/Liam O’Brien as Tokugawa Ieyasu

Ami Koshimizu/Kat Steel as Tsuruhime

Fumihiko Tachiki/Mark Stoddard as Ohtani Yoshitsugu

Jun Fukuyama/Tony Oliver as Kobayakawa Hideaki

Kenichi Ogata/R. Bruce Elliott as Shimazu Yoshihiro

Mamiko Noto/Laura Bailey as Oichi

Masakazu Morita/Eric Vale as Maeda Keiji

Natsuko Kuwatani/Stephanie Sheh as Kasuga

Noriaki Sugiyama/Brittney Karbowski as Otomo Sourin

Rikiya Koyama/Richard Epcar as Kuroda Kanbee

Romi Park/Greg Ayres as Uesugi Kenshin

Takehito Koyasu/Michael Sinterniklaas as Sarutobi Sasauke

Tessho Genda/Chris Ayres as Takeda Shingen

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Travis Willingham as Katakura Kojuro


Get ready for the hacking, slashing battle of a lifetime in a new adaptation of the Sengoku Basara franchise. The new installment, based on the world created by Capcom, revolves around one massive conflict featuring mechanized samurai, mystical ninjas, gun-toting warriors, and a blinding array of deadly special moves! During the turbulent period of warring states, numerous feudal lords sought to rule the land of the rising sun. With Nobunaga defeated, Hideyoshi lead a brutal campaign to wipe out the remaining combatants. His ambitions were crushed, however, when he was betrayed by the idealistic Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu’s rebellion marked the start of a new conflict that would put old and new alliances to the test as Hideyoshi’s loyal followers began plotting their revenge, and the other remaining lords prepared their armies for the showdown at Sekigahara.


When it comes to video games that feature samurai’s and a general taking on hoards of enemies, in the US, “Samurai Warriors” (similar to Dynasty Warriors) from KOEI is well-known. But in Japan, CAPCOM began their own series known as “Sengoku Basara” (Devil Kings) which takes place during the Sengoku period and a similar concept as their rivals and has also earned its strong fan following.

In 2005, the first game was released for the Sony Playstation 2 and was released in the U.S. (as “Devil Kings”) but unfortunately, CAPCOM tried to change the whole story of the Sengoku period by trying to connect it to their “Devil May Cry” series in order to attract players but because of the changes and the localization crew feeling they needed to make it more difficult in America, needless to say, it was a failure. People wanted the same game that was in Japan and within the last six years, there have been numerous video game releases.

In Japan, two seasons of “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings” aired. Followed by “Sengoku Basara II” in 2010, a film version titled “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” was released in 2011 and in 2014, a third TV series titled “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” based on the video game “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes” was released and was released by Funimation.

What is “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement” about?

The third anime series is much different from the previous two seasons as the previous were animated by Production I.G. and now the series is produced by Telecom Animation Film.  As this storyline is considered an “alternate setting” and instead of focusing on many battles, the storyline focuses on the Sekigahara Battle and takes place after the death of Oda Nobunaga.

The anime series takes place during the Sengoku Period and the warlord Oda Nobunaga was betrayed and killed by his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide.  Toyotomi Hideyoshi would defeat Mitsuhide and would launch an attack on Odawara Castle, home of the Houjoi Clan.

As the Date Army got involved with the battle, they were defeated by Toyotomi’s warrior, Ishida Mitsunari.

Toyotomi’s attack was short-lived as Tokugawa Ieyasu would defeat Toyotomi Hideyoshi and kill him in combat.  But another force tried to attack Tokugawa’s forces, Oda Nobunaga’s sister, Oichi.   As for Toyotomi’s army, the new leader would now be led by Ishida Mitsunari.

Meanwhile, word gets through to Chousokabe Motochika that his land had been attacked by his friend, Tokugawa.  And due to his betrayal, Chousokabe wants revenge.

And as everyone worries about war in the land, new alliances are formed.  Who will be left standing?


VIDEO:

“Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the animation from Telecom Animation is slightly different from Production I.G. when it comes to character design and also background designs.  It’s subjective to the viewer and I’m slightly biased towards Production I.G., but I will say that Telecom Animation did a good job.

Colors are absolutely vibrant and bold. Also, very good lighting effects throughout the film.  I detected no banding, artifacting or anything negative about the picture quality for “Sengoku Basara: The Last Party”.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” is presented in lossless English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. Personally, I enjoyed the Japanese soundtrack because the generals sound much more menacing while I felt the English dub, as good as it is, sometimes I feel certain voice talent are overly used and they sound the same for no matter what characters they play.

Personally, I enjoyed the Japanese soundtrack because the generals sound much more menacing while I felt the English dub, as good as it is, sometimes I feel certain voice talent are overly used and they sound the same for no matter what characters they play. In the first season, I mentioned that although I enjoy Johnny Yong Bosch’s acting work when it comes to “Bleach”, but his Yukimura (Sengoku Basara) sounds like an annoying version of Ichigo (Bleach). But with that being said, the English dub has grown on me and felt the FUNimation English dub actors did a fine job.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“SSengoku Basara: Edge of Judgement” contains the following special features:

  • Episode 01 Audio Commentary – Audio Commentary by Taliesen Jaffe (ADR Director) and Michael Sinterniklaas (voice of Sarutobi Sasuke).
  • Episode 03 Audio Commentary – Audio Commentary by Christopher Bevins (ADR Director), Robert Mccollum (voice of Data Masamune) and Eric Vale (voice of Maeda Keiji).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song – Featuring “Thunderclap” and “Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~”.
  • Trailers

There is no doubt that in Japan, “Sengoku Basara” has a pretty strong fan following from its video games and anime series, especially among the cosplayers who are often seen doing group cosplay of the characters from the series.

For “Sengoku Basara”, it’s a popular video game series that has tried to make these warring clans (that happen to live in the same time period) and generals with amazing abilities take on each other. But in order to keep the storylines fresh for the video games, alternate settings are going to be common place and the same can be said for the “Sengoku Basara” anime series.

In the case of “Sengoku Basara”, because there are many characters, instead of focusing on a certain historical battle of the same two people, the series tends to focus on other characters.

“Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” is the third series and the two characters foucused on is Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu.  For those not familiar with Japanese history, the “Battle of Sekigahara” was a battle that would establish the Tokugawa shogunate and prove to people the power and leadership of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

The series focuses on the storyline of Oda Nobunaga as the person who had control of most of Japan until he was betrayed by his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide.  Toyotomi Hideyoshi avenged his master.  And this is where the anime series differs from history as Tokugawa Ieyasu betrays Toyotomi Hideyoshi, leaving Hideyoshi’s warrior Ishida Mitsunari to seek revenge on his former friend.

In the first series, we saw various battles between Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune vs. Oda Nobunaga and Kojuro vs. Mitsuhide.  In the second series, the series focused on Toyotomi Hideyoshi as the antagonist.

And for this third anime series, we have Ieyasu Tokugawa as the main antagonist and Mitsunari wanting revenge on Ieyasu for killing his master, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

The other characters have significant roles but more of showing which their allegiance lies.  Fans of Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura may be surprised that their significance in the series is decreased, but they still remain important to the storyline.

And it’s probably best to leave it at that because of the numerous characters featured, unless you are familiar with the game and the anime series, just the sheer mention of the characters and the alternate plots will confuse people.

But I will say that if you followed the anime and the video games, “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” is an interesting way to keep the storyline fresh as it’s an anime with new motivations, interesting perspectives but most of all, a focus on different characters, but yet also introducing new characters as well.  Also, how this series tend to show more of the human emotion after the deaths of various leaders and how certain individuals are affected by the deaths.

The third series features a new anime production team with Telecom Animation in charge, but cast of both the Funimation series and the video game series are involved in the third series as it was a collaboration between Funimation and Capcom as mentioned in the first audio commentary.

Animation is very good, but it’s subjective as I’m sure there are those who prefer Production I.G.’s animation and those who may prefer the Telecom Animation animation.  But the anime series is colorful and vibrant and both lossless soundtracks are well-done with the English dub having an edge with the 5.1 lossless soundtrack.

Overall, “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement” is a series that will interest those who continue to play the “Sengoku Basara” video games and those who have watched the previous anime series and the animated film.  With the many characters featured, literally there can be new “Sengoku Basara” anime series dedicate to various army’s and multiple storylines.  This third series focuses on the Battle of Sekigahara and focuses on Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu.  All in all, an anime series with a good combination of humor and action but also more of a focus on human emotion after tragedy.

If you enjoy “Sengoku Basara”, definitely give “Sengoku Basara: End of Judgment” a try!

PSYCHO-PASS Season 1 – Complete Collection – Premium Edition (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

psycho-pass-s1

“PSYCHO-PASS” is a sci-fi crime thriller with cool characters, a captivating and also excitingly dark storyline and awesome animation from Production I.G.   And for fans of the series, if you love “PSYCHO-PASS”, then you will definitely want to check out the “PSYCHO-PASS Season 1 – Complete Collection – Premium Edition”!  Highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © PSYCHO-PASS Committee. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: PSYCHO-PASS Season 1 – Complete Collection

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2012-2013

DURATION: Episodes 1-22 (550 Minutes)

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

RATED: TV M

COMPANY: FUNimation

RELEASE DATE: March 11, 2014

Chief Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro

Directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani

Series Composition by Gen Urobuchi

Music by Yuugo Kanno

Character Design by Kyoji Asano

Art Director: Koji Eto

Mechanical Design: Shinobu Tsuneki

Anime Production: Production I.G.

Featuring the voices of:

Kana Hanazawa/Kate Oxley as Akane Tsunemori

Tomokazu Seki/Robert McCollum as Shinya Kōgami

Akira Ishida/Scott Freeman as Shuusei Kagari

Kenji Nojima/Josh Grelle as Nobuchika Ginoza

Kinryuu Arimoto/Jason Douglas as Tomomi Masaoka

Miyuki Sawashiro/Lydia Mackay as Shion Karanomori

Noriko Hidaka/Stephanie Young as Dominator

Shizuka Itou/Lindsay Seidel as Yayoi Kunizuka

Takahiro Sakurai/Alex Organ as Shōgo Makishima

Yoshiko Sakakibara/Linda Leonard as Jōshū Kasei

Welcome to a world where just thinking about a crime is enough to enough to make you guilty. Bad intentions can no longer be hidden, and the police know exactly which tainted minds are about to cross over to the wrong side of the law. The great equalizer in the war on thugs is the Dominator, a futuristic weapon that can read minds and assess the risk that a citizen will turn criminal.

Cops work in teams made up of Enforcers and Inspectors. Enforcers take out the bad guys, Inspectors stop their partners from going rogue, and the all-powerful Sibyl System keeps a watchful eye on us all. Society is paralyzed by its deepest, darkest desires, and trial by jury has been replaced by the wrath of the Dominator. Welcome to the future. How guilty are you?

psycho-pass-s1-b

In Japan,  Katsuyuki Motohiro is a respected TV and filmmmaaker.

From directing the popular “Odoru Daisousassen” drama and film series (known as “Bayside Shakedown” in Asia and the U.S.), “Udon”, “Shaolin Girl” and “Space Travelers”, Katsuyuki Motohiro was given a chance to work on an anime series.  And in this case, becoming the executive producer for Production I.G.’s series “PSYCHO-PASS”.

Working with director Naoyoshi Shiotani (“Blood-C”, “Blood-C: The Last Dark”, “Tokyo Marble Chocolate”), writer Gen Urobuchi (creator of the “Fate/Zero” series and writer of “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”) and producer Joji Wada (“Guilty Crown”, “Kimi ni Todoke”, “Robotics;Notes”, “Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings”), “PSYCHO-PASS” became a popular anime series and now a sequel and a film was announced in Japan.

Here in the United States, “PSYCHO-PASS” was released by FUNimation as a Blu-ray+DVD combo with a two-set release and also a complete collection premium edition bundled with a soundtrack, decal, ID holder, keychain and slipcase.

“PSYCHO-PASS” aired on Fuji TV’s Noitamina from Oct. 2012 through March 2013 and help spawn a manga series and also several novels.

“PSYCHO-PASS” is set in the year 2113, during a time when the Sibyl System can measure a person’s mental state, personality and probability of a person committing a crime by utilizing a cymatic scan of the brain known as “Psycho-Pass”.

If the Crime Coefficient of an individual is too high, they are pursued by the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division and are apprehended or taken down with lethal force.

The female protagonist of the series is Akane Tsunemori, a new rookie inspector for the PSBCI and each inspector are partnered with a special team of latent criminals known as Enforcers.

One of the Enforcers that she is partnered with is Shinya Kogami, the male protagonist of the series who is a former inspector who took on the Specimen Case which somehow increased his Crime Coefficient to an abnormal level.  With the death of an Enforcer working under him during a case, the Sibyl System has demoted him and thus his limited freedom has made him an Enforcer for Akane.

But for the PSBCI, an inspector and enforcer must use a special weapon known as “Dominators”.  Weapons that can only fire at criminals with a higher-than-acceptable Crime Coefficient.

The first half of the series features Akane going on cases with the Enforcers.  Unlike other inspectors, despite passing exams with high scores, she is unwilling to see people who have been deemed as criminals to be killed. And that is what attracts Kogami in working for Akane, because of her calm-demeanor and her way of handling situations prevents him from killing anyone.

Currently, the PBSCI are trying to capture their #1 target, Shingo Makishima.  A man responsible for Kogami’s demotion, the death of his Enforcer.  But unlike other criminals and despite of his crimes, his Crime Coefficient levels never reach dangerous levels and so, inspectors and enforces can not fire at him because has has managed to beat the Psycho-Pass system.

Will Akane and Kogami be able to capture the ruthless Shingo Makishima?

“PSYCHO-PASS” features the following characters:

Akane Tsunemoto – A rookie inspector for the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division.  Top at her class in employment exams, she joined the police because of her high scores and believes she can make a difference.  But unlike other inspectors who will not hesitate to kill, she would rather give people a chance and let justice handle them than having them killed.  But what happens when she crosses paths with the sadistic Shingo Makishima?

Shinya Kogami – A former inspector of Unit One turned enforcer.  During a case, his Crime Coefficient skyrocketed to abnormal levels and due to the death of an enforcer, he was demoted to an Enforcer by the Sibyl System because of his violent actions.  But working with Akane, has made him calm.  He has trained himself, so his superiors will never have to worry about killing criminals.

Nobuchika Ginoza – A veteran inspector working with Akane and responsible for coordinating the Enforcers of Unit One.   He has a hatred for those with higher Crime Coefficients.

Tomomi Masaoka – The eldest Enforcer of Unit One.  He is responsible for guiding Akane and teaching her how the system works.  He is a former detective who’s dislike for the Sibyl System has made him an enforcer due to a Psycho-Pass done on him.

Shusei Kagari – An Enforcer of Unit One. And often seen joking or flirting with Akane.

Yayoi Kunizuka – The only female Enforcer of Unit One.  Very calm and cool!

Shion Karanomori – An enforcer and an analyst for the Public Safety Bureau’s General Analysis Division.  Her responsibility is to analyze data and evidence.

Joshu Kasei – The Chief of the Bureau.

Shogo Makishima – The primary antagonist who has managed to elude the Public Safety Bureau and has managed to bypass the Psycho-Pass and keep his Crime Coefficient down despite his murderous crimes.

VIDEO:

I think it’s a given when you see Production I.G. attached to an anime series, you expect quality!  Not only in character designs but also background art.  And once again, Production I.G. has delivered with “PSYCHO-PASS”.

The anime series is presented in 1080p High Definition but for it’s overall animation direction, there is a hint of softness which I believe to be more intentional but it’s definitely one of the more stylish anime series that I have seen released in the United States for 2014.

The character designs for the series is fantastic!  I love the character designs, the outfits and the actual shading that goes for each character.  And while this quality is a norm for Production I.G., compared to a lot of anime series, not many studios put so much into character designs and anime backgrounds and giving the overall series a high-production feel.

While the series leans more towards the darker/softer side instead of vibrant and colorful, “PSYCHO-PASS” still looks wonderful on Blu-ray!  I didn’t notice any major banding or artifacts during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO:

“PSYCHO-PASS” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  And as expected, the English dub track has a better dynamic range and is much more surround driven because of its 5.1 soundtrack.  But overall, both soundtracks are well-acted, especially the Japanese soundtrack for the more emotional scenes.  Dialogue is crystal clear, as with the music on both lossless tracks.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“PSYCHO-PASS Season 1 – Complete Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • EPISODE 5 COMMENTARY – Featuring audio commentary by Scott Freeman (voice of Shusei Kagari), Lydia Mackay (voice of Shion Karanomori) and Lindsay Seidel (voice of Yayoi Kunizuka).
  • EPISODE 11 COMMENTARY – Featuring audio commentary by Kate Oxley (voice of Akane Tsunemori), Rob McCollum (voice of Shinya Kogami) and Alex Organ (voice of Shogo Makishima).
  • EPISODE 13 COMMENTARY – Featuring audio commentary by Zach Bolton (ADR Director), Jason Douglas (voice of Tomomi Masaoka) and Josh Grelle (voice of Nobucika Ginoza).
  • EPISODE 18 COMMENTARY – Featuring audio commentary by Zach Bolton (ADR Director), Stephanie Young (voice of Dominator) and Linda Leonard (voice of Joshu Kasei).
  • Psycho-Pass at Sakura-Con Part 1 – (21:20) Featuring interviews with Executive Director Katsuyuki Motohiro, Director Naoyoshi Shiotani and Producer Joji Wada.
  • Psycho-Pass at Sakura-Con Part 2 – (20:17) Featuring interviews with Executive Director Katsuyuki Motohiro, Director Naoyoshi Shiotani and Producer Joji Wada plus coverage of the PSYCHO-PASS cosplayers at “Sakura-Con”.
  • Textless Opening Song and Closing Songs
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer for “PSYCHO-PASS”.

Read our J!-ENT 20th Anniversary 575-page special issue with our article with the creators of “PSYCHO-PASS”!

Prior to watching “PSYCHO-PASS”, the mere mention of Katsuyuki Motohiro’s name was enough for me to want to watch this anime series!

Having seen the impact and being entertained by his live action drama and movie series “Odoru Daisousassen”, it was an instant given for me that I have to watch this series because of his focus on characters but also the conflicts that police officers often are under, especially against a major criminal.

And in the case of “PSYCHO-PASS”, the collaboration between Katsuyuki Motohiro and Production I.G. was a win-win!

Having watched the series from beginning to end, what makes “PSYCHO-PASS” so captivating is its characters and storyline.  We get to see the characters of Akane Tsunemori and Shinya Kogami grow throughout the series and because of its number of characters, there are episodes that are strong in character development and showing the viewer how various people became enforcers, also seeing Akane being tested for her demeanor and being analyzed via Psycho-Pass especially when Akane comes across the antagonist Shogo Makishima.

By episode 15, things go into full-swing as the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division pursues Shogo Makishima and more revelations of the Sybil System are revealed.

Without spoiling the series, I will say that I look forward to season two as there are many twists and turns throughout this series but fans who love sci-fi (especially in a “Blade Runner” type of way), will no doubt enjoy “PSYCHO-PASS” for its strong storyline.  It’s important to note that this series is not for the timid as there is a lot of violence and it was one of the major criticisms in Japan was because of its graphic violence.  But to show how sadistic the antagonist, Shogo Makishima is… and so, the series definitely hooks people as a crime thriller as well. But definitely, not an anime series for the kids or those who do not like to see violence.

It’s important to note that FUNimation has released two parts of “PSYCHO-PASS” season 1 for those who are not interested in the premium edition.

While I am reviewing primarily the discs, the premium edition does come with awesome swag which include the soundtrack CD’s, a Criminal Investigation Division Logo Decal, a Criminal Investigation Division ID holder and a Criminal Investigation Division Business Card Case and Keychain, all housed in an exclusive chipboard artbox.

Overall, “PSYCHO-PASS” is a sci-fi crime thriller with cool characters, a captivating and also excitingly dark storyline and awesome animation from Production I.G.

And for fans of the series, if you love “PSYCHO-PASS”, then you will definitely want to check out the “PSYCHO-PASS Season 1 – Complete Collection – Premium Edition”!  Highly recommended!

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