What They Say:
The Blue World, a world symbolizing reason, is under attack by fierce creatures known as the Nightfly O’Note sent from the Red World, a world symbolizing instinct. Elected to lead the Blue World, 17-year-old researcher Akira Asagi will take charge of the combat unit “IS”. These six riders, also called the Scared Rider Xechs, will fight at the Ryuukyuu LAG to protect their world and each other.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded at 192kbps. As a monolingual release, it handles things fairly well for what’s your standard action show where there’s a regular amount of that material coming in, a larger amount of dialogue, and some band elements as well. The show works a standard stereo mix where it feels like it leans center channel more than anything else but it has some nice moments of minor directionality from time to time and some decent placement of the dialogue. The music makes out decent but it is all just a lossy work at this point and one that doesn’t really try to stretch itself or anything. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2016, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs in a seven/five format. Animated by Satelight, the show has a pretty basic and simple look about it, though there are some nice creative designs in a few places. The human cast is straightforward with a flat kind of feeling to it that’s made more so by a pretty bland color palette. Solid areas tend to hold up pretty well with no real noise or blocking to be had and the general shape of it is good as it’s a clean digital source that it’s working from. The quality of the work just isn’t that great as it’s a budget-looking show and it most definitely shows.
The packaging for this set comes in a standard sized DVD case that’s clear and has one disc on a hinge and the other against the back wall. The set comes with an o-card that replicates the case artwork itself as it uses the familiar key visual of the main cast together with some nice colors flowing from it. The designs look good and I liked the visual from the first time I saw it so I’m definitely in favor of it here. The back cover uses the same kind of background but it covers a lot of it with heavy black sections with the premise covered in great detail alongside the extras. We get a few shots from the show and some nice key artwork along the top as well. The set doesn’t have any inserts included with it but the reverse side uses another key piece with a lot of white space.
The only extras included here are the clean versions of the two opening and closing sequences.
When a new series is released subtitled-only these days you might look a little askew at it. Perhaps it just couldn’t build a big streaming fanbase to justify a dub. That’s understandable.
When a new series is released subtitled-only and DVD-only, the barriers go up. This is a show that did not click with a lot of people and it has that sense of “You’re lucky we were even able to do this.”
Scar-Red Rider Xechs has all the hallmarks of a budget release in its production side from Japan and the bare minimum side here. I’m even surprised it got an o-card since that could have saved a few bucks as well. The show is based on the otome game of the same name that came out in 2010 on the PS2 and got a PS Vita update in the fall of 2015. That got an anime adaptation put into production which landed in the summer 2016 season and ran for twelve episodes with Satelight animating it. Satelight can do some fairly high-end projects at times but they tend to be a bit more middle of the road. This one just feels like it was a job that they owed someone to do and they did the basics with a couple of nice tweaks to let it stand out at least a little bit. I was interested in the show from the key visual and some of the early promos but my marathon session with it has left me empty.
The show gives us two worlds to deal with here where most of it takes place on the Blue World that’s very much like our world, obviously. They’re engaged in dealing with an enemy from the barren Red World where Nightfly O’Note has been causing problems in wanting to destroy everything that exists there. The blue world is one that represents reason whereas the red is for instinct, as they tell us, and there’s that very long battle within each person over these two sides at different times in our lives. Bringing that out in this form is very familiar, but frankly, one I ended up hearing the name Nightfly O’Note I was practically ready to check out from the show. O’Note takes on the role of Takt within the show along the way so there’s normal human interactions within that in dealing with the group of six teenagers known as the Scared Rider Xechs that are trained to fight O’Note and his side.
Well, when they’re not trying to put a band together.
Can you tell the other moment I was ready to check out of this show?
The group is ostensibly lead by Akira, a seventeen-year-old woman who was elected to this position and to manage the guys in the fight against O’Note.
Even with that I still watched all twelve episodes.
The series works a lot of familiar things as we get a beach episode early on, tension amongst the ranks as the boys often don’t like each other, and there are fairly regular attacks along the way as well. There’s no getting to know these guys more than they are because they don’t have lives outside of any of this, either the band or piloting. And that on top of a weak animation design makes them feel even flatter because of it. The result is something that’ just kind of there, strung together like a lot of single-season shows where most of the middle episodes (or more, in this case) are forgettable until it gets to that final serious battle with everything at stake.
Does anyone want to put odds on how that goes?
For the fans that did enjoy the show, I’m very glad that Funimation was able to get it out in at least some form so you can own it and have it in your collection. Every show should be treated well because every show does have fans. This series was one that likely doesn’t have a lot of fans so the options were limited out of business sense. As a reviewer, this show was just an incredibly drag on my day as I marathoned it because there’s so little to it that connects and resonates. It’s a by the numbers piece on a budget without anything that really stands out – though I did like the guy with the flaming background. But beyond that, I don’t want to live in either the Blue or Red worlds that are presented here. Everything just looks so dull.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Openings, Clean Closings
Content Grade: D
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: February 27th, 2018
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic 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.