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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Adventure > Robot > Action > Fantasy > Harem > Japanese TV > Adventures Of A.R.I.: The Robot Pet (2019/Lionsgate DVD)/Ne Zha (2019/Well Go Blu-ray)/Release The Spyce (2018)/To Love-Ru (2008/both Sentai Complete Collection Blu-ray Sets)

Adventures Of A.R.I.: The Robot Pet (2019/Lionsgate DVD)/Ne Zha (2019/Well Go Blu-ray)/Release The Spyce (2018)/To Love-Ru (2008/both Sentai Complete Collection Blu-ray Sets)

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

Here are the latest anime releases, et al...

We start with a boy named Noah, who one day finds a broken down robot A.R.I.-9 and takes it home and it suddenly comes to life. As Noah, Bethany and A.R.I. become friends, they begin to learn about A.R.I.'s past and secret abilities, but the past soon comes looking for A.R.I., his creators discover A.R.I. is functional and wants his parts for their new battle droid. Now, Noah, Bethany and A.R.I. are on the run, but can they find a way to save A.R.I. before his battery runs out?

In The Adventures Of A.R.I.: The Robot Pet (2019), A.R.I. is a robot, a boy's best friend, but when the company that built him tossed him out they never expected him to rebooted by a boy named Noah. Now active, Noah and A.R.I. begin discovering A.R.I. abilities including turning invisible, fly and even energy shields. Only problem is A.R.I.'s battery is running out and they have to find a way to recharge him, and each time A.R.I. uses his abilities his battery drains faster. When A.R.I.'s creators discover he is actually function and they had tossed out A.R.I. too soon, they want him back ...for parts for their up graded version battle robot. But A.R.I. is alive, Noah doesn't want to lose his friend and A.R.I. doesn't want to be dismantled, together they must find a way to stop the soldiers after A.R.I. and fix A.R.I.'s battery.

This was another fun filled, family friendly movie for kids. It sort of reminds of old movie Short Circuit of the robot that comes alive and then is on the run from either it's creators. It asks the age old question with robots, what do you when it doesn't follow it programming and has a free will of it's own, does it mean it conscience and the right to live? Extras include trailers.

Once upon a time there existed a 'Chaos Pearl' in which neither Heaven or Hell controlled or could be destroyed, but Gods and Demons wanting no rival, cursed the Chaos Pearl to be split and reborn on Earth into two mortal bodies and to be fated to be destroyed by heavenly lighting in three years time. One of the pieces fell to a young boy, Ne Zha and was prophesied to bring the destruction of the world if he was ever allowed to grow up, but can Ne Zha break his fate and curse or will he fall and become the demon as prophesied?

In Ne Zha (2019), when Ne Zha was born he was considered the 'demon child' and that one day he would cause the destruction of the world. The heavens sent him to be born in a town and told the townspeople to watch over him until he was ready to be destroyed on his third Birthday by Heavenly Lighting. Ne Zha rapidly grows up gifted with supernatural powers, abilities and strength but was still feared and hated, only his parents believed in him and that if he was raised in the light that he would become a force of good. But even after saving a village child from a demon, Ne Zha was still misunderstood and rejected by his hometown. He meets the son of the Dragon King and they become friends, but unknowingly the Dragon King's son also turns out to be also the 2nd half the the Chaos Pearl and they are fated to fight and destroy each other. And as Ne Zha's birthday approaches can Ne Zha fight the will of heaven much less his best and only friend?

This was a Chinese folktale/legend which (very) loosely follows the actual legend of Ne Zha. The film is comical and full of adventure with epic battles and heart warming drama. It is highly stylized with into a modern CGI animated movie that would give Disney/Pixar a run for it's money. Extras include trailers.

They are sugar and 'spyce'... and all that's nice. Momo discovers her classmates moonlight as Tsukikage, an all female kunoichi team and she is recruited to join them and protect their city. However there is the mysterious organization known as Moryo secretly controls all the drugs, military and illegal arms trade. Can six high school girls stop an evil organization?

In Release The Spyce: Complete Collection (2018), Momo Minamoto is a girl with heightened senses and one night she discovers that her city is being protected by a group of super-powered high tech ninja girls called 'Tsukikage'. Momo is immediately recruited and trained to be a school girl by day, vigilante by night. Tsukikage are a well funded, secret society of spies and are powered by their 'Spyce' which temporary endows only teenage girls with super strength and senses. They however, face Moryo, a secret organization that has it's hands in crime and drugs, military industrial complex and even the government. Unlike Tsukikage, Moryo has been experimenting with drugs to turn people into either mindless slaves or murderous monsters.

This is your typical anime heroine series with super-powered teenage girls fighting to save their fair city from the bad guys. It basically has every stereotyped anime girl fighting as modern day ninjas against the forces of darkness. Extras include clean opening and closing animations and trailers.

Episodes include:

Golden Spirits - Momo accidentally sees Tsukikage in a secret mission and the next day she is give the choice to join them or have her memory erased.

First Challenge - Momo enters Tsukikage's secret underground base and begins her training.

Moryo - Momo begins her first real active mission and messes up, forcing Tsukikage to retreat. Momo learn of Moryo and experiences her first real combat.

Never Say Never Together - Fu wishing to prove herself to her master ends up arguing and Mei getting hurt. Afterwards they make up and work together to fulfill their mission.

Phantom Protocol - As Tsukikage searches for Moryo's dummy companies, Momo is attacked by Dolte, Moryo's super-powered drug soldier.

The Rewards of Friendship - Theresia a Moryo agent is sent to spy and confirm Hatsume is a Tsukikage member, but she has past ties with Hatsume.

From Hatsume with Love - Moryo tests their new mind controlling drug on the city causing chaos. Goe gets effected by the drug and Tsukikage has to stop one of their own before she hurts herself.

Intelligence on Organization N - The girls go to Okinawa to search for Moryo's secret ingredients. Goe meets and fights a Viking Girl almost as strong as her.

Destiny Group - Momo learns what happened to Yuki's former master two years ago and a failed Tsukikage mission and how Moryo came to be.

No Response from Sorasaki - Mei reveals she has been a traitor and spy for Moryo and leaking their secrets to them. Tsukikage falls into a trap and is caught by Moryo.

Operation Gekkako - The surviving Tsukikage members escapes from Moryo and regroups, but now they must somehow stop Moryo from releasing their mind control drug from taking over city.

and Tsukikage is Forever - Mei reveals she was a triple agent to get inside of Moryo and it's operations. Tsukikage stops the drug dispersal machine before it infects the city and faces Moryo in a showdown. Yuki retires from Tsukikage and has her memories erased, Momo become the new leader of Tsukikage.

Finally, Rito Yuuki was just an ordinary boy who wanted to propose the girl of his dreams Haruna ...until Lala a runaway space princess from planet Deviluke comes crashing into his home and decides to live with him. Now, everyday, Rito has to deal with girls, space alien suitors and assassins that come after Lala, as well as Lala's crazy inventions all the meanwhile trying to propose his feelings toward Haruna in To Love-Ru: The Complete Collection (2008).

Rito has the worst luck when it comes to girls, each time he tries to confess to the girl he likes something ALWAYS goes wrong, but when a naked space alien princess comes crashing into his bathtub (and his life), everything goes girl crazy. Now, Rito can't seem to stop having girls in his daily life (and his bed). Rito daily has to fight off Lala's various space alien suitors while other girls begin to notice Rito because of Lala (and all the other boys can't stop enjoying Lala sexual appeals and wiles).

Rito also must deal with all of Lala's crazy inventions (which tends to make girls end up either naked or scantly clad and Rito in a compromising position). Rito goes from the school's most unpopular boy to become a literally girl magnet. Because of Rito's kind and caring nature he always has to save the girl from trouble ...and it makes all the girls start fall in love with him (and for some reason the girls don't get jealous and don't mind sharing Rito).

This was your typical harem anime with space alien princess. The main character is your typical clueless boy who suddenly finds himself surround by girls fighting for his attention. There is a lot of fan service with the girls and each episode sets up the main character(s) for some romantic comedy/drama. Extras include clean opening and closing animation and trailers.

Episodes include:

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky - Rito tries to confess his feelings to Haruna, but suddenly Lala falls out of the sky and say she want to marry Rito.

A Broken Engagement? - Rito wants to break off his engagement to Lala, but he time limit of three days.

Love Triangle - Rito goes out on a date with Haruna and Lala ...and perhaps Rito has some hope with Haruna after all.

A Love Apron From Outer Space - Rito is told if he marries Lala he will become the next Deviluke King and he worries he will start or have to fight in interstellar wars.

The Queen's Challenge - The school's beauty Queen Saki can't stand the way boys giving all their attention to Lala and challenges Lala to a beauty contest. Winner gets Rito.

The Alien Assassin - A shape shifting alien comes after Lala and take Haruna hostage, saying to Rito to give up Lala to him or he will do naughty things to Haruna.

All Men Should Be Like This! - Lala's childhood friend Ren/Run arrives on Earth wanting to be the most manly man in the universe ...but when he sneezes 'he' becomes a she.

The Prefect of Spotless Integrity - Yui of the school moral committee blames Rito (and the boys) for the shenanigans and hanky panky at school, but after banning Rito from interacting with the girls for two weeks, she realizes he's not the cause and that he is misunderstood and she also begins falling in love with him.

From a Shining Star. With Love - An annoying rocket space alien suitor comes to Earth to propose to Lala.

A Space Entertainer - A space agent/manager wants to make Lala, Haruna and Mikan into space idols.

The Golden Darkness - Yami the Golden Darkness is an alien-assassin-for-hire who can turn any part of her body into a weapon and has been hired to kill Rito, but when it turns out she was given misinformation, Yami cancels her contract on Rito and starts falling in love with him instead.

A Frightening Field Day! - It's field day, but all the exercises seem to be making the girls do sexy aerobics, wear kinky outfits and questionable exercise games.

The Greatest Man in the Universe - Lala's father comes to Earth to test if Rito is worthy of being Lala's husband.

A Secret Between the Two of Us - Rito starts training to be a better man. He starts running in the morning ...or is he secretly dating Haruna?

Princess of the Jungle - Lala, Rito and Haruna gets taken to a Jungle planet in a contest see who is the greatest hunter in the universe.

Run's Surprise Confession - Rito and his friends spend the day at the water amusement park. Run tries to confess her feelings toward Rito and each time it goes wrong. But in the end, all the girls support Run's efforts and acknowledge that she is also a 'Rito girl'.

The Ghost in the Old School Building - Rito and company investigates the old school for ghosts ...but they can't be real, can they?

Saruyama, the Souvenir - A pregnant cat alien wants to take Saruyama as a present from earth after giving birth to alien cat baby.

Hell's Hot Springs: Alien Girls and Colorful Exposed Bodies - Lala wants to have their own private hot springs and Rito and company decides to tag along.

Explosive Heat Magical Girl Kyouko Flame - Lala and Rito watches an episode of Magical Girl Kyouko together.

A Chronicle of Bloodshed at Yuuki Inn - Rito tries to run a universal inn in which all aliens can come and stay.

A Frighting School Festival! - Rito and Lala and their his classmates run an Animal Cafe at the school festival.

Saruyama's Tales of the Inner Chambers - Saruyama has a wacky dream where he and his classmates all appear as characters from feudal Japan.

With Shyness - Lala gets a space virus in which everyday she changes into a different personality.

Earth's Final Night - Lala's father takes back Lala and tells Rito if he wants her back (and save the world) that he must face his trials and make it to his spaceship before the end of the day.

and Lala - Rito races to save Lala while all of their friends come to help Rito defeat Lala's father's various challenges. Rito rescues Lala and they get married, but then Lala says she wants to marry normally and not a forced marriage as a princess ...and everything starts all over again.

Now for playback quality. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound on the A.R.I. DVD are as good as they could ever be for the format and play back just fine as you would expect for a new production. However, would a Blu-ray show at least visual flaws in the production. We wonder.

Also issued in a 4K edition we hear is amazing, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Ne Zha Blu-ray is still impressive enough to be the best performer here visually of the four releases with solid definition and color range. The English Dolby Atmos lossless 11.1 mix (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) is also the best here sonically, even if there were a few sonic limits here and their in the soundfield. The Mandarin DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix sounds a little more authentic, but why no 12-track mix? We'll revisit the sound when we see the 4K version sometime.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Spyce look fine on each episode as you would expect for a new series, yet the 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on the episodes of Love-Ru can more than compete, despite sometimes showing the age of the materials used.

Both TV series offer their sound in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes in Japanese and lesser English dub editions, but for some reason, the newer Spyce series has no Pro Logic-like surrounds and is just not that well recorded or mixed in either language.

- Ricky Chiang


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