What They Say:
Things have been looking sunny for Arata Kasuga lately. Unfortunately it’s been the wrong sun in the sky, and the mysterious Breakdown Phenomenon that accompanied it destroyed his town and stole his beloved cousin Hiijiri, leaving Arata in a fantasy world of his own creation! There’s still a chance to save her, however, as the appearance of the Black Sun also revealed Arata’s potential abilities as a mage, placing him in the powerful Demon Lord class.
But first, since Arata and his newfound magical talents are far too dangerous to leave to their own devices, he’s immediately whisked off to the Royal Biblia Academy. That’s where he’ll meet seven beautiful female mages whose powers are intrinsically tied to the same sins that Arata has to master to put his world back together. Of course, the tricky part is that they have their own plans for
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec while also bringing out a new English language adaptation in the same format. The series works a pretty good mix of action and dialogue, though it focuses more on dialogue, but balances that with some good magical elements that works the soundstage well. This and the action works the forward soundstage well as there are some good bits of directionality and depth where needed, but mostly it gives it a bit more impact and oomph. The dialogue itself is straightforward with some nice depth as needed as well but mostly it runs a solid design that comes across clean and clear and problem free as we had no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes of this set are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by Seven Arcs, the show has a pretty good level of quality about it with what it presents as there’s a lot of detail and some great color design combined with some solidly fluid sequences throughout. The character designs have some solid detail to them and there are some great backgrounds and magical elements that also bring forward some strong detail, all of which is captured cleanly and without problem through the transfer. Colors are solid and have a lot of appeal with some really vibrant moments, often in the magic aspects, but the show as a whole looks good and the transfer brings it to life really well.
The packaging design for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs against the interior walls. The front cover works a familiar visual image that has Lilith in her minimal school uniform costume with large weapon in hand that has a good serious expression to her face. The design showcases the sexuality side of the show in a good way without being so overtly blunt and it ties it together well with the background that’s made up of the magic sigils and other symbols. It’s a dark cover overall but it has some good color to it with the skin tone and the white of her uniform. The back cover works a series of strips where we get two of them for shots from the show that plays up the fanservice and skin more than I expected but it also hits the other important elements. The summary of the premise is very well covered and easy to read while the extras for the set are the same. The production credits fill out the rest, of which there are plenty, and the technical grid breaks everything down cleanly and accurately. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for this release play to the darker design that’s similar to the cover as we get the navigation along the left that uses the blacks and reds for text and background to good effect while mixing in some white for the numbers and highlighted elements. It’s not a hugely in-theme piece but it fits the tone well and is nicely functional and problem free as well. The rest of the menu is given over to static character artwork and it uses some great key visual illustration work that looks great with its detail and certainly has fun with its sexuality, such as the first disc that provides a nice bit of butt cheek visibility.
The only extras included in this release are the clean versions of the opening and four closing sequences.
Based on the manga written by Kenji Saito and illustrated by Akinari Nao, Trinity Seven is a twelve episode series animated by Seven Arc Pictures that landed in the fall 2014 season. The property did well enough overall that it recently got the nod for a theatrical continuation to get produced. The TV series is one that definitely works well because of the general quality of the production but also just the personality of the characters. These are both familiar settings and stories filled with familiar characters, and you may gravitate towards just a few of them compared to all of them, but it’s the kind of work where the execution helps to take it up a few notches. Especially since it handles its fanservice elements well by not going too far but also not skimping where it shouldn’t be.
The premise is standard enough in that we’re introduced to high school student Arata, a fairly confident but not cocky young man who has a decent life. Though he lost his parents some time ago he’s managed well by living with his cousin Hijiri that’s roughly the same age. They both come across as pretty well balanced and normal in most ways while not giving into the disturbing kind of relationships that can crop up in this realm, though of course his love for her is just a bit deeper than normal. Where things go wrong is that on the way to school at the start here, the world takes a nosedive and she’s whisked away from him to some other space through a Breakdown Phenomenon. All Arata can do is end up with a young woman named Lilith Asami that fills him in on the fact that his cousin has been kidnapped to another realm and that going to the school where they teach magic.
As it turns out, Arata is what’s known as a Demon Lord Candidate because of how much magical power he has, something that’s wholly new to him. Naturally, upon entering this academy where there are no other students around and only the headmaster that shows up once in a while, everyone treats him a bit like a fool early on because he doesn’t know how to do anything – for obvious reasons. But what he learns here is that the Royal Biblia Academy is a place where mages are taught and the seven most powerful members are here, known as the Trinity Seven. His way of gaining power to rescue his cousin is to essentially conquer them all in a sense by befriending and learning from them how to use his abilities. Of course, they’re all very different personalities and have their own goals in addition to often having been in training for most of their lives, so they’re not exactly keen on someone like Arata.
With a straightforward setup where you have Arata going through the process of getting to know the girls and their relationships across the season, with a few dips into their own pasts, you can kind of map out the show easily enough. Challenges in multiple episodes, maybe a two-part story, and then the final end arc where new twists and turns are revealed and higher stakes involving the fate of the world. These twists at the end are actually pretty good and I like what it sets up about what the true nature of the Trinity Seven is all about – should that come to pass if that future is guaranteed, as it was in other worlds – but it is just that. Potential and promise. But what’s interesting is that I don’t mind that it’s this way because the main thrust of the series actually works surprisingly well, and a lot of that rests on the shoulders of the lead character.
Which is actually kind of dangerous because most male lead characters are empty shells for the viewer to insert themselves into. Arata does have that aspect to him as we don’t really see anything about a personality such as interests and background beyond cousin/parents, but it’s how he interacts with others that works. He’s a confident character in a way a lot of high school aged male leads aren’t as he’s pervy without being salacious and disturbing. He doesn’t go too far but instead often comes across as playful, even as that playfulness is unwanted by others. But it’s a part of who he is in a way that makes him accessible and fun because he does say things that people often think but don’t actually say, no matter how much the want to. And it’s not dark and mean or anything but just a more forward flirtatious nature that at certain ages and times can lead to a whole lot of fun. Here, it’s naturally limited, but everything he does in interacting with the Seven in this manner essentially disarms them towards him, making him a part of things in ways they didn’t expect.
The show mixes in a good blend of magical action into things as we get creatures from the Breakdown Phenomenon involved and opponents that are working their own plans as well. Arata goes through the process of learning and does so from the buxom Lilith to the self-proclaimed ninja Levi. Hell, even his grimoire is revealed later on to be able to turn into a cute girl that’s trying to seduce him simply for the fun of it. The Seven are all distinctive even if they all point in the same direction and watching him get to know them is enjoyable enough. Even if you know from the start that he’s largely fated to be with Lilith, which you don’t mind because she’s the one the most fleshed out here – sometimes literally. We get beach material here, with awkward swimsuits, misunderstand in-bed encounters, and even a bit of magic of Arata’s that shreds clothes. It’s all familiar, but dammit, it’s so well executed and with the same kind of confidence that Arata has that i couldn’t help but to enjoy it with a stupid smile on my face.
My exposure to Trinity Seven prior to watching this was pretty minimal, which is how I like it, so I got to just dig in all at once with no real preconceptions. While the show may start off a little slow and then awkward as it puts the foundations down, once it gets running with the cast it ends up being a very fun and enjoyable series that has a kind of confidence about it that’s simply charming. It’s a polished production with solid values and designs that simply clicks throughout. The concept is familiar and the characters are as well but you get wrapped up in it through the lead, a rarity among male characters it feels like, and I found myself at the end wanting a lot more right now. Thankfully, Yen Press is releasing the manga and there’s a movie on the way, so much more of this world is possible. The anime is complete enough as an opening chapter of a larger world and worth exploring through this solidly put together release.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening and Closing Animations
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 16th, 2016
Running Time: 300 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.