Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 19.98
- Running time: 30
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Blue Submarine No. 6
Blue Submarine No. 6 Vol. #1
By Henschel Orcino
February 06, 2002
Release Date: April 04, 2000
I don't intend for this to be a full alternate review per-se, but rather more along the vein of additional observation(s) to Chris' and Justin's reviews.
Audio - I fully concur with the previous comments noted in the other reviews regarding the sound mix on this title. Steering and definition are definitely first-rate, with discrete mixing across all 5.1 channels. I do, however, find that the mix used for Verg's "real" language (akin to what they did with the Guild Navigator translator-voice in Dune) tended to get drowned by the "translated" words. So much so, in fact, that casual viewing/viewers may simply take it for granted that Verg was just speaking English. The same occurs for the homily delivered by the initial wave of Okumas (?) which attacked the port. A minor (but present, nonetheless) nitpick on my part.
Video - Video quality was fairly good. While admittedly sharper than most releases, anime or otherwise, there tended to be moments that (in my humble opinion) showed undue softness. While I would normally account for this as a quirk of a particular player or monitor, subsequent viewing via other monitors and players were consistent in this regard. I have not had the pleasure to make a comparison to the VHS release to see if the softness was apparent (even taking into account the lesser resolution of VHS). Neither have I seen the original Region 2 DVD.
Packaging - Nothing much to add here, except to chime in with Justin on that oddly short cover that Bandai has been using. Anyone care to check if they simply printed the EXACT dimensions of the VHS slipcover onto a flat sheet? The inclusion of a postage-paid survey card was a nice touch, but in this Internet age, I would have wanted to see an online survey URL provided as well. Any of you anime companies want to be first-to-market with that? = ) [editors note: Central Park Media does that already here]
Menus - Here's where I started having issues, thus the C rating. I haven't seen anyone else post any comments on this so I'm not sure if I just happened to get a "defective" disc or if the problems I ran into were endemic to the entire run. I'm not leaning towards the defective disc explanation since I experienced similar problems with my Cowboy Bebop DVD. Justin's review made a brief mention of menu problems...
To wit, I run into locking and/or looping problems with the menus. For instance, when I call up the Audio menu and then select any of the options, it *stays* on that screen. You can navigate the pointer to any other selection on screen, but clicking on any of them won't make a re-selection. The only way I could get out of that menu screen was to hit the Menu button on my remote again. This (or a similar behavior) happens on the other two players I tested it on as well. Do any of you Blue No. 6 owners out there experience such menu glitches? Try futzing around with all the menu options and navigation and let me know if I'm just smoking crack.
Content - Definitely a series to keep on top off. My only issue in this regard is Bandai's decision to release only a single episode per disc. I'm not too comfortable with the precedent this may set. Granted, we're rather spoiled here in the U.S. of A. (the Japanese have to pay about $50 PER episode over on their side of the Pacific), but do we *really* want the anime companies to start thinking "hey, they bought that one, let's start releasing all our titles that way...?" Why the departure considering Bandai released Cowboy Bebop in the more "traditional" U.S. release format?
All in all, this is definitely a great addition to any anime (or general) DVD collection. However, if the menu issue (yes, that again) is indicative of future Bandai releases, I fully urge every Bandai DVD-owning person out there to please check out how your menu system works. If enough people can verify some kind of menu glitch (no matter how minor), perhaps we can have Chris write them a letter on behalf of Anime on DVD...
ISF-calibrated Sony 32XBR100 32" Monitor via Monster S-Video3, Mitsubishi CS-2058R 20" TV via Monster S-Video3; Pioneer DVL-919 codefree DVD/LD player via Monster Datalink 100 Coaxial digital audio, Sony DVP-S7000 DVD player via Monster Datalink 100 Coaxial digital audio, Toshiba SD-2109 DVD player via Monster Lightspeed 100 Toslink digital audio; Denon AVR-5700 THX Ultra receiver; M&K 750THX Left/Center/Right/Surrounds via Original Monster Cable speaker wire; M&K V-1250THX powered subwoofer via Monster 1201SW subwoofer cable.