Monkey-Volume 12 (1980)
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||1980|
|Running Time||124:33 (Case: 130)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
|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||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Volume 12 of Saiyűki, or Monkey as it is known in the English-speaking world, finds the writers getting a little more creative and inventing some new themes to supplement the Buddhist lessons that form the basis of each adventure. Naturally, there are still plenty of amusing chop-socky fights and really bad special effects, so folks like myself can get the munchies merely by watching it. As readers of the review I wrote for Volume 11 might have guessed, the series has lost a lot of its consistency at this point, but these three episodes are better ones out of the Monkey canon.
For those who don't know who the characters are and what they do, we have a pilgrimage to India led by the androgynous priest called Tripitaka (Masako Natsume). Assigned to protect him as penance for their misdeeds in heaven are Monkey (Masaaki Sakai), Sandy (Shirô Kishibe), and Pigsy (Tonpei Hidari). They are also provided with some assistance from time to time by their horse, who keeps changing back and forth between being a horse and a human named Yu-Lung (Shunji Fujimura).
The three episodes contained on this disc are:
Again, this is another ideal disc that one can put on for the benefit of their children, who will either learn some interesting moral lessons from the heroes' adventures or just enjoy the wacky fight sequences. Either way, it's a hundred and twenty-four minutes of entertainment that I have no hesitation in recommending.
Two major changes have been made to Monkey DVDs as of this volume: the menus have been redesigned (more on this later), and a second layer of space has been added.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.
The transfer is somewhat sharper at times than previous Monkey discs, with shots such as Yu-Lung's conversation with Monkey at 20:24 in Such A Nice Monster looking noticeably smoother than I would normally expect. However, the source material is still full of grain and in relatively poor condition, so the improvement is limited. The shadow detail is poor, but there is no low-level noise.
The colours are rendered in the same reasonable but faded manner that we have seen on previous Monkey DVDs. There was less colour bleeding on offer this time around, however.
MPEG artefacts were not noticed in this transfer, and the bitrate is much healthier on this disc, with the third episode swinging between seven and ten megabits per second a lot. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some minor aliasing, and some telecine wobble at 17:55 in Keep On Dancing. Film artefacts are rife throughout the transfer, with numerous scratches and marks appearing on the source material.
This disc does not feature subtitles.
This disc is dual-layered, and the quality of the images lead me to believe that the first two episodes have been encoded to one layer while the third has been placed on another.
There is only one soundtrack on this DVD: the English dub that was commissioned by the BBC, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo at 224 kilobits per second.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, so much so that one can laugh at the subtle mispronunciations of English words by the Japanese actors who dubbed this soundtrack. The audio sync is, as to be expected, terrible - one can see in these episodes where Michael Winslow got his dubbed Kung-Fu actor schtick from.
The music in these episodes is credited to Mickie Yoshino, and it is well suited to the on-screen action, especially the cues that one hears when characters fall out of the sky.
The surround channels and subwoofer are not encoded into this soundtrack, and had the day off.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static and not 16x9 Enhanced. There are some navigation bugs, such as the prompt moving left when the right button on the remote is pressed during the chapter selection menus. However, the new design is much easier to look at and navigate than is the case on the previous Monkey DVDs.
A brief biography of each character, which is now a little out of date. No mention is made of Yu-Lung, and the biography for Pigsy still lists him as being played by Toshiyuki Nishida.
Pages of text are included to provide a quick synopsis of each and every episode, which is handy if you want to know where your favourite episode fits into the Monkey canon.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There still does not appear to be a Region 1 or Region 2 version of this disc.
Monkey is a great show to sit your average ten-year-old in front of, and Volume 12 has some of the better episodes in the canon.
The video transfer is average, but the second layer does make quite a difference at times.
The audio transfer is functional, and probably the best we can ask for under the circumstances.
The extras are minimal. I vastly prefer the new menu design, however.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|