This week a look at a series which comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray today. It is an anime which in some ways offers much, but in other respects takes it away.
World Conquest Zvezda Plot (“zvezda” means “star” in some Slavic languages) was an anime that was broadcast early in 2014. 12 episodes were broadcast, and there was a 13th episode released on its own – something which at the time of writing is omitted by Wikipedia as it happens. The series is a comedy, dealing with a group of people with a simple mission: trying to take over the world.
Set in the fictional city of West Udogawa, which is under a state of martial law. Schoolboy Asuta Jimon has run away from home, and while on the streets he finds a little girl who has been knocked off her tricycle, who Asuta helps. The girl, named Kate Hoshimiya, claims that she is actually the head of a secret society called Zvezda, actually named Lady Venera, whose goal is world conquest. As Asuta has found out her identity (due to Kate telling him), he finds himself having to join Zvezda.
Asuta ends up living in Zvezda’s not-so-secret headquarters (their name is on a sign outside the front door), and primarily finds himself taking up the role of the cook in the HQ. There he interacts with the rest of Zvezda: eye-patch wearing swordswoman Itsuka Shikabane (code name Lady Plamya); Ukrainian scientist Natasha Vasylchenko (Prof. Um); cake-loving former gangster and Itsuka’s father Goro (General Pepel); cowardly smoker and self-proclaimed “chief solider” Yasu Morozumi; and udo-eating female robot Roboko. Each episode sees them carrying out mad schemes in order to conquer the world, and fighting against the enemies, normally a government organisation called White Light, whose members secretly include Asuta’ classmate Renge Komadori.
On the plus side, World Conquest Zvezda Plot is a rather funny series, and will appeal to those who like their comedy on the surreal side. Probably the best episode is one in which Yasu’s smoking becomes such an annoyance for everyone else that Zvezda motivate all of West Udogawa to declare a violent purge of all smokers in the town. Smoking becomes a recurring element to the story when the true villain in the show is revealed to be someone who smokes cigars as a weapon. Another nice aspect of the series is the fact that you end up liking a group of people which seemingly has a diabolical motive.
The main downside to this collection, in particular this new UK release, is that it contains no extras at all. You only get the 13 episodes. You also only get the Japanese translation with English subtitles, so there is no English-language dub. Some people are reporting issues with the Blu-Ray subtitles as well. The other problem is that this collection is released under the Kaze label, which does put off a lot of anime fans because they are seen as being rather unprofessional.
But concerning the content of the actual show, it is a fine, entertaining series. The series is itself has a somewhat open ending, so whether there will be more episodes is unknown.
World Conquest Zvezda Plot is released on Blu-Ray and DVD by Kaze.