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Level E: Complete Series Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stere0 (96kHz/24-bit), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Runtime: 324 Mins.
  • Discs: 4 (2 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
  • Studio: Funimation Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 11, 2012
  • List Price: $64.98

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

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:2.5/5]

This adaptation of the comic sci-fi manga Level E starts off with the great promise. The character design and overall artwork are compelling and the dialogue is witty. But the series looses its luster rather quickly, in fact, after the first few episodes, it becomes no more than a mixed bag of what feels like half storylines. The main story follows an alien Prince, Prince Baka, who crash lands on Earth, where thousands of aliens have been coming and going without the knowledge of mankind, apparently. He immediately inserts himself into the life of high school freshman Tsutsui Yukitaka, taking up residence in his apartment against his will and generally making himself a nuisance. That’s all well and good, but Level E then diverts into several mini story-arcs, most of them not involving Yukitaka at all, and many of them hardly allowing any screen time to the Prince himself. The latter may not be too much of a fault considering the character of the Prince, over the course of the series, becomes one of the primary reasons to dislike Level E. To put it bluntly, the guy is an irredeemable jerk, and there’s no reason to develop any emotional bond with him. But then, with so many mini-stories making up the series as a whole, there are no characters here to really like. The closest Level E comes is in its Primary Color Rangers story arc about a group of elementary school kids that the Prince manipulates into fighting on a distant planet transformed into one large RPG video game – think Power Rangers meets Nintendo. Okay, the minds behind Level E have tried to branch out and be a bit experimental in their storytelling, but ultimately their ideas fail. Level E becomes no more than a collection of disconnected adventures in which the main antagonist, Prince, is substituted for the protagonist we are meant to enjoy, but we really can’t.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement is good, but hardly reference. There is some softness and CG effects standout a lot. Motion artifacts aren’t too much of an issue, but there is definitely some video noise and slight banding that can be seen. Still, overall the image gives very satisfactory results.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

As seems to be the usual case, Level E comes with two lossless options, a stereo 2.0 Dolby TrueHD mix of the original Japanese soundtrack and an English dub in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. What is unusual is that the Japanese track is provided in hi-res 96kHz/24-bit, while the English dub is in the standard 48kHz/24-bit. It would have been nice to have had the option of switching between the two and being able to compare them both on an equal footing, but that said, the English mix is well served by the extra channels, though it is hardly the best 5.1 mix I have ever heard. It provides subtle ambience with mild discrete panning. The 2.0 mix will be more than adequate for those purists, like myself, who prefer to listen to the original Japanese track.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Two audio commentaries and an interview segment are the meat of the supplements on disc in Level E.

The supplements:

  • Episode 07 Commentary
  • Episode 13 Commentary
  • Textless Opening Song “Cold Finger Girl”
  • Textless Closing Song “Yume –Mugen no Kanata”
  • Level E: Interview with a Prince (1.78:1; 1080p/14; 00:12:47)
  • U.S. Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:02)
  • Funimation Trailers

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Level E is mostly a miss despite its strong artwork and comedic nature. The story arcs are haphazardly put together giving the overall series a disjointed feel and the character of the Prince succeeds in eliciting nothing but disdain from the viewers rather than the belly laughs the writers seemed to have been going for.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Level E: Complete Series on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B009B82G2W[/amazon-product]

Purchase Level E: Complete Series on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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



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