A new girl enters into the gangs life and things will take a very different turn because of it.
What They Say:
Hiyori’s a sweet, shy girl who’s used to living in the background. Now the wallflower is ready to bloom and reveal a big secret: she’s totally infatuated with Tomoki! To get closer to the dirty-minded object of her affection, she joins the New World Discovery Club.
With Tomoki’s lazy love of peace and quiet, he’s not interested in accommodating any new club members and tries to scare Hiyori away with his usual perverted antics. Nonetheless, she remains committed to her crush and starts bonding with Ikaros, Nymph, and the gang – until a sudden, tragic accident changes everything. It seems Hiyori has a deeper – and more dangerous – link to the Angeloids than anyone suspected! How is she connected to the Synapse? Why is she trying to kill Tomoki, even after confessing her feelings?
The audio presentation for this release mirrors the TV series with its design as we get the original Japanese language in stereo and an English mix done in 5.1, both of which come are encoded using the lossless Dolby TrueHD codec. Similar to the series, a lot of what we get here is pretty standard dialogue based material where it’s silly fun with the cast as they move across the forward soundstage. Dialogue placement is solid and it has a good flow and feel to it overall, coming alive in the key scenes towards the end but not slouching earlier either with what it does. Because of the smaller and more personal nature of the comedy and dialogue, it may not seem like an impressive mix but it does the job well and comes across cleanly and clearly with no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally in theaters in 2011, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The film runs just under a hundred minutes in length and the bitrate applied to it is pretty good with a lot of it running in the twenties with the action running into the lower forties. Animated by AIC ASTA, the film has much the same look as the TV series but with some smoother animation and a somewhat richer color palette. But it’s not overdone so that it stands out in stark contrast to the TV series. The transfer captures the colors of the film well with some very good attention to detail throughout. Having enjoyed the TV series look, getting it in this form raises it a few notches and definitely makes for a fun experience that’s captured well here.
The packaging for this release is done with a standard sized Blu-ray case that has an O-card slipcover that mirrors much of what the case has. The front cover works the blue border well with a look at the three main girls in their angel forms, all of which have the kind of odd and almost bland expressions about them that’s always a little unnerving. The background has a hint of the darkness that sounds the feature but is mostly indistinct. The back cover uses the same blue border with a bit of an expansion along the bottom for the dual format technical grid that lays out everything clearly in a mostly easy to read format. The central block has some good character artwork of Hiyori while providing a few shots from the film itself along with a listing of the discs extras. The concept for the film is decently covered in this section as well though it has a lot of ground to deal with it. The artwork on the reverse side of the cover is pretty nice as we get a full wraparound image of all the girls together in school uniforms that are smiling and being quite happy. No show related inserts are included.
The menu design for this release is done in theme in a decent way as it has a cute looking navigation section down along the bottom with some good script to it that makes it fun and light. With an initial load-up that has the film’s name and logo design, it shifts into some fun clips from the feature that unfold across it until it loops around again. The look of it all is colorful and energyetic without being too frenetic. The navigation is straightforward and easy to access with its submenus, though some of the text continues to feel a little small. With language selection, the subtitles are locked to the Japanese track so you can’t turn them off or select them in general. Everything loads quickly and easily and we didn’t have any issues in getting around.
The extras for this release are fairly standard fare for anime films with a mix of Japanese extras and some English created ones. The newly created English one is the commentary track with the production team behind the film while the Japanese extras are more familiar with promos, commercials, trailers and teasers. It’s not a lot of stuff but it’s fun and welcome to see how the film was promoted.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Heaven’s Lost Property, known as Sora no Otoshimono, has two TV seasons to it that have been released previously by FUNimation. My path on the property was kind of odd since I had watched the simulcast for the second season and wrote about it, enjoying it more than I would have guessed, and then I saw the first season with the home video release. Now I get to leap ahead to the third part of the franchise with this feature, which admittedly feels weird since part of it is one big recap, albeit with some real reasons for doing so. When anime films are made, I’m always wary since half the time it feels like they’re remakes of the TV series in condensed form or with some twists. While this film does do some recapping, it also has a full story it wants to tell.
The feature starts off with a bit of a fun gag involving a giant chick that’s come to destroy everything after a certain loss related to events from the TV series itself. While it goes big and silly, it ups the ante really nicely when the way they deal with it is to get Sohara to turn into a giant girl in order to go hand to hand with it. The fight itself is short, but the whole aspect of it is just comical because, based on any pre-existing knowledge of how this series operates, because you know that Tomoki will be enjoying the view from whatever angle he can get. And even without seeing him doing that, you have to admit that you end up doing it yourself because of the whole nature of the series. The sexy fanservice is a big part of things here and it sets it all off on a good note here.
What the film does from there is what left me uncertain about how much I’d enjoy it. Pulling from a few different stories from the TV seasons, we get the whole migrating flying panties thing, the festivals and more. There’s almost a sense of dejavu about it because it does showcase the familiar scenes, sometimes from different angles, but with slightly better animation. In a way, it’s fun to revisit it in this shorter form, at least until you realize that it does largely take up the first half of the film. Since it’d been awhile since I last saw the show, getting re familiarized with the basic setups and gags definitely made me smile since it kept a lot of the more serious material out of it.
But what the film does during a lot of this segments is to add in the new character that becomes the primary focus, that of Kazane Hiyori. Hiyori’s one of the more sought after girls among the students in the school, though she’s not exactly a little miss popular or someone with lots of people always around her. We see her through these various events, such as the night stands she runs for her family at the festivals and elsewhere around school as well as time spent with the vegetable gardens she’s involved with. There’s a good sense of her connection to nature that comes in and even some decent bit of dialogue about how she has to deal with the castoff watermelon’s that don’t make the grade.
Within all of these scenes, we learn of her growing interest and love for Tomoki, some that does go back quite a ways to the unfortunate childhood romance trope. But it’s not something that last for Tomoki while for Hiyori it’s something that has built slowly over the years. Her interest in him is a lot of the narration as the first half of the film plays out and you really do get a good feeling for how she’s into him without it being something creepy or disturbing. The downside is that you do see that while she is very interested in him, she’s not doing anything to actively garner his attention towards her, even wondering how he’d ever notice her with all the beautiful girls that are always around him. Which of course paints the picture of someone just waiting for things to fall into her lap so she can experience her dreams.
Not surprisingly, events do change in a way that gets her into the group though, even to the point of being asked to join the New World Discovery Club. It’s fun to see how the girls all largely accept her as she gets into everything that they do, there is a growing sense of unease because of the connection they see forming between her and Tomoki. But the real storyline to follow here is how Tomoki ends up doing his best to come up with ways to keep her out of the club – a club that he’s not even really a formal member of – and pushes her right to the edge with some of the twisted things he does. That’s part of his charm of course since he pushes the envelope, but it’s all towards a bigger goal which has a reveal about the nature of the town itself and how life operates there. Things have been skewed for awhile, but getting a little deeper into the inner workings of it is certainly interesting and allows for a large battle to be fought as it progresses.
While the film has a very slow build to get to the main point of it, it does show us another side of Tomoki. We’ve gotten to know him fairly well in the TV series with just how far he’ll go when it comes to helping those he cares about and that factors into the film here as well. The way the film recaps things is the hard part here for me, even if it does have some fun moments to it, because it just sets the wrong tone. The introduction of Hiyori is well done as you realize what her role will be and how she’ll impact the core group, but the further it goes on the more it just feels like they had a really good idea here but it might have played out better as an actual block of TV series episodes rather than a feature length work. The second half definitely works better overall as it moves to full on new material and reveals the truth about things. There’s some good positives to be had here and no real negatives, but it just has a very weak start that’s hard to get past.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, U.S. Commentary, Original Commericals, Promotional Video, Japanese Trailers and Previews, Original Teasers
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: February 26th, 2013
Running Time: 95 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.