Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: F/A
- Menus Rating: A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: AnimEigo
- MSRP: 59.95
- Running time: 399
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Bubblegum Crisis
Bubblegum Crisis Megaset
By Chris Beveridge
October 30, 1998
Release Date: October 30, 1998
Bubblegum Crisis Megaset
What They Say
The Bubblegum Crisis Collection gives you the complete eight-episode cyberpunk anime classic in one three-disc package; its top quality DVD video and Dolby Digital sound is a must-have for any Japanese animation fan. As an added bonus, this package includes two extra music videos! Powered by a hard rock soundtrack and a gritty style, the action foretells an all-too-probable future where humanity is pitted against machine. Join the Knight Sabers as they risk their lives protecting the public from rampaging Boomers and try to keep Genom from taking over the world.
Episodes: Tinsel City, Born To Kill, Blow Up, Revenge Road, Moonlight Rambler, Red Eyes, Double Vision and Scoop Chase.The Review!
Ah, Bubblegum Crisis. One of the three "holy grails" of 1998 anime to come to DVD. After months and months of delays, we finally have this truly shiny disc set in our hands, and a lot of people are ready to scrutinize it. BGC has been available in the states for just about 8 years now, and if you haven't seen it or read any reviews of it, then you've missed a classic piece of 80's anime.
Bubblegum Crash was my first serious exposure to "near-pure" anime, my first commercial/domestic subtitled release back in, mmm, 92 I believe. I was hooked seriously with that show, with it bringing me back into the anime world once again. After devouring Crash, I went and week by week, acquired all 8 episodes and the 2 music videos on VHS. A few years later, I bought 'em all again on laserdisc. Now, a few years later, here I am again, scarfing up BGC. And, once again, I'm loving it.
The audio on the disc contains an English and Japanese language track. At some point in the near future, my wife will be providing a review of the English dub track. The Japanese track is clean and clear and makes a decent use of the front soundstage, especially for a show coming from 1986 or so. There are several surround/rear moments, especially with the music and it works out quite well. This is a solid track that I imagine would have been somewhat crisper in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but I'm not going to complain about it.
The video is also very clean and clear, though there are a few instances of some grain as well as a couple of nicks in some sections, most notably in the earlier episodes. This is mostly due to the age of the film source material, and nothing could have fixed it, and it only detracted slightly from my viewing mostly because I was looking for such things. After awhile, I simply ignored it and enjoyed the show.
Ah, the packaging. Well, I think this came as a surprise to just about everyone. To be blunt, it's a PC software box. Exactly what my copy of Rainbow 6 and other PC games over the years have come in. In my grading up above, I gave it a dual result. The F is because it's simply not what is accepted in the DVD world. In the DVD-ROM only world, sure, those are for software and games. While videos are now being called software, I don't consider them that in the same sense as I do computer games and OS packages. The box, though a bit crowded, is very nicely done. It's definitely eye catching and fits the mark of being a truly shiny product (hence the A grade), but there is no way to keep it out. I have two very nice wooden racks that hold 140 DVD's in keepcases/snappers. There's maybe a 1/2 inch of space above each case before the shelf above it. They fit perfectly, and display nicely. This box, as nice looking as it is, will now reside inside another cardboard box in my closet, out of sight, only to be looked at again sometime in the future, and most likely thrown out at some point. The jewel cases will be added to the large pile of them I have from my Playstation games, and inserted into some blank keepcases and placed onto the racks with all my other discs. Which is a real shame, as Animeigo releases have always had these great spinescenes over the years. This is a big disappointment.
The menus are quite well done, and very responsive to selections. There aren't a huge amount of selections on the standalone players, though the chapter selections are done nicely. On the DVD-ROM aspect of it, it works out great, especially the gallery (and the couple I printed out came out real nice as well). Very well done in this respect.
The one thing I've neglected to mention so far is something I consider to be among the best feature of this set: an anime with honest to goodness GREAT subtitles. We've got yellow with borders, we've got green with borders and we've got red with borders. The only limitation that we have, and although it's mildly annoying at first, is that when a second person speaks, it has to clear the entire subtitle frame and replace what was there and add in the second persons subtitles, which is very quick, but also noticeable enough to the human eye. After watching a couple of episodes, you really don't notice it unless you're directly looking for it. The subtitles are otherwise the best I've seen on an anime DVD yet from ANY company, and very readable the entire way through. Kudos to Animeigo/M2K on this one for showing that it can be done right.
I also scanned through the first disc on the DVD-ROM drive, and I'll leave this one with a "Your mileage may vary", and I hope to hear from people on the forum or for a DVD-ROM owner to do an alternate angle on the video quality. I noticed a lot of rainbow effects that were not visible on the standalone player and my TV, and some jittering was also apparent. But, I may just not be totally up to date on firmware/software for the Compaq player I have.
Overall, this is definitely an easy purchase to make. Getting all 399 minutes of the show as well a other goodies for the price of what one of the four laserdiscs cost me (and I won't even go into the VHS costs), it's definitely a great bargain, especially for those who haven't seen it before. The only downside to the entire package is, well, the package itself. It's not a big deal in the end run, but I hope that some of the complaints and issues about it reaches M2K and Animeigo and if they do produce more shows after this one (and I hope they do!), that they realize that we're not a software market, but a video market.
All 8 Episodes on three DVD's,English Language,Japanese Language,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,A cel gallery which can be printed (DVD-ROM ONLY),Printable song lyrics (DVD-ROM ONLY),Disc 1 contains episodes 1-3,
Disc 2 contains episodes 4-6,Disc 3 contains episodes 7-8 and 2 music videos,Undisclosed Ancillary Materials
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.