Welcome to the Otaku Collection haul for the month of January 2021. This update features 12 anime titles, 4 manga volumes, and 1 video game. One of the anime titles is also technically part of the Asian cinema selection.
When I first started the year, I was expecting a pretty small haul with some titles here and there. Instead what I get is a much larger haul thanks to another big sale that had occurred throughout the whole month, plus there’s also arrivals from last year’s pre-orders and other additional items that I wanted to get.
#01 | Junji Ito’s Remina
The first item of the month was a gift sent to me by a friend. While I have not yet read Junji Ito’s Remina, I plan to sort out a way to read a whole bunch of novels and manga later down the line so I’ll save it for then (I haven’t started his manga adaptation of No Longer Human yet either). Concept looks intriguing!
#02 | Mob Psycho 100 II
A few days after 2020 ended, Zavvi out of nowhere began a 40% off sale on Manga Entertainment titles. I actually shrugged it off at first until I realised the prices were actually way better than MVM’s 20% off sale. There were some stock issues but I was able to order three anime releases that I felt would lose their slipcovers first and one of them shipped and arrived first.
Mob Psycho 100 II is a very good series, but my expectations were muddled by the final four episodes of the show due to a poorly constructed cop-out of a cliff-hanger around episode 8-9 of the show. That being said, I did want to own it on Blu-ray as I did like aspects of the final act regardless. I passed on the limited edition because I didn’t want to spend that much on a series that I had mixed first impressions for.
#03 | Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative
Next is another Gundam release with Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative, and is not only said to be the weakest Gundam in the franchise but the UK release is also the weakest. Good lord this film can’t catch a break.
Long story short, the UK release uses the theatrical masters rather than the Blu-ray masters and also has very few extras compared to the Nozomi US release. Basically if you like the film, grab the US version or the Japanese release.
#04 | How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? and Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
The remaining two anime that I bought from the Zavvi 40% off sale arrived a few days later – How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? and Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. Both of these I also watched during simulcast and were great fun so it was nice to see them finally brought over to the UK. I actually have not yet watched the OVA for Dragon Maid surprisingly so I’ll need to watch that at some point.
You may have noticed the cover art for Dragon Maid is different to the original release from Funimation. That’s because the artwork is based solely on the Classics release but this time with a slipcover. Dumbbells meanwhile has a misspelling on the spine for both the slipcover and main artwork lol.
#05 | Millennium Actress
Next we have our second 4K Ultra HD anime release and one that I ordered during the 12 Days of Christmas sale with Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress finally available in the UK on both 4K and Blu-ray formats. I actually managed to watch the film for the first time on the 4K format and it looked great. The film is not designed to utilise HDR but the overall restoration looked good. I like the film and while the ending is sad and some parts of the story can be hard to follow, it’s worth a watch.
#06 | Cyber City Oedo 808
Next is another anime from the 12 Days of Christmas sale with Cyber City Oedo 808, an OVA series from the 90s. I have not watched this just yet but it’s interesting to see the amount of shitstorms this UK Blu-ray release has had because the quality of the upscale is… something. From what I gather it’s basically on part with those mixed-bag Funimation in-house upscales so keep that in mind.
#07 | Monster Musume manga volumes 7-9
So I was given a discount code for Book Depository and decided to use them to acquire more manga volumes for Monster Musume. This time we have volumes 7, 8 & 9. I am still not up-to-date with the series but my progress is getting closer bit by bit. I do think I can get the series completely up-to-date by the end of Spring depending on the pacing and tactics I take, as there’s other manga series that I also need to catch up on.
#08 | Owarimonogatari Volume 3 and Zoku Owarimonogatari
Hooray! I finally did it. Seven years of acquiring the Aniplex of America releases of Monogatari has come to a close with Owarimonogatari Volume 3 and Zoku Owarimonogatari. These two volumes conclude the Monogatari series: Final Season saga and it feels unreal that I was able to get all of the volumes before they went out of print.
I do find it funny how I was behind to where the UK releases surpassed my collection with Kizumonogatari Part 3 and Tsukimonogatari, and now it’s the exact opposite because the UK has yet to release or license Koyomimonogatari, Owarimonogatari Volume 3 and Zoku Owarimonogatari.
#09 | Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion and NEW GAME
When Zavvi added more stock to their list of anime that were on offer for the 40% off Manga Entertainment sale, I remembered that the two that were often always selling out were Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion and NEW GAME, so I decided to order both of them sooner rather than save them for the February haul.
I already own Code Geass from KAZE’s DVD release and Funimation’s limited edition Blu-ray release, but the latter was defective due to mono audio so the UK Blu-ray re-release was the go-to from here on. I never watched NEW GAME when it first aired so I figured it was a good opportunity to order it now than never at the price it was given.
#10 | Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection
Next is a pre-order that should have gotten released back in October but somehow got delayed up to this point. I finally own Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection and actually watched it a few days ago. It was good fun and while some parts could have been expanded upon, I liked the film overall.
#11 | The Weird and Wonderful World of Ujicha
Earlier I mentioned there was an anime that would technically also classify as an Asian Cinema title, and this is the one I was referring to. The Weird and Wonderful World of Ujicha is a Gekimation anime collection which is a different artstyle to your usual 2D anime.
I watched one of the films in this collection called Violence Voyager and it was pretty good overall, though it does falter in its final 20 minutes in terms of direction. That being said, the animation work was really impressive and the horror aspect of the film was great. Other films included are The Burning Buddha Man, and three shorts Tempura, Space Yokai War, and The Retneprac 2.
#12 | Super Robot Wars X
The final item of the month is a video game! After watching the Code Geass films and the weird mess that is Gundam: Reconguista in G, I remembered that these two were featured in one of the International era Super Robot Wars games and that was Super Robot Wars X.
SRW X actually sold out on Play-Asia and I remembered it being harder to find in contrast to SRW V and SRW T. I was fortunate enough to find a copy available on eBay for roughly the same price as importing it from Play-Asia. My order also came with the steelbook which looks nice except it lacks the title on the spine so it’s kinda useless.
You can view more photos & specs for the titles below:
- Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection (CE Blu-ray & DVD)
- Cyber City Oedo 808 (CE Blu-ray)
- Millennium Actress (CE 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray)
- Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative (CE Blu-ray)
- Owarimonogatari Volume 3 (LE Blu-ray)
- Zoku Owarimonogatari (LE Blu-ray)
What’s to Come for the Hauls
February’s haul I would like to focus more on a mixture of everything as before. There’s no major anime coming during the month that I have on order. The big item I can say that will make an appearance at the time of this post is 88 Films’ The Young Master limited edition Blu-ray release which has been paid off when the pre-orders were made available in January.
Zavvi’s 40% off sale on Manga Entertainment is closing soon, so I may grab a few more titles to catch up on the regular UK Blu-ray releases (and ensure I have those slipcovers).
The only title I have on order that is currently scheduled for March is Anime Limited’s Planetes collector’s edition Blu-ray release which was supposed to be scheduled for February but got pushed back. I am expecting Anime Limited to unveil more collector’s editions that are due for this month so I’ll need to be a bit more cautious with my budget if I want those.
Similar to March, the only title I have on order for April is Anime Limited’s Violet Evergarden collector’s edition Blu-ray release which was supposed to be released in November & January, and would have dispatched in December but got postponed because of video quality issues. The good news is that it’s getting a new author, but we don’t know if it’s being handled correctly so that makes me a bit worried.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED ultimate edition Blu-ray release is still scheduled for an unknown timeframe but I do expect it will be available before June 2021 at the very least. Chances are it may land itself in either April or May’s schedule for Anime Limited.
And that’s practically it for the current upcoming items. I have signed up to UC so that I can hopefully receive some allowance to keep me going but that will depend on the job hunt. Found some interesting roles but those processes will take a while to sort out. Supporting me through Amazon will help me out a lot if you feel like pre-ordering stuff like an upcoming 4K release, a music CD/vinyl or even Blu-rays and books.
Moving on to the discussion of hauls as I always do with each of these monthly round-ups, there’s been some progress at least.
With Monogatari now completed, that just leaves me with the Fate spin-offs as well as the upcoming Japanese Blu-ray release of Heaven’s Feel III. Spring Song. There is of course the TV series box set of Anohana, but that is more-or-less not an exact priority at this point.
The Fate spin-offs remaining is pretty much all of them (lol) as we have Grand Order -First Order-, Apocrypha I & II, Extra Last Encore, Lord El-Melloi, and Grand Order: ADF Babylonia I & II. The latter is actually due for end of March and end of June so there’s no need to rush out for that one. The main focus is mostly going to be the older releases so the former two at least. I won’t be ordering these asap until I know how much allowance I will be able to get as well as how the currency exchange and UP1 UK prices will go from February onwards.
Anime Limited have a lot of big releases coming up throughout 2021 and so they will be a big obstacle to tackle once again. More Gundam is expected but also many new and old anime coming to Blu-ray that I would like to get my hands on.
The biggest titles from my perspective are Cardcaptor Sakura and Neon Genesis Evangelion. These two will likely sell as fast as Utena’s pre-order exclusives did, but saying that, the recent changes to the UK import system may affect how EU fans can get their hands on these sets (even if UK VAT is removed, I don’t expect the journey of shipping them from UK to EU countries to be that simple).
Funimation & Manga Entertainment
As some folks have noticed already, Manga Entertainment’s brand is slowly disappearing with some of the UK releases omitting its logo and only using the Funimation one instead (as seen with Fairy Tail Final Season, Fruits Basket and Hunter x Hunter). It’s weird but if it means less approval issues and more resemblance of the US sets then that would be for the best.
Manga revealed their Q2 2021 line-up just before February began, so I have a good idea on what to expect. We have BOFURI in April and Plunderer Part 1 in June as the big limited editions to acquire. There’s also CLANNAD which I am not immediately going to order because of the chances they’ll be using the rather old 2012 Sentai Filmworks Blu-ray discs instead of the recent ones.
Other titles I am interested in are Azur Lane, Bungo Stray Dogs, Dragon Ball Z, Fairy Tail, Golden Kamuy, HUMAN LOST, Hunter x Hunter, and No Guns Life, as well as 2020 releases like Astra Lost in Space, COP CRAFT, Demon Lord Retry!, Kemono Michi: Rise Up, My Hero Academia Season 3, and Steins;Gate: Load Region of Deja Vu. Fire Force and ID: INVADED are up in the air in terms of whether I would like to get their limited editions or not.
While I am going to support MVM more, they’re going to take a back seat temporarily due to funding and have a backlog of titles that I want to grab first. It doesn’t mean I’ll pass on their releases by all means, for instance if they manage to offer pre-orders for some titles that I am after (like Rascal Dreaming Girl if they are able to grab the license) and get them as soon as I can.
So video games has been acquired less often than I had realised. I still have a ton of PS4 games I would like to get, but I have trimmed the list a bit so that I am focusing more on the games that I feel I would like to get first.
2021’s games that have my interest and are coming that I know of are Re:ZERO: The Prophecy of the Throne, Root Film and Ys IX: Monstrum Nox. There’s various others but they will last way more than the niche Japanese games do (given NISA’s track record, Ys IX will be a repeat of what happened with Ys VIII and Utawarerumono in terms of stock).
As I managed to grab the Asian English release of Super Robot Wars X, the next major one to get is Super Robot Wars T followed by Bullet Girls Phantasia, End of Eternity, Full Metal Panic Fight! Who Dares Wins, Gintama Rumble, and Gundam Breaker 3 BREAK EDITION. Though if these games do get re-released for the Switch (like Girls und Panzer did) then I have no issue holding them off for that platform (except for SRW T as I’ll keep consistency with the other two on PS4).
88 Films have more in store for the Jackie Chan collection with Armour of God, Half A Loaf of Kung Fu, and Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow coming up next. The latter is actually going to be cut due to the BBFC’s ruling on animal cruelty though many aren’t that fussed because the scene in question is not that great.
Third Window Films have mostly been silent but they did announce the third Pink Films collection for March so if it is anything like the previous two sets then it would be worth me pre-ordering the release sooner rather than later. I also want to grab some of their recent releases that came out last year that I currently do not yet own which were Fish Story, Gemini, Melancholic and The Taste of Tea.
And that concludes the January 2021 collection post, stay tuned for the next post if I manage to get enough items that is.