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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Robots > Drama > Science Fiction > Fantasy > Japan > TV > Casshan: The Complete Original TV Series (1973 - 1974/Section 23/Sentai Filmworks Blu-ray Set)

Casshan: The Complete Original TV Series (1973 - 1974/Section 23/Sentai Filmworks Blu-ray Set)

Picture: B Sound: B- Extras: C- Episodes: B-

The makers of Speed Racer and Gatchaman (both reviewed elsewhere on this site) were on a roll when they decided to create the most explicitly superhero creation of their canon with Casshan: The Complete Original TV Series (1973 - 1974) featuring the adventures of a young man named Tetsuya Azuma, whose father is a genius in robotics, computers and his one-man innovations have created an army of robots intended to help people... until they become sentient and decide to destroy the human race.

With his family shunned and he, his father, mother and dog forced to leave their home (which is then taken over by the robots by new robo-fascist leader Braiking Boss), their destruction of people and places is so devastating, Tetsuya talks his reluctant parents into turning him into a robot that can more than battle the armies of robots by being equipped with new technology and innovations that will make him mire than a match for the cyborgs gone wrong. 35 half-hours episodes of these adventures were produced and the show follows a storyline a little closer than those predecessor shows noted above, in part because it has to.

Reminding us of the original Ultraman and all versions of Iron Man (also reviewed elsewhere on this site), Casshan (pronounced cash-shan, though later in revivals, he would be pronounced cash-shern and eventually even spelled Casshern, though is is pronounced here as spelled) has a technical weakness that foils his battles with the killer robots, especially early on. The plotting, battles, storyline, even darkness and intelligence of the show are still winning on its 40th anniversary, but some aspects (he is called immortal, but the script contradicts that when he is in danger and the question of if he is still human is handled too loosely for its own good) oversimplify and cut into the realism of the situation and therefore its credibility. The line between fantasy and science fiction even blur too much here (especially when machines transform into others) yet this is a winning show for its spirit, energy and the many things that do work throughout. Especially in High Definition Blu-ray, Casshan is a special, unique series that everyone should see and experience once. It is at least a minor classic and one of the most important early works in all of Japanese Animation history. No wonder it is one of the early TV animated classics getting Blu-ray treatment. It deserves it!

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used along with cel dust and slight flaws on occasion, but between the detail and terrific color range that is pretty consistent between episodes, including a few shots that will be demo material for HDTVs. Impressive for its age, it makes for more reasons more TV shows on film need to be issued on Blu-ray. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Japanese Mono lossless mix shows its age more, but is as good as it is going to get and has not been tampered with or messed up. There is no English dub, but we do get good English subtitles.

Extras are really nonexistent save previews for other Sentai Anime releases, but I wish some interviews or memorabilia could have been included. As a result, here is a link to our review of the Gatchaman Blu-ray set Sentai just issued and in our review, you'll find links below for related action figures released in Japan, plus one intended for the Italian market of the original Casshan here that only made it to the prototype stage. It is still amazing and very, very valuable:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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