Friday, 20 January 2017

Unboxing [UK]: The Heroic Legend of Arslan - Series 1 Part 2: Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)

I waited a few days to let the other sets get through but I picked up the second half of the series! Thankfully the price was still £23.99 so this is a neat bargain.

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 second half includes episodes 14 to 25 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 100 pages of content in an booklet (70 pages of character info, background details from the staff and a mini 4-koma comic; plus 30 pages of Key Animation art), 12 artcards, 4 trading cards, a double-sided poster, 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 (14-19 on Disc 1, 20-25 on Disc 2)
 - Star - On-Disc Extra Content (Music Clips on Disc 1, The Short Comedy of Arslan 5-8 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, though we somehow ended up getting the shorts messed up with both parts overall (1-7 were on Set 1, 5-8 are on Set 2).

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):
New alliances are made and battle lines drawn in the final twelve episodes of The Heroic Legend of Arslan Series One, collected in this limited special edition set. Following the events at Peshawar, Arslan and his companions find themselves fighting the invading Shindra army, led by Prince Rajendra and are soon embroiled in a power struggle between Rajendra and his brother Gadevi. An alliance with Shindra may be just what the young Prince needs to defeat Silvermask but still standing between Arslan and his final goal are villainous double crosses, spies for both sides, duels in the desert and an army of 100,000 Lusitanian soldiers. Arslan has come a long way on his journey from boy to king but is he destined to fall at the final hurdle?

On-Disc Extra Content:
The Short Comedy of Arslan (Parts 5-8: Drunkenness, A Duel Before the Gods, Cost: 500 Yen, The Perfect Position)
Music Clips (aka Textless Opening & Closing)

Collector's Edition Extras:
Chipboard rigid box packaging with top-load and digipacks
100 page Book of Interviews, Character Profiles and Artwork
12 Artcards
4 Trading Cards
Double-sided poster

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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