I had been watching Fist Of The North Star dubbed on Starz several years ago and never was able to finish it, so this rather a bit more expensive than normal box set seemed to be just what I was looking for, especially since the official boxes were hundreds combined and didn’t feature the movies because they did not have a western release, with the exception of the 1986 original.
It’s actually a very common practice for Malay DVD’s to stuff the series, specials and movies onto a bunch of discs, which is great to be honest. You don’t have to spend all the time and energy hunting all of it down.
This box rocks! I’ve actually seen the same set with a hologram foil cover, but I’m happy with mine. It’s the cover of Zero: The Story Of Kenshiro, but with a whole lot of shiny foil in the background as he looks like Goku or Vegeta powering up. Very cool. The inside of the box was also as I’d expect for the others and featured images on the inside. I believe Raoh is featured on the inside cover art. The DVD’s are also put into cloth DVD holders, but what really irked me is that they ran out of covers for this thing and decided to put two discs in the same pouch together. Ugh! And it did just what I expected it to do with packing and all – SCRATCHED MY FUCKING DISC! You can see the marks where the two discs met each other, but thankfully it was placed against the cover of the third disc and not the data side of it. That would have ruined both discs and I’d have been even more pissed.
This is an older DVD set and they’ve gotten better. The subs are pretty fucking awful, even though the image quality is quite sharp. It looks like it would have on my TV back when I was watching it on Starz years ago. Again, the subs are awful and if not for me being a writer and editor, I wouldn’t have bothered with it. They actually need deciphering and you can’t resub with your own subtitles, because they’re all in fucking chunks again. There is no way in hell I would go through and cut them episode by episode, there are well over a hundred in the series! I also forgot to mention this, but when I converted the disc files from VOB to MP4, they removed all the subs completely and did not offer a subtitles option in Any Video Converter’s drop-down menu when placed in VOB format. So you either watch their shitty subs or you watch it raw. Yup. Adding insult to injury, several of the discs (at least four) suffered from cyclic redundancy issues caused by badly burned discs. There was at least four of these that suffered, which made one or more episodes completely unplayable. I might as well go fucking download them at that point. As you might expect, the disc that held the fourth film (The Legend Of Yuria) suffered a data issue because of the scratches. However, every single film on the other film disc did play and quite perfectly.
Out of thirteen discs, only nine did not suffer issues, which is better than nothing. I was still quite upset about it and asked the seller for a replacement, which he did not provide. However, I was able to get a 30% refund on the product, which is about ten dollars and that’s good enough. (Oh yes, I definitely asked for a replacement. I really did want to see the whole thing!) Aside from that, all of the films were place individually on the discs, so that I could easily sub them with the exception of one – The Legend Of Raoh: Death In Love. This is the first of the five films, but it has the ABSOLUTE WORST subtitles that I have ever read in my fucking life. It was literally word soup at this point and I found myself laughing pretty heavily at it. Unfortunately, the subs I obtained needed to be synced at 26 seconds into the film, which Any Video Converter would not do. Still, I could sync them with VLC and that works enough to be able to watch the film once. The other films had fair to sub-par subs, with Zero: The Legend Of Kenshiro featuring the best subs out of the whole set. It also came with a huge performance video that showcased a Japanese celebration for the series and some live concert performances. None of this was subtitled, but at least you get to see some live Japanese bands. There was a rock act there, but I’m not really aware of them (surprisingly). I’d say they were Visual Kei judging by the emo/goth/glam look that they had.
There were some cool things about this set, like the original Japanese DVD menus still in place (while not in English, I still thought that was kind of cool) and multiple DVDs on one disc, which was also interesting. I’ve never seen anything like that before. It is also the only way you’re going to get the five movies on DVD that were NOT released here. Again, the quality is DVD level as the files were well over a gigabyte or two and these are legit DVD releases. Fist Of The North Star’s original film also came remastered with pretty decent subs as well. It wasn’t all terrible, so I can’t just trash this all to hell.
I need to add that this set does not contain New Fist Of The North Star so you’ll have to get that series separately. I’ve seen it at a decent price on ebay in both the Malay and western releases. It also does not contain the dreadful 1995 live-action film, which I didn’t even know existed. You probably didn’t either.
In any case, I’m not completely happy with this set, but I was still able to get something out of it. The films are watchable, the series is somewhat coherent enough to go through and the box was pretty cool, as well as the Japanese celebration film. I can’t exactly recommend this release based on my experience, but my box could very well be a dud as there are hits and misses with these things, it is almost essentially a gamble.
It could have been much worse, but this is still a very low score and the lowest I’ve given in this series of Malay DVD reviews. In closing, remember that when you buy these products you are taking a gamble as some might just not work period. That’s the same as throwing your money into the garbage. Please shop wisely and once again, support the localizations if you really like the series!
Next Week: I’ll be covering the Persona 4:The Golden section of the Malay Persona 4 box.