Top

KanColle Kantai Collection (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“KanColle Kantai Collection” is an action anime series inspired by the popular browser-based and PS Vita video game. It’s a series that caught Japan by storm in 2015 and now the anime series is available on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S.  A great compliment to the video games, if you are intrigued about war at sea and cute anime characters, “KanColle Kantai Collection” is a series I recommend!

Image courtesy of © 2014 KanColle Headquarters. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: KanColle Kantai Collection

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: Episode 1-12 (300 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Funimation

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: June 27, 2017


Originally concept by Kensuke Tanaka

Original Story by Kensuke Tanaka

Directed by Kanzou Kusakawa

Series Composition by Jukki Hanada

Music by Natsumi Kameoka

Character Design by Mayuko Matsumoto, Naomi Ide

Art Director: Maho Takahashi

Chief Animation Director: Mayuko Matsumoto, Naomi Ide

Anime Production: diomedea


Featuring the following voice talent:

Felecia Angelle/Sumire Uesaka as Fubuki

Jeannie Tirado/Yuka Iguchi as Kaga

Tia Ballard/Saki Fujita as Akagi

Alexis Tipton/Nao Toyama as Kongou

Amber Lee Connors/Yuka Otsubo as Ooi

Apphia Yu/Aya Suzuki as Hibiki

Brittney Karbowski/Ayane Sakura as Sendai

Camille Liedtka/Aya Suzuki as Inazuma

Cherami Leigh/Rina Hidaka as Mutsuki

Dawn M. Bennett/Nao Toyama as Hiei

Elizabeth Maxwell as Nagato

Jad Saxton/Ayane Sakura as Naka

Kristi Kang/Nao Toyama as Atago

Lara Woodhull/Aya Suzuki as Ikazuchi

Leah Clark/Yumi Tanabe as Yudachi

Megan Shipman/Ayane Sakura as Shimakaze

Monica Rial/Aya Suzuki as Akatsuki

Morgan Berry as Kitakami

Morgan Garrett/Ayane Sakura as Mutsu

Natalie Hoover/Ayane Sakura as Jintsu

Sarah Wiedenheft/Iori Nomizu as Zuikaku


Fubuki is a Special Type Destroyer who has just been assigned to the Naval District. With a grand total of zero battles under her belt, she’s sure to sink fast under the pressure of expectation. Luckily, she’s grouped with Torpedo Squadron Three, and they’re ready to support their new comrade. Together, they’ll prove they have what it takes to defend the ocean and win it all for humanity.


In Japan, “Kantai Collection” a.k.a. “KanColle” has captivated fans thanks to the concept, the characters and the video game.

Created as a Japanese free-to-play web browser games from Kadokawa Games, in 2015, the game had around 3 million registered players.

The series has been released as a manga series, light novels, tabletop RPG and a PlayStation Vita game.  And to coincide with the game’s release, an anime series was released in Japan in January 2015 courtesy of Diomedea.

And now the 12-episode anime series is available on Blu-ray and DVD in the USA courtesy of Funimation.

For those not familiar with “KanColle”, the series is set when humanity has lost the seas to a monstrous fleet.  To counter this monstrous fleet, humanity has donned human girls known as “fleet girls” who wear weaponized outfits and take on various roles in the spirit of historical naval vessels depending on one’s skill.

The anime series revolves around Fubuki, who arrives at the naval base and was recommended to fight in the Third Torpedo Squadron by the admiral.  But no one is sure why, becuase fubuki is always scared, often clumsy and has never fought in battle in her life.

But when she goes out on her first mission and is rescued by Akagi, Fubuki is inspired and wants to do her best in order to train and fight alongside Akagi one day.

The primary characters of “KanColle Kantai Collection” are:

  • Fubuki – The main protagonist.  Clumsy, not a fighting girl but with a heart of a fighter who is inspired by Akagi and trains hard in hopes to one day fight alongside with her.  Fubuki is assigned to the Third Torpedo Squadron and is a Destroyer.
  • Mutsuki – The first fleet girl that befriends Fubuki and is often cheerful.  She is a member of the Third Torpedo Squadron.
  • Yudachi – A destroyer of the Third Torpedo Squadron who is laid back and often says “poi” all the time.
  • Kisaragi – A destroyer who is assigned to the Fourth Torpedo Squadron and is mature, more than her oldest sister Mutsuki.
  • Yayoi/Mochizuki – Two destroyers.  Yayoi lacks emotion, while Mochizuki is often sleepy.
  • Akagi – An aircraft carrier belong to the First carrier Division. She fires arrows with her bow which turns into aircrafts piloted by fairies.
  • Kaga – An Aircraft carrier of the First Carrier Division who frequently accompanies Akagi.  She does not like Shokaku and Zuikaku of the Fifth Carrier Division and refuses to follow Zuikaku’s orders.
  • Shimakaze – A Destroyer who claims to be the fastest in the Southwest Area Fleet.  Hyperactive personality.
  • Yamato – The most powerful naval vessel and her existence is kept as secret.

VIDEO:

“KanColle Kantai Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Animation is very good, detailed and vibrant.  A lot went into the mechanical design and does a great job of enhancing one’s appreciation of the game, because of how the characters and battles are portrayed.  A slightly soft anime series that one can expect from a TV series but a colorful anime series that compliments the video games. Diomedea did a wonderful job with animation and artistic backgrounds.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“KanColle Kantai Collection” is presented in Japanese and English 5.1. Dialogue and musical score is crystal clear and the voice acting is well-done. Great use of the surround channels for action sequences, may it be explosions or blasts, the lossless soundtrack for this anime series is very good.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“KanColle Kantai Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • Promo Videos
  • Commercial Collection
  • Japanese Warnings
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs

EXTRAS:

“KanColle Kantai Collection” comes with the Blu-ray and DVD versions of the anime series.


Back in 2015, I was in Japan to cover Tokyo’s largest anime event, Anime Japan.  And my first introduction to “KanColle” was at Animate in Akihabara.  And sure enough, returning back to the US, I would often see “KanColle” cosplayers.

While English information was a bit sparse at the time, I would eventually discover “KanColle” when I was back in Japan in 2016 and purchased the PlayStation Vita video game and was captivated by the fact that unlike Japanese video games which often featured girls in tanks battling it out, this time around, you have female characters as part of the Navy.

They are essentially the naval ships – Destroyers, Carriers, Heavy and Light Cruisers, you name it and you travel the seas taking on enemies and building your team and characters.

So, when I found out there was an anime series, I was hoping it would come out in the US and now it’s available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

While the video game focuses on the aspect of war and going into battle, the storyline of these characters are focused on in the “KanColle Kantai Collection” anime series.

Revolving around the popular character/Destroyer named Fubuki, we see how this girl who doesn’t look like she can fight, often clumsy and is always scared, would eventually train hard to become a better fighter, a better teammate but also inspired to one day fight alongside the person who inspired her, aircraft carrier Akagi.

There are a ton of characters in the game and there are a ton of characters in the series, but fortunately, the series focuses on Fubuki and her friends from the Third Torpedo Squadron.  We see how these girls train to fight and become better, but we also see how unsafe the waters are and how powerful the enemy is and you’ll see characters perishing during battle.

Needless to say, the anime series compliments the games very well.  Animation is vibrant, well-shaded and detailed, especially the background artwork.  The Japanese and English soundtrack are well done, but it’s interesting because for the Japanese soundtrack, unlike the English dub which casts a different person per role, in the Japanese version, a voice actress may have to do the dubwork for multiple people.  But both soundtracks are well-acted.

As for special features, you get a few of Japanese promotional videos, commercials and warnings.  But there are no major special features like audio commentary or significant featurettes.

Overall, “KanColle Kantai Collection” is an action anime series inspired by the popular browser-based and PS Vita video game. It’s a series that caught Japan by storm in 2015 and now the anime series is available on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S.  A great compliment to the video games, if you are intrigued about war at sea and cute anime characters, “KanColle Kantai Collection” is a series I recommend!

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – Season 1, Part 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The second half of season one of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” is exciting and action-packed!   Featuring a major battle between the human army vs. the vampires!  What will happen when Yu and Mika reunite?  Find out in “Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – Season 1, Part 2”!  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, Daisuke Furuya. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – Season, 1 Part 2

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: Episode 13-24 (300 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: September 27, 2016


Originally created by Daisuke Furuya (Storyboard), Takaya Kagami (Story) and Yamato Yamamoto (Art)

Director: Daisuke TokudoNaoyuki Tatsuwa

Series Composition by Hiroshi Seko

Music by Asami Tachibana, Hiroyuki Sawano, Megumi Shiraishi, Takafumi Wada

Character Design by Satoshi Kadowaki

Art Director: Seiko Yoshioka

Anime Production: Wilt Studio


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kaito Ishikawa/Ian Sinclair as Shiho Kimizuki

Kensho Ono/Justin Briner as Mikaela Hyakuya

Miyu Irino/Micah Solusod as Yuichiro Hyakuya

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Chris Burnett as Yoichi Saotome

Saori Hayami/Felecia Angelle as Shinoa Hiragi

Takahiro Sakurai/Eric Vale as Ferid Bathory

Yūichi Nakamura/Dave Trosko as Guren Ichinose

Yuka Iguchi/Alex Moore as Mitsuba Sangu

Aoi Yūki/Monica Rial as Krul Tepes

Atsumi Tanezaki/Skyler McIntosh as Sayuri Hanayori

Daisuke Ono/Duncan Brannan as Norito Goshi

Kenichi Suzumura/Austin Tindle as Crowley Eusford

Tatsuhisa Suzuki/Jerry Jewell as Shinya Hiragi

Tomoaki Maeno as Kureto Hiragi

Yu Shimamura/Trina Nishimura as Mito Jūjō

Yui Ishikawa as Shigure Yukimi


With the Shinjuku Battle behind him and Mika lost to the side of the vampires, Yuichiro begins searching for a way to turn his old friend back into a human. But first, he and the rest of his squad must focus on controlling the powerful demons they’ve made contracts with. If they hope to survive, they’ll have to walk the line between being possessed by their demon’s powers and being completely consumed by them. As they continue training, a new threat appears in the form of Kureto Hiragi the ruthless lieutenant general of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army. While he prefers to keep his true intentions hidden, Kureto makes it clear he can match the cruelty of any vampire. When he receives intel that the main unit of the vampire army plans to attack again, Guren and the rest of the Black Demon Army are sent on a suicide mission deep behind enemy lines. Their objective: exterminate the vampire nobles before humanity makes its last stand and the Seraph of the End is unleashed.


In 2012, mangaka Takaya Kagami (“The Legend of the Legendary Heroes”), artist Yamato Yamamoto (“Kure-nai”, “Denpa Tei na Kanojo”) and storyboard artist Daisuke Furuya teamed up to work on the dark fantasy manga series “Owari no Serafu”.

While the manga series is ongoing in Japan, the first season of the anime series was released on television in 2015 and was released on Blu-ray + DVD in the US in May 2016.

Produced by Wilt Studios, the anime series is directed by Daisuke Tokudo (“Guilty Crown”, “Hal”), series composition by Hiroshi Seko (“Attack on Titan”, “Ajin: Shototsu”, “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress”), character design by Satoshi Kadowaki (“Attack on Titan”, “Kannagi: Crazy Shine Maidens”) and art direction by Seiko Yoshioka.

“Seraph of the End” begins with an introduction of how an unknown virus brought the world to a sudden end. Only children under 13-years-old survived and those children were enslaved by vampires.

The story introduces us to an impulsive boy named Yuichiro Hyakuya who wants nothing more but to kill vampires. But his friend Mikaela Hyakuya is a boy who is more levelheaded and tries to get his friend to think straight and know they are not powerful enough to defeat them.

For Yuichiro, he wants nothing more but his fellow friends to escape captivity from the underground city of Sanguinem and reach the outside.

And one day, all of them decide to make their escape…but will they be successful?

Yuichiro Hyakuya wants nothing more but to get his revenge on the vampires who killed his friends, especially his best friend, Mikaela Hyakuya, who sacrificed his life in order for Yuichiro to escape.

Fast forward years later and as Yuichiro is wanting to become a member of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, the army responsible for fighting against the vampires, he needs to learn discipline and train for combat. But first he must go through the various tests in school which include being friends with others and being a team player, all are hard for Yuichiro to try and do.

But now is his chance to pass the test to advance, but it means having to partner with another hot-headed teen like himself, who doesn’t mind getting into brawls…Kimizuki.

Will Yuichiro, Kimizuki and Yoichi be ready for their next test? And will Yuichiro make new friends?

Meanwhile, what happened to Mikaela Hyakuya after Yuichiro escaped from the Vampire lair?

In the second half of the first season, Yuichiro still trying to learn more about his special abilities, must find a way to get his cursed gear Asumaru to work with him.

Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, interesting partnerships or rivalries created within the ranks of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and the vampires. The Japanese Imperial Demon Army plans to launch a sneak attack on the vampire nobles and Yuichiro’s team must be ready to go into battle.

The problem is that they continue to work as individuals rather than a team and are not taking the attack as seriously as they should.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Imperial Demon Army is planning to launch a sneak attack on the vampire nobles and Yuichiro’s squad must take on the Fifteenth Progenitor vampire, Lucal Wesker.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Guren Ichinose and Major General Shinya Hiragi work together to take on the Thirteenth Progenitor vampire, Crowley Eusford and vampire nobles, Horn and Chess.

But with their Japanese Imperial Demon Army soldiers being depleted in the war against the nobles, do humans even have a chance?

Or is there a true enemy pulling the strings between the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and the Vampires?


VIDEO:

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

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign” is presented in Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. Dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels and I heard no distortion while watching this anime series. The voice acting is fantastic for both Japanese and English soundtracks. Of course, with the English 5.1 soundtrack having better use of more audio channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – Season 1, Part 2″ comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 16 Commentary – Audio Commentary featuring Alex Moore, Ian Sinclair, Felecia Angelle and Dave Trosco.
  • Episode 21 Video Commentary -Video commentary featuring Monica Rial, Justin Briner, Eric Vale and Austin Tindel.
  • Episode 24 Commentary – Audio commentary featuring Micah Solusod, Garrett Storms, Dave Trosco and Justin Briner.
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • US Trailer
  • Promo Videos
  • BD/DVD Promos
  • Seraph of the Endless Parts 10-13 – (18:49) Hilarious omake that were shown at the end of each episode.

EXTRAS:

“Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign” comes with a slipcover and both the Blu-ray + DVD discs for this first season.


“Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” is a dark fantasy anime series based on the manga by mangaka Takaya Kagami (“The Legend of the Legendary Heroes”), artist Yamato Yamamoto (“Kure-nai”, “Denpa Tei na Kanojo”) and storyboard artist Daisuke Furuya.

The three teamed up to work on the dark fantasy manga series “Owari no Serafu” (“Seraph of the End”) and an anime adaptation courtesy of Wilt Studios. The series was rather enjoyable as the storyline featured children living underground as slaves of vampires. Literally, as cattle that they can feed upon.

Wanting nothing more but to escape the vampires even though they are not powerful, the main protagonist Yuiichiro is your typical headstrong teen who desires nothing more but to defeat them but desperately wants the power to do so.

But in order to join the Demon Army, he must make friends and learn the importance of family. But as for his orphan family and the person he was most close to, Mikaela…what will happen when Yuichiro find out the boy he called brother, has become a vampire?

While Mika became a vampire, he still harbors his hatred towards the vampires. While Yuichiro, thinking Mika is dead, has used his thirst for revenge to become a member of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, the army responsible for fighting against the vampires. And he has trained with his partners and received discipline and power to fight back.

But when he has a chance to kill the vampires, he is shocked to find out that the one he has to kill is Mikaela, and vice versa, as Mikaela finds out the vampire hunters he is to kill, one is Yuichiro.

But now that they know that one another is alive, what will happen to them now?

In the second half of the series, Yuichiro and his team prepare for the army’s sneak attack against the vampire nobles.  But the group are often messing around and not taking things as seriously as they should.

Do they know the ramifications if one of their own is killed in battle?  Are they ready to face the danger that is coming their way?  For now, the army thinks the team has zero chance because their lack of teamwork.

As the army prepares its sneak attack, the group must team up with Makoto Narumi’s team in order to take out the vampire, Fifteenth Progenitor Lucal Wesker.

Also, the series features the battle against Lucal Wesker but showing how the fight against the other nobles have led to the decimation of squads and now, Lt. Col. Guren Ichinose needs whoever is still alive to launch a fight against the powerful vampire, Crowley Eusford and fellow nobles, Chess and Horn.

Meanwhile, Mikaela Hyakyuya, Yuichiro’s childhood friend who has turned into a vampire is looking for him.  But what will he find?

There is quite a bit of potential that leaved me wanting to watch more after all was done, as the humans vs. vampires war seems to get exciting with each episode.

The animation production by Wilt Studio is fantastic! The series is colorful, well-shaded and the art backgrounds was really well done! The series really compliments the original manga style with violence, darkness and more! So, on Blu-ray, picture quality and lossless audio is fantastic! Voice acting is wonderful on both Japanese and English soundtracks, with the English dub getting a nod for its 5.1 lossless soundtrack!

And the Blu-ray also comes with a good number of special features including a video and two audio commentaries!

Overall, the second half of season one of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” is exciting and action-packed!   Featuring a major battle between the human army vs. the vampires!  What will happen when Yu and Mika reunite?

Find out in “Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – Season 1, Part 2”!  Recommended!

 

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – Season, 1 Part 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

seraph1

“Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” is an exciting, dark and kick ass anime series that I look forward for the second season! An exciting and enjoyable anime series that I definitely recommend!

Image courtesy of © Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, Daisuke Furuya. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – Season, 1 Part 1

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: Episode 1-12  (300 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: May 24, 2016


Originally created by Daisuke Furuya (Storyboard), Takaya Kagami (Story) and Yamato Yamamoto (Art)

Director: Daisuke TokudoNaoyuki Tatsuwa

Series Composition by Hiroshi Seko

Music by Asami Tachibana, Hiroyuki Sawano, Megumi Shiraishi, Takafumi Wada

Character Design by Satoshi Kadowaki

Art Director: Seiko Yoshioka

Anime Production: Wilt Studio


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kaito Ishikawa/Ian Sinclair as Shiho Kimizuki

Kensho Ono/Justin Briner as Mikaela Hyakuya

Miyu Irino/Micah Solusod as Yuichiro Hyakuya

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Chris Burnett as Yoichi Saotome

Saori Hayami/Felecia Angelle as Shinoa Hiragi

Takahiro Sakurai/Eric Vale as Ferid Bathory

Yūichi Nakamura/Dave Trosko as Guren Ichinose

Yuka Iguchi/Alex Moore as Mitsuba Sangu

Aoi Yūki/Monica Rial as Krul Tepes

Atsumi Tanezaki/Skyler McIntosh as Sayuri Hanayori

Daisuke Ono/Duncan Brannan as Norito Goshi

Kenichi Suzumura/Austin Tindle as Crowley Eusford

Tatsuhisa Suzuki/Jerry Jewell as Shinya Hiragi

Tomoaki Maeno as Kureto Hiragi

Yu Shimamura/Trina Nishimura as Mito Jūjō

Yui Ishikawa as Shigure Yukimi


The world of Seraph of the End Vampire Reign is overrun with vampires, and humans have been hunted to the brink of extinction. The only way they can fight back is with a series of demonic weapons known as Cursed Gear. Reserved for soldiers with exceptional talent, these weapons require humans to form pacts with ancient demons in exchange for their power.

Yuichiro Hyakuya is a young member of the Moon Demon Company, a prestigious army squadron armed with Cursed Gear and tasked with exterminating vampires. After the blood-sucking monsters killed his family when he was a child, Yuichiro vowed he wouldn’t stop fighting until every last one was dead.

But when a familiar face from his past appears sporting a new set of fangs, the line drawn between good and evil begins to blur. There’s something special about Yuichiro – a dark power that the vampires call the Seraph of the End. When that power is unleashed, will he be the key to humanity’s salvation or its complete destruction? Don’t miss out on the first season of Seraph of the End Vampire Reign!

 


In 2012, mangaka Takaya Kagami (“The Legend of the Legendary Heroes”), artist Yamato Yamamoto (“Kure-nai”, “Denpa Tei na Kanojo”) and storyboard artist Daisuke Furuya teamed up to work on the dark fantasy manga series “Owari no Serafu”.

While the manga series is ongoing in Japan, the first season of the anime series was released on television in 2015 and was released on Blu-ray + DVD in the US in May 2016.

Produced by Wilt Studios, the anime series is directed by Daisuke Tokudo (“Guilty Crown”, “Hal”), series composition by Hiroshi Seko (“Attack on Titan”, “Ajin: Shototsu”, “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress”), character design by Satoshi Kadowaki (“Attack on Titan”, “Kannagi: Crazy Shine Maidens”) and art direction by Seiko Yoshioka.

“Seraph of the End” begins with an introduction of how an unknown virus brought the world to a sudden end. Only children under 13-years-old survived and those children were enslaved by vampires.

The story introduces us to an impulsive boy named Yuichiro Hyakuya who wants nothing more but to kill vampires. But his friend Mikaela Hyakuya is a boy who is more levelheaded and tries to get his friend to think straight and know they are not powerful enough to defeat them.

For Yuichiro, he wants nothing more but his fellow friends to escape captivity from the underground city of Sanguinem and reach the outside.

And one day, all of them decide to make their escape…but will they be successful?

Yuichiro Hyakuya wants nothing more but to get his revenge on the vampires who killed his friends, especially his best friend, Mikaela Hyakuya, who sacrificed his life in order for Yuichiro to escape.

Fast forward years later and as Yuichiro is wanting to become a member of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, the army responsible for fighting against the vampires, he needs to learn discipline and train for combat. But first he must go through the various tests in school which include being friends with others and being a team player, all are hard for Yuichiro to try and do.

But now is his chance to pass the test to advance, but it means having to partner with another hot-headed teen like himself, who doesn’t mind getting into brawls…Kimizuki.

Will Yuichiro, Kimizuki and Yoichi be ready for their next test?  And will Yuichiro make new friends?

Meanwhile, what happened to Mikaela Hyakuya after Yuichiro escaped from the Vampire lair?


VIDEO:

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

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign” is presented in Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. Dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels and I heard no distortion while watching this anime series. The voice acting is fantastic for both Japanese and English soundtracks.  Of course, with the English 5.1 soundtrack having better use of more audio channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – Season 1, Part 1″ comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Commentary – Audio commentary featuring Micah Solusod, Eric Vale and Justin Briner.
  • Episode 8 Commentary – Audio Commentary featuring Alex Moore, Ian Sinclair, Felecia Angelle and Micah Solusod.
  • Episode 11 Volume Commentary – Video Commentary Micah Solusod (voice of Yuichiro), Justin Briner (voice of Mikaela Hyakuya), Felecia Angelle (voice of Shinoa) and Alex Moore (voice of Mitsuba).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs
  • US Trailer
  • Promo Videos
  • BD/DVD Promos
  • Seraph of the Endless Parts 1-9 – (18:49) Hilarious omake that were shown at the end of each episode.

EXTRAS:

“Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign” comes with a slipcover and both the Blu-ray + DVD discs for this first season.


“Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” is a dark fantasy anime series based on the manga by mangaka Takaya Kagami (“The Legend of the Legendary Heroes”), artist Yamato Yamamoto (“Kure-nai”, “Denpa Tei na Kanojo”) and storyboard artist Daisuke Furuya.

The three teamed up to work on the dark fantasy manga series “Owari no Serafu” (“Seraph of the End”) and an anime adaptation courtesy of Wilt Studios.  The series was rather enjoyable as the storyline featured children living underground as slaves of vampires.  Literally, as cattle that they can feed upon.

Wanting nothing more but to escape the vampires even though they are not powerful, the main protagonist Yuiichiro is your typical headstrong teen who desires nothing more but to defeat them but desperately wants the power to do so.

But in order to join the Demon Army, he must make friends and learn the importance of family.  But as for his orphan family and the person he was most close to, Mikaela…what will happen when Yuichiro find out the boy he called brother, has become a vampire?

While Mika became a vampire, he still harbors his hatred towards the vampires.  While Yuichiro, thinking Mika is dead, has used his thirst for revenge to become a member of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, the army responsible for fighting against the vampires.  And he has trained with his partners and received discipline and power to fight back.

But when he has a chance to kill the vampires, he is shocked to find out that the one he has to kill is Mikaela, and vice versa, as Mikaela finds out the vampire hunters he is to kill, one is Yuichiro.

But now that they know that one another is alive, what will happen to them now?

There is quite a bit of potential that leaved me wanting to watch more after all was done, as the humans vs. vampires war seems to get exciting with each episode.

The animation production by Wilt Studio is fantastic!  The series is colorful, well-shaded and the art backgrounds was really well done!  The series really compliments the original manga style with violence, darkness and more!  So, on Blu-ray, picture quality and lossless audio is fantastic!  Voice acting is wonderful on both Japanese and English soundtracks, with the English dub getting a nod for its 5.1 lossless soundtrack!

And the Blu-ray also comes with a good number of special features including a video and two audio commentaries!

Overall, “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” is an exciting, dark and kick ass anime series that I look forward for the second season!

An exciting and enjoyable anime series that I definitely recommend!

 

 

Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

otorimono-a

Another enjoyable arc in the “Monogatari” anime series, “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” focuses on character Nadeko Sengoku, who is haunted by a white snake apparition.  An enjoyable arc worth recommending to Monogatari fans!

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


TITLE: Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 12-16 (100 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: October 28, 2014


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Takahiro Sakura as Meme Oshino


Nadeko encounters a giant snake who claims to be a deity named Kuchinawa. Kuchinawa promises Nadeko that he would grant her wish if she aids him in the search of his object of worship. Little does Nadeko know that obtaining the object of worship will cost her more than what she expected. Koyomi tries to convince Nadeko to let go of the object of worship, but it’s too late, and Nadeko swallows the object and becomes a snake apparition! To make things worse, now Nadeko wants to kill Koyomi and Shinobu Oshino!

Third arc to the Monogatari series’ second season.


Continuing the episodes from the second season of the “Monogatari” series, the storyline focuses on Nadeko Sengoku, Tsukihi Koyomi’s friend since elementary school and a good friend to his sisters.  But one day, she was put in a curse by a classmate in which an invisible snake tried to strangle her.

As the first series, “Bakemonogatari” episodes 9-10 went into the storyline of how Nadeko was cursed by two snakes, this arc features Nadeko as she tries to deal with a giant snake apparition.  Is she imagining things or is this snake for real?

Find out in episode 12-15 of the “Monogatari” series in “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Blu-ray Set Limited Edition” from Aniplex!

Before “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VIDEO:

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

From regular/series looking characters to goofy, cartoonish characters and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

EXTRAS:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition”comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.


otorimono-b

With the latest arc of the “Monogatari” series, the focus shifts towards Nadeko Sengoku, Koyomi’s shy, childhood friend that has liked him.

Unfortuantely, she was cursed by a guy that liked her and a guy she had rejected and became possessed by snake apparitions.  But despite thinking that the snakes were gone, she begins seeing a giant white snake apparition, which survived the events in the “Nadeko Snake” episodes (as seen on the first season of “Bakemonogatari”).

And now the white snake wants her to atone for what she did.

Without revealing too much of what happens during Nadeko’s dealing with the white snake, I will say that this arc was quite interesting to see how Nadeko goes through major changes, as we have seen her more of a shy and even jealous girl.  But this time around, we get to see a bad mouthed version of her, which was quite interesting to see and voice actress Hanazawa Kana did a magnificent job of playing the character for this arc.

As for the Blu-ray release,”Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack. As for special features, you get a 25-minute “Omnibus III” video (which is episode 16 in Japan, a recap of “Tsubasa Cat” and “Nisemonogatari”), on air version textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections.

As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is a storyline that features the psychological challenges that Nadeko Sengoku must face as she is plagued by a white snake apparition.  Is it real or is it all in her head?

Recommended.

Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

kabukimonogatari-a

A well-written, enjoyable arc in the “Monogatari” anime series, “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

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

TITLE: Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Blu-ray Set Limited Edition

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 7-10 (100 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: August 26, 2014

Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Takahiro Sakura as Meme Oshino

At the end of summer vacation, upon the morning of the opening ceremony for the second semester, Tsubasa Hanekawa encounters an enormous tiger on the way to school.

“White. So white… So purely, blandly white…”

Proclaiming Tsubasa as such, the white tiger strides past her and vanishes. Later, Tsubasa’s house is destroyed in a fire. But this is just the beginning of a series of unfortunate incidents for her and the people around her. Koyomi Araragi decides to save her with help from the former “Kiss-Shot,” a legendary vampire.

This limited edition includes a deluxe booklet and a pinup postcard set, with packaging illustrated by character designer Akio Watanabe!

Continuing the episodes from the second season of the “Monogatari” series, the storyline focuses on Mayoi Hachikuji, a fifth-grade elementary school girl ghost that Koyomi keeps seeing.

As Mayoi continues to reach her mother’s home (even though she was killed in a car accident), she is only seen by people who are not wanting to reach their destination.

As a wandering spirit, Koyomi and Shinobu accidentally travel 11 years into the past, the day before Mayoi’s death.

As Koyomi is elated that now he can save Mayoi from her traffic accident and preventing her from turning into a wandering spirit, what happens when Koyomi saves her and how will that affect the timeline in the present?

Find out in episode 7-10 of the “Monogatari” series in “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Blu-ray Set Limited Ediiton” from Aniplex!

Before “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The story focuses on Koyomi’s two sisters Karen and Tsuki with chapters titled “Karen Bee” and “Tsukihi Phoenix”.

The series begins with Koyomi being held captive. When he wakes up, he finds out that Hitagi has captured and imprisoned him. And we are taken to a flashback days before this happened.

While Koyomi was making his rounds of meeting his female friends, one day he comes into contact with an ominous man named Kaiki Deishu. When he tells Hitagi about the man he met, she imprisons him in the sake of protecting him from Kaiki. And that she is determined in getting revenge on the man.

But things hit close to home when Koyomi finds out that Kaiki also unleashed a lethal, supernatural bee on his sister Karen.

In the second storyline for “Tsukihi Phoenix”, after the events of “Karen Bee”, Koyomi starts to recognize his sister Karen in a different way. Especially with his sister flirting with her brother and looking more feminine, Koyomi tries to distract himself from paying attention to his sister, who is wanting her brother to introduce her to his friend Suruga Kanbaru. Knowing that Suruga is not a good influence and worries about his sister being close to her, he issues her a contest of allowing him to brush her teeth for five minutes without stopping him.

Meanwhile, as Koyomi and Karen are heading towards Suruga’s home, they are encountered by Yozuru Kagenui, who is looking for directions. When Koyomi spends time with Mayou, they are both encountered by a girl named Yotsugi Ononoki, also looking for the same address.

What Koyomi doesn’t know is that these two onmyougi’s have targeted someone who is precious to him.

The four episode series “Nekomonogatari (Kuro)” (in Japanese, “Kuro” means black). The story goes into full detail of Tsubasa’s connection to the bakeneko which was featured in episode 11 of “Bakemonogatari” (which featured Koyomi reminiscing of what happened to Tsubasa during Golden Week).

The series starts out with Koyomi and his sister Tsukihi discussing the concept of love and trying to figure out if Koyomi is in love with Tsubasa Hanekawa, the class representative.

During Golden Week, Tsubasa finds a dead white cat in the middle of the road. Wanting to pay her respects to the deceased cat, instead, she is possessed by a bakeneko who happens to gain control of her due to the stress she has been suffering because of her adoptive family.

With the possession of Tsubasa, the apparition is of a woman wearing nothing but underwear with white cat characteristics.

And now bakeneko is on a rampage by trying to attack as many people in order to consume Tsubasa completely.

While “Nekomonogatari Black -Tsubasa Family” is a 4-part OVA prequel to “Bakemonogatari”, the five episode series “Nekomonagatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” is the first story arc of the Second Season titled “Monogatari Series Second Season” (note: there are 26 episodes in the second season).

This time, the series is told by Tsubasa Hanekawa and we learn more about her family background, her feelings towards Koyomi and how she became friends with Hiotagi Senjougahara and also why there were mysterious fires happening in areas that she is familiar with and related to people she knows.

And with “Kabukimonogatari”…

The “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” series continues with episodes 7-10 as the focus is on the fifth grade ghost, Mayoi Hachikuji.

This latest arc features Koyomi and Shinobu accidentally going into the past right before Mayoi is killed in a traffic accident.  Wanting to spare Mayoi from turning into a wandering spirit, what happens when Koyomi decides to save her in the past, how will that affect the present?

VIDEO:

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

From regular/series looking characters to goofy, cartoonish characters and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a 24:18 “omnibus 2” video (which is actually episode 11 – summary from the TV series and is a narration of the “Mayoi Jiangshi” arc), and the textless on air version opening and ending theme.

EXTRAS:

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

kabukimonogatari-b

With the latest arc of the “Monogatari” series, the focus shifts towards Mayoi Hachikuji, the ghost girl that Koyomi often sees walking around.

For those who enjoy this cheery character and the somewhat perverted interactions between Koyomi and Mayoi, viewers can now find out through this arc of why she became a ghost and why she seems to be lost.

But in a twist, seeing what happens when Koyomi and Shinobu go back to the past and instead of Mayoi dying, how saving her has changed the timeline.  And without spoiling the story, let’s just say… all hell breaks loose!

I have to say that this arc was well-planned.  It’s more or less a time-travel story of how changing events can have repercussions, in this case, the repercussions were quite severe.  Unfortunately, just mentioning or summarizing parts of any episode in this arc would be a major spoiler, So, I’ll just leave it as that and say that fans of the “Monogatari” series, will surely enjoy what happens!

As for the Blu-ray release,”Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack. As for special features, you get a 25-minute “Omnibus” video (which is episode 11 in Japan, a recap of the arc), on air version textless opening and ending themes.  Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections.

As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is a storyline that features the happy ghost girl Mayoi, but the repercussions that Koyomi and Shinobu must face after traveling back in time and saving Mayoi from the traffic accident that killed her.

A well-written, enjoyable arc in the “Monogatari” anime series, “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash! (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

senran

 “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” will appeal to fans of the video game series and those who enjoy action-driven anime series with a lot of fan service. It’s not one of the more deeper anime series in this genre but it is entertaining thanks to its diverse characters and their special abilities.  If you are interested in a ninja story with well-endowed female fighters that can kick butt, then “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is for you!

Image courtesy of © 2014 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!

DURATION: 12 Episodes (300 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: Suggested 17+

Release Date: July 29, 2014

Originally Created by Kenichiro Takaki

Original Story by Yukinori Kitajima

Director: Takashi Watanabe

Series Composition: Takao Yoshioka

Music by Ruka Kawada

Character Design: Takashi Torii

Art Director: Shinji Kawaai

Art Director: Shigeto Koyama, Yuji Kaneko

Anime Production: Artland

Featuring the following voice talent:

Asami Imai/Alexis Tipton as Ikaruga

Hitomi Harada/Felecia Angelle as Asuka

Kaori Mizuhashi/Bryn Apprill as Yagyuu

Yu Kobayashi/Brittney Karbowski as Katsuragi

Yuka Iguchi/Megan Shipman as Hibari

Ai Kayano/Trina Nishimura as Yomi

Eri Kitamura/Monica Rial as Homura

Juurouta Kosugi/Phil Parsons as Dougen

Kanehira Yamamoto/Bill Brooks as Hanzo

Keiji Fujiwara/Phillip Weber as Kiriya

Megumi Toguchi/Teri Rogers as Haruka

Ryoko Shiraishi/Kara Edwards as Hikage

Saori Goto/Lara Woodhull as Mirai

Suzuko Mimori/Lydia Mackay as Suzune

Asuka and her friends may look like any other girls at Hanzo Academy, but they’re secretly studying the ancient art of Ninjutsu! While other students do their homework, Asuka and the gang push their beautiful bodies to the breaking point in pursuit of their perfect form. Life is one sexy sparring session after another until a deviously demented rival clan of evil ninjas ambushes the Hanzo hotties – and steals their sacred ninja scroll.

Faced with their toughest – and most well-rounded – enemies ever, Asuka and her fellow deadly divas will have to go further than they’ve ever gone before to prove they’ve mastered the art of full frontal combat!

Back in 2011, the action 3DS video game “Senran Kagura: Shojo-tachi no Shinei” was created.

The video game would lead to “Senran Kagura Burst” for the Nintendo 3DS and for the PS Vita, a 3D fighting game titled “Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus: Shojo-tachi no Shomei” was created and followed by an iOS and Android game titled “Senran Kagura NewWave”.

The video game series has received a lot of attention due to its well-endowed female characters and the popularity of the series would lead to several manga adaptations and an anime adaptation titled “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” courtesy of Artland in Jan. through March 2013.

And now, the TV series will be released on Blu-ray +DVD courtesy of FUNimation.

“Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” introduces us to a group of female shinobi who are secretly trained in the art of ninjitsu.  But these shinobi must keep their skills a secret to the world and attend Hanzo Academy and were created by the Japanese government to counter other ninjas hired by corporations and politicians.

These ninjas from Hanzo Academy include the following characters:

  • Asuka – The protagonist who has problems passing her examination exam.  She wants to be like her grandfather and become a great ninja.
  • Ikaruga – A mature, third year student who is serious about becoming a ninja.
  • Katsuragi – The blonde member of the group who is very perverted and can’t help herself grabbing onto Asuka’s breasts.  Katsuragi wants to be the strongest ninja and is trying to re-establish her family’s lost honor.
  • Yagyu – The ninja prodigy who cares for Hibari.  Known for wearing an eyepatch, she cares for Hibari because of a tragedy from her past.
  • Hibari – A first year student of the group who is childish and clumsy.
  • Kiriya-Sensei – The teacher of the shinobi students.
  • Hanzo – Asuka’s grandfather and the founder of the academy and honored as a great ninja.  But he chose to create his own sushi restaurant.

VIDEO:

“Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is a series that compliments the video games with its CG character designs.  While characters are well-shaded and backgrounds that are primarily Japanese homes and CG.  The series may not be the greatest but it does give fans what they expect and that is many scenes of fan service.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is presented in Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  While the series is well-acted for both Japanese and English soundtracks, the lossless soundtrack is primarily front-channel driven.  Dialogue is crystal clear with the English soundtrack adding a more edgy feel to it with adult humor compared to its Japanese counterpart.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!″ comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 4 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Brittney Karbowski (voice of Katsuragi).
  • Episode 10 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Engineer Chris George and Megan Shipman (voice of Hibari).
  • Promotional Videos – (5:25) Japanese PV for “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!”.
  • Japanese Commercials
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation theatrical trailer for “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!”.

“Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is a series that pays tribute to those familiar with the Nintendo 3DS and Sony Vita video games.

And part of the appeal to the video game series is because the characters are well-endowed fighters and the constant scenes of fan service.

From panty shots, partial clothing and adult situations, the series is no less an extension of the video game series and focuses on the primary members of Hanzo Academy being trained in the ninja arts but encountering other rival ninjas and using their own personal skills and becoming a team.

While the first half of the series features the group encountering dark shinobi or the girls taking part in training, the second half establishes the rival group of Hanzou Academy and that is the members of Homura Gurentai (a.k.a. the Serpent Squad).

By episode 10, we start to learn about the rival school from the Serpent Squad which consists of Homura, Yomi, Hikage, Mirai, Haruka and Suzune and why these girls chose to become dark shinobi and how their is a connection between the Serpent Squad leader and Kiriya-sensei.

For the most part, the animation for “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is nicely done.  The battles are pretty extreme, while backgrounds are nicely detailed and well-painted for a TV series and Artland did a good job in bringing these characters from the video game to the anime series.

But while the storyline of the series is quite simplistic and for the most part enjoyable if you are into fan service/action-driven anime series, compared to similar series with a lot of fan service and action such as “Ikkitousen” or even “Sekirei”, “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is a bit tame.  Sure, you have your fair share of well-endowed characters with glistening boobs and your usual scenes of booby grabbing and panty shots, but it’s the video game tie-in that made me interested in this anime series.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good and well-shaded.  Colors are vibrant and backgrounds are well-painted.  But it’s important to note that this is a television series, so there is a hint of softness.    As for audio, the series features a Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Japanese and English soundtrack, with the English adaptation having a slight edge because of its more Western dialogue and the writers giving the characters a slight edge especially with characters such as Katsuragi.

And as for special features, you get two audio commentaries, promotional video, Japanese commercial and textless opening and ending themes.

Overall, “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” will appeal to fans of the video game series and those who enjoy action-driven anime series with a lot of fan service.

It’s not one of the more deeper anime series in this genre but it is entertaining thanks to its diverse characters and their special abilities.

If you are interested in a ninja story with well-endowed female fighters that can kick butt, then “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!” is for you!

Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

tsubasatiger-a

If you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger-” is essential in learning more about the character of Tsubasa Hanekawa and also the kickoff episodes for the second season of the “Monogatari” anime series. A dramatic and enjoyable five-episode arc, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limtied Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

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

TITLE: Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 1-5 (127 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: June 24, 2014

Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Takahiro Sakura as Meme Oshino

At the end of summer vacation, upon the morning of the opening ceremony for the second semester, Tsubasa Hanekawa encounters an enormous tiger on the way to school.

“White. So white… So purely, blandly white…”

Proclaiming Tsubasa as such, the white tiger strides past her and vanishes. Later, Tsubasa’s house is destroyed in a fire. But this is just the beginning of a series of unfortunate incidents for her and the people around her. Koyomi Araragi decides to save her with help from the former “Kiss-Shot,” a legendary vampire.

This limited edition includes a deluxe booklet and a pinup postcard set, with packaging illustrated by character designer Akio Watanabe!

After the events of “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family”, we learned more about Tsubasa Hanekawa and that the threat of the bakeneko was not completely over.

Now a white tiger has been reborn and this time, unfortunate incidents have followed Tsubasa.   But why does misfortune follow Tsubasa and can she be helped?

Find out in Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger”, available now on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.

Before “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Family”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The story focuses on Koyomi’s two sisters Karen and Tsuki with chapters titled “Karen Bee” and “Tsukihi Phoenix”.

The series begins with Koyomi being held captive. When he wakes up, he finds out that Hitagi has captured and imprisoned him. And we are taken to a flashback days before this happened.

While Koyomi was making his rounds of meeting his female friends, one day he comes into contact with an ominous man named Kaiki Deishu. When he tells Hitagi about the man he met, she imprisons him in the sake of protecting him from Kaiki. And that she is determined in getting revenge on the man.

But things hit close to home when Koyomi finds out that Kaiki also unleashed a lethal, supernatural bee on his sister Karen.

In the second storyline for “Tsukihi Phoenix”, after the events of “Karen Bee”, Koyomi starts to recognize his sister Karen in a different way. Especially with his sister flirting with her brother and looking more feminine, Koyomi tries to distract himself from paying attention to his sister, who is wanting her brother to introduce her to his friend Suruga Kanbaru. Knowing that Suruga is not a good influence and worries about his sister being close to her, he issues her a contest of allowing him to brush her teeth for five minutes without stopping him.

Meanwhile, as Koyomi and Karen are heading towards Suruga’s home, they are encountered by Yozuru Kagenui, who is looking for directions. When Koyomi spends time with Mayou, they are both encountered by a girl named Yotsugi Ononoki, also looking for the same address.

What Koyomi doesn’t know is that these two onmyougi’s have targeted someone who is precious to him.

And then there was “Nekomonogatari Black”…

The four episode series “Nekomonogatari (Kuro)” (in Japanese, “Kuro” means black). The story goes into full detail of Tsubasa’s connection to the bakeneko which was featured in episode 11 of “Bakemonogatari” (which featured Koyomi reminiscing of what happened to Tsubasa during Golden Week).

The series starts out with Koyomi and his sister Tsukihi discussing the concept of love and trying to figure out if Koyomi is in love with Tsubasa Hanekawa, the class representative.

During Golden Week, Tsubasa finds a dead white cat in the middle of the road. Wanting to pay her respects to the deceased cat, instead, she is possessed by a bakeneko who happens to gain control of her due to the stress she has been suffering because of her adoptive family.

With the possession of Tsubasa, the apparition is of a woman wearing nothing but underwear with white cat characteristics.

And now bakeneko is on a rampage by trying to attack as many people in order to consume Tsubasa completely.

And now there was “Nekomonogatari White”…

While “Nekomonogatari Black -Tsubasa Family” is a 4-part OVA prequel to “Bakemonogatari”, the five episode series “Nekomonagatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” is the first story arc of the Second Season titled “Monogatari Series Second Season” (note: there are 26 episodes in the second season).

This time, the series is told by Tsubasa Hanekawa and we learn more about her family background, her feelings towards Koyomi and how she became friends with Hiotagi Senjougahara and also why there were mysterious fires happening in areas that she is familiar with and related to people she knows.

VIDEO:

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

From regular/series looking characters to goofy, cartoonish characters and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a 25-minute “omnibus 1” video, and the textless on air version textless ending theme.

EXTRAS:

“Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and a seven pinup postcard set.

tsubasatiger-b

For those who have followed the “Monogatari” anime series, the release of Aniplex’s “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” marks the beginning of the second season and its first five episodes but the “Tsubasa Tiger” storyline also marks a storyline that relies less on the perverted Koyomi Araragi and focuses more on the life of his classmate Tsubasa Hanekawa.

Tsubasa being the popular student and class representative was shown in previous serious as a teenage girl who seemed quite fine but behind the scenes, her emotions were quite a bit in a turmoil thanks to her relationship with her parents and of course, her true feelings of Koyomi.

These emotions manifested into something entirely and in the process, the bakaneko that once possessed her is now white and one that has seemed to despise her.

These episodes explores Tsubasa discovering the truth about these two entities but also slowly discovering her emotions, her relationship with her parents and friendships with Koyomi and others, but also to find out who has been causing random fires and affecting those who are her friends.

For “Monogatari” fans, these five episodes are essential in knowing more about Tsubasa but at the same time, for those wanting more Koyomi or more of his twin sisters or even Mayou,  Suruga, Nadeko, you’re not going to get it.  These episodes are primarily Tsubasa-driven and she does come in contact with a few people but that contact is only a few minutes long.

On the other hand, for those who want more of the fan service, you are going to get it with the interesting scenes with Hitagi Senjogahara and Tsubasa Hanekawa, so just make sure you don’t have any children around the room while watching these episodes.

As for the Blu-ray release,”Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great.  Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film.  As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo.  While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.  As for special features, you get a 25-minute “Omnibus” video, on air version textless ending and PV & CM collections.

As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for.  The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, seven pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger-” is essential in learning more about the character of Tsubasa Hanekawa and also the kickoff episodes for the second season of the “Monogatari” anime series.  A dramatic and enjoyable five-episode arc, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limtied Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

kuronekomonagatari-a

Crazy antics, perverted humor, fan service, violence and action…”Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition” is a Blu-ray set worth owning if you are a “Monogatari” fan!

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

TITLE: Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 1-4 (107 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: April 22, 2014

Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Takahiro Sakura as Meme Oshino

This story is about an incident that happened before Bakemonogatari.

On his way to the bookstore, Koyomi Araragi encounters Tsubasa Hanekawa whose face is covered with a bandage. The incident allows Koyomi to learn what has been happening in the Hanekawa household, but Tsubasa begs him not to tell anyone about it, saying she’ll do anything to keep him quiet.

Without revealing her family’s circumstances, Koyomi tells of the day’s incident – he and Tsubasa buried a “cat” that had been hit by a car – to Meme Oshino. Meme tells Koyomi that he must immediately go to confirm Hanekawa’s safety. He heads to her house, only to find…

So begins the nightmarish nine days of Golden Week.

What does it mean to be in love?  How do you know you are in love?

For Koyomi Araragi, there is one person he has always been captivated by…Tsubasa Hanekawa.  The class representative, who is very smart, courteous and also a body that Koyomi just loves too look at.

But is he truly in love?  And what happens when the girl he has fallen for, becomes possessed by an apparition?

Find out in “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family”, available now on Blu-ray!

Before “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” there was “Nisemonogatari” and “Bakamonogatari”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The story focuses on Koyomi’s two sisters Karen and Tsuki with chapters titled “Karen Bee” and “Tsukihi Phoenix”.

The series begins with Koyomi being held captive. When he wakes up, he finds out that Hitagi has captured and imprisoned him. And we are taken to a flashback days before this happened.

While Koyomi was making his rounds of meeting his female friends, one day he comes into contact with an ominous man named Kaiki Deishu. When he tells Hitagi about the man he met, she imprisons him in the sake of protecting him from Kaiki. And that she is determined in getting revenge on the man.

But things hit close to home when Koyomi finds out that Kaiki also unleashed a lethal, supernatural bee on his sister Karen.

In the second storyline for “Tsukihi Phoenix”, after the events of “Karen Bee”, Koyomi starts to recognize his sister Karen in a different way. Especially with his sister flirting with her brother and looking more feminine, Koyomi tries to distract himself from paying attention to his sister, who is wanting her brother to introduce her to his friend Suruga Kanbaru. Knowing that Suruga is not a good influence and worries about his sister being close to her, he issues her a contest of allowing him to brush her teeth for five minutes without stopping him.

Meanwhile, as Koyomi and Karen are heading towards Suruga’s home, they are encountered by Yozuru Kagenui, who is looking for directions. When Koyomi spends time with Mayou, they are both encountered by a girl named Yotsugi Ononoki, also looking for the same address.

What Koyomi doesn’t know is that these two onmyougi’s have targeted someone who is precious to him.

And Nekomonogatari Black…

Which leads us to the four episode series “Nekomonogatari (Kuro)” (in Japanese, “Kuro” means black).  The story goes into full detail of Tsubasa’s connection to the bakeneko which was featured in episode 11 of “Bakemonogatari” (which featured Koyomi reminiscing of what happened to Tsubasa during Golden Week).

The series starts out with Koyomi and his sister Tsukihi discussing the concept of love and trying to figure out if Koyomi is in love with Tsubasa Hanekawa, the class representative.

During Golden Week, Tsubasa finds a dead white cat in the middle of the road.  Wanting to pay her respects to the deceased cat, instead, she is possessed by a bakeneko who happens to gain control of her due to the stress she has been suffering because of her adoptive family.

With the possession of Tsubasa, the apparition is of a woman wearing nothing but underwear with white cat characteristics.

And now bakeneko is on a rampage by trying to attack as many people in order to consume Tsubasa completely.

Koyomi must find a way to save Tsubasa but can he?

VIDEO:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design. From regular/series looking characters to goofy, cartoonish characters and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” comes with a “Bakemonogatari” Digest Video, “Monogatari Series” 2nd Season Trailer and the textless opening and ending themes.

EXTRAS:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition” comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and pinup postcard set.

For those looking for a smaller sampling of Nisio Isin’s popular “Monogatari” series, “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” has all the entertainment, fan service, violence, and all-out craziness that was featured in “Bakemonogatari” and “Nisemonogatari” but all in four episodes.

There is no doubt that the “Monogatari” series has its fan following.  It’s a series that has a creative way of showcasing stories, sometimes images and situations that happen so quickly or so random, that you find yourself rewinding to see what you have missed.

But with this latest “Monogatari” series, “Nekomonogatari Black” is based on the sixth novel by Nisio Isin.

The four episodes pretty much explains what had happened to Tsubasa Hanekawa during Golden Week, which was only told by vague and short flashbacks featured in “Bakemonogatari”.  From the origin of the white cat apparition and how a black version was created and how.

But we start to see the correlation and instability of Tsubasa Hanekawa and how she will evolve as a character in the upcoming “Monogatari Series Second Season”.

While fans of the previous two seasons will no doubt find “Nekomonogatari Black” quite enjoyable, for those not familiar with the series and plan to start watching these four episodes first will notice that it’s not exactly a harem anime series but it does provide action, violence and also plenty of fan service.

Some may feel a bit weird (or inappropriate) about Koyomi’s closeness with his sister Tsukihi, especially in this series but as always with the “Monogatari” storylines, there are some strange and unusual things in store for viewers with each series.

So, I have no doubt that there are people who will see these actions as wrong and those who don’t like seeing this, will probably not want to watch this animated series.  While those who look past it will find this series to be Japanese animation and a different perspective than its western counterpart when it comes to brother and sister closeness.

The whole sister complex maybe too crazy for viewers but this series was never created to be politically correct. In fact, this is a perverted anime series plays upon taboo situations with humor. And it’s been a major point of “Bakemonogatari” and “Nisemonogatari”, the writers intend to be audacious but not to the point of taking away from the entire series.

But as mentioned in my reviews for the past two series,  the allure of “Monogatari” is its changing animation and not following banal anime tradition by being like any other series. There is no doubt that the object was to be more perverted and crazy but to also pull off the series with cool style. From its use of colors, use of location, use of differing animated character designs. I enjoyed the series for being different and being crazy!

As for the limited edition Blu-ray set for “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition”, picture quality is fantastic and vibrant, while its uncompressed LPCM 2.0 soundtrack is crisp and clear with English subtitles that are easy to read. You get a slipcase with artwork by Akio Watanabe, character designer of the series and a 24-page booklet. Plus you get an awesome postcard set!

Crazy antics, perverted humor, fan service, violence and action…”Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition” is a Blu-ray set worth owning if you are a “Monogatari” fan!  The four-episode series helps set up the upcoming second season and it also explains in full detail of what happened to Tsubasa Hanekawa during Golden Week (featured in a flashback in “Bakemonogatari”).  And as always, you get the awesome Aniplex swag with the Blu-ray limited edition release.

Recommended!

 

Girls & Panzer: Complete OVA Series (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

girlspanzerova-a

If you enjoyed “Girl & Panzer: Complete TV Series”, then definitely check out “Girls & Panzer: Complete OVA Series”.  It is short at only 74 minutes long and while not essential to enjoying the TV series, this is for fans who want to see more of the girls of Oarai Academy! 

Image courtesy of © 2013 Sentai Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Girls & Panzer: Complete OVA Series

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2012-2013

DURATION: 6 Episodes (75 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATING: TV 14 V

Release Date: February 25, 2014

Directed by Tsutomu Mizushima

Series Composition by Reiko Yoshida

Music by Shiroh Hamaguchi

Original Character Design by Humikane Shimada

Character Design by Isao Sugimoto

Art Direction by Yutaka Onishi

3D Director: Keiichiro Yagino

Anime Production: Actas

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Kayano/Jessica Calvello as Saori Takebe

Ikumi Nakagami/Rebekah Stevens as Yukari Akiyama

Mai Fuchigami/Meg McDonald as Miho Nishizumi

Mami Ozaki/Caitlynn French as Hana Isuzu

Yuka Iguchi/Molly Searcy as Mako Reizei

The girls from Oarai are back, and whether they’re shopping for swimsuits, camping out or doing the Ankou Dance, they bring their own special brand of Tankery to the task at hand. There’s also a tour of the Oarai school ship, a look at what REALLY happened while Yukari and Erwin were out doing reconnaissance, and a team talent contest that’s not to be missed!

girlspanzerova-b

The Tankery girls from Oarai Girls Academy are back in six fun and short OVA episodes as the group goes out to find swimsuits for the beach, discover what else is on the ships where their schools are located and also a post-win celebration in “Girls & Panzer: Complete OVA Series” available from Sentai Filmworks.

What is “Girl & Panzer” about?

In winter 2012 and spring 2013, the Japanese anime TV series “Girls und Panzer” captivated audiences in Japan for its cute girls who take part in tank battles and utilize tank strategies to take on their more powerful rivals.

Produced by Actas, the series is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima (“Big Windup!”, Genshiken”, “Ichigo 100%”, “xxxHOLic”), series composition by Reiko Yoshida (“Blue Exorcist the Movie”, “Gad Guard”, “Major”, “Kaleido Star”), music by Shiroh Hamaguchi (“Galilei Donna”, “Ah! My Goddess”, “One Piece”), character designs by Isao Sugimoto (“Kemeko Deluxe!”, “Sketchbook ~full color’S~”), art direction by Yutaka Ohishi (“Heaven’s Memo Pad”) and 3D direction by Keiichiro Yagino (“Blassreiter”).

And now, the popular series titled “Girls and Panzer: Complete TV Series” was released on Blu-ray and DVD in Dec. 2013 courtesy of Sentai Filmworks and now “Girls & Panzer: Complete OVA Series” in Feb. 2014.

“Girls & Panzer” takes place where various high school academies compete in sensha-do (Tankery) competitions and one of the families that have dominated the Tankery scene are the Nishizumi family.

But for Miho Nishizumi, she has transferred to Oarai Girls Academy because it doesn’t offer Tankery and for her, to get away from it is the best thing she can only hope for. Despite practicing and was involved in Tankery at a previous academy.

And immediately, she makes friends with Saori Takebe, a girl who loves to read women’s magazines on how to attract guys. Also, Hana Isuzu, a refined teenager who practices ikebana (flower arrangement).

But as the group try to find out what club to join for the year, Miho is called by the President, Vice President and PR spokesperson of Oarai High School in regards to their selection for club activities and because of her experience, the president tells Miho that if she doesn’t choose Tankery, she and her friends will be kicked out of Oarai High.

Upset about what the President has said, Miho notices Saori and Hana arguing on her behalf and if anything, she is very happy to have friends behind her. Not wanting to see them kicked out of school because of her, Miho decides to join Tankery if it keeps her and her new friends out of trouble.

But the real reason why the President of the school has put their hopes on Miho to join the Tankery club is because if Oarai Academy does not win the Tankery competition, their school will be closed down.

Meanwhile, Miho, Saori and Hana make new friends: Yukari who is excited about Tankery and a moody, always half-asleep Mako Reizei and the five together are able to make a great team and along with other Oarai Tankery members, they notice that Miho is actually a fantastic commander that can lead them during competitions.

But will Oarai Academy have what it takes to take on the favored academy to win the Tankery competition, Kuromorimine Girls High School, led by Miho’s older sister Maho?

And will Oarai be able to defeat St. Gloriana Girls Academy, Saunders University High School, Pravda High School and Anzio High School?

That was the TV series and now with the complete OVA series, these episodes are a mix of fun stand alone episodes and episodes that take place during or after the TV series.

Here is a spoiler-less summary of OVA episode 1-6:

  • EPISODE 1: The girls at Oarai Academy are heading to beach but what kind of swimsuits should they purchase?
  • EPISODE 2: The girls at Oarai Academy go on a camping trip.
  • EPISODE 3: The girls at Oarai look at what is inside their academy ship.
  • EPISODE 4: The girls perform in their Anglerfish outfits.
  • EPISODE 5: Yukari and Erwin go on a reconnaissance mission to spy on Pravda (which takes place in TV episode 10).
  • EPISODE 6: Oarai Academy celebrates with a victory celebration.

girlspanzerova-c

VIDEO:

“Girls & Panzer: Complete OVA Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition and I have to say that Actas did a wonderful job with production of this series. From the mechanical designs of the tanks, the focus on the treads and movements of various tanks is very well-done. Character designs for each of the characters, environments of the towns and also each academy which sits on top of a huge ship, everything about this series is colorful, vibrant with beautiful art backgrounds. But I was very pleased of the detail and the research that went into the creation of the tanks and how each tank operates.

I didn’t notice any banding issues or compression during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Girls & Panzer: Complete OVA Series” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD MA 2.0. For the most part, both soundtracks are front-channel driven and was hoping that for a series with a lot of action, it would have received a 5.1 lossless soundtrack. But on its own, the series features crystal clear dialogue and music via the front channels. Both soundtracks are well-acted.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Girls & Panzer: Complete OVA Series” features the following special features:

  • Impressions 2 – (1:35) An alternative to the impressions that were shown in OVA episode 6.
  • Clean Opening and Ending Animations

girlspanzerova-d

“Girls & Panzer” was an enjoyable and delightful series about a group of underdogs who enter a Tankery competition and must take on the best high schools.

And if you enjoyed the TV series, then you will definitely want to check out “Girl & Panzer: Complete OVA Series”.

While not half hour OVA episodes (episodes last anywhere between 4-18 minutes), the episodes are quite fun but it is important to watch the TV series first as some episodes may contain spoilers.  But for the most part, these episodes are quite fun as we watch the girls go swimsuit shopping, go camping and even a short and quick dance with their fish outfits.

But perhaps the two episodes that are connected to the TV series is the final two episodes as Yukari and Erwin go on a reconnaissance mission prior to their battle with Pravda and the final OVA episode features the celebration after the final episode.

But for the most part, these episodes are standalone episodes and are non-essential to the TV series but for fans who enjoyed the TV series and enjoy the characters, will no doubt want to watch these six short OVA episodes.

As for the Blu-ray, picture quality is very good and because they are OVA episodes, there is a bit more detail in the episodes versus the standard TV episode.  Lossless audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, in English and Japanese.   And both soundtracks are well-acted.  As for special features, they are limited to the usual clean and ending animations but you do get the alternate take of the impressions segment (of OVA episode 6).

Overall, if you enjoyed “Girl & Panzer: Complete TV Series”, then definitely check out “Girls & Panzer: Complete OVA Series”.  It is short at only 74 minutes long and while not essential to enjoying the TV series, this is for fans who want to see more of the girls of Oarai Academy!

 

Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

girlspanzer-a

“Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” was much more than I expected and not only did I love this series, it left me craving for more!  An uplifting underdog story featuring female academy competitions with tank battles and carefully planned battle strategies, this is one series worth owning on Blu-ray!  “Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2013 Sentai Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2012-2013

DURATION: 12 Episodes (300 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATING: TV 14 V

Release Date: December 3, 2013

Directed by Tsutomu Mizushima

Series Composition by Reiko Yoshida

Music by Shiroh Hamaguchi

Original Character Design by Humikane Shimada

Character Design by Isao Sugimoto

Art Direction by Yutaka Onishi

3D Director: Keiichiro Yagino

Anime Production: Actas

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Kayano/Jessica Calvello as Saori Takebe

Ikumi Nakagami/Rebekah Stevens as Yukari Akiyama

Mai Fuchigami/Meg McDonald as Miho Nishizumi

Mami Ozaki/Caitlynn French as Hana Isuzu

Yuka Iguchi/Molly Searcy as Mako Reizei

You may have heard of kung fu, but the girls at Oarai Academy practice gun-fu – really, really BIG gun-fu, in fact. It’s called Tankery, and it’s the martial art of operating armored tanks! And even though the Tankery program at Oarai has been defunct for years, the student council has taken a sudden interest in the art and no one they set their sights on is safe.

That’s how Miho Nishizumi, who transferred to Oarai specifically to stay out of tanks, gets drafted to join the newly revived Tankery divison. But it’s not all bad, because joining her in Team Anglerfish are her new-found friends Saori, the highly receptive radio operator; Hana, a flower arranger turned gunner; Mako, their brilliant but chronically sleepy driver; and combustible tank fangirl and loader Yukari. They may not be on the half-track to fame and fortune, and maybe some of them would rather shop for tank tops than become tops in tanks, but once their focus is locked and loaded, they’re absolutely driven.

girlspanzer-b

In winter 2012 and spring 2013, the Japanese anime TV series “Girls und Panzer” captivated audiences in Japan for its cute girls who take part in tank battles and utilize tank strategies to take on their more powerful rivals.

Produced by Actas, the series is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima (“Big Windup!”, Genshiken”, “Ichigo 100%”, “xxxHOLic”), series composition by Reiko Yoshida (“Blue Exorcist the Movie”, “Gad Guard”, “Major”, “Kaleido Star”), music by Shiroh Hamaguchi (“Galilei Donna”, “Ah! My Goddess”, “One Piece”), character designs by Isao Sugimoto (“Kemeko Deluxe!”, “Sketchbook ~full color’S~”), art direction by Yutaka Ohishi (“Heaven’s Memo Pad”) and 3D direction by Keiichiro Yagino (“Blassreiter”).

And now, the popular series titled “Girls and Panzer: Complete TV Series” was released on Blu-ray and DVD in Dec. 2013 courtesy of Sentai Filmworks, with the two OVA’s slated for a Feb. 2014 Blu-ray and DVD release, while in Japan, a film is planned for release.

“Girls & Panzer” takes place where various high school academies compete in sensha-do (Tankery) competitions and one of the families that have dominated the Tankery scene are the Nishizumi family.

But for Miho Nishizumi, she has transferred to Oarai Girls Academy because it doesn’t offer Tankery and for her, to get away from it is the best thing she can only hope for.  Despite practicing and was involved in Tankery at a previous academy.

And immediately, she makes friends with Saori Takebe, a girl who loves to read women’s magazines on how to attract guys.  Also, Hana Isuzu, a refined teenager who practices ikebana (flower arrangement).

But as the group try to find out what club to join for the year, Miho is called by the President, Vice President and PR spokesperson of Oarai High School in regards to their selection for club activities and because of her experience, the president tells Miho that if she doesn’t choose Tankery, she and her friends will be kicked out of Oarai High.

Upset about what the President has said, Miho notices Saori and Hana arguing on her behalf and if anything, she is very happy to have friends behind her.  Not wanting to see them kicked out of school because of her, Miho decides to join Tankery if it keeps her and her new friends out of trouble.

But the real reason why the President of the school has put their hopes on Miho to join the Tankery club is because if Oarai Academy does not win the Tankery competition, their school will be closed down.

Meanwhile, Miho, Saori and Hana make new friends: Yukari who is excited about Tankery and a moody, always half-asleep Mako Reizei and the five together are able to make a great team and along with other Oarai Tankery members, they notice that Miho is actually a fantastic commander that can lead them during competitions.

But will Oarai Academy have what it takes to take on the favored academy to win the Tankery competition, Kuromorimine Girls High School, led by Miho’s older sister Maho?

And will Oarai be able to defeat St. Gloriana Girls Academy, Saunders University High School, Pravda High School and Anzio High School?

Find out in “Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series”!

VIDEO:

“Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition and I have to say that Actas did a wonderful job with production of this series.  From the mechanical designs of the tanks, the focus on the treads and movements of various tanks is very well-done.  Character designs for each of the characters, environments of the towns and also each academy which sits on top of a huge ship, everything about this series is colorful, vibrant with beautiful art backgrounds.  But I was very pleased of the detail and the research that went into the creation of the tanks and how each tank operates.

I didn’t notice any banding issues or compression during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD MA 2.0.  For the most part, both soundtracks are front-channel driven and was hoping that for a series with a lot of action, it would have received a 5.1 lossless soundtrack.  But on its own, the series features crystal clear dialogue and music via the front channels.  Both soundtracks are well-acted, but it was interesting to see the directional change for the voice of Mako Reizei.  Where the Japanese version has her sounding like a regular teenager, the English dub emphasizes her moody and sleepy side with a lower voice, so that was very interesting but it worked!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” features the following special features:

  • Introductions! – A full-length introduction episode that showcases the first half of the series but also the introduction of the various characters of Oarai Academy and other schools.
  • Introductions! 2 – A full-length introduction episode that showcases the second half of the series but also spotlights on the rules of Tankery and the various characters that are featured in the second half of the series.
  • Japanese Promos
  • Japanese TV Spots
  • Clean Opening and Ending Animations

girlspanzer-d

“Girls & Panzer” was an enjoyable and delightful series about a group of underdogs who enter a Tankery competition and must take on the best high schools.

Often in anime series, we are greeted with all-female competitions, may it be martial arts, softball, tennis, volleyball or even mecha series, but “Girls & Panzer” is different because it focuses on tank competitions and while we have the cute high school students operating tanks, the fact is that a lot of research went into the tanks featured in the series.

From the movements, strategies employed and just the overall mechanical design, you just don’t come across anime series like this.  And the efficacy of this series is because of it’s upbeat storyline of an underdog academy that puts its trust on the leadership of Miho Nishizumi.

Miho is from the proud Tankery family, the Nishizumi family.  But Miho starts out as one who doesn’t want anything to do with Tankery and just wants to enjoy life with friends.

And with each episode, we learn how awesome Miho is as a commander, but we also learn why she has kept away from a competition that her family has thrived in.  We also get a good amount of character building storylines that helps introduce us to various characters of this series.

At first, seeing so many characters compete per Academy/High School, I wasn’t sure how the writers would include them all and make a story that wouldn’t be so confusing to viewers, but they manage to keep the focus on the core 5 of Oarai High School, but giving us enough to know each group supporting Miho during competition.  May it be the Turtle Team, the Duck Team, the Hippo Team, the Mallard Team, the Anteater Team, the Leopon or the Rabbit Team, their inclusion was enough to understand the team dynamics and their strengths and weaknesses.

And the character designs, the beautiful art backgrounds and mechanical designs looked amazing on Blu-ray.  Vibrant colors, plenty of detail and no sign of artifacts or banding.  “Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” looked amazing in HD!

As for lossless audio, I wished that this action-driven series would have received a 5.1 lossless soundtrack but you get two lossless 2.0 soundtracks that are well-acted for both the Japanese and English soundtracks.

You also get two additional introduction episodes as well, included as special features!

Overall, “Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” was much more than I expected and not only did I love this series, it left me craving for more!  An uplifting underdog story featuring female academy competitions with tank battles and carefully planned battle strategies, this is one series worth owning on Blu-ray!

“Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” is highly recommended!

Next Page »

Bottom