What They Say:
Discrimination and hatred set Rumble Town ablaze, and Seth’s battle shakes up the world. The Inquisition is questioned, as are the intentions of the Nemesis. A stranger with two white horns asks Seth—whose side is he on?
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 not a lot 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 nine episodes are spread across two discs in a six/three 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 second set is the one that came in limited edition form with a heavy chipboard box to hold the first, which isn’t a bad way of doing it. You get a good sense of how many to make based on the first half and know that a segment of that will wanted a limited edition, which with some goods definitely impacts what you do. The box here looks good with Seth in the foreground of it in action mode as his powers swirl around him and the use of the texture on the front of the box definitely makes it work (and feel) well. The back panel under the onsert goes for the key visual that gives us the darker looking piece with the main cast and what they’re facing which definitely has a solidly ominous feeling. The set comes with a hardcover art book around 80 pages that replicates the front of the box in black and white. Inside is some really glossy paper that makes the copious images from the series and more look fantastic. We also get several interviews with the cast and creative for it, making it a worthy dive into. The spacer box that’s included is where the first set goes but within it we get some really slick art cards for the show and two really cute little keychains.
Also within the set, obviously, is the Blu-ray release itself, which largely mirrors the first set. 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 break down 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 Meile 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 are dub-focused, which isn’t too much of a surprise, but they’re definitely fun. For this set we get two commentary tracks with the sixteenth and eighteenth episodes being treated to some fun with the cast. The other on-disc extra that’s included is a new Twitter Q&A where the voice leads with Caitlin Glass and Christopher Llewyn Ramirez get to have some fun answering fans’ questions.
The first half of the first season of Radiant is one that went over fairly well though it’s one I’d definitely classify as an entry level series. And there are a good number of them every year as they’re needed critical pieces. Particularly properties like this where it’s a book created in France by French creative but in the manga style. It’s a great way to draw in people that might not watch anime otherwise from that perspective but there’s also something that still works when it come to playing with the core concepts of your shonen style series. I liked what we had because it was definitely well animated and had a lot of creativity about it but it was also a show that was stuck firmly in the entry level realm that made it hard to feel really invested in because you can map out so much of what it does after the first couple of episodes.
With the season being shorter than normal as it comes in at twenty-one episodes instead of the usual twenty-four or twenty-six, this set has just nine episodes to it. So things to really feel like they’re over quickly but it works well enough with the general flow of the action and building intensity of events. It also doesn’t hurt that we get plenty of scenery-chewing characters here that just go all out when they get the chance. And what better way to get things tense and angry than with Konrad working to rile the people than blaming all the problems of late on immigrants and sorcerers. If only that latter part was included in the real world for at least some amusement. Konrad definitely sets a tone here with how the infected people are set to be killed by the angry mob but that just makes him the main target for Seth since going after the locals won’t change their feelings. The manipulation is clear and Seth knows the right target to go after in this moment.
There’s a lot of chaos over the few episodes that this runs, including a moment where we get Konrad focusing a lot of cannon fire on the immigrants and getting support for that. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for events here as we get Seth trying to rescue doc since he needs him only to end up captured himself. Seth gets help in the form of Grimm but that comes with some knowledge as they learn about a woman named Hameline, a sorceress who has a real grudge against Rumble Town and is the one behind manipulating Nemesis. This all comes through fairly fast but it allows for some refocusing on the bigger real threat, though Konrad is still quite the problem. Hameline gets nearly a whole episode to her story that takes us back fifteen years when she was infected and imprisoned in Rumble Town, making clear why she holds this place with such disdain and to cause all of this damage. It’s something that’s sympathetic and fits into this period of time in the world as she has little real recourse other than just letting it all go.
While this does slow down the arc overall with the flashback material, it’s definitely helpful. Partially because once it does get back on track it has Seth finishing off his dealings with Konrad so that the can focus on Hameline specifically as the real big bad here. She’s intent on wiping out the town because of its past and he’s intent on stopping it and that puts us in a very basic good versus evil situation that lets them both go all out with what they have in their arsenal. But we also get Seth doing his best to try and talk her down, explaining his own approach and the promises he’s made when it comes to his power, such as to Alma, as well as how he handles violence. It’s all well and good and likely has some real impact here, but it’s outside forces that end up eliminating the Hameline threat – much to Seth’s chagrin. It wasn’t the path he wanted because he’s struggling to push for coexistence and better dealings for sorcerers.
This factors nicely into the epilogue-like ending episodes here as we get the group returning to the academy – where they’re naturally thought of as heroes – but you can see how it eats at Seth because he felt like he was getting through to Hameline. This is an awkward place for Seth to navigate because he can truly only so much and to so few about how he really feels as doing otherwise would put him on the outs with a great many people. There’s a lot of little clean-up material here that works well to wrap up a lot of the events and little subplot bits, but it also provides for a bigger action moment toward the finale as we get a new batch of Nemesis eggs raining down on the academy, which leads to Seth in a bad spot with his powers going out of control, teasing some of what the next season will be like.
Radiant is, to me, a fun little distraction, a lighthearted but serious enough show that will draw in people easily enough. It’s the perfect kind of crossover show because of its origins but also one that most anime fans can enjoy because it does everything right. There’s an ease and charm to the characters that connect well while the larger storyline is one that you can work with as it’s straightforward and hits the right notes at the right times. It’s very polished and leaves me wishing it had a bit more complexity and rawness to it but I can really appreciate it for what it is and its intentions. Funimation’s release is pretty strong here with a great package, a beautiful art book and set of art cards, and a show itself that looks and sounds great with a cast that had a blast working on this. It’s infectious enough that you’ll get hooked and want more.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Episode 16 Commentary, Episode 18 Commentary, RADIANT: Twitter Q&A with Caitlin Glass & Christopher Llewyn Ramirez
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: February 18th, 2020
Running Time: 225 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.