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Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (a J!-ENT Anime Film Review)

March 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

I found the storyline of “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” to be extremely satisfying and as a person who has watched the series and loved nearly every episode, I really enjoyed seeing the progression of Kirito and Asuna’s relationship and how that relationship plays a big part in the film’s storyline. I really do feel that fans will enjoy this SAO film! A wonderful and engrossing storyline filled with action and drama, “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of  2017 © REKI KAWAHARA/PUBLISHED BY KADOKAWA CORPORATION ASCII MEDIA WORKS/SAO MOVIE Project. © RK/KC AMW/SM


Originally created by Reki Kawahara

Original Character Design by abec

Directed by Tomohiko Ito

Scenario by Reki Kawahara, Tomohiko Ito

Music by Yuki Kajiura

Character Design: Shingo Adachi

Art Director: Takayuki Nagashima

Chief Animation Director: Shingo Adachi

Sound Director: Yoshikazu Iwanami

CGI Director: Ryuta Undo

Director of Photography: Kentaro Waki

Anime Production by A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Haruka Tomatsu as Asuna Yūki

Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Kazuto Kirigaya/Kirito

Ayahi Takagaki as Rika Shinozaki/Lizbeth

Ayana Taketatsu as Suguha Kirigaya/Leafa

Hiroaki Hirata as Klein

Hiroki Yasumoto as Andrew Gilbert Mills/Agil

Kanae Itō as Yui

Miyuki Sawashiro as Shino Asada/Sinon

Rina Hidaka as Keiko Ayano/Silica

Sayaka Kanda as Yuna

Takeshi Kaga as Professor Shigemura

Yoshio Inoue as Eiji

Kouichi Yamadera as Akihiko Kayaba


2022 – The NerveGear, the world’s first dedicated full-dive device developed by the genius programmer, Akihiko Kayaba. It was a revolutionary machine that opened up infinite possibilities for the world of VR (Virtual Reality.) 4 years later…. A next-generation, wearable multi-device called the Augma has been released to compete with the NerveGear’s successor – the Amusphere. A cutting-edge machine boasting the ability to enhance AR (Augmented Reality) to the maximum, the Augma offers a safe, user-friendly experience, as it can be used while the player is awake, making it an instant hit. Its killer title is an ARMMORPG developed exclusively for the Augma, “Ordinal Scale (a.k.a. OS).” Kirito is about to join Asuna and the others as an Ordinal Scale player, but…


The year 2026.

Two years after the “Sword Art Online” fiasco perpetrated by SAO creator Akihiko Kayaba which left many gamers injured or dead, a new technology is to be released.  A technology that is thought to be safe and nothing like the Nerve Gear that was used in “Sword Art Online”.

Now people can use the Augma, the successor to the Amusphere full-dive system which allows a player to play a game that simulates reality while the player is conscious (via augmented reality).

And one of the popular games created for the Augma is “Ordinal Scale”.  A game which has quickly gain popularity that Asuna, Lisbeth and Silica are playing it, but surprisingly Kirito hasn’t jumped aboard to play the game just yet until now.

As people get into the game, part of the main appeal to “Ordinal Scale” is the game’s mascot, an AI idol singer named Yuna who appears during the game to increase the stats of players.

While everyone is playing, the #2 ranked player Eiji helps the Kirito, Asuna and team defeat the level boss but Eiji uses the words “switch”, a term that was used in SAO to Asuna.

Meanwhile, Asuna tells Kirito that Eiji is most likely a member of the Knights of the Blood Oath named Nautilus, Yui tells them that the appearance of Aincrad bosses in “Ordinal Scale” are similar to the line up with the SAO dungeon maps.

As Asuna goes to play the game with her friends again, immediately Yuna and Eiji appear and Eiji pushes Asuna towards the level boss.

When Asuna is hit, she passes out and suddenly, Asuna starts to realize that her memories from SAO are starting to disappear. Concerned, Kirito takes Asuna to the hospital to get checked out and it is learned that the Augma device has scanned her brain for SAO memories, and it may have happened to other SAO players that are playing “Ordinal Scale”.

With Asuna’s memory loss of SAO, that means her memories of her friends, but most importantly her memories of Kirito will disappear.

A desperate Kirito tries to search for answers and promises that he will do whatever he can to get Asuna’s memories back.  But what will his search unveil?

What is “Sword Art Online” about:

In 2002, writer Reki Kawahara wrote a novel series titled “Sword Art Online” under the name Fumio Kunori.

While Kawahara would receive critical acclaim for his novel “Accel World” in 2009, which earned Kawahara an ASCII Media Works’ 15th Dengeki Novel Prize and also winning the Grand Prize in 2008, the popularity of his “Accel World” storyline would lead to “Sword Art Online” being republished and also featuring the art work of illustrator, abec.

This time using his real name on ASCII Media Works’ Dengeku Bunko label from April 10, 2009 and a spin-off series in 2012.  The series has since spawned a total of ten manga adaptations, two anime series, one TV film, five video games and now an animated film.

The original “Sword Art Online” series is set in 2022 and many are playing the Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG), “Sword Art Online” (SAO for short).

The game comes with a virtual reality helmet known as a Nerve Gear which uses the five senses of the brain and so players can control their characters with their mind.

The anime series focuses on protagonist, Kirito, one of the 1,000 beta testers of the Closed Beta version of SAO.  On November 6th, the game is released to the public and Kirito is enjoying the game and meets Klein, who has experience playing RPG’s but learns from Kirito about the basics of the game.

While the two are talking, suddenly they are transported to the main courtyard and are unable to log out.  They are told by the creator of SAO, Akihiko Kayaba, that all of the people playing are stuck in the game.  If anyone takes of the virtual reality helmet of a player, they will die.

As for those playing the game, if they want to be free of the game, they must reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss.  But if their avatars (their game character) dies in the game, their bodies will also die in the real world.  Also,  people in the real world who were stuck in the game have died by someone removing their Nerve Gear.

In the first series, Kirito and Asuna have become an online couple and while Kirito was able to succeed and free everyone by defeating the final boss of “Sword Art Online”, he has been utilized by law enforcement to assist in troubles that have affected users (as seen in “Sword Art Online II”).

In reality, Kazuto Kirigaya (Kirito) and Asuna Yuuki (Asuna) have continued their relationship outside of the game.  Asuna dreams of marrying Kazuto and having a family with him in the future.

And with the 2017 animated film “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”, with Asuna’s memories of SAO fading, the dreams of her and Kirito being together may now be in jeopardy.


If there is one thing that “Sword Art Online” has proved over the years, that Reki Kawahara’s light novels and the anime adaptation inspired from it, are popular among many fans worldwide.

I had no doubt in my mind that “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” would do well as a theatrical release, not just in Japan but other countries worldwide, especially the United States.

Considering the film is not a Studio Ghibli film or an animated film with no Disney or Hollywood movie studio connect, “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” grossed $1.35 million in the first four days of its North American run.

In fact, the film set an opening weekend record for an Aniplex of America theatrical release and has played in 560 theaters nationwide.

And that is for a film that debuted in American theaters with Japanese voice acting and English subtitles.  And for those who dislike reading during their films, Aniplex of America will be releasing the film with an English dub soundtrack in April 2017 for a limited theatrical engagement.

Watching “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”, it has everything that fans have loved in the series.  A lot of action, a lot of humor but also emotional drama as viewers have watched and seen the relationship between Kazuto (Kirito) and Asuna evolve and in this film, you really see how far their love for each other has blossomed.  And so, this film has become a fight for love and Kazuto doing all that is necessary to make sure that the young woman he loves is saved from losing her memories due to a new threat.

Fans will also love seeing characters from the past making their appearance in the video game but one will no doubt be anticipating the next SOA storyline as the ending teaser (after all the credits are done) shows us another menacing threat that will surely surprise fans of the series.

Animation is fantastic as A-1 Pictures did a wonderful job with capturing emotion in the faces of the characters but also within action sequences.  Voice acting is wonderful in its original Japanese soundtrack and English subtitles were easy to read.  And having watched the original series in both Japanese and English, I’m expecting the English dub to be equally fantastic when the English version of the film is released in US theaters this April.

If there was anything that I didn’t get into all that much in regards to “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is the overuse of AI idol singer Yuna.  Music plays a big part in the film and where idol singers through battle is something we are accustomed to seeing in “Macross” anime series or film, it was not something I expected all that much in “Sword Art Online” and felt it was done a little bit too much for my tastes but at the same time, I’m sure it benefits Aniplex for music soundtrack sales and I’m sure fans who loved the music in the film will no doubt be seeking to purchase the soundtrack.

But I also hope that Aniplex, a company known for giving fans a lot of swag with their limited edition releases, will include the film’s soundtrack with the Blu-ray release of “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”.

I absolutely enjoyed “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” but I do recommend people who know nothing about the series to at least watch the SAO series before jumping into the film.

Overall, I found the storyline of “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” to be extremely satisfying and as a person who has watched the series and loved nearly every episode, I really enjoyed seeing the progression of Kirito and Asuna’s relationship and how that relationship plays a big part in the film’s storyline.  I really do feel that fans will enjoy this SAO film!

A wonderful and engrossing storyline filled with action and drama, “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is highly recommended!

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Erased: Volume 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The first half of “Erased” was magnificent but the second volume is equally captivating and so enjoyable. A murder mystery thriller that will attract fans who love sci-fi and a mystery-driven anime series with a wonderful conclusion. I absolutely enjoyed this series from beginning to end! A fantastic anime series and another Aniplex Blu-ray release that is highly recommended!

Purchase this Blu-ray from Rightstuf

Image courtesy of © 2016 Kei Sanba/KADOKAWA/Bokumachi Animation Committee. 2016 Aniplex Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Erased Volume 1

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2016

DURATION: (Episodes 1-6) 150 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, English and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: October 18, 2016


Originally Created by Kei Sanbe

Directed by Tomohiko Ito

Series Composition by Taku Kishimoto

Music by Yuki Kajiura

Character Design by Keigo Sasaki

Art Director: Masaru Sato

Chief Animation Director: Kenichi Yoshida

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Aoi Yūki/Stephanie Sheh as Kayo Hinazuki

Shinnosuke Mitsushima/Michelle Ruff as Satoru Fujinuma (29-years-old)

Tao Tsuchiya/Ben Diskin as Satoru Fujinuma (10-years-old)

Akari Kitō/Christine Marie Cabanos as Hiromi

Akemi Okamura/Carrie Keranen as Akemi Hinazuki

Ayaka Nanase/Ryan Bartley as Osamu

Chinatsu Akasaki/Cherami Leigh as Airi Katagiri

Minami Takayama/Sara Cravens as Sachiko Fujinuma

Mitsuru Miyamoto/David W. Collins as Gaku Yashiro

Takahiro Mizushima/Max Mittelman as Jun Shiratori

Yō Taichi/Erica Mendez as Kenya

Yukitoshi Kikuchi/Bobby Thong as Kazu


The dream production staff includes director Tomohiko Ito (Sword Art Online), character designer Keigo Sasaki (Blue Exorcist), composer Yuki Kajiura (Sword Art Online, Fate/Zero, Madoka Magica), and animation studio A-1 Pictures (Sword Art Online, Your lie in April, Blue Exorcist).

The series finale that ends with a shocking yet emotional twist…


In 2012, Kei Sanbe’s manga series “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi” (which translates to “The Town Without Me”) was serialized in Kadokawa’s “Young Ace” magazine.

With a total of eight volumes publish (the manga series concluded in March 2016), a 12-episode anime adaptation by A-1 Pictures and Fuji TV’s Noitamina was created, along with a live action film.

The series is directed by Tomohiko Ito (“Silver Spoon”, “Sword Art Online”), series composition by Taku Kishimoto (“Joker Game”, “91 Days”, “Bunny Drop”), music by Yuki Kajiura (“Fate/Zero”, “Black Butler”, “Amatsuki”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”), character designs by Keigo Sasaki (“Blue Exorcist”, “Nanatsu no Taizai”, “Seven Deadly Sins”) and art direction by Masaru Sato (“Brain Powered”, “Captain Tsubasa”, “Deltora Quest”, “Armitage III”).

And “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi”, known as “Erased” was released in the U.S. on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc. with the first volume featuring the first six episodes and now, volume 2 featuring the final remaining six episodes.

“Erased” begins in 2006 with an introduction to Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old manga artist who occasionally experiences a “Revival”, which allows him to go back in time and he is able to use that power (which he has no control over) to save people.

When Satoru saves a boy from being killed by a driver who died from a heart attack, the save lands Satoru in the hospital.

While his co-worker Airi Katagiri is there to watch over him, Satoru’s mother Sachiko comes to visit him.

Sachiko discusses with his son about the traumatic things he experienced, such as when students went missing and were found dead and Satoru’s adult friend, Jun Shiratori was accused of the crime.

While Sachiko and Satoru are out and he begins to experience another revival, Sachiko notices a boy being consoled by his mother and a man staring at them. And wondering if he was trying to watch the kid and kidnap him.

Sachiko and her friend, a journalist named Sawada feel that the true killer of the children long ago is still alive and has not been caught and feel’s that June Shiratori was falsely accused of the murders.

Sachiko wants to alert her son but before she can, someone comes into Satoru’s home and stabs Sachiko to death.

When Satoru returns home, he finds his mother dead and when he goes to turn her over, he gets her blood on his hands, in which a neighbor spots Satoru with blood on him. Immediately, she calls the police and when they come, Satoru is looked at as the person responsible for the murder.

Satoru runs away from the scene and he becomes wanted man. He immediately goes into revival mode and is taken back to 1986, when he was 11-years-old and comes across Kayo Hinazuki, a girl that he was good friends with and the first victim of the serial killer.

He will also come across other victims but can Satoru protect them all?


VIDEO:

“Erased: Volume 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Picture quality is absolutely fantastic as A-1 Pictures did a magnificent job with the character design and animation. May it be the subtle movement, facial expressions, action sequences plus the amazing art backgrounds make this series one of the best I have seen all year on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Erased: Volume 2″is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM 2.0. Dialogue and musical score is crystal clear through the front channel. Both Japanese and English dub soundtracks are wonderfully acted.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Erased: Volume 2” features the following special features:

  • Episode 7 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Alex Von David, voice talents Erika Mendez (voice of Sachiko) and Christine Marie Cabanos (voice of Hiromi), Ryan Bartley (voice of Kenya) and Bobby Thong (voice of Kazu).
  • Episode 8 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Alex Von David, voice talents Stephanie Sheh (voice of Kayo) and Michelle Ruff (voice of young Satoru),
  • Episode 11 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Alex Von David, voice talents Sara Cravens (voice of Sachiko) and Ben Diskin (voice of Satoru).
  • Episode 12 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Alex Von David, voice talents David Collins (voice of Gaku Yashiro), Ben Diskin (voice of Satoru) and Michelle Ruff (voice of young Satoru).
  • Promo Video – Japanese and English promo video for “Erased”.
  • Textless Opening and Ending Songs

EXTRAS:

“Erased: Volume 21” comes with a slipcover, an original 36-page illustration book and rough sketches and short manga (“ERASED” chapter – “KAYO/After February 1988) by Kei Senbei, a 40-page deluxe booklet and an Boku Dake ga Inai Machi Original Soundtrack 02 featuring music by Kajiura Yuki (Duration: 41 Minutes).


If you had the power to go back in time, when you were only 11-years-old, to stop the murders of friends and protect them from a serial killer, would you do it? Can you do it?

This is the story of Kei Sanbei’s “Erased” adapted into a 12-episode anime series and receiving rave reviews from fans for its thrilling mystery story about a man named Satoru who suffers the tragedy of seeing his bludgeoned mother and being accused of the crime.

Since he was a young boy, he had the special ability known as “Revival” and that is to go back in time for a brief amount of time in order to save lives.

But this time, his life and the people that are dear to him, their lives are in danger when a serial killer from Satoru’s past, has killed his mother.

The death of his mother sends Satoru back in time at the age of 11, a time when his friend Kayo was found murdered and other children were also murdered. A friend of Satoru and the wrong person accused, Satoru has the opportunity to save the lives of those who were killed in the past.

But with him in the body of his 11-year-old self, can Satoru still make a difference? And who is the person responsible for the murders?

The first six episodes of “Erased” were fantastic. With many people that Satoru comes into contact showing potential of being evil, who can he trust? And who is responsible for the crime? And as Satoru tries to manage the troubles from 1988 and 2006, will he be able to save his childhood friend, Kayo, who was the first victim of the serial killer?

In the second volume featuring the final six episodes, Satoru has friends who join him in trying to investigate a potential serial killer.  Satoru knows that if he can save Kayo, he may be able to save the other victims.  But can he do it alone?  Can he trust his friends or should he keep silent to keep them safe?

And who is the person responsible for the murders?  All this and more is answered in the final volume of “Erased”!

As always, A-1 Pictures has done a phenomenal job with the animation and background art. Special features include four audio commentaries with the English dub ADR Director and multiple voice talents and as expected from Aniplex, plenty of swag with the second original soundtrack, a sketch and another short manga and a 40-page deluxe booklet is included.

Overall, the first half of “Erased” was magnificent but the second volume is equally captivating and so enjoyable.  A murder mystery thriller that will attract fans who love sci-fi and a mystery-driven anime series with a wonderful conclusion. I absolutely enjoyed this series from beginning to end!

A fantastic anime series and another Aniplex Blu-ray release that is highly recommended!

Purchase this Blu-ray from Rightstuf

Please follow and like us:

Erased: Volume 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The first half of “Erased” is magnificent, captivating and a murder mystery thriller that will attract fans who love sci-fi and mystery-driven anime series. Highly recommended!

Purchase this Blu-ray from Rightstuf

Image courtesy of © 2016 Kei Sanba/KADOKAWA/Bokumachi Animation Committee.  2016 Aniplex Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Erased Volume 1

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2016

DURATION: (Episodes 1-6) 150 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, English and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: October 18, 2016


Originally Created by Kei Sanbe

Directed by Tomohiko Ito

Series Composition by Taku Kishimoto

Music by Yuki Kajiura

Character Design by Keigo Sasaki

Art Director: Masaru Sato

Chief Animation Director: Kenichi Yoshida

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Aoi Yūki/Stephanie Sheh as Kayo Hinazuki

Shinnosuke Mitsushima/Michelle Ruff as Satoru Fujinuma (29-years-old)

Tao Tsuchiya/Ben Diskin as Satoru Fujinuma (10-years-old)

Akari Kitō/Christine Marie Cabanos as Hiromi

Akemi Okamura/Carrie Keranen as Akemi Hinazuki

Ayaka Nanase/Ryan Bartley as Osamu

Chinatsu Akasaki/Cherami Leigh as Airi Katagiri

Minami Takayama/Sara Cravens as Sachiko Fujinuma

Mitsuru Miyamoto/David W. Collins as Gaku Yashiro

Takahiro Mizushima/Max Mittelman as Jun Shiratori

Yō Taichi/Erica Mendez as Kenya

Yukitoshi Kikuchi/Bobby Thong as Kazu


“I’m gonna do what I didn’t the first time to change everything!”

Erased is a sci-fi thriller series based on the award winning manga series (2014 Manga Taisho Award) by Kei Sanbe.

29-year old Satoru Fujinuma is a struggling manga artist who works part time as a pizza delivery man. But he has a secret ability which he names “Revival.” This ability allows Satoru to go back in time to prevent life-threatening incidents from happening.

Now a series of tragic incidents are unfolding before Satoru’s eyes and they may change his life forever…

The dream production staff includes director Tomohiko Ito (Sword Art Online), character designer Keigo Sasaki (Blue Exorcist), composer Yuki Kajiura (Sword Art Online, Fate/Zero, Madoka Magica), and animation studio A-1 Pictures (Sword Art Online, Your lie in April, Blue Exorcist).


In 2012, Kei Sanbe’s manga series “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi” (which translates to “The Town Without Me”) was serialized in Kadokawa’s “Young Ace” magazine.

With a total of eight volumes publish (the manga series concluded in March 2016), a 12-episode anime adaptation by A-1 Pictures and Fuji TV’s Noitamina was created, along with a live action film.

The series is directed by Tomohiko Ito (“Silver Spoon”, “Sword Art Online”), series composition by Taku Kishimoto (“Joker Game”, “91 Days”, “Bunny Drop”), music by Yuki Kajiura (“Fate/Zero”, “Black Butler”, “Amatsuki”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”), character designs by Keigo Sasaki (“Blue Exorcist”, “Nanatsu no Taizai”, “Seven Deadly Sins”) and art direction by Masaru Sato (“Brain Powered”, “Captain Tsubasa”, “Deltora Quest”, “Armitage III”).

And now, “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi”, known as “Erased” will be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc. with the first volume feature the first six episodes.

The series begins in 2006 with an introduction to Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old manga artist who occasionally experiences a “Revival”, which allows him to go back in time and he is able to use that power (which he has no control over) to save people.

When Satoru saves a boy from being killed by a driver who died from a heart attack, the save lands Satoru in the hospital.

While his co-worker Airi Katagiri is there to watch over him, Satoru’s mother Sachiko comes to visit him.

Sachiko discusses with his son about the traumatic things he experienced, such as when students went missing and were found dead and Satoru’s adult friend, Jun Shiratori was accused of the crime.

While Sachiko and Satoru are out and he begins to experience another revival, Sachiko notices a boy being consoled by his mother and a man staring at them.  And wondering if he was trying to watch the kid and kidnap him.

Sachiko and her friend, a journalist named Sawada feel that the true killer of the children long ago is still alive and has not been caught and feel’s that June Shiratori was falsely accused of the murders.

Sachiko wants to alert her son but before she can, someone comes into Satoru’s home and stabs Sachiko to death.

When Satoru returns home, he finds his mother dead and when he goes to turn her over, he gets her blood on his hands, in which a neighbor spots Satoru with blood on him.  Immediately, she calls the police and when they come, Satoru is looked at as the person responsible for the murder.

Satoru runs away from the scene and he becomes wanted man.  He immediately goes into revival mode and is taken back to 1986, when he was 11-years-old and comes across Kayo Hinazuki, a girl that he was good friends with and the first victim of the serial killer.

Satoru is determined in making sure Kayo survives and prevent the killer from hurting anyone.

But can he do it?


VIDEO:

“Erased: Volume 1” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Picture quality is absolutely fantastic as A-1 Pictures did a magnificent job with the character design and animation.  May it be the subtle movement, facial expressions, action sequences plus the amazing art backgrounds make this series one of the best I have seen all year on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Erased: Volume 1″is presented in Japanese and English Linear PCM 2.0.  Dialogue and musical score is crystal clear through the front channel.  Both Japanese and English dub soundtracks are wonderfully acted.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Erased: Volume 1” features the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Alex Von David, voice talents Ben Diskin (voice of Satoru) and Cherami Leigh (voice of Airi).
  • Episode 7 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by ADR Director Alex Von David, voice talents Ben Diskin (voice of Satoru) and Cherami Leigh (voice of Airi).
  • Promo Video – Japanese and English promo video for “Erased”.
  • Textless Opening and Ending Songs

EXTRAS:

“Erased: Volume 1” comes with a slipcover, an original 40-page short manga by Kei Sanbe, a 40-page deluxe booklet and an Boku Dake ga Inai Machi Original Soundtrack 01 featuring music by Kajiura Yuki (Duration: 39 Minutes).


If you had the power to go back in time, when you were only 11-years-old, to stop the murders of friends and protect them from a serial killer, would you do it?  Can you do it?

This is the story of Kei Sanbei’s “Erased” adapted into a 12-episode anime series and receiving rave reviews from fans for its thrilling mystery story about a man named Satoru who suffers the tragedy of seeing his bludgeoned mother and being accused of the crime.

Since he was a young boy, he had the special ability known as “Revival” and that is to go back in time for a brief amount of time in order to save lives.

But this time, his life and the people that are dear to him, their lives are in danger when a serial killer from Satoru’s past, has killed his mother.

The death of his mother sends Satoru back in time at the age of 11, a time when his friend Kayo was found murdered and other children were also murdered.  A friend of Satoru and the wrong person accused, Satoru has the opportunity to save the lives of those who were killed in the past.

But with him in the body of his 11-year-old self, can Satoru still make a difference?  And who is the person responsible for the murders?

The first six episodes of “Erased” are fantastic.  With many people that Satoru comes into contact showing potential of being evil, who can he trust?  And who is responsible for the crime?  And as Satoru tries to manage the troubles from 1988 and 2006, will he be able to save his childhood friend, Kayo, who was the first victim of the serial killer?

As always, A-1 Pictures has done a phenomenal job with the animation and background art.  Special features include two audio commentaries with the English dub ADR Director and two voice talents and as expected from Aniplex, plenty of swag with an original soundtrack, short manga and deluxe booklet included.

Overall, the first half of “Erased” is magnificent, captivating and a murder mystery thriller that will attract fans who love sci-fi and mystery-driven anime series.  Highly recommended!

Purchase this Blu-ray from Rightstuf

Please follow and like us:

Aniplex of America to Begin Ticket Sales for Yuki Kajiura LIVE ~featuring SWORD ART ONLINE~ Ticket Sales

July 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Aniplex of America to Begin Ticket Sales for
Yuki Kajiura LIVE ~featuring SWORD ART ONLINE~
Ticket Sales for the Mega-Hit Show to Begin July 23

SANTA MONICA, CA (July 20, 2016) –Aniplex of America announced today that ticket sales for the
“Yuki Kajiura LIVE ~featuring SWORD ART ONLINE~” concert will begin this Saturday (July 23,
2016) at 12PM (PDT) through Ticketmaster. The concert will take place at the world-famous Dolby
Theatre in Hollywood, California on January 14, 2017. Aniplex of America also announced that there
will be VIP tickets which include an autograph session with Kajiura and some of the other performers
available for purchase.

Direct link to the Ticketmaster event page: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/090050F2BB234DEA

About “Yuki Kajiura LIVE ~featuring SWORD ART ONLINE~”
The multi-talented music composer, song-writer, and music producer, Yuki Kajiura, is debuting her
mega-hit live show, “Yuki Kajiura LIVE ~featuring SWORD ART ONLINE~” in Hollywood at the
world-famous Dolby Theatre!

Kajiura’s unique style which fuses the essence of both European and East Asian sounds has gained a
global following and is now known to many as the “Kajiura Sound.” In addition to serving as the music
producer for the popular vocal trio, “Kalafina,” she is also known as the composer of the hit animated
series “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” and “Fate/Zero.”

This January, Kajiura will present this exclusive event with an all-star ensemble of over ten musicians
including Koichi Korenaga and singers Remi, Kaori, Wakana, and Yuriko Kaida. They are coming all
the way from Japan to perform your favorite songs from Sword Art Online.

Fans can definitely “log in” to the beautiful world of Sword Art Online through this musical celebration.

About Aniplex of America Inc.
Aniplex of America Inc. (Santa Monica, California) is a subsidiary of Aniplex Inc. (headquartered in
Tokyo, Japan) – a Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) group. Aniplex Inc. is a leading provider of anime
content, along with music production and distribution in Japan. Aniplex of America has launched
fan-favorite Blu-ray and DVD titles including the Sword Art Online series, Your lie in April, KILL la
KILL, Bakemonogatari, Fate/Zero, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Blue Exorcist, NISEKOI, OREIMO 2,
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, Expelled From Paradise, The irregular at magic high school,
ALDNOAH.ZERO, Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] and DURARARA!!×2. The company’s
ever-growing line-up of shows includes our most recent titles such as: ERASED, The Asterisk War,
OWARIMONOGATARI, Charlotte, Classroom Crisis, WAGNARIA!!3, GOD EATER and HAIFURI
(High School Fleet).

www.AniplexUSA.com
www.facebook.com/AniplexUSA
www.twitter.com/aniplexusa
www.Youtube.com/AniplexUS
www.twitch.tv/aniplexusa
###

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Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

fatezero-2

Much darker, more violent and an all-out action-packed anime series!  “Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II” is a must-see for those who enjoyed “Fate/stay night” and are fans of the “Fate” anime/video gameseries! Better animation, better and much darker storyline. Highly recommended!

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © Nitroplus/TYPE-MOON, ufotable, FZPC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2011

DURATION: Episodes 14-26 (330 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition/16×9, English Dolby Digital 2.0 and Japanese Linear PMC Stereo 2.0, Subtitles: English, Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex, Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: December 26, 2013

Directed by Ei Aoki

Screenplay by Akihiro Yoshida, Akira Hiyama, Kazuharu Sato, Takumi Miyajima

Music by Yuki Kajiura

Original Creator: Gen Urobuchi

Original Character Design by Takashi Takeuchi

Character Design by Atsushi Ikariya, Tomonori Sudou

Art Director: Koji Eto

Anime Production by ufotable

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayako Kawasumi/Kari Wahlgren as Saber

Rikiya Koyama/Matthew Mercer as Kiritsugu Emiya

Akina Abe/Karen Strassman as Assassin

Akio Ohtsuka/Jamieson Price as Rider

Akira Ishida/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ryūnosuke Uryū

Ayumi Tsunematsu/Carrie Keranen as Maiya Hisau

Daisuke Namikawa/Lucien Dodge as Waver Velvet

Hikaru Midorikawa/Grant George as Lancer

Jouji Nakata/Crispin Freeman as Kirei Kotomine

Megumi Toyoguchi/Karen Strassman as Sola-Ui

Ryotaro Okiayu/Kyle Hebert as Berserker

Sachie Abe/Patrick Seitz as Assassin

Satoshi Tsuruoka/Dan Woren as Caster

Sayaka Ohara/Bridget Hoffman as Irisviel von Einzbern

Sho Hayami/Marc Diraison as Tokiomi Tohsaka

Takumi Yamazaki as Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald

Tarusuke Shingaki/Liam O’Brien as Kariya Matō

Tomokazu Seki/David Earnest as Archer

The story starts from zero: the beginning…

The Holy Grail War – in this ultimate battle field, in order to obtain the power of the “Holy Grail” that grants any unattainable wish, seven “masters” summon “servants” and fight against each other until the last one survives.

As the 4th Holy Grail War becomes more furious, one by one the masters and their servants are being eliminated from the war by losing in a battle or falling into an opponents’ plot. What will Saber and Kiritsugu find out at the end of the war? And which team will win the war and the Holy Grail?

fatezero-2b

The war continues but mages must join forces temporarily as they must join forces in order to defeat a greater evil.

Meanwhile the history of Kiritsugu is revealed and who will be come the victor in winning the Grail?

Find out in episodes 13-25 in the Blu-ray box set release of “Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II”!

What is “Fate/Zero”?

When it comes to video games and its its characters, I don’t think I’ve seen a title derived from a video game, within the last decade, achieve so much attention than the “Fate” series from TYPE-MOON.

This series has captivated people from all over the world and merchandise from video games, nendoroids, PVC figures, you name it, there are many “Fate” fans all over the world.

And of course, the “Fate” series has led to manga, anime series and animated films.

“Fate/stay night” was the first game that was released in 2004 and would lead to a 20-volume manga series from 2006-2012 and an anime TV series created in 2006 and would be condensed to an animated film titled “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works” in 2010.

Meanwhile, back in 2006, Gen Urobuchi (best known for his work on “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, “Psycho-Pass”, “Blassreiter”, “Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom”) would create a light novel series “Fate/Zero” and feature illustrations by Takashi Takeuchi and the four-volume light novel series would last through 2007. The series would serve as a prequel to “Fate/stay night” and was a collaboration between Type-Moon and Nitroplus.

The light novel series would feature a manga adaptation and an anime adaptation which would last two seasons from 2011-2012.

The series was directed by Ei Aoki (“Ga-Rei-Zero”, “Hourou Musuko”, “Coyote Ragtime Show”), screenplay shared by Akihiro Yoshida, Akira Hiyama, Kazuharu Sato and Takumi Miyajima, music composition by Yuki Kajiura (“Sword Art Online”, “.hack/” series, “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”), character designs by Atsushi Ikariya (“Harmonie”, “The Devil is a PArt-Timer!”) and Tomonori Sudou (“Coyote Ragtime Show”, “Garden of Sinners”) and art direction by Koji Eto (“AKB0048”, “Steins;Gate”, “IDOLM@STER: XENOGLOSSIA”).

And now the second Blu-ray box set is available in the U.S. courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.

“Fate/Zero” takes place ten years before the events of “Fate/stay night”.

With the War of the Holy Grail being inconclusive, the Fourth Holy Grail War begins once again in which seven mages summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete in a battle of last person standing in order to gain the power of the “Holy Grail”. For the pair that wins, a miracle will be granted.

Chosen to take part in the war are:

  • Kiritsugu Emiya/Saber and Irisviel von Einzbern – Kiritsugu is the main protagonist of this series who wants to end all conflict. Known as the “Magus Killer” who is a master of firearms, he represents the Einzbern family in the Fourth Holy Grail War. He is also married to Irisviel von Einzbern, a homunculus prototype created by the Einzbern family who are trying to create an ultimate homunculus. When six or more servants are killed, she will manifest the Grail and lose her humanity which saddens Kiritsugu. While Kiritsugu is the master of Saber, the King of England, he has no interested in the Holy Grail, while Saber wants to be granted the miracle of preventing the destruction of her homeland while she was a leader many years ago.
  • Kirei Kotomine/Assassin – Kirei is a priest who doesn’t seem happy when he does good deeds and commits many sins. He works for Tokiomi and is the master of Assassin. When he has great hatred towards Kiritsugu and despite being a priest, like Kiritsugu, he is a master of weapons. He has no true goal if he wins the Holy Grail aside from trying to find the meaning of life. But his methods make him an antagonist of the series. As for Assassin, trained at stealth and assassination and there may be more than one of them.
  • Waver Velvet/Rider – Waver wants to be a great mage by working hard, rather than one who is a mage by bloodline. Waver steals an artifact meant for his teacher Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi and summons Rider, also known as Alexander the Great, The King of Conquerors, a huge, muscular man who has pride in battle.
  • Ryunosuke Uryu/Caster – Ryunosuke is a teenage serial killer who entices young children to his hideout place and kills them. He also kills families of the children and summons Caster (Bluebeard), who also enjoys torturing children and is just as sadistic.
  • Tokiomi/Archer – The father of Rin Tosaka and Sakura Mato and the Master of Archer. He is an arrogant mage and chooses Kirei Kotomine to be his understudy. Archer is Gilgameshu, the first hero to set foot on Earth and has a dislike towards Saber and Rider who are also kings.
  • Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald/Lancer and Sola-Ui Nuaba-Re Sophia-Ri – Kayneth is a nobleman of the Magus Association, Lord of the house of El-Melloi and a prodigy of magecraft. He is engaged to Sola-Ui as part of a strategic arrangement but she is coldhearted and is infatuated with Lancer. Lancer is a Knight who is loyal to his master and has an agreement with Saber that the two would save each others in final battle. And so they often help each other out to make sure no one spoils their agreement. His birthmark is magical and attracts women.
  • Kariya Mato/Berserker – A member of the Mato family and looks at Sakura Mato as a daughter but is upset that Tokiomi allowed his child to be adopted by Zoken. Despite having left the Mato Family out of disgust, he returns to make a deal with his father Zoken that if he wins the Grail War, Sakura will be free. The more magic Kariya uses, the more his life will be eaten and the nerves in his body will die. He is the master of Berserker, a servant who has the ability to use any object as a Noble Phantasm. But because Berserker requires so much magic which Kariya is unable to match, it has caused Berseker to be in constant pain.

VIDEO:

“Fate/Zero” is presented in 1080p High Definition and because the series was created in HD, it looks much better than its older counterpart “Fate/stay night”. Colors are vibrant, line detail is strong, I didn’t see any major banding or artifact issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fate/Zero” is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0. I felt that the Japanese version had a bit of clarity with its lossless LPCM track with a slightly better dynamic range. Both featuring good voice acting on both soundtracks, but for the most part, people have a chance to choose which soundtrack they want to listen to, which is a plus. But dialogue and music sound crystal clear from the front channels.

It’s important to note that Aniplex Inc.’s “Fate/Zero” does not use the same English voice actors that were featured on Sentai Filmworks “Fate/stay night”. While the Japanese voice talent featured on “Fate/stay night” are the same on “Fate/Zero”.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fate/Zero” comes with the following special features:

DISC 2

  • Collection of CM, PV’s and trailers for “Fate/Zero”.

DISC 4

  • “Fate/Zero” English Staff Interviews – (58:39) English staff interviews for Team Saber, Team Lancer, Team Archer, Team Rider, Team Berserker, Team Caster, Team Assassin and with Tony Oliver/Director
  • Extra Bonus – Deleted Scenes from the English staff Interviews – (3:00) Discussion about the fun that the English dub staff had during recording.

EXTRAS:

“Fate/Zero” comes with the following extras:

  • Fate/Zero Original Soundtrack II – Featuring music by Kajiura Yuki (duration: 71 minutes)
  1. fate to zero    3:03
  2. for him    0:40
  3. army of the king    2:13
  4. curse    2:25
  5. dogfight    3:14
  6. the sword of promised victory ~Fate/Zero ver.    2:06
  7. Babylonia    1:55
  8. on the battlefield    2:21
  9. betrayer    1:42
  10. you are my king    2:38
  11. at peace    1:35
  12. little star    2:42
  13. in a nightmare    1:53
  14. a man in black    2:44
  15. painful #2    1:35
  16. dogfight #2    1:36
  17. the battle to come    2:51
  18. on an island    2:22
  19. burning village    1:53
  20. I will    1:33
  21. in a foreign town    1:23
  22. she’s just in time    0:49
  23. days gone by    4:21
  24. mission    2:46
  25. mission #2    2:57
  26. the dream fades before dawn    1:28
  27. the dream fades before dawn #2    0:48
  28. tender moment    1:18
  29. this day, and never again    3:33
  30. the dream fades before dawn #3    3:34
  31. the world is tumbling down    2:47
  32. silver moon    2:15
  • 16-Page “Fate/Zero” art booklet
  • Bushiroad WeiB Schwarz English Edition card – Featuring “Noble Phantasm Unleashed, Saber”
  • Rigid Slipcase box with illustration by Takashi Takeuchi

 

As a fan of the “Fate” video game series and also “Fate/stay night”, I have been captivated by the storyline of the mages who battle each other in order to capture the grail to make them or their master’s wish come true.

But as “Fate/stay night” was intriguing because it focused on one young master’s willingness to not fight but wants to end the game, “Fate/Zero” is the prequel to “Fate/stay night” about how life was for the mages prior.

And what the creators of the prequel managed to do much better than “Fate/stay night” was to create a more darker, violent atmosphere that tends to work well with the storyline.  The series is less about humor and focused on the backgrounds of the mages.  We get to see the relationships of the mages and also the backgrounds of a few masters of “Fate/stay night” and both series tie well with one another.

With the release of “Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II”, the storyline focuses on the battle against the sadistic mage, Caster but also concludes the storyline of who will get the grail and whether or not a wish is made.  But also the character Kiritsugu, his history and how this character ties into “Fate/stay night”.

Suffice to say, it’s another violent conclusion as mages take each other down and as expected from the fourth war, there must be a victor.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is much better than “Fate/stay night” as it was made in HD and features vibrant visuals. As much as I would have loved a 5.1 lossless track, you do get both stereo Japanese and English soundtracks. Hardcore English dub fans may be upset that the voice talent on “Fate/Zero” is different from the voice talent on “Fate/stay night”, while the Japanese voice talent are the same on both series.

And like all amazing limited edition box sets released from Aniplex Inc., there is a great amount of swag included such as the “Fate/Zero Original Soundtrack II”, bonus interview DVD, a booklet, a Bushiroad card and more!

Overall, “Fate/Zero” has turned out to be a fantastic anime series which I enjoyed much more over “Fate/stay night”. The storyline draws you in because of the better storytelling but also has a bit of creepiness due to how much darker this series is in terms of violence is featured. And once again, Aniplex Inc. has delivered when it comes to releasing a fantastic limited edition Blu-ray release with a good amount of swag!

“Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set II” is a must-see for those who enjoyed “Fate/stay night” and are fans of the “Fate” anime/video gameseries! Better animation, better and much darker storyline. Highly recommended!

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Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set I (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fate/Zero” has turned out to be a fantastic anime series which I enjoyed much more over “Fate/stay night”.  The storyline draws you in because of the better storytelling but also has a bit of creepiness due to how much darker this series is in terms of violence is featured.  And once again, Aniplex Inc. has delivered when it comes to releasing a fantastic limited edition Blu-ray release with a good amount of swag!  “Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set I” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © Nitroplus/TYPE-MOON, ufotable, FZPC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set I

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2011

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (330 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition/16×9, English Dolby Digital 2.0 and Japanese Linear PMC Stereo 2.0, Subtitles: English, Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex, Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: November 5, 2013

Directed by Ei Aoki

Screenplay by Akihiro Yoshida, Akira Hiyama, Kazuharu Sato, Takumi Miyajima

Music by Yuki Kajiura

Original Creator: Gen Urobuchi

Original Character Design by Takashi Takeuchi

Character Design by Atsushi Ikariya, Tomonori Sudou

Art Director: Koji Eto

Anime Production by ufotable

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayako Kawasumi/Kari Wahlgren as Saber

Rikiya Koyama/Matthew Mercer as Kiritsugu Emiya

Akina Abe/Karen Strassman as Assassin

Akio Ohtsuka/Jamieson Price as Rider

Akira Ishida/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ryūnosuke Uryū

Ayumi Tsunematsu/Carrie Keranen as Maiya Hisau

Daisuke Namikawa/Lucien Dodge as Waver Velvet

Hikaru Midorikawa/Grant George as Lancer

Jouji Nakata/Crispin Freeman as Kirei Kotomine

Megumi Toyoguchi/Karen Strassman as Sola-Ui

Ryotaro Okiayu/Kyle Hebert as Berserker

Sachie Abe/Patrick Seitz as Assassin

Satoshi Tsuruoka/Dan Woren as Caster

Sayaka Ohara/Bridget Hoffman as Irisviel von Einzbern

Sho Hayami/Marc Diraison as Tokiomi Tohsaka

Takumi Yamazaki as Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald

Tarusuke Shingaki/Liam O’Brien as Kariya Matō

Tomokazu Seki/David Earnest as Archer

The story starts from zero: the beginning…

The Holy Grail War – in this ultimate battle field, in order to obtain the power of the “Holy Grail” that grants any unattainable wish, seven “masters” summon “servants” and fight against each other until the last one survives.

After three inconclusive Holy Grail Wars, the fourth battle has finally started. Hoping to win the battle, each master is heading to the new battlefield, Fuyuki. However, there is a man who is confused and struggling, unable to find meaning in the war. His name is Kirei Kotomine. He wonders why he has been appointed to this task, but without any answers, he encounters his archrival – Kiritsugu Emiya, a master who craves the miracle Holy Grail most of all.

The untold truth of the Fourth Holy Grail War that occurred 10 years before Fate/Stay Night – the truth of the battle fought by Shiro’s adopted father, Rin’s father, and young Kirei Kotomine – is about to be revealed!

When it comes to video games and its its characters, I don’t think I’ve seen a title derived from a video game, within the last decade, achieve so much attention than the “Fate” series from TYPE-MOON.

This series has captivated people from all over the world and merchandise from video games, nendoroids, PVC figures, you name it, there are many “Fate” fans all over the world.

And of course, the “Fate” series has led to manga, anime series and animated films.

“Fate/stay night” was the first game that was released in 2004 and would lead to a 20-volume manga series from 2006-2012 and an anime TV series created in 2006 and would be condensed to an animated film titled “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works” in 2010.

Meanwhile, back in 2006, Gen Urobuchi (best known for his work on “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, “Psycho-Pass”, “Blassreiter”, “Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom”) would create a light novel series “Fate/Zero” and feature illustrations by Takashi Takeuchi and the four-volume light novel series would last through 2007.  The series would serve as a prequel to “Fate/stay night” and was a collaboration between Type-Moon and Nitroplus.

The light novel series would feature a manga adaptation and an anime adaptation which would last two seasons from 2011-2012.

The series was directed by Ei Aoki (“Ga-Rei-Zero”, “Hourou Musuko”, “Coyote Ragtime Show”), screenplay shared by Akihiro Yoshida, Akira Hiyama, Kazuharu Sato and Takumi Miyajima, music composition by Yuki Kajiura (“Sword Art Online”, “.hack/” series, “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”), character designs by Atsushi Ikariya (“Harmonie”, “The Devil is a PArt-Timer!”) and Tomonori Sudou (“Coyote Ragtime Show”, “Garden of Sinners”) and art direction by Koji Eto (“AKB0048”, “Steins;Gate”, “IDOLM@STER: XENOGLOSSIA”).

And now the first season will be released in the U.S. courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.

What is “Fate/Zero”?

“Fate/Zero” takes place ten years before the events of “Fate/stay night”.

With the War of the Holy Grail being inconclusive, the Fourth Holy Grail War begins once again in which seven mages summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete in a battle of last person standing in order to gain the power of the “Holy Grail”.  For the pair that wins, a miracle will be granted.

Chosen to take part in the war are:

  • Kiritsugu Emiya/Saber and Irisviel von Einzbern – Kiritsugu is the main protagonist of this series who wants to end all conflict.  Known as the “Magus Killer” who is a master of firearms, he represents the Einzbern family in the Fourth Holy Grail War.  He is also married to Irisviel von Einzbern, a homunculus prototype created by the Einzbern family who are trying to create an ultimate homunculus.   When six or more servants are killed, she will manifest the Grail and lose her humanity which saddens Kiritsugu.  While Kiritsugu is the master of Saber, the King of England, he has no interested in the Holy Grail, while Saber wants to be granted the miracle of preventing the destruction of her homeland while she was a leader many years ago.
  • Kirei Kotomine/Assassin – Kirei is a priest who doesn’t seem happy when he does good deeds and commits many sins. He works for Tokiomi and is the master of Assassin.  When he has great hatred towards Kiritsugu and despite being a priest, like Kiritsugu, he is a master of weapons.  He has no true goal if he wins the Holy Grail aside from trying to find the meaning of life.  But his methods make him an antagonist of the series.  As for Assassin, trained at stealth and assassination and there may be more than one of them.
  • Waver Velvet/Rider – Waver wants to be a great mage by working hard, rather than one who is a mage by bloodline.  Waver steals an artifact meant for his teacher Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi and summons Rider, also known as Alexander the Great, The King of Conquerors, a huge, muscular man who has pride in battle.
  • Ryunosuke Uryu/Caster – Ryunosuke is a teenage serial killer who entices young children to his hideout place and kills them.  He also kills families of the children and summons Caster (Bluebeard), who also enjoys torturing children and is just as sadistic.
  • Tokiomi/Archer – The father of Rin Tosaka and Sakura Mato and the Master of Archer.  He is an arrogant mage and chooses Kirei Kotomine to be his understudy.  Archer is Gilgameshu, the first hero to set foot on Earth and has a dislike towards Saber and Rider who are also kings.
  • Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald/Lancer and Sola-Ui Nuaba-Re Sophia-Ri – Kayneth is a nobleman of the Magus Association, Lord of the house of El-Melloi and a prodigy of magecraft.  He is engaged to Sola-Ui as part of a strategic arrangement but she is coldhearted and is infatuated with Lancer.  Lancer is a Knight who is loyal to his master and has an agreement with Saber that the two would save each others in final battle.  And so they often help each other out to make sure no one spoils their agreement.  His birthmark is magical and attracts women.
  • Kariya Mato/Berserker – A member of the Mato family and looks at Sakura Mato as a daughter but is upset that Tokiomi allowed his child to be adopted by Zoken.   Despite having left the Mato Family out of disgust, he returns to make a deal with his father Zoken that if he wins the Grail War, Sakura will be free.  The more magic Kariya uses, the more his life will be eaten and the nerves in his body will die.  He is the master of Berserker, a servant who has the ability to use any object as a Noble Phantasm.  But because Berserker requires so much magic which Kariya is unable to match, it has caused Berseker to be in constant pain.

In the first season, each of the people get to know their servants well and partake in several battles.  As Saber and Lancer were to enjoy their fight, Rider arrives, as does Berserker.  But instead of killing each other, Rider ends up saving both Saber and Lancer earlier on.

Meanwhile, both Ryunosuke Uryu and Caster continue their killing spree and when Caster comes into contact with Saber, he believes her to be Jeanne d’Arc.  But as the two continue their killing ways, the war is put on hold as all masters and their servants are given a new order to destroy Caster due to the negative attention that has been created due to the children’s deaths.

As servants try to destroy Caster, someone is plotting to destroy Kayneth.

VIDEO:

“Fate/Zero” is presented in 1080p High Definition and because the series was created in HD, it looks much better than its older counterpart “Fate/stay night”.  Colors are vibrant, line detail is strong, I didn’t see any major banding or artifact issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fate/Zero” is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0.   I felt that the Japanese version had a bit of clarity with its lossless LPCM track with a slightly better dynamic range.  Both featuring good voice acting on both soundtracks, but for the most part, people have a chance to choose which soundtrack they want to listen to, which is a plus.   But dialogue and music sound crystal clear from the front channels.

It’s important to note that Aniplex Inc.’s “Fate/Zero” does not use the same English voice actors that were featured on Sentai Filmworks “Fate/stay night”.  While the Japanese voice talent featured on “Fate/stay night” are the same on “Fate/Zero”.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fate/Zero” comes with the following special features:

  • DISC 2 comes with the promotional trailers featuring each servant and the Blu-ray/DVD promotional trailer featuring each servant
  • DISC 4 comes with “Fate/Zero” Staff Interviews shot in June 2013 at ufotable cafe, Koenji, Tokyo Japan featuring Hikaru Kondo (Representative Director, Producer/ufotable), Ei Aoki (Director) and Atsuhiro Iwakami (Chief Producer/Aniplex Inc.) (26:10)

EXTRAS:

“Fate/Zero” comes with the following extras:

  • Fate/Zero Original Soundtrack I – Featuring music by Kajiura Yuki (duration: 47:19)
  1. Point Zero    3:47
  2. let the stars fall down    2:03
  3. grief    1:53
  4. nervous    1:17
  5. confrontation    1:44
  6. the battle is to the strong    3:04
  7. evacuation    2:00
  8. the legend    2:05
  9. little drop of peace    1:58
  10. the beginning of the end    3:05
  11. if you leave    2:11
  12. rabble-rousers    1:36
  13. strategy    1:52
  14. unrest    1:23
  15. back to the wall    1:34
  16. secret maneuvers    1:58
  17. an eerie enemy    1:36
  18. assassin    2:38
  19. a chaser    1:42
  20. to be continued    0:17
  21. painful    1:53
  22. rule the battlefield    3:16
  23. forebodings    0:45
  24. tragedy and fate    1:50
  • 16-Page “Fate/Zero” art booklet
  • Bushiroad WeiB Schwarz English Edition card – Featuring “Beautiful King of Knights, Saber”
  • Rigid Slipcase box with illustration by Takashi Takeuchi

 

The Fourth War for the Holy Grail begins and who shall be the victor?

“Fate/Zero”, the prequel to the “Fate/stay night” series is another action-packed anime series that features a much more in-depth and darker storyline.

I have played the “Fate” games on my Sony PSP and I have watched “Fate/stay night” and the movie and as much as I enjoyed the anime series, there is something about “Fate/Zero” which I enjoyed so much more.

Part of which adds to the efficacy towards the prequel is the fact that it is a newer anime series with much better production and different anime production, this time with ufotable in charge, and the series released in HD on Blu-ray includes more additional scenes not seen in the TV series.

“Fate/Zero” also features wonderful music by Yuki Kajiura and most of all, it’s how much darker and violent this anime series is compared to “Fate/stay night”.

The storyline benefits from the fact that there is emphasis on character development as we get to know more about the goal or influences of a master but also some history of various servants such as Saber, Rider, Lancer, etc.

While there is violence in “Fate/stay night”, it’s nothing near the violence that I found with “Fate/Zero”.  Especially with the characters of Ryunosuke Uryu and Caster, as scenes of them massacring children is something I was not expected to see nor would you expect to ever see in an anime series.

And this is important for those who are parents who are “Fate” fans to know that this is an anime series that you don’t want to watch with children in the room.  Children are nailed or screwed on the wall, they are tortured, their heads are crushed, their eyes bleed out blood.  And despite the sadistic things this master/servant are embroiled in, they are not the primary antagonist which is a surprise.

And if you thought Ryunosuke is sadistic as a master, there are other people that are just as cold and sadistic and you can’t help but be surprised of how “Fate/Zero” manages to incorporate action, also a little adventure but a horror aspect as well.

And you can’t help but feel that there is some sense of impending doom that will befall many of these characters because of ego or naivety  but some who are just downright twisted.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is much better than “Fate/stay night” as it was made in HD and features vibrant visuals.  As much as I would have loved a 5.1 lossless track, you do get both stereo Japanese and English soundtracks.  Hardcore English dub fans may be upset that the voice talent on “Fate/Zero” is different from the voice talent on “Fate/stay night”, while the Japanese voice talent are the same on both series.

And like all amazing limited edition box sets released from Aniplex Inc., there is a great amount of swag included such as the “Fate/Zero Original Soundtrack I”, an extra DVD disc with Japanese staff interview, a booklet, a Bushiroad card and more!

Overall, “Fate/Zero” has turned out to be a fantastic anime series which I enjoyed much more over “Fate/stay night”.  The storyline draws you in because of the better storytelling but also has a bit of creepiness due to how much darker this series is in terms of violence is featured.  And once again, Aniplex Inc. has delivered when it comes to releasing a fantastic limited edition Blu-ray release with a good amount of swag!

“Fate/Zero Blu-ray Box Set I” is a must-see for those who enjoyed “Fate/stay night” and are fans of the “Fate” series!  Better animation, better and much darker storyline.  Highly recommended!

 

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J!-ENT interviews Yuki Kajiura and Kalafina

June 11, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

kalafina-1

J!-ENT's Dennis A. Amith interviews composer Yuki Kajiura and the music group Kalafina

Please check out our latest J!-ENT interview as J!-ENT’s Dennis A. Amith interviews composer Yuki Kajiura and the group Kalafina.

Composer Yuki Kajiura is well-known in Japan for her compositions for “Mobile Suit Gundam SEED”, “Noir”, “My-HiME”, Aquarian Age” and many other titles including video games such as “Xenosaga”.  She formed the group Kalafina which includes Wakana, Keiko and Hikaru who have produced hit tracks which were used as themes for the animated films in Japan “Kara no Kyoukai” and their music and style have attracted fans worldwide.

Kalafina recently made their US debut on iTunes and also performed in Boston.

Please click here to read our interview

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