Mania Grade: D
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: D+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Manga Entertainment
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 120
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Devilman
By Chris Beveridge
April 25, 2000
Release Date: April 25, 2000
What They Say
Normal life in modern-day Tokyo is unexpectedly disrupted for a young high-school kid called Akira. First his parents are missing, then his pet rabbit is viciously slaughtered, and finally his best friend, Ryo Asuka, reveals a terrifying secret - something that guarantees that Akira’s life can never be the same again.
Ryo’s dead archaeologist father left him a dark and sinister legacy, knowledge of which may only condemn Ryo in the same way it condemned his father - to an eternal sentence of suffering and torment. However, Ryo understands that his legacy also has the power to salvage the human race from torturous damnation at the hands of demons. But whoever kills a demon must become a demon - and only he who is pure of heart can possess the body of a demon...only one like Akira?
Demons, once trapped in the glacial ice of the Earth, have been unleashed on mankind after centuries of non-intervention. Only two men have the ability to stop them: the cool-headed Ryo and the fearless Akira who, as Devilman, possesses the body and strength of a demon but the heart and soul of a human.
In Demon Bird, Akira is confronted by more deadly horror as obscene and twisted creatures struggle to take control of the world. Miki, his girlfriend, is brutally attacked by the fiendish water-demon Gelmar whilst Devilman takes on Jinmen, who carries the tortured souls of his victims embedded in his gruesome shell. But the combination of human and demon makes Akira a formidable force...until he meets the vicious talons of Siren, the invincible Demon Bird!The Review!
Combining the four episodes into on DVD, Manga has released a cult favorite title onto the market. Unfortunately, there are several problems with it.
Originally solicited with the Japanese audio and then removed due to their no longer owning the rights to that language track and (presumably) subtitle script, this disc contains only the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Unlike some of the previous sound remasters by Manga, this one is pretty flat overall. We heard nothing going to the surround speakers, though there was some LFE activity according to my receiver, but it didn't make much of an impact. The soundtrack is pretty much played across the front soundstage with the majority of the dialogue coming through the center channel and various effects to the left and right channels.
All four episodes are on this one dual layered disc. They're presented the same as their VHS cousins in that the first two episodes are spliced together and the last two episodes are spliced together, giving two one hour mini movies. I believe this was done also long ago when US Renditions/LA Hero originally released this title, so this is likely the only masters that are available. Unfortunately, the video quality itself is quite bad. The first thing we saw that we usually don't was numerous scan lines across the arctic ice sequences. Throughout the episodes there was many sections of camera panning jitter, pixellation, color bleeding and outright artifacting. Two characters would be talking inside a room and if you looked at the walls behind them, it would look like it was alive. This is the closest I've seen an anime disc to look like the old Highlander disc released by Republic a couple years back.
The packaging is fairly well done with cover art that will attract the eye of fans of the horror genre. The back cover gives a good synopsis of the episodes and a rundown of what's on the disc. Unfortunately even on this area there isn't a distinction of what languages are on the disc, only "Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound". The disc itself is silk-screened with artwork that was used on the insert.
The menus are pretty straightforward, giving you the option of playing either of the two combined episodes, scene selection and the extras menu. The setup is pretty straightforward and everything worked as it should. The main menu has some good animation and a constant hum playing to it.
It's been about seven years since I last saw the first two episodes of this show on subbed VHS. To this day I still don't care for Go Nagai's works all that much. The story focuses on Akira, a young high school kid who gets wrapped up in unleashing the demons of hell on the world to provide natural predators for mankind. He gets pulled into this by his old friend Ryo, whose father unearthed the knowledge of merging man and demon together to create something stronger and more powerful.
Watching these episodes was definitely a trial for us. The plot is simple overall, but the telling of it is disjointed. What made it worse was the dialogue used in the dub. The sheer amount of profanity, of which I'm not afraid to use myself on an almost daily basis, was extremely out of place in the dub. It certainly doesn't offend us, and some may say it's suited to this type of show, but it really didn't help the atmosphere at all of the situation. The dubbing provided disinterest in watching the show. I ended up watching the second half alone since my wife didn't want to bother with it after the end of the first.
That's rare for us, even if we don't like something we'll stick it out to everything we have.
One of the other things that hinders this release, in addition to the previously mentioned lack of the Japanese language track, is the lack of subtitles. I've mentioned this before and will say it again; even on dub only releases there has to be a subtitle track for the hearing impaired. Subtitles aren't used by hardcore fans only anymore.
Unless you're a big Go Nagai fan, I certainly can't recommend this disc. Bad dub, bad video, no Japanese language or subtitles. I found very little to like here at all.
English 5.1 Language,Photo Gallery,Cast/Crew Biographies,Go Nagai Filmography
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.