Heaven's Lost Property Forte: Season 2 Blu-ray delivers great video and audio in this fan-pleasing Blu-ray release
Tomoki's life was normal until a wish-granting angelic android named Ikaros fell from the sky and started calling him master! Of course, thanks to his raging teenage hormones, most of Tomoki's wishes have something to do with panties. And that makes things pretty complicated, because one simple wish can lead to a rampaging robot made out of frilly undergarments or turn bloomers into bombs capable of blowing up entire neighborhoods! If Tomoki doesn't learn to control his impulses around Ikaros and be more careful with his wishes, the chaos will only get crazier. Luckily, even with such a dirty mind, Tomoki's heart is in the right place. His hands, however, are a completely different story.
For more about Heaven's Lost Property Forte: Season 2 and the Heaven's Lost Property Forte: Season 2 Blu-ray release, see Heaven's Lost Property Forte: Season 2 Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on June 28, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
There was a point, somewhere deep in the bizarre, brazenly madcap Heaven's Lost Property Forte that I powered down the critical quadrants of my reviewer's brain, surrendered to the series' shotgun-from-the-hip free for all, and just started laughing. Forte is funny, hilarious even, and it knows it. I'll admit the full appeal of the series escapes me, and will probably continue to elude me. I'm a slave to Western sensibilities, no matter how much anime I consume, and no amount of brainwashing or reverse engineering can change that. There will always be a cross-section of outlandish, niche Japanese animation -- say, satirical ecchi comedy -- that launches my right eyebrow skyward in a sharp inverted V. It can't be helped. Yet Forte's harem hilarity suffers from a few near-debilitating issues, and it doesn't take a card-carrying anime fan to spot them. (Although those who live and breathe anime culture will pinpoint such problems long before fringe fans and first-timers realize they're dealing with fundamental, rather than stylistic flaws.) The result is a wildly wiggly-jiggly sophomore effort that will leave both series addicts and brave, baffled newcomers laughing, grumbling, shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads.
"Good morning, master..."
The hormonal, heavenly hijinks continue. Teenage boy Tomoki (voiced by Soichiro Hoshi, Greg Ayres) life was normal until a wish-granting angelic android named Ikaros (Saori Hayami, Brittney Karbowski) fell from the sky and started calling him master. Things got even crazier when Ikaros's fellow android, Nymph (Iori Nomizu, Kara Edwards), fluttered down and joined the fun. With the winged vixens adjusting to life on Earth, Tomoki's dream of a peaceful existence might finally be coming true... if it weren't for his teenage impulses and dirty mind, which are causing more chaos than ever before. Plus, there's a curvy new android on the scene: Astraea (Kaori Fukuhara, Carli Mosier), who looks as angelic as Ikaros and Nymph, but may be up to no good.
Nothing about Forte or its playful panty-peeking perversions is subtle. Literally nothing. It's blunt force trauma ecchi. Innuendo incarnate. Brash, tongue-in-cheek fan service turned awkward pubescent nightmare. It even takes a surprising number of jabs at its own audience, almost to the point of mocking anyone on the opposite side of the barely intact fourth wall. I sometimes couldn't tell if Heaven's Lost Property was laughing with me or at me, and I'm not even one of its dearly devoted. It doesn't help that Tomoki and his android angels are treated as pawns and playthings, without the necessary grounding elements to keep their surreal sexual misadventures fresh, or to swat away similar anime swarming with more charming characters and more clever spins on convention. Worse, far too many jokes and references come up empty, ironic considering how obvious and desperate the gags are. Every volley is fired over the top of over the top. All well and good if every shot hit its target; not when so many fly wide, fall short or misfire altogether.
The story, meanwhile, builds incrementally on the first season of Heaven's Lost Property, as does the bright, bouyant animation; at least enough to maintain mild interest in the ongoing mythos and delight connoisseurs of harem anime. That is until age reversals, comic abuse and other less than amusing creative decisions begin to make the whole thing feel a bit too slimy and, for lack of a better word, icky. And that's where Forte excels and falters. What might seem completely random and utterly absurd is usually anything but, while what seems sly and inventive is often, you guessed it, random and absurd. It's a none too delicate balance that renders the second season's twelve episodes decidedly hit or miss, and only those blindly smitten with the series will still be fully on board by Forte's end. Those expecting more will be sorely disappointed. Those attuned to what they've signed up for will have a blast. Heaven's Lost Property continues one of the most crass and unwieldy love-hate affairs in FUNimation's canon. Since you've read this far, chances are you already know your heart's desire.
Heaven's Lost Property Forte looks pretty good as FUNimation anime series go, and its 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation is only plagued by minor, often negligible issues most fans will shrug off and overlook within minutes. Banding, aliasing, macroblocking... it's all there, but in such small bursts that it doesn't take a serious toll. Colors are vivid and vivacious (albeit a touch too bright it seems), black levels are decent, and contrast holds its ground. The animators' line art is fairly crisp and clean too, although faint pixelation and other split-second anomalies will be apparent to those with larger displays. Still, there isn't anything offensive here -- at least not on the technical side of the presentation -- and Forte's encode isn't dragged down by any burdensome problems.
FUNimation serves up two audio options: an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track and a Japanese TrueHD 2.0 mix. In an ideal world, both options would be lossless 5.1, but the stereo offering is crisp, carefree and proficient, and delivers the goods without any real issues or mishaps. Dialogue in both tracks is clean, clear and well-prioritized, and effects are suitably bright and bubbly. The English dub is naturally fuller and more intense, though, with engaging rear speaker support and healthy low-end output, even if the front channels are still tasked with the bulk of the sonic burden. Voices in the English dub tend to float a bit more than they do in the Japanese mix, as is the case with many an anime. But the English cast is also a touch more energetic and boisterous, to arguably funnier ends. Ultimately, each track is excellent in its own right. Fans will be left satisfied.
Audio Commentary: Two audio commentaries are available, the first for Episode 4, "Mortal Combat! Hot Spring Snowball Fight at 1.4░ Below," with English dub voice director Christopher Bevins and English voice actors Greg Ayers (Tomoki) and Trina Nishimura (Sohara), and the second for Episode 9, "Shoot Out! Fishing At the Jumbo Carnival of Dreams," with Bevins and voice actors Jamie Marchi (Mikako) and Carli Mosier (Astraea). Both tracks are a blast; fun, lively and informative, and well worth a listen.
Textless Opening and Closing Songs (HD, 17 minutes): Two textless opening songs -- "Ring My Bell" (Tomoki Version) and "Haato no Kakuritsu" -- eleven textless closing songs -- "Kaeru Kara," "Cosmos," "Kakemeguru Seishun," "Miracle Guy," "FF (Fortissimo)," "Solider in the Space," "Kaerazaru hi no Tame ni," "Odoriko," "Natsu no Ojousan," "Boukyou no Tabi" and "Jidai Okure no Koibitotachi."
Trailers (HD/SD): Heaven's Lost Property, Heaven's Lost Property Forte, Sekirei, Fairy Tail, One Piece, My Bride is a Mermaid, Phantom: Requiem for a Phantom, Is This a Zombie? of the Dead, and the Remnant Knights videogame.
Heaven's Lost Property Forte defies description. It's weird. Bonkers. Cuckoo bananas, and it never lets up. Never relents. It's an assault on good taste and decency... and yet it earns laughs, big laughs actually, and fails only because its method and madness are so hit or miss in practice. Some of you will love all twelve episodes, most of you will hate it from the outset (or bypass it completely). But I can safely say anyone who spends any amount of time with Tomoki and his Angeloids is in for a crazy ride. FUNimation's Blu-ray release is more reliable thankfully, with a solid video presentation, excellent lossless audio, and a decent selection of extras.
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