DVD Review: Aria the Scarlet Ammo – The Complete Series

aria_scarlet_ammo_review_screenshot (1)Ever heard the phrase “i’ll pump you full of holes?”, No? well me neither, but this is the phrase often heard by Kinji in our latest DVD Review, Aria the Scarlet Ammo. Comical lines aside you can find out what we thought of the series in our DVD Review of Aria the Scarlet Ammo – The Complete Series.

Synopsis:

Aria is a volatile girl who wields two pistols and two swords and holds the highest rank in assault studies at a high school for young mercenaries. This pint-sized prodigy swoops in to save her classmate Kinji from a high-speed chase, but he ends up saving her after he switches from a boring wimp into a total hot shot! His secret? He only turns into something of a James Bond when he’s turned on!

Convinced Kinji’s an ace, Aria strong-arms him into being her partner – but she isn’t the only femme fatale who wants a taste of his coveted combat skills. Aria gets Kinji for one mission, but he’ll end up with more than one finger on his trigger!

Our View:

Kinji Toyama is a student at the Butei High School, a school that specialises in training Butei (aka Mercenaries) in the ways of Military grade combat – however despite attending this school Kinji wants nothing to do with the Butei world and tries to avoid it at all costs, that is until a slim pink-haired girl named Aria falls from the sky and demands that he teams up with her. Despite Kinji’s attempts at getting rid of her, Aria manages to hold on (creating some rather amusing moments between the two characters) and Kinji finally gives into her request, but only for one mission. It turns out that this ‘one mission’ will be the mission that changes Kinji’s life for ever, as it becomes a hunt for the ‘Buter killer’, a specialst who only targets Butei students including himself.

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It also becomes apparent that the real reason Aria was so hell-bent on getting a ‘sucessful’ partner was so that she could apprehend the infamous Butei Killer and clear her mother’s criminal convictions, as Aria’s mother was falsely accused as the Butei Killer. It takes a while to get to this point but this IS the main story of Aria the Scarlet Ammo, for Kinji and Aria to locate the Butei Killer and arrest him, so that Aria’s mother could be released from police custody. This isn’t the only story that takes place within the series either, as classmate Riko Mine, who tries to seduce Kinji in a manner of sexual ways, reveals her true identity and continuously challenges Aria for supremacy. Riko Mine’s true identity isn’t the biggest surprise either, as when the true Butei killer is revealed, it creates all sorts of shocking truths and realisations for Shinji and Aria.

Aria the Scarlet Ammo is not just a ‘gun-shooting’ style anime, it’s a mixture of action, comedy, relationships and sexualised innuendo’s – with one of them being part of the major plot. I’m of course referring to Kiniji’s Hysteria Mode, a genetic condition whereby if he is sexually aroused Kinji’s skill improves astronomically, furthermore while in this mode he acts very calm and seductive around women. This Hysteria mode can get Kinji into all sorts of trouble, whether it be Riko trying to “turn it on” by seduction or by long-time friend Shirayuki Hotogi wearing “impure” clothes despite being a shrine maiden.

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While the series features a fair few sexual references, whether it be revealing poses, sedutice talk or naked shower scenes, most of them are in good-taste and don’t affect the performance of the story – instead it enhances the story as it shows the complicated relationship between Kinji and Aria, as well as showcasing Shirayuki’s (strange)undying love for Kinji. Comical character development aside for a moment the series does showcase a fair amount of movie references, with the biggest one being the second episode, as it’s a bus jacking – this is reminiscent to the film Speed, whereby if the bus drops below a certain speed it will explode. There is other references as well, such as Shelock Holmes and Mission Impossible, but It’s also worth noting that Aria herself features similar characteristics to Shana (as in Shakugan No Shana), such Aria also repeats the phrases ‘stupid’ or ‘pervert’ to Kinji, which is what Shana does to Yuji in Shakugan No Shana. These characteristics are not surprising considering both series were produced by the same team.

Extras:

Aria the Scarlet Ammo features plenty of extra features and a lot more than a traditional anime release. Included on Disc 1 we have the English Cast commentaries, whereby the FUNimation voice cast discuss their thoughts on the show as well as how they produced it. It’s not the best English Cas commentary, but its worth a listen.

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On the Second disc we have the majority of extra features, such as Japanese promotional videos and TV Adverts as well as the English (Australian) trailer for the series. As per usual the DVD set also included the text less opening and closing videos for the series.

Disc 1:

  • Episode 4 – English Cast Commentary (Luic Christian – voice of Riko and Todd Haberkorn- voice of Kinji) discuss the dubbing process of the show as well as character preferences.
  • Episode 6 – English Cast Commentary (Zach Bolton – Line Producer, Todd Haberkorn and Leah Clark – voice of Aria) discuss how the dub was produced, including how long it took to complete and character auditions.

Disc 2:

  • Japanese Promotional Video (2 Minutes)
  • Original Japanese TV Commercials (2 Minutes)
  • English DVD/BD Trailer (1 Minute)
  • Text less opening video (Scarlet Bullet)
  • Text less ending video (Camellia No Hitomi)

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:42:15 (Disc 1), 2:18:07 (Disc 2) (13 Episodes)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448Kbps (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 224Kbps (Japanese)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Aria the Scarlet Ammo is a mixed bag of anime entertainment, on one side we have the ‘gunslinger girl’ style of gunfights and sword combat but on the other side we have comical antic’s and sexual innuendo’s, however despite this ‘mixed combination’ the series is highly enjoyable and will appeal to a variety of people. Positive notes aside the only issues I had with the ending, as the ending felt slightly rushed with sub-plots not being explained fully, such as the mysterious group IU that kept being mentioned throughout the series.

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Both English 5.1 Surround Sound and Japanese 2.0 Stereo (with removable ‘yellow’ English subtitles) are provided on the disc, and for the better viewing experience I suggest the English dub. The English dub seems to fit the characters better than the Japanese version, plus with the enhancement of surround sound explosions and gunfire sound more authentic and cinematic than a standard stereo, with loud explosions making use of the bass speaker. Combine this audio quality with the impressive DVD picture quality and it makes it a strong release from Manga Entertainment UK. A Blu-ray version of Aria is available (in American and Australia) however the difference is minimal, even more so on a Blu-ray player connected to a HTDV, so I’d recommend saving yourself some money and just getting this UK DVD Release.

Last but not least is the extra features, which for a UK DVD Release has a fair amount of content ranging from English Cast Commentaries to Japanese Promotional Videos. I Enjoy listening to cast commentaries but the ones included with this release (which are also present on the US & Australian editions of the DVD) are very vague and boring, with the actors not providing much insight into the series or how it was produced. This aside we are treated to the original Japanese Promotional material for the series along with an Australia DVD/Blu-ray trailer for the series. Basically there is enough here for viewers to be kept entertained well after the normal series has ended.

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This Particular DVD release from Manga Entertainment UK features all 12 Episodes of the TV Series along with the Bonus OVA episode (which sees the cast go to a hotspring resort) furthermore with the inclusion of multiple extra features we are treated to a truly complete edition of the series, which is only made better by its audio and visual quality. If you enjoyed shows like Gunslinger Girls and Shakugan No Shana then you will most likely enjoy Aria the Scarlet Ammo.

Score: review-stars-4

Aria the Scarlet Ammo – The Complete Series will be available on DVD from the 8th July 2013.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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