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ClassicaLoid Season 1 Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

Intriguing concept, formulaic execution.

What They Say:
Kanae knew that her hometown was trying to become a musical hotspot, but modern teens aren’t interested in classical music… or, at least, they weren’t until “Mozart” and “Beethoven” suddenly appeared in front of Kanae and her best friend Sosuke and set the town on fire with “mujik”, a stunning fusion of classical masterpieces retooled in modern musical styles!

And just in case that isn’t exciting enough, the “ClassicaLoids” have added Giant Robots and spectacular light shows to the mix! But as more Classicaloids continue to arrive, can the town withstand the combined creative energies of dozens of musical geniuses all determined to promote their own creative output? Find out when Bach is back, Liszt is on the list, and Chopin is chopping at the bit to unleash the full power of classical music!

The Review:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo with it encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The series makes out pretty well with its design here as the music is a big part of things and it works that forward soundstage well in bringing the music to swell often while also dealing with lighter and quieter moments. Music is key to the show overall so that does dominate and it helps because it’s a solidly warm and rich work that we get here, allowing it to stand out well. Sometimes it gets a bit lost in the cacophony of noise that comes from the action and the yelling of the cast but when it gets a chance to shine it does well. Dialogue itself is straightforward and it’s well-handled between the quieter moments and the more outgoing pieces that we get as well, resulting in an encode where we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2016 and 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twenty-five episodes are spread across three discs in a nine/nine/seven format. Animated by Sunrise, the show has a really great look throughout with bold and vibrant colors and some creative use of music that’s visualized with the notes and colors as well. The design of the show goes for bold as opposed to a realistically hued world and that fits with the nature of what it is and the wacky aspects of the characters. The encoding captures all of this very well with the colors holding up in a very solid way with little noticeable in the way of noise while the more fluid motion sequences jump out in a big way. It’s a smooth and clean looking encoding that brings the source materials to life just right so that it stands out beautifully, especially on a big screen.

The packaging design for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds two of the discs on a hinge and the third against the back wall. The front cover uses one of the busy but appealing pieces of key artwork with the bulk of the cast on it in wild-eyed mode with them all swirling around. It’s filled with a lot of color and it’s a bit hard to lock onto a particular piece but that’s the appeal with so much to be drawn in by. The logo is nicely done with its font and style that plays up the music side. The back cover is a little more traditional as we get a piece of Mozart character artwork along the top, a few small shots from the show, and a good summary of the larger premise mixed into it. The extras are clearly listed and the production credits break down in a familiar form. The technical grid covers the release clearly and accurately as well. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

The extras are the familiar type here with just the clean opening and closing sequences but you have to remember that there’s thirty-six minutes worth of closing sequences here with them different fairly often.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
An original series that kicked off in the fall of 2016, ClassicaLoid is a two-cour series that also spawned a second season that landed in the fall of 2017. This set covers the first season that has a twenty-five episode run. Original works always catch a bit more attention simply because they’re not constrained by the source in how it’s published, whether manga or light novel. There’s a lot more freedom here and with NHK behind this there are obviously hopes for something perhaps just a touch more highbrow. Directed by Yoichi Fujita, what we get is something that’s full of sound and fury but otherwise is far, far, too traditionally created. To the point where I hope it worked better in weekly form than in marathon form because the emptiness of it feels far more revealed here.

The premise is simply enough at the start as we’re introduced to high school student Kanae who is cleaning out the house that her father has left in disrepair so it can be used for boarders and the like. Her father is off on his own journey and that mostly leaves Kanae to contend with Sosuke, a fellow student who has taken up partial residence in one of the rooms for his music gear where he spends his time noodling and screwing around. He’s got his own house and family, not that we see much of anything that regard, and it just leaves Kanae frustrated with her childhood friend. She wants him out and all of his stuff but that’s about to be a lot more problematic as there are two other people that have taken up residence there unbeknownst to her with Beethoven and Mozart.

The two of them are ClassicaLoids, which are basically reincarnations of sorts of the famous person but with twists as they’re brought into the modern world. We get those two along with Chopin and Schubert as the main ones in all their oddness while Liszt gets a bit of genderbending to add another woman to the mix so that it’s not just Kanae. While there’s a lot left unsaid for quite a while, they’re existence is tied to Bach and the Akhae organization that he’s a part of that’s trying to harness their power, called Musik, that will power a massive device called Octova that he’s constructing over the entire season until the last three episodes. His goals are left shadowy for much of it while he sends out his minions to try and get the ClassicaLoids to bring their ability to life for his own grand purpose. Oh, and the final episode shifts gears to reveal aliens coming to Earth tied to the Voyager craft. Just because it needed to go that extra distance.

While conceptually this isn’t a bad thing to work with, the execution is where it loses me on several fronts. First, let me just say that I love the visual design of it and the over the top craziness that comes into a lot of it with the designs and how the Musik power works and what it draws into the world – including the penguins. But what killed the show for me the more that it went on was that each episode is largely self-contained craziness. I’m hard-pressed to really say anyone is different at the end than the start and the background subplot with Bach is just that, resulting in something that is simply hugely episodic with light touches of continuity. That may work better weekly, and it must be remembered that that was how it was designed to be seen, but when marathoning it over two days it just reinforced how little is there. I suspect that it could be crunched down to a six-episode OVA ala 1990’s style and it would have garnered far more attention (and would have left many frustrated with a TV series reinvention later that would be like this is).

Admittedly, part of it may just be a lack of interest in classical music itself. But I’ve watched so many shows with so many things I have little interest in from go to golf that I know it’s not likely that. The ClassicaLoids don’t have much in the way of personality or story behind them because they’re largely overactive caricatures more than anything else. It’s the sound and fury that doesn’t signify much of anything combined with flat characters. With this being an original work it’s even more frustrating that it adheres to such a weak structure overall because it keeps you from really engaging with it as a larger work. Even worse is that Kanae, our only normal person outside of Sosuke, who I’m hesitant to qualify as normal, ends up painted into a corner where she’s essentially the house mother for this group that lives in the residence. It’s not true but it felt like she spent more time complaining about the lack of help she was getting from them in doing chores than anything else, making her a non-entity for much of it and little more than an observer or scolding character here and there.

In Summary:
The visuals and creativity of this series is what helps it the most with my grading of it because it’s something that really needs to be seen for that. Sunrise did a great job with how they reimagined much of it and how it presents the Musik side before even getting into the weirder aspects of what their powers present. But beyond that I felt like the show lost me very early on in terms of connecting with the characters and establishing a strong narrative as it fell into episodic storytelling that became a chore in watching. Sentai’s release is strong with a great encoding for both the audio and video and I love that we have almost forty minutes of clean ending sequences. Fans of the show will be very pleased by the end result here.

Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closings

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

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 24th, 2018
MSRP: $79.98
Running Time: 625 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
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.

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