Monkey-Volume 17 (1980)

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Released 27-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Gallery-Photo
Synopsis-Episode Synopses
Biographies-Character
Biographies-Cast-Dubbing Cast Bios
Notes-Random Quote Generator
Web Links
Featurette-Monkey Nuts-The Lost 13 Episodes
Easter Egg-Interview
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1980
Running Time 137:04 (Case: 165)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Toshi Aoki
Jun Fukuda
Kazuo Ikehiro
Yusuke Watanabe
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring Masaaki Sakai
Toshiyuki Nishida
Shirô Kishibe
Masako Natsume
Tonpei Hidari
Shunji Fujimura
Mieko Takamine
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Godiego
Micky Yoshino


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Monkey, Pigsy, Sandy and the boy priest Tripitaka return in the final three "lost" episodes of Monkey. Dubbed by the original English vocal cast recently, these episodes include a moment or two of adult themes and violence deemed unsuitable for children and were cut from the original English broadcast. Monkey is always fun, but the opportunity to see episodes never seen before is too good to pass up.

    I enjoyed the three episodes in this volume much more than those included in Volume 16. The voice actors' rapport feels far more genuine than in earlier episodes and their banter is highly enjoyable. I found myself chuckling often, particularly at Pigsy's droll stupidity. Some truly odd sets appear along with a bizarre song or two, and a spot of nudity here and there. It's obvious why these episodes were deemed unsuitable for children: still there's some good advice on regular toothbrushing and how to avoid wetting the bed, useful information for every child. Of course, there is an endless supply of demons, monsters, and bacteria (yes, really) for Monkey to do battle with. Some excellent episodes: Monkey at its best.

    Episode 49: Stoned (45:42) - Monkey and friends chance across a young demon abandoned by his family for failing to learn his spells. Monkey offers to teach him sorcery, but Tripitaka doubts the demon's honesty. Can a demon ever be trusted? But more importantly, can Monkey cure the demon's nagging toothache?

    Episode 50: Hungry Like the Wolf (45:40) - Monkey accidentally leads the group into the mountain lair of the Blue Wolf demon and his minions.

    Episode 51: Monkey's Yearning (45:42) - The pilgrims help a lost child return home and Monkey falls in love with the boy's mother. Swearing an oath of non-violence, Monkey begins to live a family life.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is decent. The episodes are presented at a ratio of 1.29:1, close to its original aspect ratio of what I believe should be 1.33:1.

    Sharpness is quite satisfactory, although by no means excellent, and varies throughout. Occasionally it is quite poor. Shadow detail can be murky. Low level noise is constant throughout. Colours are usually quite washed out and most scenes have a green tint.

    MPEG artefacts are visible: macro-blocking and pixelization are the most common. Some aliasing is visible and interlacing (ghosting) is a distracting issue. Film artefacts are obvious in every shot: dirt and hair in particular. These artefacts are not at all distracting: the worst example is a translucent smudge visible at the top of the image through most of Stoned.

    There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is satisfactory. Audio consists of an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track.

    Dialogue is clear and audible, but has constant hiss and a little crackle, especially in Monkey's Yearning. I noticed several instances of audio dropout. As a dubbed soundtrack, audio sync is naturally terrible but quite closely matched to mouth movements.

    Monkey's music is great as always and these episodes include some oddly bizarre songs.

    There is no surround or subwoofer activity, just a little in the way of directional effects in the fronts.

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

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

Menu Animation & Audio

Gallery-Photo

    Well over 100 images from the lost episodes.

Synopsis

    Text based synopses for each of the lost 13 episodes, including the aphoristic morals of the story.

Biographies

    Text based character descriptions can be found under "Biographies." Covers each of the pilgrims' history, style of fighting, favourite weapons and phrases, and describes some of the mythology each of the characters are based on. Also included are cast biographies for the original Japanese cast. Lots of interesting tidbits here: Monkey, Sandy, and the first Pigsy were all successful pop stars.

Biographies-Dubbing Cast

    Information on the dubbing cast is a little light-on compared to the Japanese biographies. It appears they did not meet with quite the success of their Japanese counterparts.

Random Quote Generator

     Click to get a random Buddhist aphorism. A little pointless.

Web Links

    Links to several fan sites, the original Chinese story on which the series is based, and a link to an online store where you can buy the Monkey soundtrack and music by the actors.

Featurette

     Dubbing Documentary: Monkey Nuts (29:10) - An interesting documentary covering the dubbing of the missing episodes. It includes abundant interview footage. The video and audio are relatively poor, but watchable.

Easter Egg

    Interview (7:03) - An interview with David Collings and Andrew Sachs (the English voices of Monkey and Horse). Very easy to find on the Extras menu. It should also be noticed that the "Monkey Magic" remix included on the Region 2 releases plays over the Extras menu.

R4 vs R1

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

    Monkey has been released in Region 2 in two separate incarnations. Fremantle released 13 volumes of Monkey in 2002 with the same episodes as the Shock releases. However each disc includes one of the missing episodes undubbed, with English subtitles. Personally I would love to see all of the episodes in their original Japanese.

    After the dubbing of the lost episodes was completed, Fremantle re-released the entire series in five boxsets (Region 2 encoded). Boxsets 1 through 4 include all episodes (13 per set) and insert the newly dubbed episodes according to the original Japanese broadcast order. Each boxset includes a double-sided poster and a remix of the "Monkey Magic" theme song by UK group Grebeau. Boxsets 3 and 4 (in which you'll find the lost episodes) both include the documentary Monkey Nuts.

    Thoughtfully, Fremantle include all 13 newly dubbed episodes in a fifth boxset for those who have already purchased the entire series. This set also includes a poster, the remix, and the dubbing documentary plus the interview with David Collings and Andrew Sachs. Unless you want the posters (or the undubbed episodes from the early Region 2 release), either Region's release would be satisfactory.

Summary

    Three great episodes of Monkey never seen before. Just about worth the wait.

    Audio and video are barely acceptable, but they'll do for now.

    The extras are quite informative.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Atkinson (read my bio)
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S336, using Component output
DisplayLG Flatron Widescreen RT-28FZ85RX. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationYamaha RX-V357
SpeakersDB Dynamics Belmont Series: Fronts: B50F, Centre: B50C, Rears: B50S, Sub: SW8BR

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