Blu-ray Review: Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day
18/04/2014 2 Comments
It’s not often we cover games on this site, but with Bandai Namco Games european release of Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day containing the animated shorts we could’nt look away, so what exactly do you get with this PS3 game? Well lets find out in our Blu-ray Review of Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day.
Ranko Tsukigime, the only child of the underground “Tsukigime Enterprise” is an average high school girl by day and a deadly assassin by night. While taking on a new mission, an enemy organization threatens the lives of Ranko and her friends. This 2D fast-paced side-scrolling action game will draw players deeper into the schoolgirl/assassin’s thrilling life, and serves as a video game tie-in to Katsuhiro Otomo’s four-part anime compilation film project, Short Peace.
Possessions, Gamebo, A Farewell to Weapons and Combustible are joined by the fifth and final part of the project; Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day. Players will put their reflexes and quick judgment to the test in fast-paced platforming gameplay that will have them blazing through dangerous, obstacle-ridden environments to flee from an ominous enemy looming close behind.
Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is a PS3 Disc that combines both anime and game content into a single package that works in both Blu-ray devices and PS3 consoles, so as long as you own one of these devices you’ll be able to enjoy the content contained within this disc. In Japan these bundles are known as ‘Hybrid Packs’ whereby the user will receive a short game based upon the events of the anime series along with an OVA episode of that particular anime, but with this release we are treated to an entire film along with a fully-fledged PS3 game.
The film in question is Short Peace, a 68 minute long feature that combines four animated shorts, Possessions (14 Minutes), Combustible (12 Minutes), Gambo (12 Minutes), A Farewell to Weapons (28 Minutes), as well as an opening sequence into one film that provides four different stories set throughout Japans timeline. Despite being classed as a film none of the animated shorts follow on from each other and because of this they can be watched individually, but more importantly is that you can easily access these individual shorts via the inclusion of a Blu-ray Menu.
That’s right, despite being a PS3 Game Disc once the disc is inserted into a Blu-ray Player (which includes PS3, PS4 and Xbox One consoles) you’ll be taken to a menu. The initial menu forces you to choose your subtitle option and then begins to play the entire film, but upon pressing the disc menu button you’ll be taken to the main menu which lists each animated short individually along with options to access the extra features and change the subtitles.
Basically this PS3 disc works exactly like an ordinary Blu-ray film with the only differences being that it also includes a game for the PS3, because of this when the disc is inserted into a PS3 console you’ll automatically be taken to the game rather than the film. Do not worry though as you can watch the Short Peace shorts on a PS3, it’s just a lot more hassle. In order to view the film on a PS3 console you have to exit back to the Playstation Dashboard (XMB) and then select the Short Peace icon in the video tab, after which the Short Peace disc will act like a normal Blu-ray. This type of start-up is not a disc issue, it’s just a combination of how the disc was created and the PS3 Console having “auto-disc-start” whenever a disc is inserted.
Disc layout aside what’s entertaining about Short Peace is that each Short has a distinctive and unique storyline to share, whether it be the strong bond between Owaka and Matsukichi in Combustible or the helpfulness of the man in Possessions, there is always something different being told. The same can be said for the animation style, as each film uses its own type of animation. For instance Possessions tends to mix CGI character models with 2D Animated backgrounds, Combustible tends to use a more traditional 2D animation style mixed with artwork elements seen from within old Japanese scrolls, Gambo on the other hands uses 2D animation in a mosaicWatercoloured effect style and finally A Farewell to Weapons is pure 3D CGI that mimics the style seen in Freedom.
You’d expect that with this type of variety in story-telling and animation that you would not enjoy the film(s) themselves, but in reality you will. Maybe it’s because each film is only around 15 minutes in length (excluding A Farewell To Weapons) but personally I believe it’s because each film has a strong, entertaining story to share with detailed animation. Like I said each films story doesn’t tie together, but it does show Japan evolving through the ages, with Gambo being the starting point (16th Century Japan) and A Farewell to Weapons being the ending point (Distant future) with the other films telling stories that took place in between them.
Meanwhile the game, Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day, is considered as the fifth instalment to the ‘Short Peace’ timeline and takes place during the present day, with it exploring Ranko Tsukigimes struggle in an attempt to assassinate her farther. This story is played out as a 2.5D platformer, whereby players control Ranko as she dashes from left to right while attack enemies and avoiding obstacles. As you’d expect it starts off pretty simple but as time progresses more enemies appear, the levels become varied and alternate ways to play become apparent (especially at boss battles).
Interestingly despite being a game even this contains a fair amount of anime related content, as in between levels there are animated cut-scenes which depict Ranko’s engagement with other characters. To further expand the game additional in-game unlockables can be obtained, these are found within each of the levels will allow access to a variety of content such as concept artwork.
Despite all of the positives there is a few issues I had with this game, namely the length of the game and it’s replay value. The game itself is relatively short, with most levels completed in less than 3 minutes, and while there is plenty of hidden unlockable’s to be had the game features a stage select option so you can easily replay the level.
Also instead of the Japanese text being replaced with English text the Japanese text still remains, so at times you’ll have English text overlaying the Japanese text – it’s basically like someone has modded the game with an English subtitle patch as opposed to someone actually translating it. Fortunately none of these issues effect the overall enjoyment of the game.
Quite surprisingly this release of Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day features a variety of additional content, as both the Animated (Blu-ray) side and on the Game (PS3) side feature their own type of content.
For instance on the Blu-ray (Short Peace) side of the disc we have two Japanese trailers for the Short Peace film as well as storyboards for each animated movie. The storyboards are basically just an image on screen and in order to move to the next image the remote needs to be used, it’s nothing fancy but It’s interesting to see storyboards included with a Japanese Anime release as even on feature-film releases we don’t tend to see them.
The final piece of additional content is the inclusion of Synopsis and credits for each movie. Usually you would’nt count these as extras but it is the way they have been presented on the disc that makes it appealing. For example when you go to choose an individual film, such as Gambo, it will list all of the people inolved with its production as well as give you a brief overview of the film. It’s not something you usually see included with films and I find it to be a nice touch, although reading the synopsis can somtimes spoil the film you are about to watch.
Meanwhile on the game (Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day) side of the disc we have another variety of extra content, including background music selection, concept artwork, cut-scenes and additional outfits for Ranko. Some of this content is unlocked as you progress through the games story, such as the animated cut-scenes, while others are unlocked by collecting the packages hidden throughout the levels, such as the concept artwork.
Whichever side of the disc you choose to view there is plenty of additional material to keep you entertained.
Media: BD 25
Region: A & B
Running Time: 1:08:41
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Japanese LPCM 2.0
Subtitles: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Bandai Namco Games release of Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is a PS3 Hybrid Disc, a disc which contains both the PS3 Game (Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day) and four animated shorts (Possessions, Combustible, Gambo & A Farewell to Weapons) into a single title. It is a combination that blends anime, gaming and emotional story telling into a package that is sure to please fans of all genres.
It’s not just the animated and gaming content that makes this a worthwhile package either as it’s the amount of additional materials which also make the set worthwhile. To start off with the Blu-ray side features storyboard artwork for each movie and two Japanese trailers, while on the game side of the disc we have music selection, concept artwork, cut-scenes and additional outfits for Ranko to wear during the main game. There is lots of variety to be had, a theme which remains constant throughout the entire package.
This release of Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is basically a ‘complete’ package of the Short Peace franchise, as it contains everything ever released inside a single Blu-ray disc. As expected the entire content, both game and film, is presented in Japanese Stereo with English subtitles, so those hoping for an English Dubbed version of the content will most likely be disappointed. As far as i am aware the game is only available with English subtitles, but all of the films contain multiple subtitle tracks, so for those living within Germany, France (etc) you will still be able to enjoy the film in your native language. With all this content, and lack of English dialogue, some may question its price tag (as it’s £49.99 in some places) but in our eyes the content received far outweighs the asking price, especially for something that would’nt usually get a European release.
Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day offers variety, it may not appeal to the masses but to those that enjoy anime and Japanese developed games then this release comes highly recommended although be warned the experience can be short lived.
Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is now available within Europe for the PS3.