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Headsup: Androids, Animation, and Anime

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first two titles featured below. The opinions I share are my own.

Westworld Season One 4KIn a time when Artificial Intelligence has gone from science fiction to a viable business tool, “Westworld” is an immersive fantasy role-playing game where guests have the opportunity to explore the best and worst sides of themselves without moral or legal consequence— as far as they know.  Based on the 1973 Michael Crichton film of the same name, the HBO series features an awards-laden cast led by Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins, Golden Globe winner Ed Harris, Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Evan Rachel Wood, and Golden Globe nominee Thandie Newton.  Westworld: Season One is now available on 4K Blu-ray, regular Blu-ray, and DVD.  The 4K and regular Blu-ray sets also include a collectible booklet that mimics a corporate guidebook for new Westworld employees and the 4K is housed in a special limited-edition tin.  All three formats boast a wide array of bonus features, including featurettes about the main title sequence, the symbolism of the player piano and Ramin Djawadi’s score, Artificial Intelligence, and the Westworld set.  Additional extras include a behind-the-scenes look at the first week of filming, examinations of key scenes from the season, an audio commentary on the season’s final episode by the co-creators and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and a gag reel.  Amazon and iTunes both offer the season digitally (for $38.99 and $32.99, respectively), with Amazon including the Westworld Comic-Con panel and season trailer and iTunes including no bonus features.  If the (almost two hours of) bonus features are important to you, though, the best option is still getting the season in disc format— on Amazon you can get the 4k Blu-ray set for $44.99, the regular Blu-ray set for $36.99, and the DVD set for $34.99.

DC Universe 10th Anniversary Collection Blu-rayIn 2007, the DC Universe Original Movies line launched with the premiere of Superman Doomsday and over the past decade has released thirty films inspired by storylines and characters from the DC library.  Now all thirty films (including newly released commemorative editions of Wonder Woman and Justice League: The New Frontier) are available in the DC Universe 10th Anniversary Collection on Blu-ray.  Also included in the set are five DC Showcase animated shorts (“The Spectre,” “Green Arrow,” “Jonah Hex,” “Catwoman,” and “Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam”) along with a bonus disc with over three hours of extras.  Notable features on the bonus disc include the 50-minute special “The Hero in All of Us” (which examines the various forms of heroism in mythology, comic book characters, and real life), “Mark Hamill: Finding the Laugh” (comments from Hamill on his career, particularly portraying The Joker), Comic-Con panels on the DC Universe tenth anniversary, a tribute to Darwyn Cooke, and the animated Wonder Woman film, and a “Lookbook” (stills compilation) for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Batman: The Killing Joke, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. A limited edition version of the 32-disc set also includes exclusive collectible coins and a 40-page adult coloring book featuring key art from all DC Universe Animated Movies and is available on Amazon for $299.99.

 Hunter X Hunter Set 3 Blu-RayBleach Set 3 Blu-Ray 
Turning from American animation to anime, Hunter X Hunter (the reboot of the popular manga of the same name by Yoshihiro Togashi) follows Gon, a young country boy on a quest to find his once-thought-dead father and follow in the latter’s stead to become one of the ultra-elite “Hunters”. In the most recent home media edition, Gon and his companion Killua go to Heaven’s Arena to do training for the Hunter Examination, where they face some of their most difficult challenges yet. Hunter X Hunter: Set 3 (episodes 27 to 50) is now available on DVD and Blu-ray sets, which also include clean opening and ending songs and an art gallery. On Amazon you can snag the DVD set for $26.89 and the Blu-ray set for $35.49.

If you’re an anime fan, you’re likely also familiar with Bleach. The series tells the story of Ichigo Kurosaki, a young man who goes from seeing ghosts all his life to becoming a substitute Soul Reaper (those who protect the living from evil spirits called Hollows). In the latest episodes, the Soul Reapers are fighting amongst themselves, sometimes even teacher against pupil. Episodes 56-83 are now available in a Bleach: Set 3 Blu-ray set, which also includes interviews with some of the English-speaking cast members along with an added segment on Kon’s US tour. Rounding out the bonus features are clean openings and endings and an art gallery. The Blu-ray set is currently available on Amazon for $38.99.