Anime Box Set Review: Astro Boy Ultra Collector’s Edition Box Set 2

Astro Boy Ultra Collector’s Edition Box Set 2 contains 51 episodes of the series on 10 DVDs. There is also an 11th DVD in the set, which includes bonus features. Since this is a release of Astro Boy, the episodes only have an English dub.

Astro Boy Ultra Collector’s Edition Box Set 2
English Publisher: Nozomi Entertainment / Lucky Penny
Format: DVD
Release Date: August 29, 2006

At the beginning of each disc, there’s 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 the disclaimer warns that the audio quality differs greatly from episode to episode. Unlike Astro Boy Ultra Collector’s Edition Box Set 1, the episodes in this set overall had better audio quality.

Another difference between the two sets is the quality of the episodes included on them. While I enjoyed many of the episodes that appeared on the first set, I can’t say the same for the episodes on Astro Boy Ultra Collector’s Edition Box Set 2. The episodes on this set either had concepts that were “out there,” even for the Astro Boy series, episodes that weren’t as well-written, or episodes that just weren’t logical (and the logic issues were primarily from the original Japanese story and weren’t introduced with the English dub).

On the episode discs, there are commentaries included for episodes 53 and 82.

When it comes to the bonus disc, there are some bonus features included. This disc includes three original Japanese episodes. One of them was in color and had been meant as a pilot for a spin-off series. The spin-off never happened, and the episode ended up appearing in the original series (although when it appeared in the series, it was in black and white). Another episode was a collaboration with several manga artists doing the animation, and it’s obvious that different people did the animation due to the drastic change in styles. Unfortunately, this episode has commentary running through its entirety (with the commentary in Japanese, so you have to read subtitles the whole time). This was another episode that appeared in the box sets. The third episode was the ending episode for the series in Japan, which was never aired in the U.S. After seeing it, there’s no way this episode would have ever made it to the U.S. broadcast, even if NBC had agreed to bring over all 193 episodes. It was simply a little too “dark” for a kids’ audience.

There are 30 minutes of “deleted scenes,” and this feature basically shows the version of the scene from the English dub, then the original Japanese version is show right afterward. The deleted scenes primarily cut instances that could be seen as “too violent” for a kids’ television show, although later cuts were due to the English team deciding for some reason not to have Astro Boy use his butt lasers.

There’s another interview with Fred Ladd. It was shorter, and luckily, he didn’t ramble nearly as much as he did during the interview on the bonus disc in the first set. “Behind the Scenes at Mushi” was produced for a Japanese television audience, so it has Japanese audio with English subtitles. It shows what goes on in order to produce an episode of the series. There is also an original character art gallery and a merchandise gallery.

This set is also packaged with a booklet featuring “The Cinema of Osamu Tezuka,” original Astro Boy advertisements, line art, and an episode guide.

While the episodes included on this set may not be as strong as the episodes on the first set, this should still be in the anime home video library of an Astro Boy fan who wants to own all of the original English episodes of the series, as well as the various bonus features and the booklet.

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