The Animatrix (2003)
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Scene Selection Animation
Audio Commentary-The Second Renaissance Parts I & II (Mahiro Maeda)
Audio Commentary-Program (Yoshiaki Kawajiri & Hirdaki Takeuchi)
Audio Commentary-World Record (Takeshi Koike & Hirdaki Takeuchi)
Featurette-Scrolls to Screen: The History and Culture of Anime (22:26)
Trailer-Enter The Matrix: In The Making
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
|Year Of Production||2003|
|Running Time||97:00 (Case: 88)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Japanese Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
You can't argue with a statement like that. Anyone with the vaguest interest in either anime or The Matrix saga will be rapt with this release, as I was. So lets get down to it, then.
All nine short films have been either written or co-written by the Wachowski brothers, who commissioned seven of the world's best anime directors to take part in this project. They can be viewed in sequence by using a 'play all' function, or viewed individually via the scene selection menu. However, after an individual episode is played the credits for the entire nine short films are shown, which can become very tedious as the credits themselves are over eight minutes long.
The crew of the Osiris stumble across an army of Sentinels burrowing their way to Zion, and the race is on to warn the city before it is too late.
From Andy Jones, the director of Final Fantasy, this story ties in with the Enter The Matrix video game and is also referred to in the opening scenes of The Matrix: Reloaded. Of all the animated shorts on this DVD, this one is the most visually similar to the Matrix films.
We are welcomed to the Zion Archive by a beautiful guide, who shows us the history of man verses machine, from the birth of A.I. to the subsequent uprising of the machines.
Directed by Mahiro Maeda, this is one of the most disturbing pieces, as it uses very familiar images from our history to mirror the cruelty man has inflicted on himself.
The machines flee to their own civilisation, but still long to co-exist with humans. "Operation Dark Storm" blacks out the sky in an attempt to rob the machines of their power source, but to no avail. War begins and The Matrix is born.
Also directed by Maeda, this continues the amazing kaleidoscopic and confronting imagery, combining both conventional two dimensional animation and 3-D computer graphics.
Neo communicates with a schoolboy inside the Matrix, who uses his own faith to free himself.
Directed by Shinchiro Watanabe, this is one of the most abstract looking shorts, with a distinct freehand style in the animation.
An man who is unhappy with life outside of the Matrix decides to re-insert himself, but his female partner doesn't want to be part of it.
From Yoshiaki Kawajiri, the man behind the classic Ninja Scroll and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, this is classic Japanese anime, with some awesome sword fighting. But all is not what it seems!
This is the story of an athlete, who in the course of his record breaking sprint wakes up from the Matrix.
Directed by Takeshi Koike, this has an amazing style, with lots of solid blacks and muscle detail seldom seen in conventional anime.
A young girl who is searching for her lost cat comes across a glitch in the Matrix, centred around a house that is believed to be haunted.
Written and directed by Koji Morimoto, this is magnificent anime viewing, in the vein of epics like Spirited Away.
A private investigator gets a mysterious call from a man who is trying to track down a hacker that goes by the alias of 'Trinity'. Before he knows it, agents are on his trail, and he realises he is being used.
From the creator of Cowboy Bebop, Shinchiro Watanabe, this has a decidedly noir feel, which surprisingly suits the Matrix universe.
A group of rebels on the Earth's surface develop a system of capturing machines and convincing them to change sides, by inserting them into a feel-good Matrix that was developed by humans.
Director Peter Chung is best known for his MTV series Aeon Flux, and much of that style is present here. The concept of inserting machines into a human designed Matrix is great, and this is one of the best stories.
The video transfer is as good as you would expect from a recent anime title.
All nine short films are presented in their intended aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and are 16x9 enhanced.
As with most new anime, the transfer is extremely clear and sharp. The level of detail in some scenes is astounding, I was literally noticing something I hadn't seen before with each new viewing. Shadow detail is very well defined in this transfer, with plenty of subtle visible changes in the darker shading. Absolutely no low level noise was seen.
Colours are solid and vibrant, and rendition appeared consistent. There are lots of big splashes of colour, with no oversaturation or bleeding.
No MPEG artefacts were present. Aliasing is an unfortunate by-product of this very sharp transfer, creeping up every now and then (11:26, 64:51), but bear in mind that I was looking hard for it. Film artefacts were very rare and only appeared in the non-CG animation. These consisted of couple of very tiny black specks that are hardly worth mentioning.
English subtitles for the hearing impaired are optional and are true to the spoken word.
This is an RSDL disc, but the layer change is not evident in the feature. I can only presume that the extras and the feature occupy opposite layers of the disc.
Obviously a lot of work has gone into this audio transfer, and it is very good indeed.
There is only one audio track available, English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s).
Many different actors contributed dialogue, which was always clear and easy to understand. Audio sync was never an issue during the feature.
The score is credited to Don Davis, the man responsible for the music in the Matrix feature films. Some pieces are extensions of themes we have heard before, but most are completely new, blending very well with the action-charged scenes, but in no way overpowering them. These themes add an incredibly immersive atmosphere to the experience because you actually forget you are listening to them, and the use of synthesized music gives some scenes a very eerie feel.
Surround usage was excellent. The rear channels were used for everything, from off-screen voices (60:36) to some excellent Foley effects (32:15). Constant ambient sounds were also used, keeping the viewer encapsulated for the duration of the feature. This is not the most aggressive use of surround channels I have heard, but it does a very fine job.
The subwoofer was not overly active, coming into play during action sequences for explosive effects and a great scene involving a crash landing (08:09).
|Surround Channel Use|
We have a good selection of extras here.
Spoken in Japanese and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded, this is a very informative commentary from the director, covering everything from his influences in creating the disturbing imagery to the various themes that are covered in his work. English subtitles are activated by default.
Again in Japanese and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded with default subtitles, Maeda continues into part two, explaining the bizarre kaleidoscopic imagery.
In Japanese and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded with default English subtitles, the two deliver an interview style chat, with Takeuchi posing the questions. They discuss Kawajiri's love of traditional two dimensional animation, and how they came about this story.
Also spoken in Japanese and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded with default English subtitles, these two adopt a similar style, with the producer asking questions of the director. The unique style of this animation is the main focus of this commentary.
Presented in 1.33:1 full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, this includes the various directors and producers discussing the origins of anime as we know it today. The ever-opinionated Todd McFarlane contributes some interesting insights, as does executive producer Joel Silver. Frustratingly, there is only one English subtitle option, which covers both the English and Japanese spoken words, meaning that you must watch all the English dialogue with the subtitles as well. Most of the time, the subtitles cover up the captions naming the person who is speaking, so perhaps a bit more thought should have gone into this on the part of the authors.
Seven director and three producer biographies, covering each individual's experience in the anime industry. An interesting read.
Presented in 1.33:1 full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio, this is split into seven parts covering each director, and can be viewed individually or as a whole via a Play All function. All aspects of the process are covered, with contributions from producers, directors and score composer Don Davis. A quick look is given into the ADR process - this is a subject that deserved a bit more attention.
Presented in 1.33:1 full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio, this is a promotional trailer for the upcoming video game. It looks great, with lots of exclusive footage and a story that ties in with Final Flight Of The Osiris and Matrix: Reloaded. (This feature is not present on the disc included in the Ultimate Collection package 10 disc set).
Nothing worth getting excited about. When the disc is inserted into your DVD-ROM drive, an Interactual player loads, directing you to the Matrix: Reloaded official website.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 release misses out on a Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and French and Spanish subtitles. Since the intended language is English, I fail to see the merit in the extra soundtrack. Unless you manage to find a particularly good online bargain, I wouldn't recommend importing this title.
The video quality is excellent, with very few visible artefacts.
The audio transfer is excellent, with great surround channel usage.
The extras are both informative and enjoyable.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-525, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|