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Category:    Home > Reviews > Anime > Animation > Action > Adventure > Fantasy > Superhero > Martial Arts > Drama > Comedy > Harem > Japanes > Assassin's Pride (*)/Batman: Soul Of The Dragon 4K (2021/DC Comics/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray**)/Outburst Dreamer Boys (*)/RWBY: Volume 7 (2019 - 2020 Blu-ray/**both Warner)/Val X Love (*all 2019 S

Assassin's Pride (*)/Batman: Soul Of The Dragon 4K (2021/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray**)/Outburst Dreamer Boys (*)/RWBY: Volume 7 (2019 - 2020 Blu-ray/**both Warner)/Val X Love (*all 2019 Sentai Complete Collection Blu-rays)

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

Here's a new set of animated releases that are not just for children and in some cases, might not be....

Flandore is the last human city protected by mana users of only members of the noble class. However, Melida Angel is rumored to the illegitimate child of the House of Angel when she fails to manifest her magic. But under the tutor Kufa does her power begin to grow, Kufa originally sent kill her but he now trains her and protects her from those who threaten her in Assassin's Pride (2019).

Melida is a young girl from a noble house, but because of rumors of her deceased mother being unfaithful she is not considered true heir to the House of Angel. She is shunned and outcasted by the other Noble Houses until her new private tutor help her manifest her mana and soon Melida becomes a threat to those in the Nobility. Medila seeks to clear her mother's name and join the Paladin Class Knights to fight the lycanthrope monsters. Kufa becomes sympathetic to her but he also harbors secret, he is a half lycanthrope vampire. Melida eventually discovers Kufa's secret, but decides to help keep his secret. However, the real monsters are those of the noble house, corrupted by their desire to remain 'pure', unaware the noble houses have already been infiltrated and controlled by the Grimfice Guide, a guild of lycanthropes hiding among the humans seeking bring the downfall of their city.

This series was about a bunch of under aged girls who are trained in the magic and combat to fight monsters mixed with the drama of a young girl fighting against social elitism as well as having a forbidden relationship with her vampire teacher. Extras include clean opening and closing animations, episode previews, actor's promos and trailers.

Episodes include:

Mercy of an Assassin - Kufa is an assassin is sent to tutor Melida and test her mana, but instead of causing her to fail and kill her, he decides to help awaken and manifest her powers.

When the Girl's World Changes - Melida's mana manifests during the academy's tournament exam and everyone is surprised. The nobles try to 'accidentally' kill her during the exam, but Melida surpasses them and she ends up winning.

Going Beyond the Limit - Melida and Elise are kidnaped in an abandoned museum to be experimented on by the lancanthropes, but Kufa ends up saving them but reveals he is actually a half vampire.

Two Young Ladies Assemble at the Chained Castle - Melida and Elise enters the St. d'Autriche Girl's Academy for training. The assassin's guild sends an assassin after Kufa for betraying the guild.

The Golden Princess and the Silver Princess - Even at the academy Melida is still outcasted by the society. Kufa manages to discover the assassin identity and defeats her and convinces her to return to the assassin's guild and change their orders.

The Gray Witch - The girls of the academy hold a secret girl's night after party and end up telling ghost stories in which the 'Grey Witch' ends up chasing after them, but secretly it was Kufa and another instructor.

No Guidance Above nor Below - Melida and her class goes on a school trip to a remote village, but when people are found murdered their only clue was it was done by someone with blue mana and Kufa is their main suspect.

The Last Testament of a Certain Skeleton - Melida tries to clear Kufa's name when everyone is on a witch hunt for him. But then, she discovers the 'mayor' of the town struck a deal with the lancanthropes to 'experiment' on humans to create half-breeds and she also discovers Kufa's secret being a half vampire.

An Eternal Pact - Kufa considers erasing Melida's memory of him as a half vampire, but Melida instead confesses she love him and will keep his secret. Together, they flush out the mayor working lancanthropes and they clear Kufa's name.

Labyrinth Library - Melida and Elise are tested once more in an enchanted library, but once again the nobles and the Grimfice Guild try to use this opportunity to kill Melida.

Messengers of Death - As the girls try and escape the labyrinth, Kufa comes to their rescue and he fights an undead Lich King. Melida is suddenly spirited away in a bright light.

and Pride of an Assassin-Instructor - Melida finds herself in a tribunal made up by corrupt nobles seeking to discredit and shame her, but Kufa breaks in and together they reveal that the nobles are being controlled by the Grimfice Guild, together they fight and defeat the mastermind. Afterwards, Melida is formally acknowledged into the House of Angel.

Batman: Soul Of The Dragon 4K (2021) is the latest DC animated film and is an all around strange choice for the character, even if it is under the 'Elseworlds' DC banner. (Which pretty much makes this a 'what if?' kind of story.)

Sadly, there isn't much 'Batman' to this story (more Bruce Wayne) and it could easily be rewritten to not even include him at all. (Call him Bruce 'Dragon' and he doesn't even need to be Batman).

The fact is it never really feels like a Batman story at any point, but rather a throwback to Bruce Lee / 1970s martial arts films with the Bruce Wayne character tacked on. The supporting character Richard Dragon even eerily looks like Lee, and the animation isn't nearly as special as the cover art may lead you to believe but on par with other DC animated titles of the like. All around a quite predictable story and outcome despite some flashy visuals, this ranks up there as one of the weakest DC animated films I've seen to date.

The voice cast, however, is quite impressive with David Giuntoli (Grimm, A Million Little Things) as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Mark Dacascos (John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum) as Richard Dragon, Kelly Hu (Arrow, X2: X-Men United) as Lady Shiva and Michael Jai White (Spawn, reprising his role from Arrow) as Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger. Their mentor O-Sensei is voiced by James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China, Blade Runner). Josh Keaton (Voltron: Legendary Defender; Green Lantern: The Animated Series) is featured as Jeffrey Burr, and additional voices are provided by veteran voiceover actors Grey Griffin, Chris Cox, Erica Luttrell, Robin Atkin Downes, Patrick Seitz, Jamie Chung and Eric Bauza.

Batman's ninja training in the past comes back to ignite a new mission involving former classmates Richard Dragon, Ben Turner and Lady Shiva, and their mentor O-Sensei. Brought together to help fight an ancient demon god that threatens the planet in this 'Elseworlds' adventure.

Special Features:

Batman - Raw Groove

Producer Jim Krieg's Far Out Highlights

A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie - Justice Society: World War II

Look Back: Superman: Red Son (featurette)

Look Back: Batman: Gotham By Gaslight (featurette)

From the DC Vault: Batman: The Animated Series, "Day of the Samurai"

and From the DC Vault: Batman: The Animated Series, "Night of the Ninja"

Batman Ninja was more entertaining than Soul of the Dragon, which I feel wants to be a throwback to 1970s martial arts cinema more than it wants to be a Batman movie.

All Mizuki Hijiri wanted was to be a normal girl, but on the her very first day at school she is recruited by the 'Hero Club'. Five chunibyo boys who believe they are reincarnated heroes, to help solve problems (volunteer) to help others in whatever way possible ...and Mizuki is their 'Pink' Ranger. Each day, they search for adventure, but is it too much adventure for Mizuki?

In Outburst Dreamer Boys (2019), Mizuki is a transfer student, but on her first day everyone in school assumes she is part of the Hero Club and the 'Pink' Ranger. Yamato is 'Red', a Sentai wannabe. Rei is 'Purple' believes he has powers and he will rule the world. Tomaki is 'Yellow' and he is only interested in 2D virtual idol girls. Kazuhiro is 'Black', and he believes he is a reincarnated half angel/demon. Mikuriya is 'Green', but secretly he moonlights as an online pop idol. Together, the Hero Club turn volunteering into a epic adventure (in their heads). Muzuki ends up becoming more like their manager and eventually learns to appreciates how the Hero Club helps others in need.

The series seemed like a reverse harem at first, but the main female protagonist seemed not interested in getting romantic with any of the boys. In the end the series is about a group of friends hanging out together and enjoying high school days. Extras include clean opening and closing animations, Japanese promos and trailers.

Episodes include:

That's Right, I Have Awakened - On Mizuki's first day she is recruited and 'saved' by the Hero Club and she is now the 'Pink' ranger.

Perhaps the Reincarnation of an Angel or a Devil - Mizuki and the Hero Club help Watase out from a boy she rejected ...by Kazuhiro pretending to be her boyfriend.

Neither a Kid nor an Adult - Mizuki and the Hero Club follow Rei for a day but does he really have powers or he knows where to get the best deals?

I've Got Complication, There's a Fanfare in My Head - Mikuriya becomes the Hero's Club newest recruit. The boys have a cook off with Mikuriya.

I'm Burdened with Great Power - It's summer and Mizuki and the Hero Club works part time at an amusement park.

I Sense Someone Glancing This Way - The Hero Club have fun on sports festival day at school.

I'm No Pretty Boy and it's a One Night Stand - Has Mizuki gotten used to being in the Hero Club? The Student council asks Mizuki to keep a 'watch' on the Hero Club.

Swaying in the Gap Between Ideals and Reality - The Drama Club asks the Hero Club to help save their club, if they don't get first place at the cultural festival the Student Council will disband them.

The Number You're Trying to Reach - An impromptu live band steals the spotlight during the Drama Club's play, can the Hero Club find some way of turning it around?

Mingled in the Darkness of Solitude and Twisted Logic - The Student Council officially disbands the Hero Club. Mizuki gets support from all the past people the Hero club has helped.

Go Forth and Illuminate, Searchlight! - The Hero Club is asked to find and catch the thief that has been stealing things around town when the Student Council has failed.

and It's the Destiny of those Born as Men - Now the Hero Club's honor is restored; they are asked to help restore an old inn.

Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang fight against the Grimm that has shatter the land of Remnant. They search the land for the power of the maidens and to bring the power of the Relic to Atlas, one of the last strongholds still against the Grimm. However, there are more dangers within Atlas, civil unrest, rebellion and Atlas has closed off its boarder to the other nations in RWBY: Volume 7 (2019 - 2020).

Team RWBY and their friends are a group of hunters and huntresses who hunt and fight the Grimm, monsters that appear out of nowhere and attack the Kingdom of Remnant. Now that the Grimm have shattered the nations, and the various leaders/generals are panicking to scramble to protect the remaining strongholds. The dark secret of the Grimm is that they are created from fears of the people and it is child's play for the Grimm to turn the people against each other from within. The military general of Atlas knows of the Grimm's secret and is trying to secure the resources and power of the remaining Ice Maiden powers and he will use Team RWBY's Relic of Knowledge to secure his agenda. But the Grimm have already corrupted the people in the city of Atlas and seek the power of the maidens for themselves.

This was an action-packed series fill with action, adventure and fantasy. The series is like a mix of CGI, video games and anime references mixed into one. A group of young heroines and heroes struggling against the forces of darkness and human nature, the thing about heroes and heroines are they can't be controlled by anyone, king, government or general. Extras include art gallery, CRWBY photos, production breakdown, Anim Jam episodes and commentary.

Takuma 'Akuma' Akutsu because of his monstrous size and face has earned him the nickname 'demon' and all his life he has been misunderstood. But all that changed when Odin, King of the Gods sends his nine heavenly maiden daughters to come live with him to train and become Valkyrie to fight the demons attacking Midgard. The only catch is the source of their power is Takuma's love, the more they fall in love with him the more powerful they get in Val X Love (2019).

Takuma has been socially recluse and outcasted because of his monstrous appearance but all he really wants is to be treated like a normal person. However, little does his classmates know, that the school's idols, the Saotome Sisters are living with Takuma. Secretly they are heavenly maiden Valkyries sent to fight off demons on Earth (Midgard). But it is said a maiden's power comes from love ...and that love is Takuma, the more intimate they get with him the more they can raise their Valkyrie's levels.

This is your typical harem anime series, one boy surrounded by girls who fall in love with him, there are tons of fan service where all the girls end up naked, because the more naked they get the more powerful they become. Extras include clean opening and closing animations and trailers.

Episodes include:

The Fighting Maiden - Takuma 'Akuma' looks like a demon, but secretly he lives with Valkyrie's who needs his love to fight demons. Takuma gets intimate with Natsuki and she awakens her first Valkyrie transformation and she defeats a demon.

The Binding Maiden - Itsuyo the student council president who has a pen-chance for bondage and gets intimate with Takuma in the gym shed. She awakens her powers and defeats another demon.

The Secret Maiden - Mutsumi who works as an idol finds herself get chased by fan who got turned into demons but is saved by Takuma and she awakens her powers which allows her to fly and defeat the demons.

The Serving Maiden - The Saotome sisters decide to play tag, where the one who is 'it' steals the other's panties/underwear. Takuma reveals he has a Mistiltein within him, a seed from the Yggdrasil.

The Believing Maiden - Demons attack during the school festival and tries to capture and kill Takuma.

The Naked Maiden - Because of the Mistiltein within Takuma, he is able to resist evil and heal. He gets more intimate with Natsuki for her to power up while her sisters to buy time for them.

The Reeling Maiden - After the demon's attack on the school, the Saotome sisters take care of Takuma and play 'doctor' with him, where he gets to examine their (naked) bodies.

The Strengthening Maiden - The Saotome sisters get a package from heaven to help them train and power up their Valkyrie abilities. Takuma begins to learn to control the Mistiltein powers within him. The demons decide they need demon girls to help with their cause.

The Touching Maiden and the Touched Maiden - The Saotome sister continue to find ways to get intimate situations with Takuma to increase their Valkyrie powers, including 'playing' with each other and touching each other on a train.

The Drunken Maiden - Takuma and Itsuyo become more intimate while Natsuki gets jealous, she then gets drunk and confesses to Takuma. Meanwhile, the demon girls plan for a counter attack to wipe out Takuma and the Saotome sisters.

The Accepting Maiden - Takuma, Futaba and Itsuyo work together to fight the demon girls and their army of demons, only to discover they were the ones in a trap.

and The Loving Maiden - Takuma fully awakens his powers to revive everyone and together with the Valkyries they defeat the demons, but Misa ends up gravely injured. However, then Takuma saves her by entering her body and healing her from within. Afterwards, all 9 Saotome sisters continue their daily love nonagon (nine sided) relationship with Takuma.

Now for playback performance. Batman: Soul of the Dragon is presented on 4K UHD disc with an HVEC / H.265 codec with HDR10 (High Dynamic Range), a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and an audio mix in English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit). Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray edition that doesn't have some of the detail in the animation that the uncompressed 4K UHD disc does. The quality jump is subtle, but apparent when viewing the two sources side by side.

The remaining releases are presented in 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers and for the most part, look great. Though none of them are 4K, they can compete nicely on some levels and maybe we'll see them 4K in the future at some point. Color, depth, definition and warmth are all just fine.

RYBY is here in English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, while the three Sentai TV series offer Japanese DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes. Pride also adds a lesser English DTS-MA 2.0 Stereo dub track, but it is Outburst that is a little on the disappointing and weak side throughout in the way it was recorded and mixed. Otherwise, they all sound good and it is nice that RYBY is NOT in some form of lossy Dolby Digital sound.

- Ricky Chiang and James Lockhart (Batman 4K)



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