Blu-ray Review: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace – The Complete Collection
09/11/2016 Leave a comment
What would you do if Supernatural powers, and in turn, became commonplace? Personally I am not so sure but hopefully it will be a bit more entertaining than this latest Blu-ray release by Manga Entertainment UK. So what did we think of When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace? Take a look at our thoughts in this review of the release.
Half a year ago, the four members of a literature club, as well as the elementary school niece of their faculty adviser, were bestowed with supernatural powers. The boy in the club, Ando Jurai, became able to produce black flames.
The girls acquired a variety of powerful abilities: Tomoyo could slow, speed, or stop time, Hatoko could control the five elements (earth, water, fire, wind, light), little Chifuyu could create things, and Sayumi could repair objects or heal living things. However, since they gained these powers, nothing has really changed in their everyday life. Why have they been given these powers in the first place? Will the heroic fantasy life they imagined these powers would bring ever actually arrive?
When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, often miss-communicated as When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace, is one of those shows that looks fun, quirky and interesting but in turn ends up to be nothing but a colourful disappointment. Truth be told I wasn’t expected anything from When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace but given it’s name, and a rather obscure trailer by Sentai Filmworks, I figured the show would feature some-sort of magical warfare between groups of people; but I was wrong. In the end it’s a series which follows the every-day-lifestyles of the literature club and the deeper relationships between the individual characters rather than the magical powers that they have mysteriously obtained.
As mentioned When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace begins it follows the events of the literature club, which consist of Jurai Andō, Tomoyo Kanzaki, Hatoko Kushikawa, Sayumi Takanashi and elementary schoolgirl Chifuyu Himeki, as they go about their daily – rather comical – lives within the club and the school they attend. It all starts with the arrival of their supernatural abilities, and in a rather odd fashion as well, but it soon evolves into a rather obscure styled of storytelling that covers various different aspects of growing up. From my perspective the first two episodes were the most ‘entertaining’ with magical abilities being wield alongside their own personal character charms; but from the third episode onwards each episode tends to focus on the characters well-being and their own personal agenda’s within the group… and that’s pretty much what When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is; a story watching a group of friends develop their friendship (and relationships) with each other with the ‘magical’ aspect being a side-story.
Expecting a magical themed story but being given a slice of life styled character development story is slightly off-putting; but thankfully the art style of the show, the comical reaction between characters and the developing harem-come-love-story does manage to salvage the series slightly. As I mentioned before it starts off under the pretence of characters with magical / superpower styled abilities but it eventually sees the group engaging more with each other and their own personal interests coming to fruition; some of which deliver some rather emotional and entertaining back stories.
For instance several episodes is spent around the youngest member of the group, Chifuyu Himeki, and her unhealthy obsession with the group which leads to her considering leaving school and – in turn – getting into a fight with her friend. Another selection of episodes meanwhile sees Tomoyo Kanzaki and Hatoko Kushikawa begin to consider their feelings for main protagonist Jurai Andō who, in turn, is actually a chunibyo who is unwilling to change his ways but is open to the ideals of being normal. A lot of interesting stories are told; but at the same time it doesn’t feel like it really goes anywhere… it’s kind of like filler content but it provides some rather entertaining storylines along the way.
As per usual the only selection of bonus features included with this Blu-ray release of When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace consist of a selection of creditless songs and trailers for other anime series that have been released by Sentai Filmworks within America.
Interestingly enough however the trailers included within this Blu-ray consist of two titles previously released by Animatsu Entertainment, namely Blade Dance of the Elementalers and Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions, as well as two other titles which have yet to be announced for a UK release by any other distributor; namely Magical Warfare and Wizard Barristers.
In short it’s another barebones release from Sentai Filmworks but it’s better than have no bonus features at all.
Media: BD 50 x1, BD 25 x1
Region: A & B
Running Time: 3:42:52 (Disc 1), 1:14:35 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
I expected When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace to be a series surrounding a group of students who obtained magical (super-human-styled) powers and then do battle with other students within the city; but in turn it’s actually a story that explores the individual characters featured within the literature club and their daily antics. It’s a deceptive story and while the magical abilities do get a fair amount of screen-time, such as Jurai’s “Dark and Dark Flame” or Chifuyu’s teleportation ability it’s actually the individual storylines of each character that get the screen time.
This isn’t exactly a bad thing, as the individual character storylines tend to be quite entertaining in their own right; but I get the feeling that the ‘supernatural battles’ that are teased in the English title of the series would’ve made for a more interesting show. Of course at the end of the day this series is about characters becoming familiar with their new-found-powers and discovering more about their own personalities and feelings; a feat which starts to bare fruit during the later stages of the series to deliver a rather interesting harem filled love-story mixed with some ‘questionable’ choices. It’s interesting, it’s slightly fun but could have been a lot better.
While the events of the series left me wanting something ‘more’ the actual presentation and production of this Blu-ray release is on top form with the series being presented cleanly and clearly throughout the two discs. As per usual Sentai Filmworks use the Yellow font subtitles and during on-screen-translations, or notes for items being referenced in the series, White subtitles are displayed to make it more easier. Interestingly an English Dub has been produced for the series and even more surprising is that the Dub itself is actually quite enjoyable and flows quite naturally with the events on screen; the same of course can be said for the Japanese audio track. It doesn’t happen often but this series can be watched in either Japanese or English and you wouldn’t loose any of the impact that the series is trying to deliver.
From my perspective When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace offers something different to what you may be expecting; and while this is a negative the characters and their stories make up for the disappointment. It’s a quirky, fun-filled-show that will appeal to a rather laid-back demographic and is easily something that can be enjoyed on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you’ve got nothing else to watch. It’s good; but it’s hard to recommend it – however this being said the presentation of the series, and it’s HD quality of the Blu-ray disc, are everything you would come to expect from a top-tier release (minus the extra features of course).
When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace – The Complete Collection is now available on DVD and Blu-ray within the UK.