As I have previously admitted, I am not an anime-type of guy. It is just something I never got into, and so when I received a copy of B: The Beginning, I was not entirely sure what to expect. What I found was something wholly unexpected.
Our series is set in the fictional country of Cremona in a world where technology reigns supreme. One of the most powerful to reign is a mysterious killer known only as “Killer B” who uses technology and perhaps even supernatural powers to murder his victims. The story’s primary focus is on Keith Kazama Flick, a legendary Detective in the Royal Investigation Service (RIS) who puts together a team to discover who “Killer B” is and find themselves in a larger plot than they ever realized.
One thing that I love about this series is that you do not need to be into Anime to enjoy it. What stood out to me is how it harkens back to other genres, particularly – X-Files comes to mind. The detective investigates things, which might fall out of the realm of “normal,” and he has to deal with the reality of those things. It nicely blends a standard police procedural element with sci-fi and even mythology to create something unique. The storytelling is also superb. There is no lagging feeling. The story is always moving forward at a fast but natural pace, revealing secrets as it goes along to keep you wanting to hang in for more.
Visually, the cinematography (if that is what you call it in animation) is impressive. There are scenes in which you almost forget it is animation because of the cool camera tricks happening. Track shots like you might see in a Brian DePalma film. Visuals you would not expect. And the sense of suspense you might find in an Alfred Hitchcock film. Things generally don’t just happen for shock value. There is a suspenseful period where you digest what may or may not happen, and we eventually get to that point on edge just wanting to know what happens.
As far as quality, these Blu-ray transfers are quite impressive. While B: The Beginning has availability on Netflix, I compared the two for quality, and it became apparent immediately that the Blu-ray version won. The images, colors, and deep black tones all were strong and clear. If you want to see this series as it is meant to be seen, I would skip the Netflix version and go straight for this. You won’t be disappointed.
Shout! Factory is releasing two versions of this release: A Blu-Ray Combo Pack and THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION. My views were based on the Blu-ray combo pack, but here is some info about both versions:
Bonus Content for B: THE BEGINNING SEASON ONE Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD)
- Series presentation in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and English dub
- Pilot film that inspired the Netflix series
- Clean Opening – Clean Ending
- Interview with Kazuto Nakazawa
- A mini-poster
- Two art cards
B: THE BEGINNING – THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION (Limited-Edition)
- • Series presentation in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and English dub
- • Pilot film that inspired the Netflix series
- • Clean Opening – Clean Ending
- • Interview with director Kazuto Nakazawa
- • 160-page hardback book: A comprehensive series bible, packed with information about every element of B: The Beginning’s world and story, taking fans behind the scenes of its production with staff interviews, character designs, background artwork, location information and more.
- Original Soundtrack on CD (featuring 21 tracks, including the previously unreleased “Farewell to the Black-winged King”)
- Three art cards
- 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1),
- Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Original Japanese and English Dub
- Subtitles: English
- Runtime: 300 minutes
B: The Beginning release from Shout! Factory on Tuesday, October 6th and is definitely worth the ride!
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