Danganronpa: The Animated Series (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 10-Feb-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Audio Commentary-x 1 - US Voice Cast
More…-Textless Opening Songs x 2
More…-Textless Closing Songs x 3
Trailer-US Trailer
Trailer-x 8 for other anime releases
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 331:15 (Case: 325)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Seiji Kishi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Megumi Ogata / Bryce Papenbrook
Nobuyo Oyama / Greg Ayres
Akira Ishida / Josh Grelle
Yoko Hikasa / Caitlin Glass
Hekiru Shiina / Lindsay Seidel
Kujira / Rachel Robinson
Miyuki Sawashiro / Carli Mosier
Case ?
RPI ? Music Masafuni Takada


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 2.0
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Average high school student Makoto Neigi (voiced by Megumi Ogata / Bryce Papenbrook) wins a lottery to attend the prestigious private academy Hope’s Peak High School, a school for high achievers in a range of cultural, sporting and academic pursuits. When he walks through the front door for the first time however he passes out and wakes up alone in a classroom where he finds a note to go to the gym. In the gym he discovers 14 other students gathered together and the group are introduced to the Principal, a small black and white stuffed toy bear called Monokuma (Nobuyo Oyama / Greg Ayres) who explains the rules; none of the high school students can leave the academy unless they murder one of their fellow students!

     Initially incredulous, the students explore the school but find that they are locked in behind steel doors. Each student has an individual room to sleep in but cameras are everywhere, watching their every move. Things change when one of the students is stabbed to death and it seems that one student is keen on getting out. But then Monokuma tells the survivors about the supplementary rules; a class trial will take place during which the surviving students will debate and decide who the murderer is. If they get it right, the murderer will be executed, if wrong all the innocent students will be executed and the murderer allowed to go free. Some of the students seem to be more cluey and analytical, such as Togami (Akira Ishida / Josh Grelle), Kirigiri (Yoko Hikasa / Caitlin Glass) or Celestia (Hekiru Shiina / Lindsay Seidel), while others, like Ohgami (Kujira / Rachel Robinson) and Fukawa (Miyuki Sawashiro / Carli Mosier), are rather strange and extreme! As the series continues some characters are less well developed than others, but prominence is no guarantee of survival as Monokuma adds yet more supplementary rules. Also, as the series progresses there are other questions answered; who is the mole that has been planted among the 15 students, is there a hidden, extra student in the building and who is the mastermind controlling this bloody game, and why?

     Danganronpa: The Animated Series is based on the hit game and follows pretty much the first game Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. This animated series begins with a quick introduction of all the students, including captions; this is too many and too fast for those not familiar with the game although players of the game will have no problems. However, to appreciate the anime it is not necessary to know the game as the premise of the series and the main character of Neigi, who is our POV into the anime, is succinctly established. The series then divides into two areas of activity; the environs of the school where murders occur and the Class Trials, where mystery and tension occur in equal parts.

     The animation style varies considerably. Overall it is quite soft and there are frequently frames where the characters are posed and static. During executions the style is frenetic with black and white and jump frames. The colour scheme is muted, although there are flashes of gaudy colours and the blood is a bright pink. I am told that this is consistent with the game.

     Danganronpa: The Animated Series is probably one for fans, although they will know what is going to happen. Others will get the drift easily enough after the introduction of the characters, but, while the mysteries are interesting in a Sherlock Holmes way (one murder is another “locked room” mystery) and Neigi proves adept at refuting arguments, the anime is just a bit underwhelming. However, Monokuma is one of the weirdest, funny and entertaining creations I have seen in anime for a long time!

     Danganronpa: The Animated Series Complete Collectioncontains all 13 episodes of the anime; episodes 1-9 plus an audio commentary are on disc 1 while episodes 10-13, plus the rest of the minor extras, are on disc 2. The 13th episode is the unaired director’s cut.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Danganronpa: The Animated Series is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is quite a soft presentation, sometimes looking as if it was shot through a gauze. In the school, colours are dull and grey, brown and muted orange dominate but with a sections of purple, blue and red. The class trial set colours while not bright are more robust while the blood is a bright pink; my son who has played the game tells me that this colour scheme is consistent with the game’s look. Blacks are rock solid and shadow detail very good.

     There is some ghosting but otherwise marks and artefacts are absent.

     The subtitles are in American English in a clear white font and are burnt in when the Japanese dub is selected so they cannot be removed for Japanese speakers. I noticed no spelling errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio choices are English and Japanese, both Dolby TrueHD 2.0, surround encoded. The audio and subtitles cannot be changed on the fly with the remote, only via the menu.

     The dialogue is clear. The surrounds and rears did provide music and some effects, especially in sections such as the executions or when an argument was refuted, when loud effects were added. The sub-woofer added some depth to reveals and executions.

     The English voice cast are quite good, better than usual, although I still prefer the original Japanese voice cast.

     The score by Masafuni Takada is varied, in keeping with the animation styles, and is effective without calling attention to itself.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate in either audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Disc 1

Start-up Trailer

     A trailer for The Future Diary (1:24) plays on start-up. It cannot be selected from the menu.

Commentary – Episode 1

     US ADR director and the voice of Hagakure Christopher Bevins, Bryce Papenbrook, Felicia Angelle and Tyson Rinehart (the voices of Neigi, Asahina and Yamada) laugh loudly, make jokes and mention casting but talk about almost everything except the episode they are watching. A rather too typical Funimation commentary.

Disc 2

Start-up Trailer

     A trailer for Tokyo Ghoul (1:02) plays on start-up. It cannot be selected from the menu.

Textless Opening Songs

     Opening song “Never Say Never” (1:32) and “Never Say Never” (instrumental version) (1:02) without the credits.

Textless Closing Songs

     “Zetsubosei: Hero Chiryoyaku” (0:56), “Zetsubosei: Hero Chiryoyaku” (alternative version) (1:32) and “Saisei – Rebuild” (1:20) without the credits.

US Trailer (1:20)

     The US trailer for the Blu-ray / DVD.

Trailers

     Trailers for Riddle Story of Evil (1:01), Deadman Wonderland (1:47), Noein (1:13), Eden of the East (1:02), Black Lagoon (0:47) and Buddy Complex (1:03).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our local Blu-ray release of Danganronpa: The Animated Series Complete Series is the same as the Region A US version including the FBI piracy warning, although that release is a Blu-ray / DVD combo pack if that is of any interest.

Summary

     Danganronpa: The Animated Series Complete Series is a strange beast with its gaming origins very obvious. Parts of the series are interesting, as well as the usual fun of deciding who is going to die next (and there are some surprises), but all in all this is one for fans of the game.

     The video is diverse, the audio fine. The extras are minor but are the same as are available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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