El-Hazard, The Alternative World Vol. #1 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, August 10, 1999
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5
Just when everything seems to be calming down for Mokoto and the gang a new adventure begins. During the ceremony for the new Water Priestess Qawoor, all our heroes get transported to a new world. Of course things go from bad to worse when it becomes apparent that everyone is separated. Mokoto, Nanami and Qawoor discover a strange industrial civilization. Shayla, Jinnai, and Groucho encounter a new group of Bugrom. And Mr. Fujisawa and Miz (they're such a cute couple) arrive on a mountain that isn't quite what it seems. Thus the story begins for our heroes in a new land of wonder.
Acting: Japanese: 5
Ah, the world of El Hazard. Popping in this disc was like going to visit some old (completely whacked out) friends again. If you couldn't tell, I'm a big fan of the series. I'm one of those people who likes it more than Tenchi. So it was with great anticipation that I watched the first four episodes of the new series. Well, I guess nothing could live up to my high expectations. I loved the first OAV, I thought the first T.V. series was a fun romp, the second OAV had potential but never quite took off, so I was hoping that this series would pick up with the characters and start running. Well it does and it doesn't.
Lets start with my basic review. The animation goes from very good to O.K. all threw these episodes. Many of the characters still have some of the elements of the second OAV character design (I wasn't crazy about those) but they still resemble the original OAV characters in personalities and that's where it counts. The new alternate world looks very good. Lots of thought seemed to go into what this place would look like and what kind of devices and clothing would be worn here. Gotta admit that I had an Escaflowne flash back with one of the scenes. The sound design is just as good as the before, lots of cool sound effects and their uses were perfect. The plot seems a bit contrived at first and I found myself saying that old quote from Die Hard 2, "How can the same thing happen to the same person...twice!" Well I guess Mokoto and the gang are just lucky that way. The rest of the story seems to be getting set up, so I'm definitely looking forward to the next disc. The Japanese acting was perfect (I've never seen this series subbed before and that was a real treat). And now the English actors ended up doing their usual wonderful jobs but it seemed to take a bit for some of them to get back in the feel of it (Shayla and Jinnai). Quwoor and Fatora seemed to be the weakest links in the dubbing, but I have faith in their abilities. The music was classic El Hazard. I loved it, nuff said. Overall the quality of the show hasn't diminished much but I will get into a few problems I had a bit further on.
This DVD is from Pioneer and so it's very good. The sound was great, the picture was great, the keepcase was wonderful. The menu's worked well, but were a bit confusing at first. I wasn't sure if the colored water blob meant that I was selecting the option or deselecting it. (Turns out you are deselecting it). The goodies consist of the opening and ending without credits. All in all a nice package, for a good show.
Overall I think this is a good buy. If you are an El Hazard fan than you will most likely enjoy this adventure. New viewers might be a bit confused by the multitude of characters, but the great dialogue and personalities should get their interest. It seems that the show is getting set up for something big and awesome. So I am ready. I'd recommend this DVD for a good sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, with some action probably coming soon :-)
***Beware Semi- Spoilers ahead***
*** You have been warned***
O.K. now I did have a problem with the show. As I said in an earlier this series is a lot of set up, almost too much. While there is no real filler in the show, there are moments that go on and on and on. A great example is the fourth episode. The whole thing could have been condensed to half a show and we could have done something else for second half. That was my biggest complaint. That and the fact that it seemed a little redundant for them to get sucked into another alternate world. But hey, it's still El Hazard fun so I can't complain too much.
***End of Semi-spoiler***
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: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2