What They Say:
In the not-too-distant future, children are being born with special powers; marvelous and remarkable abilities. But what would seem like a wondrous gift turns out to be a dangerous curse. The world is now run by The Order, and these miraculous “deviants” are hunted down and killed.
Quon and his group of Attractors are out to rescue these children before The Order’s elite squad of ruthless cyborgs detect them. From their hideout beneath a popular amusement park, the Attractors use high tech gadgetry and their own remarkable abilities to save these children. They teach them to harness and control their powers to overthrow the very powers that seek to destroy them.
Contains episodes 1-6.
The audio presentation for this show is pretty strong as we get a pair of DTS HD-MA 5.1 mixes for both the English and Japanese tracks. The show is one that hits up some good action throughout its six episode run and those scenes have a good, immersive feeling to it without being too loud or in your face, distracting you from what’s actually going on. The series works through a few different levels throughout, from the big action with powers and guns to more simple physical hand to hand. And it also moves through the dialogue in a similar way with its big, emotional pieces to the quieter sections as well where it comes across clean and clearly without not feeling like it’s forcing it too high to be heard or understood. The lossless tracks here definitely help to elevate the presentation overall and gives it a strong and more engaging feeling.
Originally released throughout 2011, the transfer for this six feature series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The features are spread across two discs with four on the first and two on the second. The Bones animated series has a strong level of detail to it and some fantastic backgrounds that really shine here, especially as so much of it takes place at night with the lights of the city giving it its own life. The action has a very good flow to it here throughout and the transfer captures it beautifully, letting all the detail come through with no problems, break-ups or anything else that would distract. Add in the great looking colors, especially the ones that handle the darks so well without any problems, and you get a strong looking series with a great look to it.
The packaging for this release utilizes a standard Blu-ray case which provides some good color contrast to the almost gray-scale illustration that’s used for the primary piece of artwork. The central image is certainly one that sets a particular tone which makes sense but wont’ factor into the show for awhile which leaves you with a bit of a disconnect. Having Quon stuck full of arrows with blood flowing around him and a slew of indistinct dead bodies as well makes it feel like a show set in the past and not the high tech present and near-future that it does. I like the look of it, since illustration style is highly appealing, but that disconnect makes it a harder sell I think. The back cover goes for a black background which helps the much more vibrant character and screenshots stand out more here and gives it a more vivid and alive feeling. The summary covers things well and the shots from the show are appealing if just for the color of them all. The discs contents are clearly listed and it also promotes the audio presentation in a very good way. The production credits are solid and the technical grid lays out everything clearly in an easy to read fashion. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
Riffing off of the cover design, the menus here utilize some very good illustration artwork with a bit more color that makes for some appealing menus on a big screen in high definition. The first volume lets Quon and Yuri stand together while the second volume makes the interesting choice of Kannazuki and Kamashiro as its characters while including a transformed Quon in flight between them. Each menu has a good sense of color about it and there’s a rough stone feeling as the overall background done in a light tone. The navigation along the bottom doubles as the pop-up menu and also works well as a more modern design to fit in with the real theme of the show since it has a near future feel. The layouts are simple but the menus are very nicely designed and are very easy to access. Submenus load quickly and languages are quick and easy to figure out and adjust.
The feature series has only one extra with it in the form of a commentary track with the six episode of the film series with the English voice actor cast.
Done up as a series of six theatrical run releases from June to November of 2011, Towa no Quon is an intriguing series that has a lot of classic design elements to it. With animation from Bones, the series has a very strong and distinctive look to it where it captures that near future feeling well. The majority of the series feels like it takes place at night in the city or in interiors of various buildings so it has a clean and strong look to it where those backgrounds almost provide a character unto itself. But it doesn’t quite come close, which is a prevalent feeling I got with the series as a whole. The six episodes all run for about fifty two minutes each, but ten minutes is devoted to the end credits for both languages which reduces a lot of the runtime you think you’re getting. But in the end, it does come out to be the same as a twelve episode series, just structured differently.
The show revolves around a young man named Quon who is anything but young. He’s been around for at least a thousand years, coming from a time when there used to be a lot of people with superhuman abilities from flames to healing and strength. But as time went on, there were fewer and fewer and those that had the powers tended to shy away and form their own secret villages in the mountains. For Quon, this is where he lost his brother Towa back all those years ago when a nearby warlord went to make a name for himself by invading the village and killing everyone. Only Quon survived and has spent all that time seemingly alone.
Except now in the present, though the help of a few people, he’s built a place called Fantasium Gardens. It’s here that he brings the young children that he discovers who have these abilities and tries to give them a safe haven from the world that’s seeking to eliminate them or traumatize them. While most people would shun them and governments would use them to learn secrets, Quon just wants them to have the childhood he never had and not feel unsafe. There’s a ncie mix of characters here and we see him rescue one young girl in the first episode that helps to set a lot of the foundation. Through her we get an idea of what it’s like to be called what’s termed an Attractor and how it is to survive in Fantasium. It’s rather relaxed, but there was a lot of tension and fear to get to the point.
And most of that comes from a mysterious group called Custos that operates under the orders of the Oldoe, a larger organization that’s only given fleeting mentions throughout. Custos has a man named Kamishiro in charge of it that has put together a group of cyborgs to hunt down the Attractors and eliminate them after bringing them in for questioning. This sets the two sides up pretty quickly and both have their powers and advantages. For Quon, as the main one to go out on the missions, he’s got a self regeneration ability and transforms into something of a classic Japanese monster style character. He also gets aid from Yuri, a skilled female Attractor who is a strong partner for him but nothing more. The Custos by contrast use their cyborg bodies and weapons to dole out their violence. There’s some variety to it, but it primarily focuses on a cyborg named Epsilon, who was a man named Shun that has ended up through his own twisted story that is slowly revealed. He gets to be the transformative hero of the series and that works well overall as he has the best tsory of them all and is easily the one you’re able to connect with as he goes through some good self discovery.
A lot of the features are a basically a series of back and forth actions as certain pasts are revealed and the truth comes out about who is who and what is really driving them in the present. Some of it works better than others and the opening episode is just kind of awkward in a way that left me unsure about the show. But it does find its footing and smooths out as it goes on. With the forty minute pacing per episodes, things do move a bit differently and there is an adjustment to that, which I think they figured out better about halfway through. I also liked that there is a classic feel here that took me back to the late 70’s X-Men comics about a group of mutants essentially with powers that just want to co-exist but there are those that won’t allow it. It does try to hint at something bigger with Oldoe, but what we get here is really a story about Kamishiro which also helps to bring Shun and Quon into understanding themselves more.
Towa no Quon is certainly an interesting series and I really dug a lot of aspects of it, though it took a couple of episodes for it all to really come together for me. I can easily see myself liking this more on a second watching with a better understanding of things. And it does have some good replay value, just from the animation itself which is really strong and engaging with its levele of detail and the flow of the battles with all of its powered variety. Where it falls short, particularly in the first half, is in giving us characters that we can relate to. Quon is too moody and distant and the new kids that we get aren’t strong enough or present enough to make it work. That leaves a disconnect until you settle into the premise and atmosphere of the film series itself. It’s a very fun show overall and it has some well worn ideas with solid visual execution but it left me wondering if this was the right structure to bring it out with.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Commentary
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78;1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.