Blu-ray Review: B: The Beginning (Season One)

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the bad guys apart and know what a good guy really needs to do. We’re used to TV shows making it all easy. Today’s TV broadcast cop shows might give a slight edgy cop who goes over the edge. But what about the guy who wants to battle crime, but doesn’t want to join the police force and has little care for a citizen arrest? Batman always wants to turn his villains over to Commissioner Gordon. But what if he was more into just leaving a messy crime scene? And what if instead of being a superhero, the mysterious vigilante is passing for human and not from the neighborhood? This is the basis of the engrossing anime series B: The Beginning. Now Season One is out on Blu-ray with the first 12 episodes.

A woman is being chased through the woods by two creepy guys that are firing arrows at her while another creepy guy is sitting in a van watching the action on TV screens. Before they can kill their victim and do unspeakable acts, an unknown assailant attack them. The hunters don’t merely become the prey, but get sliced up like deli hams. The police arrive on the scene mystified at who would kill the creepy guys since they were known felons. The main clue spotted by the Royal Investigation Service of Cremona is a B and “IIII” carved into a tree. Lily Hoshina (Asami Seto & Faye Mata) is an investigator who is shocked to discover the legendary Keith Kazama Flick (Hiroaki Hirata & Ray Chase) has returned to the unit. It’s been a few years since he vanished and judging from his hair and beard, he didn’t quite take care of himself during his sabbatical. He senses something big is happening involving the killer of the creeps. He barely knows what’s about to happen because turns out there’s more evil about to be unleashed in the area by an evil underground operation. Killer B will have his hands and sword full. Before the Royal Investigation Service gets too deep into their crime scene, the creepy guy that was watching the original attack on the woman has joined up with a guy with make up on his face to steal a prototype tank to cause more damage. The guy in the make up is hoping to smoke out the Killer B so he can get make the area safe for criminals. Flick is eager to stop them all if possible since criminals and murdering vigilantes aren’t good for the community. Although what’s he going to do when he discovers the true nature of B? That’s it’s not merely a guy who wants to be like Batman?

B: The Beginning: Season One does a great job of mixing a criminal flick with a supernatural storyline. Being an animated world allows fantastical elements to mingle with the conventions of a police detective investigation without anything being out of balance. The action is engrossing as we get both the detail oriented police investigation moments mixed with massive action pieces that blow up buildings and destroy highways. Flick is the glue that keeps things a bit grounded as he deals with his personal demons that made him step away from the game. The colorful nature of the criminal conspirators lets them stick out in the madness of what’s going down. Even when the true nature of the Killer B gets exposed, it makes a bit of sense and once more throws Flick for a bit of a loop since it falls outside his deduction logic. Even though there is a second season coming in the future, Season One doesn’t leave you completely hanging. This is good news both ways since you’ll be glued to the screen for all 12 episodes of B: The Beginning.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the definition in the animation. It’s definitely as show that has details you need to experience fully. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix in both the English dub and the original Japanese. Both mixes sound fine so you can pick the way you want to hear the show. The subtitles are English.

DVD features all 12 episodes on 2 discs.

Kazuto Nakazawa Interview (23:59) has the director talk during the Scotland Loves Anime film festival in October, 2018. He talks about making a dark hero piece and the themes he wanted included in it. Koku means “Black Wings.” His answers are in Japanese with English subtitles.

Pilot Film That Inspired The Series (1:49) is a trailer that was created to pitch the series. The focus is on Koku.

Textless Ending (1:57) is the ending without any credits so you can enjoy the imagery and the theme song.

Shout! Factory present B: The Beginning: Season One. Directed by: Kazuto Nakazawa & Yoshiki Yamakawa. Screenplay by: Katsuya Ishida. Starring: Hiroaki Hirata, Ray Chase, Yūki Kaji, Kyle McCarley, Asami Seto, Faye Mata and Doug Stone. Boxset Contents: 12 episodes on 2 Blu-ray discs and 2 DVDs. Released: October 6, 2020.

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