Monday, 16 January 2017

Unboxing [UK]: The Heroic Legend of Arslan - Series 1 Part 1: Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)

It took a while, but I finally got my hands on the first half of Arslan. The pricing wasn't right for a while until recently so I got it now!

The DVD version of this collector's edition is exactly the same, but I have the Blu-ray version for obvious reasons.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan (Arslan Senki) is a re-imagining of the original Arslan novels written by Yoshiki Tanaka (Legend of the Galactic Heroes) but based on the manga version written by Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist). The anime version as far as I'm aware is way ahead of the manga version which is interesting. The anime is pretty good in my opinion.

This particular release was done by Universal Pictures, and is one of the first anime titles to be released under their label for the UK. Universal is no stranger to anime as they once distributed titles under Geneon in North America, and still have Sony Universal in Australia. Arslan and Seraph were the first titles for Universal UK, with Berserk (2016), Drifters, and Starmyu in the future. Universal are putting out these really nice collector's edition sets for an SRP of £59.99 on Blu-ray and £49.99 on DVD. The two formats are the exact same content-wise.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan's first half includes the first 13 episodes of the series in English, French and German dubs as well as Japanese audio with English, Dutch, French and German subtitles. The subtitles are unlockable however the discs are Region B only. The physical contents is what makes this collector's edition great; over 80 pages of content in an booklet, 12 artcards, 4 trading cards, a shogi board game (with the board also has a reversible side that shows the map of the world), plus a digi-pack to hold the Blu-ray discs, all contained inside a top-loaded chipboard box with clean art and no logos (aside from the Universal logo on the spine).

Also worth noting is that the main menus for the Universal anime sets have the same template of sorts and may confuse people. The discs start with the language options (English, French (Français), German (Deutsch), Dutch (Nederlands)) followed by the main menu so I have a quick guide on the main menu buttons here (from left to right):
 - House - Back to the language section (which played first on the disc), or to the main menu section if you use it via pop-up menu
 - Right Arrow - Play the first episode
 - Shield/Open Book - Episode Count (1-6 on Disc 1, 7-13 on Disc 2)
 - Star - On-Disc Extra Content (Trailers, TV Spots and Music Clips on Disc 1, The Short Comedy of Arslan 1-7 on Disc 2)
 - Audio - Language audio options (Japanese (日本語), English, French (Français), German (Deutsch))
 - Square with some lines inside - Subtitle options (English, French (Français), German (Deutsch), Dutch (Nederlands))

Unlike Funimation's release, Universal's video masters use the Japanese credits instead of the English credits that Funimation have. However the Opening and Closing songs are not subtitled. The subtitles on the discs are white and much bigger than the normal. Plus instead of English Commentaries, we get The Short Comedy of Arslan from the Japanese releases.

Blu-ray Specs:
Languages: Japanese, English, French, German
Audio: DTS-HD MA 2.0 [Japanese, French, German], DTS-HD MA 5.1 [English]
Video: 1080p HD Native 16:9
Region: B
Subtitles: English, Dutch, French, German
Subtitles Locked: No
Discs: 2

Plot Synopsis (via Universal Pictures):
Swords clash, warriors fall and the battle for the future of the Kingdom of Pars begins in the epic first twelve episodes of The Heroic Legend of Arslan Season One! Pitched into the middle of a war between the nations of Pars and Lusitania, young Prince Arslan barely escapes with his life when his father King Andragoras III is targeted by traitors in his own camp. With nothing but the help of the steadfast and loyal warrior Daryun and a ragtag group of followers, Arslan must face impossible odds to liberate his fallen nation from the amassed forces of Lusitania, led by the mysterious Silvermask!

On-Disc Extra Content:
The Short Comedy of Arslan (Parts 1-7: A Step Above, World Tour 320 in Ecbatana, Let It Be, Here You Go, Drunkenness, A Duel Before the Gods, Cost: 500 Yen)
Music Clips (aka Textless Opening & Closing)
TV Spots

Collector's Edition Extras:
Chipboard rigid box packaging with top-load and digipacks
80 page Book of Interviews, Character Profiles and Artwork
12 Artcards
4 Trading Cards
Shogi Boardgame (plus a map of the world)

Here's a look at the tons of physical content available exclusively with these collector's sets. It's very nice and worth the extra cost.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Pictures. Standard editions will commence later on but you can still grab a copy of these nice collector's sets.

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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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