Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: C+
- Packaging Rating: C
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: A-
- Age Rating: 17 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 105
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Devil Hunter Yohko Collection
Devil Hunter Yohko Collection 1
By Jim Lazar
May 05, 2002
Release Date: May 14, 2002
The front cover has a picture of Yohko in one of her poses, plus an image of Azusa pasted in behind her. Unfortunately, she's out of proportion with Yohko and the cover looks awkward as a result. This picture was on the back of the Devil Hunter 2, 3, 4-ever VHS tape, so it's not a new image, but almost any of the other cover images would have looked better IMHO.
Since it's a two disc set, it's in a double Alpha keepcase that does it's job well without being clumsy to use or made out of cardboard.
One interesting blurb is on the spine: "The Complete Collection - Volume 1" It kind of makes me chuckle for something to be called the "Complete Collection" when it only includes the first half of the complete collection. I guess it'll be complete when the second set comes out with Devil Hunter Yohko 4-Ever, 5 and 6. :-)
Disc 1 Menu:
The disc starts with a series of ADV logo sequences (from their first AD Vision one, to their latest) followed by a 10th anniversary ADV logo (I wonder if this will show up on other discs this year?) and the Japanese logo for Toho. Ironically, this graphically shows how often they've changed their logo animation in the past few years compared to the two used during their first 6-7 years.
The menu itself starts with a little animated montage of Yohko doing her stuff (meaning various fighting poses, get your mind out of the gutter), then the menu has a static image of her with music playing in the background. One nice touch is the menu cursor is the Yin/Yang symbol from Yohko's battle dress.
From the main menu you can select the Special Edition (English dub only with extra scenes not used for the Japanese release), the Original Version (Japanese dub only with removable English subs). Scene select and Extras round out the main menu. There is no language menu since the two versions only have one language apiece, so the language and subs are set automatically depending on what version you select.
The scene selection shows short bits of five scenes (including the end credits) for each version (each version's scenes are available by selecting the version the top of the scene selection menu).
More on the extras menu under the Extras section.
Special Edition (English dub version):
Considering the age of this show, the video looks pretty good on my setup. The occasional nick or scratch is visible, but nothing serious or distracting. Some shakiness and jittering is evident as well, but this is due to the manual edits and the transfer from film, so there isn't much that can be done for it (and I actually prefer this to be left as is, since some of the "fixes" sometimes produce undesirable side effects).
There are noticeable variations in the brightness and contrast throughout the show. While this might have been fixable with some restoration work, it's not a serious problem and only occasionally distracts from the viewing of the story.
The colors look pretty good compared to my old VHS. The VHS was noticeably brighter and had some over-saturation of colors (most of the skin tones were pink, for instance). Whereas the DVD colors seemed to be much more accurate (Yohoko's red dress and her nipples are the proper shades of red as you would expect them to be)
Overall, the video is pretty good and I didn't notice any problems with it that I couldn't attribute to the age of the masters.
One minor nitpick: This might be an example of ADV's first logo replacement (a bad practice that they still haven't outgrown). Instead of the original Japanese logo with the silhouette of Yohko, we just get the words 'Devil Hunter Yohko'. Fortunately, the original logo can be seen after the credits and on the Original Version.
The audio is clean and clear, free from hiss and distortion. Nothing jumped out at me as being a problem other than a few slight signs of age and rough dubbing technique.
Original Version (Japanese audio with English subtitles).
The original logo is present and soft subbed with the show's title. This use of soft subs continues through both versions so there are no hard subs used for sign translations (not that there are many signs that needed to be translated) or for the subtitled dialog. So save for the white on black background credits (obviously redone recently for the DVD) and the logo replacement on the Special Edition, the video is untouched on this disc.
The video is on par with the Special Edition, maybe even better. I didn't notice the brightness problems that I did in the dub only version, but that could be due to me getting used to the affect during my first viewing.
Audio is again clean and crisp, with no noticeable problems.
What struck me as odd was the fact that the two versions weren't that different. The Special Edition ran for 42:25, while the Original Version ran for 42:40. I compared the Original Version on the DVD to my Special Edition VHS tape using PIP and only noticed a few slight changes (mostly to scene length). The nudity and sexual situations were identical (which is where I'd assume it was trimmed). Since I've heard that the Special Edition was supposedly 5 minutes longer, I have to wonder if the "Original Version" is longer than the Japanese release as well, just with a few differences from the Special Edition where they didn't have Japanese audio to use.
It's good to have both versions, but I have to wonder what the story is on the run time and differences really is.
The dub and sub scripts aren't identical, but the dub does seem to be accurate for the most part.
Disc 1 Extras:
At the top of the Extras list is the ADV Historical Commentary. This is a second audio track that plays along with the Original Version's video. Matt Greenfield, Janice Williams, and David Williams are the speakers in this commentary and they talk about the early days of ADV, how they got started, and how Devil Hunter Yohko came to be their first release. I haven't been able to listen to it all yet, but the first 5-10 minutes sounded interesting.
The Retrospective of Yohko Artwork is a slide show of various promotional art, VHS covers, and screen shots. Ironically, I think the VHS covers look better than the one put together for this DVD set.
The music video starts with a pencil drawing version of Yohko's nude transformation scene and then goes into a well paced series of clips set to the 'Devil Hunting in the Moonlight' song (not the real name, but they don't give the name in the music video itself). The video and audio was clear and it was NOT just a dump of the VHS version with hard subs, they used soft subs with an English translation and the Romanji lyrics underneath.
The extras are rounded out with a group of Devil Hunter Yohko trailers as well as a collection of ADV trailers (from their current releases, it might have been nicer to see some early trailers of their earliest titles included to put Yohko in it's historical perspective).
Disc 2 Menu:
The disc starts just like disc 1 did, with the logos-through-the-years sequence (although the Toho logo is different) followed by a menu that's identical to the one on disc 1.
The two episodes are available from the main menu on this disc, as is the scene selection menu, which is setup similarly to the one on disc 1.
Since both episodes are bilingual on this disc, the language menu allows for three choices: "English", "Japanese With English Subtitles", and "English with Song Subtitles".
One subtitle track has the English translation for the Japanese dialog along with title and sign translations (not much onscreen needs to be subbed, but it looks like they got the important stuff), the other has just the title, signs, and English song translation/Romanji subtitles for the ending songs.
One annoying glitch in the language menu is when the menu recycles, the screen goes blank before the music restarts. None of the other menus on these discs seemed to do that (they all keep the background image on the screen as they recycle).
There are no extras on the second disc, so (naturally) there's no menu entry for them.
Disc 2 episodes:
The video for the two episodes on this disc looks much better than the first disc, but this mostly due to the difference in age and the condition of the masters. I didn't see any problems that I could attribute to anything except slight flaws in the masters.
The variations in brightness that affected the first episode was not evident in the two episodes on this disc.
Although I couldn't check each audio track completely (unlike the first disc which I listened to both versions with their appropriate audio track), I went back and forth between the two audio tracks and never noticed any problems. Everything seemed clean and clear, without any noise you might expect from an older show.
What can I say? Take a buxom teenage girl, give her a short dress slit up to her waist, proceed to rip that dress apart, and give her a sword...
And what does that give you? A babe with attitude.
Not to mention a fun and enjoyable show.
Although the sexual situations are toned down after the first episode, the fanservice is part of the charm of this slash-them-up-but-look-good-doing-it show. Some of the elements seem cliche now, but this show set the stage for some of the shows that followed, while still managing to poke fun at what came before it. But it never seems like it's a farce or overblown, since everything is done so well that you just accept that these strange people accept their place in the world.
From the fight between the mom and grandmother that starts the show, to the heart pounding final blow in the moonlight, the action complements the humor perfectly. Did I mention they throw some gratuitous sex and nudity in as well?
Yohko seems a typical teenager if you ignore her constantly fighting grandmother and mother.
Or ignore that she's destined to become the sexiest Devil Hunter known to mankind (and lesbiankind).
Or ignore the bad luck she has with boyfriends.
Real bad luck.
The three episodes presented here in this two-disc set introduce our beautiful heroine, her family, their long kept secret, her profiteering friend, a new Devil Hunter in training, and her first love interest. But there are more where he came from. There has to be.
If you want a fun show with action, fighting women, and some serious fanservice, I recommend this show. Although the materials do show signs of age, overall the disc is a good job and a good value for the money.
The next set contains a collection of music videos with original animation, plus the final two stories that make Devil Hunter one of the classics of modern anime fandom.
Sony DVP-S300 DVP player, Sony DB-930 receiver (S-video and optical AC-3 connections), Sony Trinitron KV-32V15