Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 14th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2008
Director: Hidetaka Tahara
Cast: Dori Sakurada, Rakuto Tochihara, Takuya Uehara, Keita Kimura, Toshikiyo Fujii, Nao Nagasawa, Go Ayano, Masami Horiuchi
DVD released: April 19th, 2011
Approximate running time: 83 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Eastern Star / Discotek
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Aquarian Age began as a Japanese collectible trading card game and later it expanded with Manga’s, Anime’s and a live action feature film. Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion was adapted from a Manga series that was written by Ashika Sakura (under the pen name Sakurako Gokurakuin). Other notable Anime’s that were also adapted from Manga’s that were written by Ashika Sakura include Sensitive Pornograph and Sekirei.
First off, the Manga from which this film is very loosely adapted from, it revolved a female protagonist named Kirihara Mana. Sadly she is nowhere to be found in this adaptation. And while some fans of the original Manga will be turned off by this, ultimately her lack of inclusion is minor when compared to this productions other shortcomings.
Where to begin,there are a myriad of problems that plague this production. With the most glaring being its inability to firmly establish, who everyone is and what their motivations are? And what back story that does make it into the film it is does in a haphazard which prevents the narrative from ever sustaining any momentum. Another area in which this production often comes up short are its lackluster visuals which on a few occasions call attention to themselves. Most notably the moments where characters are being killed off. Performance wise none of the cast leave any lasting impression. At just over eighty minutes in length Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion is an overly ambitious film that never fully realizes its potential.
Eastern Star presents Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. Details generally look crisp and black levels fare well. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement is minimal.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. The audio sounds clear, clear and balanced throughout. The more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented and the score benefits the most from this audio mix.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 29 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), a ‘Making of’ segment (17 minutes 12 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles) and a segment titled ‘Promotional Event with Alice Nine and the Cast’ (19 minutes 3 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles). These two segment are nothing more than your standard PR fluff with most of the questions centered around the cast thoughts on the characters that they portrayed and the music group Alice Nine, who has a brief cameo in the film also discusses their involvement in the film. Overall Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion gets a good DVD release from Eastern Star.