DVD Title
Mikadroid: Robokill Beneath Disco Club Layla
International Title
Mikadroid
DVD Length Original Length
73 Minutes 73 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Discotek 2006
Language Subtitles
Japanese English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.33:1 2.0 Stereo
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (12)
. Trailers: Mikadroid, The War in Space, Sars Wars: Bangok Zombie Crisis, Burst City, Electric Dragon 8000OV, Disotek Promo Reel
. Making of Special (14 Minutes)
. About the Film - text supplement
. Artwork Gallery
. Photo Gallery
Captures
Review

First off, the fact that this very obscure movie is getting a release at all in the states is somewhat of a modern miracle. One can certainly appreciate companies like Discotek's interest in these lesser known titles. Unfortunately, those expecting an encore performance to the company's nice War in Space DVD will be disappointed, as the video quality is lacking here while the audio is a single track, no frills presentation. The extras fare much better, thankfully, as there is a good selection of material to look over and a lot of interesting background information on the production itself.


 Video: Star Rating

The video quality on Mikadroid is, sadly, lacking. In Discotek's defense, this movie is an OV (aka direct-to-video) so I'm sure there aren't great source materials available for it. The problem here, though, is that there is a great deal of noise and grain to be found throughout the duration of the movie. Thankfully, other print damage, such as scratches, are none existent. However, some other aspects of the video need work too, like the film doesn't look nearly as sharp as it should while edge enhancement is also apparent as it seems someone attempted to digitally fix this. Speaking of, the transfer is not devoid of other digital inconsistencies either, as byproducts like shimmering are also to be found on rare occasion. Finally, the colors here are also not nearly as distinct as the DVD format is capable of, leading one to think that this was possible done off a VHS copy, which I guess wouldn't be out of the question given the nature of the film's release.

Mikadroid is presented in a aspect ratio of 1.33:1, or full screen. It should be noted that the movie was originally shot in wide screen, as it was first planned as a theatrical movie, but that doesn't mean that a fully edited 1.85:1 aspect ratio print might exist.


 Audio:

There isn't much to speak of in terms of the disc's audio presentation. It contains one audio track, which is a stereo two channel presentation. Quality wise, there are no complaints to be had as the dialogue is all clear while speaker distinction is also noticeable. Some more options would have been nice of course, like a surround track, but this one still gets the job done fine.

The audio presentation is accompanied by, removable, English subtitles.


 Extras:

There is a good selection of bonus material on this disc, which does a nice job of documenting the interesting history behind the film and how it was transformed from originally being a zombie movie to one with a cyborg instead. This includes an in-depth description of this process, simply called "About the Film", and a "Artwork Gallery". The prime attraction, though, is the 14 minute "Making Of" special which covers the film more in-depth as it features interviews between the film crew which include director Tomoo Haraguchi, special effects director Shinji Higuchi and weapon designer Nafuki Hisao. The video is pretty carefree in nature, which makes it very enjoyable to watch, and I especially love director Haraguchi's closing statement of: "It makes you think - 'Oh yeah, I made that movie, huh...'" The final extra on this disc is a photo gallery with production stills, although sadly they are shown on the disc in very small dimensions, as seen here.

Unfortunately, there are also a number of key extras found on the region 2 release of this title that didn't make it over, such as the commentary track, the original director's cut (which actually is a shorter 60 minute version) and the isolated music done by composer Kenji Kawai. Things that won't be make or break for most, although collectors might want to take note.


 Overview:

Bottom line, given the source, this disc isn't bad although doesn't really merit a strong recommendation by any regards. The extras really save this DVD from being completely mediocre at least, while some might just be thankful for the chance to finally see this more off beat picture.

- Anthony Romero  
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