Biohunter (1995)

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Released 20-Nov-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Theatrical Trailer
Storyboards
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (8)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 57:51 (Case: 60)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Yuzo Sato
Studio
Distributor
Urban Vision
Madman Entertainment
Starring Toshihiko Seki
Kazuhiko Inoue
Yûko Minaguchi
Tarô Ishida
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Masamichi Amano


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Coca cola!
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This anime movie is set in a world not overly dissimilar to our own, but a world afflicted with an unpleasant plague called the Demon Virus. Victims of this virus sprout demonic faces on parts of their bodies, and get taken over by those demons. This is explained using a pile of pseudo-science that refers to retro-viruses and punctuated equilibrium evolutionary theory — don't try to understand it, because it's fairly silly.

    The only defence against this virus is a pair of molecular-biologists / geneticists, Koshigaya and Komada, who style themselves Biohunters. Koshigaya is brave and clever, but has no special advantage other than his knowledge. Komada, on the other hand, is already infected with the virus, giving him extraordinary powers, as long as he can control the virus within.

    This is a rather gruesome little tale, with some elements one might expect to see in hentai, but not going to extremes — the content is less sexual and more monster, so I wouldn't categorise it as ecchi. I'm a little surprised that it only received an M rating (I'd have expected R, because of the sexual images and some of the gore).

    There's a nice strand of political intrigue threaded through this horror story, lifting it out of the ordinary. I wouldn't call this the best piece of anime I've ever seen, but it's passable. If you liked Wicked City, then you might like this.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. As far as I can tell, that's the original aspect ratio, because this was made as an OAV in 1995.

    The image is reasonably sharp, about as sharp as we can expect for 1995 anime. There is no film grain. There is no significant low-level noise (and there's plenty of black that would show any noise).

    Colour is reasonably well-rendered, but this show doesn't use a whole lot of bright colour — about the only bright colour is red (mostly blood). There are no significant colour-related artefacts.

    There are few film artefacts, and they are small.

    There is quite a lot of aliasing (especially on a non-progressive system), and it does get distracting at times. There is no moiré. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There is just one set of subtitles, in English. I watched these while listening to the Japanese soundtrack, and they seemed fine and easy to read.

    The disc is single-sided and single-layered. The one layer is ample for such a short feature with relatively few extras.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two soundtracks on this disc. The English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1; the Japanese soundtrack is provided as Dolby Digital 2.0. I listened to both. We have not been short-changed on the Japanese sound: that is the original soundtrack — Urban Vision decided to make their dub 5.1, even though the original was only 2.0.

    The English dialogue is mostly clear and easy to understand. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear. There are no obvious flaws in audio sync, not that sync is easy to check on animation.

    The score, from Masamichi Amano, is interesting. It uses a variety of influences, including some very obvious Middle-Eastern sounds, and some heavy percussion (not all using conventional instruments).

    Only the English soundtrack uses anything but the front channels. The English track is far from the most amazing surround exercise you'll ever hear, but it does give a much better separation of dialogue from score and sound effects.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menus are static with music, and not at all difficult to use.

Gallery: Storyboard Images

    Ten pages of images.

Original Trailer (0:44)

    There are heaps of spoilers in this trailer — skip it until you've seen the feature.

Trailers: Madman Propaganda

    Here is a stack of trailers in standard Madman Propaganda format, allowing you to select them one-by-one. As fas as I can tell, the only thing these trailers have in common is a profusion of blood. The trailers are:

DVD Credits

    A single tasteful screen showing the credits for the Madman team responsible for this DVD.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This title is available on DVD in Region 1, with the same features as this one, except that we get a lot more trailers than they do. By the sound of it, their transfer is not a whole lot better than ours, so I suspect you can choose to buy this one in the region of your choice.

Summary

    A somewhat gory horror film with an above-average plot, not so well realised as anime.

    The video quality is adequate, impeded mainly by fairly heavy aliasing.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are fairly basic.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, January 11, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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