Blue Submarine No. 6 Vol. #4 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000
So after waiting almost three months for Volume 4 of this great series, I'm chewing my nails off as I open the package in the mail that's supposed to contain this disc. I would've written my review yesterday, but they don't deliver mail on Columbus Day (DOH!) so I had to wait ANOTHER day. But now it's finally in my hands and I'm almost totally satisfied.
Again, the audio on this disc is a sensational Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese track and a Dolby Pro-Logic (2 channel) English track. Both pack lots of oomph, but the Japanese track has far better directionality thanks to the full 6 channels of audio. Yet again the Japanese track manages to amaze me with its awesome use of all 6 speakers. Most Hollywood movies don't make this good use of DD5.1 tracks, so this series is truly is a gem in my collection.
The Video remains on par with all other releases: flawless. The only possible exception would be a slight bit of shimmering during the credits, but that's unavoidable unless you're using a progressive source. The colors are fantastic and I barely noticed any interlacing artifacts.
The Packaging is on par with the other three releases, but my only complaint is that it looks too much like the first and third disc's covers (the second disc really stands out compared to the other three). The insert on the inside contains chapter breaks and the same summary as what's on the back of the disc.
The Menus are almost the same as Disc 3, with the same button layout and feel. The only real difference is in the Extras menu, which I'll get to in the next paragraph. There's video looping in the background and music playing, making for a fairly active menu experience. Unfortunately, the subscreens are static and boring. They could have combined languages and subtitles into one menu and saved time for the user.
The Extras on this disc are what separate it from the other three discs. Instead of just trailers, this disc has a summary of the first 3 episodes, a video including interviews with the creative staff, and a "secret image gallery" which isn't really so secret (since there's a big freakin question mark which you just need to click on).
If you've bought the first 3 discs, then this one is a no brainer. If you haven't bought anything in this series, then I really suggest you do. I've only found a few people who don't like it, and that's because they feel the mix of 3D CG and 2D cel animation just doesn't mesh well, claiming the contrast between them is too coarse. While I agree at times it seems a little awkward, overall it really works well in my opinion and I highly recommend this series to anyone. Blue Submarine No. 6 gets my pick as best domestic title of 2000.
RealMagic Hollywood+ w/Cambridge Soundworks DTT2500 Desktop Theater 5.1 speakers
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 50
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Blue Submarine No. 6