Review by: Ai Kano
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: Blu-ray: $59.98 US; DVD: $44.98 US
Running Time: 288 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now
How do you make up for destroying the world?
While I wasn’t born when “Neo-Human Casshern” was released in 1973, I did get to watch the series back in Japan and enjoyed it enough that when the reboot, Casshern Sins, was announced here on our side of the pond I could tell you I was excited enough to get everyone in this office excited. Released in two parts simultaneous on DVD and Blu-ray, we get our hands on the Blu-ray version of Part One of Casshern Sins and can safely say that this series is destined to be a true masterpiece and one of this year’s best anime releases.
Casshern Sins starts off with a bang as well as a fragment of a memory of a possible assassination of a girl who might have been the glue that holds the world together. You see, the slender and beautiful frame of a young man in an odd skintight uniform and helmet waits patiently to go up against a group of rusting robots that all want to devour him. All around him, the world – just like the robots – crumbles away. This young man is known as Casshern and while he doesn’t remember it, his sin is having caused this destructive event known as the Ruin.
Confirming this is a mysterious girl named Lyuze who accuses Casshern of killing “the Sun called Moon” as well as her sister and attacks the young man who goes on a quest to find out what he did and to discover the truth about himself. Why can’t he die and why does his injuries heal? Is he a robot or is he human? Why do all the robots believe that devouring his flesh would stop the Ruin from killing them and granting them immortality? He doesn’t know and when he meets a robot-child named Ringo who asks him these question it makes Casshern want to look for answers.
Along the way, the young man comes across the devastation caused by the Ruin but also the robotic and human inhabitants of the dying world. He finds himself trying to redeem himself by helping people he comes across such as the robot couple that is attacked by robotic bandits looking for spare parts. Interestingly enough, these two robots live their lives like humans and believe they are genuinely in love. The couple isn’t alone because they live with their mechanized dog named Friender (a nod to “Neo-Human Casshern“) as well as other robots that learn his identity and turn on him. Unfortunately, Casshern loses control and defends himself in the most violent way.
While he started his journey alone, Casshern finds himself trailed by Friender who both hates Casshern for what he did to the robots he lived with but also following him out of loneliness. Together they come across a lone human named Akoz who has been searching for the robots that Casshern defended himself against because of the rumors that they have accepted the fact that they were going to die. He also comes across a robot named Sophita who considers herself a fire and wishes to test her battle skills against Casshern … until she realizes the she has fallen in love with him.
Casshern also meets a redheaded robot who sings beautifully (and voiced to perfection by Caitlyn Glass in the English dub), a robot whose only desire is to bring something unique to the world by ringing a bell in the tower she created. In another episode, Casshern is touched by a crippled robot who wanted to bring beauty to an abandoned city by giving it color. It’s strange but all the robots Casshern he meets are driven by human desires and many of them even have strong desires to live.
In an interesting twist, however, Casshern comes across people that are much like him … one of which is on a mission to kill Casshern to right his wrong. Meanwhile, Lyuze returns to reveal to Casshern the nature of his sins and the sister he killed. Although she despises him at no end, Lyuze just can’t kill a person who is trying to make up for his sins. With every episode we catch a brief glimpse of Casshern and the girl he killed named Luna and what she meant to the world.
A deep and meaningful story aside, the series isn’t without its intense action sequences throughout that just get better with each episode. Another aspect of the series that really works is the animation that is actually quite striking and different from what we’ve seen on other anime series. Even the voice acting, both the Japanese voices and the English dub, are topnotch.
A stylishly original and deeply compelling anime series that takes a bold step in a new direction in terms of the genre, Casshern Sins is nothing short of impressive and compulsively watch worthy. If Part One is any indication of what the second half of this series is going to be like then FUNimation has a new classic on its hands and anime lovers will have a new series to talk about so missing this one is not an option, trust me. Buying this on Blu-ray is a very good idea but no matter what format you prefer, this is one you must not miss.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Not knowing who he is or why he is compelled to slay the rusting robots of a dying world, a young man named Casshern searches for clues of who he is and why every robots thinks they will gain immortality if they eat him. As he tries to understand the sin of killing the person who brought balance to this world, Casshern’s journey takes him on a grand adventure.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
The first 13 episodes of the series look amazing on Blu-ray and this is a very good thing since the animation in this series is simply stunning in ways that make this anime really stand out. Everything from the robots to the crumbling world are a true visual feast.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The quality of the voice acting is top notch no matter what your preference is but the English dub voices do stand out in a good way thanks to great performances all around. Besides that, the original score by Kaoru Wada is memorable and the opening and closing tunes are amazing but we loved the closing theme song “Reason” the most.
There are some trailers for upcoming FUNimation releases but the best extra comes in the form of a featurette that covers a 2008 event in Japan when they previewed the first episode to a large audience. The Japanese voice cast and the director were on hand and the Q&A is somewhat interesting.
Part One of Casshern Sins is an unforgettable anime experience that will blow you away. It’s an imaginative and thought provoking series that keeps getting better with each episode and there’s no doubt in my mind that his one will turn out to be a true classic in its genre. Casshern Sins will make a fan out of you in no time.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment