Hi All, here's my reveiw, sorry it took so long.
2011 saw the unveiling of the fifth generation to the Pokémon franchise in the form of the games Pokémon Black and Pokémon White. When the first set of Pokémon games were released on the old Nintendo Game Boy in 1996, it started a huge merchandising spree from across the board. With popular video games, there usually follows a cartoon based off them and that is what exactly happened with Pokémon.
The original show was slated for only a run of about a year and half, finishing off with a movie but because of the show’s popularity by the time generation two was released, it was decided that the show should continue and now when a new generation of Pokémon is announced, you can be sure that there will be an anime adaptation to follow, along with a slew of new manga, trading cards and figures etc.
At the time of writing, Pokémon has gone through 14 Seasons with the 15th currently airing along with the 15th movie which is yet to be released internationally after screening at cinemas in Japan during the summer of 2012.
Nowadays, when a season of Pokémon has finished airing on TV, a DVD release is usually anticipated to follow, especially in the USA and Australia and certain other regions around the world, except from where I come from in the UK where we tend to get the movie’s on a direct to TV and DVD basis leaving the main show to only air on TV and today, CITV and Disney XD currently hold the broadcast rights for the new seasons of Pokémon with CITV usually being the first to air new episodes.
Currently, Beyond Home Entertainment (formerly Manga Home Entertainment) has distribution rights for both the movies and the entire TV Show, starting all the way from Season 1 so if you’re looking to getting the increasingly rare Johto series, you’re probably best off importing from Australia as long as you either have a multi region DVD Player or a computer with software such as VLC Media Player or DVD X Region that ignore region coding. Alternately you can change the region code on Windows but you are only allowed at least 5 changes, the final change is permanent.
Now onto the meat of the review, Collection 1 of Season 14 was released in Australia 15/2/2012 with Collection 2 releasing 6/6/2012 with a price of at least $24.99. The two collections contain three discs both containing 24 episodes which in total makes all 48 Episodes of Season 14.
They are standard DVD cases with the first two discs placed back to back on one of those plastic holders and the third disc on a conventional push button holder. Personally I don’t like them plastic holders because they are more fragile and I remember that on the bumper Volume 2 & 3 set of Pokémon Chronicles the push button on the holder for disc one visibly cracked the centre ring of the disc after a bit of use. Eventually, I threw it away when I brought the Volume 1-3 Box set which had much better cases.
The holders in this set don’t look too bad but I think I’ll put them on my DVD spindle to be safe.
The video quality is impressive, unlike the “Widescreen” end of Galactic Battles and Sinnoh League Victors where the PAL masters were pointlessly cropped to 4:3, Black & White retains the 16:9 Aspect Ratio and this now brings me to something else. The PAL version has some edits made such as “Who’s that Pokémon” being revealed at the end of the show rather than straight away and “To Be Continued” is shown in bold Calibri font across a black banner, covering up the original sign used in the Japanese & American versions.
These edits have only aired in the UK and Europe with “To Be Continued” in the respective languages. Also the “credits” in the opening fade in and out on the PAL version with staff titles again in the respective languages. Now I can understand about the banner thing for countries that don’t speak English but for the UK those edits were pretty pointless. You can see these edits on Pokémon.com screenings if you’re curious.
Thankfully, the Australians have just taken the NTSC version and done a straight PAL conversion so no edits were made. Also when the camera pans at certain points, the video’s frame rate looks very smooth, as if it is running in 60Hz which it probably is. When it aired on CITV, certain camera pans looked a bit jarring so the smoother frame rate makes B&W look allot better.
The sound quality is very good to, the DVD being encoded in 2.0 Stereo which sounds fine. In terms of content, there are no bonus features though “Who’s that Pokémon” has been retained which is nice because in earlier season releases of the Aussie sets, it was omitted completely. The same applies to “Trainers Choice” on the “Advanced” sets.
So all in all I am happy with how these DVD’s have turned out and all the discs are working fine. I ordered the two sets together in one order from musicshop.com.au and cost me about £40.00 which is what I have been paying for the season sets so that’s not bad going though I do advise you to check exchange rates to give you an idea of how much you will be paying in your own currency. My DVD’s took about three weeks to get to my door which isn’t bad going considering they have to go via Singapore which means more checkups in customs. International Delivery Times are about 10 to 28 Days in any case.
The Music Shop accepts major Credit and Debit Cards as well as PayPal. I’d recommend that you use PayPal as it is quick and secure and gives you peace of mind and if you get any sort of problems that you can’t seem to sort out with the shop then PayPal will try to clear things up. So far I haven’t had any problems. I’ve already ordered my copy of Seasons 3, 4, 6, 7 & 8 months ago so that’s saying quite allot. The DVD’s were nicely packed into a tough bubble rapped envelope, with no visible scratches or marks on the discs.
£40.00 may sound a bit steep but I don’t mind paying that amount of money as I know how much content I’m getting and that I will enjoy it, also I have the confidence that my order will arrive. I’d also recommend registering with the website as it makes ordering fast and easy and you also get notified of when your order is dispatched. You might even get a discount voucher, I got $2 off!
1. Easy to navigate menus.
2. Episodes chaptered at the half way point though these “mini chapters” are not menu driven.
3. Nice soundtrack and good voice acting.
4. Good video quality, a straight NTSC to PAL transfer without the pointless edits made to the UK version.
1. Dub Only – not surprised about that though I would wish that TPCi would be able to distribute the Japanese version of the show soon though it seems unlikely.
2. No subtitles for those with hearing impairments.
3. I don’t really like those plastic disc holders but you might think differently otherwise.
Thanks for reading!