What They Say:
Kazuya Kagami has always carried his late mother’s obi as a memento. When he finds out that this special cloth has developed the soul of a feisty girl named Kiriha, she whips him into spirit-fighting shape to handle the cursed objects that wreak havoc at his school. But first, can he even get a grip on the girls in his life?
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English language track gets a 5.1 boost, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The 5.1 side isn’t all the useful here overall as this is very much a school-based dialogue driven series with lots of small and close bits of dialogue. It’s not filled with outlandish takes of wacky hijinks on a regular basis and is more subdued in a simple way. But the dialogue is pretty well handled on both mixes where there’s some good placement as needed as well as depth which gives it a good sense of space. The show is clean and clear through both language tracks and we didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 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 twelve episodes are spread across two discs in a nine/three format that gives it plenty of room to work with. Animated by Zero-G, it has a pretty good look about it in terms of the encoding but it’s a bit of a flatter show in its design with the characters and detail accorded to them. What it does offer is some great color design that stands out well here without being overblown and a lot of pretty solid backgrounds and fun plays and the fanservice side. This isn’t a high motion kind of series but the fluidity is good where used and the feeling that it gives off with its overall design is strong considering the simplicity. With a clean look and a good bit rate and plenty of space to work with, fans will be pleased by how this looks while understanding that it’s not the richest of designs.
The packaging for this release has a slightly thicker than normal Blu-ray case with an o-card that uses the same artwork from the case. The o-card uses the familiar key visual of the two leads together with the obi flowing all around them and wrapping them up a bit – and giving us a decent bit of fanservice. The back of the o-card goes with a simple and clean off-white background along with a pretty detailed summary of the premise. A few shots from the show are larger sized and play up the humor and design nicely and the technical grid breaks everything down clean and clearly and plays with color in a fun way – while keeping the important stuff white so that it’s easy to read. It does include artwork on the reverse side with the front cover basically turned into a sideways piece that’s like a mini-poster of sorts.
The extras for this release are pretty straightforward with nothing created for it as we get the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga of the same name by Yoshikazu Hamada, Tsugumomo is a twelve episode anime series that aired during the spring 2017 season. The original manga began in 2007 and has twenty volumes to its name so far, which means that this series is the barest sliver of what’s been produced and there’s obviously no ending of note to be had here. Which is a good thing because the show works best when it’s basically doing episodic work. Animated by Zero G, the series is a kind of basic work in a general sense as the character designs aren’t overly detailed and it has a kind of flat one-dimensional feeling more often than not but it works for this type of comedy and delivers a fun run with the wacky comedy that it employs. A more detailed show might look better but it would alter the kind of comedy that it is, I think.
The premise for the series is pretty simple as we’re introduced to Kazuya Kagami, your average high school student who lives with his father and his sister. One of the most important things in his life is the obi of his mother’s that he keeps with him almost all of the time since her passing, which as it turns out is actually a tsukumogami. This isn’t a yokai in a sense but something different as she’s got quite the sense of self and her own importance, which causes her quickly to forcefully makes Kazuya her servant of sorts. Kiriha, as she’s known, has spent a lot of time as the obi through the white cherry blossom that was inside of it and has been very close to Kazuya because of it, though she’s not really letting on about that in a big way. What she is doing is sticking close to Kazuya because he’s something deeper than he appears, though it’s not the main focus of this series. He’s something that gets involved in the world of yokai quite easily.
What the show does from this setup is fairly familiar. The bulk of this twelve episode run is involved in mostly episodic little adventures that then turns a bit more serious for the last couple of episodes. That’s actually unfortunate because the series material slows down the show as a whole and really loses what makes it work. By becoming serious instead of light and flirty with a couple of more serious moments that were quickly resolved, we end up with a final arc that’s more of a turn off than anything else. It just becomes less interesting, slows down, and it loses its focus. We see this with too many series that try to do this in the last couple of episodes after having a lot of fun. Some seed it a lot earlier, some just drop the serious side out of nowhere. There’s some light seeding for this but it’s just a kludge of an ending aspect to the show because it takes away what made it actually work.
Not that by saying it worked means I really enjoyed it or I thought it was good in how it worked. The show is basically a bunch of simple stories where there are various types of yokai that end up being drawn to where Kazuya is and causes trouble. The second episode has a creature known as an asmodi that uses the area to go after Kazuya, such as when they’re in the library and books are thrown around. There are other more serious and more powerful types that come up from time to time but they’re really just simple labels to differentiate from the basic idea of a yokai. The stories can certainly be fun at times as they play with familiar tropes here and there but also in expanding on things. In particular, I really liked the episode where an x-rated game being run on school property computers ends up being absorbed by an asmodi that basically turns everyone into a visual novel interaction. Kazuya’s a bit on the outside with this in understanding what’s happening but the choices that it presents, the humor that comes from it, and the dip into fanservice works nicely.
The fanservice element of the show is pretty well used in that it’s not a constant and it didn’t feel like it was overdone, though it plays to it more than other shows. It’s a little problematic at times as Kiriha looks young, some of which stems from her height as a tsukumogami that hasn’t been brought to full form yet, so that can be uncomfortable for some with how she gets all up in Kazuya’s business. There’s a really fun bit with a school sequence involving Chisato as she makes a big play for Kazuya while under a bit of magical influence and that among other areas shows us that this is an anime that doesn’t mind animating nipples. Skin is fairly common and there’s a few bath scenes along the way plus a good bit of innuendo. I don’t think it’s quite as heavy in the fanservice department as some promos and other materials made it out to be but it doesn’t shy away from it either.
Tsugumomo is the kind of series that most fans of anime end up watching and enjoying at some point in their overall time being a fan. This is a familiar kind of property that doesn’t do anything really new but it plays well with what it has. I’ve seen countless iterations of this and this versions is just another one of many. For those that were introduced to anime through it or just like it’s particular brand of humor and fanservice, this release delivers a good looking set in a solid little package with the basic extras and a dub to make it even more accessible. Some episodes work better than others but a lot of it comes down to how well you handle Kiriha.The manga goes a lot further in terms of story so what we get here is mostly the light and fluffy appetizer and not the real meat of the project. But for those looking for that light and fun romp this definitely serves that out well.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language. English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.