What They Say:
Soaring among islands in the sky, witches and wizards fly on broomsticks to defeat Nemesis monsters. But the very sorcerers, who protect citizens, are persecuted by the magic Inquisition. That won’t stop Seth, a gifted young wizard, from seeking the origin of it all—the Radiant.
The audio presentation for this series is done up in a straightforward manner as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo and the English language adaptation in 5.1, both of which are encoded using the lossless Dolby TrueHD codec. The show is one that plays well to both dialogue and action as there’s a good balance there. The dialogue side is naturally the largest part of it and with it placed well throughout and some decent effects with some of the characters and magical bits, it has a solid feel that definitely keeps it alive and moving. The action when it hits definitely raises the level a bit and is a bit more immersive, as well as having more impact, which is more noticeable in the 5.1 English mix with the subwoofer. There’s a decent bit of directionality to it overall, but it hits some good notes and the mixes are solid across the board.
Originally airing in the fall of 2018, 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 seven/five format that gives it plenty of space to work with. Animated by studio Lerche, the show has a good look to it where there’s a bright and vibrant approach overall with some nicely fluid animation in the high-motion scenes and a good flow in general. The show is one that’s definitely aimed at a mainstream adventure type but it has some good details in the mix and doesn’t skimp in general, allowing it to feel pretty well-realized with its worldbuilding that goes on. Colors are strong throughout with no noticeable breakup during regular playback. Overall things are pretty solid though and it avoids significant issues such as cross coloration or line noise during panning sequences, making it a largely enjoyable presentation.
The packaging for this release comes in a slightly thicker than standard Blu-ray case to hold the four discs from the two formats while also coming with an o-card. The o-card for this release mirrors the case but has some slightly brighter colors to it thanks to the cardstock which helps nicely. The front cover is definitely a nicely done piece even if standard where it groups together all the leads in a stackable pile set against blue skies with clouds. It’s like a billion other covers but it has a good bit of energy about it and I like the way the logo adds just a bit of style on its own as well. The back cover has a little bit of artwork to it and a trio of shots from the show but focuses more on some lightly stylish text to breakdown the premise of the series and work through its episode count and extras. The technical grid breaks out the way both formats are put together so you know exactly what you’re getting with this release. No show related extras are included with it but we do get a nice if simple two-panel spread of Seth on the reverse side.
The menu design for this release goes with the clip format which works well with the upbeat music that they tie to it as well. With mostly action clips and some good poses mixed into it, the 30-second or so menu plays well with the logo along the upper left in a larger size that really clicks for me. The style from it doesn’t carry into the navigation strip along the bottom, which uses larger text to good effect, as it’s just text on a rough parchment type approach. The layout is easy to navigate and language selection is a breeze. The pop-up menu works well during playback by using the same design and it showcases which episode you’re on easily enough as well.
The extras for this release go a bit above the usual standard pieces, though they’re here as well in that we get the clean opening and closing sequences. In addition to that, we get two English dub cast commentary tracks with the first and twelfth episodes getting the attention. There are also two additional video bonuses with “A Sorcerer’s Tale” and “Behind the Scenes” which clock in at fourteen minutes and twenty-four minutes respectively. The first has the actor Melie together with the ADR scriptwriter talking about the show and their experiences dubbing it while the second goes into showing a good bit of show but also spending time with its original creator, some convention reaction, and more about the project. It may show a bit more of the show than I care for, for something like this, but it’s definitely a fun experience overall.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manfra series of the same name, Radiant in its first season is a twenty-one episode series, the first twelve of which are in this set. The original manga from Tony Valente is something that we don’t see adapted too often in Japan as it’s from France originally and has twelve volumes out there as of this writing. It’s translated and localized in Japan and was popular enough to warrant this season and a second season that’s currently airing as of this writing. And it attracted some solid talent, with studio Lerche animating it with Seiji Kishi and Daiki Fukuoka directing it. Makoto Uezu came on to write the scripts as well, giving it a good polish as it adapts the original which is very Japanese-friendly. I haven’t seen too many manfra series over the years but the few that I’ve come across have always been intriguing and I love just how smartly they capture the core of what makes a good manga what it is.
In a way, Radiant reminds me a lot of popular long-running projects like Fairy Tail more than a lot of other things. It has the big sprawling design to it that can allow it to run for a good bit of time, the openness of its world to explore, and some initially generic but fun and friendly characters that are easy for younger viewers to latch onto. The general premise is that we have a pseudo-fantasy world here where the main problem comes in the form of Nemesis, creatures that come from the sky and are not just dangerous but are viewed as cursed as they contaminate everything they come into contact with. Those who survive it aren’t exactly trusted because they become sorcerers themselves, gaining the ability to wield magic. That’s not exactly the most trusted of things out there but it has its uses and there are times when sorcerers are needed so it’s kind of tolerated to a degree but the Sorcerors aren’t exactly eager to operate within the rule of law because of the Inquisition isn’t the best thing there is.
The core focus of the series is on a small group that’s primarily lead by Seth, a teenager who survived a Nemesis attack when he was five years old ten years ago. He’s gained some abilities since but hasn’t quite mastered a lot of them, such as flying, and he gained a little bit of a change to his appearance as there’s a pair of horns on his head. They’re not much in the scheme of things but it adds to that mischievous look that he has. The person who knows him best at this point is Alma, who being older than Seth and having survived the same attack has a good bit more wisdom and experience in the world and handled the situation better overall. She’s got that rough exterior when dealing with Seth but it’s born out of just how much she cares about him since she’s essentially raised him and teaches him how to use his abilities.
With Seth having grown up this way, he’s always wanted regular people to know that Sorcerers aren’t bad and that he isn’t either, but the general view is still wary at the least of them. We see how he handles things early on here when it’s mostly just him and Alma and how he wants to show that he can do the right thing but just makes things worse. What I do like about Seth is that he does realize that even though he and many other Sorcerers are not bad people, he doesn’t exactly want there to be more either. Or, more specifically, he wants to eliminate the arrival of Nemeses so that people aren’t hurt or killed by them. That has him learning about the Radiant, which is what’s said is powering this whole thing. So while we get some initial small town shenanigans at the start here – like every other shounen style series start of this nature – it’s the big picture that comes into view nicely and sets all of it into real motion.
Seth gains some friends as they journey gets underway, first with Artemis Academy in order to get more training and information. Melie provides the female companionship with someone who has a split personality about her that makes her dangerous to just about everyone. Melie’s got the big hair thing going that’s kind of rare these days but otherwise she too is standard fare but fun in how she accompanies Seth. The other addition comes in the form of Doc, a research sorcerer that is able to be the “well, actually” guy that explains things along the way or has the right methods to find out what’s going on since Seth is the “lemme use my fists guy” or magic approach character. As a core trio that’s operating without Alama at first but cross with her later on, it comes across well and is your standard venturing out into the world series with a real goal that can be sidelined at any time to deal with other issues.
While Seth gets tussled up with common folks and some sorcerers along the way, his main threat through much of this season – even if off in the distance – is Captain Dragunov. He’s intent on bringing in Seth for the Inquisition but has that kind of laid back “I’ll get it done when I get it done” mentality that can be both frustrating and amusing. He’s doing his job but it’s not something where he’s going hard and fast with anger and fury. It’s just a job, to some degree. Dragunov is the early catalyst that brings a few of the characters together and he’s an interesting character through which to view the larger events of the world that are happening away from Seth. Though he’s got a particular lackadaisical approach to things, he’s highly respected and we see why eventually when he gets involved in a Nemesis attack. You can see how they’re making him the opponent for Seth to deal with but he may be more agreeable about things when the chips are down later type character.
Radiant is a pretty fun series but most of what we get with this set involves the basics, setting up the world, introducing the core cast, and establishing personalities and the like. It’s pretty efficient with what it does but it doesn’t just burn through it like crazy nor does it build a harem of characters for Seth either, which is a huge plus in my book. Funimation’s release is pretty appealing as it takes this colorful and vibrant series and gives ut some good energy with a strong dub while also giving it a solid encoding so that it stands out well with a clean visual design. While it’s a bit of a regular release in that there are no big bonus items, we get some fun extras and a package that will please fans that want to own the set and that’s definitely worthwhile.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, RADIANT: A Sorcerer’s Tale, RADIANT: Behind-the-Scenes, Episode 1 Commentary, Episode 12 Commentary, Textless Songs
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: November 12th, 2019
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 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.