Afro Samurai – Resurrection (2009) + Akira
(1988) + Ghost In The Shell 2.0 (1995/Madman
Entertainment Region Free Blu-rays)
Picture: B/B+/B- Sound: B/A-/B- Extras: C+/C/C+ Films: C+/A-/C+
PLEASE NOTE: These Blu-ray imports are Region
Free, but the PAL format extras (where applicable) may not play on all Blu-ray
players. All three can be ordered from
our friends at Madman Entertainment at the website address provided at the end
of the review. Cover image ©TAKASHI
sure we have as much Anime up on the site as possible, especially since fans
are moving to Blu-ray after years of paying top price for DVDs, though many
fine titles are still available in that format and only that format for now. This includes any import versions we can get
our hand son of any title, as we did with Transformers:
The Movie (1986), still not available in the U.S. for instance. We have previously covered the U.S. Blu-ray
releases of two of the releases as these links will show:
Ghost In The Shell 2.0
While Akira is an inarguable classic, I was
not happy with the upgrades on Ghost In
The Shell as the 2.0 version cannot get the new CG and older hand-drawn
animation to gel despite all the efforts made.
Obviously, my fellow writer disagrees and the original is a classic, but
even in its original form, it is still not as great as Akira.
brings us to the sequel of Afro Samurai,
that happened from the success of the original 2005 version (actually a TV
Mini-Series) that became one of the more recent Anime classics, yet few U.S.
audiences have seen it or its sequel despite Samuel L. Jackson voicing the lead
character out for revenge for his father’s murder in a near-future Japan. With the original story behind him, our hero
(or is it anti-hero?) has a new challenge as he faces a powerful female enemy
(voiced well by Lucy Liu) he could have never expected. Afro
Samurai - Resurrection is a worthy sequel that will keep fans happy and
even works without seeing the original, though it could have been more exciting.
1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on all three releases can differ a good
bit. Akira is great, but could still use some work, Shell is a remix that does not work and Afro has an overuse of faint whiter light that is the biggest
cliché in Anime that holds back its consistent art style. It has some great shots too that save it a
bit, but this is not often enough.
best mixes on each release are in Dolby TrueHD 5.1, save the DTS-ES 6.1 on mix
on Shell. The amazing soundtrack on Akira is totally in tact here and the
same winner it is on the U.S.
Blu-ray versions. The soundmix on Shell is also the same, but I was again
not as impressed, though it is still not bad either. That leaves the sound on Afro, which is the newest recording and may be no match for a
classic mix like Akira, but plays well enough here. The makers decided to use silence as part of
the sound design, while sound effects, music and voices are well-recorded.
Extras on Akira and Shell repeat their U.S. Blu-ray counterparts, except that Akira adds a Production Booklet not
available in later U.S.
Blu-ray editions. Afro has a featurettes with The RZA, several interview pieces, a Making Of The Anime, Making Of The Video Game, creator’s
commentary and 24-page booklet.
For the Transformers: The Movie coverage. Try
above, you can order these Region Free Blu-ray imports exclusively from Madman