Photon -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 180
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Photon


By Chris Beveridge     October 03, 2000
Release Date: October 03, 2000

© Central Park Media

What They Say
A saga begins…Photon, a young man with a kind heart and superhuman strength, leaves his village on Sandy Planet ( a desert world) in search of a runaway friend. During this heroic quest, he is accidentally engaged to a renegade space pilot! Now they’re on the run from the evil emperor of the galaxy and his bumbling henchmen. But even worse than the incompetent bad guys are the disastrous cooking contests, exploding spas and cheerleading aliens!

The Review!
CPM once again puts outs good anime cheap. The DVD contains all six OVA episodes (released across 3 VHS tapes) for only ten bucks above the average cost of discs these days. The really cool part? This show really rocks.

Both the Japanese and English tracks sound pretty good here. We watched the Japanese track for our primary review and had no issues with it at all throughout the entire disc. Dialogue was clean and undistorted, no noticeable dropouts. There's some amount of directionality across the front soundstage, but the majority of the show is center-channel bound beyond the music. The English track sounds pretty good as well, with noticeable standout in the character of Aun, who sounds really good.

This is a very strong looking release in terms of the video. With the show being OVA quality, the animation is very well done and being a very recent show, circa 1997, the transfer available is great. This is similar to how good Geobreeders looked earlier this year. The show contains a lot of soft pale colors and the usual desert overtones, so there's a fair amount that looks dull. But when you get to some of the vibrant animation sequences, like watch Keyne's breasts jiggle or some of the fighting areas, it's stunning. We watched a lot of this in theaterwide mode and there was no loss in resolution at all. Beautiful.

The cover looks pretty cute and plugs at the obvious source of the material, one of the creators of Tenchi Muyo. The back gives a brief summary of the show and a few quotes as well as a nice looking shot of the princess. CPM has again used the clear keepcase instead of spending the extra couple of pennies to do an insert, so this is where you'll find the Japanese cast list and the poorly set up chapter stops.

The menus are pretty straightforward without much depth to them, a bit of animation and music playing. They're pretty nice to look at for all the time you actually spend in them, as there isn't a heck of a lot to do. Access times are very fast.

All the extras are on the DVD-ROM side of things, which we haven't had time to check out.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Going into this show, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Leaving this show, I found a disc that I know I'll be popping in frequently to enjoy.

Photon is a pretty simple show that revolves around the title character, a young extremely gifted man on a far flung world. Out in his remote village, his "sister" Aun has decided to skip town to marry a rock star who had performed there recently. She swipes the holy item, which is actually a magic marker. She then heads off to find her true love.
The village chief then sends Photon off to retrieve her (for the 47th time apparently) and with as few words as possible for the entire show, Photon goes and does what he has to. Along the way, he ends up catching Aun. When they sleep overnight, she takes the holy item, writers "idiot" on Photons head, and books.

Photon then goes looking for her the next day, and ends up discovering a hidden ship that crashed recently. Inside, he finds a gorgeous woman named Keyne in suspended animation and opens it up. Being the odd person he is, he writes "idiot" on her forehead as well.

When she wakes and discovers this, she freaks out at a) being naked b) having Photon laying cuddling with her c) realizing that his writing on her forehead in essence makes them married. She does accept this pretty readily, and it's from here that the fun really begins.

The man chasing after Keyne is Papacharino Nanandan, a high ranking count who is after universal domination and his 19th wife. This guy and his entourage are bloody hilarious. There are a number of scenes where he's naked save for one (sometimes 2!) black dots covering his vitals. The women are naked throughout at times as well, though no black dots required. This is definitely the kind of sexual comedy at times that you wish a lot of other shows would do.

The first five of the six episodes are all great comedies with Photon stuck in the middle in keeping Aun and Keyne from killing each other after he pledges to always protect Keyne, from Papachump and his minions trying to steal Keyne away and all kinds of other trouble. The interplay among all the characters is top notch and it feels like a really seasoned team rather than the first couple episodes of an OVA.

The animation is also top notch throughout. There's a lot of similarity to Tenchi character designs and clothing which is to be expected, but it's well played and a lot of fun to watch. Some of the designs are pretty complex at times and look stunning. The world designs are pretty simple since its mostly desert, but it's made up for with the various locals that the characters end up visiting. There's a lot of really fluid sections throughout and definitely OVA level quality throughout. Great stuff.

Photon isn't a hentai show, but CPM made sure to cover themselves by using the same language on the shows opening to let you know all the characters are 19 and over. There's nothing really bad in here that will make people cringe unlike some hentai shows. A lot of it is pretty innocent and just plain cute. No tentacles here folks!

Photon's just a heck of a lot of fun with some great replay value. Great character designs, plenty of bounce and solid animation. Highly recommended.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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