Blu-ray Review: Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero – The Complete Series
10/06/2014 Leave a comment
With so many ecchi/harem filled anime series available on the market nowadays what difference can Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero offer to the genre? Well it turns out quite a lot with its mix of mysterious worlds, magical abilities and unique characters, but this aside what did we think Manga Entertainment UK’s release of the series? Find out in our Blu-ray Review of Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero – The Complete Series.
After saving a fairy-tale kingdom, Akatsuki returns to the real world with his prize: Miu, the busty daughter of the defeated Demon King. It’s one hell of a happy ending until they’re forced to enroll at a school for magic users. There, Akatsuki can’t keep his hands off the girls, Miu’s constantly ballooning measurements make her a walking wardrobe malfunction, and it seems like someone is always plotting against them.
Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is one of those anime series where you are not quite sure what you are going to receive until you’ve finished watching it, but more to the point it’s a series that is more entertaining (and easier to follow) the second time around. Put bluntly Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is a fan-service based anime series with a mildly entertaining storyline, but what makes it enticing is the colourful cast of characters, each with their own backstories, personalities and interests.
The story of Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero follows Akatsuki Ousawa, a young man who after returning home from an alternate dimension known as Alayzard finds himself looking after Miu; the daughter of Alayzard’s demon king, and protecting her from all-sorts of threats. Meanwhile at the same time both Akatsuki and Miu are recruited into military inspired magic based training camp Babel, and as such attempt to blend into their new surroundings, but as you’d expect nothing is as it seems and they both eventually find themselves in all sorts of dangers.
Each episode follows the daily school activities of Akatsuki and Miu, such as taking part in magic wielding classes and combat exercises, that is until new characters are introduced (such as Chikage Izumi, Kuzuha Doumoto and Kenya Onizuka), at which point all of the usual ‘ecchi content’ appears, such as the traditional “you’re a pervert” and “swimsuit” filled episodes. While these types of episodes have been seen in other anime they do provide a few new laughs, especially the beach episode as it sees everyone attempting to take Akatsuki’s swim-shorts in order to claim a prize, but instead he decides to takes the girls bikinis – as you’d expect it’s very ‘mature’ natured but it’s fun, entertaining and relatively amusing at the same time.
By the half-way-point though the series takes a more sinister turn and becomes more serious by re-introducing Alayzard’s (the alternate dimension) story elements, a part of the series which at this point is relatively unknown to the viewer. The guilds within Alayzard decide that they want Miu dead as they think she will become a threat in the future, and so opt for search parties to be sent out into the ‘real world’ in order to find her, and when they do a conflict ensues. From one perspective Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is nothing but fan-service, as it features plenty of panty-snatching, sexual innuendoes, full breast nudity and even a few lesbian scenes thrown in for good measure (well it was produced by the same people behind Queens Blade), but dig deeper and you’ll find a magical based story that could rival Fairy Tail’s comical banter and magic wielding abilities, but be warned unlike Fairy Tail this isn’t child friendly.
Despite the series ‘overall’ entertaining merits I found it hard to enjoy it as much as I did with other ecchi/harem styled shows, such as Highschool DxD, and that’s mainly due to the series lack of progression or end objective. For example the series starts off as if we’ve missed several episodes, as Akatsuki is being chased in the woods and returns back to the real world with a naked girl, afterwhich Akatsuki and Miu are soon escorted off to Babel like it’s a regular occurrence with no explanation into what (or why) it’s happening. Of course these events are all explained later through various episodes, but even then the ‘goal’ (which is to protect Miu) already feels completed, that is until the seventh episode when a threat from Alayzard enters the real world and causes havoc for everyone involved with Miu and Akatsuki.
Basically, in my eyes, there doesn’t seem to be any progression with the storyline – it’s as if we jumped in half-way through a franchise and then carried on without realising what’s happening. The only real progression is each characters personality and abilities, each of which sort of have their own episode, at which point the daily school activities occur until the final confrontation of an enemy threat from Alayzard arrives. In hindsight you could say you are left waiting for the real story to begin, with all the comical banter and school activities just filler events until the real fight, and even that gets dragged on with no real end or goal in-sight.
These days it seems if you want ‘reasonable’ bonus content on your anime disc then it will have to be either a fan-service based show (such as this) or a film, as this UK Blu-ray release of Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero features a rather heavy selection of additional bonus materials, including mini OVA episodes, English cast commentaries and Japanese promotional materials.
- Episode 2 English Cast Commentary
- Episode 8 English Cast Commentary
- Original Videos:
– Vol.1: A New Combat Suit?
– Vol.2: How To Be A Mature Woman?
– Vol.3: Bonds of Holy Water, Student Council Edition
– Vol.4: Mixed Bathing on the Beach
– vol.5: Ranking Battle Side-Story (Sexy Alternate Version)
– Vol.6: Beautiful Dark Clan Warrior, Miu
- Promotional Videos
- Akatsuki Promo Video
- Haruka Promo Video
- Miu Promo Video
- Textless Opening Song
- Textless Closing Song
- U.S. Trailer
Even when the series has come to a close there is still plenty of content left to keep viewers entertained, and while most fans of the series will dive straight into the OVA episodes, each of which provide around 4 minutes of additional anime entertainment, there is still lots of other content to be explored, such as the English Cast Commentaries. The English Dub for the series isn’t ‘that’ bad, especially for a ecchi/harem styled series such as this, so it’s interesting to see the FUNimation voice actors speak out about their experiences and favourite scenes of the show, not to mention an insight into how they achieved a career in voice acting.
Like I mentioned before the main attention for fans of the series will be the OVA Episodes, each of which depict a different mini-story and further explore the world of the series. For instance in one episode the main cast of characters (Miu, Chikage and Kuzuha) discuss the abilities of the combat suits, while in another episode it sees a slightly different look at events on the beach, and in some ways is an extension to the Beach episode found within the series. Disappointingly all of these OVA episodes are only available in Japanese with English Subtitles, so it’s slightly bizarre that FUNimation didn’t opt to dub them as well – especially as they are only 4 minutes each.
To round out the list of extra content we have the usual inclusion of Japanese and English promotional materials and text less songs. The Japanese Promotional materials offer some ‘variety’ by offering ‘individual’ character promos, with each promo highlight facts about that particular character, such as Akatsuki’s unusal ability of snatching girls underwear.
Media: BD 50 x1, BD 25 x1
Running Time: 3:33:18 (Disc 1), 1:10:36 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is one of those series you expect not to like but end up liking it, as it features abit of everything to keep you entertained while at the same time throwing in new stuff to make it a different experience to other ecchi/fan-service styled anime series. Put simply the main storyline sees Akatsuki protecting Miu from all-sorts of dangers, while at the same time making new friends and becoming top-dog at school, however along the way you’ll also find plenty of intense magical fights mixed with nudity and raunchy scenes.
Despite all of it’s entertainming merits Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero series presentation could have done with some improvements, maybe it’s just down to my personal perfences of how a series should be presented but since nothing really happened to move the story along I found it difficult to keep watching, that is unless you want to watch it for the sexual innuendos and nudity, but even this doesn’t happen that often.
It’s not just the series I found rather disappointing either, as despite being a FUNImation produced series the English Dub was just “ok” with the Japanese Audio featuring more authentic and entertaining voice acting. That’s not all, as interestingly the English audio was only presented in 2.0 Stereo as opposed to 5.1 Surround, while this isn’t a bad thing its just odd seeing a FUNimation produced dub use a stereo audio track, as FUNimation tend to create their audio in 5.1 surrouund. Speaking of audio differences the Audio and subtitle tracks are locked and can only be changed via the disc or pop-up menu, so for example the Japanese audio track has locked English Subtitles and English audio has locked signs/text subtitles and neither can be removed.
This Blu-ray release of Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is a real mixed bag, there are some good points, such as the series entertaining merits and quality of extra content, but at the same time there is bad points, such as the lack of direction/progression with the story and questionable audio and visual qualities for a Blu-ray. However that being said if you are looking for something different (and more raunchy) but enjoyed the concept of magical spells, mysterious worlds and guilds, then Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is definitely one to keep your eye out for.
Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero – The Complete Series is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.