DVD Title
Atragon
International Title
Atragon
DVD Length Original Length
95 Minutes 94 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Tokyo Shock 2006
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
2.35:1 (Anamorphic) 2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (12)
. Trailers: Atragon, Varan, Dogora, The Mysterians (Tokyo Shock), Matango
. Commentary with Koji Kajita (Japanese, English Subtitled)
Captures
Review

It's time to mark up another solid release under Tokyo Shock's belt, who has quickly become the company to watch for quality Toho DVDs that don't hurt the wallet. By all accounts, this disc excels in all areas, with a good video and audio presentation, while also having some worthwhile added content.


 Video: Star Rating

Tokyo Shock turns in another solid video presentation, although there are some minor complaints to be had. Chief among them is the general handling of the colors on this release, which are tinted a very slight yellow while they also lack a rich contrast. The colors aside, the video quality on Atragon is actually quite amazing, which should come as no surprise given that the video track was culled directly from Toho's own region 2 release. It's still marvelous to see it in action, though, as the print used for the transfer is in incredible shape for its age, with no scratches to be seen while only a faint amount of grain is present. The movie also looks very sharp with no signs of edge enhancement.

Atragon is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, or Toho Scope, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs. On a closing note, the viewing area of the film itself has been reduced for those watching the film on a DVD-Rom, with large black areas added to the left and right of the picture. Although those viewing the movie on a TV need not worry, as the disc will play correctly, without the added black areas, on a regular television set.


 Audio:

This title is packed to the gills with options for the audio setup, and one can't help but appreciate the effort put forth in this area. In total, there are four audio tracks present, two of which are done in 5.1 surround while the other two are done in 2.0 mono. Thankfully, all of the tracks sound good on this release, even the freshly created 5.1 mixes from the movie's original mono sound. In fact the Japanese surround track does a decent job of giving a more distinct audio experience to the movie without sounding as forced as some created 5.1 tracks do (i.e. Varan the Unbelievable). Although, the 2.0 Japanese mono presentation is still the way to go as it just sounds more natural.

As for the two English tracks, they are the original International ones done by Toho for the movie, and not the AIP ones (so the craft is referred to as Gotengo instead of Atragon, as it was in the states). Surprisingly the 5.1 English track sounds much better than the mono one does, as Tokyo Shock seems to have done a wonderful job of making the audio sound semi-new again. Oddly enough, Manda was given a new roar in the 5.1 English track to make use of the added channel presentation. Personally, I can't say I liked the new roar all that much, but I actually found it very interesting that Tokyo Shock went through the effort of making the new sound effect, while purists still have the 2.0 English track to keep them happy so I don't think anyone can be cross with the end result.

The movie is accompanied by, removable, English subtitles that correspond to the Japanese track. It's fairly faithful (a few typos aside), but keeps to using the "Atragon" name for the ship, although it does give a fairly odd nod to its Japanese, and International, title when it's first seen and is subtitled to say "This is Goten-go or Atragon."


 Extras:

Not the best selection of extras for a Tokyo Shock title, but still enough here to keep most fans entertained. In terms of the supplemental material, the star attraction on Atragon is the audio commentary by assistant director Koji Kajita, who was also the assistant director on most of Ishiro Honda's special effects films from Godzilla (1954) through The War of the Gargantuas (1966). Kajita's commentary is insightful, revealing details about how certain effects were achieved or the staff's reactions to the movie, while there is also no awkward silences during the audio track which make it an excellent listen (or read, since it's subtitled) from beginning to end.

The other extra here is a good size collection of trailers which include one for this movie (which has removable subtitles), Varan, Matango and Tokyo Shock's overly corny trailer for The Mysterians.

One other thing to note is that the menus on this disc look very rushed, particularly with how a good portion of the text looks to have been tossed on at the last minute, case in point being the Audio Setup screen. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it's a small complaint, but one worth mentioning regardless.


 Overview: Star Rating
Bottom line, it's not Tokyo Shock's best title, but it's still an amazing release all around. Still hard to grasp the fact that it retails for a budget price range too, considering that one gets everything that's found on Toho's $50 region 2 disc (minus the shorter edit of the movie) while also getting English subtitles for all the content along with two dubbed tracks. I might sound like a broken record in this manner of praising the company over and over again, but really no one gives the customer the bang for their buck quite like Tokyo Shock does.
- Anthony Romero  
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