RELEASED BY:   FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT
    DISC FORMAT:    BLU-RAY (1080p)
  ASPECT RATIO:  

16:9 ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN

  AUDIO:  

ENGLISH DOLBY TrueHD 5.1
DOLBY DIGITAL 2.0

  RUNNING TIME:   125 MIN
  RATING:   TV MA
  RELEASE DATE:   08//26/2008
  REVIEW DATE:   08/22/2008
  REVIEWED BY:   ROMMEL SALANDANAN

 



“It’s nothing personal. It’s just revenge.”
– Afro Samurai

Afro Samurai is back, and remastered in high-definition Blu-ray. The story of the five episode OVA encompasses a samurai warrior named Afro and his path of avenging his father’s death over the “Number One” headband against Justice, a man that has godlike complex. By rule, only the warrior that possesses the “Number Two” headband can challenge the wearer of the top headband, but to acquire the second piece of cloth means a life of killing, as other warriors are gunning for the top. For Afro, it is a life that he accepted and with every blood he splatters in his path, the closer he gets to Justice, but it is also a trail that will lead him to confront his past and battle his most dangerous enemy, the occult group known as the “Empty 7”.

It is feudal Japan meets sci-fi, and mixed with hip-hop sound. It is a fusion of Japanese culture and Western culture embodied in a traditional samurai story of revenge. It all originated from a 10-year concept that Takashi Okazaki had created. To add flavor into the mix, the best-cussing entertainer in Hollywood, Samuel L. Jackson, lends his voice to the man of few words, and his alter-ego Ninja Ninja, who provides the comedy in this dark and bloody series.


BLU-RAY:
This version of Afro Samurai: Season 1 Director’s Cut, is the same as the original Afro Samurai Director’s Cut 2-Disc edition that was released by FUNimation Entertainment on May 22, 2007 that included 15 minutes of additional scenes and special features. Over a year later, it is remastered in high-definition Blu-ray.

Once again, FUNimation went to the length of remastering the OVA to full-HD, and their hard work of re-authoring the show pays off as the image quality surpasses its standard DVD counter-part. To push the series another notch, it comes with Dolby TrueHD that brings the sound, the music, and the cussing of Mr. Jackson in this series to a completely new level in anime. The audio is well placed, it is clear, loud, yet not over powering even in higher levels.

FUNimation also sports a new menu system for the show and the art that accompanies it will blow you away. The image is as crisp and clear as the OVA. You can tell that FUNimation really went crazy in the production of the blu-ray version, thus taking Afro Samurai into new heights in high-definition entertainment.

Afro Samurai Resurrection was announced at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, and it is scheduled for broadcast on Spike TV in January 2009, with a DVD release to follow, hence the  addition of “Season 1” in the Blu-ray version. 


EXTRAS:
Nothing new with the extras other than new trailers, but the extras are the only ones that were not remastered.

In the booth – Contains voice talent of Afro Samurai, talks about the making of Afro Samurai, and interviews with the top actors, co-producer Eric Calderon, and creator Takashi "Bob" Okazaki  and his concept and the mixture of everything that he loves about both cultures that led to the creation of Afro Samurai.

RZA Music Production Tour illustrates the evolution of the music of Afro Samurai from the storyboards to becoming an important concept of the series.

Character Profiles with commentary by Co-Producer: Eric Calderon is a nice extra in the disc as he gives detailed information and ideas about the characters in the show, and even a brief history about the relationship of Afro’s father with Justice that wasn’t played in the series.


IN SUMMARY:
A dark and edgy series that got darker and edgier in high-definition. Afro Samurai: Season 1 Director’s Cut is one of the best authored Blu-ray anime.

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