DVD Title
Onmyoji: Special Edition
International Title
DVD Length
Original Length
116 Minutes
116 Minutes
Year of Manufacture
English, Japanese
Aspect Ratio
- Menus (English)
- Chapters (20)
Trailers: Onmyoji (Teaser, #1, #2, and #3)
TV Spots: Onmyoji (2 in total)
Interview with director Yojiro Takita, producer Tetsuji Hayashi, and original creator Baku Yumemakura
Onmyoji behind the scenes and opening night footage
- Bios: Yojiro Takita
Cast Filmographies: Mansai Nomura, Hideaki Ito, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kyoko Koizumi, Eriko Imai
- "Special Ending" (Credit sequence dance without text and extended)
- Includes a 10 pg. booklet on the movie

The more expensive of the two Onmyoji DVDs released by Pioneer. In all honesty, it would be hard to recommend one over the other. In the end, the $10 extra is probably too much for the extras here, beyond the trailers (most of which are on the "regular edition"), as most will only be interesting to those who absolutely love the film. If one falls into that category, however, you shouldn't hesitate to pick up the "Special Edition" version.

Differences between the two versions aside, the Onmyoji: Special Edition DVD is easily one of the best Toho region 1 DVDs on the market. The disc sports superb video quality, a excellent audio presentation, and numerous extras.

The video quality found on both of Pioneer's Onmyoji DVD's is almost flawless. The colors are very vibrant, as some of the more elaborate costumes show through beatuifully on this DVD. The brightness, on the other hand, is a little low but hardly distracts from the experience in the least. As can be hoped with a film only two years old at this point, no scratches appear at all in the print. Artifacting is all put unnoticeable on this release, and the picture quality is quite sharp as a result.

The audio presentation, like the video, is done very well here. Both the original Japanese language audio track and the English dubbed track are presented flawlessly in Stereo. Audio quality aside, though, the dubbed track is poorly done, fitting the almost stereotype poor voice work attached with all Toho films. The dubbed track voices never seem to fit the characters, and the reading of lines is extremely dull and lacks any of the emotion one would get through the Japanese audio track. The dubbed track ends up being a nice extra, one that might appeal to younger viewers excluding the fact that Onmyoji is a film they shouldn't be viewing in the first place, but one that many will probably skip after hearing it for a few minutes.

The extras on the "Special Edition" disc are nice, as one would expect, as the DVD contains more trailers than the regular edition, a lengthy interview segment with director Yojiro Takita, producer Tetsuji Hayashi, and original creator Baku Yumemakura (complete with English subtitles), some detailed filmographies on the cast and director, a making of segment (once again, complete with English subtitles), and a "special ending" sequence. Before people get their hopes up, the "special ending" is not a alternate ending, but is instead the complete scene with Seimei dancing in front of a black background without the credits in front. The "special ending" is about as dull as it sounds, and clocks in at about 3 minutes. It should also be noted that the "special ending," interviews, and behind the scene footage is full screen, aspect ratio: 1.33:1, as opposed to the 1.85:1 ratio of the rest of the film. The segment on the making of the film, which includes behind the scenes and opening night footage, is easily the disc's best extra. Fans of the film should find the segment, which clocks in at an very impressive 40 minutes, very interesting as the crew follows around various actors and staff members during the film's production and provides insights on many aspects of the film. Missing from the DVD, however, are the deleted scenes, which can be found on the region 2 release. The deleted scenes for the film are very short, and aren't all that interesting to watch (probably why they were left off), but they still would have been nice additions all the same. The 10 page booklet ends up being one of the "Special Edition's" more notable additions over the regular version. The booklet goes, in detail, over the characters in the movie and some background on the story the film was based on; as well as some background information on the spells cast during the film.

Bottom line is fans of the film shouldn't miss picking up the "Special Edition," while more casual fans would probably be better suited to pick up the "regular edition." However, every Toho enthusiast should definitely consider giving atleast one of the DVDs a try, as Pioneer has really put a lot of effort into both discs.

-Anthony Romero