Mania Grade: A+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: A+
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 119.98
- Running time: 245
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: El-Hazard
El-Hazard, The Magnificent World Box Set
By Edmund Lee
February 16, 2002
Release Date: August 07, 2001
Without a thought, I've decided to pick up this AIC classic. Needless to say I'm poorer because of it but boy was I entertained. With the inclusion of 2 OAV series how can I refuse!
It all began with a discovery of an ancient artefact in the school grounds of Shinanome High by Makoto. Of course the school's student body president, Katshuhiko Jinnai, claim to have found it himself. Of course, he gets upstage by his sister, Nanami, who reveals his political bribery and other dark dealings, and soon Katshuhiko is in rage and decides to do away with Makoto, his archrival. This soon gets weirder for Makoto as he is summoned to another world by a woman who claimed to have waited for him for over 10,000 years. Not only did he get pulled into this other world, Nanami, Katshuhiko and their teacher, Mr. Fujisawa got pulled along with him. Suffice to say Makoto and Fujisawa got thrown into a forest, Nanami in a desert and Jinnai into a bug infested land.
Political conflicts and war about to tear the peaceful kingdom of Roshtaria, the princess of the land, Rune Venus begs Makoto act as her sister, who, freakishly resembles Makoto and sends them on a quest to retrieve the 3 priestess that will help Roshtaria win the war against the Bugrom, which funnily enough is being commanded by none other than Jinnai.
The quest leads them here and there and they were able to meet up with Nanami. But not in a place you would expect. During that time good old Jinnai has been able to conquer some land to Roshtaria, and soon, craving for more power, decides to awaken a powerful demon called Ifurita. Course it turns out that she was the one that summon Makoto and the whole gang to El-Hazard in the first place. But one thing though, she doesn't remember anything about it.
And underneath it all, the real villains, The Shadow Tribe, was planning all this in a bid for revenge.
The ending on the first OAV series was good, but there were some loses strings that I can't seem to shake. It's basically how does Makoto get back to his world. That's why we have the second OAV series.
In the second OAV series, there's a nice expansion on the story since we last saw El-Hazard. Mr. Fujisawa's getting married to one of the priestess but decides to run away during the wedding. This leads the gang on an adventure to look for the missing groom. While Jinnai on the other hand, having suffered defeat plans on rebuilding his Bugrom Empire, discovered another powerful weapon. Soon the world of El-Hazard is once again in trouble. And at the end, it still didn't answer my question in how Makoto got back to Earth. Curses you AIC and your marketing ploy!!!!
Tenchi clone you say? Nah, not really. I mean come on, I've never seen Tenchi dressed up as a girl before, have you? I've never seen it at all, so coming from a newbie El-Hazard watcher, I was highly entertained throughout the show. The storyline reminded me somehow of The Never Ending story. It is also filled with some of the most memorable characters I've not encountered since Battle Athletes Victory. Most of them are fleshed out pretty well.
The video transfer on this disc looks superb. Considering the age of this show, I was amazed that the source materials were well kept. Show how much AIC cared for their works and how Pioneer always seem to get the best source materials. If there was anything to complain about, was that some bits looked a bit soft. But apart from that, there's not much to complain here.
Audio on the other hand is a mix bag. As you may have heard, there's a Japanese 5.1 track that has some problems, but this is due to a remix of the original to 5.1. Not really knowing what the problem was, I decided to have a go at it. Suffice to say, I suddenly realize that some of the voices were moved here and there and that screwed things up with the subtitles. Pioneer should have done a second sub track for the 5.1 mix, but I guess it's too late now. However do give a go with the 5.1 track once you familiarize yourself with the original Japanese track. The audio for the English track is on par with the original Japanese track. Oh one technical problem I found that when going into the language options on Disc 1 first, it causes my player to stop playing the disc.
Extras on this box set are crammed full of it. We get, line arts, textless OP and ED for both OAVs, a look at the different worlds, and the best of the lot, hidden voice tracks from the English VAs.
Take note, I will comment on packaging if it's good, and by god this is gorgeous! There's great watercolor work on the keep-cases, not to mention a color booklet. Heck this may even beat my Ah! My Goddess DTS box set, but only by a bit.
The English dub is one of the best I've heard, and I can see why most of you are very fond of it. All the VAs fit their roles perfectly, and I'm very pleased by it. Even the evil laugh done by the English VA of Jinnai sounds more livelier and crazier than the Japanese counterpart. I also found the "liberties taken with the dub" to be the best. Ahhh, the many one-liners, it never gets old. Now if only Animaze would actually list the roles the actors play then I'm more satisfied.
This is a box set worth owning. Whether a new fan or old, I highly recommend it.
Panasonic SA-HT80, Sharp 25" X-51F4