In 1973, animation studio Tatsunoku Productions created the anime series "Shinzo Ningen Casshern" (Neo-Human Casshern) which was written and directed by Takao Koyama and was an adaptation of the manga serialized on Kodansha's Terebi Magazine and Akita Shoten's "Boken Oh". The character has sinced appeared in a 1993 OVA and in 2004, a live action film was made.
In 2008, big news was announced that Casshern would be appearing in the video games "Tatsunoku Fight" and "Tatsunoku vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars" but the biggest announcement was that the series would receive a reboot and begin airing on television under the name "Casshern Sins". A series that will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment and both parts (featuring 12 episodes each) will be released simultaneously on August 17th.
The new series would be directed by Shigeyasu Yamauchi (director for "Dragon Ball Z", "Dragon Ball GT", "Saint Seiya" and "Xenosaga: The Animation"), the series would feature a screenplay by Yasuko Kobayashi ("Galaxy Angel", "Claymore", "Witchblade" and "Yume Tsukai"). Character designs for the series is by Yoshihiko Umakoshi ("Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor", "Zipang" and "Marmalade Boy").
In the original series, the story revolved around a cybernetic neorider named Casshern who turned himself into a Cyborn in order to stop robots from ruling the world. His father Dr. Kotaru Azuma had created robots to serve mankind but the first android known as Braiking Boss escaped and ended up leading the robots and creating an army to destroy mankind.
In the new reboot titled "Casshern Sins", the story is much different as the Braiking Boss has ruled the world and a mysterious girl named Luna was the hope of mankind to save the world from the robots. Because Luna has become a big threat, Braiking Boss sent three cyborg warriors to kill her: Casshern, Dio and Leda.
Casshern ends up killing Luna and ended up creating a catastrophic event which nearly ended the world as the atmosphere was filled with poison, humans were no longer able to reproduce and now humanity is near extinction. But the poison also caused harm to the robots as the poison had eroded their parts and now in order for the robots to survive, they are told that if they find Casshern, they must devour him for eternal life.
But Casshern has been missing since he killed Luna and now he is back, but with no memory of what he did to the world and now is on a journey to learn more about his past and what he was created for.
"Casshern Sins: Part Two" looks fantastic on Blu-ray. Presented in 1080p the animation style features solid colors but there is a dream-like state to the animation and during the fight sequences, you can pause and just frame-by-frame, look at how cool they made those certain scenes look and how much detail they put into Casshern as he goes for the kill or is just leaping all over the place to defeat the enemy.
It's also important to note of how the animation really pays homage to the original Tatsunoku Productions animation with the look and feel of the characters but then adding the modern spin by the blacks and grungy sequences during the battles. Very good shadowing and definitely one of the better looking anime TV series to be released on Blu-ray ths far.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Casshern Sins: Part Two" is presented in English DolbyTrue HD 5.1 and Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0 stereo. The good news is that the series does take advantage of the surround channels and you can hear the booms, thumps and the metal breaking through the surrounds and also the clear dialogue through the center and the music and other sound effects through the front channels. I do wish there was more use of the LFE throughout the first 12-episodes. Of course, the English lossless soundtrack has more utilization of the surrounds, while the Japanese lossless soundtrack effectively uses the front left and right speakers during the action sequences and utilizing the panning of sound between the two speakers.
Subtitles are in English.
"Casshern Sins: Part Two" comes with the following special features:
* Mini Concert - (3:34) Featuring a live performance of Color Bottle singing the opening theme "Azure's Flowers".
* Original Commercials - (1:06) Featuring two Japanese commercials promoting the Japanese release of the DVD & Blu-ray box sets.
* Textless Opening Song: Aoi Hana
* Textless Closing Song: Reason
* Trailers - Trailers for FUNimation Entertainment titles.
"Casshern Sins" continues its action-packed storyline as it did with the first half of the series but instead of being an anime series of mindless and continuous battles between Casshern and robots, the second series becomes more of a story of morality and the appreciation of life but also death. The storyline is much more deeper, richer and if anything, a fitting conclusion to the end series.
The second half of the series definitely improves in story as we get to see Casshern and his newfound friends as they journey to Luna but to discover something much more different than they have ever expected. That was one surprise but the anime series delivers in more surprises as we get to see how characters such as Dio, Leda and even the Braiking Boss start to have a change of heart and without spoiling the story, the writers did a really good job in developing the characters for the remainder of the final episodes. Well done!
As for which series was better, the 1973 "Neo-Human Casshern" or the 2008 reboot "Casshern Sins", I haven't watched the original anime series but by reading the synopsis of each, both are quite different with the former dealing with the protection of humanity against the robots, while "Casshern Sins"...humanity is pretty much nearly extinct and so the series is more about life and death and appreciating that life, robot or human.
Needless to say, I would assume the newer series is much more darker and deeper than the former but despite all the violence in this newer series, the fact that those who are being killed, impaled, corroding or destroyed are primarily robots. The series can be seen as violent and even though we can see a lot of blood coming out of Casshern at times, we know he's not human and was developed by Braiking Boss, so I believe it gave writers some leeway to show this much violence because the majority of the characters are not humans.
The series has definitely been one of the more artistic and unique looking anime series to appear on Blu-ray thus far. Picture quality is very well done, lossless audio is also well done with its amount of action and fans should be happy to see the addition of a Japanese lossless audio track. Both volumes are not loaded with special features and at least you do get something instead of the typical trailers and textless opening and ending themes.
Overall, I was very content with how this series had ended and how it became a more deeper story towards the end of the series. if you are looking for a beautiful looking anime series on Blu-ray with a lot of action and a very good storyline, I definitely recommend both volums of "Casshern Sins".