Anime Blu-ray Review: Natsuyuki Rendezvous Complete Collection

Natsuyuki Rendezvous Complete Collection has one disc with all 11 episodes of the series. The release only has Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous Complete Collection
English Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: November 4, 2014

At the beginning of the series, a young man named Ryosuke Hazuki makes a daily habit of going by a florist shop and buying a small potted plant from the shop’s proprietor, a woman named Rokka Shimao. Ryosuke has fallen in love with Rokka but does not have the courage to tell her. One day, Rokka posts a help wanted sign for a part-time employee, and Ryosuke applies for the job in order to get closer to Rokka. Ryosuke believes that fortune is smiling on him.

When Ryosuke’s co-worker leaves, Rokka decides to throw a party at her apartment, and invites Ryosuke to help. When Ryosuke enters the apartment, he sees a half-naked man there, and thinks that Rokka had invited him to the apartment to tell him without telling him that she’s not available.

When Ryosuke comes back to the apartment for the party, he encounters the man again when he goes out to the veranda to smoke. It turns out the man is the ghost of Atsushi Shimao, Rokka’s deceased husband. Ryosuke is the first person to be able to see Atsushi, and the ghost is possessive of his wife. Atsushi’s spirit lingers around the apartment and the shop, which causes torment for Ryosuke.

But just at it seems that Ryosuke is starting to win over Rokka, he encounters a disappointment when Rokka laughs off the idea of having sex with him. Ryosuke gets drunk, and when he returns to the shop, Atsushi’s ghost takes advantage of the situation and possesses Ryosuke’s body. The series takes a supernatural turn at this point, as Ryosuke finds himself trapped in the storybook world that Atsushi created in his sketchbook while he was still alive.

When I watched this series for the first time as a stream on Crunchyroll, I admit that at the beginning of the first episode, I found Ryosuke to be a little on the creepy side because he came across as a stalker. However, over the course of the first two or three episodes, I found myself warming up to him. What probably helped to win me over was how much of a jerk Atsushi’s ghost is portrayed as when he interacts with Ryosuke. This may sound silly, but it didn’t really hit me until I watched this series again on this Blu-ray release that Atsushi was as much of a stalker as Ryosuke was.

The series starts out as a typical slice of life story. However, what made it different was the fact that this story features adults rather than the high school students that are typically associated with the slice of life stories. But the series takes the story to the next level by adding much more in the way of supernatural elements once Atsushi’s ghost takes over Ryosuke’s body. But even with the increase in supernatural elements at that point, the story still does a great job of dealing with Rokka’s confusion between wanting to honor her husband’s memory and potentially moving on and admitting that she is in love with Ryosuke. And with the way that Rokka ends up getting played and inadvertently stuck between Ryosuke and her dead husband, she becomes a sympathetic character. The series really impressed me with how it dealt with Rokka’s situation and how her past with Atsushi is revealed in various flashbacks throughout the series.

However, one thing I have to fault this series for is its pacing. The first four episodes progress the story rather quickly, but then slows down dramatically once Atsushi takes over Ryousuke’s body. The story probably would have been a little stronger if the character development leading up to Atsushi taking over Ryousuke’s body could have been extended for just a little bit longer. I don’t know if the anime was simply following the manga’s pacing, or if the anime made some tweaks.

I appreciated the animation style that was used for Natsuyuki Rendezvous. It has more of a realistic look to it, and it really complements the compelling storytelling.

The Blu-ray video for this set has 1080p High Definition / 16×9, while the audio is Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I had no complaints about either the video or audio quality of this release.

Since all 11 episodes were included on one disc, it’s not surprising that the bonus features on this set are very bare bones. Like with a lot of Sentai Filmworks’ releases, the only extras included here are a textless opening, a textless closing, and trailers for other Sentai Filmworks releases.

If you’re already familiar with Natsuyuki Rendezvous and want to add it to your anime home video library, then this is the release that you need to pick up.

Anime NebrasKon Cancels Its 2020 Convention

Anime NebrasKon has announced that this year’s event is being cancelled due to the risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Badges for Anime NebrasKon 2020 will be rolled over the 2021 event taking place on November 5-7, 2021. Vendors and participants will also have their registrations rolled over to the 2021 event.

Anime NebrasKon’s website also stated that badge holders who do not want their badges to roll over and instead want a refund can contact the organizers through email. Additionally, the website announced that badge holders who have booked hotel rooms at the Ramada Plaza, the Doubletree SW, or the Comfort Inn through the official Anime NebrasKon room block will automatically have their bookings canceled and should receive a confirmation of the refund by August 4, 2020.

New badges and hotel reservations for Anime NebrasKon 2021 will be available later in the year.

Source: ANN

Nagi no Asukara Is Now Streaming on Netflix

The Fandom Post is reporting that Netflix debuted the Nagi no Asukara anime under its localized name, A Lull in the Sea, on August 1, 2020. The series is in its original Japanese language and there is an English dub for it but it only has English subtitles.

NIS America released the series as a premium Blu-ray box set. Prior to this, the series was simulcast on Crunchyroll.

Source: The Fandom Post

Toradora! Is Now Streaming on Netflix

The Fandom Post is reporting that the Toradora! anime is now available for streaming on Netflix. The series is available in its original Japanese language and has the English dub that was produced. It also comes with English subtitles, Spanish subtitles, and Brazilian Portuguese subtitles.

The 2008 TV series was directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai based on the series composition by Mari Okada. Masayoshi Yanaka adapted the original character designs by Yasu based on the work from Yuyuko Takemiya. J.C. Staff handled the animation production.

Source: The Fandom Post

FUNimation Entertainment to Add Sailor Moon R: The Movie and Berserk Anime Films

FUNimation Entertainment has announced that it will begin streaming the Sailor Moon R: The Movie anime film in Japanese with English subtitles and in English on August 7, 2020. The company also revealed that it will begin streaming the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II – The Battle for Doldrey and Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent anime films on August 14, 2020. FUNimation will stream all three movies from VIZ Media in the United States and Canada.

VIZ Media released the films on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in North America.

Source: ANN

Crunchyroll to Stream the Two-Part My Hero Academia Original Video Anime

Crunchyroll has announced that it will stream the new two-part “Boku no Hero Academia: Ikinokore! Kesshi no Survival Kunren” original video anime for the My Hero Academia franchise on August 15, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. PDT.

The My Hero Academia OVA episodes will be available for Crunchyroll members in the following territories: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, as well as Europe (excluding English, French and German speaking territories), CIS, Israel, Lebanon, Northern Africa (excluding Egypt and Libya), Central Africa, and Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, and Togo.

Source: Crunchyroll

Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld Part 2: Epiosde 4 – “Code 871”

Wow… there was quite a bit to unpack in this episode.

First, we’ll focus on Ocean Turtle. At the end of the previous episode, we saw Yanai point a gun at Higa to try to stop the operation of trying to repair Kirito’s damaged soul. It comes out that Yanai was connected with Sugou, the main antagonist of the Fairy Dance Arc, and how he infiltrated Rath in order to further his own goals and ambitions. We also see how crazy this guy has become after he reveals that he made contact with Administrator and how he fell in love with her and is now trying to avenge her death. Yeah, this Yanai gone has totally gone off the deep end. It’s in this part of the story where the title “Code 871” comes into play.

We return to Gabriel and Sinon, and Sinon recognizes his character from Gun Gale Online. She freezes and panics, and Gabriel intends to steal her soul. This scene was a little uncomfortable, though, because of how his attempt to steal her soul is depicted. When he unleashes his power to draw her to him while she’s too scared to move, it’s origin starts near his groin. And it appears he has to kiss her to try to steal her soul. The allusions to rape here make sense considering what he’s trying to do, but it was still a little uncomfortable to watch. But something unexpected happens, and it allows Sinon to get away and to regain her courage to fight Gabriel. We don’t get very far in the Sinon vs. Gabriel battle in this episode, though.

We return to Iskahn and Scheta Synthesis Twelve, where it appears that they’re done for. At least we don’t have any cheesy dialogue with them this time. And remember how I’ve been asking about what happened to Leafa and Lilpilin over the past couple of weeks? I finally got my answer in this episode, when Leafa, Lilpilin, and Lilpilin’s forces appear just in the nick of time to save the day. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see much of what’s going on with them, because the action shifts elsewhere on the battlefield.

We then shift to where some of the players Liz encouraged to help them in this adventure are up against the players from China and South Korea. They manage to subdue them enough for one of their party members to try to explain what’s going on. While most of the troops don’t seem to trust her, the two people we saw in the previous episode who were a little skeptical about the situation come forward and point out what they’ve been skeptical about with this whole thing. Unfortunately, just as it seems progress is being made, Vassago appears and manages to rile up the Chinese and South Korean players. At least the two who were skeptical seem to be siding with the Japanese players. Again, this is where this portion of the story ends in this episode.

We return to Asuna and her group, and they are basically down for the count and overwhelmed by the Chinese and South Korean players. Vassago appears here as well, and he insists that Asuna and the others put down their arms. Asuna, feeling she has no other choice, agrees. Vassago reveals the truth about the incident with Laughing Coffin, which angers Asuna. But it does make me question something… are the Chinese and South Korean players listening to this conversation? If I was among them and I heard about how this guy betrayed his own comrades in another game, I would be questioning his sincerity in this current situation. The episode ends with Vassago asking to see Kirito, and Kirito being brought out in his wheelchair.

For the most part, this episode is making it look like just about everything is leading up to the worst possible conclusion. The only real bright spots here are Sinon gaining the strength she needs to go up against Gabriel, and Leafa and Lilpilin’s appearance to help the pugilists in their hour of need. Outside of that, it’s basically doom and gloom. But with Kirito now being brought out to being face-to-face with Vassago, a miracle is going to need to happen pretty quickly with him. I’m curious to see how this story is going to progress next week, since things are looking pretty grim at the end of this episode.

Crunchyroll Adds Subtitled Version of the Zo Zo Zombie Anime

Crunchyroll started streaming 13 English-subtitled episodes of the Zo Zo Zombie anime on July 30, 2020.

The site had launched the first five episodes of the series with an English dub on March 19, 2020, and it then released one new dubbed episode every week until the 13th episode premiered on May 21, 2020. The company is streaming the anime in the following territories: North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, Oceania, and the Middle East.

Source: ANN

FUNimation Entertainment to Stream the Two-Part My Hero Academia Original Video Anime on August 15, 2020

FUNimation Entertainment has announced that it will stream the new two-part “Boku no Hero Academia: Ikinokore! Kesshi no Survival Kunren” original video anime for the My Hero Academia franchise on the same day it comes out in Japan. The OVA will stream in Japan on August 16, 2020, and will debut on FUNimation with English subtitles on August 15, 2020. The Mainichi Shimbun‘s Mantan Web site also announced that the anime will also be available on Hulu and other services simultaneously “worldwide.”

FUNimation is also planning a “watch-along” event on the day of the OVA’s release. The company describes the new OVA “set during Season 3 of the series, right before the student heroes take their Provisional Hero License Exams.”

Source: ANN

Anime Blu-ray Review: Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid The Complete Series

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid The Complete Series is a Blu-ray set that includes two Blu-ray discs, which include all 13 episodes of the series. The language options available on this release are the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and an English dub.

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid The Complete Series
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: September 10, 2019

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid picks up six months after the events of the original Full Metal Panic! anime. Sousuke Sagara is still attending high school and serving as a bodyguard for Kaname Chidori, but he’s finding himself being pulled out of school more and more to tackle other missions for Mithril, the anti-terrorist private military organization that Sousuke is a part of. This also means that he’s not able to guard Kaname as much as he was previously.

A new organization known as “Amalgam” appears, and a crazy man named Gates is the new enemy. Two of his underlings are a set of female twins named Xia Yu Lan and Yu Fan Lan, and it turns out their sensei is someone that was originally introduced in the first Full Metal Panic! anime. The series also introduces the audience to Leonard Testarossa, the brother of Mithril’s Teresa “Tessa” Testarossa.

As this series progresses, we see both Kaname and Sousuke struggling with the relationship that they have, and this really comes to a head when Sousuke is told that his mission has changed and he will no longer be guarding Kaname.

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is more on the serious side compared with the original Full Metal Panic! anime but does contain some light-hearted moments to serve as comic relief. This series has more violence compared to the first series, and there’s also some nudity here that wasn’t seen in the first series, either.

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is a good follow-up series to Full Metal Panic!, even with the noticeable shift in tone between the two series.

The Blu-ray video for this set has 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native), and the audio includes Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD: Japanese 5.1. I had no complaints about either the video or the audio on this release.

There were several features included on the second Blu-ray disc. First is “Episode 0” of Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. It’s about five minutes in length, and at first, it seems to simply be providing some background for what the audience sees in the first scene of the first episode of the series. But then, it suddenly starts showing random clips of the series, and ends with preview text for the series. Unfortunately, this felt rather choppy, and I didn’t think it was a terribly effective preview clip for the series.

There was also an OVA episode included for Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. This OVA focuses on Tessa Testarossa. It focuses on a peaceful day aboard the Tuatha De Dannan and is told from Tessa’s point of view. This is definitely set after the events of the final episode of the television series, and it was kind of amusing.

The big bonus feature included in this set is the location scouting clips (there are seven in all) that run for about two and a half hours. These were originally done for the seven individual Japanese releases of Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. That being said, these were never meant to be marathoned back-to-back, which is how they appear on this release. There are voice overs on this footage from Shoji Gatoh, the creator of the light novels, and Yasuhiro Takemoto (the director of the anime). Hearing Takemoto’s voice overs and seeing him on the screen really hurt my heart, knowing that he is no longer alive after the Kyoto Animation Fire of 2019. Seeing him and hearing him while he was alive showed just how much more life he really should have lived and how much more he could have given to the anime industry with his talents. But I would recommend not trying to watch all seven parts of this feature back to back, because it can get a little dry after a while. They have interesting things to say in the commentary, but it’s just a lot to digest.

The release also includes a textless opening and a textless closing, as well as trailers for other releases from FUNimation Entertainment.

If you are a fan of Full Metal Panic! franchise and don’t have the Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid in your anime home video library yet (but already have the first season in your possession), this release would be worth getting in order to have these 13 episodes to complement the 24 from the first season.