271 of 282 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2006
There sure are a lot of mean-spirited know-nothings out there, judging from the semiliterate 1-star reviews this puppy is racking up. It's almost as if they liked the craptacular bootleg versions of this that were floating around before...
Look. This isn't absolutely perfect. The dub version has some pretty distracting audio problems, but they're transitory, and I am 99% certain it was the best they could do at the price-point they wanted to be able to offer. Could they have cleaned up the audio? I'm not sure, but I bet if they did the whiners would be whining that the set cost $75.00.
People are complaining about how it sometimes drops into subtitled Japanese--this is so that you can watch THE WHOLE EPISODE, for the first time ever in the US. The US version was previously heavily edited for time. And this simply illustrates my point, to wit:
This is a Japanese series. The actors are Japanese. The director was Japanese. The scripts were in Japanese. The expensive audio and video remastering done a couple of years ago for the Tsuburaya region 2 version was done by, you guessed it, Japanese. The English dub is an afterthought. A treat for American fans too young to read. It's a special feature at best. The Japanese audio is crystal clear; the subtitles are legible and accurate. AND THIS SHOW IS MEANT TO BE ENJOYED IN ITS ORIGINAL LANGUAGE (say it with me now, kids): JAPANESE!
And to the nimrod who complained that the DVD wasn't letterboxed: this show was produced for television 40 years ago. The aspect ratio in which it was presented is the aspect ratio on the DVD. There is no letterboxed version. Anywhere. If you still want it letterboxed, ask your mommy or halfway house caregiver for the safety scissors, cut some black construction paper into two long strips, and TAPE IT TO THE SCREEN!
Sorry for the rant, but ignore the doofuses (doofi?) and buy the DVD. If you can read. :o)
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2006
Ok, first off, I have to respectfully disagree with the bad reviews here re: quality of this release. After reading them, and then buying the set, I was pleasantly suprised when I popped it in the dvd player. The video quality is very good (without question better than any of the three different bootlegs sets I've seen) and the audio dub is, well, pretty good. Was the audio totally restored and cleaned up? No, I don't think so but it doesn't sound overly noisy (again, especially compared to bootlegs). I have the Japanese laserdisc set and I also have the Japanese DVD box set that was fully remastered (video and audio [only in Japanese though - no english dub or subtitle included]). The picture quality on the Japanese dvd set is amazing but this set looks pretty d*mn good...AND this set has the english dub and subtitles! AND it's very affordable! For $20, packaging is great, as are the menus and booklet. If you're an ultraman fan, should you buy it? ABSOLUTELY!!
Re: the TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS VS. CHAIYO PRODUCTIONS issue, it is a shame. Ultraman deserves the best quality release and it's out there! This set does have it's quirks (some spots where the dub isn't present, strange chapter marks, haven't found the original english intro yet - maybe it's here somewhere) but Tsuburaya has never made much of an effort to try to release this much loved series to the U.S. --- I love AND support Tsuburaya (again, bought the Tsuburaya Laserdisc and DVD Japanese Box sets...for a small fortune) but c'mon...40 years and nothing!
Go buy this - you'll love it! And maybe, if it sells enough, Tsuburaya will take notice and find a way to release a-Japanese equivalent 11 DVD fully remastered English set...but if you want to feel like a kid again, running home afterschool to flip on channel 48 (well, in philly area), this is, without question, the best $20 you could spend!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2007
This is the official DVD release of the first 20 of 39 episodes. Color, 450 Minutes, English dubbed and Japanese language originals, English Subtitles, Special Features. Tsurubaya Productions (c) 1966
This live action Sci-Fi series was a staple of my childhood, surpassed in esteem only by Star Trek and Doctor Who. The U.S. English Language release stopped airing around 1980. I was overjoyed to find that it was finally available in a non-bootleg release. Although some of the original footage has been replaced with black and white (very minimal) and the English language version occasionally drops into Japanese due to the loss of portions of the dubbed release, the quality of this production is quite excellent.
The story involves Hayata, the hero, and the other members of the "Science Patrol" the damsel Fuji, the clownish Ito (Ide), Captain Mura (Muramatsu), dependable Ayashi, and boy sidekick Hoshino. The Science Patrol is called in to investigate strange phenomena, natural and scientific disasters, and, of course, monster sightings. In the first episode, Hayata is accidentally killed by a benevolent alien who merges with Hayata in order to restore him to life. Hayata is normally human, but when danger calls (almost always in the form of a 200ft Godzilla analog, but with ingenious variations, including lobster-clawed bug men, carnivorous space algae, and abominable snow men) Hayata transforms into a giant bug-eyed red and silver bio-mechanoid who can shoot death rays, fly, "Shuwach!" and do amazing Sumo moves. On watching this show again as an adult after 30 years, I am struck by the show's refreshing lack of political correctness. The contrasts between the English dialog (often cynical) and the Japanese (overblown and exaggeratedly technical) are striking, and show the difference between the post-60's anti-intellectual attitude of the U.S. compared to the earnest sincerity of the Japanese.
I strongly recommend that English speakers listen with English audio and the subtitles (which show the contrasting original Japanese dialog) simultaneously.
This show is certainly intended for children or those nostalgic for their childhood. But as such, it is a wonderful addition to my library. I have watched all the episodes recalling the joy which they brought me as a child, and can't stop singing the theme song. I hope this would translate to present day children. The special effects are done with blue-screen imaging and men in plastic monster suits, but, as with Doctor Who, the plot (however minimal) and the monster concepts drive the show. Many scenes have an spookiness or poignancy which one wouldn't expect from whatever today's version of Pokemon or the Power Rangers might be.
The second volume is of no less a quality and I recommend it for all the same reasons.
44 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2006
Like many others I've waited a long time to see Ultraman again and am thrilled about this DVD set. It's a great show, just the way I remember it... in fact it's funnier than I could have realized back when I was a kid. Several of the shows are downright magical especially 'The Rambunctious One From Space.' The writing in this particular show is funny, touching and sometimes just scary enough for kids. Great family viewing or wonderful if you're just into the kitsch of it all.
For new fans thinking about getting this set: you're about to see the origins of Power Rangers and other similar shows. Only the original Ultraman is the king of the genre and never successfully imitated.
For anyone reading all of the harsh reviews, be aware that bootleg versions of these shows are NOT better. It is true that the sound on this set is often poor but it is the best we're going to get. And the fact that it includes the original Japanese language track (and subtitles) puts it well above the bootleg dubs on the market. Picture quality ranges from excellent to just okay but that must be down to the available source. Overall it is not as bad as others are suggesting but it's true that sound quality is not always great.
Sound quality aside, there are several flaws I can find. The hope is that the manufacturer will rectify some of them:
1. A couple of episodes have glitches that cause the picture to freeze. On my computer they cause my player to crash. On my home player it just causes a momentary freeze.
2. The titles in the booklet and on the menus do not match the titles on the DVD packaging. This is a minor issue but it seems sloppy for such a beautiful packaging job.
3. The booklet does not explain some of the manufacturing issues... like the fact that the show reverts to Japanese from time to time (its difficult to know if this is because of the lack of English dub or a defect as others have suggested). It would also have been helpful if the makers of this set had taken the time to explain some of the picture and sound quality issues.
4. Sometimes the English version of the theme song plays at the beginning and sometimes the Japanese version plays. It's difficult to know if this is on purpose but it's confusing and seemingly just sloppy design.
5. Where are the collectible trading cards? I suppose those were pulled because of licensing issues but that's a shame. I was looking forward to them even if it's not that big of a deal.
The bottom line is that this is not a perfect release but it's really the show that presides. The major flaws will hopefully get fixed but we'll have to live with poor sound quality. We're just lucky that someone has preserved this great piece of pop culture.
I give the show an "A-" (the early shows are slightly boring) and the DVD a "C" (great packaging, sloppy manufacturing and poor sound).
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2006
Some of the reviewers think the Japanese audio bleed-in error is intentional due to edits in the original English dubbing for commercial breaks. They are only guessing.
I have access to the VHS copies of the English-dubbed versions and they are speaking English on the exact sequences that the Japanese audio is sneaking in on. Case in point, in episode 1, the crew of the plane is surmising what Ultraman's blinking light indicates. On the VHS, this dialogue is in English. On this new DVD, the Japanese audio breaks in. This must be an engineering flaw in the DVD release.
This release is not garbage; neither is it a stellar production. It does have audio problems with hiss and changes to Japanese inexplicably for several seconds within the show. The bootlegs I have seen don't even do that! The hiss can be filtered out through my stereo; it's not THAT bad. The color and clarity are very good. The Monster Encyclopedia is OK, but it only features the monsters within the first 20 episodes. That makes sense but it is not clear up front. The interview with the English-dub cast was obviously made years ago as Earl Hammond died in 2002. My guess is that they purchased this simply made video and decided to use it as a bonus feature. They had no control over the quality of the original source material. It's better than no interview at all !!
I can't understand why the Japanese credits are the default for this American release. That would only makes sense if Japanese was the default audio. I agree that we should be able to choose the English version of the opening credits, as we can with audio. Overall, I'm glad to see this release. However, the production company and its engineers should be ashamed to release a product with such poor quality control. If they don't correct all the issues for Volume Two, then they will be as bad as all of the other reviewers make them out to be. They should be willing to provide clean copies to those of us who complain about Volume One. Buyers beware!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2007
As a kid in the early 70's I would hop on my Western Flyer Buzz-Bike (banana seat w/4 ft. sissy bar) after school and haul it to get home in time to watch Ultraman. I new the characters, the story lines, the monsters...all of it. My friends and I were Ultraman NUTS. However, like so many things from my childhood, Ultraman faded from my memory. For thirty years Ultraman never crossed the radar screen of my memory. That all changed about 5 years ago when I stumbled across a seller on Ebay with the user name ULTRAMAN. SNAP! It all came back to me in a flash! I immediately began searching for the show on the internet. To my dismay, NO DvD's were available. I found all 39 episodes on VHS, but the quality was very poor. When I discovered the DvD's were now available I ordered them immediately and I am VERY satisfied. The picture quality is BETTER than the originals that aired from film on TV. The audio is excellent with the only MINOR issue of Japanese being dubbed in for short periods in a few spots. That is probably due to the ORIGINAL ENGLISH audio track portion being unusable on the old film stock and the Japanese was the only thing available to slip in. NOT A PROBLEM for me. I love it...my kids love it...WELL WORTH THE LOOOONG WAIT!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2006
Review by Michael Anthony of MAACP Radio. - I've been waiting for a decent copy of Ultraman probably as long as most of you. And I've seen my share of bootlegs. Here's how it stacks up.
The video quality has been restored somewhat. It's clearer than my "official vcd release" put out in Japan only by TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS. That version has no englsih audio by the way, but is a beautiful addition for an Ultraman collector. (I'm always looking for cool collectables.) The DVD tracking does freeze up on occasion for a few seconds here and there. The English text closing is in the special features section. And there are additional problems.
The audio sounds much better than any vhs or beta version. Yes, episode one has that terrible loss of English dub right there in the heart of the episode. Happens at the same spot on the boot legs. I can't remember whether it was like that on my favorite UHF channel when I was a kid but no matter. The quality changes here and there but I must stress that I haven't heard anything better. And I can't understand Mandarin Chinese so what am I to do?
The poor special features section really is a slap in the face especially to those wonderful actors who dubbed the series in English. This interview seems to have been filmed and edited by Lancelot Link and the agents from APE... well more likely the chimps from CHUMP. I was angered that these people who were part of our own pop culture (Speed Racer, Marine Boy...) were filmed as if they were trying out for some early 70's indie porn company. It was sad... funny... sad.
I personally wrote TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS a few years back asking them if a deal could be struck to let my company release the set on DVD and was told in a very blunt letter that TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS had no interest whatsoever in releasing the series in English and or in the USA. - I, of course was quite stunned. I do believe that for the right amount, we will see the real, official release at some point. (i.e.; Speed Racer) After all, it had been said that George Lucas would never release the trilogy on DVD.
I think that "if" CHAIYO PRODUCTIONS, the company that put together this DVD set, felt like they needed to do it quickly before TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS had a chance to stop it, then it just might be the reason for this messy release. More than likely though, they're just a cheap company that cuts corners wherever possible and makes as much as they can, as quick as they can.
My bottom line is you may as well get this version for what it does offer. And when a better version comes along, snatch it up! Maybe we'll forget about the $20 that we spent here. Even with all of its horrors, Ultraman: Series One, Volume 1 was worth it for me. Yes, I'll buy Series One, Vol 2. After all, I know someone personally who spent over $100 on a lousy VHS version. That guy. He was such a sucker!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2006
This release is as good as we're ever likely to see of this well-loved series. The video quality is a step down from the Japanese R2 releases which were quite literally pristine. I see a fair amount of pixelation in some of the effects sequences, for instance. The Japanese audio is, to my ear, soft, but accurate to the original Japanese releases. The english dub is not without its' issues (distortion, hiss, etc.), but I can't imagine that the source for these tracks from the 70's was in too decent a shape in the first place.
Switch to the japanese audio track, turn on the english subtitles, and enjoy the release as it was intended by its creators...
AHA! I stand corrected. The audio switching issue is NOT due to broadcast cuts. BCI were apparently not given the complete English dub. An older videotape release from Expressions in Animation demonstrates this, at least for Episode 1. There is a scene where the Science Patrol talks briefly about the nature of the Color Timer. On this dvd release, with the english dub on, this scene reverts to english-subtitled japanese. On the EIA tape, this scene is dubbed entirely in english...
Is this a flawless release? No. It is, after all, a series that debuted in Japan 40 years ago, almost to the day. The japanese elements were meticulously remastered for their Japanese release a few years ago. The elements used in this release are not up to those standards, but are in a quite servicable shape. Will this release be agreeable to follks in their mid-30's, early-40's who grew up absorbing anything japanese that happened to be on saturday morning television: absolutely! Will my two-year-old be playing Ultraman like I did back in the 70's, you bet...
22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2006
This is a legit edition released through BCI/Navarre Corp and IS NOT A BOOTLEG!! The second volume is scheduled to be released in October.
An abundance of special features include:
1. Two collectible baseball-style cards featuring photos of Ultraman and his foes.
2. Original Japanese audio track, with newly created English-subtitles.
3. English dubbed tracks created for the original television broadcast by the same team that voiced Speed Racer.
4. Interviews with English dub team Peter Fernandez, Corinne Orr and the late Earl Hammond.
5. NEWLY RE-MASTERED with stereo sound and brilliant color.
I for one am looking forward to this release with baited anticipation.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2006
Show review and DVD review.
Ultraman is a giant super hero who fights giant monsters in Japan.
Need I say more? This show was one of the first of its kind if
not the first and it is still one of the coolest shows ever made.
At times this program can be funny or scary or mysterious. It's
full of action, explosions, lasers and sci-fi x-files type situations.
Ultraman is primarily a kid's show, but it is also interesting and
fun for adults. The premise is simple. An alien or a monster
will show up who generally intends to take over the world or
wreck the city. The elite Science Patrol engages the monster but cannot win. Then Ultraman appears and saves the day.
The DVDs are pretty good. I don't think the problems are worth mentioning. I am glad BCI released this volume and I look forward
to volume 2.