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Tokyo Majin Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

5 min read

The fighting action might resemble that of Cowboy Bebop, but the story is anything but…

What They Say
Tokyo. A wave of mysterious deaths ripples throughout the city. Corpses of the un-dead, controlled by monstrous creatures, scour the urban underworld at the bidding of their dark master, seeking a power that could bring about the final apocalypse. With the police helpless in the face of these unnamable horrors, the fate of the world hangs on five unlikely saviors: the students of Tokyo Majin!

Armed with their own incredible powers, they must battle an unholy swarm of evil beings; everything from Alchemists through Zombies! It’s a deadly war fought in shadows, and they’re completely outmatched except for one thing: they never learned when to say die! The back alleys of Japan’s largest city are the site of the biggest supernatural rumble ever in Tokyo Majin!

Contains episodes 1-26.

The Review!
Audio:
For this viewing session, we listened to English dub. The English 5.1 track is solid with no distortions or dropouts. The sound comes from the front soundstage with some directionality. Encoded at 448 kbps, the sound effects are solid throughout. As with many series, the musical score receives the heaviest sound directionality workout. This series does that very well with its opening score.

Video:
Originally in 2007, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Overall, the transfer for this release is solid and I did not notice any video quality issues. However, I am not a fan of the grittier feel that this release has. It can easily be mistaken as noise in the transfer. While I understand that is an artistic direction that many feel justified, I think it just distracts the viewer. I was constantly wondering if something was wrong with my PS3 or TV whenever I watched Tokyo Majin. The visuals for this series are engaging but the gritty feel added to the film is just plain distracting and unneeded.

Packaging:
The packaging for this collection is a thick plastic case that houses 4 DVDs. The artwork for the front uses a heavy and dark background. The main characters are depicted in a format that is very similar to their character traits from the series. The logo is kept to the lower left and fits in well with the artwork. The back of the case adds a few teasers to grab a potential buyer’s attention while providing a decent summary of what to expect. A few screenshots a thrown as well as the technical grid, which is along the very bottom section.

Extras:
Bonus goodies include trailers along with clean opening and ending animation. Also included are two episodes that seem to have been leftovers from the last portion of the second season. The producers should have just inserted them in as they feel a bit misplaced as extras. The first episodes give us more insight into Kyouichi’s background while the last episode shows a time before the big failed battle against Yagyu. Specifically, this episode revolves around the gang’s high school graduation and the class play for the festival.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
My experience with this series can be summed up in three reactions. My first reaction was “This is cool, great action and fight scenes.” My second reaction was “This is mystical, but the plot and action are keeping me into it (I’m not lost yet).” My third reaction was “What the heck?” Unfortunately, my third reaction has stayed with me much longer than the first two.

The anime is based on a PS2 game and is packed full of action and zombie slaying fun. The core characters include: Kyouichi, a delinquent who is always looking for a good fight; Komaki, a confident female who happens to be an excellent archer; Daigo, the big guy with a gentle heart; Aoi, the beautiful class president; Tatsuma, the mysterious transfer student.

The series opens with the typical genre of high school kids banded together to fight zombies and demons. The first season alludes to the ‘something more’ behind it all which at first is a namable villain, Tendo. His demoniacal horde is hell-bent on creating chaos and bringing about the end of the world. That was pretty good. The plot was concrete. The characters seemed to have direction, and they followed their roles well. Tendo is eventually dispatched by the team while we get a good dose of character development, and interaction between ‘team’ members. But then some aspects of the plot become strange and begin to waver in consistency.

In the second season, the real villain is revealed, sort of. But we aren’t going to talk about him yet. First the team must face a group of assassins. These guys are supposed to be on the same side as our team, but somehow convinced that the good guys …aren’t. Eventually, after some intense fighting, the situation comes to a happy end.

Then another villain, Chaos, takes center stage. The team must deal with this person because he is going to kill them and everyone in the city. But in the end, he is an okay guy and the team will just hang out with him. Is there anyone truly ‘evil’? At this point, the storyline will lose most folks. The plot shotguns into the underlying ying and yang and the eternal battle between the two forces of ‘nature’ that are separate but equal. It ends with an equally unsatisfactory, flat conclusion. Honestly, we don’t know who ‘wins’ or if there ever was or was meant to be a ‘winner.’ Don’t think too hard on that one. The extras just messed with me even more. For example, who were the Romeo and Juliet in the Romeo and Juliet? The only thing the extras provided were several flashbacks that didn’t add to the overall picture of the whole and didn’t provide any more conclusion to what I guess was the end of the series.

Summary
Overall, if the plot had been handled better at the end, this would have been a satisfying and interesting viewing experience. Right now, I want to stop rewriting the ending in my head, and stop feeling that I got spam when I ordered steak (I’m obviously a carnivore).  In conclusion, if you like anime that has action but an ending that is ambiguous, and philosophical instead of conclusive in any way, go for it. For the rest of you, keep looking.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean ClosingReview Equipment

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

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: October 13th, 2009
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 650 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Samsung UN46B6000VF 120Hz LED HDTV, Samsung HT-WS1R/XAA 2.1 Channel Soundbar Speaker System with Wireless Subwoofer, and Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p


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