Buyer’s Guide: FUNimation October 2018 Releases

Well, this is certainly something new, isn’t it? And in the quest for PodcastONA to become a one-stop shop for all things anime news and information, that means trying some things out that go beyond the usual 90-to-120 minute podcast episode. And one such thing worth trying out is a regular piece on this site called the “Buyer’s Guide,” where I give you all the rundown on upcoming home video releases and inform you on if they are – or aren’t – worth putting some money down on. So let’s start this off with FUNimation’s October releases; first unveiled at Anime Expo earlier this month, we now have some deeper details on their newest offerings, as well as some re-releases coming down the line as well.

EDIT: Pop Team Epic has been confirmed for October and has been included in this posting.

October 2, 2018:

Pop Team Epic – Season 1 (Blu-ray + Digital)

Crude, rude, and a little…cute? Get ready for the larger-than-life attitude of Popuko and Pipimi, the small and tall stars of Pop Team Epic. Based off the popular four-panel webcomic comes a bizarre comedy filled with plenty of absurdity!

Price: $54.98 MSRP
POV: Yes, you should buy this as this is one of the zaniest – and best – shows to come out of 2018. But regarding that “season one” tagline, we’ll just have to wait and see if there’s a need for a second season to be produced. Crossing my fingers on it.

Dragonball Super – Part 5 (DVD, Blu-ray)

Following their first encounter with Goku Black, the Saiyan trio are itching to dish out some payback! With everyone’s lives on the line, the Z Fighters must face the problem head-on or try to alter the timeline at the source!

Price: $39.98 MSRP (DVD), $44.98 MSRP (Blu-ray)
POV: It’s the latter half of the Future Trunks/Zamasu arc of Super, and for what it’s worth, it’s an alright arc with a fairly strong climax. I’d only recommend this to those who are actively collecting the releases of Super and not many others, though.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. – Season 1 (Blu-ray + Digital)

Saiki Kusuo is your typical 16-year-old high school student, except for one thing—he’s got psychic powers. High school isn’t making things easy, though. While he’s got the world at his fingertips, the one thing he’ll never get…is a break.

Price: $69.98 MSRP
POV: this is a re-release of the first season of Saiki K., now in a complete package, and it’s a pretty well-regarded comedy with some weirdness to it all. Curious minds should check it out on Netflix, along with its second season, before committing to a purchase.

Hyouka – The Complete Series (Blu-ray + Digital)

This charming tale of high school romance and intricate mystery continues as the Classic Lit Club prepares for a big festival. Instead, they find themselves in the middle of a mystery that only they seem fit to solve.

Price: $69.98 MSRP
POV: this is one of the most highly regarded shows of the past few years, KyoAni or otherwise, so if you’ve been waiting to buy it, here’s the time to do it.

Rosario+Vampire – The Complete Series [Essentials] (Blu-ray + Digital)

Tsukune’s terrible grades stick him in a school where all his classmates are monsters—-and if they figure out his human status, he’s fresh meat. Things perk up when his scent attracts the hungry lips of a gorgeous vampire named Moka. Soon Tsukune is seduced by a succubus, tormented by a frisky witch, and stalked by a snow fairy! He’s a slacker in the human world but scores an A+ with monsters.

Price: $34.98 MSRP
POV: Oh boy… this show. It’s certainly priced low enough at a $35 MSRP to serve well as an impulse buy, but take it from me: this anime isn’t all that good. Read the manga instead, it blows this out of the water. Or, at the very least, just watch it through FUNimationNow if you’re curious.

High Speed! -Free! Starting Days- (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital)

Before they were making waves in high school, Haru and Makoto took their marks in junior high! Take a dive into the past with your favorite swimming boys and new faces as they learn what it means to work together and make new friends.

Price: $34.98 MSRP
POV: FINALLY this is coming out, took long enough after its December 2015 release in Japan. This is the prequel film of the Free! series, it’s chock full of very good boys, and in a way it’s also a movie about love. But maybe not that kind of love. Or maybe.

Free! -Take Your Marks- (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital)

While Haru and Makoto prepare to move to college, Nagisa and Rei worry about the future of the swim club. Could this be the end of their beloved team or can they find new recruits? Then, hilarity ensues when the boys of Samezuka hit up the hot springs!

Price: $34.98 MSRP
POV: And this is the “mid-quel” of the Free! series, set right in-between seasons 2 and 3, presented as a set of vignettes showing the paths the cast has taken after the events of the second season. Also, Rin’s family has a fat cat named Steve – that’s just adorably awesome.

Free! Movie Bundle (Blu-ray +  DVD + Digital)

From their days in middle school through preparation for college, you can follow your favorite swimming boys in their race to be the best. Set includes: High Speed! -Free! Starting Days-, Free! -Timeless Medley- double feature The Bond & The Promise, and Free! -Take Your Marks-.

Price: $99.98 MSRP
POV: So why not just get all four movies in one beautiful package? This is the only way (at least, for now) to get both of the -Timeless Medley- recap films, which do have some new footage spliced in, and this is definitely a diehard-centric release right here. Kind of a shame that these all have to come out after the third season is over, but for me, I’ll take whatever I can get.

October 9, 2018:

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital)

Moriko is ready to log out of real life and into the online game, Fruits de Mer. Here she plays the handsome Hayashi who meets the sweet Lily. But when Lily turns out to be salaryman Yuta Sakurai, can Moriko handle her overwhelmingly full heart gauge?

Price: $64.98 MSRP
POV: Well, this show is certainly going to test the “art vs. artist” theory, in that this is a fantastic show directed by an abhorrently awful human being. It’s worth noting that said director is no longer employed by this show’s production studio, so make of that what you will.

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches [Essentials] (Blu-ray + Digital)

Suzaku High has a big secret, one that punk Ryu Yamada finds himself tangled in after a literal run-in with honor student Urara Shiraishi. Through an accidental kiss the two end up in one bizarre body swap. But it’s only the first of weird things happening at this school. Soon they discover the school legend of the seven witches and solving it means that Yamada can kiss his normal life goodbye!

Price: $29.98 MSRP
POV: Behold, the ultimate bisexual make-out show. Although unlikely there will be more of this show (pleasepleaseplease), this is a charming romp of a show that’s tailor-made for shippers, and at under $30? It’s like they’re giving it to you. The manga is excellent as well, check it out wherever you can.

Prison School [Essentials] (Blu-ray + Digital)

When the prestigious all-girls Hachimitsu Private Academy becomes co-ed, five young men are the first males to attend. But the girls aren’t so accepting of their new classmates. After the boys get caught peeping, The Underground Student Council enforces an absurd punishment. For a month, the boys must live within the school’s very own penal system while enduring long, hard, and humiliating tasks.

Price: $29.98 MSRP
POV: This show? AFTER DARK CINEMAX-LEVEL LEWD. And it’s one of those shows that brings the fanservice to the forefront as opposed to the story, as lewd of a story as it may be. Fine for a cheap pickup but not much else.

World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman [Essentials] (Blu-ray + Digital)

Welcome to Akane Academy where our unlikely hero, Moroha Haimura, has just enrolled. Moroha quickly learns to harness the magical powers of his two past lives, which he must use to fend off fantastic, evil beasts. His trouble with women might be an understatement, but that won’t stop Moroha from learning the secrets of his former lives to help protect the fate of the world!

Price: $29.98 MSRP
POV: Oh look, another ecchi academy fantasy show. Haven’t seen one of those in a few days. I’m sure it’s got its audience, but for me? Nah. Go watch New Devil instead. Another cheap pickup for those inclined.

Monster Hunter Stories Ride On – Season 1, Part 4 (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital)

Finding the last of the Kinship Ore has become Lute’s top priority! However, both Dr. Manelger and Cheval continue to cause problems for the group, and as the legend of Redan unfolds, Blighted monsters remain a constant threat.

Price: $64.98 MSRP
POV: I’ve always had a hunch this was picked up to put on a kids’ TV network. That didn’t happen, so why let it go to waste, right? Yeah, I don’t know much about this, honestly. Shrug.

NANBAKA – Part 2 (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital)

Things are calming down after Jyugo’s drama but when trouble begins to stir in Building 5, the idiots with numbers face their deadliest challenge yet! A powerful guard has broken out of his cell and it’s up to them to save Nanba.

Price: $64.98 MSRP
POV: This is the half of NANBAKA that was online-only, and of the two halves, this is honestly the lesser half of the show. Not terrible by any means, but a bit of a step down in comparison. Get it if you want a complete set, or wait for a cheaper release sometime down the line.

Zillion [sub-only] (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital)

The year is 2387, and humanity is at war with a merciless alien species—the Noza. Both vying for control of planet Maris, humanity’s best chance for survival rests upon three young soldiers wielding powerful handheld weapons called Zillion.

Price: $64.98 MSRP
POV: Okay, who called THIS show getting licensed by FUNimation? This is a Tatsunoko show that dates back to 1987, and only the first five episodes and OVA were released by Streamline Pictures in the early 1990s, which makes this show a bit of a lost relic. Probably check it out once it’s available online first, before committing to buying it.

October 16, 2018:

Heavy Object – Season 1 (Blu-ray + Digital)

In the future, nations fight with advanced technology known as Objects. But when two rookie soldiers, Qwenthur and Havia, manage to take down an enemy with nothing more than their wits, the government deploys them on more impossible missions!

Price: $69.98 MSRP
POV: I… suppose it’s a fine show? Kinda don’t know a whole lot about this one, sorry, so I can’t say much.

Orange [Essentials] (Blu-ray + Digital)

Second-year student, Naho Takamiya, receives a letter from her 26-year-old self, forewarning the tragic future of a boy named Kakeru. Its advice proves true when he transfers to her school, but Kakeru’s dark past keeps him from opening up to anyone. As Naho and a close group of friends try to change his future, will their combined efforts be enough to prevent the greatest regret of their lives?

Price: $29.98 MSRP
POV: Ohhhhh, that’s a travesty of a label placement for this show. Kind of a shame it’s headed to the “cheap” bin, I’ve heard great things about Orange, honestly.

Dance with Devils [Essentials] (Blu-ray + Digital)

Join us for a musical delight about devils, danger, and love from the studio behind Princess Jellyfish. Ritsuka Tachibana goes from a normal life to wrapped up in a demon’s game. After she is summoned to meet with the mysterious boys of the student council, her life changes forever. Between dangerous hooded figures, demons, and vampires, a dark family past could lead to her doom!

Price: $29.98 MSRP
POV: Oh boy, more fujoshi bad-touch trash. Tread lightly.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War – Season 1 (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital)

The time has come for the deadly Twelfth Juni Taisen Tournament! Twelve warriors, each baring a name from the Chinese zodiac, will fight in the bloody battle royal. The victor is granted a single wish, and they’ll do whatever it takes to earn it.

Price: $64.98 MSRP
POV: You want a popcorn show that’s dumb as dirt but still incredibly entertaining? Here you go.

Snow White With the Red Hair – The Complete Series (Blu-ray + Digital)

Just as everything seemed to be falling into place, Shirayuki’s happily ever after is put on hold. After word of a mysterious boy searching for a girl with apple-red hair reaches the castle, Shirayuki is swept into a harrowing journey that will put her face to face with her past as she tries to determine what her future holds.

Price: $69.98 MSRP
POV: All in one set? Now’s the time to buy, this show is well recommended as it’s one of the better shōjo series to come out in a long, long while.

Mamoru Hosoda Movie Collection (Blu-ray + Digital)

For the first time ever, experience the wonder and beauty of the Mamoru Hosoda film collection. Based on real-life experiences and events, Hosoda has crafted stories that will whisk you away to faraway lands while capturing your heart with endearing characters. From the struggles of a young single mother to a boy seeking a family in a wondrous world, these films will leave you enchanted and awestruck with stunning animation.

Set includes: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, and The Boy and the Beast.

Price: $99.98 MSRP
POV: Um… well, if you don’t already own these films, I guess this is the best way to buy it? As of now, there aren’t any special features or contents listed, so if you’re curious about the package, hold off until more confirmation is given. Also, *ahem* WHERE IS ONE PIECE MOVIE 6 COME ON TOEI ALREADY *ahem* sorry, had to get that off my chest.

October 23, 2018:

Witch Hunter Robin (DVD + Digital)

Robin Sena is a powerful craft user drafted into the STNJ—a group of specialized hunters that fight deadly beings known as Witches. Though her fire power is great, she’s got a lot to learn about her powers and working with her cool and aloof partner, Amon. But the truth about the Witches and herself will leave Robin on an entirely new path that she never expected! 

Price: $54.98 MSRP
POV: FIVE years later, we get another Bandai/Sunrise rescue license out on disc. So if you vaguely remember this show from Adult Swim back in 2004 and don’t own it, here’s your second shot; alas, this is stuck being DVD-only as it’s one of those early digi-paint shows that’s locked to SD forever, and an upscale wouldn’t look all that good. (Unless you’re Megalobox, but that’s for another time.) Maybe watch it when it’s online first before buying the DVD.

91 Days [Essentials] (Blu-ray + Digital)

Prohibition— a lawless era where bootleggers prosper and mobsters prowl. Avilio Bruno has grown up alone in this murky world after the Vanetti’s murdered his family. One day, he receives a letter that holds the key to revenge. Befriending the don’s son, Nero, Avilio works his way through the Vanetti family and sets his vengeance in motion.

Price: $29.98 MSRP
POV: I recall this show was pretty widely praised when it was airing, but I can see why a show set in Prohibition-era America wouldn’t be a super hot seller. So in a cheaper set, I’d get it.

TSUKIUTA. The Animation [sub-only] [Essentials] (Blu-ray + Digital)

Shake it, love! Take to the stage with the beautiful boys of Six Gravity and Procellarum in a series filled with music, sweet dance moves, and even a bit of magic—at least that’s what Shun promises! Follow these two idol groups as the balance everything from school work to living under the same roof. Can they handle the pressures of stardom and sharing dorm space with their rivals?

Price: $24.98 MSRP
POV: As for this? Yeah, no thanks, fam. I’ll take Idolmaster SideM or Idolish7 instead. Don’t go dollar store when the good stuff is right next door.

Endride – The Complete Series (Blu-ray + Digital)

When a crystal warps Shun Asanaga into a world deep beneath Earth’s surface, he confronts the moody Prince Emilio who is hellbent on killing the king. Just when the two seem perfectly at odds, Shun discovers an incredible power and winds up on a dangerous journey with a ragtag team of rebels. Seeking a portal between worlds, will the prince finally get his revenge, and will Shun find a way home?

Price: $69.98 MSRP
POV: Well… I mean, it looks kinda pretty? Probably worth watching online, but to buy it you’d have to be a real big fan. And my understanding is that there aren’t that many for this show.

Concrete Revolutio – The Complete Series (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital)

In a world of fantastical creatures, the government has formed a bureau of powerful fighters to protect those with supernatural abilities. But society and government clash on defining the lines of justice. Past and future weave a web of corruption in this striking phantasmagoria where heroes are killers, beauties are beasts, and even the bureau’s only human member has something up his sleeve.

Price: $84.98 MSRP
POV: And then there’s THIS show. Been about three years since it first aired, and it’s amassed a good bit of a cult fanbase for itself. The fans will buy this, I’m certain, but as for everyone else? Maybe give it a trial run before buying it, given… well, it’s Shō Aikawa writing it.

October 30, 2018:

Dagashi Kashi – Season 2 (Blu-ray + Digital)

The snack pack is back, and this time they’re bringing the toys…toys and games, that is! Right as things are raring to go, Hotaru suddenly leaves. With the queen gone, the snack kingdom crumbles, and Shikada Dagashi goes from shop to shack. Now it’s up to Kokonotsu to bring it back to life!

Price: $39.98
POV: You want more candy girls? You got more candy girls, in half-length episode form this time around. I don’t know why, either, but if the audience for the first season is anything to judge by, more is certainly welcomed.

First Love Monster [Essentials] (Blu-ray + Digital)

High schooler Kaho Nikaido is having trouble adjusting to her new life in Tokyo. It doesn’t get any easier when she is nearly hit by a truck and saved by the handsome Kanade Takahashi! Infatuated with Kanade, she works up the courage to confess. But he warns that if Kaho learns who he is, she won’t want him. What could possibly keep her from this stud? Maybe the fact that he’s…a fifth grader?! 

Price: $29.98 MSRP
POV: Um… I got nothing. Not one thing. But I wouldn’t touch this show, personally.

Taboo Tattoo [Essentials] (Blu-ray + Digital)

A tattoo is an ancient weapon that enhances the physical ability of its user. When Justice Akatsuka accepts a stone as a token of gratitude, a mysterious tattoo appears on his palm. And so the battle begins, framed by a web of conspiracies and centering around the boy who obtained a tattoo by complete chance.

Price: $29.98 MSRP
POV: This show? DUMPSTER. FIRE. I direct you to the episode of Dub Talk all about this glorious trash pile of a show, and that’s all you’ll need for this.

Recommended titles for the month:
Pop Team Epic
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
High Speed! -Free! Starting Days-
Free! -Take Your Marks-
Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Orange [Essentials]
Snow White with the Red Hair
91 Days [Essentials]

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