Blu-ray Review: Donten: Laughing Under The Clouds – Gaiden: Three Film Collection

Laughing Under the Clouds was a 12 episode anime series that ran back in 2014. The show followed the Soramaru and Chutaro and Tenka Kumo as they try to stop the Orochi, an evil supernatural serpent in the 1860s. The brothers have to uncover the human that is connected to the beast in order to prevent their country from being destroyed. The series gained a loyal following when aired on Japanese TV in 2014. People wanted more adventures involving the Kumo brothers. Instead of making a new series, the producers created three movies to cover the action that began screening in 2017. Now with Donten: Laughing Under The Clouds – Gaiden: Three Film Collection, you’ll see what the brothers are doing and why evil never ends.

“Chapter 1: One Year After the Battle” catches up with the world a year after the ending of the previous series. If you haven’t seen Laughing Under the Clouds and you want to see it; you might want to stop reading, bookmark this review, get that Blu-ray and the Blu-ray of Donten: Laughing Under the Clouds, watch both of them back to back and then click back to this review so you can post a nice “thank you” message for the recommendation. Otherwise don’t complain if you read this next sentence that will spoil it all for you. After defeating the Orochi serpent, things have changed for what seems like the better. All the troops that supported Orochi have been captured and marched off to a fortress prison. Because a sense of peace has been restored to the lane, the government has outlawed swords which puts the Kumo brothers in a big of career crisis. What are they supposed to do after all that excitement? One of the brothers has to deal with adjusting to a new way of life because of the injuries they survived from the battle. The others aren’t sure what to do in this time of peace. However things aren’t all harmony and wonder. Quite a few people are plotting to give Orochi a comeback. Those evil people have a history with the Kumo family. This all builds up and plays out in “Chapter 2: The Tragedy of Fuuma Ninja Tribe” and “Chapter 3: Conspiracy of the Military.”

While Donten: Laughing Under The Clouds – Gaiden: Three Film Collection might sound imposing, each of the movies is around an hour long. So you don’t need to spend an entire weekend with the boxset unless you want to immediately rewatch it to catch the nuances. The animated action keeps a fine pace as the brothers deal with the after effects of the first series. They mature as characters instead of merely continue of extensions of their younger selves. The movies are still engrossing if you haven’t had a chance to see the first series although you need to watch them in order.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The resolution shows off the artwork in the animation. The action scene look smooth. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 for both the Japanese and English dub. The English dub sounds fine if you don’t want to read the movie. The movies are subtitled in English.

DVD with all three movies.

Shout! Factory and Eleven Arts present Donten: Laughing Under The Clouds – Gaiden: Three Film Collection. Directed by: Tetsuya Wakano. Screenplay by: Eiji Umehara. Starring: Yuuki Kaji, Tsubasa Yonaga, Takahiro Sakurai and Kouji Usa. Rated: Unrated. Boxset Contents: 3 movies on 1 Blu-ray Disc. Released: February 4, 2020.

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