Transformers: Armada-Volume 6 (2002)
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Hidehito Ueda|
Tabitha St. Germain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Toy advert at disc start.|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Well, here we all are again. After a short break to go out and smell the daisies, it's time to continue the journey and check out Transformers: Armada - Volume 6. This disc includes Episodes 16-18 of the animated TV series first shown on cable TV from 2002-2003. If you have just joined us I would suggest you go back and check out my reviews of one of the earlier volumes in the series to get up to speed. If you are back for more, then congratulations on your stamina. In between reviewing Volumes 5 and 6 I happened to review M*A*S*H Season 3 and I must say I was struck by the difference in value between these two series. At the RRP, it is costing about $8 per episode for Transformers, and only about $3 per episode for M*A*S*H. I think the people releasing the Transformers DVDs need to take a serious look at their release strategy and consider a boxed set at lower price.
As we settle back in for more robot combat mayhem, the war between the evil Decepticons and the good guy Autobots is heating up even more. While each side are still searching for the Mini-Cons to try and gain an edge over their rivals, the Autobots look to have the advantage after assembling the mighty Star Sabre in Volume 5. As we have another few dozen episodes to go to the end of the series, it is easy to work out that the Sabre will prove less decisive than expected, but there are a few more twists ahead which are not so certain.
In the first episode on the disc (series episode 16, Credulous, runs 21:36) we find the overly confident Hot Shot and his new companion Sideways defeating the Decepticons in battle. They are so sure of victory that they warp to the moon to attack the Decepticon base where Hot Shot finds that not all is as it seems. This is a very unusual episode where the bad guys have a major victory. In the next episode (series episode 17, Conspiracy, runs 21:36) the Decepticons now have the Star Sabre and it is the Autobots that are on the run. This time, there are some interesting developments in the role of the mysterious mercenary Scavenger. The final episode on the disc (series episode 18, Trust, running 21:36) has the transformers and the kids all wondering just who they can really trust.
We are now about 6 hours into the series and the ebb and flow of battle is still reasonably interesting for the younger members of my review audience. For my own part, it is still fun sitting down and watching the series with them, though the robot battles are starting to become a little repetitive. Luckily the video glitches which marred Volumes 4 and 5 seem to have been resolved, so that once again we have a solid rental for the younger members of the family, but at the relatively high asking price this doesn't look like a value purchase, unless you find it in a bargain bin for around $10.
The video on this disc is nice and vivid, and we have none of the 'jitters' which plagued Volumes 4 and 5.
The aspect ratio of the show is 1.33:1, non 16x9 enhanced, which is the way it was shown on TV.
The picture is looking very sharp this time around, with a fresh bright feel at all times. There is little shadow detail in this set of episodes, though the fog in episode 17 comes close - it is nicely handled with good detail apparent at all times. Once again there is no low level noise to worry about.
Colours on this disc continue to show the bright look which we found on the first two volumes. The animators appear to have continued with their search for shiny new effects shots, and the combat effects at 11:55 in episode 17 are quite spectacular. There are also some stylish black & white flashback effects at 5:10 in episode 16. While this series is not in the top rank of anime, some of that genre's use of colour for effect has been nicely adapted to the more limited scope of this show.
There are no MPEG artefacts to be seen and aliasing is minimal. There is no physical damage to be seen on the transfer which is more than likely from a digital source.
There are no subtitles and there is no layer change.
The audio transfer on the disc is quite good, with some of the combat scenes proving quite effective.
There is only one audio track on the DVD, a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track encoded at 224 Kb/s.
Dialogue is very clear at all times and audio sync looks to be just fine, though as I have noted before it is difficult to be certain about lip sync in dubbed animation, particularly where it is English dubbed over Japanese animation.
The music by Hayato Matsuo is effective, without being as prominent in these episodes as on the last few discs (the episodes on offer here are more darkly dramatic than recent ones, so that the music is a little more sombre).
The stereo soundtrack is nicely rendered on this disc, with stereo separation being better than it has been for most of the episodes to date. There are some very effective battle sounds at 2:40 in episode 16, and some good use of the stereo sound during the dialogue at 8:20 in episode 18. This is one of the better Dolby Digital stereo efforts I have heard recently. The laser and sabre effects continue to sound good and the subwoofer provides reasonable bass support to the explosions in the frequent battle scenes.
|Surround Channel Use|
None. Oh, we do get the same Transformers: Armada toy advert at the start of each disc.
Static menu, two options: Play All episodes, Select an Episode. Same again.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
These episodes do not seem to be readily available in any other Region as I write (except for Japan), making the Region 4 DVD the version of choice.
This disc continues the improvement in picture and sound quality that we have seen on preceding discs, without the 'jitters' found on the last two. I'm not sure if you want to see me complaining about the lack of Extras yet again (so close your eyes now if you don't): where are the Extras ??? OK, I'm calm again. As before, this is a good rental, though your audience would have wanted to watch the last few discs in the series first to follow the story as the episodes on this disc in particular are not stand-alone.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K350, using Component output|
|Display||SONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Kenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|