More adventures in the grand quest that has the team facing off against Twenty Faces once more.
What They Say:
Kensuke Hanasaki is an adrenaline junky who enjoys the thrill of solving any case that comes his way. As part of the Boy’s Detectives’ Club, he’s always ready to jump into adventure. But when he comes across Kobayashi, a boy who cannot die, his life becomes even more exciting. That is, until they come up against the fiendish villain, Twenty Faces and see what true danger really looks like!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language in stereo while the English dub gets a 5.1 boost, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series has a decent mix of action pieces in it with explosions, gun fights, and other moments such as robots run amuck, and that’s handled well through both mixes while the English dub gets a bit more bass and impact. The dialogue side of it for both are pretty similar with a standard approach to placement with some depth from time to time. It’s a kind of conventional show in a lot of ways and it hits some decent notes along the way as it unfolds. 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 is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes for the back half of the series are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by TMS Entertainment and Shin-Ei Animation, the show has a bright and colorful look to it with some fluid animation in the bigger sequences that looks quite good. The near-future setting for it works well for giving the familiar characters something new to work in while still being familiar. The designs are solid and the character animation stands out nicely while the backgrounds are well-done without going over the top. Everything has a clean and solid feel to it with no visible noise in the solid color fields or in the backgrounds while also avoiding line noise during the higher motion sequences. It’s a clean and problem-free encoding of a show that has a decent look to it.
The packaging design for this release gives us the slightly thicker than normal Blu-ray case that holds the two formats on hinges here while also include an o-card. The o-card replicates the artwork from the case rather than something different and it looks good, but not terribly different as the illustration style doesn’t stand out more with the higher cardstock. The covers use the first main key visual of the main cast in blocked out sections with lots of colors that looks great as the background, making it distinctive and drawing you to each section. The back cover has a decent image from the show itself along the top and a few smaller ones at the bottom while the middle breaks out the summary of the premise. Extras are clearly listed and we get a solid red bar with the Funimation Digital Copy promotion. The bottom has the dual format technical grid that lists both of them cleanly and accurately. No show related inserts are included but we do get the logo used repeatedly on the reverse side of the cover.
The menu design is another area where things take a minimal effort kind of turn, though it works in its favor here, as the back screen just has the logo written large across it along the top. Within the log we get clips from the show playing, though they’re difficult to discern and instead just offer up movement more than anything else. The navigation stripe along the bottom doubles as the pop-up menu as well as we get the standard selections with a white font that’s easy to navigate and move about in. Setup is a breeze and everything worked without problem.
The only extras included with this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Trickster was that lucky show during its broadcast that it didn’t have a skip month between the two halves of it that a lot of shows do. For those watching it, that made it pretty easy to keep the momentum going. That’s much harder with the home video side of it where there’s a five month or so gap between releases for something that really needed to be released at the same time. The first half of it was a show that I had struggled with to a good degree because it just felt so superficial and playing to themes that it assumes the viewer knows, delving into the Edogawa background of material and just running with it in a near future timeline. While I’ve seen multiple shows playing in that realm I’ve yet to find one that I think is good. Trickster didn’t change that opinion and, frankly, made it worse as I really struggled through it.
And, sadly, here I sit barely three hours after watching it and I’m unable to remember the bulk of it. What few notes I took largely look repetitive to the first set with how there’s little build up, things change in a whim at times, and the dynamic between the characters never feels real or honest – made worse by the fact that everyone wears the same outfits all the time. That’s something I can forgive easily with school-based shows but this is not one of those. This is a show where those clothes must be rank or bought by the dozen and that kind of shortcut to design just serves to undercut the show in general. But that’s almost just a superficial element in itself as the characters feel as lived in as the clothes they’re wearing. It simply doesn’t connect as it progresses.
Honestly, with twenty years of writing about anime, I really hate to say so little about a release but there’s so little to really say here. It’s the standard ongoing fight between Akechi and the Man with Twenty Faces with the Boy Detectives club in the mix helping out. Kobayashi adds a little something different because of his powers but they never feel consistent and his utter lack of personality combined with Hanasaki’s overly optimistic side is so standard and lifeless that it just limps across the finish line. We’ve seen this dynamic work before when there’s something invested in it but it’s just paint by the numbers. The only time that Hanasaki really felt like he came alive was during the final arc when he shoots off to rescue Akechi when the big endgame is setup because he’s got such a bond with him. A bond that we’re more told about than show because Akechi is pretty much paper thin himself. It’s a good series of events that play out with the plane and how Hanasaki gets there, but it’s like everything else in that it’s just not memorable.
At this stage, I have to just finally admit that after trying various interpretations over the years that this whole Edogawa thing isn’t for me. I kept hoping someone would crack the code in a way that would draw me and allow me to enjoy what many others do but it’s just not happening. That’ll leave me to finding others to review sets like this in the future as I dislike presenting it like this. Funimation did a solid job with the release with a clean encode, a solid dub, some fun extras, and an appealing package overall. But the show within just left me utterly bored episode after episode with something that was simply forgettable the minute it finished. And it’s a rare show that I really feel that way with.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: D+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
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.