Anime DVD Review: Astro Boy Mini Set 1

Astro Boy Mini Set 1 is the first of two DVD mini-sets that Right Stuf released for the 1960s version of Astro Boy. This set contains five DVDs, and each disc contains five episodes. The packaging claims there are 26 episodes included, but the last episode listed on the box (“Don Tay’s Infernal Machine”) cannot be found on any of the discs.

Astro Boy Mini Set 1
English Publisher: Nozomi Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: October 6, 2009

At the beginning of each disc, there is a disclaimer which explains that the original masters for these episodes were destroyed in 1975. The company conducted a worldwide search to find the best quality versions of the episodes as they could, but it is warned that the audio quality differs greatly from episode to episode. While many of the episodes have a somewhat decent audio quality, there are also other episodes where the audio is extremely muffled or the audio sounds “tinny.” Unfortunately, for the viewer, these audio issues can diminish the viewing experience of this DVD set.

Many of the episodes in the original Astro Boy series are quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, I do have a bit of a gripe, because there is a contradiction that is introduced in the English dub. It’s established in the first episode that Professor Boynton’s son died in the year 2000, and Astro Boy was completed exactly a year after that; in other words, Astro Boy “came to life” in the year 2001. However, in later episodes, the announcer keeps announcing that Astro Boy’s adventures are taking place in the year 2000. I don’t know if this contradiction also existed in the original Japanese version of the series, or if this was introduced in the process of being dubbed into English.

By the time I finished watching the set, I knew that at least one episode was included out of order. On the last episode of the last disc (“The Strange Birthday Present”), Astro Boy’s little sister, Astro Girl, is introduced; however, Astro Girl makes an appearance in the episode, “The Haunted Ship,” which is the second episode on disc four. If Wikipedia is to be believed, then I’m correct on the episodes being out of order on the release, and that the issue was created with the series was dubbed into English and aired on Japanese television in the 1960s. If that’s the case, then it’s a little unfortunate that Right Stuf didn’t try to restore the episode order on the DVD releases as much as they could; however, it’s impossible to completely return the series back into its original airing order, because there were some episodes that were never dubbed into English back in the 1960s.

The stories of most of the episodes on this set were enjoyable; unfortunately, the audio issues really diminished my viewing experience. For some of the episodes, I had to spend so much time straining to hear the dialogue, that at times it made it difficult to follow the story.

Even with the audio issues in the release, this set is still worth getting and adding to your anime home video library if you’re a die-hard fan of the 1960s Astro Boy series and don’t want to spend the money on the big DVD box sets.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Astro Boy Mini Set 1 that my husband purchased for me as a gift.

Additional posts about Astro Boy:

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