Orphen (Majutsushi Orphen Mubouhen)-Volume 1 (1998)

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Released 14-May-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Gallery-Production Sketches & Pop Art
Theatrical Trailer-2
Trailer-ADV Previews
DVD Credits
Easter Egg-2
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 78:28 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Hiroshi Watanabe
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Shoutaro Morikubo
Mayumi Iizuka
Omi Minami
Kazue Ikura
Hekiru Shiina
Joji Nakata
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Hatake


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 No
Action In or After Credits Yes, After: Next Episode Preview

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

Plot Synopsis

    Orphen is a Japanese animated fantasy adventure series about a young sorcerer and a small group of followers who are attempting to track down a mysterious dragon called Bloody August.

    This anime is also known as Sorcerous Stabber Orphen and is based on a series of Japanese fantasy novels that also spawned a popular video game.

     This first DVD release contains the first three episodes from the twenty-four part series. I have included a short description for each but as these contain some minor spoilers you may wish to skip directly to the Transfer Quality section.

The Sword of Baltanders
    Orphen is a young graduate from a well-known sorcery school who has been staying in a small village for the past year. He is supposed to be teaching a young boy, Majic, the basics of sorcery but he seems to spend most of his time watching a house on the outskirts of town. This house contains a large sword and Orphen has arranged to have two people employed in the house to watch over it. When a young girl returns home from boarding school, she notices Orphen watching the house and accuses him of being a peeping tom. During this confrontation, a mysterious storm erupts and a large dragon appears.

The Blood of August
    The dragon that appears is known as Bloody August and was named after the time of year it first caused widespread destruction. Orphen refers to this dragon as Azalie and they both appear to share a connected past. Bloody August is looking for the Sword of Baltanders but when Orphen attempts to stop the dragon he is stopped by another sorcerer from the same group as Orphen. After the fight, Orphen convinces the household that he must take the sword for their protection, as Bloody August will return for it. Unfortunately, the dragon returns and captures two girls from the house.

Battle of the Dragon
    Orphen battles the dragon and attempts to rescue the captured girls. During this confrontation, the sword is lost and Orphen must avoid his fellow sorcerers who wish to destroy the dragon. After the confrontation, Orphen leaves town to find the sword and dragon and he finds that he has a pair of travelling companions.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The full frame transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    The sharpness level varies throughout the transfer. The majority of scenes appear quite sharp but a number of scenes were clearly softer. These changes in sharpness were only minimally distracting and may be inherent in the original source material. No low-level noise was detected during the transfer. Acceptable levels of shadow detail may be seen during the transfer with the numerous dark scenes clearly revealing the detail of the original animation.

    As often seen in television animation of this age, the colour palette is slightly muted.

    A small number of Gibbs artefacts may be seen during the opening and closing credits for each episode. These artefacts are quite minor and are only minimally distracting.

    A small number of aliasing artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Examples of these artefacts may be seen at 1:25, 34:39 and 45:29. These artefacts are all quite minor and are only very minimally distracting.

    A number of minor film artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 1:38, 1:52, 2:03, 8:29, 10:36 and 35:11. All of these artefacts are minor and are only slightly distracting to the viewer.

    A single set of English subtitles is provided on this disc. These subtitles are presented in yellow but appear in white when a second character is speaking at the same time as another. At the beginning of each episode, the Japanese title for the episode is displayed in the subtitle stream. The subtitles are clear and easy to read at all times.

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

Audio

    English and Japanese Dolby Digital 224 kbps 2.0 soundtracks are provided on this disc. I listened to both tracks in full.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. Viewers should note that the English track significantly changes the dialogue at numerous points during the episodes, often changing the meaning of various scenes. Due to these changes it is recommended that viewers listen to the original Japanese track.

    As this is an animated feature, there are the expected obvious problems with audio sync for each soundtrack. A number of moderately distracting audio dropouts were detected during the Japanese audio track. These dropouts occurred at 32:43, 35:32, 53:42, 55:24 and 69:35.

    The musical score by Hatake (SharanQ) is effective and suits the on-screen action. This score is complemented by an enjoyable opening theme, Ai, Just On My Love, by Tsunku, performed by SharanQ.

    The surround and subwoofer channels were not utilized during this transfer.

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

Extras

Menu

    The minimally animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Production Sketches and Pop Art

    This is a collection of nineteen sketches and artwork from the show.

Orphen Trailer 1 (1:28)

    This is the original trailer for the show. The trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Orphen Trailer 2 (1:40)

    This is an English trailer for the show that contains a number of spoilers for the series. The trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    The additional ADV previews are presented as individual chapters within a single title.

Trailer: Gasaraki (1:31)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Martian Successor Nadesico (1:31)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Neon Genesis Evangelion (1:08)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Easter Egg 1: Textless Opening Sequence (1:27)

    This textless version of the opening sequence is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Japanese musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. This egg may be selected by pressing the right arrow key when the Production sketches menu item is highlighted. This will select the first small circle at the top of the screen. Press Enter to view the egg.

Easter Egg 2: Alternate Textless Opening Sequence (1:30)

    This is a textless version of an alternate opening sequence and it is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Japanese musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. This egg may be selected by pressing the right arrow key twice when the Production sketches menu item is highlighted. This will select the second circle at the top of the screen. Press Enter to view the egg.

R4 vs R1

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

    Both versions of this film appear to be identical and I therefore would have no preference for either version.

Summary

    Orphen is an enjoyable anime that should appeal to all fans of fantasy adventures.

    The video transfer is acceptable and displays no significant artefacts.

    The audio transfer is acceptable but viewers are advised to listen to the Japanese track instead of the modified English track.

    The small collection of extras is supplemented by the welcome addition of textless opening sequences.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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