What They Say:
It was a normal day for high school student Itsuki, until his best friend delivered the news—she’s pregnant?! Suddenly, the two of them are whisked away to the magical world of Granvania, where Impurities stalk the land. To return home, Itsuki must perform Love Rituals with 12 beautiful maidens—and with the Star Children they create, he’ll defeat the malicious creatures corrupting their world!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English language track gets a 5.1 bump, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The show works a fairly standard mix here where there’s a good balance of action and dialogue. The action side works a familiar approach of sorts with lots of people running around and the craziness of the opponents which can overwhelm a scene. This plays more toward a full stage feeling rather than a lot of directionality but there are some fun moments for that as well. The dialogue side plays with placement a bit more but even that’s somewhat subdued in a way because it feels like most of the time everyone is louder than usual and not quite yelling but close to that. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 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 thirteen episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second. Animated by Gonzo, the show has a very vibrant look to it with a lot of attention to detail in the backgrounds. It’s not a particularly stand-out fantasy world but it has its moments of good details and design but is otherwise just minor background material. The series works some very busy sequences in terms of action when it dials into that direction but not beyond anything we normally see. There’s a good solid feel throughout it that works in the shows favor with the more cartoonish approach at times rather than something designed to be realistic, at least with the character animation.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard-sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs and a sheet with the digital information. The set also comes with an o-card that replicates the case artwork with just a touch more vibrancy for some of the colors thanks to the cardstock. The front cover features our not-quite-kissing cousins together in their school uniforms set against a white backdrop with some mild widgets in light pinks and purples to give it a little more definition. It also puts Mana here to give us just a mild touch of perversion. The back cover shows how weak we are in artwork for it as the same character artwork is used here in fuller form along with a few shots from the show. The background is just flat white with a very brief summary of the premise, the discs extras, and a nod to Gonzo. The remainder is given over to the usual with e production credits and technical grid. No show related inserts are included but we do get artwork on the reverse side with close-ups of the two leads each getting their own panel.
The menu design goes for a simpler approach with this release as we get static menus for both Blu-ray discs where it’s again the same character artwork from the cover. This time it’s off to the left side with it while the right has the logo in the middle and below that are the blocks for the navigation itself. That’s done with a mix of blues/greens so that it has a little something else to draw upon. The background is all-white and that definitely gives everything some pop but it’s just a very minimal piece even with the good instrumental music playing along to it.
The extras for this release include the clean opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the 2012 game of the same name from Spike Chunsoft that got an expansive worldwide release throughout 2019, Conception is the kind of game that gets close to the kind of absurdity I want but then backs off to become something of a traditional harem series. Originally airing in the fall 2018 season, it was directed by Keitaro Motonaga and had Gonzo behind the animation production. It’s a good looking show in general but it’s fairly standard with some nice creativity in creature design and the like that lets it stand out. What do get, however, is a fairly standard isekai show where our leads have to perform tasks in order to save the world they’ve landed in. It’s familiar enough material but it changes the stakes a bit by having the lead needing to impregnate a dozen or so women.
It’s a baby-making isekai!
Okay, okay, not quite. But it tantalized with that possibility for much the first episode. We’re introduced to cousins Mahiru and Itsuki who are having a pretty unexpected conversation. With her telling him that she’s pregnant and it’s his, there’s plenty of confusion and acceptance on his part even when she says that he’s being silly because they were never physically together that way. But she is being honest in that she’s pregnant, which is when they’re both whisked away to the land of Granvania. It’s here that things begin as they learn the familiar routine of how there’s all kinds of chaos in this world because of impurities that need to be dealt with. In order to get rid of them, the world needs a big batch of “Star Children” that can only be born with someone from another world like Itsuki. Now, that doesn’t sound like a bad gig considering some other isekai properties and he’s kind of up to it, considering he was ready to take care of Mahiru with her condition as well.
Unfortunately for poor Itsuki, in this world it’s not traditional intercourse that generates these Star Children but rather the bond and connection that gets formed between him and the maiden that he has to deal with. That generates the Star Child who is then later taken care of Alfie, a young woman who deals with corralling all of them until the time is right. She and our two new arrivals are also what you would call “helped” by Mana, a red panda create that can fly and is full of sass and sarcasm and a big dose of perversion. Floating around where the action is, he provides some insights from time to time but mostly just insults and torments while wearing handcuffs and being gruff. He’s the comedic effect of the show and they do manage to keep him somewhat limited, more than I expected them to be. I do admit that I enjoyed when Mana informs Itsuki that traditional banging doesn’t get girls pregnant with Star Children here though.
So, not quite as interesting as having our lothario anime lead roaming the countryside with his pregnant cousin trying to create lots of babies to save the world. Heck, Mahiru doesn’t even look pregnant for this so you could never tell in general. And Itsuki is your standard good guy so that once he knows the deal he just rolls into that pattern and moves forward agreeably with everything. What the show becomes then is in the standard harem-ish style where he goes about and encounters the young women and befriends them, creating the bonds that will create the Star Children. It’s not like they all travel together for the whole series which is what keeps it from being a traditional harem show, but I kind of would have liked it if they had. A dozen or so women with him, each with a Star Child, plus his cousin and Mana. It’d be a matter of time before he snapped and just abandoned the world.
Instead, we get the one-off encounters with the various girls. They’re all standard archetypes and play that way, from Femiruna of wealth and servants to Mirei, our calm and quiet type that studies magic. We get one that focuses on baking while another takes care of children at a church. And you get plenty more mixed in with some of the traditional types, including one that deals with the health of the Maidens as time goes on and we even get one whose dream is to be a veterinarian, which means animals run amok in her episode. With each of them we get Itsuki doing something to help them out, sometimes with a bit of an assist from others, but mostly it’s what you’d expect from a game adaptation. He has to solve the puzzle of the character and unlock their bond in order to clear the level. It’s executed well, I’ll definitely give it that, and that if this is something you see early in your anime career you’ll likely enjoy it a lot because it is competent. But it’s also working through almost every cliche there is for the girls and their lives. It just tantalizes us with something potentially smutty at first.
Conception is a series that’s pretty fun and finds its own groove pretty well as it progresses. It’s a bit of a tease at first with what it’s going to be in that opening episode but once it gets underway it hits the pattern hard and sticks to it throughout. But it is a fun show as we see Itsuki working hard to bring the Star Children into existence to save the world. It’s definitely a show that knows it came from a game and does its best to adapt it into more traditional storytelling but it can do only so much in this regard. It’s got the quest mentality down and follows through on it. The cast is likable in both languages that we get here and it delivers some good laughs in places and some general fun in how some of them live their lives. Funimation’s release may feel a bit pared down in some ways but it presents the core product, the show itself, very well with a solid encode, solid dub, and a good package to hold it all together with.
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: November 26th, 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.