Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 39.99
- Running time: 300
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Haunted Junction
By Justin Emerson
February 16, 2002
Release Date: June 06, 2000
As an Anime fan, I've very glad that Bandai has jumped onto the DVD bandwagon in the big way that they have. Not only does it mean great DVD versions of their big hits like Cowboy Bebop, Blue Submarine No. 6, and Gundam Wing, but it also means great value with small boxsets like EatMan '98 and Haunted Junction. For only forty bucks (I only spent thirty thanks to Express.com's 40% off preorders) you get five hours of Anime - quite a bargain, considering how expensive a hobby Anime on DVD is!
And being such a great value, one doesn't always expect much from these boxsets. EatMan '98 was good at times, lacking at other times, but thankfully Haunted Junction is nothing like Bandai's previous DVD boxset release. Haunted Junction a wonderfully funny comedy about three students: Haruto, Kazumi, and Mutsuki - the children of a Christian minister, Buddist monk, and Shinto priest, respectively. These three wacky characters form the Holy Student Council of Saito High School. You see, Saito High is haunted by seven school spirits, and it's the HSC's job to keep them in line and take care of any paranormal disturbances. The seven spirits themselves all very funny, with some of them being fairly well developed characters. My favorite, as my most people, has to be Hanako-san (voiced by Kouda Mariko, she did Miki in Marmalade Boy) for obvious reason. ^_^
All this makes for some really wacky plots and some very funny situations. As Chris said, the show has a certain franticness too it. For instance, in the beginning, Haruto has to gather these special badges from each of the seven school spirits. In most other TV series, this would take him maybe seven shows (one for each school spirit) but due to the short length of this series (12 episodes) this is all done in the first episode! Things go really fast, but this keeps the jokes coming at a rapid pace. I laughed more times in four episodes of Haunted Junction than I did in Tenchi Universe Volume 1, to be honest. I almost fell out of my chair during episode 5 during one of the running gags. I still laugh at even the slightest mention of "Cossac Dance!" Yes that's right, cossac dance. I told you the show was wacky. Even funnier was when Mutsuki breaks out of her special exorcism ritual, reaches into her pocket, yelling, "My Tamogatchi is beeping!!"
The audio on this disc is only the Japanese track, as no dub track was produced for this series. This was fine by me, as I rarely watch dubs, but for some I know it's an issue. Being a TV show, it's of course only in Stereo, but it still sounds very good. The subtitle track is very nice, with the opening and ending songs subtitled alternating between English and Romanji every other episode. This is how I'd like to see everything done, although for movies and such with only one instance of the song, I'd rather see both done simultaneously in different colors (much like the Sailor Moon R Movie DVD did it).
The video is very good, I only noticed some bad interlacing in a few parts, but otherwise, the colors and sharpness is great. And yes, unlike the VHS releases, the Opening and Endings are unadulterated, with the original Japanese credits. The only place with English credits is the back of the box, so no more annoying overlays that cover up characters.
Haunted Junction is packaged just like EatMan 98, with a box about the size of a VHS tape (though slightly wider) and two discs inside. Versus 6 VHS tapes, this set is not only a money saver, it's a time saver and space saver! However, most of the drawings on the box appear to be from the Manga, not the Anime, as the character designs are slightly different
The Menus, however, reflect the low budget of this title. While they aren't horrible, they certainly didn't require a lot of effort. However, the Chapter Stops are well placed, and navigation is fast. There's even a little music playing...but no video or transitions or anything fancy. Plus, no creditless Openings or Endings, which I always like.
I really had a great time watching these discs, but I know that this probably isn't for everyone. It's got a rather bizarre, off-the-wall humor style that some people like and some people don't. I laughed myself silly during Episode 5, as well as a bunch of others, and I think I can safely say that if you like Anime comedies in general, you'll probably find something to like in this one.
RealMagic Hollywood+ DVD Decoder Card w/Cambridge Soundworks DTT2500 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Speakers