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Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto — Collection 1 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 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: Yellow/White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-14 (V)
  • Run Time: 325 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Sentai Filmworks
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 4, 2012
  • List Price: $69.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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:4.5/5]

Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto (幕末機関説 いろはにほへと, Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto) is an anime series by Ryōsuke Takahashi. The series is a chambara (swordplay; チャンバラ) drama with elements of paranormal fantasy set in Japan’s Bakamatsu (Late Tokugawa Shogunate) period, or the final years of the Edo period when the Tokugawa shogunate came to an end and Japan ended its isolationism, opening itself up to foreigners, mainly the British. It follows the samurai Akizuki Yōjirō tasked with finding the legendary artifact known as “The Head of the Conqueror,” as the nation stands at the brink of war,  and an acting troupe seeking revenge on the man who killed their families. The troupe use their plays as a rouse to expose to the public the corruption of government officials and draw out all the players in the vast conspiracy connected to the slaughter of their families. They won’t stop until they get their own revenge through blood. They cross paths with Akizuki, and their agendas seem to mesh – is it fate, or another part of the conspiracy?

Bold, dark, brooding, and completely fascinating, Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto is the kind of anime series that only comes along every so often. It’s a refreshing change from the usual  barrage of high school romances, fan service, mecha and the like that seem to flood the market. This one obviously has its roots in the chambara films of Inagaki Hiroshi or Akira Kurosawa, using the Japanese historical backdrop to tell its story. The artwork is spectacular as well, with marvelous character design, a gritty layer of grain added for effect, and detailed backgrounds.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The image for Intrigue in the Bakumatsu, encoded here in a 1.78:1-framed AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer, looks just fine given the artistic intent of the creators. It has had a heavy amount of “grain” applied to it as a special effect, giving it a gritty, and often soft appearance. This isn’t a a consequence of the encodement, but meant to impart a feel and texture. Whether you like it or not is personal preference. To me it works, helping to place the story in the period that the series takes place and it looks good with no obvious issues like aliasing, macroblocking, or motion artifacts to speak of.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) stereo mixed are supplied. They are equally strong, and given the lack of extra channels, surprisingly entertaining. The dialogue is clear and panning is wide with distinct directionality. There is a lot of headroom and thus a good amount of dynamic range. The musical score is nicely balanced into the mix and evokes a wonderful sense of moodiness.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

Nothing here but the bare minimum.

The supplements:

  • Clean Opening Animation
  • Clean Closing Animation
  • Sentai Filmworks Trailers
  • Disc Credits

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

If you enjoy political intrigue, a touch of fantasy, and samurai films, then this well thought out anime series, Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto, will be sure to please. It arrives in a strong 2-disc set from Sentai that I recommended heartily.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Intrigue in the Bakumatsu on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B008DL4MC0[/amazon-product]

Purchase Intrigue in the Bakumatsu on Blu-rayat CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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