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Re-Kan Collection (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000222002
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 21/4/2023 18:20
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    Review for Re-Kan Collection


    I feel like a glutton for punishment. It hasn’t been long since I double-dipped on the Blu-ray of Heaven’s Lost Property, yet was disappointed by my second viewing to find a show that was a pale shadow of what I recalled from the DVD. Fun but clichéd the first time I watched it, the fun had drained out by the time I put the Blu-ray in the player. And now I’m doing it again with Re-Kan, a show which I found decidedly average the first time I saw it on DVD, yet having fallen prey to a bargain bucket deal, I’m now watching the show again on Blu-ray. I hope I don’t have the same disappointing experience...

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    The Sixth Sense supplies the twist that makes this anime unique-ish (no, not that one). Protagonist Hibiki Amami can see dead people; she’s always been able to, and she’s always stopping off to converse with ghosts that no one else can see, helping out the occasional forlorn spirit, and once in a while getting in a little over her head. She can also talk to cats, although that isn’t a good thing when she’s constantly pestered by a particularly perverted cat that keeps trying to sneak a peek at her panties. It’s an ability that’s going to cause no little mayhem at her new school, Hanazuka High, especially for her new friend Narumi Inoue, who when she isn’t flat-out refusing to believe in the supernatural, is petrified of it.

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    13 episodes of Re-Kan are presented across 2 Blu-ray discs from MVM.

    Disc 1
    1. I Can See Them
    2. They Are My Friends
    3. Delicious Omelet
    4. Summer Means the Beach
    5. The Legendary School Festival
    6. A Super-Duper Holy Night
    7. A Busy New Year
    8. We All Play Together
    9. The Secret Valentine

    Disc 2
    10. We’re Now in Our Second Year
    11. This is My Wish
    12. We Are All Connected
    13. Summer Memories

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    Re-Kan gets a 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer here. The image is clear and sharp with strong, consistent colours, and there are no visible compression artefacts or aliasing to worry about. Also, given the comparatively simplistic nature of the animation, this isn’t afflicted by digital banding either. When I reviewed the DVD, I gave it something of a back-handed compliment, opining that its animation was such that it looked as good as it was going to get on DVD. I have to admit that I was totally wrong, now having seen the show on Blu-ray. Naturally the colours are richer, but there is enough in the way of detail that the show looks like a native HD show rather than one animated at lower resolution and scaled up. Also, the backgrounds are revealed to be approaching photo-real on Blu-ray. Detail levels are excellent and very much demand the HD experience over the DVD.

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    You get a DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo Japanese track with a translated subtitle stream, locked for the duration on this DVD release. The dialogue is clear, the odd moment of action comes across well, the spookier moments getting suitable sound design, and the music suits the show. The subtitles are timed accurately and are free of typos, although you might have to press pause when the production/translation notes flash up.

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    You get two discs in a BD Amaray case, one on each inner face. The discs boot to static menus, and each episode is followed by translated English credits.

    Disc 2 has the extras, which comprise the textless credits, and trailers for further Sentai product, including When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, RIN-NE, Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time, and Gugure! Kokkuri-san.

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    Re-Kan is a wholly enjoyable light comedy anime series. It’s also utterly forgettable too. This is okay, as not every anime show has to be the be-all and end-all of the medium. For every hit, there are a hundred workmanlike shows that do just enough to entertain, to take the viewers’ minds of their daily concerns for twenty-odd minutes. Re-Kan is one of these, a show that is recognisable in its story, its format, its characters, and its humour. If you’re an anime fan, you’ll have seen Re-Kan before, even if you haven’t seen Re-Kan before.

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    It’s another ode to high school friendship, seen through a group of archetypal characters, brought together in an unexpected way. In Re-Kan’s case, it’s in the form of Hibiki Amami, who has the titular Re-Kan ability, the sixth sense that allows her to see and interact with the dead, and vice versa. She’s a likeable, sweet girl who is always ready to help spirits and people in need, while the first friend she makes in school is Narumi Inoue, a textbook definition of tsundere if ever there was one. Hard on the outside, concealing a soft and affectionate inner self, Inoue refuses to believe in the afterlife, only because she’s downright terrified of it. Ogawa is the ditzy space-case who has an odd predilection for zombies, Uehara is the sly schemer in the group, and Esumi is the reformed delinquent. There’s one boy in their group, Yamada, whose sole purpose is to say the wrong thing, and get beaten as a result by Uehara and Esumi.

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    There are also a handful of ghosts that Amami, and the others encounter and interact with, an Earthbound Spirit, a Samurai, a high school girl, the local equivalent of Moaning Myrtle, and a perverted cat who keeps trying to sneak a peek at panties. Most of the episodes follow these interactions, with Amami helping a spirit, or a person who’s suffered a loss and could use a medium. One of the early episodes sees Inoue’s cousin coming to terms with the loss of his father, and another episode sees the ghost of the high school girl reconciling with her mother.

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    Generally the show follows the format of such high school comedies, with action centred around school, and there also being a beach episode, the cultural festival episode (they put on a haunted house, what else?), a Christmas episode, the New Year episode, a Valentine’s Day episode, the Tanabata Festival episode... You could set your calendar by this show.

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    There isn’t much of an ongoing story arc, and indeed at times the show feels like a 4-panel manga adaptation, so short are the story elements. But close to the end of the series, we get to see Amami finally meet the one ghost that she’s always wanted to see, and we learn that there are consequences for such a meeting when she loses her powers. She falls into an isolating depression, and begins to doubt who she is, whether her life actually has meaning without her sixth sense. It’s here that we get the traditional pay-off for the series, where all the connections that she’s forged over the episodes, all the friends that she’s made, the lives that she’s touched and made better, all come back to repay that favour. Shows like Re-Kan can almost write themselves.

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    Re-Kan is quite funny, occasionally touching and heart-warming, often silly, and thanks to that silly cat, just a touch perverted too. It’s a by-the-numbers light comedy show, but it will keep you entertained over its runtime.

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    The Second Viewing: I’m in two minds about Re-Kan the second time out. I certainly enjoyed it more than the first time, but the thrust of what I say above still applies. It is still a light, disposable, and ephemeral comedy. It’s also really quite predictable in its humour. The characters all conform to stereotypes, and the show relies on running gags for its comedy. This would be great if the gags were hilarious, but here they are never more than humorous. It takes very little effort to treat Re-Kan as background noise. Then at the heart of the show is the exploration of friendship, and also by Amami essentially helping someone come to terms with a loss, albeit by connecting them to a spirit or ghost, Re-Kan manages to tug at the heartstrings on an episodic basis. It’s a far better show at being empathetic than being funny. I liked Re-Kan more this time, but not enough to nudge the score up. But I was surprised to see that the Blu-ray is a worthwhile upgrade from the DVD.

    The Re-Kan! Blu-ray is available from Anime Online, United Publications, All the Anime and mainstream retailers.

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