DVD Title
Super Atragon
International Title
Super Atragon
DVD Length Original Length
98 Minutes 52/46 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
ADV Films 2002
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.33:1 2.0 Stereo
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (16)
. Trailers: Nadia: Secret of Blue Movie (ADV), Excel Saga (ADV), Sakura Wars 2 (ADV), The Devil Lady (ADV), City Hunter: Motion Picture (ADV), Steel Angel Kurumi (ADV)
Captures
Review

ADV is at it again. The company has garnished a reputation for heavily compressing their titles, and Super Atragon doesn't disappoint in keeping up this disappointing trend. However, this movie is a little unorthodox and deserves a little background to help avoid confusion. First off, Super Atragon was not released theatrically in Japan, but instead went direct to video, a common practice with Anime referred to as OAV (Original Animated Video) in Japan. To maximize profits, the movie was broken into two parts, with the first running for 52 minutes and the second running for 46 minutes. For this release, the entire movie is present, although still in the two episode format.

Regardless of the title's history, though, this disc fails to entice, with lackluster video that a good audio presentation can't rise above, while the extra selection is near nonexistent.


 Video: Star Rating

Those familiar with ADV's releases shouldn't be surprised to hear that this disc has been noticeably compressed to the point where the video suffers for it. All in all, there are obvious signs of artifacting, made painfully obvious during the main title screen where the red looks incredibly smeared. It would also appear that edge enhancement was used on this disc as there are small hints of halos (a white outline on details), yet the print looks blurred regardless. Furthermore, the first part of the movie is plagued by near constant shimmering, a rainbow band of colors on fine details. This inconsistency is not common on the latter half of the movie, though, which would indicate that the first "episode" was much more compressed in contrast to the second.

Thankfully, the video fares much better in the other areas. For example, the colors, while not vibrant, are distinct as the brightness level is also set appropriately. However, the condition of the print used for the transfer is a little harder to gauge. There are very few scratches through out, but due to the high level of artifacting it's hard to distinguish what might be grain and what might be pixilation.

Super Atragon is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, or full screen.


 Audio:

The audio is the disc's only real moment to shine, as ADV has attached two tracks here which are presented rather well. The first track is a 2.0 stereo presentation of the film's Japanese audio, with the second track is a 2.0 stereo presentation of the movie dubbed into English. Ignoring the quality of the dubbing, the tracks here are faithful to the source and don't sport any distortion. Although the speaker distinction, especially on the Japanese track, is a little weak, with Masamichi Amano's wonderful score sounding slightly flat while the sound effects don't have the full range that could have been possible.

In 2004, ADV later re-released this title, "re-mastered", in 5.1 surround as part of the "Essential Anime" collection. This second DVD retails for about $5 less then this one, with the only toutable difference being the enhanced audio. Not owning the second release, I can't comment on it directly, but it does leave consumers who already picked up the stereo release feeling slightly burned.

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


 Extras:

Nothing much here as the company has only attached their trademark selection of trailers. Unfortunately, these aren't the original Japanese ones, but rather adverts that ADV has created to promote other discs in their library. What makes this disheartening, though, is that most of these previews look good without signs of heavy compression or other aspects which plague the movie on this release. Clearly someone needs to straighten out ADV's priorities...


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, if one is looking to view Super Atragon, then this is a serviceable release. The quality here would be more appropriate at a budget retail price, but no such luck. As previously mentioned, ADV released a later edition of the movie in 2004 with the addition of 5.1 surround audio. Chances are that 2004 edition is far superior to this one, beyond the much less attractive cover, so it would be advisable to pick up that release as opposed to this one.

- Anthony Romero  
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