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20 February 2005 @ 05:05 pm
FMA DVD 1: The Curse--DVD Review  
If I complain about the many things wrong with the FMA DVD to the Funimation staff, will I get any response?


Ok, I don't often buy DVDs anymore but I make it a point to fully support my favorite series and since FMA currently ranks as my top overall, I had to pick up a copy at Katsucon. The cover art is nice and I like the style of the DVD itself. Also, the booklet that comes with it is well made and interesting.

Now for my opinion on presentation. Yes, I'm a bitch about this because DVDs are expensive and I wouldn't buy them if I didn't think I was getting something impressive. One, the menu is totally flat with hardly any music to accompany it. The switches from option screens also lack any interesting type of transition. This makes the design dull. Going to the extras, one finds extremely tiny print in the profiles and galleries that are hell to navigate. I don't think the galleries were well arranged either, as far as aesthetic appeal. The production designs do try to make up for this and I have no complaints with those. The episode menus are as dull as the main menu but they are also arranged in a confusing way that can make them difficult to navigate at times. The actual picture quality of the episodes is enhanced and looks much sharper than the CN version so I'm happy with that and the chance to finaly see the entire "Indelible Sin" ending. Never knew it had that intro with the Sins.

My final problem lies with the subtitles. I'm sure this is not an uncommon issue but since I never knew so clearly the difference between a dub and sub in Funimation, I never had this issue. I made the mistake of watching Fruits Basket in entirely dub. Anyway, the dubtitles really don't work for FMA since the dub adds many lines (sometimes when there's complete silence in the Japanese) and the VAs speak faster than the Japanese seiyuu so it can get hard to tell who's speaking in the Japanese track. The subtitles move too quickly. Funimation really has to work on actually TRANSLATING the Japanese track instead of just reproducing the dub lines as if they were doing hearing-impaired text.
EDIT: This was my confusion with usually being able to switch between subtitle options even after opting for a different audio track but it might be blamed on my new DVD player so I apologize for any undue snarkiness toward Funi. Thanks for those who pointed this out. ^^;;

Minor complaints also include the inclusion of only four episodes. Fruits Basket often had five or six per disk, as opposed to FMA's four. Fruits Basket, in general, seems to have a better design to its DVDs and extras. But yeah, four episodes for a 51 episode series is not the way to go. Though Funi does do an excellent job with its trailers. And if none of these other problems can be helpled, please, for the love of God, remove that stupid DBZ trailer from the start of the DVD or at least make it able to be skipped.EDIT: This problem was apparently another bizarre flaw with my player.
 
 
desudeitydes_akazim on February 20th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)
WERD. D:
ACacdragonmaster on February 20th, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC)
Sorry, but I think complaining about menus is kinda dumb, because that's hardly the point of the DVD. In fact, I *dislike* menus that're too flashy or have too much music too loud. Simple is best, flashy and bad is horrible, flashy and *good* is a nice bonus but not required.

The Cartoon Network versions have to have 40 seconds cut out for time issues, this was taken out of the end themes and previews so that they wouldn't have to cut the episodes themselves.

The DVD contains both sub and dub title tracks. Which one appears depends on which language track you've selected, it'll default to the proper one. This way, when watching the dub the subtitles are more like closed-captioning, but not as annoying. Of course me, when checking out the DVD (haven't had time to watch and have seen those eps plenty of times already), I didn't even turn on the subtitles through the menu but flipped through them manually, hence how I found the two different tracks.

There's been a lot of effort in the dub script to stay true to the original, in the clips I watched the subtitles were pretty close. Unless you're fluent in Japanese, don't assume that just because the subtitles are similar to the dub that they're wrong, the dub may just be very close to the original dialogue.

Okay, your four-episode complaint is frankly *dumb*. 3-4 (or 5) episodes is STANDARD, stuff like Furuba and the Slayers DVD release are exceptions and NOT normal. At least it's not like Japan with 2 episodes a disc for a lot of series.

Also, at the current episode counts, we will have exactly the same number of DVDs as the Japanese release (13), which is fine because Funimation is using the original Japanese coverart for the disc cases. So not so bad, huh?

As for the DBZ thing it can be skipped. You just have to figure out what combination of buttons does it on your DVD player. It's extremely rare for me to find a disc I *can't* skip or at least fastforward at all. Extremely.

...oh yeah, and as for FMA extras, while all us fans would have loved dub outtakes, director Mike McFarland has informed us that the Japanese company Aniplex didn't allow them to do stuff like that. So Funimation isn't the only ones dictating what extras are on there.
desudeitydes_akazim on February 20th, 2005 02:34 pm (UTC)
....*flees to check subtitles* Oh wow, you're right! I usually don't watch the english versions on DVD so...two tracks, that's interesting.
Becca Stareyesbeccastareyes on February 20th, 2005 02:43 pm (UTC)
A lot of Funi's releases have this -- my friends and I noticed it on Furuba too.
should win the nobel prize for evil: protectionnayami on February 20th, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)

The Cartoon Network versions have to have 40 seconds cut out for time issues, this was taken out of the end themes and previews so that they wouldn't have to cut the episodes themselves.

-I'm not being rude but I don't know where this fits into my post at all. 0_o

The DVD contains both sub and dub title tracks. Which one appears depends on which language track you've selected, it'll default to the proper one. This way, when watching the dub the subtitles are more like closed-captioning, but not as annoying. Of course me, when checking out the DVD (haven't had time to watch and have seen those eps plenty of times already), I didn't even turn on the subtitles through the menu but flipped through them manually, hence how I found the two different tracks.
-I'm going to try to watch the subtitle version through the menu itself to explore this new info. If this is the case, that is considerate and I withdraw my bitchery. I'm just used to most DVDs doing the switch for me. Lazy. I like to randomly go from English to Japanese tracks to amuse myself and piss off people watching with me.

There's been a lot of effort in the dub script to stay true to the original, in the clips I watched the subtitles were pretty close. Unless you're fluent in Japanese, don't assume that just because the subtitles are similar to the dub that they're wrong, the dub may just be very close to the original dialogue.
-I hardly have issues with the subtitles themselves but I can tell when the subtitles show a line from Ed and Al is speaking that things aren't quite right. I also can tell when there's complete silence and there's a dubtitle of text. I doubt I could recognize actual lines, aside from that one "Honto ni" line in ep 2 that was changed to "I hope he's real, Rose." I don't want to seem like I'm a Japanese expert or anything, I just wanted to point out that I could tell something was off but your comment about the two separate tracks might explain that.

Okay, your four-episode complaint is frankly *dumb*. 3-4 (or 5) episodes is STANDARD, stuff like Furuba and the Slayers DVD release are exceptions and NOT normal. At least it's not like Japan with 2 episodes a disc for a lot of series.
-Very well. Then I want five episodes at least. I wouldn't bitch about five. Bandai gives me five.

...oh yeah, and as for FMA extras, while all us fans would have loved dub outtakes, director Mike McFarland has informed us that the Japanese company Aniplex didn't allow them to do stuff like that. So Funimation isn't the only ones dictating what extras are on there.
Oh, I don't demand anything special. I would just like to READ what I'm provided with.

Thank you for clarifying some things for me.


ACacdragonmaster on February 20th, 2005 03:03 pm (UTC)
>> -I'm not being rude but I don't know where this fits into my post at all. 0_o

Just commenting regarding the CN mention. TV versions are pretty much always lower-quality, anyway, for various reasons, and that's the reason why the end theme was cut before.

>> I don't want to seem like I'm a Japanese expert or anything, I just wanted to point out that I could tell something was off but your comment about the two separate tracks might explain that.

As I said, I haven't watched through the whole DVD, but the clips I watched there's definitely two subtitle tracks, one being the dub lines and the other a more direct translation.

>> -Very well. Then I want five episodes at least. I wouldn't bitch about five. Bandai gives me five.

The FMA DVDs will be four to a disc, with one disc having 3 (presumably the last one). Which is fair... 13 discs for 51 episodes isn't that bad. Bandai DVDs that have 4-5 eps per disc release 6 DVDs for every 26 episodes, so for 51 that's only one extra DVD really by comparison.

>> Oh, I don't demand anything special. I would just like to READ what I'm provided with.

One of the better extra features is an Easter egg, actually. It's been posted about on this community before.
sun slammer.care on February 20th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you said. I found the DVD pretty impressive, personally. o_o;
Sarah: sinfulgundamnook on February 20th, 2005 02:32 pm (UTC)
You do know that there are 2 different dub tracks? One that is for the hearing impaired and the actually sub track. I compared the sub track on the DVD to the fan subs that I do have and they are basically the same. So if you are watching the DVD with the Japanese track and the subtitles look like they are for the hearing impaired, you need to switch them. I believe whom ever translated the Japanese did an awesome job! ^.^
FireDreamer: howlmagcchilayse on February 20th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)
Are you absolutely sure? I mean..I only saw one set of subtitles. I can look again. I sat there and listened to the japanese once..then went back and read the subtitles and they were occaisionally close, but sometimes way off.

I was checking the quality of the subtitles for my friends who can not understand japanese. My final result was..they're not the same but I guess they get the point across.

I'm going to have to check for another subtitle set now.
ACacdragonmaster on February 20th, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
There definitely are two subtitle tracks. If you're setting the options just from your DVD remote, hit the subtitle button a second time and you'll see the second set displayed.

Alternatively, go to the menu and choose either language, then choose the subtitles on option. If you selected English as the language, the dubtitles will show up, if you choose Japanese you'll get the real subtitles.
FireDreamerchilayse on February 20th, 2005 08:21 pm (UTC)
ok I'll mess with that tomorrow.

I kind of felt bad for my stepfather. He watched the subtitled for the first time when the dvd came out and understood my problem with ed's voice(and only eds. Everyone elses voice was meh to me.) and I couldn't give him decent subtitles.

...yes my parents tape fma every week and watch it on sunday mornings. -.-
Nalavashi: Ed - fangirls attack [by nalavashi]nalavashi on February 20th, 2005 02:54 pm (UTC)
Ugg, that DBZ trailer at the beginning. >.< That's the only major complaint I have with the DVD, since there's no way to skip it on my player. I've noticed a lot of DVD's do that nowadays though.

Since I don't know Japanese all that well, I'm still trying to figure out if FUNi's subtitles for the Japanese track are closer to the actual dialogue than the fansubs are. It could always be worse though - FUNi's "uncut" Yugioh DVD's don't even attempt the translate the Japanese dialogue, they only have subtitles for their dubbed version.

Anyway, kudos to you for sharing your opinion. I think it's great for people to discuss what they like and dislike, as long as no one starts getting snarky with each other about it. ^^
should win the nobel prize for evil: priest setnayami on February 20th, 2005 03:00 pm (UTC)
Ehem, now now we certainly shouldn't be comparing Funi to 4Kids. ^^;; That's just mean. I think they are the releasers of the Yugioh Uncut.
But you're saying they don't have a subtitle track? Shame. Guess I won't be buying those.
Nalavashi: Ed - fangirls attack [by nalavashi]nalavashi on February 20th, 2005 03:12 pm (UTC)
lol Comparing anyone to 4Kids is evil. But Yugioh DVD's are distrusted by FUNimation, so the companies work together in some way.

Their subtitles for the Japanese audio track are messed up, because the only thing they change from their dub subtitles are the names of people. (Like on the English track it'll read "Joey" and the Japanese track will read "Jounouchi," but everything else is the same.) It's actually kind of weird to watch it in Japanese when you get to scenes where Pegasus is talking *in English* and the subtitles don't match up to what he's saying.
Tasha: Funi pride! - by tailflufftasha_mac on February 20th, 2005 06:48 pm (UTC)
Minor complaints also include the inclusion of only four episodes. Fruits Basket often had five or six per disk, as opposed to FMA's four.

Fruits Basket has six to seven episodes a disc, but the original release was $40 a disc. If you got it now, when you can get the box set or the discounted discs, count yourself lucky. You paid extra for the extra episodes. The only bonus you got was more shelf space.

Fruits Basket, in general, seems to have a better design to its DVDs and extras.

Did we get the same Furuba discs? Cause frankly, if you think FMAs were plain, then Furuba's were just the same. A static character shot with a clip of background music? Ker-blah. If you want a snazzy menu, go pick up Samurai Champloo. I've always been impressed by Bandai's DVD menus.

But yeah, four episodes for a 51 episode series is not the way to go.

It's not, but it is the norm. I believe Japan has something similar, or perhaps worse?

I also got tricked by the two sub tracks in Furuba. I flipped them over during the video and got the dub subtitles, then actually went to the menu, selected Japanese with subtitles, and got the sub...uh...subtitles. It's an interesting addition, to be sure.

And, yeah, I wish companies wouldn't put trailers at the beginning of the DVDs...or at least make them skippable. They were at the beginning of VHS, but at least you could fast-forward. Trust me, nothing could be more annoying than ADV's Anime Network ad over and over. I love ADV, completely and totally, but I know what anime is, I promise.

In the end, your opinion is your opinion and mine is mine, but still, as long as the meat's good, who cares what it's wrapped in? It's not like you can get VHS copies or anything.
summerwolf on February 20th, 2005 08:03 pm (UTC)
The first disc of Region 2-Japanese FMA DVD has 2 episodes, the others have 3.

So you can say that the original release is the worst of all in that regard. <3 I'm still buying it. (In region 3....and if I have to spend money importing something, I'd rather have Region 2's)
ACacdragonmaster on February 20th, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC)
Actually, the others have 4. The Japanese DVD count is the same as what the US release will be, surprisingly enough.
summerwolf on February 20th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)
Does it? Dear me, I've spent too long a time away from my DVDs. ^^;;
vicemagevicemage on February 20th, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
The trailer should be skippable if you use the Title Menu or whatever equivalent button you have when the FBI warning comes up. (Yes, you can skip straight from the FBI warning.)

As for the menus... I like plain. At work I have a Bandai dvd in one of my demo machines, and I have to stand around and wait for that stupid menu to load before I can actually get the disk playing. I wish it just went quickly into a menu I could quickly leave.

And as for the small font in the profiles... may I just say, it's larger than the type in the profiles on Media Blaster's Rurouni Kenshin dvds? A LOT of the text on those disk was virtually illegible... It was impossible to read on my tv, and difficult on my parent's big screen. I had no problem at all reading the profiles on here. But that's more perspective than anything....
Zranazrana on February 21st, 2005 12:54 am (UTC)
I haven't watched my DVD yet. XD Silly me.

Most companies have more flexibility with the number of eps per DVD--FMA seems to be following the Japanese release of DVDs with how many volumes there will be total.

Just remember this: 3 episodes a DVD used to be the NORMAL deal for anime. (And before that, it was a mere TWO eps a VHS tape. $25 for dub, and $30 for sub! T___T)

Series that dub companies originally released on VHS tend to be re-released with more eps a DVD than they were on a tape. (Thus you can get all of Sorcerer Hunters fro ADV on 3 or 4 discs, instead of the 8 VHS tapes.)

And now I'm randomly remembering how Slayers wasn't allowed to be released on DVD in English until after the Japanese companies did so first. (Cuz Slayers is one of those series that came out during the transition to DVD.) Cuz the Japanese know that US domestic DVD releases sell for less than their DVDs and didn't want the Japanese people going and buying the US DVDs. (Japanese DVDs are EXPENSIVE. Thus I understand that Japanese people tend to have far less interests/collections than americans due to costs.)

Anyways, things are better for us than they used to be, that's what I'm really saying.

And of course I'm more partial to buy DVDs with more episodes as well, I just understand why I can't always get my way.
amikitty: The Alphonse Dietamikitty on February 21st, 2005 08:31 am (UTC)
I would like to point out that the Fruits Basket DVDs are a special case. Funi was just experimenting if more buyers were willing to buy more episodes per disk at a higher price. Sadly, that experiment failed I think because people complained it's too expensive. >:(
fanficbugfanfic_bug on February 21st, 2005 09:00 am (UTC)
Wow, God, you guys are lucky. o.o I would have had to pay $45 for just the regular DVD, but since I got the boxed set, it cost $55.