While there are certainly fans of some of the shows within this property, the two OVAs are still a hard sell to most anime fans. But for the fans of it, this is a great looking release..
What They Say:
The Japanese public goes crazy when it’s announced that the beloved and long-running classic anime Time Bokan will be remade. There’s just one problem: the original show was broken into multiple separate series featuring multiple teams of heroes pitted against multiple teams of almost identical villains, so how to choose which ones will star in the remake?
Unwisely discarding the idea of a public opinion poll, the producers instead insanely opt for a race between the bad guys in their favorite mecha. Which might not be a completely bad idea, except for the fact that they’re all cheaters and saboteurs, and none of them have ever created a mecha that didn’t eventually self destruct in an extremely violent fashion!
In a race between these born losers, the only winner is the audience as the villains from Time Bokan, Yatterman, Zenderman, Otasukeman, Yattodetaman, Ippatsuman, and Itadakiman compete for the dubious privilege of getting the **** beaten out of them once again! It’s Grand Theft Mecha vs. Super Moron Kart as the baddies slam, bash, and dirty trick each other to the finish!
Contains OVA episodes 1-2.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo as well as the previously heard English language adaptation, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show isn’t terribly expansive with its stereo mix here but it’s serviceable enough and is problem free, though it definitely has a bit more oomph than it did in the DVD version. There isn’t much in the way of directionality for the mix as it’s a rather center channel heavy piece with all the dialogue though the music and the opening from the second episode come across well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either language track.
Originally released in 1993, the transfer for this two episode OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio in 1080p using the AVC codec. Being from 1993 and an OVA, the quality of the material here is definitely a positive here as the DVD release looked good but this one just takes it up several more notches. The traditional animation really shines through with its attention to detail and the greater feeling of life to it than a lot of more current digitally animated shows. Colors are bright and vibrant with only some minimal grain showing up in a few places. The shows original opening and ending sequences are preserved and translated credits follow the show.
The packaging for this release is done up in a standard Blu-ray case that provides for an amusing image for the cover as various villains and good guys are mixed up here with some really good looking artwork with clean lines and bright colors. I particularly like the bottom three characters with how their facial expressions look and just the comedy of it all. Including some of the Gatchman stuff and other characters and you get a good range of characters here. The back cover continues this with a large group shot of women from the show that looks really nice for much the same reason with the more updated and sexier designs and the striking colors. There’s a decent enough summary of the premise and listing of the discs features and technical details but overall it’s a fairly standard back cover.
The menu design for this release is pretty straightforward since there’s not a whole lot to work with as we get a black and gray checkered background while layered over it we get the cover artwork along the left while the right gives us the logo and the navigation itself. The navigation provides just the basics as we get the two episodes to select from and the submenu for the language setup and the special features. Navigation is definitely easy and the navigation menu looks good when it’s used as a pop-up during playback as it fits in thematically with the show.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the fun things with so many older shows being mined at different times is that it can lead you to different things as you do some research on it to try and find out what you can about it, especially if it’s a remake or an sequel to something that’s come many years before. Though it often means that you’ll never see the original material itself, you can get a feel for a number of shows that you may want to actually find that will never come over and may one day actually be surprised if they do get picked up. Though this is less likely with things from the 70’s, it helps expand your knowledge of what’s out there and expose you to more interesting material.
Time Bokan’s an interesting title in that it’s from a popular series that milked a formula really well and then the company that owned it, Tatsunoku, milked it repeatedly with different series afterwards. What we get with Time Bokan is the use of the name of the original series but it’s done up as a version of the Wacky Races show over here in that all the villains get together (in groups of three, which is the formula) for a big race and we get all kinds of in-jokes about it. There’s some side story at the beginning of it about one of the groups and the one guy who didn’t want to get involved since he was just recently married, but the focus is on the race for the most part and all the standard comedy bits from the show being brought up again, such as the characters shooting themselves, racing over banana peels and other simple sight gags. There are likely hundreds of other more detailed in-jokes and gags that make fans of these properties extremely happy, but just like the Wacky Races show, I have no clue what these shows really are like and simply don’t get them. And when it comes down to that, you end up simply not caring either and end up watching the clock more than anything else.
So by the second time the second episode comes up which isn’t another race episode, you’re either completely into it since you know what’s going on or you’re so out of touch with what’s coming across the screen that it makes no sense and other than a couple of basic visual gags that are simple enough to figure out. There’s a lot of mixing of Tatsunoko properties going on here and these are the kinds of things that I used to enjoy immensely back in my comic book days when there’d be cross-company specials put out or you had the other kinds of properties being merged together for a special but what ends up hurting Time Bokan so much is that there’s simply no context for it for probably 99% of the people buying anime out there today. And since it’s hard enough selling a series from the 90’s today, selling something from the 70’s would be an even more difficult job. So many people today don’t even want something that came out two years ago, never mind thirty.
Released almost a decade ago by ADV Films, Time Bokan is a show that manages to in some ways manages to work a bit better for me simply because of greater exposure to more shows. Still, it’s a series that largely comes down to feeling like you want to say, “well, that seemed like it might have been interesting if I had any idea who any of this was.” I’m more than comfortable in jumping into series during the middle or while it’s airing and figuring it out as I go along, but to come into a series with the very fan-oriented specials that followed the original series up probably something like fifteen years after they ended is not something that can be easily done unless you’ve got a real familiarity with this time frame. I’ve not got that familiarity at all so much of this just fell flat for me. That said, getting it in high definition when you consider the source materials means you get something that really looks good here with a solid quality to the colors and a great look at the detail that makes it a treat to see, especially for Gatchaman fans to get a little more taste of that property.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: C-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: February 18th, 2014
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.