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Tokyo ESP Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

6 min read

See Through the World

What They Say
Rinka is a normal high-schooler with big dreams and a small income. She works a part-time job to support her and her single dad, but she yearns for the day she’ll get to loosen the strings on her pocketbook. Her ordinary life takes a turn for the extraordinary when she witnesses a penguin and a school of fish flying through the air. After one of the fish seems to pass through her, she wakes up in her apartment building with no clothes on and no memory of the strange phenomenon save for a mysterious ability to pass through solid objects. With her newfound powers, Rinka is about to learn just how transparent the world can be.

The Review!
Dolby TrueHD sounds like really great quality. True high definition always sounds good. However, whether it was production issues for this series or something else, the sound quality for Tokyo ESP is all over the place. The opening and ending theme songs are too soft, the dialogue is sometimes crisp and easy to hear and sometimes difficult to hear. It isn’t awful audio, but it was enough that I definitely noticed there were some issues.

This is about average for a Blu-ray. The lines are crisp and the colors don’t degrade or blur during scenes with a lot of animation. At the same time, I felt like this wasn’t true 1080p, but maybe 720p. I think this has something to do with Funimation standards. Unlike licensors such as Aniplex USA who focus on delivering high-quality content for a higher price, Funimation is more affordable, but the quality is not as good. This was about the same as watching the anime streamed on Crunchyroll.

The Blu-ray case is dominated by a nighttime city background with the characters standing on a street. The heroine Rinka stands in the center of the image. Since she is dressed primarily in white and has white skin and hair, she creates a startling contrast with the black background and other characters, who are all dressed in darker colors. On her left is the female antagonist of the series, and on her right is the rival/friend. Behind them are the villains. The title is located on the side near the spine. While the front is mostly dark, the back is white and has rectangular images of five characters from the series. The description and series information are all located below it.

Featuring a background that continuously plays a variety of scenes from the anime, each disc gives you several options to choose from. You can play the disc from the beginning, choose your options to select which language you want and whether you want subtitles or not, select which episode to begin from, or choose the extras.

Tokyo ESP extras include episode commentaries in which the English voice actors comment on some of the episodes. They are funny, but there’s nothing particularly noteworthy. There are also commercials, US trailers, and the textless opening and ending theme songs.

Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
Tokyo ESP is one of those anime that starts near the end of the series, then quickly rewinds to the beginning. We’re introduced to a hell on earth. Japan has been attacked by terrorist espers who have taken control of the DIET building where all their politicians are located. A man known as the Professor and his daughter slaughter their way through a whole host of security guards as if they were reapers coming to claim the lives of an entire city. All hope seems lost and everyone is wondering where the White Girl went.

The White Girl, of course, is Rinka, the heroine of this city and someone who has the worst luck when it comes to life. While the first few scenes has her kicking ass and taking names as she attacks the esper terrorists, once it rewinds to how this whole situation started, we learn that she’s a down on her luck girl working a part-time job to help her former cop dad. Money is tight. However, I feel like her money issues are really only there to draw sympathy from the viewer. Nothing is ever really done with this particular theme after the initial “I wish I had more money” thoughts Rinka has during the first half of episode one. More importantly than Rinka’s money issues are her nudity issues.

After she chases after a flying penguin, Rinka finds herself witnessing the unbelievable scene of golden fish flying through the city. During this time she runs into an unusual man who says they are witnessing a miracle. More on him later. After one of those golden fish passes through her, Rinka passes out, then wakes up to find herself inside of her downstairs neighbors apartment completely naked.

Now, I’m a fan of fan service and pointless nudity as much as the next person, but this is only one of two times we ever see her naked. She’s in the shower the other time. Because it literally just happens twice, it feels out of place. I think they would have been better off either showing more or cutting this out. Of course, this particular scene is important since that’s when the male love interest is formally introduced. His name is Kyotaro, and he’s also the one who was with Rinka when she saw those flying fish.

While I like myself a good romance, I have to be honest and say I wasn’t feeling it here. The romance seemed less like a young man and woman developing feelings over the course of time, or even a man and woman falling in love at first sight, and more like a forced romance that got thrown in because the director felt they needed to have a romance for the romantic angle to appeal to a wider fanbase. I heard this series is adapted from a manga, so maybe the manga did a better job at making the romance seem more natural. Manga does tend to have more content than their anime counterparts, which often cut out a lot to fit as much of the story into 12 episodes as possible.

Like most action anime, this one features all the tropes. You’ve got the regular person who just kinda wants to live her life but can’t because she now has superpowers, the dude who got superpowers and wants to be a hero who drags the protagonist into their life, the skeezy and perverted old sensei who can kick ass and take names, and the standard “shades of gray, good versus evil, but who is really evil” plotline. This series shoves a lot of content into 12 small episodes. I think maybe if anime was extended from 24 minutes to 1 hour or was given 24 episodes instead of 12, this might have been a really great series, but with so little time to tell its tale, they had to compress way too much content. Every major problem Rinka runs across is resolved with very little effort. Usually, it happens after a pep talk. In fact, there are a lot of pep talks in this series. Even though it is only 12 episodes long, it felt like there were more pep talks than three seasons of Naruto.

In Summary:
While the series itself is not bad, I feel like there’s not much that makes it good either. It has potential. That is the most I can say about it. I think if this series had more episodes or if episodes were longer and able to really deliver a higher impact by properly building up the intense moments and moral dilemmas, this series would have been great. However, between juggling one too many themes and never really going into any of them with great detail, it fails to leave a lasting impression.

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

Released By: FUNImation
Release Date: June 11th 2019
MSRP: $29.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 16×9 Anamorphic

Review Equipment:
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player

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