Japanese DVD's - The Review

(September 6th 2004)

Japanese DVD - BoxsetI have finally opened my box set of Japanese Red Dwarf DVD's. It was a dilemma - whether to open them or leave them sealed for posterity? If I were to do the second of these then it would have been a waste of fifty of my hard-earned pounds coins!

As Series 5 is shortly to be released on DVD in the UK, I thought it would be a good idea to open the second of the box sets and watch series 5 first. It is also my favourite of the 8 series, so that was an added bonus - and getting to watch it on DVD months before everyone else was too, a bonus.

Happinet LogoPopping it in to the DVD drive, it starts up with a fancy animation from the DVD makers Happinet. This is followed by the well-known BBC logo found on all the Red Dwarf DVD's up to now.

Japanese DVD - Main Menu - Series Vol.7The menus on the DVD's are not animated, but a static picture. Not being able to understand Japanese was a little bit of a problem, but going through each of the buttons I worked out what they did. The left-most button is to play from the start, the middle button goes to a menu to turn subtitles on or off, and the right button to go to the Episode / Scene Selection menu.

Any fan of Red Dwarf will know that Red Dwarf Series 1 to 3 were re-mastered in the late 90's, and it was Grant Naylor Productions' attempt to make Red Dwarf more appealing with new computer generated graphics and swishy effects, and in which they failed miserably with the hardcore of the shows fan base who preferred the original versions.

This being said it makes the Japanese DVD's look very odd when you watch them as they are a mixture of old and new. The credits start of with a very naff looking Re-Mastered Red Dwarf Ship flying through space, then clips from the different shows - not even always the correct series. When you have the Japanese dubbing 'on' there is a voiceover over the credits but I can't tell you what he's saying. I watched the most of the episodes with the original sound.

So, what the episodes are like? Well, during the actual shows I found it very odd as sometimes small, but mostly huge whopping great big chunks have been cut out. Some cuts are not to bad, but in other places the punch lines to jokes make no sense at all because the leading lines are not there. Where they cut the lines out the audience laughter also sounds a bit false when it changes mid sentence.

Other than having various bits of dialog/scenes missing, the plus side of watching these DVD's has been that the picture and sound are digital quality. I have even noticed things that I'd not noticed on it video or television!

The closing credits are, as you would expect, in Japanese. These are not like the original credits though, they have a lyric-free theme tune, with the computer generated Red Dwarf ship flying through space in the background. On some of the shows there are Credits (names only) in Japanese, and on others there are photos of each main character on screen and a voice over - and I have no idea what he is saying?

Well that's it, I hope you enjoyed reading my article of the Japanese DVD's.