Cyber City Oedo 808 (NTSC)

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Details At A Glance

Category Anime Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - DVD preview trailer
Year Released 1990, 1991 Japanese version
1994 English dubbed version
Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
127:41 minutes
(not 149 minutes as stated on packaging)
Other Extras Menu Audio
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (69:42)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri
DVD Australia
Case Amaray
RRP $31.95 Music Kazz Toyama

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame (NTSC) MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio No Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles English Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, in credits

Plot Synopsis

    Anime was one of those esoteric genres of which I, like many others no doubt, was dimly aware until SBS Television broadcast the phenomenally successful Neon Genesis Evangelion a little while back. That television show was one of the first to really drag Anime in many countries into what may almost be considered mainstream. Having had my interest piqued a little by that show, and having started to wear out my Neon Genesis Evangelion tapes, I have been hunting out some Anime on DVD. In Region 4 itself there is nothing, unlike Region 1 where Anime is definitely a burgeoning market. Accordingly, I have had to wait for some enterprising distributor to bring in some of that stuff, which in many cases is actually Region 0 coded. Whilst they have hardly been forthright in their announcements in Australia, DVD Australia have quietly slipped a couple of Anime titles into their catalogue. Cyber City Oedo 808 is one of those titles, and by the reactions in the USA not a bad one at all. Others include Odin: Photon Sailing Ship Starlight and Tokyo Babylon. Okay, these are not exactly mainstream names but Anime fans should rejoice that anything is available on local release at all, although indications are that the situation may improve in 2000.

    Cyber City Oedo 808 is set in 2808 and is broadly the story of three cyber criminals given a chance to reduce their fairly significantly sized sentences (300 years or so) by doing some work for the Cyber Police. Controlled by neck collars that are activated by the head honcho of the Cyber Police, they can be readily activated to terminate the criminal if deadlines are not met (nice incentive program there), and each cyber criminal that they capture results in a reduction of sentence. The three episodes on offer here (which are presumably all that were produced) offer three stories that broadly allocate to each of the main characters. Episode One is Memories of The Past and features Shunsuke Sengoku trying to locate and eliminate terrorists who have taken control of a huge "spacescraper" (you will soon become familiar with the concept in Anime) complete with plenty of hostages. All whilst on a strict deadline, and with a nice twist as to who the terrorists are not. Episode Two is The Decoy Program and features Gabimaru Rikiya, better known as Goggles, coming face-to-face with the ultimate killing machine as the Cyber Police try and locate some very confidential data stolen by a traitor within their midst. Episode Three is Crimson Media and involves Merrill Yanagawa, better known as Benten, battling to unravel the mystery of the murders of three biotechnologists, killed by what appears to be a vampire.

    Whilst the stories are not the best ever conceived, the resultant shows are actually quite enjoyable viewing, providing that the unrestrained use of the F word does not send you into apoplexy. There is a nice balance of action in the episodes and the quality of the animation is very good indeed, bearing in mind that the original Japanese versions were done in 1990 and 1991; the English dubbed versions were prepared in 1994. Well worth getting your hands on if you are a fan of the genre, or maybe want to dabble a little in this uniquely Japanese form of entertainment.

Transfer Quality


    In general, the transfers are very good indeed and there is little to fault here. Note that it is an NTSC format disc and can only be viewed on display devices capable of playing the NTSC signal.

    Since these originated for television, the transfers are presented in a Full Frame format, and they are not 16x9 enhanced.

    The three episodes are remarkably consistent in their presentation and the transfers are nicely sharp and well defined throughout. There are no problems at all with low level noise in the transfers.

    The colours are very nicely rendered, with a lot of very nice, brightish, vibrant colours on offer here. The colours are very sharp, with no hint of oversaturation and nothing remotely resembling colour bleed.

   There is nothing even remotely resembling any MPEG artefacts in the transfer, nor were there any apparent film-to-video artefacts. Unfortunately there were a few noticeable film artefacts, but nothing that I would consider distracting. This really is a very nicely put together package from a visual point of view.

   This disc is an RSDL formatted disc, with the layer change coming at 69:42, midway through Episode Two. Quite why they did not do the layer change at the end of the episode, I am not too sure, but the change is nonetheless not too bad and barely disruptive to the flow of the episode. The fact that an RSDL format has been used is an indication as to why there is nothing remotely resembling problems with the transfer - there is plenty of space for the compression of the data at a decently high bit rate.


   There are two audio tracks on the DVD, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The Japanese soundtrack sounds as if it may be surround encoded, but the English track appears not to be. The Japanese track is obviously the original track, whilst the English track is a dubbed track prepared in 1994. In the interests of completeness, I listened to both soundtracks although obviously the Japanese soundtrack needed the English subtitles on as well.

   For those not familiar with the genre, one of the big arguments is the "sub-dub" argument. This refers to whether the Anime should be watched in the original language of Japanese, with subtitles defiling the picture if necessary (hence sub), or whether it should be watched in English with no subtitles (hence dub). Purists argue that it should always be sub, but one of the great advantages of DVD is that you can generally have it either way! Personally, I prefer to watch the English dubbed version, but have a lot of fun watching the Japanese subtitled version. For an especially fun time, watch the English audio track with the English subtitles on - it is amazing how uncorrelated the two are!

   The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.

   Anime = animation, so of course there are audio sync problems.

   The original musical contribution comes from Kazz Toyama and is the usual electronic music that we come to expect with the genre. Nice contribution though to the on-screen visuals. As usual with Anime, the opening theme song is not a bad little effort, and is quite catchy.

   It is generally known in the United States that this DVD has a problem with the Japanese audio track in Episode One, which apparently involves the English soundtrack being audible under the Japanese soundtrack if the volume is up a little. I cannot vouch for the fact, as at the listening levels I was using, there was no real evidence of this. Still, the fault has been confirmed by the manufacturer, so if you prefer to listen to the Japanese soundtrack at a high volume, caveat emptor. The fault only affects the first episode and the other episodes are fine. Apart from that problem, the only other problem I have with the audio tracks is a very slight and very brief distortion of the sound in the second episode at about 4:30. Other than that, the audio tracks are very good indeed, nicely balanced with a nice feel to the sound. Whilst the surround channels got virtually no use at all in either language, and the bass channel was unused, there is not a lot of scope for surround effects here and you barely miss the presence of the surround channels. A nice, clean crisp sound that suits the style of film pretty well.


    Not much on offer here I am afraid.


    Nothing special in the rather bright menu although the audio enhancement is quite nice.

DVD Trailer

    This is an advert for a few other DVDs from the range of Central Park Media (not necessarily available in Australia), notably Shadoan, but does also include the music video Shadoan by Julie Eisenhower. Nice enough sound from a very nice sounding singer that I had not heard of before.

R4 vs R1

    This is identical to the version available in Region 1.


    Actually, I quite enjoyed this little selection and the video transfer is very good indeed. If you want to have a look at Anime without spending huge bucks importing from Japan or America, then give Cyber City Oedo 808 a look see. You probably will not be disappointed - but be aware that the F word is well-used throughout the English soundtrack. An interesting note - RRP in the United States is $35, whereas the RRP in Australia is $32. Not often that we are significantly cheaper than the United States! Don't worry about the reference to reverse side credits on the cover - they don't exist.

    A very good video transfer.

    A good audio transfer.

    Not much in the way of extras though.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
10th January 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL