Blu-Ray Review: Radiant – Season 1 Part 1

A new contender for a shonen series arrives in the form of Radiant – Season 1 Part 1; but what can one expect from this series filled with magic and monsters? Let’s take a look and find out!

Synopsis:

Soaring among islands in the sky, witches and wizards fly on broomsticks to defeat Nemesis monsters. But the very sorcerers, who protect citizens, are persecuted by the magic Inquisition. That won’t stop Seth, a gifted young wizard, from seeking the origin of it all—the Radiant.

Our View:

Adapted from the French manga, otherwise known as Manfra, of the same name by Tony Valente and animated by Studio Lechre, who are also known for animating titles such as Assassination Classroom, Danganronpa and School-Live!, comes Radiant; a shonen styled series based on a magical world overrun by demons known as nemesis. It’s your typical shonen series with some interesting roots; but sadly it fails to deliver the standard one would expect to receive from a series of this calibre. In France, and in some aspects Japan, Radiant is considered a positive success but while it delivers an interesting concept, and a wonderful cast of characters, the story and its pacing fail to deliver; especially in this first half of this first season.

In this case the story of Radiant follows Seth, a seemingly average boy who is able to wield the powers of Fantasia which is a mysterious magical power that only magicians and sorcerers can wield within this world, in his quest to defeat the nemesis that harm inhabitants of the world. Despite Seth having the ability to control Fantasia he, along with his guardian Alma and all other sorcerers, are seen as outcasts and are treated harshly by humans – with Seths village being no exception to this rule. This all changes when a nemesis arrives on the island that Seth and Alma inhabit, which also occurs at the same time that a group of fake sorcerers arrive on the scene to steal money from the local bank.

It’s a two pronged approach to changing the mindset of the general public; but with good purpose as the fake sorcerers serve a longer purpose throughout the series. Regardless Seth uses his Fantasia abilities to not only stop the fake sorcerers from stealing money from the bank but also helps in defeating the Nemesis from destroying the city. The result is respect from the towns people; but alas this is just the start of a bigger journey. At this point we are only three episodes in to the series and while we’ve had some backstory of Alma and the world that Seth inhabit; it’s all slow paced and a bit dull. Fortunately a nice change of pace occurs with a new objective; a journey for Seth to become stronger and to find the home base of the Nemesis.

It’s your typical presentation of shonen anime, with the home being attacked and saved before the hero ventures on his own quest of growth; but sadly here it is one of speculation and misguidance. Without any concrete information Seth ventures forward on his quest to defeat the nemesis and in doing so partakes in several misadventures before arriving at his first key destination. These are presented in the form of being captured on a vessel, which introduce us to Seths two new, but shortly long-standing friends, in the form of Melle and Doc. Escaping from this situation is an easy feat but it then lands viewers into another rather predictable situation; a king who is greedy with power and money.

The scenario here is that within the Artemis Institute the king, known as Master Lord Majesty, loves money as well as power, and as such imposes high fees on everything. A fee of sorts is placed onto Seth, which in turn lands on Doc due to Seth being a minor and Doc classifying himself as Seths guardian; and as a result of this comically bizarre scenario they must work hard to remove the debt that has been placed upon them. Realistically the threat of a huge debt adds nothing to the overall story rather than a continuous joke; but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before in other shonen styled anime; including Black Clover, Dragon Ball Z and Fairy Tail.

Regardless the stage is now semi-set for the next handful of episodes and it sees Seth, Doc and Melle take on odd jobs and various other hunting activities in order to scrape off the debt they have accrued. With each episode acting as the gateway to a bigger storyline; a story which begins to surface towards the end of this half with the introduction of a large nemesis and a mysterious hunter named Grim.

Extras:

For a relatively unknown series, in English speaking regions at least, the selection of bonus features is quite surprising with English production bonus features suppliementing the selection of Japanese tailored content.

In this case viewers will find textless opening and closing songs as well as Japanese promotional materials in addition to a in-depth insight into the world of Radiant and its popularity within France and Japan. We also have English cast commentary that highlight the casts experience with the series.

Considering how underwhelming I found the episodic content to be within this first part of season one I am pleasantly surprised by the supplementary content on offer; and the obvious highlights have to be the Behind the Scenes and A Sorcerers Tale segments of the bonus features as these both go beyond the anime to give further insight into the overall popularity of the series.

Whether this be from an informative perspective, with English narration and subtitles provided when needed, informing viewers of the origins of Radiant, or Japanese cast interviews that look at the shows casting and production, the attention to detail and information given is exceptional and well worth your time; even more so than the series itself.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:02:29 (Disc 1), 2:10:21 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby True HD 5.1 (English) & Dolby True HD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

The episodes within Radiant – Season 1 Part 1 are simplistic shonen action at its best, with the appeal being  the world these characters inhabit, and the characters themselves, all of which bring enjoyment out of this rather dull and practicable series. For instance Seth is your typical ‘scream and shout” progtagonist while Melle is your shy cool-headed girl but she does have an alternate personality that turns any situation upside down.

Doc meanwhile is always money hungry, due to being in debt, but at the same time has an obsession with a nearby coffee shop staff member and attempts to woe her by any means. Their personalities work well and comedy is ensured; it is just a shame that the series itself is so woefully under presented, visually stale and extremely simplistic. True shonen fans will love the elements that it offers; but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

In this case the events of Radiant – Season 1 Part 1 introduce viewers to Seth and his abnormal world of magic and monsters whereby we see him grow from a troubled-student to someone capable of defeating said monster. Afterwhich Seth ventures on a quest to defeat the nemesis once and for all; but in doing so encounters new friends and finds himself tasked with hunting jobs in order to pay back a debt.

Alongside the slowly expanding storyline we find Seth being tutored in the ways of Fantasia by a mysterious master; a teacher who eventually manages to bring the best out of Seth and his mysterious abilities. It sounds like an interesting starting point for a great adventure; but personally it consistently droned on and quickly become tiresome – more so than other Shonen styled series out there.

Aside from the episodic content, which covers a variety of different talking points but still manages to feel relatively stale, we have the exceptional selection of supplementary content. Personally for me the highlight of this behind-the-scenes documentary and a sorcerers tale features as these both go beyond what you would expect from a normal shonen series to explain and illustrate how this animated feature came to be.

For instance the feature explores the popularity of Radiant in both Japan and France as well as has interviews with various voice actors and staff of the Japanese version of the show. It’s informative beyond belief and highlights just how well received this French based product was received in Japan.

As a set then Radiant – Season 1 Part 1 has a mixed variety; it has your typical predictable shonen based action that does not do anything outside of the norm, so fans of Black Clover and Fairy Tail will like what’s on offer, while the selection of bonus features far outperforms anything that is included in the episodic content. If you are looking for a new type of Shonen series then Radiant – Season 1 Part 1 might be worth checking out; but only if you have the time available.

Score: review-stars-2

Radiant – Season 1 Part 1 will be available on Blu-Ray from the 2nd March 2020 via Manga Entertainment UK.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: