DVD Review – Bleach: Series 9 Part 1 (Episodes 168-178)

Available on DVD now

As we dive back into the world of Bleach, you will recall we last left our heroes in the world of Hueco Mundo as they strive to put a stop to Aizen and his fiendish… wait, that tale isn’t continuing for a while? Instead we’re going to be treated to a new standalone story set in the world of the living (that has nothing to do with the ongoing story from the last volume) surrounding a mysterious trio taking refuge on Earth?

This is what you will be met with as you pop in this DVD set. As mentioned in my review of Series 8 Part 2 (read it HERE) due to production issues when the series first aired – namely that the anime was far too close to the Manga of Bleach being published at the same time in Japan – series 9 began a new original story to break the flow of what we had been watching. But I’m happy to report that from my perspective this is actually a welcomed change and isn’t as bad of an occurrence as some might perceive. Yes it is an original story, which I appreciate can be a major turn off for some people, but the good thing about this collection of episodes is that it does takes us back to some older ground of the Bleach universe. We get to see our heroes in the world of living attending school and joking around with each other, reminding us that at the end of the day they are only high school students. (Something that in all honestly I had forgotten about given the serious overtone of the Hueco Mundo story.) So, although it has created a bump in the road of a story we have already invested a lot of time in, it is nice to have a break once in a while before plowing on with whatever awaits us next (in this instance) in Hueco Mundo.
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Blu-Ray Review – Angel Beats Complete Collection

Available on DVD & Blu-Ray now

Imagine that you wake up outdoors and crouched down in front of you is a school girl pointing a sniper rifle at a fellow student, who apparently is the enemy, standing across the courtyard. This same girl who’s wielding said sniper rifle then tries to recruit you for a group she fronts during which time you have been informed that you’re now in the afterlife. This is exactly what you can expect in the opening scene of Angel Beats as you follow the (very unique) journey of Otonashi who has no clue what’s going on coupled with the fact he has amnesia & doesn’t remember anything about himself. (Not exactly the greatest condition to be in given the circumstances.)

As you may have guessed Angel Beats surrounds a group of students trying maintain a strong opposing force against Angel, the girl I mentioned who was having a sniper rifle (unbeknownst to her) waiting to deliver a shot to her cranium, in a world that could be best described as unique version of the afterlife that is confined to the grounds a high school. The goal of the students is simple: remain in that world. If they cause an imbalance on how the things should run or perhaps how they conduct themselves in certain situations, they will likely be met with consequences (usually Angel, who coincidentally is the student council leader, coming along to dish out some punishment) or perhaps even being ‘obliterated’.
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DVD Review – Hetalia World Series – Season Three Collection

Release date: July 23rd 2012

I had wondered if it was just the Hetalia: Paint It White movie that was suffering from a bad case of the ‘What?’, in terms of its pacing, structure and bizarre inanities. Apparently it isn’t. But, having said that, there are some significant benefits to having Hetalia in a series format rather than one drawn-out story.

For those that are unaware, Hetalia is a comedy series which stars personifications of the world’s countries in vignettes that are generally rough allegories of historical events picked throughout time (although mainly focusing on the World Wars), and also a great deal of random irreverence that are completely unrelated to history. There’s no wider story arc other than the simple progression of episodes and introduction of more characters, so unless you’re coming straight into the third season it shouldn’t be challenging to progress through. By this point, there are a lot of characters. Working with countries as a basis actually gives the audience a great advantage with getting to grips with the series, as there are fewer collections of things that we’re more familiar with- at some point in our lives we will probably have heard of most of the names being thrown around, so you’re given a leg up from the beginning. More obscure characters (like Wy and Sealand, which are actually real micronations) take some introduction, but usually this happens as a matter of course during the episode progression anyway.
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Black Lagoon Blu-Ray releases delayed until end of July, DVD collection release date unaffected

Manga Entertainment just announced on their twitter account that the upcoming Black Lagoon Blu-Rays they are distributing with Kaze UK have been delayed until the end of the month, July 30th to be precise. The DVD collection containing both seasons are still set for a July 9th release date.

Season 1 & Season 2 Blu-ray delayed until 30-July. Massive apologies 2 all our customers. S1&2 DVD box set out 9-Jul.

You can pre-order both versions at Amazon UK via the links below:
Season 1 Blu-Ray  |  Season 2 Blu-Ray  |  Season 1 & 2 DVD Collection

 

DVD Review – Dragonball Z Season One

Available on DVD from July 2nd 2012

Back in the early 2000’s a series aired on the Cartoon Network that I had seen glimpses of in the form of trading cards that a few Japanese friends of mine often brought into school. I had even seeing some clips advertised on tv when on holiday in the states but never actually came to realise what this franchise was all about. The series in question is Dragonball Z.

The series debut on Cartoon Network hooked me from the outset. Yet the one thing that was never present over here in the UK was a home video release (back then on VHS). I knew it was available in other countries and I’ll readily admit I imported some of the VHS and DVDs but never everything because of two reasons. The first, and perhaps very predictably given my age at the time, was the lack of money. Paying £20 for three episodes (sometimes four if you were lucky) on a single DVD or VHS certainly made the funds dry up quickly. The second reason was that I was always hopeful there would be a physical UK release. Well that time has finally arrived. After years of yearning, wanting and hoping, the Dragonball Z television series is at long last being released in the UK. Coming to the masses in the form of season long box sets nicknamed ‘orange bricks’ (because of their packaging design), the first, season one obviously, encompassing the Vegeta saga (also known to many as the Saiyan saga from when it aired on television.)

As you can tell I’m a big fan of the franchise. (Phrasing it like that may be an understatement in itself.) But for the benefit of those who might not be as familiar with Dragonball Z, allow me enlighten you in as short a time frame as possible.
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DVD Review – Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint it, White

I have no idea what’s going on.

I’ve never watched Hetalia before. Thinking I’d be able to get by based on what I’d read online, I jumped into this review not fully understanding the intricacies of anything it has to offer. How difficult can it be to get the jist of an anime, though, right? In its broadest sense, Hetalia is a comedy series which stars personifications of the world’s countries, principally Italy (hence the name, which is a contraction of the Japanese word hetare meaning ‘cutely pathetic’ and Italy, who lives up to this in spades). It’s mainly set during the Second World War, where the characters’ interactions form a loose and not-entirely-accurate-or-serious-in-any-way-but-fairly-intricate history of events, and bits and pieces from other eras too.

While you only need to know the outline to understand the premise of the show, actually getting into the movie requires a much greater knowledge of the interactions the characters have had over the episodes previously (not that this is by any means part of that continuity. More importantly, it’s more than handy to know what the characters are like, because there’s no introduction to them or their antics, or the show’s layout. And you’ll have no clue what you’re getting yourself in for. So I’m going to be fair in this review; given that I don’t know the series it’s likely I’m missing a lot of the nuances that make it so popular. So, on we go.
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DVD Review – Naruto Shippuden, Box Set 9

Continuing on the journeys of Naruto and his ninja comrades, this box set picks up with the second half of the Three Tails story arc that sees the dedicated follower of Orichimaru & user of crystal style technique, Guren, still essentially playing the role of babysitter to the young Yukimaru who plays an important role when it comes to the control of the Three Tailed beast. All the while Ninja from the Leaf Village are determined to counter this plan, enlisting the help of more comrades to keep things on an even playing field.

The addition of the three tails beast continues to add a level of intrigue to the overall plot but in all honesty the most prominent part of this entire tale surrounds the developed (mother & child style) relationship between Guren & Yukimaru and how Naruto feels closely connected to it from personal experiences. You also have Guren’s underlings and their battles with other the Leaf Village ninja and some presence from members of the Akatsuki. All the while this is linked to the capture or sealing  (depending on which side the coin, good & evil, the characters fall on) of the Three Tails beast.
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DVD Review – Baka & Test: Summon The Beasts

When thinking about the anime’s I have watched recently and enjoyed very much, there has been a clear recurrence of serious and mature animations filling my collection; Akira, Tekken BV,  Evangelion, countless Ghibli’s; so on and so forth. When tasked with watching a Shonen anime, I must admit it was going to be a tough watch; large beady eyes and cutsie dialogue are not per ce, ‘my thing’.

However, I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed that my insatiable lust for fight scenes, complex character divulgence and overall quality had been quelled enough by Baka and Test.

Set in Fumizuki Acedemy high school, we can already deduce that this is no ordinary learning establishment. Fighting in my high school was forbidden and punished very highly, so it came as a shock that this academy is promoting fighting; mixed with an excellent twist. Here, the students grades are their strength, with higher test scores in particular studies being made the ammunition which fuels the students fighting avatars (Shokanju, ‘Beasts’), in battles named ST wars; battles approved by teachers whom can open special fighting grounds for our students to fight in using their avatars, which look wonderfully reminiscent of the characters in final fantasy 3 et al, coated in cool armour and wielding close combat weapons.
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Manga UK to release Puella Madoka Magica on DVD & Blu-Ray, plus new license revealed!

Puella Magi Madoka Magica confirmed for DVD & Blu-Ray UK release!

Following Anime Industry panel at MCM Expo this past weekend (which you watch our video of HERE) it’s fair to say that when it comes to new licenses or announcements it was a little quiet on the Manga Entertainment side of things. Well they’ve made up for that over the past few days with two announcements.

The first is that they have licensed Tora no Quon, a six-part film supernatural series that focuses on humans with mutant powers will be released in its entirety on DVD this coming November.

The second follows a previous item of ours (HERE) where we mentioned that Manga UK were considering releasing the very popular Puella Madoka Magica on Blu-Ray as well as DVD in some form later this year and that your feedback to the possibility could play a major part in the decision. Well Manga UK officially announced today they will be releasing the series on Blu-Ray as well as DVD.

The release date is October 22nd and will be a 3-disc DVD set at the RRP of £29.99 and a Blu-Ray set at £39.99 RRP. Manga also noted that pre-orders won’t begin until July.

This series has been one of the hot import Blu-Ray titles for quite a while and at the price Manga intend to sell it at, it works out much cheaper. For those of you who waited, your patience has been rewarded!

Tiger & Bunny UK home video release date confirmed! – UPDATED

DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack of Part 1 due in October

Manga Entertainment have made it known on twitter that we can expect to see the first part of the very popular superhero anime series Tiger & Bunny released on September 23rd in the UK!

The release will be a DVD+Blu-Ray combo pack, meaning you get both versions for one price. Given it’s part 1 of the series, it’s probably safe to assume it will include the first 12 or 13 episodes of the 25 episode series.

Tiger & Bunny will be the first series to be released on home video in the UK after having streamed as a simulcast with the original Japanese audio & English subtitles on the Anime On Demand streaming service. It’s still to this day one of the most popular series available to view on the site so it will be very interesting to see how well it does on DVD/Blu-Ray (with the English dub included too).

UPDATE –
Kaze UK have since made it known on their twitter account that the first part of Tiger & Bunny is actually due for release in October, not September.

Kaze UK also added on twitterwe have something planned for September for [Tiger & Bunny] so maybe that’s what [Manga UK] got confuzzled by – easily done 🙂“. No doubt we’ll find out more details about this “something” in the coming months.

So to reiterate, the Tiger & Bunny Part 1 DVD+Blu-Ray combo pack is due for release in October. This matches the previous report that it would be released in the fourth quarter of the year.
We’ll be sure to keep you up to date with any further developments on this.