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Garden of Sinners -recalled out summer- Limited Edition Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

Garden of Sinners Recalled CoverSide stories and expansions involving precognition.

What They Say:
recalled out summer
August 1998. At this moment, serial bomber Meruka Kuramitsu is certain of victory. Flip a switch. In the ensuing explosion, Shiki Ryougi’s body will scatter into pieces. Can Shiki survive the battle against this person with precognitive power?

recalled out summer -extra chorus-
Shiki ends up keeping a black cat while Mikiya Kokutou is out of town. Meanwhile, Ririsu Miyasuki, a student of Reien Girls’ Academy, suffers from the loss of her best friend who committed suicide by jumping off the Fujou Building. When she tries to kill herself, she encounters her classmate Asagami Fujino, who has psychokinetic power.

The Review:
The audio presentation for this release is quite good as we get the original Japanese track in stereo, but we get a full uncompressed 5.1 mix that’s at 6.9 mbps. The show is not one that has a constant use of the surround channels, but what it does is build a very solid atmosphere to it that really immerses you into the world that exists here. The couple of minor action sequences do stand out well, though not to the same level as some of the prior movies that went really big. But the two works here do a great job of building the overall atmosphere of the world and it captures it well, with little background noises and all the incidental sounds that come up along the way. It has a rich sound to it throughout that really works well and as an overall design it makes for a really good presentation overall.

Originally in theaters in 2013, the transfer for these two works are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. Working off of the Japanese materials, the two projects are given their own discs and plenty of space to work with as the first runs for 90 minutes and the second 30. Animated by ufotable, the production here is just as detailed, colorful and beautiful as the previous films. There’s a solid kind of quality continuity here that comes through as a true labor of love that makes it richly engaging. Colors are deep and vibrant throughout and the background detail is amazing which really draws you into it. The show works a slow pace similar to previous installments, but it goes big in others that really is incredibly fluid and amazing to watch. But there’s a great sense of this in the quiet scenes as well, which keeps you fully engaged throughout the film. It’s a beautiful work through and through and the transfer captures it.

The packaging for this limited edition release is pretty solid, even if it doesn’t use a heavy chipboard slipcover for it. The middle level slipcover is done all in black with some embossed material to it that lets the moon stand out as well as the logo, which is done in silver with a touch of red to make it distinct against the largely matte black background. The back cover goes in the other direction as it provides Shizune and Shiki together done up in a full color illustration that provides a great sense of color and vibrancy. The red paper wraparound obi on it has the breakdown of the features on the front and extras while the back side goes for the technical aspects of it in a decently clear form. Inside the box we get the clear Blu-ray case that has a cute image of Mana tending to the plants in Mitsuru’s office while the back cover has a darker and richer look at Shiki and Mikiya together as the snow falls around them. There is artwork on the reverse side, but it’s the darkened alley of the city where the fortune teller resides.

Also included in the release is a small selection of postcards with some beautiful illustration artwork, including the piece from the back cover as well as the case itself and more, as well as a fantastic booklet. This booklet goes into the origins of these two epilogue specials, some staff interview material and a look at the artwork of the features. There’s some fun manga pieces to it as well, and a very helpful chronology that makes me hope someday for a fully recut version that puts it all together in order.

The menu design for this release goes with a very simple approach overall as it’s a static piece that plays dark, but appropriate as we get a split screen form. The right side uses some black and white artwork, with the first one using an image of Mana to set the tone, while the left side has the navigation that’s decent but minimal. It’s done in a light grey design which doesn’t stand out strongly even on larger screens, but it’s functional and easy to move around in both during setup and as a pop-up menu during playback. It’s not the most engaging of menus, but it fits the theme well and sets the tone. It’s not memorable but it gets the job done.

The only extra that comes with this release is the pre-show reminder video, which basically tells audiences to keep their emotions in check so as to not disturb others attending the film.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having enjoyed the multiple films that have been released in the Garden of Sinners series, I was definitely excited to see that there were two more parts coming as sort of epilogue stories. These two are definitely a little more interesting in a way because they were never put to paper as a novel and instead were ideas that the creator had that wanted to bring to life, but couldn’t amid the other projects. What we get here is something that feels fresh and new for fans of the book and those watching the adaptations of those, and that definitely has a lot of appeal. The only problem that I really had with it is that it’s been a bit since I last saw the films as a whole and I’ve forgotten more of it than I care to admit. And with these taking place in different time periods, that just makes it even more complicated in a way.

The first special, which clocks in at just about 90 minutes, takes place in a couple of different time periods in the late 90’s and early 2000’s as it delves into the different kinds of precognition that exists. The nature of Garden of Sinners is that it’s one that plays out in a kind of drawn out way, but it teases and expands on the idea of how this world works very well. Though there are smaller stories mixed in, it focuses on two main stories. The first deals with a serial bomber that uses his precognitive ability, one designed around calculation, to cause a lot of trouble. This has Shiki doing her best to track him down as he’s been targeting her with a series of mildly intricate attempts. As a side story, it works well to show the way he does everything as you’d expect from a criminal to with this kind of power and it plays well to how Shiki approaches it, almost with glee since she understands the whole calculation side.

As this unfolds, we get a more expository piece with Mikiya as the connective element as he ends up spending time with Shizune. Shizune’s precognitive ability has her looking at things differently since she feels like life is fully predetermined and she’s unable to change it. She uses it to do well in school, but there’s not much else going on for her because everything is already seen when you get down to it. This is a real problem when she catches a glimpse of someone getting off the bus with her that she sees getting killed soon and she knows she can’t change it, as much as she wants to and even tries to. What changes her path is her meeting with Mikiya, who helps change things for the guy before spending time with Shizune. It’s a great sequence overall as it plays out as the two talk and really engage with each other as he uses his knowledge from his job about precognition and what her type is. And to help her realize that life isn’t what she thinks it is. There’s something great when a show can just sit down and work through dialogue in this way that it makes it engaging, funny and educational within the show all at the same time. It’s one of those pieces that makes Shizune a lot more accessible as well when her own arc actually starts.

The second epilogue piece is a very different piece, one that I had a harder time with, that clocks in at just about thirty minutes. Taking place in 2010, this one brings us to Shiki’s daughter Mana as she spends her time with Mitsuru. His connection to the serial bomber is explained, which ties into his dead eye, but it’s more about Mitsuru’s role in dealing with the syndicate with a job that they have for him. That has him and Mana going to see a fortune teller that’s been around for ages that needs to have her work there ended, but it really spends its focus more on where these characters are at this time and the relationship between Mitsuru and Mana and Mitsuru’s place in the world here. It’s a light expansion on what we knew previously, but with it being the work that takes place after pretty much everything else, coming into it at this point after being disconnected from it for so long had it feeling emptier than I thought it would be. It has its appeal and definitely expands on the overall narrative, but it really makes me want to watch the whole series again.

In Summary:
I’m a huge fan of the Garden of Sinners franchise, but I also realize that every time a new piece comes out, I feel like I have to rewatch the whole thing to really put it into context. Especially since the bigger feature here is one that takes place somewhere very early in the larger narrative. While the events here set up certain aspects of other stories that play out, what I really like is that it spends the time to dealing with what it means to see the future and how there are variations to it and the way it impacts people. The expansion on the world is definitely engaging and I like some of the little bits of nuance we get for several of them. With some really beautiful animation, wonderful dialogue and exposition, these two epilogue pieces figure into the property in different ways but expands it all well. Definitely a big plus to get a little more for fans of Garden of Sinners.

Japanese 2.0 PCM Language, Japanese 5.1 PCM Language, English Subtitles, Pre-Show Reminder

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: April 21st, 2015
MSRP: $79.98
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
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.

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