VIZ Media Announces the Home Media Release of Sailor Moon Season One Part One

VIZ Media delivers one of the most legendary anime series of all time with the home media release of Sailor Moon Season 1, Set 1 as a Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and on DVD on November 11, 2014.

Sailor Moon has been completely re-mastered and is presented uncut and with a brand new English voice cast. The Standard Edition DVD and first-ever Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack each contain 23 episodes along with a wealth of bonus features and premium packaging. English dubbed as well as Japanese subtitled dialogue options are available on both formats. The limited edition SAILOR MOON Season 1, Set 1 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack will carry a MSRP of $79.98 U.S. / $93.99 CAN; the DVD edition will have a MSRP of $44.82 U.S. / $51.99 CAN.

The stunning Sailor Moon Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack offers a deluxe, 6-disc collection (3 DVDs & 3 Blu-rays), housed in a beautiful shimmery holofoil chipboard box with specialty printing, and contains an array of exclusive extra features along with an 88-page full-color booklet filled with artwork, character profiles, an episode guide, lyrics, and more! Blu-ray episodes are presented in full 1080p High Definition video.

Fans also can enjoy a bevy of bonus material available exclusively on the Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack such as an interactive, full-color Sailor Moon video art gallery, the original series trailers, a ‘signs and songs’ subtitle track, analogue closed captions for the deaf and hard of hearing, and exclusive all-new behind the scenes footage of the English dub sessions as well as special Sailor Moon convention announcement panel footage, and more.

The Sailor Moon Season 1, Set 1 Standard Edition DVD features 3 discs with beautifully illustrated variant O-card packaging featuring embossed holofoil printing. Episodes are presented in 480p standard video format. Bonus features include the ‘signs and songs’ subtitle track, VIZ Media SAILOR MOON convention highlights and panel announcements as well as the original series trailers and analogue closed captions for the deaf and hard of hearing. Uncut English dubbed as well as Japanese subtitled dialogue options are available.

Sailor Moon depicts the adventures of Usagi Tsukino, a cheerful 14-year-old schoolgirl who often finds herself in unwanted trouble. One day, she saves a talking cat named Luna from some mean kids, and her life is changed forever. Luna gives Usagi a magic brooch that transforms her into Sailor Moon, guardian of love and justice! Now Usagi must work with Luna to find the other Sailor Guardians and the Moon Princess, whose Legendary Silver Crystal is Earth’s only hope against the dark forces of the evil Queen Beryl.

“After being out of print and unavailable in North America for over ten years, the return of SAILOR MOON makes this set a truly historic anime release and one that should be a part of every collection,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “The Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack is an especially noteworthy collection and offers the debut season of this treasured series for the very first time in crisp High Definition, uncut and re-mastered, and with a brand new English dub cast. Join the Pretty Guardians of Love and Justice, and catch all their early adventures in these forthcoming home media releases that are fit for a Moon Princess!”

VIZ Media has also released two videos to promote the release of Sailor Moon Season 1, Set 1.

First, there’s an official trailer for the release:

There’s also an unboxing video that’s narrated by Charlene Ingram that also includes a preview for Set 2:

SAILOR MOON © N.T./PNP, T.A.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 141 (October 27, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Hi-Fi Cluster (which has officially joined the Weekly Shonen Jump lineup), One Piece, Naruto, Nisekoi: False Love, One-Punch Man, Toriko, World Trigger, Bleach, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal. In addition, this issue also includes the fourth chapter for Death Note as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s new “Jump Back” initiative. There’s also a thank you section dedicated to Masashi Kishimoto and a con report from New York Comic Con.

For the series that carried over from previous issues I’ve read, I tried to put a little more focus in my write-ups about the progression of the story from the previous chapter. I will warn you that these write-ups will more than likely contain spoilers.

Of course, you can always check out Weekly Shonen Jump for yourself by subscribing to the digital publication at VIZManga.com.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:004-005

Hi-Fi Cluster, which had recently been featured as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Start” initiative, has officially joined the lineup of Weekly Shonen
Jump
. This issue includes two chapters in order to start catching up with the Japanese publication.

Chapter Four picks up right where Chapter Three ended. Kandera discovers that that the top brass hasn’t told them everything that they needed to know before going on this assignment, and they get some additional information from the highway patrol. Ekusa takes on the gang, but they split up, and Peta seems to figure out which one is the leader that they need to pursue. Ekusa manages to catch up with the leader, and Kandera is the one who ultimately apprehends him.

Chapter Five sees Peta meeting Heckt Okada, the guy in charge of Special Unit Six’s intelligence gathering and infiltration work. Heckt is the sort of person who doesn’t like making any effort, so when he shows up he’s asleep 80 percent of the time. A new case is also introduced: ten humanoid industrial machines that can be used with ability labels were stolen and it’s their job is to retrieve the robots and arrest the thieves. Heckt is sent to scope out suspicious people in a busy club because Peta’s ability doesn’t work with so many people around. We learn that Heckt’s Hi-Fi ability is the power to decipher all of the conversations that are taking place in a location. With Heckt’s help, they’re able to find the suspects and track them to their hideout. Unfortunately, the industrial machines are launched just as the chapter ends…

I’m glad to see that Hi-Fi Cluster was the series that was selected to become a regular part of Weekly Shonen Jump, because to me, this was the strongest of the four titles that were part of the “Jump Start” initiative. I’m glad to finally know how the storyline that introduced Ekusa ended. And we also get to meet another new character, which helps to expand the world of Hi-Fi Cluster. These early chapters are still working at trying to establish the characters and the world that they inhabit, but these establishing chapters aren’t that boring. There’s enough action to keep the story interesting as the establishing is still going on.

One Piece CH:765

At the beginning of this chapter, we’re still in Law’s flashback. At this point, Corazon and Law run into Doflamingo, who tells them they may have found a way to cure Law’s illness. It requires that Corazon eat the Op-Op Fruit to allow him to be the one to cure Law. But as we later see, Doflamingo suspects that Corazon has been the one leaking information about them to the Navy. Corazon realizes that Doflamingo’s caught on, so he comes up with a plan to steal the Op-Op Fruit before Doflamingo can get his hands on it; Corazon uses his contacts in the Navy to get pertinent information. After his phone call, he discovers Law collapsed on the ground with a fever. At the end of the chapter, Corazon manages to get his hands on the Op-Op Fruit, but he’s seen before he can get back to where Law is…

At this point, we’re definitely getting closer to the end of this flashback. While I’ve enjoyed getting Law’s backstory, I’m starting to hope that we’ll be returning to the main storyline soon so this story arc can continue. His backstory isn’t bad or anything, it’s just taking a little longer than I had anticipated to get it told.

It should be noted that One Piece will not be in next week’s edition of Weekly Shonen Jump and will return in the November 10, 2014 issue.

Naruto CH:697

Sasuke launches his most powerful move, which causes an explosion that knocks the heads off both of the statues at the Valley of the End; Sasuke also collapses on the ground. Sasuke is surprised to see Naruto get back up after the blast; Kurama’s Nature Energy had managed to reach Naruto before he was hit with Sasuke’s blast. But then Sasuke uses Amaterasu, but then Sasuke discovers he’s used up too much chakra so he can’t maintain control or use his left eye’s ability, either. Sasuke gets a shock when Naruto and two of his shadow clones run toward him and they work at beating him up; Sasuke fights back, but it’s not at the power he’d been at. But after a short bit, Sasuke’s getting the upper hand again…

Oh, no! I was really hoping that Naruto would get the upper hand by the end of this chapter! So their fight will definitely continue into the next chapter, and hopefully it’ll either conclude at the end of the next chapter or right at the very beginning of the following chapter. Even with that wish, I have to admit that this fight between the two of them is actually rather exciting. I still can’t believe that there’s only two more weeks left for Naruto

Thank You Masashi Kishimoto

This is a two-page spread of words from various people who have been involved with the English release of the Naruto manga over the years, including editors, a translator, letterers, and a designer. I thought it was a nice feature for what it was.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:144

This chapter continues the story that started in the previous volume of Weekly Shonen Jump. After Onodera and Raku discover they have to share a room that night, it becomes rather awkward for them. Later, when they go the hot spring, they discover that they’re both in the same one and become incredibly embarrassed; after a moment, they discover a sign reading, “Co-Ed.” Onodera seems to be the one to calm down about it first. During a conversation,
Raku asks Onodera why she said a year earlier that she’d be glad if Raku were her first love. But before she can answer, Onodera becomes overheated and has to be helped out of the hot spring.

While this chapter does a little bit to develop the relationship between Raku and Onodera, a lot of it felt like just another way to throw Raku into awkward situations with one of his potential love interests. Between what I’ve read in the first five tankobon, as well as what I’ve read in Weekly Shonen Jump, it just feels like Nisekoi: False Love is simply “spinning its wheels” and only making any progress by adding more characters into the mix. I’ve been starting to think recently that perhaps this series has started to become a little too bloated for its own good.

One-Punch Man CH:038

This chapter returns to focusing on King and Saitama, and Saitama realizes that King’s strength and battle history are a lie. And King realizes that Saitama’s a stronger fighter than he thought he was. King also recognizes Saitama’s voice, and believes that he’s encountered him before. Saitama then asks King if he plans to keep lying or quit being a hero, and then ends with asking King why he doesn’t try to get stronger. In the end, Saitama doesn’t seem to be the least bit upset with King over what he’s done.

Well, it appears that King’s part of the story has come to an end. It felt a bit anticlimactic, but oh well. I guess at this point, Saitama will be heading back to where Senos is and try to help him out with the smaller being that emerged from the melted G4. I’m guessing it’ll take Senos and Saitama teaming up in order to take that thing down, and that this will probably take at least one or two more chapters. I have to give this story arc credit, because it seems to be moving faster than the previous story arc had. Hopefully it’ll continue to keep moving at this pace and not bog down and become boring.

Toriko CH:298

It turns out the creature that approached Toriko and the othera at the end of the previous chapter is a Nitro, who says she will show the group the place where civilization once flourished on the continent. They explore the ruins, and the Nitro introduces herself as Kaka, one of the three flavor wizards. She explains she had heard about them from Chichi. It turns out that Kaka had been awoken from her drought dormancy by Komatsu. While they talk, Komatsu’s condition takes a sudden turn, but they manage to stabilize him. At this point, it appears Komatsu only has one week left, unless they can find a way to save him before they run out of supplies. Kaka tells them they must focus on acquiring Pair and that she knows how to do it. They are told they must go to the most dangerous part of Area 7 to complete their quest, which is 100 G Mountain and that one of the Eight Kings lives there; Toriko and the others must battle the Monkey King to get the Pair.

This chapter spends a lot of time introducing a new character to the reader, as well as establishes what truly needs to be done in order to rescue Komatsu. I was a little concerned when I saw Komatsu’s condition suddenly turn in this chapter, but was glad to see that they could take care of him for now. I really hope that there will be a happy ending for Komatsu, because he’s one of the characters I’ve come to enjoy when I read Toriko. If Komatsu is
killed off, I’ll be rather disappointed.

World Trigger CH:080

Osamu makes a break for it, but Mira manages to have enough energy to stop him. Just as Commander Hyrein approaches Osamu, he is suddenly attacked. At this moment, Osamu throws Replica toward the Neighbors’ ship. A “Return Home” command has been issued to the ship, and Hyrein takes the cube Osamu has; Hyrein discovers that it’s simply a Trion cube. Hyrein, Mira, and the other Neighbors are heading off in their ship, which also means that Replica will be going with them.

Finally! This story arc is over! It took how many months to get to this point? After stretching it out for so long, it sure seemed to wrap up in a hurry. I assume this conclusion is what’s been referenced by “the future crossroads.” Now the question is, where is the series going to go to from here? Since I jumped into the middle of this particular story arc and have only seen the first two episodes of the anime so far, I’m really not terribly familiar with what this series has done prior to this story arc.

Bleach CH:602

It turns out that the speciality of one of the Royal Guards is to accurately calculate the lethal dose of a particular substance and to adjust that amount at will. The Royal Guard uses this ability to Etsu’s blood, but Etsu counters it by starting to drain some of his own blood so it gets under the lethal dose. Etsu then uses Tenjiro’s red hot spring to replace the blood he lost with new blood. Etsu is able to defeat this member of the Royal Guard, and then turns his sights on Yhwach right at the end of the chapter.

The battle in this chapter is done in the manner that I’ve come to expect from battles that appear in Bleach. However, some time was spent on explaining what a lethal dose is, as well as some facts concerning blood. While these explanations were needed, they did bog down the chapter somewhat. While the battle between Etsu and the Royal Guard took some time, it wasn’t quite as long as I’d expected. But now that Etsu has turned his attention to Yhwach, I imagine that battle will take longer before reaching a resolution.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal CH:47

After encountering E’rah, the deity of despair, Yuma and the others find themselves in a graveyard. It turns out that with the return of Kaito’s number, Astral has regained his memories… which includes coming from the astral world to defeat E’rah. The grave markers in the graveyard is for a hope that E’rah has destroyed. E’rah reveals that it’s her goal to destroy both our world and the astral world. It’s also revealed that E’rah was the one who scattered Astral’s memories and is the one who broke Yagumo. Yuma, Kaito, and Ryoga all decide to battle E’rah. During the battle, it appears that E’rah is very overpowered. At the end of the chapter, as Yuma is about to give up, something surprising happens…

At this point, it seems pretty clear that this storyline is getting much closer to reaching its conclusion. Obviously, with how overpowered E’rah is, it’s going to take several chapters to somehow defeat her. I also have a suspicion that I know what’s going on with the surprise happening, so I’m curious to see if I’m right. And if I’m right about this storyline getting closer to an end, does this also mean the manga itself will end after this?

Death Note CH:004

In this chapter, we see L pondering over what he’s figured out so far. Light, meanwhile, is trying to find ways to keep other people from touching the Death Note so no one else can see Ryuk. And from talking with Light, Ryuk learns that he’s done some of the things he’s done up to now is because Light wants to find L and eliminate him. Meanwhile, members from the Special Investigation forces start turning in their reginations because they don’t want to be killed by “Kira.” We then get to see what Light devised in order to hide the Death Note.

So it appears that this is the final chapter of Death Note that will be part of the “Jump Back” initiative. As someone who hasn’t read Death Note before, I really appreciated getting this sampler over the past four weeks. It’s interested me enough that I’ll need to try to read the whole series at some point. I hope to see some other “Jump Back” initiatives in the future.

NYCC Con Report

This section includes pictures of cosplayers at New York Comic Con, which runs for five pages. Readers who enjoy looking at pictures of cosplay.

Manga Review: “Fullmetal Alchemist” Volume 22

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 22 is a manga by Hiromu Arakawa, and it was published in North America by VIZ Media in 2010. Fullmetal Alchemist is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and from seeing both of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric know how to perform alchemy, and tried performing a forbidden alchemy technique to bring their mother back to life. In the process, Alphonse lost his body and Ed lost one of his legs. In order to attach Al’s soul to a suit of armor, Ed ends up losing one of his arms. Ed now has “auto-mail” prosthetics, which are designed by his childhood friend, Winry Rockbell.

Ed has become the youngest State Alchemist in history, and has been given the name “Fullmetal Alchemist.” The series follows Ed and Al as they search for the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary artifact that they believe will help them to recover their bodies.

Volume 22 continues with the chaos that started unfolding in Volume 21, with battles being waged on several fronts. First, there’s the fight with Pride on the outskirts of a village. Al comes up with a plan to trap Pride with Hohenheim’s help in order to prevent Pride from being able to use his shadows. This was an incredibly brilliant plan, but unfortunately, something happens that causes the plan to go awry. Even though I already knew what was going to happen from watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I still felt disappointed when I saw that Al’s plan had failed.

Meanwhile, in Central, Roy Mustang’s plan causes chaos and injuries, but no deaths. I really enjoyed seeing Mustang baffling the higher-ups at Central headquarters when they constantly receive reports that there are no fatalities. The higher-ups are so egotistical that they think he’s doing that simply to mock them. With the way the higher-ups have been acting over the past couple of volumes, I thought they really deserved what they were getting.

While there’s fighting and important things going, Arakawa is still able to infuse some humor that doesn’t come across as inappropriate; in fact, it helps to lighten the tone of the manga just enough that the reader doesn’t feel bogged down by all the action and drama that’s taking place. Volume 22 sees the surprising return of a character who had disappeared earlier in the series, as well as unexpected help from another character who hadn’t been seen for a little while.

In Central’s military headquarters, Major General Armstrong gets in on the action, and it’s revealed that her men from Briggs have been smuggled in to help Mustang and his group. In a panic, the military decides to launch its new weapons, which are dolls with Philosopher’s Stones put into them to create souls. Unfortunately, the military can’t control the dolls, so they begin wreaking havoc. Near the end of the volume, Ed, Scar, and the chimera traveling with them are forced to fight the dolls; but this is going to be continuing into the next volume.

May also learns that Envy had tricked her, and Envy takes advantage of the dolls that are running amok in order to return to his monstrous form.

This volume does a great job of covering the various battlegrounds that are taking place in and around Central. The series had been building up to this point, and now that the series has gotten here, Arakawa isn’t holding back. Even if you don’t watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood before reading this manga, you can still tell just how high the stakes are at this point and that the story has to be getting closer to its breaking point. From seeing the second anime series, I know exactly where this story is headed; without providing any “spoilers,” I will say that there are some more surprises and twists still to come before this series reaches its conclusion. There shouldn’t be any boring volumes in the remainder of the series.

Even though I already know what’s going to be happening before I read each volume, I still enjoy reading these events in the manga. To me, being able to still enjoy the story even though I already know it from an anime adaptation helps to prove just how strong Arakawa’s storytelling and character development is in the Fullmetal Alchemist series.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 21 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then I believe you’ll also enjoy reading Volume 22 of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 22 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime Film Review: Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black

Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black is the third film for the Bleach anime franchise. The film was directed by Noriyuki Abe, and it was released to Japanese theaters on December 13, 2008. VIZ Media holds the North American distribution rights for the film, and the company released it on DVD and Blu-ray on November 15, 2011. This review focuses on the DVD pressing, since that’s the version that I watched.

This film introduces a pair of mysterious siblings who wreak havoc in Soul Society. The brother has a scythe that erases memories, which he uses on Mayuri while he’s in his laboratory. Mayuri becomes so panicked and frightened that he damages a machine; this causes a massive reiatsu explosion that covers quite a bit of the Soul Society in a milky layer of reiatsu and freezes many Soul Reapers. During the chaos, the two siblings go to Rukia; the brother uses his scythe to erase her memories, and he and his sister take Rukia with them. At this point, everyone in the Soul Society appear to lose their memories of Rukia.

In the World of the Living, Ichigo briefly forgets about Rukia, but then recalls her after having a dream. Troubled by this, Ichigo and Kon go to the Soul Society to find out what’s going on. It turns out the Soul Reapers have forgotten Ichigo and believe he is the one responsible for the reiatsu explosion. Ichigo finds himself having to fight with people he thinks of as friends.

Rukia has a past with these siblings, who don’t have names. Rukia was supposed to give them names, but something happened that prevented this. And during his search for Rukia, Ichigo receives some unexpected help from Byakuya. I appreciated getting the reminder that Rukia’s older sister, Hisana, had been married to Byakuya, since this connection played an important role in this film.

Urahara actually ends up playing an important role in the story, and he actually goes to Soul Society wearing his captain’s uniform. It was cool to not only see Urahara dressed this way, but to also get to see him in action. Urahara actually participates quite a bit in one of the battles that takes place near the end of the film.

The story ultimately climaxes with Ichigo finding Rukia but being forced to fight her after the siblings possess Rukia. Without spoiling the ending, I will say that in some respects it was touching; however, the way it was played ended up coming off a little “over the top” at times.

Of course, as I’ve come to expect of these Shonen Jump films, everything is “reset to zero” at the end of it. This means that any character growth of progression that takes place here won’t be part of the story of the television anime series. Anymore, as I watch these films, I find myself wondering how exactly they’ll “reset to zero” in order to try and not cause any inconsistencies with the anime series.

Since this film focused so heavily on the Soul Society, we didn’t get to see many of the characters from the Land of the Living. Honestly, though, I didn’t see much of a reason to have included Kon in here, because I don’t think he added much to the story in the long run.

Animation-wise, it wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t quite up to the level of the first two Bleach films. There were occasional shots in this film where some of the computer graphics were more noticeable with some of the characters’ movements because these particular movements didn’t look entirely natural.

But to be honest, Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black isn’t too bad for a Shonen Jump film. There was an interesting story being told, and it was interesting to see many of the characters act in a way you wouldn’t expect, especially when they interact with Ichigo after they’ve forgotten about him.

When VIZ Media released Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black on DVD, it was released as a single disc instead of a two-disc release. Because of this, there aren’t nearly as many bonus features for this film that the previous two films received for their DVD releases.

The first bonus feature is “Movie Trailers,” which is split into Japanese trailers and English trailers. There are a total of eight Japanese trailers included, and they all have Japanese audio without English subtitles. There are two English trailers included.

For “Production Art,” there’s 16 pages of line art of the characters and locations that appeared in the film. The final bonus feature is “More From Viz Media,” which only includes the trailer for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds that appears at the beginning of the disc when it first starts playing.

The bonus features on this release are more on the “bare bones” side, but at least getting these bonuses are better than getting nothing. I’m not going to complain about this, since it could have been a lot worse.

If you’re a fan of Bleach, I think you’ll enjoy Bleach The Movie: Fade to Black and will want to add it to your anime collection if you don’t own it already. From what I can tell, it appears that the Blu-ray has the exact same bonus features as the DVD release, so it really would come down to a matter of preference as to whether or not you’d want to own this film on DVD or Blu-ray.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black that I checked out through the King County Library System.

VIZ Media Announces the Release of One Piece Manga Box Set 2

VIZ Media delivers a special treat to fans with the latest Box Set installment for the world’s most popular manga series – One Piece.

The One Piece Manga Box Set 2 will be released on November 4, 2014 and is rated “T” for Teens. The set contains Volumes 24-46, which comprise the series’ third and fourth story arcs – Skypiea and Water Seven – and will carry an MSRP of $185.99 U.S. / CAN. The Box Set also features a full-color poster and special ONE PIECE mini-comic.

As a child, One Piece main character Monkey D. Luffy dreamed of becoming King of the Pirates. But his life changed when he accidentally ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, an enchanted Devil Fruit that gave him the ability to stretch like rubber. The only drawback? He’ll never be able to swim again – a serious handicap for an aspiring sea dog! Years later, Luffy sets off on his quest to find the “One Piece,” said to be the greatest treasure in the world…

“This new release from VIZ Media continues the venerable ONE PIECE saga in lavish box set form and is a pirate’s treasure for any manga fan,” says Alexis Kirsch, Editor. “Catch all the action as the Straw Hats search the exotic sky island of Skypiea for hidden gold and then journey to Water 7, a wondrous water metropolis constructed upon the ruins of a sunken city. Jump aboard for fantastic adventures with manga’s favorite band of pirates!”

ONE PIECE © 1997 by Eiichiro Oda/SHUEISHA Inc.

VIZ Media Launches New Paranormal Shojo Manga Series Kiss of the Rose Princess

VIZ Media announces a thrilling new paranormal shojo manga adventure with the launch of Aya Shouoto’s Kiss of the Rose Princess on November 4, 2014.

The new series will be available for the first time digitally as well as in print under the Shojo Beat imprint. Kiss of the Rose Princess is rated “T” for Teens and will carry a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

A digital version of Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 1 also will debut on November 4, 2014 for $6.99 (USD/CAN) from VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, as well as through the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and Google Play stores. Future editions of the 9-volume series will be released in-print and digitally on a bi-monthly basis.

Anise Yamamoto has been told that if she ever removes the rose choker given to her by her father, a terrible punishment will befall her. Unfortunately she loses that choker when a bat-like being falls from the sky and hits her. Anise is granted four cards representing four knights whom she can summon with a kiss. But now that she has these gorgeous men at her beck and call, what exactly is her quest?!

“Aya Shouoto uses her stunning artwork in KISS OF THE ROSE PRINCESS to bring us a tale of a modern princess and her four handsome knights in this reverse-harem series,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Editor. “Our reluctant but fearless heroine must pledge herself to save the world from the Demon Lord, but what will happen if she falls in love with one of her knights? Don’t miss the start of this exciting new series in November!”

KISS OF ROSE PRINCESS Volume 1 ©Aya SHOUOTO 2009

Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 13

Bleach DVD Set 13 is a three disc set that contains 12 episodes; each disc in this set includes four episodes and bonus features. The episodes on these discs can be watched either with English dialogue or with Japanese dialogue and English subtitles.

The first 10 episodes included in this set continue the story in Hueco Mundo. This includes character development for both Neliel and Nnoitra, as well as looking like the end is coming for Ichigo, Chad, Rukia, Uryu, and Renji. However, some Soul Society captains arrive to take on the Espada and help Ichigo and the others. Unfortunately, the arrival of the captains doesn’t mean these fights end easily; in fact, the battles the captains have against the Arrancar escalate and take several episodes to resolve. But before they can enjoy their victories, Aizen recaptures Orihime and launches an attack with the intent to destroy Karakura Town. In the final episode of this arc, Ichigo reaches Ulquiorra with the intent to take him on.

As I was watching these 10 episodes, especially after the Soul Society captains joined in the fights, I felt as if these battles ran longer than they really needed to. To me, it felt like these fights were being extended in order to stretch this part of the story out longer. My favorite part of these 10 episodes was getting to see the backstory and character development for both Neliel and Nnoitra, because this helped me acquire more respect for Nel and like her more as a character. While Pesche and Dondochakka also appear in this backstory, there wasn’t enough there to improve my view of them as characters. There’s one point where these two characters are sent flying, and I nearly cheered; I hope they’re gone for good.

I was dismayed to discover that the final two episodes are a short filler arc that sees the return of Rurichiyo, a character introduced in the filler arc that appears on Bleach DVD Set 11 and most of Bleach DVD Set 12. This was ultimately a stupid story about Rurichiyo getting mad with one of her retainers because he won’t let her play kemari because of the duties she has to do; she runs off to Karakura Town to find Ichigo and the others. When Rurichiyo’s retainer finds her, it leads to a kemari match being played between some of the characters of the series. But the game is interrupted by the arrival of a Hollow.

Ugh. Right when the canon arc was about to start into another major battle featuring Ichigo, the series cuts away to a filler story that just can’t fit in where it was put. Not only that, it features characters from the previous filler arc that I really didn’t care about. As a viewer, I was annoyed that this had happened again and that these characters made a return to the series. And it didn’t help that the filler story this time was just plain stupid. After making it through the intense fights earlier in the set and seeing the setup for upcoming major plot points, it was frustrating to have the storyline interrupted in this manner. It was probably a case where the anime was catching up too much with the manga source material, but couldn’t they have come up with a better filler than this? I really hope we don’t have to see Rurichiyo again during the series.

When it comes to the DVD itself, the omake continue to be cut off from the end of the episodes and only appear as part of the “Omake” special feature that appears on each disc. I still hope this will be rectified in one of the future DVD box sets for Bleach.

The main menu on each disc in this set is also silent again. The Naruto Shippuden box sets made a similar change to their menus, but this change ended up not lasting very long. I hope this holds true for these Bleach DVD box sets. Seeing action taking place on the menu without any audio can be rather disconcerting to me as a viewer.

Each disc has Production Art, which is line art of the characters and locations that appear in these episodes. Each disc includes nine pages of art. Each disc also has a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features; the first two discs have the first ending that appear on this set, while the third disc has the second ending.

Each disc also has omake, as well as “sneak peeks.” There are three trailers in the “sneak peeks” on each disc, and the same three appear on each one.

If you’re a Bleach fan, then you need to get a hold of this set in order to have all of the episodes of the series in your anime home video collection.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Bleach DVD Set 13 that I checked out through the King County Library System.