This week’s home entertainment releases include Takashi Miike’s blood-soaked adaptation of Hiroaki Samura’s innovative Blood of the Immortal manga, the most successful family drama of 2017, a film notable primarily for one of Denzel Washington’s very best performances, two animated features inspired by the 1960s Batman TV series, plus the Filmation Superman and Batman shows from the 1960s and 1970s, every episode of Doctor Who featuring the 12th Doctor, as well as the first season of the gritty HBO period drama The Deuce.

Theatrical Movies

My personal favorite of this week’s releases is Takashi Miike’s film of Hiroaki Samura’s samurai manga (published here by Dark Horse) Blade of the Immortal (Magnolia, “R,” 141 min., $26.97, BD $29.99).  Note this is an extremely bloody adaptation and Miike takes special care to lovingly examine all the exotic Samurai weaponry, but like the manga (though not nearly as much) there is more here than just the typical dismemberment and gore (though there is plenty of that as well).

This week’s top release in box office terms is perhaps the most successful “little film” of the year, the family drama Wonder (Lionsgate, “PG,” 113 min., $29.95, BD $39.99, 4K $42.99), Stephen Chbosky’s film adaptation of R.J. Palaccio’s novel about a boy with a facial deformity, who decides to attend school in the fifth grade.  Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay are all excellent in this film that wears its sentiment on its sleeve, but also earns the right to the emotions it elicits with its meticulous realism and true-to-life narrative.

Also of interest, chiefly because of the masterful performance by Denzel Washington, is Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Sony, “PG-13,” 122 min., $30.99, BD $34.99), a legal drama written and directed by Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler).  Unfortunately Washington’s excellent work, which brings out all sorts of facets of a very complex character, won’t receive the praise it deserves, because of the film’s messy, lifelike, meandering narrative.


Two top fan favorite franchises have re-packaged recent releases in new lower per-episode-cost releases that might be of interest.  The 1960s Batman TV series inspired two animated feature films produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016) and Batman vs. Two-Face (2017), both of which are now available in a Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders & Batman vs. Two-Face Double Feature (Warner Bros., $19.98), while all the episodes of the revived Doctor Who series featuring the Twelfth Doctor (the delightfully irascible Peter Capaldi), are now available in the 14-disc Doctor Who: The Complete Peter Capaldi Years (BBC, 2,355 min., BD $129.99).

Also of interest for collectors is The New Adventures of Superman/New Adventures of Batman Double Feature (Disney, 615 min., $19.98), which collects all 68 six-minute Superman shorts produced by Filmation from the 1966-1970 plus the 16-episode Batman series that aired in 1977.

The top contemporary release this week is The Deuce: The Complete First Season (HBO, $49.99, BD $59.99), the gritty 1970s period drama created by David Simon and George Pelecanos that stars James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, is set in Times Square, and deals with the rise of the porn film industry.  Equally gritty and also of interest is Animal Kingdom: Season 2 (Warner Bros., 640 min., $24.98, BD $39.99), which includes all 13 episodes of the second season of the family crime drama that airs on TNT and is based on the 2010 Australian film.

A couple of vintage shows are of special interest to geek viewers.  All 103 episodes of the legendary Canadian sketch comedy series The Kids in the Hall: The Complete Collection (Mill Creek, 2,700 min., $69.98) are available in this 12-disc collection, and then there is the reissue of the classic Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 7 (Shout Factory, 390 min., $44.99) in which the MST3K crew make merciless fun of Hercules Unchained, The Killer Shrews, Hercules Against the Moon Men, and Prince of Space.

Other animated TV offerings include Ben 10: Season 1, Vol.1: Villain Time (Warner Bros., 143 min., $14.97); Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie (Nickelodeon, 66 min., $13.99), and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic—Escape Into Friendship (Shout Factory, 110 min., $14.98).

The most interesting vintage offering in some ways is the 1996 western The Lazarus Man: The Complete Series (Warner Bros., 965 min., DVD-R, $47.99), an off-beat Western mystery, which stars Robert Urich as an amnesiac who claws his way out of a grave on Halloween 1865. 

Other vintage releases include the police drama Adam-12: Season One (Universal, 648 min., $22.98); the groundbreaking 1950s police procedural Dragnet: Season 1 (Universal, 434 min., $34.98); the forensic police drama Quincy, M.E.: Season 1 (Universal, 335 min., $22.98); and the sexy sitcom Three’s Company: The Complete Collection (Lionsgate, $76.98).


The free-to-play Japanese collectible card browser video game Touken Ranbu (“Wild Dance of Swords”) quickly became very popular with young women, and figures importantly in the cultural trend of “katana women,” who pose with historical swords.  The game has also spawned the Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru—Season One (Funimation, “TV-PG,” 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98) anime, a 12-episode series produced by Doga Kobo with music by Kenji Kawai that aired in Japan in 2016. 

Also due on Tuesday is Akiba’s Trip: The Complete Series (Funimation, “TV-MA,” 325 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), which includes the 13-episode Gonzo series from 2017 that is based on the Akiba’s Trip video game.  This fan service-filled sci-fi comedy finds its otaku protagonist in the midst of a sort of vampire-like plague in which cosplaying “bugged ones” roam the streets of Akihabara inflecting people right and left until our hero and his friend discover that the “bugged ones” can be destroyed by ripping their clothes off and exposing their bodies to sunlight.

An adventure comedy of a different sort is Food Wars: The Second Plate (Sentai Filmworks, “TV-14,” 325 min., $59.98, BD $69.98, Premium Box Set $169.98), which contains the 13-episode J.C. Staff series from 2016 that like its 2015 predecessor is based on the manga written by Yuko Tsukuda.  The Premium Box Set includes a special booklet, a collectible plate, an exclusive pin, art cards, and a bandana.

Other releases include Fairy Tail: Collection 11 (Fumimation, 650 min.,$54.98), which includes episodes 240 to 265, which have already been released in 13-episode sets, and the 2016 Pokemon-esque Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On—Season 1, Part 1 (Funimation, “TV-7,” 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98).

For Pokemon fans, Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! (Viz Media, “TV-Y7,” 98 min., BD $24.98), the twentieth Pokemon film produced by OLM,  is a very interesting proposition since it is basically provides an alternate continuity for the original Kanto League story arc that launched the hugely popular anime.