Ranma 1/2: Digital Dojo Season 1 Box Set (Mania.com)

By:Tom Smith
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2001



The Review!
Packaging: 4 DVDs (5-4-5-4 ) with the 5 episode disks on Dual layer and the 4 episode disks on single layer. Each disk is in a standard Scanavo keep case, all in a slip case. Cover art is not as good as the VHS tapes, who picked that bile green for the background?

Video: Very good for an older TV show, solid colour with no visible artifacts. Viz used the dub master.

Audio: No problems with the English or Japanese track. The Japanese track in the original mono, the English track is stereo but there is not much separation.

Menu: They look like they were created with a wizard in the DVD authoring software. There is no Ranma theme but they work. Speed is fine and you can tell what the current settings are in the setup menu.

Extras: Just clean opening and closing animations, something I always like to see.

Content: I'll assume everyone knows what Ranma 1/2 is about. The box set contains the first season including some of the best Ranma 1/2 episodes. The whole series is 161 episodes and I found that it tends to get repetitive in later seasons. I do enjoy the first few seasons, and the OAVs that have been available on DVD for a while. It's not an earth shaking series but it is a lot of fun.

If you are a dub fan this is a no-brainer. Better video, less expensive then the VHS box set and 4 DVDs take up far less space then 9 VHS tapes, and you get the subtitled version as a bonus.

If you are a subtitle fan this release is two steps forward one back. Sure it's DVD with better video and all the other good stuff but... Since Viz used the dub master for the set we have lost some things from the original VHS sub release and gained some things I would rather not have. The old VHS subtitled tapes had three episodes per tape, the first opening/ending was the same one used on the DVD set, English logo, subtitled with the Viz "sing along" version of the song. The second episode on the tape was subbed with the original Japanese in romanji, and the third was clean (no text). The romanji version is gone, the clean version is only available as an extra on disk 4. The original title screens are gone, replaced with English only screens with new artwork . Signs are hard subbed in a jumbo font but at least the soft subs never overlap the hard subs. I know it saves some work and a few bucks but I wish Anime Companies would go back to the original master and make there catalog titles better then or at least equal to the VHS in every way, not just a video quality upgrade.



Review Equipment
Modified Apex AD600 / Pioneer DVD ROM - WinDVD



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: C
Menus Rating: D
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 99.98
Running time: 450
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ranma 1/2