Limited Edition releases (or Premium/Special/Collector's Edition as some of them are called) have taken many shapes and form over the years. So with this blog, I look at the LEs that have been recently released and pick the best ten of them. LEs are a way of making purchases of physical media more worthwhile in an age where streaming has pretty much cut into physical media sales as not only can they expensive, but they take up space. So in putting together this list, here are some criteria that I have laid down in constructing this list.
  • Only limited, premium, special, and collector's editions are considered where the show was released on Blu-ray. So any such releases that don't include BDs like those Right Stuf LEs are not considered.
  • A release is considered a LE if it is released with something more than the standard case, sleeve, BDs, and an O-ring slipcover (like those that come with all Funimation releases). If a release has only that or less, then it's not considered. Also, standard edition releases that come with a gift with purchase (ex. Hunter x Hunter vol. 1 that comes with a hunter's license card as a GWP) are ineligible. However, GWPs that come with LEs (ex. those bonus items for stuff purchased at the NISA store) are factored into this evaluation.
  • Anything that has been solicited through September is eligible.
  • These rankings are determined by several criteria that include:
    • Artistic Quality: How great does the artwork look on the physical items (cover, discs, box, etc.)
    • Design: How well is the LE designed in terms of practicality, aesthetics, and functionality
    • Physical Items: What items come with the LEs like posters, art cards, artbook, soundtracks etc.
    • Dubbing and On-disc Extras
    • Value: How fair is the price tag on the item (mainly means Aniplex releases are hurt by this)
  • How good or bad a show is does not factor into a show's inclusion or ranking. This list is intended to evaluate the LE releases and not the shows themselves.
  • On-disc glitches and other problems are not factored in as those are things that are usually fixed and replaced. Again, the main consideration is the LE releases themselves.
  • I'll try and keep things as diverse as possible and not mention the same type of release more than once (ex. I will only put one NIS America release in those tall boxsets).

So with that, here is my Top 10 list for best LE releases.

10. Time of Eve Deluxe Edition (Pied Piper)
To start things off, here is a release from a Kickstarter campaign and with the amount of money raised that Pied Piper could go all-out with this release. In addition to the movie and artbox, it also includes a deluxe artbook and a CD, while those who pledged quite a lot also got some extra goodies such as a coffee cup and a tin. In addition, I like the choice of artwork where on the box Sammy's eyes are closed, and on the BD cover sleeve they are opened. Pied Piper paid great attention to detail to make this great.

9. Durarara!! Box Set Lunchbox Limited Edition (Aniplex)
This is one of the few Aniplex releases that is reasonably priced. For $150, that gets you the entire series in a chipboard box, and it comes with a lunchbox and the usual Aniplex stuff with the booklet and poster. This is the perfect release by Aniplex standards when it comes to a balance between product and price. The cost of this set is comparable to what you would pay for an entire two-cour series back in the days of the DVD singles. In any case, this is as good as it got as what Aniplex did with the sequel is just a big travesty releasing it in half-cour sets in those flimsy boxes that just don't go well with the rest of the series. And not to mention, just getting a single cour of this set costs more than this.

8. Fate/Zero Limited Edition (Aniplex)
This is Aniplex's best-looking release that they have put out to date. On one side of the box is a nice group shot of the cast, while the other side has half of a magical circle. When the two boxes are put together, they form a full magical circle. That is very cool to look at. And in addition, there is a booklet, a Weiss Schwarz card (which only came with the first print), and a poster, all putting ufotable's great art on full display. I could put the Unlimited Blade Works release here in its place, but the magical circle is why I went with Fate/Zero instead. While the Durarara!! release is the best in terms of getting the most Aniplex bang for your buck, this one is the best in terms of quality alone. The re-release of this would improve the quality of the boxes.

7. Guilty Crown Limited Edition (Funimation)
Short of releasing everything in one, this is how to do a LE release without going too overboard. Funimation pretty much used the same thing for every title back when they were getting back into the LE business after releasing everything SE-only for awhile. It followed a pattern where there's a box with space for two BD cases where for shows with one cour, the two BDs are in one case and the two DVDs are in the other, and for two cour shows there are the BDs and DVDs for the first half in one case and that for the second half in the other. This one goes a step further by including two artbooks that fit nicely into the box, all while the artwork is just gorgeous all-around. This is a show that has some of the best artwork out there, and while I wasn't planning on getting this at first seeing how much of a disappointment the show is, this amazing LE convinced me to get it.

6. Food Wars! Premium Box Set Blu-Ray/DVD (Sentai)
In lieu of a third season being released, here is the only entry for something that has yet to be released. Everything looks amazing, and what puts this set over the top is the bento box as it is an appropriate way to represent this show that's all about cooking. This looks just like the artbox Bandai released with Haruhi Suzumiya, all while it comes with a lot of great extras like the artbook, apron, and chopsticks that are all appropriately themed. Complements to Sentai for bringing this out and I'm looking forward to getting it.

5. Fullmetal Alchemist Complete Series Collector's Edition Blu-ray (Funimation)
The guys at Funimation did an excellent job in assembling this super-deluxe release of the G.O.A.T. (well, not quite as Brotherhood is the show that has that distinction, but this series is also awesome in its own way). The box is designed to represent the journey Ed and Al took during the show with a premium big box, a gigantic artbook, a smaller chipboard box made with genuine leather, lots of posters and art cards, and pretty much everything that will make the biggest FMA fans happy. While it's great, this show only lands here because of two factors. First is the price tag as it's $330 retail, and while that's Aniplex territory (which took license for themselves once it expired for Funimation), the price tag is justified unlike most Aniplex releases as it's four cours worth of content with stuff that received the royal treatment. Not to mention, there are frequent sales that drops the price unlike with Aniplex products. And second of all is the size of this thing as fitting it on the shelf is a big challenge.

4. Ranma 1/2 Special Edition Blu-ray (Viz)
Ranma 1/2 is an old favorite, and it's great to see that not only it got a BD upgrade, but it got a really nice series of BD releases. This is how a long series is to be released on BD as it consists of seven volumes each with a compact chipboard box and includes an episode guide book made with gold foil and glossy paper, and an art card. On top of that, the spines are creatively decorated so that they create a nice slanted pattern when lined up next to each other. Viz definitely outdid themselves with this release. And above all, this release is the complete, unedited edition to get the same experience as those in Japan did with all proper openings and endings and everything seeing that what we got with the VHS and DVD versions is something that's lightly edited (the episodes themselves were unaffected, but the stuff outside of that is what's edited).

3. My Hero Academia: Season 1 Collection LE (Funimation)
Funimation went Plus Ultra with this release as it contains a chipboard box with glossy material for the group shot, an artbook, a notebook, and an Izuku keychain. All of this is worthy of a great show that MHA is. Just about everything with this release is perfect and well thought-out as everything is well-constructed and feels worthy of being premium. Funi has been having quality control problems recently with their LEs, but this is one where it's not an issue at all.

2. Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions! Collector's Edition (Sentai)
This is Sentai's first ever LE release, and boy did they make a great impression with this release. This release includes a chipboard box with foil embedding, an artbook, and lots of trinkets and stuff. All this comes at a very reasonable price for a LE that puts other LEs to shame. And seeing that this is Sentai's first attempt at a LE that the price tag makes this a steal seeing that the sequel would get an LE that's far less impressive and actually has a higher price tag.

1. Toradora! Complete Series Premium Edition Blu-ray/DVD (NIS America)
The top spot goes to Toradora! as this is the gold standard of how a LE is supposed to be made. Not to mention, it marked a change in the way NIS America would do releases (and sadly, it looks like it's all over for them with their recent inactivity). This is NIS America's first of three dubbed anime releases, and they smartly did away with those tall boxes that they have been using for their other releases. Above all, this is a release that is not only great-looking, but efficient as well with a box that contains cases for the BDs, the DVDs, and the artbook. And I just love the detail put into the artbook with the furry touch added to it. Throw in that tear-resistant poster as a GWP from the NISA store, and that puts it at the top of the LE releases.