Volume One + Volume Two
(1964/Japanese Animation/Madman Entertainment PAL Region Four/4 Import DVD
Picture: C+ Sound: C Extras: B- Episodes: B
PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated
on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Four/4 PAL
format software and can be ordered from our friends at Madman Entertainment at
the website address provided at the end of the review.
with Astroboy and Speed Racer, Gigantor was the beginning of the Japanese animation market that
became anime and remains one of its best shows.
With a revival project due in 2011, we were happy to take a look at the
52 restored episodes that first surfaced a long time ago with Rhino in the U.S.
and hoped Madman Entertainment’s versions of the same shows would be as good,
if not better.
not a dramatic improvement, the 1.33 X 1 black and white image
and Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono just seem a
little smoother than that older U.S.
sets, which is likely by default since the older U.S. Rhino copies were pressed
so long ago. These are fine restorations
for the time and like the Astroboy
set, has some audio issues when it comes to the compression of the English dub
recordings of the time. Still, these are
the best possible copies until the original film elements are upgraded (along
with their sound) for Blu-ray high definition and the show remains as creative as
it is fun.
If you are unfamiliar
with the series, terrorism and evil plots run rampant in a newly technologized Japan, so a
giant robot (the title character) has been built to resolve this and young
pre-teen Jimmy Sparks can control the behemoth through his analog radio
transmitter! Each half-hour show has a
new tale of adventure and action that takes us from deep in the earth to the
furthest reaches of outer space. A
classic of the genre, it was a big hit on U.S. TV and internationally, with an
influence that would go beyond animation itself and along with its classic
theme song (by Eugene Raskin and Lou Singer), became an all-time TV classic as
There are no two-part
shows and the U.S.
versions are well written enough with familiar English voices like Peter
Fernandez (Speed Racer) doing what
became classic voice-overs. Originally
created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, this is a show that deserves to be rediscovered
by every new generation (even with any remakes) and these sets have arrived
just in time.
Extras include audio
commentary tracks by writer/producer/voice director Fred Ladd on episodes in
both sets, with Volume One adding an
on-camera interview with Ladd and another with anime historian Fred Pattern
World Magazine and Volume Two
also offers Publicity Photos and Profile:
Gigantor, The Space-Age Robot article by Patten.
For more on this first
era of Japanese animation, try these links:
Astroboy (1963 – 66)
Speed Racer (1967 – 68)
above, you can order these PAL DVD import sets exclusively from Madman at: