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X-Men: The Animated Series - Volumes 1 and 2 Print E-mail
Monday, 04 May 2009
ImageFinally!  That is all I can say.  For me, this is one of the most anticipated cartoon releases to home video.  While I wish it were on the Blu-ray format, I will settle for standard DVDs.  In fact, I was in the process of collecting all these episodes off of broadcast and was getting annoyed by the scrolling messages at the bottom of the screen.  I was only three episodes away from collecting all 76 episodes when I got the news about this release.

Matched for same time release as the Blu-ray release of the X-Men trilogy and the theatrical release of the Wolverine movie, the X-Men cartoon is a real treat.  As will most all cartoon sets, Buena Vista Home Entertainment has released them in volumes.  As of now they have released volumes one and two.  Each volume contains two discs for a total of 33 episodes.

Lucky for us consumers, BVHE has released the episodes in production order.  "X-Men: The Animated Series" is one of the best superhero cartoons, ranking among the top along with "Spider-man: The Animated Series" and "Batman: The Animated Series," both from the early 1990s as well.

The success of the Marvel X-Men comic books gave way to this animated series before the blockbuster films.  The first 16 episodes are mainly random episodes that deal with the introduction of each of the mutant characters.  It is volume two that starts really getting into the good stuff.  The first disc in the second volume contains the plague and time fugitive sagas.  The second disc in the volume contains the exquisite 5-part phoenix saga.  This 5-part series dealt with the issue much better than the blockbuster films did.

Even though I was a teenager during this series it is still nostalgic.  The series may have a rating of Y7, but it certainly deals with morals and storylines that are intricate for the older audience.  Watching these episodes again has brought back memories.
xmen-tas-vol2.jpgBVHE did not spend much in the way of remastering these episodes.  They appear to have been transferred directly to DVD with no corrections done.  The video quality is average for a standard DVD.  The color palette is unfortunately drained.  In comparison with the episodes that have been airing on the Toon Disney channel, the episodes on the DVD just don't pop off the screen.  Some color correction needs to be done to these DVDs.  The black levels are good for SD DVD.  The image is overall a bit soft, which is completely surprising given the nature of the animation.  The animation is not sophisticated and should thus it should be easy to retain the sharpness.  All that aside, the video presentation is faithful to the original airing of the animated series.  We have all been spoiled by digital television productions.

The audio is presented in Dolby Surround Stereo.  Like the video, the audio needs work.  The dialogue isn't always clear and the balance between the effects and music gets muddy at times.  Even when decoded through ProLogic, the surround channels are virtually non-existent.  There isn't any umph to the LFE channel either.  Still, the audio is faithful to the original auditory experience.

There are no extra features.  I can understand this.  Bonus materials are not really necessary for these animated cartoon series.

"X-Men: The Animated Series" is a terrific piece of work and deserves better video presentation treatment.  Nonetheless, this is an absolutely must own DVD release.  I cannot hype this animated series enough.  I just cannot wait for the remaining two or three volumes to be released.  Please show your support by buying these two volumes.  They are reasonably priced at $24/volume.

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