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Category:    Home > Reviews > Anime > Animation > Comedy > Technology > Vampires > Action > Supernatural > Drama > Genderbending > Sexuali > BPS: Battle Programmer Shirase (2003 - 2004)/Devils' Line (2018)/Love Stage!! + OVA (2014/all Sentai Complete Collection Blu-rays)/POKEMON Detective Pikachu 4K (2019/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-r

BPS: Battle Programmer Shirase (2003 - 2004)/Devils' Line (2018)/Love Stage!! + OVA (2014/all Sentai Complete Collection Blu-rays)/POKEMON Detective Pikachu 4K (2019/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: C+/B/A-/B- Sound: B+/C+/B+/B Extras: C/C*/B/C Main Programs: B+/B+/A-/C-

Here are the latest anime releases and a new feature film that hijacks elements thereof...

Akira Shirase is the legendary computer programmer known only as BPS, when the world government's computers are in danger from hackers and viruses they call Akira. Shirase might be genius when it comes to all computer related things, but when it comes to real life he's just an ordinary guy in BPS: Battle Programmer Shirase (2003 - 2004).

Shirase is a super computer programmer, he can hack the world's computers with a cell phone. He works freelance and is often the last go to guy when all other security programs has failed. On the outside he looks like your average guy, however admired by his 'great niece' Misao who prefers to calls him her 'onii-chan' (big brother) and cooks and cleans for him everyday. Shirase's main headache comes from a hacker alias known as 'King of America' who sees Shirase as his computer rival.

This a very short five-episode anime making fun of computer hackers with moe characters. The recurring joke of the series is how the 'hero' is always being caught in compromising positions with females (and misunderstood), but for the sake of national security it is overlooked. Extras include clean opening and closing animations and trailers.

Those episodes are...

01: Enter BPS! - Shirase first job is to stop a hacker from blowing up a global company via cell phone.

02: Tropical BPS! - Shirase must find a lost tanker at sea that was hijacked via computer by hackers, just so happens Misao is at the same beach.

03: BPS Under Threat! - Yoriko is a genuis girl who works for the US Navy, but is she here to recruit Shirase ...or seduce him?

04: BPS Married Off? - Shirase attends a marriage arrangement, but can Misao allow her beloved 'big brother' be married off?

05: Infatuated BPS! - Shirase find himself being honeytrapped, can his computer skills help him get out of this situation?

Vampires exist. They can walk in sunlight, crosses, stakes and holy water don't work on them, they can be your friend, coworker, or even the person next door. However their blood lust is only triggered when they see or smell blood. Grad student Tsukasa Taira is suddenly thrown into the vampire world when she is saved by Anzai-san, a human vampire half breed who is part of a secret task force policing the vampires of Tokyo. But when mysterious forces threaten to start the vampire revolution. Can Tsukasa and Anzai-san find a way for humans and vampires to co-exist or will it be vampire armageddon? 

In The Devils' Line (2018), Tsukasa meets Anzai-san for the first time when he saves her from a vampire attack. Then she learns vampires exist, but not all vampires are evil but have certain needs and conditions in which trigger transformation and blood lust. Tsukasa and Anzai-san fall in love, but more a vampire loves someone the more they want their blood. Anzai-san can fight vampires but can he save Tsukasa from himself? But there are worst things, the humans who know vampires exists and they believe vampires should be exterminated. Tsukasa and Anzai-san discover a conspiracy when someone in the government wants the world to know the vampires exist but in doing so would cause panic, strife and bloodshed.

This is another vampire series in where humans and humans co-exist, but vampires are a secret. It is the fearful revelation that humankind can never accept those who are different than them, specially if it means human will be lower the food chain. The government hides their existence ...but for how long? Extras include clean opening and closing animations and trailers, but a Limited Edition includes a music compact disc and an alternate case.

Episodes include...

Dark Side - Tsukasa learns her childhood friend is a vampire and is saved by Anzai-san.

Safe House - Tsukasa learns more about the vampire world from Anzai-san and there are far worst things than vampires, humans. Anzai-san saves Tsukasa when her professor tries to rape her.

Paradox - Anzai-san continues to visit Tsukasa and they start a relationship. Tsukasa is not afraid of him and still treats him as human and fall for each other.

Monster - Anzai-san is shot by a sniper a human female known as Zero Seven are part of an anti-vampire group who are hunting and murdering innocent vampires.

Plan B - An anti-vampire group known as CCC wants the world to know vampires exist, they frame and broadcast a vampire attacks on live TV wanting humans to fear and hate vampires.

Dogmatic - Tsukasa learns it is possible for vampires learn blood lust tolerance and control themselves. Zero Seven realized she's been used her former comrades try to assassinate her and take the fall for all vampire murders.

Chaser - Tsukasa is kidnapped by Zero Seven, but then she causes her to doubt when she tells them they can co-exist like her and Anzai-san. The CCC tries to 'silence' her but Anzai-san comes to her rescue.

Offline - Tsukasa and Division 5 learns the CCC has spies on the vampire task force and their bosses are among them.

Command - Anzai-san begins to learns to control his vampire abilities and he begins to believe he and Tsukasa can have a real future together.

Ego Defense - The CCC uses vampire lynch mobs to flush out vampires in hiding and forcing vampires to fight to capture on video and increasing negative vampire social media.

Ouroboros - Division 5 learns that their own government are behind CCC's funding and tries to get the list of all those connected with CCC, but instead discover they were set up with a trap to discredit Division 5.

DEVIL'S LINE - Anzai-san is fatally wounded, Tsukasa save him by giving him her blood. But then she saved by another vampire and the act was caught on social media. The heroic act of a vampire saving a human causes the anti-vampire groups to loose credit and others to realize that not all vampires are bad.

Line X: Anytime, Anywhere - Anzai-san learns of his origins and how he was born from a human and vampire in a government experiment to study vampire abilities.

Izumi comes from a family of actors and entertainers but he himself has only been in one commercial 'Happy Wedding' when he was a child actor. Now ten years later they want him to return for a reprized commercial with the original actors and the now famous actor Ryoma Ichijo ...only thing is his past role was playing a girl and nobody knew. Ryoma confesses to Izumi he loves 'her' as a girl ...but what will happen when he finds out he's really a boy?

In Love Stage!! + OVA (2014), Izumi mother is an actress, his father is a composer and his brother is a famous rock star, but he want nothing to do with acting and become a manga artist. That is until he is called to play his role as a girl from a commercial he did 10 years ago. However his co-star from 10 years ago Ryoma had no idea he was really a boy. After finding out Izumi is really a male, Ryoma at first is disgusted and repulsed with Izumi, but discovers he is unable to deny he is still attracted to Izumi. Meanwhile, Izumi is still unsure about his sexuality, but he must be tricked and bribed into acting by his family manager Rei and his doting older brother Shogo who has a major brother complex. Can Izumi and Ryoma transcend the rules of society and gender?

This is another anime series with gender bending and homosexuality. It is the story about how 2 characters come out and discover their sexuality. The entire story is about a comic romance with 2 pretty boys with brief intimate scenes. Extras include commentaries with English voice actors, director and staff, clean opening and closing animations and trailers.

Episodes include:

The Door to My Dreams - Izumi was your normal pretty boy otaku who wanted to be a manga artist until his called to play in a commercial ...as a girl.

Because I Was Able to Meet You - Izumi crossdresses to play his role but is shocked when his former co-star Ryoma steals his first kiss and confesses to him. But when Ryoma finds out, he get angry.

If Only It Had All Been a Dream - Izumi is conflicted with his emotions. Ryoma can't get Izumi out of his mind and later forces himself on top of Izumi and almost rapes him, until his brother Shogo shows up.

But I Do Like You - Ryoma makes up with Izumi and becomes text friends. But they are tailed by the paparazzi.

Just a Little - Ryoma visits Izumi at his school and discovers Izumi dream to become a manga artists. Izumi enters a contest and collapses after finishing the manga. Ryoma kisses Izumi while he sleeps.

What Kind of Test is That? - Ryoma and Izumi is caught on picture by the paparazzi and the only way to divert attention is to have Izumi announce his debut as an actor. However, Izumi is only willing to debut if his manga fails.

Could This Be... - After failing his manga Izumi gives in and lets Ryoma have his way with him, but Ryoma realizes and stops, Izumi is not a consolation prize to him. Ryoma tries to help get Izumi's manga approved by going to Izumi's favorite manga artist directly.

Love Stage - Men's Style - Izumi decides to debut and announces his real gender to the media.

Which Way is Right? - Ryoma is worried about all the all the attention Izumi is getting, positive and negative. Izumi wonders what sex is like for 2 guys.

Love Isn't Enough - Izumi is almost raped again by 3 stalkers/muggers but gets away. He learns of Ryoma has been trying to help his dream and decides to accept Ryoma's feelings and they have sex.

OVA - It Wasn't Just a "Little" - Ryoma is excited for a weekend date with Izumi, but then ends up going to the amusement park with Izumi's brother and his manager. But later, Izumi learns Ryoma has been learning on how to have sex with men and have sex afterwards.

Last and least is Rob Letterman's POKEMON Detective Pikachu 4K (2019) is sold as a potentially fun film with Ryan Reynolds voicing Pikachu as a semi-noir detective in a (necessarily?) silly story that tries to be serious.. sort of, at times where Pikachu had a partner who is lost and Justice Smith plays a young man caught in the middle. Reynolds can be amusing, but this nearly two hour commercial for the franchise does little with him or anything resembling a screenplay.

There is more money on the screen by default, especially versus anything issued as a movie in the past concerning these characters, but this is ultimately awful early on, never recovers and the ironic result is that Reynolds returned to Warner Bros. and actually made a feature film worse than Green Lantern!

Our best advice, DON'T catch them all and don't catch this 'film'.

Extras include Detective Mode, an Alternate Opening, My Pokemon Adventure, Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Welcome to Ryme City, Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Uncovering the Magic, Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Action, Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Colorful Characters, Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Bringing Pokemon to Life, Mr. Mime's Audio Commentary, Ryan Reynolds - Outside the Actor's Studio and "Carry On" by Rita Ora and Kygo (Music Video).

Now for playback performance. Pikachu was shot on 35mm film, bu7t plastered with a ton of CGI, so the 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1 HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image can look good, but is not great much and is barely the best performer here, so the 1080p regular Blu-ray version actually looks a bit pale by comparison with poorer color range, brightness and Video Black.

The 1080i 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on BPS can show the age of the materials used in this upscale, so it is the poorest performer here, but will do for what it is. Whether it is because film masters were lost or this was finished in low definition upon release is unknown.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on both Line and Love play the most naturally with the best flow, even if Love can be a bit soft, maybe part of that due to style. Color is fine in both cases otherwise and they are just fine overall. Whether 4K versions would look better is unknown.

As for sound, both Pikachu discs offer lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) that has its moments, but this is often joke/dialogue-based, so only expect so much from the mix. All three animes offer Japanese DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes (all but BPS also offer lesser English dub DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes as well) with Pro Logic-like surrounds, but Line is on the weak side. Otherwise, these all sound good.

- Nicholas Sheffo (4K) and Ricky Chiang


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