Argh, Not Again...

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I recently purchased Mobile Suit Gundam F91 Special Edition and I made the mistake of thinking that Bandai Entertainment's biggest mistake was half-assing the release of the Zeta Gundam TV series. I was wrong. Thier release of F91 was so bad, it seems to have escaped most radar screens. While I've only glanced at the actual film on DVD, there are numerous things for me to complain about judging from Bandai's other releases for the Gundam Franchise. From skimming through the DVD, the only original Japanese text left on it is the original opening title. All of the other credits are all translated and written over in English. Also, since this was a 2-disc special edition, I was hoping for a tremendous amount of extras. Apperently, it is possible to pack a DVD full of extras I have no liking for. There are extra features on each disc, all of which displease me. The trailers sections all contain English trailers for other Bandai releases, no Japanese F91 trailers or TV spots.

I think Bandai has really dropped the ball on this release, and what is worse is that more people I have noticed seem to be complaining about Zeta TV boxes (rightfully so) .

However, there are some benefits to seeing this released on DVD. The color scheme and visual quality is much better than my old VHS fansub. Granted, that's to be expected, but this is surprisingly good. I think Bandai may have put a little bit of money into restoring some of the actual film. The colors are crisper and clearer than many Gundam OAV and movies of younger vintage. The animation quality is supurb as well; really brings back the feeling of what mecha should be. It's a very different feel than some series of the newer Gundam franchises like Gundam SEED.

Speaking of new Gundam movies, the first of the Zeta Compilation movies was released this past weekend in theatres in Japan (a limited release, from what I understand) and has opened at #3; a very impressive feat. It is expected to meet or surpass Mobile Suit Gundam III Meguri Ai Sora-hen which is at least the highest grossing Gundam film and one of the highest grossing anime of all time. I can't wait for the DVD release of this film - I figure that I am not going to chance it and since I have the TV series translated into English via Bandai's English set, I have reference to dialogue I may not understand if I decide to import it.

I know its been a long while since I've updated here - life has been interfering as of late and my turbulent feelings for this hobby of mine have been wavering ever much so. Last month I bought boatload of DVDs and my 'TO WATCH' pile has been growing ever so steadily. Yet, while I was out shopping on Monday with my girlfriend, I found nothing new to interest me and nothing on the shelves to help complete my current collections. Though, tonight, I found some old LaserDisc collections that I was trying to rationalize spending the five grand on (though it wouldn't be a here and now sort of purchase). I've made little progress in watching something new and exciting. My hard drive where I keep my anime is full at the moment and I am really in no rush to clean it off since much of the anime I am seeing friends talk about or hearing forum chatter about really does nothing for me at the moment. Even at an anime viewing where I helped select the programming, I was providing anime that I had already seen numerous times out of my collection, though I found an old treasure trove of a couple things I need to re-watch.

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Finally, I want to talk about Shinkai Makoto's Kumo no mukou, Yakusoku no Basho (Through the Clouds, the Promised Place) and his earlier acclaimed work, Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a Distant Star). A friend of mine showed them at an anime viewing we had and I was suprised with these works. Hoshi no Koe I had originally been turned off from because of its length and supposed lack of plot; however, I found that there was a lot of insightful feeling and emotion within the piece that made up for the short, plotless work. Truly, Shinkai knows how to really work at someone's emotions and can portray the emotions of others on screen very well. I was actually sorry I had missed watching Hoshi no Koe the forst chances I had to watch it based upon secondary opinion. Kumo, I thought, was much better than Hoshi. Hoshi no Koe is a title I will eventually get around to getting my own copy of; Kumo is probably going to be bought on release day, whenever that day hopefully comes to the US. Like Hoshi, Kumo is a tug on the emotional fabric, but unlike Hoshi, it is a full length and fully thought out theatrical picture. That's not to say its exciting or interesting at all times; there are a couple dull points in the middle. But, the entire film is worth it come the end. I think even people who really aren't sci-fi or even anime fans will find something to enjoy in this work.

I hope that with summer in full swing that I will actually be able to get a lot more anime time in. I've got a pile of stuff that I need to watch through, some of it actually franchises that I am familiar with and not just stuff I saw years ago on shitty VHS tapes or in a raw format when I was Japanese impaired. Big titles on the list are Space Battleship Yamato and continuing Zeta Gundam. I even hope to have some more in-depth analysis on Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 War in the Pocket as well as a variety of other titles. Also looking now for some more/new equipment in the way of DVD/VCR, LaserDisc decks, and televisions; especially as I will be making a move to a new home within the following month. I hope to be better about updating this journal more frequently.

Oyasumi nasai~



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