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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero Blu-ray Review

aesthetica-of-a-rogue-hero-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

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The Series



Based on the light novel series by Uesu Tetsuto, Aesthtica of a Rogue Hero (はぐれ勇者の鬼畜美学, Hagure Yūsha no Esutetika) blends fantasy action with plenty of fan service, a little comedy and a high school element for its own twist on this overcrowded genre of anime.

The story focuses on high school student Ōsawa Akatsuki, a “Rogue Hero” who returns to his home world after being summoned to a magical world known as Alayzard where he did battle with a Dark Lord and slew him. He brought back with him Miu, the Dark Lord’s beautiful teenage daughter, to keep under his protection, as the Lord’s dying wish. Now back at home, Akatsuki is sent to Japan BABEL high school, a school and training facility where children are taught martial arts and magic skills to do battle against forces that want to summon them into other worlds. Miu and Akatsuki have to pretend to be siblings, Miu acting like his long dead sister who was summoned away and now found again, in order to blend in. The problem is, Miu also has a slight bit of amnesia. An even bigger problem is that the two of them each possess such powerful skills of combat and magic, that they immediately jump to BABEL’s Class B, the second highest, which puts them on the school’s radar, and gets them noticed by the disciplinary committee, especially after Akatsuki gets into a physical altercation with another student on his very first day. But Akatsuki takes it all in stride, they don’t call him the “Rogue Hero” for nothing. One of his specialties happens to be stripping off girls’ undergarments during combat so quickly they don’t even notice. He manages to do this to the Student Council Vice President Nagase Haruka and it puts him on her hit list. She’s pretty, she’s powerful, and she’s determined to defeat him and discipline him, a true tsundere character if ever there was one. But something strange is going on, and as things progress it seems like there might be a conspiracy going on involving an organization called Cocoon that is very interested in Akatsuki. Then there are the people of Alayzard who still want to get their hands on the Dark Lord’s daughter, Miu. It all comes to a head in the conclusion.

There is nothing that truly stands out story-wise about Aesthtica of a Rogue Hero. While not bad in any way, the series just seems to hit all the expected themes for this sort of genre piece without really adding anything unique or unexpected. Cute high school girls. Check. Perverted High school boy? Check. Fantastical battle sequences? Check. Beach scene? Yep. Hot spring? You got it. You see the point. There is, at the very least, a steady sense of humor maintained, even when things seem like they may be taking a turn for the more serious. They always somehow manage to lighten it up.

It does look fairly good, that’s for sure. One can’t deny the appeal of the animation’s color palette – Miu’s hot-pink hair, Haruka’s verdant green hair and eyes. Then there’s the detail of the character designs and, of course, the amply endowed females that are a must in any fan service worth its salt.

(Editor’s Note: FUNimation seems to have mixed up the region coding on this release, labeling the discs as “AB”, but Disc 2 is region-locked to “A”, so anyone from a Region B area looking to pick this one up, be aware, you WILL need a multi-region player.)

Video Quality



Aesthtica of a Rogue Hero comes with an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer to Blu-ray that doesn’t look so great here. There’s a lot of video noise and the image is a bit soft, so don’t expect this to reach anywhere near reference quality for animation on Blu-ray. Also, as noted, FUNimation seems to have botched the region coding on this release, labeling the discs as “AB”, but Disc 2 is region-locked to “A”, so anyone from a Region B area looking to pick this one up, be aware, you WILL need a multi-region player.

Audio Quality



This is one of the rare Blu-ray releases from FUNimation that has no surround mix at all. Both the Japanese soundtrack and English dub are included in Dolby TrueHD 2.0 stereo mixes. Neither one sounds fantastic, once again having very limited dynamic range and requiring a major boost in volume to get decent sound levels. It’s also just a little tweaked in the high end.

Supplemental Materials



We get a good bit of OVAs, two commentaries, and promos, plus the usual clean openings and closings.

The supplements:

  • Episode 02 Commentary
  • Episode 08 Commentary
  • Embarrassing Original Videos (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:23:05):
    • Vol. 1: A New Combat Suit?
    • Vol. 2: How to Be a Mature Woman?
    • Vol. 3: Bonds of Holy Water, Student Council Edition
    • Vol. 4: Mixed Bathing on the Beach
    • Vol. 5: Ranking Battle Side-Story – Sexy Alternate Version
    • Vol. 6: Beautiful Dark Clan Warrior, Miu
  • Promotional Videos (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:00)
  • Akatsuki Promo Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:00:32)
  • Haruka Promo Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:00:32)
  • Miu Promo Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:00:32)
  • Textless Opening Song “Realization”
  • Textless Closing Song “Ai no se de nemurenai”
  • U.S. Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:05)
  • FUNimation Trailers

The Definitive Word




Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is your basic fantasy/fan service high school based anime series. It’s neither horrendously bad nor incredibly original and addictive. It sits somewhere in the middle. The animation is enticing, that’s for sure, but the story could use just a little bit of a tweak.

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