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Popeye on the way

Free Avatar 2.2!

By Brian Thomas     April 09, 2007

Avatar Book 2: Earth Volume 2
© N/A

Aqua Teen Hunger Force opens on Friday, 4/13. Oh, excuse me. I mean Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters. We should have a review up on Mania this week, but the short of it is that it begins strong, has trouble keeping from rambling away from your attention and is easy to forget soon afterward, but it’s damn funny here and there throughout. It’s about three fast food menu items with superpowers who face a robot menace from the future. In the end, they learn their true origin and that Tina Fey is their mom. Opps! Gave away the ending! 

Popeye news! Last week I spotlighted Betty Boop and whined a lot about how no one yet has given the Boop cartoons – or any of the Fleischer Studios cartoons – a proper presentation on home video. Well, another Fleischer star may finally receive his due this summer. Last week Warner Home Video announced that on July 31 they’re releasing Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938 Volume 1, a 4-disc set containing the first 60 remastered shorts, in chronological order (unlike the theme-packaged Looney Tunes DVDs from WHV), starting with his debut introduced by Betty and including the full color two reel specials. In addition, these promise to be the uncut shorts, not the abridged and edited versions that have been playing on television for fifty years, and not the retraced and colorized versions made in Korea in 1988. This DVD package has been hoped for by animation fans since the shorts were restored for a Cartoon Network/Boomerang show in 2001. Popeye, whose popularity surpassed that of Mickey Mouse in 1935, is overdue for a comeback, but let’s hope nobody tries to make him hip and PC – the whole basis of the character is that he’s a rough, tough guy with a soft heart and boundless courage.  
Much like the Disney Treasures series such as Chronological Donald, WHV is expected to continue with volumes devoted to the Famous Studios Popeye cartoons on into the television shorts produced until 1987.  

In our Prize Closet Easter Basket yesterday we found two copies of Avatar Book 2: Earth Volume 2 to give away. For a chance to win one, just send an email to which includes your name and address DVD Shopping List, and in the subject line put “BEND AIR DONE THAT”.  


This is an unusually slow week for new anime DVDs. What a great excuse to go see some animation in a theater! Currently, there are TWO CGanime features playing, with the abovementioned Aqua Teen Etcetera coming on Friday.  

(O)  MEET THE ROBINSONS (Disney/Buena Vista) An adopted kid inventor (ala Jimmy Neutron, Dexter’s Laboratory, etc.) is trying to find his birth mother with his latest invention when it’s stolen by a guy wearing a bowler hat. Then he’s abducted by a mysterious stranger and taken to the future to help him defeat the villain – typical Disney abandonment issues and wacky gags, but by most accounts well done.. Unlike most modern theatrical Hollywood anime features, it doesn’t try to overwhelm you with celebrity voice actors – Tom Selleck might be the most famous member of the cast. Plus, some outlets have it in 3-D! 
(O)  TMNT (Warner Bros.) The best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film or TV adaptation ever. See my
Mania review for more info. 


Here’s a rundown of the constant stream of anime comin’ at ya on DVD from around the world: 
(O)  AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER Book 2: Earth Volume 2 (Nickelodeon/Paramount) With Princess Azula hot on their tails, the kids travel deep into the Earth Kingdom in search of an Earthbending master for Aang. Chapters 6-10, plus commentraks and comic-book.  
(O)  THE BATMAN Complete Third Season (Warner Bros.) Batman has problems with Batgirl. All 13 episodes on three discs. Also available bundled with seasons one and two.

(O)  HANNA-BARBERA STORYBOOK FAVORITES TRIPLE FEATURE (Koch) Adaptations of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans.Not exactly what I’d classify as “storybooks” – more like classic novels popular with young people – but what do you want from a cheap package of  H-B TV features from the 1970s?  
(O)  KALEIDOVISIONS (Earth Video Works) Mesmerizing “atmosphere” video. Hypnotize your friends! 

SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU? Complete Third Season

(O)  SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU? Complete Third Season (Warner Bros.) Originally aired as part of the Scooby's All Stars series, these rarely seen adventures wend Mystery Inc. to Italy, the UK, and all over the world. All 16 episodes on two discs, plus behind-the-scenes documentary.  
(O)  TEEN TITANS Complete Third Season (Warner Bros.) The brainwashing villain Blood Brother has his mind se on controlling the world and its up to the Teen Titans Robin, Starfire, Cybrog, Beast Boy and Raven to stop him. All 13 episodes on two discs. Also available bundled with seasons one and two. 
(O)  ZATCH BELL Volume 9: The Joining of the Three (Viz) Episodes 33-36. US TV versions. Zatch has trouble with a magic mirror.  


(O)  A SCANNER DARKLY (Warner Bros.) Includes commentrak, featurettes and more. 


(O)  A SCANNER DARKLY (Warner Bros.) Includes commentrak, featurettes and more. 


We welcome the input of Maniacs who want to share input on this section, where we highlight a different genre feature that has yet to come to digital disc format – just send your suggestions to Anime Avalanche in an email identified with “NOT ON DVD” in the subject line.  

(O)  SONG OF THE SOUTH (Disney/Buena Vista) The heartwarming musical story of a boy whose best friend is an old ex-slave named Uncle Remus. The boy’s family is troubled, and the tales of Brer Rabbit spun by the imaginative and understanding Remus give the boy his only loving guidance. In 1946, Walt Disney turned the stories of Joel Chandler Harris into a beautiful movie, using animation to bring some of Remus’ best stories to life. Despite the fact that the film was made almost 60 years ago, well before the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, and it’s set in the post- Civil War era, there’s not much that could be pegged as racist in the film. Quite to the contrary, as blacks are treated as full rounded and compassionate, while some of the white characters are more two dimensional. But charges of racism still haunt the film, causing Disney to withhold it from distribution for the past few decades while idiots debate whether it should be censored or banned, and it has become one of the most bootlegged titles in home video history. Seeing this film as a child, and reading the Harris stories it led me to, helped open my eyes to find the humanity behind the stereotypes so prevalent at the time, and it’s a shame that for the foreseeable future it’s NOT ON DVD.  

And be sure to check back next week—and every week—for Mania’s Anime Avalanche! And check in every Tuesday for the latest DVD Shopping List!

Anime Avalanche (© 2007 Brian Thomas) is our weekly anime column. Brian Thomas is the author of the massive book VideoHound’s Dragon: Asian Action & Cult Flicks, available now! 

Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at Anime Avalanche.


Showing items 1 - 2 of 2
wrrlykam 4/9/2007 12:59:54 PM
Isk, Isk, Isk!!!
snallygaster 4/9/2007 2:51:36 PM
I was wondering when you'd get around to Song of the South for your "Not on DVD Corner." It's a shame Disney can't find the balls to release it.


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