New DVD Review
New TV Review
Search DVJ 2.0
I donít feel that this issue truly captures the "potential" of this medium.
Review by Matthew Anderson
Advanced review copy of Issue 1
Released date: June 2003.
Rating: G (Suitable for all ages)
Price: $10 (48 page magazine with DVD)
EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS MAGAZINE IS NO LONGER BEING PRINTED AND BACK ISSUES ARE NOT AVAILABLE.
This first issue contains an NHK produced feature on Hideaki Anno, creator of Evangelion. There is a brief overview of the works of Tatsuo Sato, director of shows like Martian Successor Nadesico and Jubei Ninpucho (Ninja Scroll, the TV Series). There are also web links to various anime related web sites, a schedule of current television series in Japan, and even a little fan service for the Otaku.
Content is not limited to the DVD. With in the 48 page printed magazine is an interview with Robert Woodhead and the staff at AnimEigo, information on upcoming DVD releases, a Big Apple Anime Fest report, and a "How -To" for "Phantom of Inferno" the interactive DVD game produced by Hirameki International!
Intrigued by the idea of a DVD magazine that was much more than "a few trailers and one anime episode", I contacted Aldo Donnaloia, Marketing Director of Anime Play. After an hour long phone conversation, he sent us a screener copy. Despite the rather static displays, technical issues, and the links not working, I saw the potential for this magazine. With the DVD, you could have trailers and an episode of a new releases, as well as interviews with directors, fans, and industry representatives. A wealth of information, complete with full motion menus, interactive clips, and even some easter eggs would surely keep the most avid DVD watcher happy.
Once we received the rather so-so preview copy, I decided to delay any advanced word until I saw the finished product.
Now, Issue 1 is about ready to hit the stands. How well has Anime Play done with their first outing?
The printed magazine is fairly attractive. The cover is a bit busy, with too many images and fonts, both English and Japanese, crammed onto it. While I like the inclusion of the original Japanese Text along with the English titles, it can be confusing.
The inside, while light on content, is a pleasant read. While it was lighter on the page count then one would like in a $10.00 magazine, the content was interesting. I enjoyed the interview with Rob Woodhead, CEO and owner of AnimEigo. I also liked the feature on Big Apple Anime Fest: If DVD Vision Japan was able to go to BAAF this year, the article by Jay Charles would be my bible.
The section on "New Releases" was disappointing and needed to include more companies (only Central Park Media and Anime Works were listed).
The English translation was spotty in several places and the titles of both articles and some of the regular features were too wordy, appearing to be scholarly descriptions of what was to come rather then enticing tidbits to draw us in.
The inclusion of the websites (complete with a shot of the graphics for the opening page) for the new Japanese shows was a big hit and more links of this sort would certainly be a super addition!
When you place the DVD into the computer, the installed program called "DVD Magic" starts. Designed to make navigation easier, DVD Magic lists the titles of each chapter, enabling you to jump anywhere on the DVD. You can also use the left and right arrows to navigate through the disc. However, if you watch this DVD on a stand alone, you have to use the arrows to navigate. There is no "main menu" button, so navigating through the disk on a TV is a royal pain.
If you ever wanted to know where the character of Shinji Ikari from "Evangelion" came from, look no further than the man who created him, Hideaki Anno. In the most interesting feature on this disc, the hour long feature on the "Evangelion" creator shows us a man who is very smart, but very introverted. Despite his nervousness with children, he manages to show the kids that there is more to the world than "information".
However, despite this strong start, the rest of the disc consists mostly of static pages, with very little in the way of "multimedia". While the information was interesting, I donít feel that this issue truly captures the "potential" of this medium. With a blinding green background, fonts that are too often too small, little audio and the navigation problems, it may take you more than one sitting to work your way through all of the content. Add in the fact that the web links to see video donít work even on the PC and the ďinteractiveĒ DVD novel is little more than an ad for a feature that may appear in upcoming issues, there are more then a few disappointments to be found.Still, I have hope for this magazine. With access to the people at the top of the anime world (both in the US and in Japan), the ability to introduce the reader to the newest series from overseas, and the inclusion of fan input, Iíll tough it out through the bugs and glitches because, in the end, I really think we may see a true multi-media magazine emerge.
©All information protected by DVD Vision Japan copyright unless otherwise noted.