Humanoid - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: D

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 45
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Humanoid

Humanoid

By Chris Beveridge     December 07, 2003
Release Date: December 02, 2003


Humanoid
© Central Park Media


What They Say
Dr. Watson is a scientific genius living on a distant outpost in the far future. His crowning achievement: Antoinette, a thinking, feeling android. With a beautiful chrome body and a heart of gold, she searches for that elusive quality called humanity. But the planetary governor isn’t taken in with Antoinette’s child-like charm. His only interest lies in the ruins of a past civilization and the power the ancient technology could bring!

The Review!
One of the earliest releases to hit the US shores way back in the day, the Humanoid has finally made the move to DVD.

Audio:
We were sort of all over the map on this one. We watched the first half of the show in English with subtitles for the Japanese script and then shifted over to the Japanese track after that. Both tracks come across pretty clean and without distortions, though the Japanese track sounds a bit louder and a touch warmer as well. Dialogue was problem free from what we heard with it being essentially a center channel based show.

Video:
Originally released to video in 1986, the OVA here really does show its age. The transfer in general looks good with only a few areas of noticeable print damage such as nicks and scratches. Colors maintain a good feel though there are the usual shifts in brightness and darkness throughout from the film. Aliasing is fairly minimal though it does show up in a few areas and cross coloration was only strong in one or two sequences that were seemingly frozen for effect.

Packaging:
Going for the sleek look, the front cover is awash in blues and grays with the focusing image of Antoinette in her silver full metal mode while the background is an array of blue shaded streaks. The back cover provides another fanservice look at Antoinette along with the usual array of information, from the note that it was feature in Madonna’s world tour to the simple summary and a basic listing of the discs features and technical information. The reverse side of the cover uses the front cover image of Antoinette while changing the background and showing off one of the humans from the show as well. The other side lists the chapters, voice credits and the basic production information.

Menu:
The menu layout is another in the new style CPM has been using and is very well done. The overall menu that we never see in full is the image of Antoinette and she’s broken down into subsections. Click on them, such as going to extras, shifts the view across the overall image to where that is as a transition animation and then pretty quickly loads the new menu. This is a pretty slick looking menu all told and it works very well. Access times are nice and fast even with the transition animations and the feel of it is definitely in tone for the show.

Extras:
The extras show a fair bit of work went into this release; the simple extra is the 90 second video art gallery that shows off the couple of pieces of artwork that CPM has on hand. The second extra is a fun-facts version of the show, which basically runs the entire program but with the third subtitle track in a “pop-up” style format with all kinds of anime and non-anime references.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Back when very little anime was available commercially in the US, one of the things that you could almost always count being available on some rental store shelf was a copy of the The Humanoid. With it’s distinct 80’s feel and the image of the all metal woman, it almost feels like it screamed Heavy Metal in some sense. Though even at that stage I would rent or buy whatever was coming out, something kept me from touching The Humanoid. Something said… don’t do it.

So now, thirteen years after its initial release in the US, it’s finally made its way to DVD and that means I’ve ended up seeing it. The release looks to be pretty much what the dub release in 1996 was like, which means it has the overlaid English Star Wars style opening that explains the two races living on this planet and the why behind it, it has what has to be the English language logo and the epilogue section is an English language crawl piece as well.

With a forty five minute running time, the story is painfully simple. Governor Proud of the Megalosian race wants to set things right in his mind by returning the Princess back to their homeworld so that she can reclaim the Imperium and thereby rule over everything that’s out there. Obviously, since he intends to be the one to return her, he’s expecting some kind of reward in the end. To achieve his goals, he’s been spending an inordinate amount of time secretly working his crews out in the ruins on Lazeria to understand the technology that’s hidden under there. Some time long ago, a ship had crashed there named the Iksaon, and if he can master it, he can get them back to where they belong.

Over on the human colony side of the planet, things are lead by the generally good natured Dr. Watson, who spends his time getting closer to nature and building sexy female robots who can learn. At least, he does that between spending time with a couple of cute young girls who simple abuse him with jokes about his poor driving skills and being old. Depending on which language you listen to this in, it’s either lightly comical (Japanese) or completely campy/stupid (English) due to the way it’s phrased. The two scripts are fairly close but when they deviate it’s amusing.

Walking, or rather crashing, into the middle of all of this is a supply run ship run by Eric and Allen, two men who find themselves caught up on the human side of the colony in helping out against Governor Proud’s plans. Their arrival gets them caught up with Dr. Watson’s female robot named Antoinette, who helps out when Dr. Watson and his girls get taken prisoner by Proud when he tries to find the all important key that Watson has been protecting that will let him start the engine up in the ship. No hot wiring going on here.

The Humanoid is one of those stories that is definitely symbolic of what a lot of mid 80’s OVA releases were during the glut, stories that shouldn’t have been bothered to be told because they were so unoriginal or completely inane. Watching this, particularly in English, you just shake your head constantly. With the running time, there’s little in the way of actual characterization and the action sequences come off as fairly bland. There’s some creativity when it comes to ship design or some of the other equipment, but that’s just a minor element set against a bigger backdrop of mind numbing animation.


In Summary:
I’ll admit to it being an important title in the history of anime releases, but it’s one that I wonder whether it did more harm than good back in the early days. There were certainly enough titles out back then that would put any number of fans today off from anime.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Fun Facts

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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