Sentai Filmworks has released the 2016 anime Norn9 Complete Collection on Blu-ray. Read on to find out if it deserves a spot in your film collection!
A mysterious mission. A mystery girl. A rendezvous with destiny. It’s been so long since someone used her name that she’s forgotten it. Suddenly, she’s ripped away from everything she knows, chosen by a mysterious organization called The World for a secret mission. However, from the moment she steps on board the incredible spacecraft Norn, she knows that she’s found home. The other young people aboard the ship are just like her: gifted with unexpected skills and abilities. Now, to protect the future of peace and harmony, they’re at The World’s beck and call. Maybe she’ll find more than just a purpose. Maybe she’s finally found a family and, possibly, even… her soul mate?
I had previously not heard of Norn9 but there are multiple PS Vita games about the subject as well as books. They seem to be highly rated games but unfortunately I have never played any of them. There seems to be a much bigger story line or backstory at play that the games probably delve into a bit more. The show itself does not run long enough to really get into any kind of depth for the characters. The episodes are 24 minutes long and this set contains all 12 episodes of the series.
A show based on a video game seems to have a predictable outcome and by that I mean that it’s a fairly thin story. Norn9 seems specifically aimed at fans of the game which is fine but there wasn’t much substance for a first time viewer not already invested in the characters or world. I think if you are a huge fan of the games and don’t mind a bit of fan service in your anime then this might appeal to you. Otherwise I’m pretty sure that you won’t care much about this fairly middle of the road story.
There isn’t much information online about who was behind the creative side of the show. I’d imagine that it’s someone not extremely familiar with good plotting or interesting character developments. 12 episodes while short are not too short to make a comprehensive story line. Everything in the world felt too distant and too emotionally detached. I didn’t really care for what happened and characters seemed to just be introduced randomly and then dropped for no reason. It seems like the characters that were focused on were the less interesting parts of the story.
As the pacing of the plot moves forward you will notice chaotic elements presented in the story simply to drive it along. Pretty early on any viewer paying even slight attention will guess where the show is headed. If you are expecting a grounded logically sound story you might as well not even touch this one as it’s almost entirely driven by deus ex machina. There really is just too much nonsense thrown around to care much.
The story goes pretty slow until it gets to a point to where it goes too fast. Characters don’t matter or care about the goings on of the story until of course it is time for them to care. It’s very lazy writing unfortunately and it really took me out of caring for what happened. Especially when you consider that nothing is very unique to this show. Which is really saying something considering I’m not a huge fan of Japanese animation and have seen little (little in comparison to other genres at least).
The Norn9 set includes 2 BD-50 discs with Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. English subtitles are included. The sound and picture quality are what you would expect from a modern Anime show to be like. The colors and backgrounds are nicely done and the CG effects while noticeable were still done professionally. The audio is mostly dialog heavy with a light and catchy soundtrack.
Clean opening and closing animations
Norn9 Final Thoughts:
I didn’t really care about the story or the characters. The character designs were nice and the animation was solid, with vibrant colors particularly in the last 2 or 3 episodes. If you are a fan of the video games you may find more to love here than I did. There doesn’t seem to be enough content in the series and there are hardly any special features to warrant the full price. If you want a good story I’d tell you to pass on a blind buy. But if you already like the world and can wait on a sale price then you could eventually pick it up here on Amazon.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.