Sunday, 20 November 2016

Unboxing [UK]: The Vision of Escaflowne - Complete Series & Movie: Ultimate Edition (Blu-ray)

I have returned from MCM Birmingham Comic Con. It was a great trip overall and I have acquired a couple titles from Anime Limited. The first is the special new re-release of the Escaflowne franchise for the UK.

Despite the title noting Blu-ray, there is actually a DVD version of the film included.

The Vision of Escaflowne is a classic 1996 series from Sunrise adapted from a manga of the same name. The series has been acclaimed by many fans to be one of the best anime titles out there and has actually become one of Bandai Entertainment's top sellers in North America. The series was once brought over by Beez Entertainment before going out of print due to the company's departure.

Now Anime Limited have brought the series back, and the outcome is pretty interesting this time around. The UK distributor has had the rights for well over a year and began working on the Blu-ray release in an instant with Justin Sevakis for authoring and Brady Hartel for menu design; both well-known for the US anime authoring industry (especially with Discotek Media titles). However there was a catch - 6 episodes had a director's cut with additional footage that the original Bandai Entertainment dub did not have - that's episodes 1-4, 6 & 7, so as such Justin used the Japanese Blu-ray master and modified it to fit the Bandai dub. However Funimation suddenly came out with a kickstarter for a brand new English dub - which became successful. This new dub covers the director's cut episodes and the rest of the series plus the film.

The UK release eventually got pushed back to include the Funimation dub with their release, but the rest of the authoring was still kept. As such there are four Blu-ray discs; Disc 1 covers episodes 1-8 of the theatrical cut, Disc 2 covers episodes 1-8 with the director's cut scenes, Disc 3 covers episodes 9-17 and Disc 4 covers episodes 18-26. The film includes both dubs without any issue as there was no extended version in Japan. And yes the original Japanese audio is included across both the original and director's cut versions.

Anime Limited's release is an Ultimate Edition. The set includes the TV series on Blu-ray and the movie on both Blu-ray and DVD. In addition both are packaged in collector's edition style sets with a clean chipboard box and digipacks to hold the discs. The TV series box also includes another digipack to hold 3 Original Soundtrack CDs from composer Yoko Kanno (known for Cowboy Bebop and Terror in Resonance). Plus there is also an 148 page Ultimate Artbook. Bonus on-disc content for the TV series is included on the first disc.

Blu-ray Specs (The Vision of Escaflowne):
Languages: Japanese, 2000 Bandai English Dub, 2016 Funimation English Dub
Audio: LPCM 2.0 [Japanese, 2000 Bandai English Dub], Dolby TrueHD 5.1 [2016 Funimation English Dub]
Video: 1080p HD Native 4:3
Region: B
Subtitles: English
Subtitles Locked: No
Discs: 4

Blu-ray Specs (Escaflowne the Movie):
Languages: Japanese, 2000 Bandai English Dub, 2016 Funimation English Dub
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 [Japanese, 2000 Bandai English Dub, 2016 Funimation English Dub]
Video: 1080p HD Native 16:9
Region: B
Subtitles: English
Subtitles Locked: No
Discs: 1

DVD Specs (Escaflowne the Movie):
Languages: Japanese, 2000 Bandai English Dub, 2016 Funimation English Dub
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 [Japanese, English]
Video: SD NTSC 16:9
Region: 2
Subtitles: English
Subtitles Locked: No
Discs: 1

Plot Synopsis (via Anime Limited):
Hitomi Kanzaki is a typical high school girl, with typical problems, but when a vision of a young man battling a dragon becomes a reality, her life changes forever. Drawn into a strange vortex with the swordsman, Van, Hitomi is thrust into the strange world of Gaea.

Van must learn to master the suit of armor, Escaflowne, before he and Hitomi are crushed by the ambitions of the Empire of Zaibach. Van and Hitomi will encounter both allies and enemies in an effort to unlock the secrets within Escaflowne, and Hitomi's heart, stirred by love and adventure, will, at times ache with sorrow. But why was she sent to this world? Find out in a classic tale of fantasy and adventure!

On-Disc Extra Content (The Vision of Escaflowne):
Title-Free Opening
Title-Free Endings
Music Videos
Video Game Cutscenes
2000 Concert Footage
Club Escaflowne Interviews - Cast: Maaya Sakamoto, Ikue Ohtani, Joji Nakata
Club Escaflowne Interviews - Cast: Shinichiro Miki, Mayumi Jizuka, Minami Takayama
Club Escaflowne Interviews - Staff: Hirotoshi Sano, Hiroshi Ousaka, Kimitoshi Yamane
Club Escaflowne Interviews - Staff: Shoji Kawamori, Kazuki Akane

On-Disc Extra Content (Escaflowne: The Movie):
"Escaflowne: The Movie" Special Program & Roundtable Discussion
Japanese Theatrical Trailer
Japanese TV Spot
English Teaser
English Theatrical Trailer
Anime Expo 2000 Premiere Interviews and Concert
Anime Expo 2000 Premiere Footage & Panel

Ultimate Edition Extras:
Ultimate Chipboard rigid box packaging (for whole thing)
Collector's Chipboard rigid box packaging (for digipacks)
3 Original Soundtrack CDs from composer Yoko Kanno
148-page Ultimate Artbook

Here's the photos of the set in a couple sections.

Section A - Ultimate Box

Section B - TV Series + OST

Section C - Movie

Section D - Artbook

The Vision of Escaflowne is available as a Blu-ray Ultimate Edition set with standard edition Blu-ray and DVD soon to follow. Funimation have the rights for North America.

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Member of the Anime UK News forum, and also once part of the Sheffield Hallam Visual Arts society throughout 2013-2017. Been collecting anime since 2012 and supported the anime distributors ever since. Also been hanging around on the Blu-ray forum and Fandom Post forums.

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