Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, May 16, 2000
Finally, Gundam Wing on DVD! I've been a fan of this show ever since I first laid eyes on the fansubs two years ago. A friend and I used to skip work to watch marathon sessions of the adventures of Heero, Wufei, Trowa, Duo, and Quatre. Time well spent, let me tell you. At the time I was positive that this show would never see the light of day in the US, let alone have it be broadcast daily. With my hopes set so high for this disc I was worried that I was being set up for disappointment as I have been with some other recent releases. Rest assured that this disc delivers everything you could want.
The audio side of this disc is quite good with no distortion that I could detect. Both tracks are presented in Dolby Prologic, which is surprising considering that this is a TV show from 1995. I did notice that the English dialogue seemed more full when compared to the Japanese. With fansubs to compare to, though, I can tell you that this is as good as the original Japanese master recordings can probably get.
If anybody has read my posts on the forum, they know I'm a stickler when it comes to video. I have little tolerance for less than perfection. That being said, the video for this first volume is FANTASTIC! The broadcast episodes have a certain washed-out look to them that I figured was normal since my fansubs had the same thing. This disc shows off colors that I didn't think this series had. I don't think this show has ever looked this good in any other format. I did notice the rainbow effect in the ending sequence that Chris mentioned, but the episodes themselves are exempt from this. What's more is that this show was encoded correctly with two corresponding fields per frame to allow for progressive viewing on the right equipment. This sets a new high mark for a television series on DVD. I only noticed slight, and I do mean slight, pixellization in the scene with Qautre's little group opening fire in ep 3. The bitrate checked in with an average of 7.1. This is putting dual layer to good use as opposed to a certain other release with the word "Evangelion" in it.
The packaging is well done and I was fortunate enough to get the "holographic" insert. It's really nothing big, and it's akin to the insert that came with Fox's Independence Day when it was released on VHS. I know this probably won't make you feel any better if you didn't get one, but you're not missing out on too much. The keepcase has an insert on the inside, which is the same as the front cover. No chapter list since the episodes are stored as different titles on the disc. Overall, the package is an eye grabber when it's on the shelf.
The Menu is nothing special with it being a view of the inside of the cockpit of one of the Gundams. The view screens hold all the information for changing languages, selecting scenes and whatnot. It is animated with music, though, so that's a plus. There's nothing really to complain about.
This program is presented in all of its unaltered glory. I am on of those individuals who enjoy watching the show as it was originally presented. That being with all of the original Japanese text and music intact. The opening by Two-Mix is something that was sorely missed when I watched it on Cartoon Network. Now it's back along with the eyecatches and the true ending. There's just something to be said with leaving perfection alone and not trying to "adapt" it to American tastes.
Gundam Wing really starts out on the right foot with the first five episodes on the disc. The story gets somewhat complicated later on with all the shifting alliances, but the early episodes concentrate on one thing: the Gundams kicking ass. It's basically a destruction fest up until about episode 12 and I savor every minute of it. I mean, who doesn't like giant robots going around destroying everything that gets in their way?
I'm left with only three words: buy this disc. Gundam Wing seems to have something for everyone. The guys have their madcap violence with giant robots romping and stomping around and the girls have their strong silent-type bishonen studs as the series' main leads. Go. Buy. Now.
Setup 1: RCA 31" TV, Panasonic A-110 DVD player, Kenwood VR-209 receiver, S-Video, and JBL speakers.
Setup 2: 17" Dell Monitor, Toshiba DVD-ROM w/Hollywood Plus decoder, and Yamaha speakers
Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing