Ulysses 31-Complete Collection (1981)

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Released 8-Nov-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Menu Audio
Trailer-Retro Collection Trailers
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1981
Running Time 625:40 (Case: 650)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bernard Deyriès
Kyosuke Mikuriya
Tadao Nagahama
Kazuo Terada
Studio
Distributor
Madman
Madman Entertainment
Starring Matt Berman
Adrian Knight
Anick Faris
Howard Ryshpan
Kelly Ricard
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $59.95 Music Haim Saban
Shuki Levy
Lionel Leroy


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
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

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Plot Synopsis

“Disgrace is upon us! The great Cyclops is dead! The revenge of the gods will be terrible!”

The 1981-1982 anime series Ulysses 31 was a co-production between the international film and television company of French origin DiC Entertainment (Diffusion, Information et Communication) and the Japanese anime studio Tokyo Movie Shinsha (TMS Entertainment Ltd). The 26 half-hour episodes are inspired by the Greek and Roman mythologies of Ulysses and relocate the legend to the 31st century.

The television show was created by French producer and writer Jean Chalopin who also established the company DIC Audiovisuel in 1971 as a subsidiary of Radio-Television Luxembourg (RTL). The company was later renamed DiC Entertainment and based in the USA in 1982 after Andy Heyward performed a management buyout of Chalpoin’s French production company. Chalopin has been credited with creating Inspector Gadget (1983-1986), Heathcliff (1973), Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors (1985), Pole Position (1984-1985), Rainbow Brite (1984-1985), M.A.S.K (1985-1986) and Popples (1986). Nina Wolmark and Yohshitaka Suzuki are also credited with creating the original concept for Ulysses 31.

In the 31st century Ulysses, the commander of the Odyssey, his son Telemachus and crew leave the base at Troy for a routine journey to Earth. However Telemachus is abducted and held prisoner by the disciples of the Cyclops who need a human child to sacrifice for their God. In battle Ulysses kills the Cyclops, saving his son, Yumi a blue skin humaniod and Numinor the older brother of Yumi who remains in suspened animation. Both Yumi and Numinor were also held as prisoners. As consequence for defeating the Cyclops, Ulysses incurs the wrath of the Gods and Zeus sentences Ulysses to find his way to the Kingdom of Hades with his crew cursed to remain lifeless and the route to Earth removed from Shirka, the Odyssey’s navigation system. In the pilot episode the character of No-No, Telemachus's robot, is also introduced, who despite being a machine also shares many human emotional qualities. Each episode further develops the characters and illustrates well-known figures of Greek mythology with a unique science fiction fantasy angle.

The memorable opening theme of the English version of the television show was performed by Lionel Leroy with additional music by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy.

    Disc 1:

    Disc 2:

    Disc 3:

    Disc 4:

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Transfer Quality

Video

Unfortunately the transfer for the television series has not been remastered and has been sourced from tape. The transfer of Ulysses 31 is presented in Full Frame 1.33:1 and incurs in minor incidents of analogue tape tracking errors but this issue is barely visible. There is also mild grain on the transfer but since the episodes have been encoded at a consistent bitrate of 5.10 Mb/s, the transfer remains smooth with average color definition. Finally the transfer appears to be affected by telecine wobble. Nevertheless these negative issues are only a minor nuisance and are more to do with the source material rather then the DVD encoding which is commendable.

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

Audio

The only audio soundtrack available on this DVD is English 2.0 Dolby Digital mono. Ulysses 31was originally produced as a French language television program and was later dubbed in German, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Polish and Japanese. This dubbed mono soundtrack has also been well-encoded which clear and audible dialogue. There were some minor incidents of hissing. The vigorous and energetic music of the television show is somewhat in the background of the action which is a shame but I believe this is the result of how Ulysses 31 was originally dubbed. Overall the soundtrack is suitable in respect to the television show and the age of the source material.

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

Extras

Menu Audio

The practical main menu features a different character for each DVD disc which is similarly replicated on the DVD disc artwork. The menu includes a play all option and a select episode option which is accompanied by the opening theme of Ulysses 31

Retro Collection Trailers

Disc one features a selection of opening sequences of animated televisions series recently released as ‘The Retro Collection’ by Madman Entertainment: M.A.S.K Collection 1, The Best of She-Ra Princess of Power, He-man and the Masters of the Universe Season 2 Collection 2, The Best of The Transformers. An anti-piracy warning precedes the collection of 'trailers'.

The DVD packaging features reversible artwork.

R4 vs R1

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

The television series has been released in France (R2) with the original French soundtrack only. In the UK (R2), Ulysses 31 has been released over three volumes either sold as a box set or individual releases; and as single layer DVD’s with English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio. It seems the local Madman Complete Collection is the best release in terms of affordability and presentation. It should also be noted that the opening credit sequence is cut on both the R2 UK DVD releases and R4 DVD release.

Summary

Ulysses 31 is an anime based on Greek and Roman mythologies with a unique science fiction fantasy angle.

Audio and video are satisfactory, considering the source materials' age and technical limitations.

Extras consist of trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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