Dub Club Vol. #01 (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, February 08, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2004
What They Say
Ever wanted to learn more about the faces behind the voices of your favorite anime? KyleHebert.com is proud to launch a new, unique, and just plain fun DVD series devoted exclusively to anime dub voice actor interviews. Its new and unique because no one has done anything like this before, and its just plain fun to see what these people are like outside of the recording booth. Over an hour of content, including bonus features.
CHRIS PATTON ("Full Metal Panic"), GREG AYRES ("Saiyuki"), MONICA RIAL ("Noir"), and MANDY CLARK ("Rahxephon").
*PLEASE READ BEFORE ORDERING!! This DVD is region free/NTSC, and will be produced on "+R " recordable media, which is compatible with Playstation 2, PC DVD-ROM drives, and a majority of DVD players produced within the past several years. 100% playback compatability, unfortunately, cannot be guaranteed.
With the advent of DVD writers in home computers getting cheaper and cheaper, the creativity of fandom, those with a camcorder and the will to actually go and produce something are going to be strong forces in the next few years. This is one of those titles that starts the building wave.
The audio on this disc is something of a mixed bag, but it's not unsurprising considering the source material itself. The main "problem" is the disparity between the menus themselves and the actual content. Since the main features are done via a camcorder and the microphone on that as opposed to an external mic, the interviews are fairly low and require the volume to be turned up. In contrast, the menus are recorded high and require the volume to be turned down. Jumping in and out of the interviews can be rough on your eyes or anyone napping in the area. Other than a bit more balance, the audio is pretty decent throughout this and about what you'd expect from the project.
As with the audio, the video fits into relatively the same kind of category. The menus and some of the original work created for the disc come across as very shiny and look great, but then you hit the interviews and, well, it's camcorder material. It comes across good without any breakup or macroblocking, but there's some pixilation here and there and so forth. It doesn't look bad by any stretch, but it's true to its source material.
This was a DVD-R copy, so there's no packaging.
The menu layout is pretty straightforward and well done. I believe most of these are the "pre-fab" menus that come with some of the software (having seen at least one of them before) with some overlaid shots of Kyle on them and presumably some of his favored music. Moving around is easily done and the menus are accessed very quickly.
There are bonus features to be found! There's an audio commentary that?s done for the Chris Patton interview where Kyle basically just has fun with the track and talks about the why's of the disc, anime, voice acting and whatever else strikes his fancy. Two strange extras are the kylehebert.com contest winners, contest unspecified. One of them is a piece called "Most Original VA Question" that seems to ramble on with no meaning. The other is the "Tale of Kyle and the Bean Dip". Frankly, I'm afraid to even start that one. Also technically qualifying as an extra is the Kyle Files, which is basically a multi-page bio of Kyle.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So after all of that, just what is this disc? In essence, it's a series of four interviews done by Kyle (Monica's excepted) at conventions in hotel rooms, where he takes a voice actor aside and then gets them to talk for a bit about their career, thoughts on fandom, anime and everything else. As Kyle mentions in the audio commentary, there's a "Letterman-esque" nature to it, complete with the setting of the desk and chairs.
This basically takes the panel sessions and brings the questions to a more one on one format and allows them to be more easily recorded and presented. Each of the voice actors gets about twelve minutes to answer questions, talk about their experiences and so forth. Well, except for Chris Patton who gets eighteen minutes, but that shouldn't surprise anyone from what I hear. The questions range from the inane to the very in depth, and allows the actors to become a bit more personable about their work and their connection with fandom. While I'm not a huge fan of English dubbing, I've found these kinds of pieces very interesting when they show up on DVD extras.
But this kind of work does a fantastic job in getting the voice actors as people out there more, which will only continue to enhance their popularity among fans and their own fans. And doing that continues to bring more and more respect to the trade as well. While it's changed dramatically over the last few years, there were more than enough years where you'd practically never see an English voice actor at a convention or their names even mentioned. Their growth and presence at convention circuits is fantastic and brings in all kinds of new experiences.
Depending on your interests, you'll find some good interviews here. I was enlightened to be sure by Mandy Clark's interview and how she spent as many years as she did doing fan dubs and then moving up to the real thing. Everyone gets to talk about their favorite roles and elements like that. Monica Rial just continues to be amusing as heck to watch and listen to. Greg Ayres covers a lot of interesting points, and with Chris Patton, well, what can really be said about him that hasn't been said?
The Dub Club is obviously a work of some passion and fun by taking someone who enjoys performing in any venue and letting him question other people who live to perform. The result is one of those "actors studios as looked at by actors." There's plenty of roughness to be found here, but with any new project how can there not be? With a bit of work and some of that awful word of standardization, The Dub Club ought to be able to get a number of interviews and a couple of releases out per year to slake the thirst of dubbings fandom. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how this grows with future releases now that the initial experience is put to the shiny optical disc.
Chris Patton Interview,Greg Ayres Interview,Mandy Clark Interview,Monica Rial Interview,Kyle Files,Audio Commentary,Most Original VA Question,Tale of Kyle & the Bean Dip
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: NA
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: All
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Other
Running time: 50
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dub Club