DVD Title
The Mysterians
International Title
The Mysterians
DVD Length Original Length
88 Minutes 88 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Tokyo Shock 2005
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English, Spanish English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
2.35:1 (Anamorphic) 2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (16)
. Trailers: The Mysterians, Varan, Matango, Dogora, Gappa the Triphibian Monster (US), One Missed Call
. Commentary with Koichi Kawakita and Shinji Higuchi (Japanese, English Subtitled)
. Background Music Only Audio Track
. Photo Gallery
. Design Gallery
. Storyboard
Captures
Review

Ever since Tokyo Shock released their Pyrokinesis DVD, it has been hoped that the company would some day dive into the vault of Toho's classic science fiction films, and release a DVD with the same amount of care given to the added content. Two years later, Tokyo Shock has answered that call and The Mysterians is the first in, what will hopefully be, a great string of releases from the company. The disc has its faults, the video presentation is obviously dated, but it excels so well in regards to the audio and the extras that it's hard to not give the release a warm reception.


 Video:

The video presentation on this release is, without a doubt, its weak point. For those familiar with the region 2 release of this title back in 2001, that's what one can expect here. In fact, it appears to be an almost identical transfer of the film.

For those unfamiliar with the region 2 disc, they can expect a rather monotone presentation here, with a lack of any really vibrant colors, along with discoloring, as the movie has an unnatural brown tint to it. The brightness is handled well here, though, with details being very easy to spot through out the film. The digital inconsistencies is another area where the presentation shows its age, as artifacting is present making the film appear pixialated. Edge enhancement isn't the best here either, as the film looks slightly blurred. Thankfully, there are no signs of shimmering.

The print used in the transfer, which is the Japanese version of the film, is in relatively good shape for its age. For most of the film, the print looks to be in good condition with few scratches, although the amount of grain is noticeable. During the scenes with animated rays, though, scratches become abundant to the point where it's hard to overlook. The coloring in some scenes appear to be off on the print too, with a sudden shift in colors happening during a single scene. An example of this can be seen here, which is the normal shot, and then another shot taken a few seconds later here. Notice the blue discoloring in the far left of the frame. Thankfully, this problem rarely seems to rear its head during the course of the movie. The Mysterians is presented on the disc in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, or Toho Scope, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio: Star Rating

Tokyo Shock shows how an audio presentation on a DVD should be done. As a safe precaution, the disc has a 2.0 mono audio track in Japanese, which is the film's original audio presentation. However, also included is a 5.1 surround track that boasts decent speaker distinction and sounds as if it was restored as well. For example, the 2.0 track has some added hiss as "The End" title card appears on screen, while this has been removed completely from the surround track. In general, both tracks are done well here, although the 5.1 track clearly trumps the other. The Japanese tracks are also accompanied by, removable, English subtitles.

Tokyo Shock went the extra mile here, though, and also included English and Spanish dubbed tracks for the film. The English track here is a 5.1 surround, while the Spanish is a 2.0 mono. From a dubbing stand point, the tracks are pretty horrendous, and it's hard to keep a straight face while hearing the film's English dubbing. However, it's nice to see the wide array of selectable audio tracks, something that is so rare on a Toho DVD in any region.

As a general complaint, the audio here sounds like it was recorded too low. So, one will have to raise the volume on their set considerably for playing the film.


 Extras:

It's hard to not praise Tokyo Shock for their handling of the extras on this release. Granted, a lot of this was culled directly from the region 2, but after so many barebones Toho DVDs the sheer amount here is welcome no matter its source. The most important extra on this is the informative commentary by special effect directors Koichi Kawakita (Godzilla vs. Biollante) and Shinji Higuchi (Gamera: Guardian of the Universe). They talk in detail on the film, and other entries by Ishiro Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya, and briefly on how Kawakita was the driving force in getting Moguera in his 1994 film Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. This extra is accompanied by, removable, English subtitles.

Also included are a ton of images related to the film, including promotional photos (black and white), concept art, and story boards from the start of the film up to the destruction of Moguera. The disc also comes with a "Background Music Only" audio track, something which was common on the older region 2 discs. As the name suggests, this audio track isolates Akira Ifukube's music, muting the dialogue and sound effects. An extra which many probably won't use often, if at all, but one can't complain about added content.

To round the disc out, Tokyo Shock has also included a healthy array of trailers. Among those on the disc are Varan, Matango, Dogora, One Missed Call, Gappa the Triphibian Monster and the film's own theatrical trailer. All of them are the Japanese trailers, save Gappa which is the US version. What makes this note worthy, though, is the quality of some of the trailers shown. For example, here is a look at the Matango trailer. Hopefully, it's a taste of things to come for that release later this month.


 Overview: Star Rating
Bottom line, it has become clear that Tokyo Shock is the company to watch for, in regards to quality releases of Toho's vast science fiction library of films. They took the already decent region 2 release, slapped on more audio tracks and extras, added English subtitles, and sold it at a retail price roughly $35-40 cheaper than its overseas counterpart. It's safe to say, if one has an interest in the film, or Toho science fiction in general, this disc is a must have.
-Anthony Romero  
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