Devil Hunter Yohko Collection 1 (Mania.com)
By:Abraham Chinchilla Jr.
Review Date: Friday, May 31, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, May 14, 2002
ADV's first title, Devil Hunter Yohko, has finally arrived onto DVD! Since it has been ten years since Yohko was first released (English Subtitled) so ADV has released this disc, marking their 10th Anniversary. The first three of six episodes are included in this set, two versions (English and Japanese) of episode 1 on the first disc, and episodes 2 and 3 on disc 2. I had been dying for nearly two months since I heard this was to be released, and the wait was horrible, but I finally got my hands onto a copy. This disc-set did not leave me disappointed.
Disc 1: Both the English and Japanese language tracks (or rather "versions" since they are presented on seperate titles) are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Both languages sound great, and especially the Japanese version (which is about 12 years old, by the way) sounded extremely well. I didn't notice any disortions or drop-outs, and dailogue was very clear.
Disc 2: Both the English and Japanese language tracks on this disc are also Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, of course. Both of these tracks also sounded nice, and I heard no disortions or drop-outs. Dailogue came very clear here too, how swell.
I will note: I will be reviewing the video quality on it's transfer, and not it's source material, and I'll be comparing with my VHS copies (which are not that old).
Disc 1: Aside from the minimal rainbows, the transfer for both versions of episode 1 amazed me. The first episode being about 12 years-old, the disc made it looked great. I didn't notice any artifacting as well. All the small color changes (in people's hair, and backgrounds) were from the source material, so it shouldn't bother you, if you keep the age thing in mind.
Disc 2: There are minimal rainbows here too, and the transfer also amazed me, colors are presented vividly, and I didn't notice any artifacting. The animation for these episodes are more better than the first episode, so there isn't really any source material problems here.
Both discs have wonderful video transfers, and my VHS copies are no match for this DVD set. I'm very pleased.
For this two-disc set, ADV has chosen to use a black two-page Alpha case, while I would prefer a single case with the extra disc on a smaller page which is hooked onto the same page (like on Central Park Media's release of "Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie"). Though, it doesn't become much of a problem, now that I am starting to get used to it, I'm still upset that page 1's disc holder is less-tighter, so the disc spins around (and when I first opened it, the first disc was OUT OF IT'S HOLDER!), while the second page has a tighter hold on disc 2.
I didn't have much of a problem with the cover, even if Azusa is amazingly larger than Yohko. The new logo is spiffy, but I really wished that ADV would of used the first OVA LD (and Dubbed VHS) cover. The spine is something I liked, it gives us some fan-service, which looks nicely on my shelf. The back cover really shows the tone of the series (horror, though episodes 2 and 3 slightly start going for the "Magical Girl" genre), though, which was great. It featured images of some of the demons, and a few (strangely widen) screen captures. There is also a good synopsis, and the usual show credits. There is also a special 10tn Anniversary sticker on the shrink wrap featuring a shadow of Yohko, I didn't want to throw this away, so I cut it out and taped it into the left side of page 2 in the case.
Another nitpick, is how there is no short "wall" which keeps the insert from falling out, so everytime I open up the case, the insert surely falls to the ground. Other than that, the insert also features the cover artwork, with a shot of a demon on the back side, listing disc extras and ADV trailers (I love trailers, and thankfully, Burn-Up Excess is on this disc!). A small nitpick is that there is no scene index listed, and it was a shame, since ADV actually gave names for the chapter stops.
The discs themselve simply list the title of the show and the disc number, other than that, we have a splash of different dark colors.
After the collection of past ADV logos (which does nicely for this 10tn Anniversary release), the main menu (on both discs) starts out with the prolouge scene from episode 1, once Yohko strikes her sword at us, the screen lights up and changes to a static menu (with background music) featuring the Yohko image from the cover, with a dark blue background. It is, indeed, very simple, but I like it. A Ying-Yang (is that what it is? Well, whatever it is, it is the symbol on Yohko's dress) marks out selection as the cursor.
Disc 1: On the main menu, we get the selections: "Special Edition", "Original Version", "Scene Selections", and "Extras". The first two selections take you to your desired format of episode 1. The Scene Selections menu was done greatly. Five chapter stops (which are actually named, and are not the usual "Part A" "Part B", etc.) with video clips playing, background music, and with another selection on top for the oppisite version (if you are on the scenes menu for the "Special Edition", you can quickly select "Original Version" to go to that version's scene selection). The bottom right corner features Yohko (in her "Magical Girl" pose from episodes 2-3). The Extras menu is also good, listing all disc extras, with more Yohko artwork and background music.
Disc 2: On the main menu (which starts just like disc 1's menu did) we get the selections: "Episode 2", "Episode 3", "Scene Selections", and "Languages". The first two selections take you to your desired episode, while "Scene Selections" take you to a selection for scenes in episode 2, where episode 3 is also listed at the top of the menu, if you'd like to select scenes from that episode. The center of the scene menu for episode 2 features Azusa (Episode 3 features Yohko transforming). "Languages" takes you to another static menu (with background music) listing: "English", "English with Sign Subtitles", and "Japanese with English Subtitles".
With great menus, in my opinion, I thought they deserved an "A-" grading.
ADV has provided a great deal of extras, and they were all great. First, there is a Historical Audio Commentary, done by Matt Greenfield, David Williams (DVD Producer), and Janice Williams (DVD Coordinator). This audio commentary track, presented on the Original Version's title, was very fun to listen to. The three of them discussed about how ADV was started, and the obsticles and discoveries that occured when they were originally released Devil Hunter Yohko.
There is also a "Retrospective of Yohko Artwork" feature, an image gallery of numerous pieces of artwork, including VHS/LD Covers, manga artwork, and screen captures. Another extra is the excellent Devil Hunter Yohko Music Video, featuring the song, "In the Moonlight", with (YES!) optional subtitles. There is also three original U.S. trailers for the show, which gave me flashbacks of originally seeing these trailers on some of my old ADV VHS titles (thus, leading to my exposure to this great series). And, while it wouldn't be considered an actual extra, ADV has included the "Burn-Up Excess" trailer on this disc (Yay). A note on the extras, they are all featured on disc 1.
Devil Hunter Yohko has really striked me as a great series. I was just impressed the first time I finished watching the first episode. My big interest for this series continued when I saw episodes 2 and 3 as well, so I knew what I was in for when I purchased this DVD set, and it leaves me wanting more.
(POTENTIAL SPOILER WARNING)
Devil Hunter Yohko begins with a dream Yohko has of being with her love interest, Hideki. When they are about to make love, tenticles (not the hentai kind) wrap around Yohko and Hideki. Hideki is pulled from the ground and turns into a zombie, and Yohko screams and wakes up to find herself being nearly attacked by an old woman. Yohko jumps out of bed and stays away from the woman's attacks, until a brick plunges onto her head. The woman is Yohko's grandmother, who tells Yohko that she'll never get a man in her shape.
We learn more about the wacky life Yohko must live once we see her Grandmother, Madoka, and her mother, Sayoko, fighting during breakfast. We also learn that Yohko's mother WANTS Yohko to get "laid" by a man and lose "it". Sayoko and Madoka fight over Yohko's sex life, and Madoka reminds Yohko that "the blossom that blossoms last, blossoms the best". The fight eventually becomes a tie, and Yohko is off for school, but before she leaves, Sayoko tosses her a set of condoms. Yohko has a humorous reaction to the little "gift".
We also get to meet Yohko's friends, Chigako and Osamu. Osamu seems to have interest in Yohko, but is too shy to reveal his feelings, so one day, Chigako decides to give him a preview, and pulls up Yohko's skirt! This causes the three to be late for class, and we meet a very scary female principal who lashes her whip at the group! As she gives the three permission to get back to class, she tells Osamu to meet her in the Principal's office, for a shocking meeting.
After Yohko is attacked by a few demons, and nearly looses her viginity to one, her grandmother reveals that Yohko must become a "Devil Hunter" to stop the demons from resurrecting their Queen. Yohko thinks, at first, that it's a joke, but her grandmother reminds her about how she was nearly killed by a demon, and later decides to simply do as Madoka tells her. Soon, Yohko is invited into a trap, and when Madoka tries to save her, she becomes injured and leaves the devil hunting to Yohko. Yohko is very upset, and decides to become the 108th Generation Devil Hunter.
As it would seem that the first episode was originally supposed to be a stand-alone OVA to promote a video game, but more Yohko was made, and so for episodes 2 and 3, we get a little more "episodic", though each episode can stand-alone greatly. In episode 2, we meet Azusa, who wants to become a Devil Hunter herself, and asks to be taught by Yohko. Yohko takes consideration of teaching Azusa, once she proves herself to be a great ally.
Since at the time these two episodes were being made, it seemed that Yohko was being directed to the "Magical Girl" genre (even Yohko's transformation, which features her nude, reminded me of "Sailormoon"). But, hopefully, episode 5 (episode 4 is a music-video collection) will get more darker, like episode 1. Other than that, I really enjoyed the series so far, and I can't wait for the second set, then this will be a "Complete Collection". I'm sure, if you haven't seen this series yet, that you will enjoy it, so give it a try.
You may also be asking why there are two versions of episode 1. When the original Japanese version was released, a few short scenes were cut to make the episode "more darker" and tried to make it less-comedic. The English version, however, has this extra footage. So, if you have already seen the Japanese version (or both Japanese and English versions), I have put up a small page with some screen captures of what has been cut. So, if you would like to find out, go to: http://abesempai.netfirms.com/yohko/index.html
And, Happy 10th Anniversary ADV Films. :)
32" RCA TV, APEX AD-1500 DVD Player
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 17 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 105
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Devil Hunter Yohko Collection