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Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere: Season One Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese & English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: Yellow/White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-14 (VD)
  • Run Time: 325 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Studio: Sentai Filmworks
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 6, 2012
  • List Price: $69.98

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:3/5]

Based on a series of light novels by Minoru Kawakami, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere (境界線上のホライゾン), the anime, is frustrating the way only anime can be. For the uninitiated who dive into this futuristic sci-fi series, it is amazingly difficult to follow the myriad characters, names, subplots, and layers of fictional historical references.

The basic plot is that in the far distant future, humanity sets off into space, abandoning Earth, but an unknown phenomenon makes it impossible for them to travel any farther. Forced to return home, they find a desolate, inhospitable planet. The plan they devise is to reenact human history in order to redevelop the ability to travel back out into space. Pocket inhabitable areas are formed around Japan for the entire population of humanity, and the Japanese homeland is conquered, split up into feudal territories based on the Warring States Period, and the Japanese people are banished onto a spaceship called the Musashi. From the Holy Book Testament, human civilization is reenacted while the Testament Union keeps a close watch on the Musashi. Meanwhile, in the 17th century of the Testament Era, Tori Aoi, a young man who is head of Musashi Ariadust Academy begins building support amongst his classmates to rebel against the Testament Union and create an independent Japan, and perhaps save humanity in the process.

The animation in Horizon is strong with well done character designs and the story is an odd blend of various genres, teen, sci-fi, mecha, and fan service. There are some really compelling action sequences and eye-popping effects, but unless you are steeped in the lore of this series, it is difficult to follow and only becomes more difficult, it seems, as the series progresses. Having never read the novels or seen any of the episodes from the first or second season, I was lost from the start. That’s coming from someone who’s seen some pretty out there anime and was able to follow along.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

This transfer, in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement, looks a bit soft overall, doesn’t have many colors that really ‘pop,’ and has a few spots where there is some definite artifacting visible. As a result, I have to say that this isn’t one of the finer efforts on Blu-ray from Sentai, although it is far from the worst looking anime I have seen come to BD.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio, in Japanese and an English dub, is provided in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/24-bit). As per usual for an anime series, we get pretty aggressive stereo panning of sound effects and clear dialogue, but there isn’t much dynamic range here. Everything seems pushed to around the same level in this mix. Only during some of the more dialogue-driven scenes do we seem to get a little more subtlety.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

There’s mostly promotional material offered with one “chibi-styled” OVA

The supplements:

  • Far East Enlightening Lecture (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:20)
  • Japanese Promos (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:51)
  • Japanese Commercials (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:07)
  • Clean Opening and Closing Animations
  • Sentai Filmworks Trailers
  • English Disc Credits

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

This series just never gelled with me, for whatever reason. I’ll hope that season two might be a better watch after getting my feet wet this one.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere: Season One on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B008XEZXM0[/amazon-product]

Purchase Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere: Season One on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]


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