Akazukin Chacha DVD Box Set #1 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: Starchild/King Records
  • MSRP: 29500�
  • Running time: 650
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Akazukin Chacha

Akazukin Chacha DVD Box Set #1

    September 01, 1999
Release Date: September 01, 1999

Akazukin Chacha DVD Box Set #1
© Starchild/King Records

What They Say
Masterpiece anime series on DVD! Started on TV Tokyo in !994, this show became a surprise blockbuster hit. The 3-volume Laserdisc Box set that came out in '95 was sold out immediately. Some of today's best anime directors worked on the show, such as Tatsuo Sato of ''Nadesico'' fame, Hiroaki Sakurai of ''Cyberteam Akihabara'' fame, and many others!

The Review!
Akazukin Chacha (literally "Red Riding Hood" Chacha) is a shoujo fantasy comedy, based on the manga which ran in Ribon. Chacha is a witch in training going to school to learn magic. The story switches (often rapidly) between the crazy relationships between all of her friends at school (a web of love interests and rivalries that makes Marmalade Boy look tame), Chacha's (in)ability to use magic (like summoning a bull (ushi) instead of a bunny (usagi) when trying to impress the class), and the plots of an evil magic lord who is trying to kill Chacha (but the reason for this isn't explained until around episode 25) The dialog is packed with puns and other word-play and there is a lot of slapstick comedy, and the characters are infectiously cute. The ability for Chacha to transform in the Magical Princess is something that appears to have been added at the last minute when Ribon magazine desperately needed something to compete with Sailor Moon, detracts slightly from the story because it looks like it was added on at the end rather than being integrating well into the story, but is easily forgivable.

The entire series is 74 episodes long. This box set contains episodes 1-26; Box set 2 (release date 12/1/99) has episodes 27-50, box set 3 (release date 3/1/2000) has episodes 51-74. It originally aired starting 1/7/94.

As for the disc itself: The first six discs contain 4 episodes each and are dual layers; the seven disc contains the final 2 episodes and is single layer. The encoding bit rate hovers around 9.5 Mbps -- much higher than you find with domestic releases. The audio is basic stereo (the same as was broadcast) and has the problem where the background music is sometimes louder than the dialog (a problem with the original series -- not the encoding onto DVD) but is very clear. The video is very sharp -- I saw no artifacts at all, and the quality is such that some of the defects in the original masters are apparent.

The menuing system is very simple, but does work -- it lets you jump to any episode, starting either at the beginning theme, episode part A (i.e., before the commercial break), episode part B (after the break), episode preview, and ending credits. Once you start playing one of those sections, the disc will play from that point through the rest of the disc and then stops. Menu controls are very responsive.

Like with the LD box set release, the opening theme song was changed from the song that was broadcast on TV. Apparently, SMAP (the band that recorded the TV version opening) had a falling out with King Records, such that King lost the rights to use that song for their LD and DVD release. Instead, someone else (no, I don't have the artists name) re-recorded the opening song and (IMHO) it doesn't sound nearly as good.

The only "extras" on the discs are on the 7th disc -- there is a "no credits" version of both the 1st opening (used for episodes 1-30) and 1st ending (used for episodes 1-31) animation, and the TV commercial for the LD box set. This is the same as what was on the LD and I'm disappointed that more wasn't included. Also included in the box is a set of stickers and a 24 page leaflet which gives episode summaries of the 26 episodes, some other random information about the series, and voice and staff credits for the series. Each DVD is in its own jewel-case, and each case has a unique artwork.

Summary: The set feels very much like an LD release. There is nothing extra here that takes advantage of "new" features the DVD could offer. However, what was put on the discs was very nicely done and well worth it.

7 disc Set,Japanese audio (2.0),"No Credits" versions of 1st opening and ending animation,TV ad spot for the LD Box set,Discs 1-6 are SSDL (4 episodes each),Disc 7 is SSSL (2 episodes)

Review Equipment
Creative Labs 6x PCDVD, Encore DX3 hardware MPEG decoder, SoundBlaster 64 PCI sound card


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