- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
- Subtitles: English
- Region: AB (No Region C)
- Rating: TV-MA
- Discs: 5 (2 x Blu-ray + 3 x DVD)
- Studio: Funimation
- Blu-ray Release Date: April 12, 2011
- List Price: $64.98
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
They’re young, they’re pretty, they’re your average schoolgirls? Not quite! Yomi and Kagura have been destined all their lives to protect the world from all the evil things that go bump in the night. Both from two of the most powerful spirit fighting families in Japan, both girls have been raised together like sisters. Yomi, an orphan taken in by the Isayama family when she was young and Kagura, a member of the Tsuchimiya family, placed with the Isayama’s by her father, a powerful spirit warrior, after her mother’s death. Together, they fight with an elite unit trained to suppress the outbreaks of supernatural activities that threaten society.
But, alas, events take a most tragic turn and the two “sisters” are pitted against each other when Yomi becomes infected by a dark spirit after agreeing to take an ancient artifact known as the “Bane Stone.” It holds the power to heal, but also the power to grant one’s inner most desires, and it feeds on hatred; in this instance, Yomi’s hatred of the people responsible for killing her father. Kagura is faced with an unfathomable choice – let the sister she loves deeply kill every living thing in the world, or slay her.
Ga-Rei Zero is a compact, but tightly woven anime that is wonderfully structured and easy to follow, which is admittedly not always the case with anime. The interwoven subplots add to the intensity of the story rather than confuse it and the character development is top notch; one really believes in the sisterly bond between Yomi and Kagura and cares about what is going to happen to them. Character design and animation are strong, but some of the CG work that is included alongside the hand-drawn visuals looks a bit out of place.
Ga-Rei-Zero is an upscale from standard definition so it doesn’t and can’t look like a true high definition release. In fact, this is one of the more disappointing releases from a video quality standpoint that I have seen from Funimation in a while. The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer looks rather soft with lots of video noise and many instances of aliasing around the edges. Line art isn’t very well defined and colors are quite muted as well. The Blu-ray does still benefit from less compression and the advanced video codec, looking better than the included DVDs.
The Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 soundtrack is also a bit of a disappointment. It’s sound effects are low in the mix and the stereo imaging seems a bit on the narrow side. It also sounds a little thin overall. The English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix does open things up a lot. It’s more spacious, obviously, and offers clearer dialogue, but it is still a bit thin and disconnected.
Most of the supplements are promotional materials for Ga-Rei-Zero, but there is a cool six-part featurette following the pre-production crew on their location scouting trips.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- These “Location Specials” show the crew scouting live locations that would inform the animation of Ga-Rei-Zero:
- Location Special, Part 1 (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:19.57)
- Location Special, Part 2 (0:25.03)
- Location Special, Part 3 (0:19.03)
- Location Special, Part 4 (0:22.03)
- Location Special, Part 5 (0:25.03)
- Location Special, Part 6 (0:20.03)
- Series Premiere/First Episode Promo Videos (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:01.04)
- DVD Promo Videos (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:00.48)
- Textless Opening Song
- Textless Closing Song
- Black Butler
- Soul Eater Blu-ray
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Phantom – Requiem for the Phantom
- Gunslinger Girl
- Excel Saga
The Definitive Word
Ga-Rei Zero is a wonderful anime series that is both action packed and emotionally charged. It’s strong character development and torrid story arc make it a must see series, even if the upscaled video on Blu-ray isn’t reference quality.
Additional Screen Captures