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Category:    Home > Reviews > Anime > Animation > Fantasy > Adventure > Magic > Japan > TV > Drama > Historic > Fiction > Racing > Action > Art > Grimoire Of Zero: Complete Collection (2017*)/In This Corner Of The World (2016/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/Initial D: Legend 2 Racer (2015*) + 3 Dream (2016/*all Sentai Blu-rays)/Loving Vinc

Grimoire Of Zero: Complete Collection (2017*)/In This Corner Of The World (2016/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/Initial D: Legend 2 Racer (2015*) + 3 Dream (2016/*all Sentai Blu-rays)/Loving Vincent (2016/Cinedigm Blu-ray)/RWBY: Volume 5 (2017/Flatiron Films/Rooster Teeth/Cinedigm Blu-ray w/DVD)



Picture: B+/C+/C/C/A/B & C+ Sound: B+/B-/B/B/B+/B- Extras: C*/D/D/D/A/A Main Programs: B+



PLEASE NOTE: The In This Corner Of The World Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players that can handle the PAL DVD and can be ordered from the link below.



Here's a diverse new group of animated releases, mostly from Japan, but there's more...



In a land filled with magic and monsters, Mercenary is white half-tiger beastfallen. Created by witches, he hates and hunts witches that created the beastfallen to be their protectors. That is until he meets a young girl witch named Zero and hired him to be her bodyguard. Together they journey to find her missing book, the Grimoire of Zero which contains the secrets to magic, but also a cure to turn Mercenary human. As they journey through the kingdom they learn the truth about origin of magic and why humans hate witches and beastfallen, they discover a conspiracy that plans to turn the kingdom into chaos in Grimoire Of Zero: Complete Collection (2017).


Mercenary is a white half-tiger beastfallen. Beastfallen were humans turned into animal creatures to fight and protect witches from humans who blame witches for all misfortunes, disasters. Witches were burned at the stake, regardless if they are good or evil. The Beastfallen were seen as a lower/slave race and often feared, hunted and killed as well. But after Mercenary learns that Zero can turn him human again, he agrees to not only not kill her, but to help her recover her book (and be her cute and cuddly body pillow/pet). Along with their friends they soon discover Zero's Grimoire is source of all the witches magic and at the heart of war between witches and humans. Originally, Zero wanted magic to help humans and co-exist with them, but because of peoples greed and lust for power witches became hated, feared and envied.


This was anime was a mix of dungeons and cute animal characters with action, comedy and adventure. While the animation and styles were cute, the jokes and comedy were more for a more mature audience. Extras include Japanese promo, clean opening and closing animations and trailers, but a Premium Edition is also available loaded with many more extras.


Episodes include:


The Witch and the Beastfallen - Mercenary finds himself chased by Albus a witch, but is rescued by Zero. Albus accepts his defeat and Mercenary become Zero's bodyguard.


Witch-Hunting - Mercenary, Zero and Albus come across a village that hates witches.


Duel - Mercenary, Zero and Albus arrives in a town, Zero gets new clothes and Mercenary frees 3 slave girls from a wolf beastfallen.


The Road to Latette - Mercenary, Zero and Albus are on the road again as Zero explains more of what magic is and what she can do.


The Sorcerers of Zero - Mercenary, Zero and Albus come across an entire town of dead people and suddenly faced a mysterious mage call Thirteen.


Thirteen - Thirteen explains that there are 3 groups of witches all fighting against one another for control of magic. Thirteen then causes Mercenary to doubt Zero reason for helping him and he leaves her.


Plasta, the Royal Capital - Mercenary leaves the capital, only to find himself hunted by Thirteen's followers and assassins.


Sorena's Granddaughter - After realizing he has been betrayed, Mercenary teams up with with Holdem the wolf beastfallen comes up with a plan to rescue Zero and Albus.


Reunion - After rescuing Albus, Mercenary discovers Albus is really a girl and they come up with a plan to stop Thirteen's war by sealing all the magic in the kingdom.


The Truth Revealed - Mercenary rescues Zero only to discover Thirteen has been manipulating war and wants to create a kingdom for himself and to become the most powerful sorcerer.


The Witch and the Sorcerer - Zero and Thirteen face off against each other. Zero manages to win and when Thirteen realizes he will never be as powerful as her he relents and agrees to help them seal all the magic in the land.


The Grimoire of Zero - With the war in full swing, Zero and Thirteen perform the ritual for sealing all the magic in the land while Mercenary and Holdem protects them.



It's Hiroshima, Japan, circa the early 1940s. Suzu is your ordinary girl who enjoys drawing, the simple things in life and caring about her family. Everything she does is always big hearted and kind, helping and about serving others. She marries and moves to a small village Kure. But as the war approaches, things get more frugal with food and supplies, but Suzu continues preserve and help others, living life to the fullest in Sunao Katabuchi's In This Corner Of The World (2016).


Suzu is a bit of a dreamer, she loves art and drawing and always sees the brighter side of things, but all her life, she has been raised to become a wife and even forced into an arranged marriage. Even then, she continues loves her life and everyone loves her too, but with war dragging on, food and supplies are in short supplies and anything extra is sent off to the army, Suzu is resourceful and continues to serve her family and the country she loves. How long can her heart remain open? The war soon reach even their village with bombers and their way of life is forever changed.


This was a very touching, historical drama movie; the story of a girl how she continues to be the perfect ideal of the Japanese woman (with a few quirks) to serve one's home, husband and country, to always find a way to provide for the family. The characters represents innocence and hope, but as well the enduring spirit of Japanese despite the Atomic Bomb, losing the war, friends, family and tragedy. It reminds people how important to continue to live normally (specially in times of war) and that life must go on.



Next we happened to get Initial D: Legend 2 Racer (2015) and Legend 3 Dream (2016) at about the same time, so we'll just cover them concurrently.


Picking up on the second installment (see the first elsewhere on this site), after winning the race against the RedSuns, Takumi Fujiwara's fame spreads like wild fire. Soon new and faster racers come challenging him, the Myogi Nightkids. But now, that people know there's a new speedster, there are those who are not above cheating. Meanwhile, as his former rival, Keisuke is not completely out of the race, he and his brother uses Takumi's races to collect data and challenge him to a rematch in Initial D: Legend 2 Racer (2015).


Takumi Fujiwara is your ordinary high school boy and tofu delivery boy, but underneath his innocent face he is the son of a legendary racer and has blood of a pro-racer. Even among his friends, his father has secretly passed along his driving skills. After winning the race, Takumi soon finds himself with a new passion, wanting to test his skills he accepts his new challengers, as well as protect the pride of this home town and reputation of his friends.


This was a racing anime about fast cars and even faster drivers. The series was remade into a movie and brought back to inspire late night improtu illegal racing and car fanatics. The movie is mostly narrated through the split seconds as the characters list the stats on the cars and how to take advantage of the race track, but however like any good driver knows, it's not the car but in the end it is about the driver and his skills.


After defeating both the Akagi RedSuns and Myogi NightKids, Takumi awakens to the racer blood within him and now wants to not only race, but become faster. Ryosuke from the Akagi RedSuns returns and demands a rematch with Takumi after retraining and improving his driving techniques. And while Takumi is still King of the Road, he is conflicted with wanting to race and his growing romance between him and Mogi in Legend 3 Dream (2016).


We won't say anything else or spoilers will be the result, but extras only include trailers in both cases.



Who was Vincent van Gogh? Vincent van Gogh was a painter and an artist, but who was he as a man? If his paintings could tell his story, what would they say? From the events that lead up to his final days to the days afterwards, who knew those painting would be immortalized, remembered and then treasured by the world... Armand, a man discovers the last days of Vincent van Gogh as he delivers Vincent's last letter to his family and seeks to understand why Vincent took his life in Loving Vincent (2016).


Armand, the son of a postman who was a friend of Vincent van Gogh sets out on a journey to meet the doctor who treated him, instead he meets the town and the people who lived with him. Some saw Vincent as a crazy artist, others just a fool, or just a weak man who couldn't connect to others. But Armand discovers alarmingly that everyone had a different story of Vincent, while some accepted him, others distanced themselves. Six weeks prior to his death he said he was fine, calm and normal, what could of changed him so fast? Through each painting, each story, they paint the life of van Gogh as he painted his life around him. Through the eyes his paintings they show what he wanted the world to see.


Vincent van Gogh's life was like his paintings, he lived a poor life and was a struggling artist while he lived, it was only until after he died that people paid attention to his painting and life. While many people feel that van Gogh was a social outcast, very few will ever understand him a man. He was a passionate man, sensitive and better than most, it is only those who care more about others are more prone to melancholia and depression, and the truth is that critics just as often as harsh and cruel as the world. The truth of Vincent's suicide, no one probably will ever know the 'real' reason, but no one was willing to say they cared about him while he was alive nor helped him when he was depressed. This entire movie was done stylized in Vincent van Gogh's painting style and told through the characters of his painting and through the letters of van Gogh. Extras include a Making Of the film featurette, Vincent's Neighborhood, creating the props, interviews and trailers.



Since the fall of Beacon Academy team RWBY has been scatter to the winds, Salem has begun to takeover academy by academy, searching for the power of the four maidens and the ancient relics they guard. While the girls of team RWBY are scarred, each one of the girls hasn't given up, vowing to become stronger and fight back. But the White Fang already secretly taken control Haven Academy, their fall back academy and laid a deadly trap to destroy them in RWBY: Volume 5 (2017).


With the fall of Beacon Academy, other countries have closed their boarder and halted aid, but the White Fang continues to secretly manipulate each government just to keep them from uniting against them. All members of team RWBY head for their sister school Haven academy, yet secretly. Haven Academy has already fallen into White Fang control. Weiss abandons her family to help and rejoin team RWBY, Blake fights to protect her family, Yang fights against her own mother who fights them her own reasons. Secrets are revealed as hidden powers awaken, will Ruby discover hers in time? Director Ozpin returns but is he too late to save team RWBY?


With each new chapter to RWBY, the CGI continues to improve, the story has reach a climax with good and evil facing off with surprising twists, relationships and new characters. It seems like the show is a mix of action in a fantasy world in where anything and anything is possible. Extras include 5 years of RWBY, Weiss Character Short, Blake Character Short, Yang Character short, and RWBY Series.



Though I think the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on the RWBY Blu-ray has improved and similar framing on all three Sentai releases (including both Initial D follow-ups still underwhelming), the 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Vincent is the visual winner here with it rich colors and dense visuals. I even thought the good-for-the-DVD-format, anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 images on World and the RWBY DVDs tended to look a bit better than either Initial D Blu-ray. Oh well.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Vincent and three Sentai releases are really good, but Zero and Vincent have the best overall sound and solid playback performance throughout. Both format versions of RWBY and the World DVD have lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, though why the RWBY Blu-ray still does not offer lossless sound of some kind is sad. In all cases, they sound as good as they can in the older sound format.



To order the In This Corner Of The World Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other hard-to-find releases:


http://www.umbrellaent.com.au/



- Ricky Chiang


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