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on January 28, 2005
For those hoping to find the wonderful TV series they grew up with, be very, VERY wary. This DVD set is NOT the entire TV series, as some may think it is.

I found this information online that will hopefully set the record straight: "Series of fifty-two 23 minute episodes based on "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", "The Marvelous Land of Oz", "Ozma of Oz", and "The Emerald City of Oz". Edited to four 93 minute video tapes, one each four the four books." - and that's all this DVD set is. By my calculations, the entire TV series should go for nearly 1200 minutes, and this set obviously does NOT go for that long.

We should all try contacting Cinar in Canada or something to get the proper series onto DVD!
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on July 10, 2004
I was SO thrilled to find that the Wizard of Oz animation series had come to DVD, that I bought it as soon as I could. Here was another piece of my childhood that I could eagerly put in my shelf, in a convenient format.
Sadly, this is not the entire series uncut, at least as shown on HBO or Disney's Family Channel in the 80's. I consulted an old recording I had of "The Marvelous Land of Oz", and there were definitely more than a few scenes missing from the version I saw on air.
It's really a shame, since I remember the eagerness with which I e-mailed LightYear Productions a long time ago, with a request for this series to be put on DVD (with no reponse). It really is a good show, with great one-liners, voice acting and art. It's probably good enough to entertain younger kids who won't know they're missing anything, but for the discerning collector of animation and 80's television, the amount of editing done is disheartening and unacceptable.
Which is not even mentioning the technical flaws of this release. While the picture quality is decent, the image jitters and jumps, and the sound continuously fades in and out - forcing the viewer to have the remote handy for raising and lowering the volume. There is no captioning option for the hearing impaired.
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on June 24, 2004
Collected together in this cute box set; "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", "The Marvelous Land of Oz", "Ozma of Oz", and "The Emerald City of Oz" are all unfaithful yet fun version of their literary counterparts. Created in the late 80's, these cartoons definately fall short of today's computer aided offering...but still hold a unique charm that stems from the source material. Beginning with "The Marvelous Land of Oz" the stories stray far from the stories (with Dorothy not even appearing in the book "The Land of Oz" but playing a huge part in this version) with "Ozma of Oz" being the biggest offender of the bunch (not much of the original story is left here kiddos). The voice acting is well suited and the animation is typical of its time. Die hard fans of the "Oz" mythology beware...but nonetheless, these movies are entertaining and a definate treat for children.
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on July 9, 2006
I remember watching this series on TV when I was little, along with many other animes, Oz and not, and I'm glad to have this japanese take of Oz on DVD. I used to borrow videos of 'Wonderful Wizard' and 'Emerald City' when the store/s were open, and of course they're gone now, but that's why I'm grateful for the DVD Collection, even in its *not so good* condition (I'm working on the reviews for the individual DVDs). One of the best things about this animation is that some of it not only goes back to the original books, but some of its characters' appearances pays homage/is modelled after previous Oz (e.g. Tin Woodman is fat just like Oliver Hardy in 1925, Scarecrow's arms are lined up just like Denslow, Lion resembles the costumes worn on stages and in the silent films, Emerald City is white because of the White City in 1893's World Columbian Exposition in Chicago which inspired Baum's Emerald City, etc. - the streets and houses are own the lower level, while the Palace is at the top). As for the designs for the Witches of Oz, they were GREAT!! Glinda (despite being pale and blue all over intsead of red-and-white) looks just like Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, which matches her personality perfectly, the Good Witch of the North and Mombi were both well thought up, the East Witch took up the dark cloak with pointy hat and the Wicked Witch of the West, possibly modelled after the 1973-4 Russian Stop-Motion animated version (which I wish I got the DVD of earlier), with her fingerless gloves, long bushy white hair with red streaks, thick black dress with occassional hood, long pointy red shoes and pale skin, was PERFECT!! I just wish that Dorothy's long brown hair was in braids, just like Denslow's drawings and that Ozma's design be a combination of Dorothy and Glinda, even if it would resemble Emma Ridley's portrayal of Ozma in 'Disney's Return to Oz'. As for the Magic Shoes: when the Wicked Witches have them, the shoes are big, brown, baggy and curly-toed, but when Dorothy has them then they are child-like, with straps, a white surface (possibly silver?) and not-so pointy toes, and they usually glow pink and/or white. More character design descriptions will be in the other DVD reviews.
Since there are a LOT of Deleted Scenes/Episodes, many references the characters make on the final (English Movies) DVDs are ACTUAL Scenes that you can see on the Full-TV DVDs from YesAsia. Despite the cuts, I still Like the movies Very Much, because the music, voices, designs and stories are great and teh most faithful to teh original book's stories!!
And, in case you're wondering "Who is Margot Kidder, the Narrator?", she was LOIS LANE during the 1978-87 Christopher Reeve as 'Superman' Movies!! Although many of her lines are unnecessary - she sometimes says things we can already see for ourselves, and it makes the feature seem a bit more childish, it's still okay to listen to - her job possibly came onto the Video release rather than the actual TV Show itself. The fact that there was a lot of editing would explain the gaps and strange bits on the English Videos/DVDs and any deleted bits get a little mention. All 4 DVDs have the same Main Menu Set-up and the same 'Special Features':
* (Main Menu Set-Up) "Searching for a Dream" breifly plays as the (opening) tornado-with yellow-bricks, etc. creates the title of the 'movie', which then minimizes in the top left corner, allowing room for 'Play All', 'Chapters', 'Additional Titles' and a starry-circle that plays stills from the feature to appear on the screen. Except for 'Wonderful Wizard', the Oz DVDs have the opening song play in the main menu - 'Land of Feelings' plays on both 'Emerald City' and 'Wonderful Wizard' menus. The Menus for the Scenes and Additional Titles are silent.
* There are only 12-13 Chapters, having titles that could be from the actual TV Episode titles, although the packaging unfortunately makes some spelling mistakes (Glenda, Dorothy Magic Powers, etc.)
* (Additional Titles) This menu has a look at other Lightyear Entertainment Videos/DVDs, and is on every DVD. These are "People: A Musical Celebration", "My First DVD" and "Stories to Remember", which is animation for families and little children.
Another thing I should point out is the Logo. If I recall the video correctly, 'Wonderful Wizard' had a sneal peak at 'Emerald City', and that started with this 'disco-like' music playing as colourful lights shot across the screen forming a little shooting star. This time on the DVD before the Menu sets up, there is a 'Beating of Drums' as a black page turns over to yellow, as 'Lightyear Entertainment (and its site name)' appear in flashes. Except for the music, it does the same thing at the end of the movies.
These features would be a lot more enjoyable if there had been a bit of better writing, and the videos being cut into 1 hr 45 mins instead of 1 hr 30-5 mins - therefore, we might have been able to have a bit more of the original book bits. Despite having no sub-titles, the same old sneak peaks and not so good picture quality, I am grateful to at least have these to keep.
A GREAT site to visit is 'landvanoz . com' (starts with small 'L', without the spaces), which has a comic strip of the series, showing bits rarely seen in English.
*BUT* . . . if you REALLY WANT to get the COMPLETE EPISODES, then you may be interested to know that the TV versions are avaialble on two different 2-Boxed DVD sets: in French (at 'Manga Distribution' under "Le Magicien d' Oz") and Chinese/Japanese (at 'Yesasia . com' - which is better, because unlike Manga, the online store is in English!). I have the C/J version and therefore the following information: Each box set has a DVD with 2 disks with 5 episodes lasting over 2 hrs. All Disks have the same cover design as the Box-Set they come in, the same Menu (only difference is the volume number) and the same options of looking at other Chinese/Japanese DVDs. Each DVD plays as follows: opening, tile & episode and next ep. preview with end credits. The Disk automatically plays Chinese Audio and Subtitles, but you can change the audio to Japanese. But just like the English DVDs, the picture quality on the Chinese/Japanese DVDs change: sometimes one shot can be excellent, while another can be dark/dim and another can be quite bright. Even in a foreign language I could make out what a character was saying, quite a few bits (e.g. names) sound close to english and easy to hear on the first time. Box Set 1 has 2 DVDs, therefore 4 disks each with 5 episodes, while Box Set 2 has 3 DVDs with 6 disks, but with the last DVD having 6 episodes on the last 2 Disks, resulting in over 2 1/2 hrs. The foriegn music certainly is different to that of the English and sometimes sounds better while a few other times isn't as good, and if you had this collection, you wouldn't be able to watch even 1 minute without finding something cut-out, replaced, moved to somewhere else or even 2 episodes put together. I do wish that 4 of the individual DVD covers had the same pictures as 4 Japanese Cinar Oz videos I saw in the 'landvanoz' fan site as well as having Englsih sub-titles. BUT I do have the original TV Show, and that's all that matters . . . although, having English DVDs of the FULL TV-animation or even 3-4 hr versions would be nice . . .
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on February 23, 2010
Like most reviewers I also agree that this series was the best cartoon adaption produced based on the L Frank Baum books. From the classic style of animation and brilliant theme "Searching for a Dream"

However these 'mini films' have been created by condensing between 18 (first book) and 14 (latter 3 books) 22 minute episodes into 93 minute films. Despite the fact most of the action is missing, the editing of it is extremely poor meaning the films do not flow properly and while watching the story feels obviously rushed.

To be honest these should never have been released. Instead it should have been 4 individual boxsets/2 disc sets containing all 52 episodes. However if it's worth picking up if you want to see this version now and cannot wait for a complete set which may never happen.

I gave this release 2 stars. One because I love this cartoon and the other because it's a boxset of all 4 films together in a set. A boxset of all 52 episodes would have received 5 stars.
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on June 4, 2007
These are the movie versions of the Japanese animated series Oz no Maho Tsukai from 1984. The series ran fifty-two episodes in its original format and covers four of the Baum Oz books: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, and the Emerald City of Oz. When it was dubbed for the American market its Japanese origin was expunged by the American release company right down to the fact that none of the Japanese animators were listed in the end credits. Yes it has Margot Kidder and a fairly good dub cast, but it is too much to ask that this series be released with the Japanese animators being given the credit they so justly deserved. Not a bad adaption of Baum with some major alterations but none that would make me wince . Ironically this series was shown here in America before it was seen in Japan! This series is right up there with another fave of mine a little series called Peter Pan no Boken from 1989. Very good but a release of the episodes in Japanese with English subtitles would be appreciated......yeah and I'm dreaming.
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on September 12, 2012
A great childhood television series has been abridged in this boxed set. You just can't find the whole thing ANY where! So this is the next best thing to having the show you use to love. One reviewer wrote "Close, but no cigar" and they were right!
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on March 5, 2008
ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! BUY IT! Since I was a child I have always thought 'I wish that Oz cartoon would come back on'
I loved it as it stayed true to the Frank Baum books which no other Oz production has done.

I bought this despite mixed reviews and it is truley exceptional!
It is true it is heavily edited. It is 4 x 90 minute dvds, and the original was something like 52 episodes x 22 minutes = 1144 minutes has been cut to 360 minutes for this dvd set. So 784 minutes is missing.

I would be lying if I said you won't notice because you will. A the first 1 hour mark the Wicked witch of the West is dead... Remember the winkie slaves? Well the fact that winkies are slaves is mentioned ONCE and you don't see ANY winki slaves at all. From memory the winki slaves went on for ages.. well you see none of them!
It's like 'hello wicked witch.. oops sorry for spilling water on you''

Dare I say it this is 10000 times better than not having it at all.
I almost cried I was so happy to own this item.
It still makes sence but yeah its pretty obvious.

In 'Marvellous Land of Oz' Tip and Dorothy escape from Mombi, and the whole bit where Tip goes to the shed to get Jack and tells him about Mombis evil plan is missing!

Instead Dorothy and Tip are half way down the road and Jack just appears.

I have heard that the complete uncut version is available with Japanese audio and english subtitles however I can not find it on any american or asian sites.

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on July 7, 2007
I watched this series as a kid every week day after school back in 1987! It was the best, I loved it! The music and characters have long since stayed in my memory, and when I discovered the entire series was out on DVD, well, I just had to add it to our library! And we continue to love it. Now, having a family of my own, my husband and 6 year old daughter sit down and watch it, enthralled by the magic and humor within these wonderful animated films. Ofcourse, it brings back tons of memories too, all good ones. I can only give it the top most rating.
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on December 9, 2009
I totally agree with the (1 star) reviewers above.

I am a big fan of this series when first aired and purchased the DVD collection straight. To my disappointment I noticed something wrong at the beginning and confirmed it by watching the recorded episodes.

The Wizard of OZ animation collection is cut version with a lot of deleted scenes, this is not as what we saw on TV and all should stay away till they re-release the correct complete series. Don't waste your money on this as this is a clear rip-off!!
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