On Monday 20th, Kazé UK released Nisekoi Part 1 on both Blu-ray and DVD through Manga Entertainment. After some hiccups during release week, stemming from retailers receiving stock late, resulting in retail copies not reaching customers until this week in some cases, I finally had chance to watch through the release last night. Despite the name Kazé seemingly being the cause of PTSD for many a UK fan, this offering performs admirably with few, and only minor at that, issues present throughout. Nisekoi may seem, after a cursory glance, to be just your average romantic comedy harem anime, but it is much more than that. The included 10 episodes, making up the first half of the first season, are more than enough for one to fall in love with OnoderaKana Hanazawa the characters.
The first episode opens with a memory of a locket and a promise from the history of Raku Ichijo, the main character and son of a yakuza boss. On the way to school, he is kneed in the face by Chitoge Kirasaki, a new transfer student, and is tended to by Kosaki Onodera. Upon realising he lost his locket in the altercation, he insists Chitoge aid him in locating it. After their relationship worsens, Chitoge eventually finds the locket. At this point, their fathers force the two of them into pretending to date in order to quell the war between the gangs each family is a part of. Raku and Chitoge have to keep up this lie, in order so as to not tip off either gang that they are not really in love. Meanwhile, Raku harbours feelings for Onodera but is unable to tell her the relationship between him and Chitoge is a lie. Chitoge does tell Onodera, but this is not made known to him. Towards the end of this release, Seishirou Tsugumi is introduced as another transfer student; Tsugumi is an acquaintance of Chitoge and finds Raku unfit. After a duel, Raku discovers that Tsugumi is actually a girl. Tsugumi starts to develop feelings for Raku over the final couple episodes, bringing us to a full-on harem. The season ends with Chitoge and Raku agreeing to call each other by their first names…
With 10 episodes on one disc, I was expecting to see compression artefacts throughout; thankfully this was not the case. Kazé have provided us an excellent presentation of this colourful anime that relies on visuals to emphasise many of the situations characters find themselves in, not just the comedic ones. Studio SHAFT certainly know how to exaggerate scenes, with backdrops taking the place of backgrounds frequently. At times facial expressions, and sometimes whole characters, devolve to outright caricatures to perfectly emblazon the comedy. While, for the most part, I enjoy SHAFT’s visual work, I feel some of the sparkles and other visual cues that occur during otherwise normally animated scenes could do with being cut back on. The subtitles were commendable, with only minor grammatical and spelling errors found, none to the detriment of the viewing experience, and likely won’t be noticed by many. Unfortunately, episode 2 and 4 feature less than stellar timings on the subtitles, resulting in some lines disappearing before a character has finished speaking; whilst I had no issue reading the subtitles in these episodes, it is worth noting that those unaccustomed to subtitles may have to speed-read during these episodes. Hopefully, part 2, when it releases, features subtitles in line with the standard of the other 8 episodes from this release.
There really isn’t much to say about the audio offerings on this release. Both the Japanese language track and French language track are provided as 2.0 PCM tracks; the Japanese track likely to be the more popular choice in the UK. There were no issues to be noted with this audio track, although inclusion of an English dub could potentially have made this show more accessible to fans that aren’t fond of reading subtitles. For me, the highlight of the Japanese language track lies in Kana Hanazawa voicing Onodera, although all of the VAs are suitably energetic and perfect for Nisekoi. The OP, ‘CLICK‘ by ClariS is magical, and perfectly suited to Nisekoi; though, I am biased in favour of ClariS ever since they performed the OP for Oreimo. There are a total of four EPs used within the 10 episodes on this release, not including the use of the OP as the ED for episode 1. The ED used for each episode sometimes differ from the TV broadcast, with two from this release featuring a track not used during the TV broadcast at all. Episode 2 featured ‘Heart Pattern‘ by Nao Tōyama as the ED. Episodes 3 through 5 featured ‘Recover Decoration‘ by Kana Hanazawa, the VA for best girl Onodera; this ED is my personal favourite of those utilised. Episodes 6 through 8 used ‘TRICK BOX‘ by Mikako Komatsu, with ‘OrderxOrder‘ by Yumi Uchiyama used for the remaining two episodes.
Nisekoi Part 1 features both physical and on-disc extras. We are treated to the textless version of the OP, ‘CLICK’ by ClariS, and all textless versions of all four aforementioned EDs present in the first 10 episodes on blu-ray. Physically, the release includes a slipcover, as was expected, thus allowing us three pieces of art when factoring in the front and back of the keep case. The pleasant surprise when it came to this release was the inclusion of six art cards within the keep case, of which there had been no mention of prior to release.
This release is an excellent effort from Kazé, showing they are more than capable of a release worth buying. The anime itself is brilliant; each character brings something to the table in a big way, and it's impossible to dislike any of them. If Kazé step up their game and ensure part 2 has perfect subtitles, it could definitely see a higher score than that which I have given to part 1.