Monday, April 30, 2012

Blu Ray volume 2: Review + Scans/Rips

I'm happy to say that my copy of the 2nd BD arrived on Saturday. It's pretty much exactly like the first one, it includes a bonus CD (with the soundtrack) and a small booklet with character designs and keywords. The set also came with a small ad that confirms the release date of the manga will be May 10th - not too far away!

Someone once asked me how good CDJapan's shipping method was, so I took a picture this time. You can see above that the BD itself was wrapped in bubble wrap, which was then wrapped in tissue paper then put in a nice sturdy box. No major risk of damage - everything fits snug inside. 

Fresh out of the box, the BD comes enclosed in plastic wrap with a label detailing the contents. The photo print on the right is a first-press item that comes with the BD if you order it from CDJapan (aka Neowing). I realized that each print is a scene from an episode in the volume, since the first volume came with a print of Tsubasa during her Zwei Wing performance in episode 1. 

Here are the complete contents. In the upper-right you can see the first-press edition box, which is nice and thick, the cover art looks really nice printed on the box versus the BD jacket itself. The case is on the bottom with the two disks, next to it are the small booklet and advertisement for the manga. It's interesting to note that everything in this volume is colored blue, versus the first volume where everything was colored orange. I'm assuming this is to coordinate with the featured character, the first volume being Kanade and the second being Tsubasa. The next volume is going to feature Hibiki mainly so I'm curious if they will go back to orange again or not. 

This is the cover of the 3rd BD, which looks really cool! I really like the art they've done for these. I've seen a lot of complaints about how busy the covers are, or how the characters seem oddly placed, but frankly I think it suits the series just fine. I always appreciate when they include fresh art instead of reusing old art.

My one minor disappointment with this volume is that I was unable to obtain the Hibiki pencil board that was offered as part of a campaign with the 2nd BD. If you ordered from certain stores (or bought it in person) you would get a pencil board with a montage of Hibiki on one side and the handwritten version of Hibiki's report from episode 3 (which was written by the voice actor, Aoi Yuuki herself!) on the other side. CDJapan (Neowing) offered this, and the image was even on the webpage as an external bonus, but to my dismay I realized it was only listed on the Japanese website as being included - so it was not available for those of us outside of Japan. It's really too bad, because although I don't much care for pencil boards I really like Hibiki. I hope to find a scan of this somewhere, but so far I've had no luck. 

Overall this is another nice release, it's nothing special compared to what you see in some Japanese BD sets but it satisfies me as a fan. Especially since I'm getting the bonus CDs at no extra cost. Anyway, without further adieu here are the downloads for the soundtrack and booklet scans. I'm aware that the soundtrack has actually been on the internet for the past few days, but I wanted to include my own rip anyway: 

Here's the tracklisting for the soundtrack (in English): 

01: Stars stream across the sky, tears flow down the cheek (First Love Song)
02: With the young girl's song, blood flows freely
03: Assault from the world of legend
04: Even if people die, living as a soldier (Sacred Song)
05: Go with the wind, the prominence of feeling
06: Fragment of a song
07: Playing on high, melody of tomorrow (Ultimate Song)
08: An irreplaceable object
09: The sunshine that creates no shadow
10: Living daily life together with you
11: A smile that's always there
12: The woman who can is 34 years old
13: Unseen, shadows proceed
14: Countdown until the end (Sacred Song)
15: Inside the darkness, Apocalypse Now
16: Even I (Attacking Spear -Gungnir-)
17: The sharp flapping of wings, cut like the wind (Sacred Song)
18: A surge of blood wind
19: Pride of the ringing blade that cleaves (Ultimate Song)
20: Anywhere, through anything (The Flugel of Backlight)

Note that the soundtrack includes piano and orchestrated renditions of the character songs: First Love Song (the unreleased song by the three mains), Gekisou Gungnir (from Hibiki's CD) and Gyakkou no Flugel (from the Zwei Wing CD). It also includes the chants used to summon the armor, called Sacred Songs, as well as the chants for the zessho (or ultimate/swan song). Overall this is a really great OST, I love that they included as much as possible and I'll be curious to hear more on the 2nd OST released with volume 3 (which has 13 more tracks).

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