Friday, January 17, 2014

Katanagatari: Volume One Premium Edition (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) - An appreciation of unusual aesthetics

The Katanagatari: Volume One Premium Edition (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) pack is a beautiful way to appreciate the rather unique yet beautiful animation that the series itself employs. While the style may seem simple at first it carries with it an elegant charm, and the illustrations on the box are rather beautiful and highly stylized.

The box itself is rather large, standing tall enough to hold both DVD/Blu-rays one on top of another instead of one behind the next. It's a rather intimidating box that doesn't fit well on a DVD shelf, which is only natural as the case itself is intended to be displayed. If you're looking just to possess the series itself this likely isn't the way to go, but the extra features are well worth it.

The box itself is rather sturdy cardboard with beautiful illustrations wrapped around it. The front and back feature art from the series, which is modeled after more traditional Japanese art as opposed to the more common digital art style that is prevalent in series these days. It carries an entirely different aesthetic than most anime series. It is a nice display piece even if you find you aren't a fan of the series.

Each of the DVD/Blu-rays is decorated with a more straight-forward piece of art from the series proper. The DVDs and Blu-rays are decorated with a rather simple image of a leaf over the center of the disc. While DVDs recently have featured somewhat extravagant art, the simplicity of the discs fits well with the series proper.

As far as the DVD/Blu-rays themselves are concerned, there isn't much in the way of extras aside from the creditless opening and endings, which is more impressive than it sounds since each episode of the series features a new ending. That brings the total of extra videos to seven, as there are six episodes in the first half of the series. The series itself is only in Japanese with English subtitles, so there's no option for people who dislike reading subtitles. It shouldn't be a problem, however, and the lack of a dub track makes the set cheaper than it would be otherwise. The only real issue is the fact that the Blu-ray discs feature smaller subtitles than the DVD episodes, but it shouldn't be much of a problem.

The series also comes with an artbook which features not only short recaps of the episodes included in the set but also a few illustrations near the back that aren't related to the episodes themselves. The episode recap pages also feature illustrations on the opposite page, giving episode-specific art as well as the unrelated pictures near the end.

The series itself is rather beautiful and features an entertaining cast of characters, and is well worth the money spent to purchase this collection. The lead character is another of your idiot protagonists, but more than just being an idiot he's clueless. He accepts things as they are and easily gives in to his companions' corrections. Even the leading female's insistence that he finish their enemies with a flare is taken to heart almost immediately.

Overall it's a series I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of the arts as well as anime in general. It is visually pleasing in all regards and the story is interesting in its many unusual interpretations of what it is to wield a sword of unusual power.

There are two parts to this set, both of which you can purchase here:

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