Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Mobile Suit Gundam: MS 08th Team
Mobile Suit Gundam: MS 08th Team Vol. #1
By Gene Moy
February 16, 2002
Release Date: July 08, 2001
Video quality was excellent as expected on the Apple DVD Player, which really is the best DVD software for picture quality on the market hands down.
The menu was confusing, with icons appearing but no indication as to what their function was, requiring some experimentation; labels would have helped or would have been better than a set of vague symbols. Someone take more time to design these things, or get a real designer in there and not some schmo who does web pages on the side. I appreciated the extras, such as they were, but some background information about the series, its producers, the staff, some commentary would have been better. Bandai's American production team also could have used more appropriate fonts than the white monospaced ones on the title and the episode title screen, which remind me of the really bad characters used when CJK fonts produce Roman characters. The feeling conveyed is very amateurish. On the other hand, the font used for the subtitles is a beautiful font, appears to be Adobe Myriad, which I've seen before on the Gundam Endless Waltz dvd, but this particular font lacks sufficient weight on the screen and can get lost sometimes. (This font would be entirely inappropriate for replacing the title and episode title fonts -- unless you decide to subtitle the goods). In any case, increasing the weight or the outline might help; some simple usability testing will come up with a good balance.
As is my custom, I listen exclusively to the Japanese language tracks when I watch anime. Switching to the English soundtrack was like getting poked in the eye, aurally. Better sources of talent, preferably more Asian Americans or Japanese Americans who can get closer to the original idea and voices, or better producers who can get closer to the subject matter could help, or more money for talent I suppose. The soundtrack is particularly good listening with some very good orchestral scoring and a killer OP with massive hooks. However, on both the PC and Apple software players, the Japanese language track started off very soft and it sounded like the sound engineer potted up shortly thereafter to cover their mistake.
The subtitled translation is overall pretty good, they really tried to infuse the translation with a gritty 'this is war' feel, but I have some niggling points with it. There is inconsistency in the rank title translation. Infantry tend to not have naval ranks such as Ensign and Petty Officer -- we tend to call them Lieutenant or Sergeant Major (shocho). When addressing a Lieutenant Colonel, it's always 'Colonel', not 'Lieutenant Colonel'. (Also, dai hachi would just be '(the) eighth' and shotai is 'platoon' or 'squad', is it not?) Perhaps the translator was trying to be consistent with the Spacy ranks. Gundam Project correctly lists the proper ranks and also, this is sorta correctly done in the DVD insert, mentioning Karen Joshua, who is a Sergeant Major, actually. Hopefully this will be corrected in future releases.
Otherwise, the story is a good story, very gripping, although it's not entirely stated in this first disc why the Feds are there in the jungle, where they are, what the significance of this geographic location is, or why the Zeon are there if their aim is to really move everyone off Earth. During battle scenes, there's a lot happening on screen, although not as quick as that on Gundam Wing Endless Waltz, where there is sometimes so much detail on screen moving so quickly that it is almost impossible to appreciate without frame advance what is going on. For the life of me, I still can't figure out why these mechs aren't field-dressed with jungle camo and still retain their factory paint jobs. (Must be disruptions in the supply chain caused by colony drops, yeah, yeah, that's the ticket. ) I mean, the Zaku pilots must be really bad if they can't pick off one of these bright white, blue, red and yellow jobs off at fifty paces. But in a world that tolerates wildly different hair lengths among soldiers, identifies command units with really bright colors, and is slack on the uniform code I suppose it's okay. There are a number of moments when the behaviors of the characters don't seem quite genuine, where the first sortie into the jungle makes you wonder where these guys went to boot camp, for instance, but, I suppose all this will become more clear in future episodes (as they had several years to think about how to wrap this up). So it's no Gasaraki! Big deal -- it's immensely entertaining.
Titanium Powerbook G4 with Apple DVD Player 2.7; home theater PC system; Sharp DVD-500, Sharp 27" television