DVD Title
Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People
International Title
Matango
DVD Length Original Length
89 Minutes 89 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Tokyo Shock 2005
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: The Mysterians, Varan, Matango, Dogora, Gappa the Triphibian Monster (US), One Missed Call
. Commentary with Akira Kubo (Japanese, English Subtitled)
. Teruyoshi Nakano Interview (27 minutes)
. Spoken Word from Matango Writer Masami Fukushima (18 minutes)
Captures
Review

A year ago, I would have scoffed at the very notion that I would find myself reviewing a region 1 release of Toho's science fiction gem Matango. A film generally ignored by US distributors, and one that has been unavailable in the US for decades. To my surprise, and delight, Tokyo Shock, a company quickly gaining a reputation for having some of the best Toho DVDs, was up to the task. As with the company's other releases, Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People shares both a solid video and audio presentation, but the disc's real testament is the nice collection of extras.


 Video: Star Rating

Another good video presentation from Tokyo Shock, although slightly flawed in some areas. It's nearly identical to its region 2 counterpart, which means the same inconsistencies on that release are found here. The coloring, for example, is rather monotone, lacking the vibrant array possible with the DVD format. Discoloring is also apparent, with the film having an unnatural yellowish tint to it. To the disc's credit, the brightness is handled well here, as details during even the darkest scenes are easy to distinguish. Digital inconsistencies are handled rather well also. There is some slight artifacting present as slight pixilation can be spotted. Edge enhancement is also noticeable, although in general the film does look pretty sharp. Shimmering, a rainbow band of colors in fine details, thankfully never occurs during the course of the film.

The print used in the transfer, which is the Japanese version of the film, is in simply amazing shape. Not a scratch in sight for the entire course of the film, although there is some noticeable grain found on the print. Matango is presented on the disc in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, or Toho Scope, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

Sadly, the audio presentation here is a step down compared with the company's The Mysterians disc. The film's original audio format, 2.0 mono track in Japanese, is present. Sadly, there is no 5.1 surround mix to compliment it, and the limitations of the mono track are apparent, while some of the film's louder music cues sound very harsh. The track is accompanied by, removable, English subtitles. Unfortunately, the subtitle job is a little loose at times, even those relatively unfamiliar with the language should be able to point out some discrepancies (an example is the subtitling of nani, or 'what', as "You..."). In general, though, the subtitling is close enough to the actual dialogue that it shouldn't become much of a problem.

As with other Tokyo Shock releases, the disc also includes a English dubbed track. Unlike The Mysterians, though, this track isn't new. In fact, it's the same track found on AIP's original release of the film in the US. Even those unfamiliar with this dub track should be able to pick up some very familiar voices from other dubbed Toho films, like Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972). Granted, the dubbing isn't great, but it's better than the one found on The Mysterians disc. The dubbed track is present here in a 5.1 surround mix and a 2.0 mono track. The 5.1 surround mix is acceptable, as sound effects have better speaker distinction, while the voices still sound rather flat. It's a noticeable improvement over the mono track, though. In regards to quality, the dubbed tracks do have their faults, and a couple of pops in are present during the course of the film.


 Extras:

Tokyo Shock does it again, or more accurately Toho does. The extras here are culled directly from the region 2 release, save the inclusion of more trailers, but considering the nice selection found on Toho's own disc for the film, one can hardly complain.

There are several worthwhile extras to be found here, including an excellent audio commentary by actor Akira Kubo (spoken in Japanese, subtitled in English). The commentary talks about the film, and Akira Kubo's involvement at Toho in general, along with other interesting stories such as how Akira Kubo came up with his screen name.

Another great extra on the disc is the interview with special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano, who was the assistant special effects director for Matango, which is almost half a hour long. Nakano talks about the film in detail, discussing the close involvement of both Ishiro Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya on the movie, and how many of the special effect shots were achieved. The interview is accompanied by numerous promotional stills, along with concept art done for the film. The interview is done in Japanese, and, like the other extras, is accompanied by, removable, English subtitles.

The list of extras doesn't stop there, though, as also included is a nice, 18 minute, dialogue video comprised from the original treatment of the film by Masami Fukushima. The extra is complimented by footage from the film, along with some amazing promotional shots (as seen here). There is a awkward pause in the extra, though, as suddenly some very old home video footage (the source of which is never specified on the disc) is then shown to round the extra out.

The disc also has six trailers present: The Mysterians, Varan, Dogora, One Missed Call, Gappa the Triphibian Monster and the film's own theatrical trailer (the last being subtitled). All of them are the Japanese trailers, save Gappa which is the US version. It should be noted that Varan, unlike on earlier discs, is now called "Varan the Unbelievable." So it seems likely that Tokyo Shock will be going with the US title for the film, as opposed to the International title as original assumed.


 Overview: Star Rating
Bottom line, Tokyo Shock has another good release under their belt of one of Toho's most popular cult films. If one has an interest in the film, or Toho's films in general, they shouldn't hesitate to pick up this disc.
-Anthony Romero  
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