Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Archives for: August 2004, 03

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

12:03:33 pm , 455 words, 1313 views     Categories: Animation

Goku no Daiboken DVD box

Scenes from episode 4I made a statement in a previous post about how the Japanese aren't very good with extras on their DVDs. Well, one exception is the recent DVD box release of the classic Goku's Big Adventure (悟空の大冒険 / Goku no Daiboken), my favorite PTA-boycotted anime series (which I talked a bit about in the context of my Masami Hata filmography). This release is actually pretty emblematic of a new trend of releasing impressively produced DVD box sets of classic old anime series. Presumably fans over there have played a large part in bringing this about.

The Goku set is surely one of the most impressive releases so far. Usually in a good case you may get some extra archive material, maybe some bonus footage, maybe an interview. Well here they dug up an entire episode that got produced but never aired, and hence was not released on previous occasions, like for the LD box.

I've talked about episode 4 in my review of the series, the way it's one of the single most striking and unforgettable anime episodes I've ever seen, considering the date at which it was made. Well, the bonus episode in question was also done by Osamu Dezaki, the person who did episode 4, and reportedly it goes infinitely further in terms of exactly the things that made episode 4 so great: the elliptical storytelling, the surreal humor, the joyously cynical satire, the political subtext. So far, in fact, that the TV station flat out refused to air it.

That's the main attraction of this release, but as an added bonus the DVD set even includes the comic version of episode 4 drawn by Dezaki and published at the time. Needless to say, until now it has been merely an obscure footnote that nobody had the chance to see anymore. Nobody even knew there was a missing episode until now. All in all, this DVD set is great news for one of the greatest anime series ever.

This is just the sort of value-added purchasing incentive that you'd excpect from a box set, and you could never have expected something like this from a US production due to the rarity of the source material. So it's a really welcome release. The only problem being the exorbitant cost of DVDs in Japan. Japanese LDs were outrageously priced, and I hoped, moving into the DVD era, that Japanese DVDs would be more moderately priced, but by and large, especially compared with prices over here, such has not turned out to be the case. Owning the LD box already as I do, $500+ is simply too much to pay for 23 minutes of anime and a comic. And it seems highly unlikely that a series like this will ever be released here. Oh well.