Mania Grade: A+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Image Entertainment
- MSRP: 59.99
- Running time: 290
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Record of Lodoss War
Record of Lodoss War OVA Box Set
By Chris Beveridge
December 22, 1998
Release Date: December 22, 1998
Record of Lodoss War OVA Box Set
What They Say
© Image Entertainment
Lodoss, the accursed island has seen wars ravage its kingdoms for thousands of years. Now, an evil beyond any it has ever faced before, and a party of six are drawn together in battle. Among them: Parn, a young fighter who lacks experience but who is destined to become a legendary hero; Deedlit, a beautiful but deceptively deadly elf; Ghim, a grizzled dwarf warrior; Etoh, a young priest; Slayn, a wizard; and Woodchuck, a good-natured thief.
For years, Emperor Beld has eyed Lodoss with hungry eyes from his fortress on the dark island of Marmo. Now, poised to strike with an army of monsters and evil dragons, his only obstacle is the Kingdom is Valis and the wise, but venerable King Fahn - once his closest friend! However, Beld is not alone in his dreams of conquest. His advisor, the dark wizard Wagnard, has plans of his own - the resurrection of Kardis the Destroyer! But first, Wagnard will have to wrest the Scepter of Domination from the ancient dragon, Narse. Behind the scenes, Karla, the mysterious "Grey Witch," watches and manipulates the heroes like pawns on a chessboard - hoping to prevent any one man from controlling all of Lodoss...
Man against wizard. Dragon against dragon. Light against darkness. Six who barely know each other but who are destined to become heroes as they encounter enemies and allies beyond their wildest imaginations. The war for the future of Lodoss has begun!The Review!
I've heard a few people complain that there is no surround sound at all on this. I don't know if it's true with the English language track, but the Japanese track has plenty of very good surround sounds, mostly emanating from the wonderful music score. There were several instances in each episode where the surrounds were definitely used. The audio in general is very clean and clear with no hiss or any distortion. Very well done 2.0 mix.
The video gets different results from different people. I've heard some people say that the first two episodes are grainier than the tapes, but some have said that the Japanese laserdisc releases were just as grainy (though I'm not sure if it was the older release or the recently released box set they were referencing). Compared to my old fansubs? Yeah, the first two are grainy and dark, especially when you go into episode three where things are very much brighter and cleaner. I'll leave it with the impression that it's the best master that was available and consider myself very pleased with the video transfer from episode three to thirteen.
This two disc set is made up of two snapper cases that slide easily into a pretty decent box. The box itself is just a touch flimsy. I was hoping for something more solid that you get with novel box sets, but there's little to complain about. I've heard people don't care for the artwork used (and reference the laserdiscs again), but I think they're good images on the snappers themselves, and the box artwork itself is pretty much the standard image used for promotion of Lodoss over the years.
The menu is typically Image, with little on there. They at least are using more vivid and eye-catching images for the still screens, but I wasn't expecting too much from them on this. The controls are very smooth and easily accessible. On the plus side, the disc does default to Japanese with English subtitles.
Lodoss is considered one of the early holy grails of anime. When it was announced that it was acquired several years ago, a lot of people got primed about it. And a lot of people got primed and into DVD alone based on the announcement of this disc set. Many fans, myself included, never purchased the VHS tapes that came out from CPM, instead holding out for the laserdiscs. At that time, there were a lot of pressings for CPM titles, but for some reason, Lodoss just never made it. Up until this week, I'd never seen beyond episode 10, as that's where my fansub cut out. But, now it is complete, and I am very happy.
They storyline, combined from several RPG sessions that went into a novel series, is a somewhat grander Dungeons and Dragons campaign as a smattering of politics and epicness flows throughout it, as well as plenty of mystery. The main characters are the archetypes that are commonly found. The scruffy thief, the noble young hero, the slightly less physical mage, the grumpy dwarf, the pretty but deadly elf and the young and cheerful cleric. I've played many a campaign using any of those characters over the years. Watching this after six years was like a homecoming, the names coming back quickly.
I do however, have a few minor quibbles with this release though. On the subtitled version on the first disc, when we get to the Valis castle and have a bard singing, the video (being the dubbed video transfer) had the translation of the lyrics hard matted onto the video. Unfortunately, Image chose to overlay the DVD subtitles squarely on top of the matted subtitles, making them harder to read. It would have been optimum to have not translated it via the DVD subtitles at that point. Thankfully, it was the only instance of this.
The other one people have surely heard me go on about now, is that due to the fact that this is the dubbed video transfer, the episodes flow together and do not contain each opening and ending sequence, and the endings are not the original Japanese ones as those had hard matted Japanese writing on them. While this is not an issue for a lot of people, there are many that are just plain angry about this. To be exact, even my mother was sad to see this, as the music was her favorite part when she saw the fansubs. I won't go into it too much here, but this is basically what I consider the major flaw in this release.
In the end though, this is definitely an easy purchase on a variety of levels. The set itself is very well presented, the video and audio are clean and clear, and the show itself is a top notch fantasy epic that most people who've played Dungeons and Dragons will enjoy. While not a reference disc, it does show just how well a larger series can be done and presented well on the DVD format.
English Language,English Subtitles,Japanese Language
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.