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Friday, June 14, 2024

Blue Thermal (Blu-ray Review)


The Story
The Animation
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


A girl starts college and enters the aviation club to payback a debt only to discover she has a true love of flying and a new world of experiences.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The anime feature by director Tachibana Masaki, Blue Thermal, is based on the manga series Blue Thermal: Aonagi College Sports Festival Aviation Club by Ozawa Kana.

Revolving around the female character Tsuru Tamaki, the story follows her life at Aonagi College where, following a good high school career playing volleyball and terrible romantic rejection, she decides to play tennis instead. This fateful decision leads to her accidentally hitting Daisuke with a tennis ball as he was moving his expensive, German-made glider, causing it to get damaged. Then she finds out about the glider club – and gets charged with repaying the two-million yen to repair the glider. Tamaki obviously cannot afford this, so instead an agreement is reached where she will join the club and help out to make up for her debt. Once she joins the club she not only falls in love with flying but finds a whole new world of friends and experiences.

Although Blue Thermal is set in college, it has the feeling of a coming-of-age story, where Tomaki goes in wide-eyed and a bit naïve and enters the world of college and gains much deeper understanding about herself, the world, and even her family. There is particular growth in the characters of Tamaki and her half-sister.

The visuals in the film are often breathtaking. The film is full of high-flying aerial scenes, and gorgeous backgrounds. The character designs are detailed and unique, with the club uniforms, hairstyles and faces all looking gorgeous and detailed.

Of note, the film’s theme song “Blue Thermal” and the other major song “Beautiful Bird” are both performed by the popular Japanese piano rock band SHE’S.

  • Blue Thermal (2022)
  • Blue Thermal (2022)
  • Blue Thermal (2022)
  • Blue Thermal (2022)
  • Blue Thermal (2022)
  • Blue Thermal (2022)
  • Blue Thermal (2022)
  • Blue Thermal Blu-ray Combo (Shout! Factory)
  • Blue Thermal Blu-ray Combo (Shout! Factory)
  • Blue Thermal Blu-ray Combo (Shout! Factory)

The Video

Blue Thermal is provided in a 1.78:1 AVC 1080p encodement that is clean and vibrant. There are no major issues with aliasing or ringing around the line art. Some extremely slight banding can be seen in some scenes of the sky in the background.

The Audio

Blue Thermal comes with the original Japanese in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and a Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo mix.  The lossless 5.1 mix has good balance and ambience, but it does not use the surround channels for much more than atmospherics and ambience. The score is balanced well and has good dynamics with clear high frequencies. The low end has good extension far into the low registers, but this would hardly qualify as a ‘bass head’ showpiece.

The Supplements

The interview with the director is a good inclusion, but also the character ‘highlights’ which are illustrated bios of each character in the film.

  • Interview with Director Masaki Tachibana (1080p; 00:07:44; Japanese w/ English subs)
  • Character Highlights:
    • Tamaki Tsuru
    • Jun Kuramochi
    • Daisuke Sorachi
    • Chizuru Yano
    • Yo Asahina
  • Trailer (1080p; 00:01:02)

The Final Assessment

A moving a visually stunning anime feature that may not rise to the level of some of the great anime feature films by the likes of Hosoda Mamoru or Miyazaki Hayao, but is still an enjoyable film the whole family can watch.

Blue Thermal is out on Blu-ray March 14, 2023 from Shout! Factory.

  • Rating Certificate: Not Rated
  • Animation Studio: Telecom Animation Film
  • Distributor: Eleven Arts | Shout! Factory
  • Director: Tachibana Masaki
  • Written By: Tachibana Masaki
  • Run Time: 103 Mins.
  • Street Date: 14 March 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English

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A girl starts college and enters the aviation club to payback a debt only to discover she has a true love of flying and a new world of experiences. Blue Thermal (Blu-ray Review)