Blu-Ray Review: Z/X Code Reunion – The Complete Collection

The overly vibrant anime known as Z/X Code Reunion is available in the UK, and has been for a few months now, but we take a step back and take a look at what the UK release has to offer. TL;DR not much, but it has cutesy characters in unusual settings.

Synopsis:

Years ago, interdimensional gates opened across our world, allowing beings from five warring dimensions to expand their battles to the Earth. Now amidst an uneasy peace, some humans are entering into pacts with the Z/X. For one young woman this is a simple choice: Azumi Kakamigahara can sign a pact with the beautiful Z/X known as Rigel, or succumb to the disease that has left her comatose for much of her life.

What Azumi doesn’t expect is that it means moving to a new Academy where teams of young women and their Z/X partners are being secretly trained to face the next wave of hostile attackers… and no sooner have Azumi and her new friends arrived than the enemy launches its first attack on their school in Z/X Code Reunion.

Our View:

Cute characters with unique personalities animated in bright vivid colours that depict a magical girl vibe would usually be a recipe for success, but when it comes to Z/X Code Reunion the results are mediocre at best. At best it is a colourful anime series about developing new relationships in a harsh environment with the threat of the world looming in the background, but realistically it’s forgetful, uneventful and simplistic to the core.

Adapted from the manga of the same name Z/X Code Reunion is a relatively new incarnation of Nippon Ichi Software’s Z/X -Zillions of enemy X- trading card game franchise which saw moderate success in Japan both as a digital and physical product. As with any popular media franchise in Japan it soon spawned it’s own anime series, known as Z/X Ignition, which has never been released in the UK.  In the Z/X Ignition anime (and Z/X Card Game) the story saw characters from five different parallel worlds compete against each other in order to protect the future of their own world.

Naturally understanding Z/X Ignition’s story doesn’t have an impact on the overall quality of Z/X Code Reunion, but the latter does act as both a sequel and stand-a-lone title in the Z/X franchise. For instance in Z/X Code Reunion the battle between the five different parallel worlds has ended in the form of a peace treaty and as such the story within Z/X Code Reunion focuses on Azumi, her partner Riguel, and her new team mates at the academy for trainee defenders of the world.

Spanning twelve episodes the story of Z/X Code Reunion begins with Azumi forming a pact with Riguel, a Z/X – which is a being from another world, to help cure her of her disease. The catch for this amazing deal? She must join a military styled academy that is preparing those able to partner up with Z/X’s to defend earth from danger should the need arise. That “shortly” is now, as after arriving at the facility it is attacked by a mysterious enemy known as Inerma and so the students rally together to fight back… if you can call it that. Each Z/X is unique in nature, both in style and appearance, the same can also be said for their human partners, and at the start these newcomers are unable to fight back, but thanks to the intervention of older students the battle is won and the story moves along. The story being one of training and survival.

All of the students who arrived at the school are split into different teams, ranked E to S, with Azumi and her new found friends forced into E Team. E Team is considered the worst of the worst and so they must train hard in order to overcome expulsion from the facility. As you’d expect from a cutesy and colourful styled anime series each episodes focuses on the challenges that each character must overcome, whether it be friendship, doubt or overcoming hardship and eventually the team unlock the latent abilities that would be required to defeat the enemy. It’s a very simple approach but unlike other anime series these interactions are not very memorable.

Fortunately there is a darker storyline on offer here, but sadly this storyline appears too late in the overall story and feels rushed to completion. Firstly it is that Ena, a classmate of Azumi, was artificially created to infiltrate and disrupt the academies plans of saving the world, an act which the creator of the Inerma, who is a god from another world, created in order to destroy the world. This story only gets to shine for about two episodes at most, and despite feeling like a pivotal point in character development it is quickly glazed over along with the elements that wrap-up the ending of the anime storyline in which sees the world saved, for the time being. Basically it’s one long build-up to nothing, with the build-up also not offering anything of interest either.

Extras:

MVM Entertainment once again use the disc masters authored by Sentai Filmworks and as such we are treated to the same materials as the North American counterpart, however as with most Sentai Filmwork releases we are only treated to the bare essentials of textless songs and trailers for other Sentai Filmwork shows.

The opening and ending songs are nothing spectacular but the ending does feature some nice artwork inspired by the events of series, so that’s something at least. The trailers for other Sentai Filmwork releases meanwhile actually tie-in quite well with what MVM Entertainment have released, with trailers for titles such as Mysteria Friends, The Demon Girl Next Door and Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle being offered. As mentioned it is the bare essentials of bonus content, but at least the contents are relatable to the UK audience.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:15:28 (Disc 1), 1:13:12 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Z/X Code Reunion is an unmemorable series that initial starts off strong but quickly fades away into the distance with its lack of direction and narrative. What started as a potentially compelling story about friendship between human and alien (so-to-speak) soon transcends into conflict between humans and a mysterious race, with the humans harnessing the power of Z/X in order to do battle with them. It all sounds fairly complacent within a typical magical girl anime but as the episodes roll-by the mysterious wonder and threat fades away to become a simplistic “girls do cute things” type of anime.

Of course this is not a bad thing, as “girls do cute things” can be an interesting type of genre, but Z/X Code Reunion wasn’t meant to be that type of series. The intention is to be a series about battling alien invaders and training in between to do so, which does happen, but these events are quickly overshadowed by everything else. Basically Z/X Code Reunion starts strong by introducing characters, the world, the enemies and the academy, but then it is all downhill from there with repetitive bonding between characters before the unexpected penultimate battle.

From a Blu-Ray release perspective then everything is as expected for a Sentai Filmworks mastered release. In this case each disc has a static menu that lists the individual episode, with some rather interesting background, along with the bonus features (which are only on disc 2). Sentai Filmworks chose not to produce an English Dub so the only audio option is Japanese with English subtitles, with the audio and subtitles presented cleanly and clearly throughout.

Overall Z/X Code Reunion offered an interesting premise of an anime adapted from a card game that sees girls partner up with Z/X from another world to defeat unknown enemies, but while this is true for a small part of the series it is instead filled with general banter and character building (if you can call it that). Realistically it’s one of those series that you can easily skip without losing too much information, but even then there isn’t much to really look at other than colourful cutesy characters. This Blu-Ray release meanwhile offers everything you’d expect from a basic release of an extremely mediocre anime that even I struggled to carry on watching to the end.

Score: review-stars-1

Z/X Code Reunion is now available on Blu-Ray in the UK via MVM Entertainment.

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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