During a recent laserdisc hunting expedition, I came across a lot of anime discs that someone had sold off which were just waiting for me at one of my go-to stores. Part of the issue with buying discs out in the wild is that sometimes you don’t get a full collection; a series can have 3 or more “collections” to complete the set, but sometimes you are lucky when they all just happen to be there.
Blue Seed, a 1994 anime series, was one of the sets I recently purchased with two discs that completed the US version of the series. Each of the discs had a run time of 120 minutes, which included four episodes per disc along with 4 episodes of “Omake Theater,” a short based on the episode it followed.
The laserdisc sets had only two discs released in the US, which covered the first eight episodes. Whether you were a fan or just began the process of watching it like I did, you can easily feel cheated that you don’t have the remaining eighteen episodes to complete the series. Even harder to find are the Japanese collections: A complete seven disc box set and 13 individual volumes containing two episodes each. I have also seen three other box sets on auction sites that contain five discs each — altogether making a complete set — costing a pretty penny.
The two US editions on laserdisc give us a taste of what is to come in this story of a fifteen year old girl, Momiji Fujimiy. Momiji finds out that she is a decedent of the Kushinada, which was thought of as a mythological fairytale that kids grew up with. She comes face to face with a half human, half plant young man named Mamoru Kusanagi who wants to kill her. Later, we find out that he was actually created to protect the Kushinada family from the Aragami, a group of demonic plant-like monsters threatening to destroy Japan.
In the first eight episodes, we start to understand the main characters in the series and their background stories. In the middle of these stories, we experience a lot of Aragami battles. Instead of dying in her first major encounter with the Aragami, Momiji fuses with the soul of a dead person. This fusion is revealed on her chest, which begins to glow when an Aragami is near by. Momiji joins the TAC (Terrestrial Administration Center), a secret agency created to fight the Aragami, and helps battle the monsters with her gift. Kusanagi turns out to be a nice guy and by episode two his purpose had returned back to normal and is set on protecting Momiji instead of wanting to kill her. The two of them begin to show signs of falling for each other by the end of the eighth episode.
Just as you attach yourself to these characters, the second disc is over and you are yelling at A.D. Vision (the publisher of the discs) for not putting out more episodes in the US. These discs can be viewed with Japanese audio and English subtitles or an English dubbed version, which is how I viewed it because my laserdisc player does not have the remote to change the default features. The quality of the discs are great and the audio is digital, so if your player has the optical out and your receiver has the inputs, you can get 5.1 surround sound. It is shown at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, which is the same as the complete editions on DVD available in the US. Disc two has been reported over time as having disc rot. My version did have rot on the first side, which hindered the audio just a little bit, but after about 13 minutes in the rot was gone.
Overall, the collection of Blue Seed in the US is a good way to get your feet wet on this series. Since all laserdiscs are out of print, you will be paying secondary market pricing. Going rate for these discs when buying from an individual is around $30 a disc at the moment.