Finding work when you can’t be a hero anymore is hell, but it may lead to heaven.
What They Say:
Raul Chaser never wanted to work in retail, but when the war against the Demons ended unexpectedly, the Hero Training Program he was in shut down. But although combat-trained Raul may feel out of place dealing with customers in a department store instead of dealing out death with hardened steel, his newest co-worker’s culture shock is even worse. While Fino Bloodstone is ready, eager, and willing to please, she’s also the daughter of the now-deceased Demon King!
Not only are her social skills a little challenged, but it’s going to be up to Raul and the staff to teach her the finer points of the human concept of a “pleasant shopping experience”… not to mention when it’s proper to wear what kind of clothes and whose bed you can sleep in. And they’ll have to do it quick, because there’s a sinister major retail chain moving into the area with plans for global domination.
The audio presentation for this release has the original Japanese language track only which is encoded in stereo using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. I’m really surprised that this series is monolingual as it feels like it hits all the things it needs to get one. That said, we do get a pretty good mix here that plays to the whole retail environment in a decent enough way but has fun with some of the more outlandish moments and the magic. The show is very much dialogue driven with some internal dialogue along the way as well, but overall it works a good balance with what it has to accomplish. There isn’t a lot of need for placement throughout it, but it has some fun moments when the magic gets involved and things aren’t the usual standing around scenes. Dialogue itself is clean and clear throughout though and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in the fall of 2013, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second, which was a surprise since it’s a monolingual release. The benefits are definitely there though as the bit rate remains fairly high in most of the scenes with a lot of high 20’s that’s not common with a lot of Sentai releases. The quality of the show certainly shines through here and the visual presentation is very engaging with some luscious colors that really draw you in, which is why it’s good that they remain solid throughout and without anything noticeable in the noise area during regular playback. The vividness of the colors is certainly striking and the saturation levels are great with some of what they use, such as certain yellow hair colors and particular pinks. The detail is also well handled throughout as studio Asread really did a top notch job here in designing things and carrying it through in just about every scene, from backgrounds to character animation. This was a real delight to watch.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds both of the discs against the interior walls. The front cover is decent as it works more of a novel illustration approach to the designs rather than the anime itself, but it’s certainly appealing as we get a cute Fino images right in the center as she has a pint sized Lam on one hand while Raul watches on from the side. With the red angle stripes and the black background, we get a good color design that lets the character artwork stand out in a good way without dominating it. I also like the swords sigil aspect used with the episode and disc count. The series name is problematic, but I’m happier to see the shorthand Japanese name used in a large font with the English localization in a smaller font along the top of it. The back cover works a familiar pattern with a few things at angles with nice taglines, some fun and colorful images from the show and some better anime designed character pieces along the right. The summary of the premise is well covered without giving away too much. I was expecting a bit more of a retail kind of design in a way, but it’s fairly straightforward here as it carries over part of the front cover design. The production credits are clearly and cleanly listed as is the well laid out and accurate technical grid. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release is probably the weakest part of this show, which is unfortunate since it could have been a lot of fun. The usual design is here as the left third has the navigation which is made up of the episode numbers and lengthy titles, which also doubles as the pop-up menu. It’s done with a graph paper design at a slight angle that mixes in a few of Raul’s swords as well to keep it a little in theme. The rest of the menu uses the black and red pieces from the cover for the background while the foreground is made up of an upside down Airi and a normal Seara. Or as normal as Seara can be while wearing a skimpy bunny girl outfit. There’s a kind of minimal aspect to it in a way and the reversed design of the characters just feels weird and very out of place.
The only extras on this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series written by Jun Sakyou and illustrated by Masaki Inuzumi, Yu Sibu is a thirteen episode series that aired during the fall 2013 season. Animated by Asread, the show is one that really has a strong look to it while playing in a few different realms. It exists within a quasi-fantasy world, it plays to a modern day retail environment within it and it skews into some really serious fanservice moments. And it has some big magic action sequences as well. With a beautiful design in the animation and characters, it’s a series that draws you in quickly and easily to try and see how the weirdness of the different aspects play out. I’m usually very, very hesitant to talk about other shows while reviewing a show, but this series is a perfect complement to The Devil is a Part-Timer. They have similar ideas in a very basic kind of way, but they execute it very differently in both tone and style, never mind story. They’re like you gave a basic idea to two people and they both went on their own tangents. This one just skews heavier into fanservice and sexuality.
The premise behind this is certainly fun enough as we get a fantasy world that has a good bit of technology it, technology that’s powered by magic. A familiar enough concept to be sure and they do run with some cute ideas with it at times. The world is one where we get the League of Heroes that deals with fighting the Demons that reside there, deep underneath a volcano where there are innumerable traps, dungeons and other things to keep heroes from defeating them. We get to meet a few of the heroes at the start, but unfortunately for them the demon kingdom has collapsed under its own weight and doesn’t exist properly anymore. Because of that, there are no more demon incursions or problems and the League of Heroes disbands. That, in turn, has put a lot of people out of work. Not just the heroes, but weapons manufacturers, armorers and a whole host of other smaller businesses that now have to figure out how to survive in this brave new world.
One such person is Raul Chaser, a young man who was working through his testing in the League of Heroes to become a hero but now finds himself working at Reon, an electronics and appliance shop in a busy town in the human world. He’s good at his job, applying the same intensity at learning it as he did with wanting to be a hero, and he’s a solid employee. We get the usual quirks of employees here with a manager within the chain that’s kind of lightheaded but is actually fairly sharp, an assistant manager that’s in love with her but unable to close the deal and a ditzy girl who is the object of certain customers sexual advances. There’s also a Lawson convenience store next door that has a young woman named Elsa that works there that’s really in love with Raul and her usual coworker Lam, who is a dark young woman with her own issues that eventually come to light. It’s standard setup stuff, but it’s made welcome by the trappings of technology and magic that are used and the environment in general since there are so many quirks. Add in some of the supporting characters, including Reon’s installer and ace repair woman Loa, and you get a solid cast to work with.
What’s missing is a catalyst. That comes in the form of a new employee named Fino, a kind of grungy young man that brusquely gets employed there when Raul doesn’t think he has a chance in hell with his attitude. Naturally, there’s a twist that comes into play over the first couple of episodes as we see that Fino is actually a young woman and that she’s actually the demon king’s daughter. She’s come to the human side of the world to try and find a new path rather than being like her father and all that he was caught up in and is looking to find a way to bring something better to her own people, which she discovers along the way in the series. She’s not the swiftest of employees at first, or for the most part, because she has no real concept of what the real human world is like. So Raul has to teach her a lot while being conflicted a bit over who she is. But that’s a very minor point of it because she is so innocent and naive in a way that it’s hard to think of her as a demon. He becomes more protective of her than anything else, trying to keep who she really is a secret from a lot of people.
A lot of the series really is about Raul and Fino as he does his best to show her how the world works, often not remembering that she is as naturally clueless as she is. The pair have some really great scenes together overall while educating the viewer on how this magic fueled technology works and some of the quirks and dangers of it, such as how homes are powered and the kind of creatures that can gum up the works and drain a house of its power levels. Repairs are given their due as well, which is nice to see as the Reon crew is more about local customer service and care. That plays into the mild storyline that comes from the arrival of a big chain called Amada that’s looking to dominate the market. You can see how that will play out, but over a couple of episodes in different ways it largely ends up showing us some different ways that the world works, with a bit more of a crueler form used by Amada. It also serves as a bit of a bonding arc for the Reon employees who see their jobs and livelihoods threatened a bit by the arrival of Amada.
The series also brings us to a larger storyline in the final episodes that involves who Fino really is and the kinds of deeper secrets of the world. That’s not much of a surprise to have happen, and they do seed it a little bit earlier in the game, but once you know who she really is you know they have to tackle it in some way. But because of the way we see the slow and mostly natural build of a friendship that could be something more between Fino and Raul, it works very well to see how he ends up coming to her defense, even against friends of his from his hero training days, in order to do what’s really the right thing. Though that’s at the core of the story, there’s also the element about how things in the world can be disrupted in a big way and adapting to it is the hardest thing ever. Raul adapts, unwillingly. Others from the past look for ways to bring back the past and end up causing more trouble in the end. It’s a familiar concept to work with, especially for those of us living in a world where new technologies and the Internet in general has disrupted so many industries, but they pull it off well enough here as a background theme.
What works the most for me with this show though is that the overall trappings makes for a lot of fun in watching the characters. Fino has a reason for being clueless and Raul takes a lot of time before he realizes he really does like her and cares about her more than just a fellow employee. In between all of that, we get a lot of really fun silly bits with tons of fanservice, panty shots, bouncing breasts and all the other awkward things that can be done either horribly wrong or wonderfully awesome. Luckily, this series falls into the latter category and with the really great animation and designs, it’s just incredibly fun to watch it all unfold. There’s a good bit of attention paid to the fanservice and while some shows live or die by it, here it’s just another piece of the puzzle. A good piece of it, and something that injects a different kind of fun to things. It could work without it to be sure, but I suspect it would lose some of the silly factor that had me grinning throughout the majority of the episodes.
I had little idea what to expect going into this series, having missed out on the simulcast, but I was already afraid of it in a way because of the title and the implications of it. What I got was a workplace comedy set in a magic/tech world that introduces a lot of really fun characters, silly situations, serious moments and a look at how life can be disrupted in so many ways – as well as dependence upon things. While Raul is the main character and our window into the world, the real heavy lifting is done by Fino. If the catalyst character is annoying, overdone or flat out doesn’t work, it’s hard to be invested in it. But over the first few episodes, I found myself really enjoying her character and seeing the way she immersed herself in everything and how Raul had to deal with her and what happens because of it. I came away from this show with a really positive feeling that’s stuck with me in the couple of days between watching and writing about it. With the light novel series having finished this past summer at ten volumes, I doubt we’ll get any more of it. But what we get here is certainly complete in its own way while still have more than enough avenues to explore that I’d love to see more. And I find it harder to say that with a lot of shows these days. Definitely recommended.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: C+
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 18th, 2014
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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.