What They Say:
Twelve years ago, a mysterious event shook the Kingdom of Rimgarde, causing massive destruction. In the present day, Empress Yui rules a peaceful kingdom where she is loved by her people and especially by her sister, Rena. But when a giant robot appears, her peaceful life is shattered. Now Yui must fight to protect her nation and the person she loves most.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with the newly created English language dub, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The show leans heavily into dialogue to be sure but there are some good action sequences throughout that get a solid workout for the speakers with some decent impact along the way. This helps to make the fight sequences a bit more engaging and fun to watch while also providing for some fun in other areas leading up to the action with the mecha elements. Dialogue itself is largely straightforward where there’s not a lot of creativity or need for it but it’s all handled well with some placement from time to time. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2016, the transfer for this TV series was 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. Animated by Actas, the show has a really nice visual design to it with its color work and the detail in general. Combine that with some fun action sequences with good fluid moments to it as well and it’s fun to watch it all unfold. The encoding brings it out in a really good way with clean and solid colors that stand out well with no signs of breaking up or introduce noise. The visuals are definitely the strong point to the show and what Funimation presents here lets it shine very well.
The packaging for this release is definitely one that stands out nicely as we get the key visual set against a white background so that the characters stand out more as does the mecha action in the background. It’s a brighter piece that catches the eye combined with the logo in red and its simplicity in design. What’s a little surprising and works well but could be misidentified is that the stripe along the top where it lays out the combo formats is done in black, which makes it look like a 4K release at first glance. The back cover uses some nice character/mecha combination pieces from the Japanese release and we get a simple summary of the premise. The shots from the show are decent and we get a good breakdown of what extras are included while the technical grid breaks down both formats in a clean and easy to read form. While there are no show related inserts included with the release we do get artwork on the reverse side that draws on more of the Japanese packaging designs with characters and mecha.
The menus for this release reflect the simpler approach for a show that’s not getting a lot of attention as we get static screens for both and a replication of artwork as well. It’s a nice looking menu though with a good clean visual of the main cast and some mecha elements all set against a white background. This lets the brighter pieces stand out in a vibrant and engaging way and having the softer white to gray along the right under the logo gives that a very clean and appealing look. The navigation strip along the bottom is the standard large block, this time in red, with white text that’s easy to read and navigate throughout. The menu works well both as the main menu and as the pop-up menu during playback for easy access to languages and episodes while extras can only be accessed during the main menu.
The extras are simple here with just the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences included.
An original work that landed in the summer 2016 season, Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars was a rare troubled production that played out publicly. The series ended up stopping after the first four episodes as things “weren’t up to expected standards” and they went back and reanimated parts of those episodes before getting back underway in September with the show, causing it to spill into the November period. It was an odd and rare situation that didn’t do the show any favor in terms of how it was perceived and with it falling “out of schedule” in a sense it became the odd duck. Coming into it a year later through the home video release, a quick turnaround that says a lot on its own, there’s not much here that makes it worth checking out overall.
The series takes place twelve years or so after a mysterious incident hits the country of Rimgarde that caused a lot of destruction with two giant mecha going at it there. In the years since a lot of this has largely been forgotten but there’s a curious aspect in the country of Enastoria where we’re introduced to Yui, the typical female lead character who just happens to be the empress of the country but is otherwise a fairly normal girl. She’s got an adopted sister in the form of Rena, a rather cute girl who is pint-sized to be sure because she’s not actually human but rather a regalia, which means with the right person she can become a powerful mecha that can deal with other threatening regalia that are starting to come back to the forefront in the world. We see early on that Rena isn’t all that good by herself in transformed mode, no surprise there, nor is it a surprise that working with Yui by having her pilot Rena in her Magna Alector form means the two sisters are pretty capable.
The show goes from there by introducing a few more pairings and a villainess intent on revenge and control over the world for past deeds that ends with a sprawling fight that could end everything everywhere. Regalia is so by the numbers that once you get past the kind of awkwardly setup first episode you can map it all out easily enough based on any number of other series and know exactly where it’s going to go. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because the structure is familiar across a wide range of popular shows but it comes down to execution. And that’s just lacking here because none of the characters feel realized enough to really work. The opening episode does a poor job of setting things up and providing the right context and world building but once you get past that it’s just a series of more characters, more fights, and the usual kinds of interactions that are fluffy and meaningless.
Regalia ends up being something that I just couldn’t connect with in the slightest when it came to the characters since they’re so shallow and it expands and gets involved in a lot of different but brief interactions with the way it grows the cast along the way. That just left me to enjoy it on a visual level, which you can certainly do. The character designs are pretty nice even if I’m frustrated with the obvious younger look to the regalia characters that plays to certain fetishes and the mecha aspects work really well with some creative design ideas to them while still adhering to traditional aspects. There may not be much in the way of consistent internal logic to how science and mechas work in this world as it comes across more like magic at times but the way it looks and the set designs with it definitely makes it a fun sell in this area because it feels like it has some good style to it.
Regalia is one of those rare series for me where while watching it I felt such a significant disconnect from it that none of it really registered. It’s got some interesting ideas that could be worked into something more meaningful with better world building and characters that felt like they were more than one-dimensional cliches but the only thing that carries it through to the end for me was the appeal of the animation itself and the character designs. Funimation’s release is definitely well done with a great looking package, a strong encode, an enjoyable dub with good performances, and the fact that it was released on average six months earlier than a show from the same season normally would be. For fans of the show this is an easy pickup but it’s one that I doubt we’ll be seeing a second pressing run on anytime soon.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: C-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: September 5th, 2017
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.