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Shiki: Part 1 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 Stereo (48kHz/24-bit), English Dolby True HD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: AB (No Region C)
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Discs: 4 (2 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
  • Run Time: 300 Mins.
  • Studio: Funimation Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 15, 2012
  • List Price: $69.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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)

The Series

[Rating:4.5/5]

Tapping into our still increasing vampire obsessed culture, Shiki (屍鬼, Corpse Demon) this latest anime series from Daume Co.,Ltd. (株式会社童夢 Kabushiki Gaisha Dōmu) adapts the horror novel by novelist Fuyumi Ono into a horror/thriller based on these creatures of the night. The series is animated in a style that relies heavily on goth/loli-goth, with characters that are at times almost flattened to the point that the series  almost takes on the feel of a motion comic. Shiki is a rather intense mystery that builds slowly, from its very opening moments, into a world of  supernatural horrors, not unfamiliar, yet somehow unique.

The story revolves around a small rural town where the population begins to die from a mysterious illness after a family builds a large, out of place, Western-style, castle-like estate nearby and moves in. The town’s doctor, Toshio Ozaki, begins to investigate the mysterious and sudden deaths, and comes to a shocking conclusion, there are okiagari – vampires – thriving in the town and living in that strange estate. These people aren’t dying from a mysterious illness, they are being fed on, killed, and, many of them, are coming back to life.

Meanwhile, a teenage boy, Natsuno Yuuki/Koide, a recent arrival to this rural town from the big city, has been experiencing strange things himself. After the young Megumi Shimizu, who had a crush on him, died from this mysterious illness, Natsuno begins to see her in his dreams at night – but it is too real to be just a dream. He swears she must still be alive, and trying to attack him and his best friend Touru Mutou. Natsuno eventually discovers this to be true and, together with Touru’s younger brother and sister, decides to fight the okiagari.

Part 1 of this series from Funimation contains the first 12 episodes, which offer a good setup of what should be a strong series overall if these first 12 episodes are any clue. These are truly addictive and nail biting, and devoid of much of the childish characteristics that tend to plague a lot of anime series, like use of chibi, flying cats or bunny rabbits, and comic relief characters. That isn’t to say that Shiki is a total downer, absolutely not. In fact, Shiki is, through these first 12 episode, thoroughly enjoyable and filled with unexpected twists.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Shiki looks wonderful in this 1080p AVC encodement from Funimation. A true high definition transfer, there are no telltale signs of upscaling like aliasing around the line art or video noise in fills and backgrounds. The colors are absolutely vibrant, which is vital in this series that relies on a bold palette of colors.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Audio is equally enjoyable on this release. The purists get a strong Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 stereo (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack with literal translation subtitles. It has clean dialogue, a good sense of stereo separation, and rather extended low frequencies given the absence of an LFE channel. The English dubThe mix is atmospheric, full of dynamics with lots of headroom to spare, and with a much wider sense of spatial depth. The sound effects that create the gloomy sense of doom throughout the series are used really well in this 5.1 mix which forgoes the in-your-face, discrete and aggressive route for a more subtle, lush soundscape.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

There are really only two supplements on here worth sitting through and those are the two audio commentaries from the English cast and crew. Everything else is pretty much promotional in essence, previews of each volume of the series, the obligatory clean opening and closing animations, and further Funimation trailers.

The supplements:

  • Episode 1 Commentary
  • Episode 12 Commentary
  • Preview Featurette Vol. 01
  • Preview Featurette Vol. 02
  • Preview Featurette Vol. 03
  • Preview Featurette Vol. 04
  • Textless Opening Song – Kuchizuke
  • Textless Closing Song – Walk No Yakusoku
  • Funimation Trailers

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

A well crafted horror-thriller focused on – what else? – vampires, Shiki: Part 1 from Funimation offers 12 episodes of beautifully animated, well written, and addictive entertainment wrapped in a reference quality Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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