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Category:    Home > Reviews > Anime > Animation > Adventure > Fantasy > Action > Mecha > Science Fiction > Drama > Comedy > Magical Girl > A > FCLC: Progressive/Alternative (2018/Warner Blu-ray Set)/Girl In Twilight (2018*/**)/Magnificent Kotobuki (2019*/**)/Space Brothers: The Movie (2014**/#0)/Tsurune (2018 - 2019/*all Complete Collection/

FCLC: Progressive/Alternative (2018/Warner Blu-ray Set)/Girl In Twilight (2018*/**)/Magnificent Kotobuki (2019*/**)/Space Brothers: The Movie (2014**/#0)/Tsurune (2018 - 2019/*all Complete Collection/**all Sentai Blu-rays)

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

Now for more anime action...

Haruka returns in her never ending chase to catch Atomsk in FCLC: Progressive/Alternative (2018). Along with Medical Mechanica Corp., they also want Atomsk, but also iron the 'wrinkles' out of all existence (basically world domination and taking over the world). But no matter who chases after Atomsk, Atomsk's powers manifests in only children ...and even then only children who are pure of heart. In PROGRESSIVE, a young girl named Hidomi begins dreaming of turning into a robot and fighting various robot kaiju, but all she wants is to confess her feelings to the boy she likes. In Season 3 ALTERNATIVE, Haruka seems to have a change of heart and decides to help a young Kana along with her friends to save their world and she mentors the girls in order to summon Atomsk to stop Medical Mechanica.

FLCL - Progressive Season 2

Hidomi is a 14 year old girl and she dreaming of the end of the world and where she has been transforming into a robot fighting various doomsday scenarios. But all she really wants is to confess to her love to her classmate Ide. Haruka and Jinyu show up out of nowhere and starts fighting over Hidomi, placing her life and her friends in danger. Both Haruka and Medical Mechanica want Atomsk's awesome powers. Jinyu seems oppose to Haruka, but like always Haruka will do anything to possess Atomsk including threaten people Hidomi cares about, which triggers her transformation.

FLCL - Alternative Season 3

Haruka seems to have mellowed out, and now instead of chasing after Atomsk she helps the 'chosen one' of Atomsk to help them fight Medical Mechanica. The power of Atomsk manifest in Kana and is triggered by her relationships between her 3 best friends Mossan, Pets and Hijiri. Mossan is the overweight girl but she works hard, overeats and dreaming of becoming a fashion designer. Hijiri is the school beauty that every boy wishes he could date and everyone expects her to become an idol or model. Pets is Kana's long time childhood friend, but secretly she is extremely wealthy but she is friends with Kana because she doesn't care about her money.

FLCL the original series blew away the anime community when it first debut, it basically makes fun of all the anime troupes. The entire series is about children who gain powers to fight against giant/evil robots along with a crazy pink hair alien (self proclaimed) girl chasing after them and her fighting a mysterious conglomerate corporation that seems to be on world domination. To fully appreciate the series one should watch the original series. Seasons 2 & 3 reuses a lot of the theme songs from Season 1. Extras include meet the creators, the Pillows, making of FLCL Progressive & Alternative, behind the scenes, English voice actors and trailers.

Everyday Asuka and her friends Nana, Mia, Yu and Chloe get together to follow an urban legend if you set your radio and pray at 4:44 PM at a certain place, then a door will open another world. At first they thought it was just fake, fun and games pretending the occult ...until it actually turns out to be true. They actually can travel to another dimension and discovering alternate realities and meeting different versions of themselves. But then, they start learning the dangers traveling to other dimensions, will they be able to save their own dimension?

In The Girl In Twilight (2018), Asuka and her friends are your typical high school girls, playing around, looking for some excitement. Asuka is the group leader/heart of the team. Nana is the rebel without a cause and the materialistic weasel of the girls. Mia is the polite rich girl but want to be her own person. Yu is the smartest and logical among the girls and Chloe is the cool loner girl who loves quoting French lines. At first, traveling to different dimensions seems fun and even funnier running into their various doppelgangers and seeing a different possibility of their lives, but then trouble begins when they run into other 'travelers' and they learn of the mysterious Twilight King and destroying all dimensions. Fortunately they also learn they can gain the ability to transform into magical girls to save the world they love.

This anime at first seemed like a sci-fi series like an anime version of TV's 'Sliders' except with girls, but then then it becomes more like adventure series when the characters learn they can transform into avatars and fight. Extras include clean opening and closing animations and trailers.

Episodes include:

Ritual at 4:44 - Asuka and her friends discover a parallel world and meet another Asuka, a.k.a. 'Seriousuka'.

Another FRAGMENT - The girls travel to a world where Nana is getting married to a celebrity.

The Bride Can't Help It - Nana has second thoughts and decides she doesn't want to be forced into a marriage ...even if it is a celebrity.

The Magnificent Five, or Eleven - The girls travel to a wild west world where Mia is a deputy sheriff.

The Hero in Me - Mia must save the girls when they are caught and falsely accused by a corrupt sheriff and judge.

Alone in the Island - The girls travel to an island paradise, but is it really paradise?

Tu n'es pas seule - Chloe discover those in 'paradise' are being brainwashed and eventually lose all their will to live.

Asuka and ASUKA - The girls work part time at their favorite coffee shop.

Facing TWILIGHT - Asuka and the girls travel to the alternate world of Seriousuka and discovers her world is being destroyed by the mysterious Twilight King.

Liar's Party - The girls are forced to escape and return to their original dimension ...however the Twilight King has followed them.

Yu, the Honor Student - Yu must save Asuka who has been swallowed by the Twilight. Turns out the 'Twilight King/Emissary' is a dark version of Asuka who has given up on hope of the future.

After the Twilight Falls - Asuka goes with the Twilight Emissary and decides to change the Twilight from within. All the Twilight is ...is a frozen heart in time and is afraid of another day from coming.

In a desert world without oceans, airships and airplanes carry all the precious cargo and resources between cities and civilization, without them cities die out. However, the skies are filled with sky pirates who raid the airships and cities for safety and ransom. The only ones protecting the skies are the all girl pilot squad, the Kotobuki. Fighting for their customers, freedom of the skies Kylie, Reona, Chika, Emma, Kate and Zara risk their lives and their beloved planes protecting the skies they love in The Magnificent Kotobuki (2019).

The Kotobuki is the only all female squadron for hire to protect the vast airships that ship between the cities. The Kotobuki shows that girls can fly as well as any boy. Kylie is a natural, but she is the most impulsive and immature pilot. Chika is the youngest and is almost just as immature as Kylie. Kate is the most intelligent in the group, but hides her emotions behind a stoic face. Emma came from a wealthy family, but secretly she earns money because her family fortune is really gone.

Zara is the most experienced (and the most well endowed) on the team, she is second in command and love drinking. Reona is the squad captain and strives to bring home her girls alive, she flies to help fund for orphanages in her hometown. They are all managed by their manager/president Madam Loulou who doesn't care for politics as long as they get paid. However, secret behind sky pirates are they funded and controlled by the corrupt city politicians who use them to line their own pockets and rise in political power. Also there are mysterious 'holes' that appear in the world which the politicians are trying to control to influence fear and terror.

This series was like a mix of westerns, airplane, jazz music and girls. A group of heroines fighting against male pilots (and their egos), sky pirates, large industrial complexes and corrupt politicians. In the end, the girls fight for freedom of the skies and to protect all that is good, but how they get there is the reason to watch. Extras include clean opening and closing animations, making of Kotobuki and trailers.

Episodes include:

Moonlit Guns for Hire - The girls of the Kotobuki Squadron fight to protect their airship and their cargo.

The Wandering Six - The girls of the Kotobuki Squadron are hired to escort a VIP Councilor Julia, but there is bad history between her and Madam Loulou.

Rahama's Longest Day - 'Elite Industries' (sky pirates) offer a (cheap) trade for the town's prize fighter plane the Raiden, but when they are turned down, the pirates burn the town and steal the plane anyway.

Elite Fortress - The Kotobuki Squadron sneaks into Elite Industries to steal the Raiden back.

The Splendid Areshima - Councilor Julia once again hires the Kotobuki Squadron to protect the trade agreements for the city of Ikesuka.

No Place to Return - Kylie's plane gets shot down and as Kylie repairs her plane she remembers her mentor Ol' Sab who taught her how to fly.

Blood for a Nazarin Pound - A small town's old well catches on fire and the Kotobuki Squadron must not only put out the fire but fight sky pirates at the same time.

The Great Airship Robbery - The Kotobuki's airship Hagoromo is taken over by pirates, but the Kotobuki Squadron still has a hidden secrets and few tricks. They sneak back on board the airship and steal it back.

The Vagabond Spruce - While the Hagoromo is in the dock for repairs the girls take some time off. Kylie learns about mysterious 'holes' that appear in the sky and how there are people who will kill to hide it's secrets.

The Aggressive Bombers - The Kotobuki Squadron learns that the 'Holes' are used as excuses for politicians and pirates to blow up and burn cities. They must stop a group of bombers from destroying Rahama city.

Duel in Ikesuka - The Kotobuki Squadron fights against the corrupt politician Isao, but he has set a trap for anyone who apposes him and he controls an army of planes with advance technology.

Kotobuki of the Setting Sun - The Kotobuki Squadron attacks Ikesuka city and uses the city landscape to their advantage. They sacrifice their airship the Hagoromo to seal the hole and save the city.

Ever since they were kids Mutta and Hibito were 2 brothers dreaming of becoming astronauts together, but when they grew up, turns out Hibito the younger brother turned into the celebrity astronaut when his older brother ended up as a car salesman. While reaching for their dreams and the stars both encounter challenges and difficulties ...and yet they are able to inspire each other to move on and achieve greatness in Space Brothers: The Movie (2014).

Mutta has is the older brother of Hibito, but he lives in the shadow of his younger brother who is the golden boy of becoming the youngest and first Japanese astronaut trainee in the space program. This especially hit home for Mutta when he is demoted from the main company HQ to a country branch. At this time Hibito was still an astronaut trainee before he became famous, he trains under a mentor but when his mentor dies in crash on a return mission, Hibito hits the lowest point his his life. Meanwhile, Mutta seeks to win car of the year design trophy and earn his way back, but even worlds apart Mutta doesn't realize he can still inspire and remind his younger brother the reasons they dream of reaching space.

This movie was a prequel to the Space Brothers TV series and was made after the TV series, while you can watch it without watching the original TV series the movie was designed to add more character background to the main characters in the TV series. It is about two brothers and reminds people what it was like to dream of reaching for the stars and space as boys. It basically shows with the 2 brother characters there are people with talent and there are people who get there by hard work, greatness can be achieved with one or the other. Extras include clean opening and closing animation and trailers.

Minato Narumiya was once a prodigy for Kyudo, Japanese archery, but after a certain incident in middle school he suddenly couldn't shoot anymore and quit. Now in high school, his friends and fate want him to pick up his bow again. But is he ready? Facing the tragedy and fears of his past Minato aims to be a true Kyudo archer once more...

In Tsurune (2018 - 2019), Kyudo is not just simply shooting a bow and arrow. It involves shooting with a clear and calm spirit, to be focused and at the same time clear of all thought. Shooting in Kyudo is a reflection of the mind, body and spirit, if one is out of harmony it shows in the shot. Minato is a returning former archer with 'target panic', he struggles over his past failures in a tournament. Seiya is Minato's next door neighbor and childhood best friend, he is intelligent but he cares for Minato and does everything to get him to join the Kyudo once more. Ryohei is another childhood friend of Minato, he is energetic and he joined Kyudo because of Minato and Seiya. Nanao is the pretty boy in the group, but at times he is more than he appears to be. Onoji or a.k.a. Ka-chan is Nanao's scary cousin, he might look and sound rough on the outside, but he means well.

This is sports anime that shows and teaches about Japanese archery and sportsmanship. But there is also a lot of drama between all the characters. This series is has several good looking male characters, but for some reason it feels like the main character 'Minato' is treated more like a girl, that he is everyone's girlfriend, because everyone goes out of their way to help 'Minato' find the courage to believe in himself once more.

***Extras include clean opening and closing animation and trailers, but a Premium Edition has also been issued and fans might want to spend the extra money to get that one instead..

Episodes include:

The Boy at the Kyudo Range - Minato enters high school and is reunited with his childhood friends and they try to recruit him into the Kyudo/archery club, but he rejects them.

Snapping Point - Minato recalls past and why he stopped Kyudo, but then he meets a mysterious archer who encourages him to take up the bow once more.

The Moment They Met - Though Minato is in the Kyudo club, the club members learns of his past and 'target panic' and the reason why he still shoots.

Off Target - The Kyudo club's new coach turns out to Masaki-san, Minato's mysterious archer. Coach Masaki has a mock battle, in which the losers have to do anything the winner says.

A Returning Arrow - Coach Masaki has a training camp at a local shrine in which they learn more about each other and the team becomes closer.

Why We Shoot - It's finals week, everyone want to practice archery, but are forbidden until finals are done.

Reunited, Reformed - The school tournament begins. Minato recalls his former rival, friend, teammate Shu who is now known as the Prince of Archery, but is he now friend or foe?

Take Aim - Shu tells Seiya he is unsuited to be with Minato. While he is good, he will never be good enough ...for Minato.

Unshown Hand - After their first tournament everyone works on improving their weaknesses. Everyone seems to be coming together, but Seiya is a bit sad and jealous that Minato does not need to depend on him anymore.

Inseparable Hearts - Seiya worries so much that Minato will leave him one day he gets sick.

The Pain of an Offset Arrow - Coach Masaki makes amends with his past and his grandfather.

Five Arrows - Can Kazemai make the finals after finding out Coach Masaki was in a car accident?

Irreplaceable - Kazemai faces off with Kirisaki in the finals ...who will win? The final shot comes down to between Minato and Shu.

For Better or Worse - For one day Kazemai and Kirisaki practices together at the shrine range.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on all five Blu-ray releases look good, with FLCL looking a little rougher and lite versus the rest and Tsurune, the newest, looking the best. Sound is pretty even across all releases with FLCL presented in Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0 lossless Stereo and a lesser English dub, while the Sentais are all here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Japanese 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes and Tsurune includes an also-lesser English dub version. All have Pro-Logic-like surrounds and are about as good as they will ever sound.

- Ricky Chiang


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