In the movie selection section we have Resident Evil: Afterlife; the theatrical version was in 3D, but very few DVDs have been released in that format so far (my local Best Buy just set up a display with 16 titles last week for the first time ever, even though they have been selling the TVs and DVD players for months and months). Which has to be kind of rough on the sales people who are depending on a commission for selling you an entertainment system that has very little actual entertainment you can play on it. Cable 3D offerings so far are one sports channel, and the Discovery Channel which also pioneered Hi-Def over a decade ago and currently has the largest HD title library of any cable channel.
The other movie worth noting this week is Legendary Assassin, about a female cop and a martial arts drifter she befriends. Shortly after they encounter one another, all hell breaks loose as the town starts to come apart around their ears. The final film I should mention is Chrome Angels: Cyborg Conquest, a cyborg sexploitation flic that appears to have an actual logical sci-fi plot line to it that leads to a fully realized conclusion, somewhat rare for the program category it exists within.
For live action TV this week, there is a mention that Dr. Who: The Complete Davros Collection will be re-released (originally issued in 2008) several places around the web, but the only site I could find that mentioned having disks in stock or coming anytime soon was in Australia, so that is probably just a rumor as near as I can tell.
Gintama – Collection 3 starts off this week’s set of new anime releases, with the continuing story of alien invasion and takeover in 17th century Japan. Disarming the samurai and turning the majority of the population into slave labor for their factories, while distracting them from their fate by introducing health care, graphic novels, and TV, is a ploy we have seen in this world as well. Sakata Gintoki, or Gin, is a vagrant samurai addicted to Shonen Jump and Anime, who is getting by with his odd-jobs company. Animation is good but not spectacular, audio bed is good, but the main draw here is the combination of historical events in our parallel universe (you may have noticed we didn’t get the alien invasion) with the make-you-think aspects of two radically different cultures colliding who were also not even close on technology levels.
Dragonaut: The Resonance- The Complete Series compiles the two previously released seasons into the entire package for the first time. The premise is that the Earth is about to be destroyed by an incoming asteroid, and the teams of Dragons and Dragon Riders are our best hope of survival. But as usual, it isn’t really that simple. Animation is excellent even if the character designers are of the Barbie School (not even close to anatomically reasonable for the female form), music is good, and the story is about the conflict between two totally different evolutionary tracts (with life forms from each side trying to determine if they can co-exist, and working together to survive). This one is surprisingly better than you were probably expecting.
There are several titles being re-released in more economical sets this week. Baccano! – The Complete Collection is one of the better animes released in the US this year (2007 and 2009 in Asia), about immortal mafia, monsters, and alchemists (and several other groups) who hunt each other down across history, with the main body of the tale taking place in the 1920s and 30s in and around NYC. Each episode gives you slivers of stories from various characters perspectives, leaving you to assemble the mosaic in your mind as each new piece of the puzzle is revealed. The animation is excellent, the incidental music does its job to perfection supporting the mood of each scene without pulling attention away from the action, while the primary music is spot on, and most of all, the story being told grabs your attention as it unfolds.
Finally, Ragnarok The Animation is a typical quest type fantasy, and all the usual suspects are involved. The only thing I can find to recommend about this one is the discounted price, although if you prefer this genre it may be worth checking out.