Warner’s Japan unit had decided that it wanted to turn one of its shows into an anime production for the Japanese audience. I guess it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Supernatural would be the perfect fit. Let’s face it. While the production values on the live-action series have always been high, there are certain limitations that exist. With animation you have the ability to go far beyond what you can do with characters played ultimately by human actors. The highly stylized format of anime blends well with the horror aspects of the original show. You don’t have to be particularly fond of anime to enjoy this. Honestly, I’m not into the style at all. But as a fan of Supernatural, I found this to be quite fun to watch.
If you are a fan of the original Kolchak: The Night Stalker, you were more than likely disappointed in the remake a couple of years ago on ABC. Your hope is now once again restored. Supernatural is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to The Night Stalker. Like Kolchak, the Winchester brothers are faced with weekly incarnations of evil. They’re forced to research these legends and figure out a way to stop them. As Kolchak discovered, it’s a thankless job. Sure, Supernatural is populated with all sorts of beasties and nasties, but it also manages to hold on to a sense of humor that rounds out these adventures to make this one of the most entertaining shows around.
What amazes me most about Supernatural is the incredible balance the show manages to keep up week after week. The anime version has done a fine job of capturing these elements. Of course, there is that creature-of-the-week idea, but without taking anything away from each episode, there is an overall story arc that ties these creatures and moments together in such an intricate yet easy-to-follow fashion. Each episode blends just the right mix of darkness, comedy, and series mythology. Even The X-Files wasn’t able to spin this flawless a tapestry. This show goes deeper into that mythology. We go back and see more detail of those first years when the boys were just kids.
All of these elements remain. Jared Padalecki returns as the voice of Sam for the English version while Yuya Uchida does the Japanese voice. Jensen Ackles only plays Dean for the final two-part episode in the English version while Andrew Farrar does most of the English and Hiroki Touchi handles Dean for the Japanese version. Farrar doesn’t really sound like Dean, but he does do a good job of capturing the moody and macho aspects of the character. There are rewrites of stories from the first two seasons of the original show like the quite good In The Time Of My Dying, and there are many completely original stories that explore the relationship and mythology even more.
Each episode of Supernatural is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The 1080p image is brought to you through an AVC/MPEG-4 codec. As you might expect, this show is dark in more than just its nature. Much of the action occurs at night, so black levels need to be spot-on, or any detail can be quickly washed away like blood pools in a hurricane. Supernatural delivers with great shadow definition and deep levels of black. The show is rich in stylish colors and images.
Supernatural’s audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio track. There is some rather aggressive use of surrounds on rare occasions. The sound as a rather nice swirling effect that keeps you alert and guessing. Dialog is fine and well placed. There are the standard score and ambients reproduced much like the live-action series.
Each episode has a brief intro by Jensen and Jared.
There is a two-part making of feature with part one (28:83) on disc one and part two (41:05) on disc two.
Interviews with: Directors Atsuko Ishizuka Shigeyuki Miya (13:11), Creator Eric Kripke (18:25), Jensen & Jared (13:00) Jared (10:38), Jensen (9:32), Hiroki Touchi (13:49) and Yuya Uchida (17:57)
The fact is this. If you are even remotely a genre fan and have not checked out Supernatural, get your butt down to the store and get the early seasons now. I promise you won’t be able to stop watching. If you’re a fan of anime, I can’t imagine a better offering. Now that both have been combined on high-definition Blu-ray, it only gets better. This is exactly the kind of series that Blu-ray was meant for. Detail is important on a show of this nature. There’s a lot of nuance to the series, and now you’ll be able to catch it like never before. “It’s possible, right?”