Noein: To Your Other Self - The Complete Series box set takes the five individually released DVDs and puts them into one package. The first four discs include five episodes, while the last disc contains the last four episodes of the series.
The main menu of each disc allows you to play all the episodes, or you can choose which episode you want to watch (and where in that particular episode you want to start viewing). You can also access a setup menu, which allows you to choose which audio you want (English or Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English or Japanese 2.0 Stereo). In the setup menu, you can also choose to turn on either English or Spanish subtitles. You can also choose to access the extras included on each disc.
There is also a "hidden" link on all the discs except for the fourth one; on the first disc, it's labeled "Noein," on the second disc, it's labeled "Noein Volume 2," and so forth. If you click on the hidden link, you can access "bloopers"; the "bloopers" are all in English, and include language and subject matter in the dialogue that wouldn’t be allowed on broadcast television, as well as characters mumbling lines.
For a DVD extra, the director of Noein and the Japanese voice actor for Haruka went around the city of Hakodate, which is the setting for the series. As I saw them going through the city and pointing out some of the various landmarks that appear in the series, it really struck me just how much detail the animators went to in order to recreate as much of Hakodate as they could. This feature is split into three parts, and spread out over the first three discs in the set.
The first disc also includes two alternate openings, although one of the alternate openings seemed to be more of a "coming attraction" teaser. The second alternate opening has some music that is exclusive to it, and the piece that is used is simply incredible. It made me wish there was a Noein soundtrack released in the United States. There was also a textless opening and closing, six Japanese promos for the DVD releases for Noein, as well as two promos for CDs of music done by the artist who recorded the ending theme for the series.
On the second DVD, one of the bonus features is labeled as "player cards." This is basically a still photo gallery, but it has pictures of the "good" characters from the series. The pictures are put on what looks like playing cards, and the "cards" also include a quote made by the character, and says which episode the character made their first appearance.
On the third DVD, there is a "storyboard to screen" feature that runs almost 18 minutes. For this feature, six scenes were featured. Each scene was seen in three forms: full animation, a key frame version, and then a full frame animation version. Personally, while I think it's an interesting feature, it really could've been cut down to only three or four scenes. I started to lose interest in this feature as it went on. There is also an image gallery of still shots from episodes included on the disc. Unfortunately, the framing for the stills tended to detract from the images.
The last two discs both featured an image gallery identical to what appeared on the third disc, except the stills included were from episodes that appeared on discs four and five, respectively. Both discs also included the same textless opening that appeared on disc one. When it came to special features, discs four and five were definitely a disappointment.
All five discs included trailers for other properties released on DVD by Manga Entertainment. The first four discs included trailers for Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Karas: The Prophecy, Blood: The Last Vampire, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, and Tactics. The fifth disc replaces the trailers for Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie and Blood: The Last Vampire with trailers for Noein and Highlander: Search for Vengeance.
Overall, Noein: To Your Other Self – The Complete Series is a relatively good box set, considering that it just gathers up the five individually released DVDs into one set. For fans of the series, this box set is definitely the way to go in order to acquire all of the episodes. Instead of paying nearly $90 to buy the five discs individually, you can get this set for around $40.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this DVD box set that my husband and I purchased.
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