What They Say:
Welcome to Gamindustri, a fantastical world where all your favorite video game consoles come to life! Neptune and her fellow Goddesses rule the four kingdoms of Lastation, Leanbox, Lowee, and Planeptune – but their royal duties often take a backseat to their obsession with gaming.
When their button-mashing shenanigans are interrupted by rampaging monsters, hacker attacks, and killer eggplants, the goddesses must transform into stronger, sexier versions of themselves and fight for their right to game! The bosses get tougher as the game goes on, and the girls will have to work together in order to defeat a bewitching goddess of piracy, an anonymous master hacker, and an evil CPU hell-bent on destroying everything in her path – using any cheat code necessary!
The audio presentation for this series is pretty solid across the board as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo and the new English language adaptation in 5.1, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The show has a lot going on in general with its mix, particularly as there’s a good mix of action and other pieces to it that keeps it active and engaging throughout. While there is the usual amount of action to it which gets to play across the forward soundstage, the dialogue is also fun to play with here as the there’s plenty of movement across the screen due to the flying and other effects related to this particular universe. The stereo mix brings it to life well and it’s active and solid throughout. The English mix takes it up a bit more with a little more oomph to it overall and some solid directionality thrown to the rear channels during the action sequences. Both tracks represent the show well and dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in the summer 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 episode series is spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second. Animated by David Production, this is the kind of series where the entire budget is on the screen and you just have to revel in the overall quality of it. With a slick and polished look to it, the show is just striking here with what it does, as the colors are beautiful and solid throughout and the fluidity of the animation is just beautiful. I was really taken by the visual design of the series and the transfer really brings it to life in a big, bold way. The details come through in a great way here and the overall depth of the color design is fantastic. I’m practically gushing about the look of the show and a big part of that is that the transfer captures it beautifully. There’s a whole lot to like here.
The limited edition packaging for this release is pretty solid overall and definitely is what you’d expect with a heavy chipboard box that holds the two Blu-ray cases inside, which holds the four discs across the two formats. The front of the box has a great image of Neptune in her transformed mode with lots of purple hues around the whole thing. With a sideways logo the actually works this time around, it has a serious look that also plays up the fanservice in a good way without being so overbearing that you roll your eyes. The back of the box goes in the opposite direction as we get the non-transformed Neptune here where she’s popping out at the viewer, one eye winking, and a thumb out while having a big smile. It’s big and fun, full of energy to her. It retains the purple hues though, which is good, and that extends around the whole box.
Inside the box, the cases separate the formats with one holding the DVDs and the other the Blu-ray’s. The cover artwork is definitely a lot of fun here with what we get as it has two of the four main goddesses together where it’s all upper body shots with some good backgrounds to them. The character artwork is definitely appealing with a slick look to it, though the expressions are a bit bland unfortunately. The back covers are the same for each release in its design, though with different colors, as it breaks down the episodes by disc with titles and numbers as well as where the extras are and what they are. There’s fully reversible covers here as well that lets the other two goddesses get their due, which looks great and gives the fan the choice as to which ones they want to see. Not surprising, there’s now show related inserts included with this release.
The menu design for this release works pretty well overall with what it does, though there’s a kind of slightly off feeling to it in a way as it’s almost a little darker than I expected. With the static elements of the logo along the top and the basic strip along the bottom, which uses purples and whites, the rest of it is given over to clips from within the show. It uses a somewhat dark and murky background to it with the greens and so forth, but it does shine well enough as the character animation plays over it. There are some good clips that play across it, but nothing that really stands out in a huge way. The menu navigation is solid itself overall and it’s easy to get around in, both as the top level menu and when used during playback as the pop-up menu.
The extras for this release are pretty standard but are well done with some good stuff to have. The familiar are here with the clean opening and closing sequences as well as some of the promotional videos used prior to the series release. We also get a good range of commercials for it and the home video release. The fun and more unique extra here with a three minute transformation video that highlights the various transformations of the girls, which is fun to have on its own just to enjoy.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the gaming franchise, Hyperdimension Neptunia is a twelve episode series and OVA that came out in the summer of 2013. Animated by David Production, this is the kind of series that really goes all in and makes it clear that they’re backing it with money. The animation is top notch and there’s a lot of great designs here that helps to bring it to life in a great way. With a lot of shows coming off of video games, it can go in a few different ways, but more often than not it seems like they’re underfunded for the most part or play to quieter and more relaxed storylines so as to not expend a huge budget. With this one, the stories may be simple overall, even with an overarching storyline, but each episode feels like a piece of gold.
Having not played the games at all, and honestly they’re not of any interest to me before or after watching the series, what I like is that the show is very accessible overall to someone like me. We’re introduced to a world where there are four main goddesses, aka CPU’s, that maintain their own nations. Each nation generates Share energy, which is what powers everything – including these goddesses, and the more there are that believe in them, the better off the nation. So they’re all dedicated to taking care of their nations and people, which is a good cycle to see because they’re very aware of things. The show may not deal with the average citizen all that often, but there are fun moments when they do. But thankfully, the show doesn’t have to revolve around those kinds of interactions, but rather on what it is going on between the various goddesses and their younger sisters.
The series opens on the idea that the four main goddesses that lead their nations with Neptune, Noire, Vert and Blanc, have signed a Friendship Pact. While they’re still going to be competing, they’re also focusing on befriending each other rather than fighting, so that brings less issues to their respective nations. That’s not the easiest thing to do since they’re all different in their personalities, but they’re also leaders that know their nations can disappear of things go badly. In addition to them, they have their younger sisters that are basically goddess candidates. They’re mostly the same in a lot of ways, drawn to who they are, but there’s also the idea they through the mentoring from the main goddesses, they bring out the true goddesses within these candidates.
The structure of the serie sis one that’s fairly straightforward as there are a number of smaller stories along the way, while the overall arc is about a force from the past looking to stake a claim on the present. But that’s your standard push in the final act rather than something that’s made clear early on. Instead, we get some fun events with Arfoire and her minion Chu, a cute little mouse-like type that’s a lot of fun to watch. Arfoire is looking to cause trouble for the various CPU goddesses and she serves as a good foil, one that does make some inroads from time to time, but it’s more comical than anything else. When it’s discovered that a particular fruit is something that Noire really doesn’t like, she buys an entire farm of them and draws them in so that she’s cringing the whole time rather than being able to fight back. But it’s not that she’s allergic or sickened badly by it, but it’s a fun route to take to add some tension and silliness to it.
Over the course of it, there’s a good range of interactions with the cast between the four main CPUs and their candidates, and some of the supporting cast, but mostly everything tends to standalone in terms of story. There’s a lot of early material that focuses on the way the four main girls work have to get to know each other, since the whole point of the Friendship Pact was that they have to move beyond what they were before and really become friends. So a lot of the fun is just in seeing the way the girls interact, both when the transform and act to deal with what’s going on, as well as when they’re just hanging around – often at Neptunes, and goofing off. It gets a little complicated along the way with the arrival of Peashy, a young girl from another dimension. She ends up causing trouble for Neptune, simply because she knows she can do it, but it works well enough to build the overall series of interactions.
With a simplicity to the stories overall, what really sells it is the animation and the general sense of fun that comes from it – especially when they visit an R18 island resort as it plays the gaming realm in a good way. The slick and polished design here, combined with the outgoing and fun vocal performances in both languages, it’s an infectious show that just draws you in. And the more gaming oriented you are, the more of the little jokes, gags and nods that you’ll get. But there’s also just a lot to enjoy here with the animation with the fanservice. While it does get plenty playful and silly with the breasts and skin showing, it’s done in such a way that it really has a great sense of fun about it rather than disturbingly exploitive. And that’s a line a lot of shows unfortunately tend to cross in bad ways. But here, it just clicks together in such a great way that I was just enjoying the work as a whole and all of these moments.
When it comes to anime series spinning off from existing games, you never know what you’re going to get. Hyperdimension Neptunia is one that plays to the overall world of the game, but doesn’t require that you really need to know anything from it. It pretty much starts from a good place here and moves forward from there as we’re introduced to the characters, the basic settings and several simple stories amid a larger world-ending arc. It’s not a deep or complicated show, but it’s one that tells its tale well and effectively, and you can get a lot out of it and really enjoy the characters. I can totally see this being a draw for people to get into the games themselves, but I found myself at the end of it wishing that there was a second season or that I had time to rewatch this season once again already. This release is pretty solid across the board and fans of the show will definitely be pleased by it.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Transform Collection, Textless Openings and Closings, Blu-ray/DVD Commercials, Commercials, Promotional Videos
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: June 9th, 2015
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.