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elDLIVE Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

7 min read

Middle schoolers will save the world.

What They Say:
Middle-school student Chuta Kokonose has been hearing a voice in his head ever since he can remember. When he finds himself recruited by the space police force known as elDLIVE, he learns that the source of the voice is a symbiotic creature living inside his body! Now it’s up to Chuta to prove his mettle and defend the world alongside his newfound friends.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English mix gets a 5.1 bump, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The show works a decent mix of action and dialogue so there’s some pretty good active material along the way and plenty of quieter scenes, at least to some degree. The dialogue works some decent placement with both mixes and it gets around well enough with the action to make it feel like it’s working the forward soundstage in an engaging way. The 5.1 mix doesn’t really take it to a whole other level but it fits for the material and keeps it active and moving all over. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
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 an eight/four format. Animated by Pierrot, the show has a plastic and simple look to it where it goes for bold colors and lots of movement in order to keep it going. It’s a series that definitely has a budget feeling, at least to me, and the end result isn’t the most detailed of shows and a decent bit of layering between the characters and backgrounds so that it doesn’t feel as cohesive. That said, the encoding captures the show very well with the colors really standing out nicely here and the backgrounds holding up with a very solid feeling throughout that delivers a clean looking show.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release is done in a slightly thicker than normal Blu-ray case that has a hinge to hold the discs and it also comes with an o-card. The o-card replicates the case artwork with a bit more vibrancy as we get the main key visual for it with the cast spread out against the star-filled background. It’s definitely appealing with some nice and clean designs and some good detail while the purple elements stand out nicely. The back cover goes with a standard science fiction styled design as we get a few shots from the show along the right and a breakdown of the simple premise along the left. The extras are clearly listed along with the episode count. The remainder is given over to the technical grid that breaks down both formats quickly and clearly as well as being accurate. No show related inserts are included with this release while the reverse side does a nice job of breaking out the episodes along the left while the right has a look at another piece of Japanese cast artwork.

Menu:
The menu design for the release goes the simple route as it uses the static image from the cover while adding the navigation along the bottom. The visual looks good with the colors really standing out while the star filled background is even more distinctive here. The navigation plays up the science fiction element nicely in its design and getting around in it is quick and easy with fast episode selection and language setup both as the top-level menu and as a pop-up menu during playback.

Extras:
The only extras that are included with this release are 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, elDLIVE is a twelve episode anime series that aired during the winter 2017 season. It’s based on the manga by Akira Amano that runs in the Jump Live app originally before moving to Shonen Jump+ starting back in 2013. With seven volumes out so far, the manga has continued past the anime but the anime likely didn’t give it much of a boost. As I mention in the video portion of the review, the show has what could be called a distinctive style but it has a kind of mild throwback/cheap style about it where there’s not a lot of detail and it just has that kind of plastic-y feeling that can rub some viewers wrong. This isn’t always a bad thing as it can work well with certain kinds of comedies and other shows but it can also just hurt a show in a big way.

With elDLIVE, I’ll admit that the show turned me off during the first episode and simply wasn’t able to recover from it. The show plays in a kind of present day situation where we’re introduced to Chuta Kokonose, your standard middle school kid that’s on the fringe of everything. A lot of this is due to his being weird as he hears a voice in his head that doesn’t shut up often and argues with him, which he thought everyone was like until he realized he was unique in this. That’s kept him from really having friends but he still tries and has his crushes and so forth. We get a decent feeling for how poor his middle school life is pretty quickly but the combination of that, the visuals, and the overactive style it wants to employ along with his lustiness toward fellow classmate Misuzu just makes me cringe.

Where it gets worse is that he’s pretty much out of the blue recruited into a space police force in orbit named elDLIVE, one of the more problematic names out there just in how it’s written. It’s at this point that he learns that the voice in his head is actually an alien that’s living in his body that’s named Dolugh and that they’re partners of sorts. Chuta’s not interested in being part of this space force that wants to recruit him until he realizes Misuzu is there as well and then he changes completely. What helps is that his abilities combine well with Dolugh in order to let him pass the exam given by the local in charge. There’s a whole host of strange and nonsensical aliens that exist on the ship for comedic purposes and Chuta quickly adapts to all of this.

While there’s a three-part story just past the halfway mark, the majority of this series and a lot of the three-part story is essentially standalone material.T here’s a lot of competitiveness in regard to how Chuta tries to get on Misuzu’s good side and there’s more than enough grief given to him by the aliens that exist. It attempts to have a kind of weird workplace comedy at times and a school comedy while mixing aliens and action in a slapstick fashion. But what it really is is terrible cliche after cliche. Nothing really sticks here and the characters in terms of personality, backstory, and actual arc of development is just as plastic-y as the designs look for it. Each episode did something that few shows really do to me in that they felt like a serious chore that was a struggle to get through. None of the characters are interesting, none of the stories feel like they accomplish anything, and the regular reminders of these being middle school students just reinforced that this is what a Teen Nick tween comedy anime series would look like.

In Summary:
While I made it through the show very little of it felt worth the time. It’s well animated even with the style that it has for it so that if you enjoy the show, it looks good enough to function. For me, the show was just a discouraging couple of hours to work through and it left me frustrated and annoyed by it more than anything else. Funimation put in some good work with it as it has a fun dub, a good looking encode, and a solid package. Fans should enjoy what they get here but it’s a show that I suspect is very much just for fans.

Features:
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: May 15th, 2018
MSRP: $64.98
Running Time: 300 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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