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Dogasu's Backpack | Features | Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl ("Get Pokemon" Version) Review

When the Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl (“Get Pokemon” Series) set of DVDs were announced, I immediately decided that I would add them to my collection. After all, it’s rare for any Region 2 DVDs of the series to be released, so the opportunity to be able to legally own the Japanese version of a few episodes of the series was too good to pass up even if it was just a random collection of episodes.

What follows is my review of the eight discs that were released on March 18th, 2008.

I guess I’ll start the review by telling how I found the things in the first place. The discs, for some reason, were only being sold at convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan. No electronics store had them, which meant that pretty much none of the online stores that ship to the U.S. would have them, either.  I guess the idea is to deter importation of the discs, but...what would Media Factory gain from such a safeguard?  It doesn't really make any sense.

Luckily, living in Japan, I didn't really have that hurdle to overcome.  So, when the discs came out, I checked store after store. But I kept coming up empty.  Finally, I realized that the problem stemmed from the fact that many of the stores I checked - not really having enough shelf space for these things - resorted to turning them all over on their side in order to fit them into the allotted space.  This had the unfortunate effect of only displaying the discs' bar code, meaning that anyone who only had a 200 x 200 jpg of the front cover to go off of would be SOL.  I was eventually able to find a store that did have the discs displayed with their covers facing the front and, once I had a physical copy in my hands, was able to find the other discs in the set with ease.

When you pick up the box, you hear a small rattling noise whenever you shake it. That’ll be the lemon-flavored candy that’s packaged with the disc. A lot of the earlier reports stated that a Ramune brand drink would be included with each disc, but, going back to the original advertisements, I found that it actually did say that candy was what was going to be packaged with these things.  I guess that's what you get for relying on rushed translation jobs.

The Ramune candy that comes packaged with each disc.

The front of each box features a number of screencaps from the episode on the disc while a large piece of stock art of the feature pokemon is displayed on the bottom.  On the sides are images of the eight discs in this series, and the back features a listing of the other episodes available in the collection.

Upon opening the box, you get a pretty cheap plastic sleeve housing the disc with a monochromatic card on the back advertising the The Pikachu Exploration Club DVD, Pokemon bottle tops, and the upcoming Giratina movie.

The disc is packaged in a simple CD sleeve with a soft background.
The back has a styrofoam peg whose only purpose seems to be to pad out the box.

I pop the disc in and get the “watch this show in a well-lit room while sitting x number of feet away from the TV” warning followed by the Media Factory logo. Then…the disc goes straight into the episode. No menu, no opening theme, nothing.  The episode progresses with Part A, the eyecatches, and then Part B. Once the episode ends, the disc goes straight into the first trailer for the Giratina movie (the one before Shami was officially revealed to be in the film). Once that ends, the disc ends and your DVD player automatically shuts off.

So what we basically have with this release is the episode without the opening animation, closing animation, next episode preview, or Orchid-Hakase lecture. There also isn’t DVD menu at all, and while the episode does have chapter stops, they’re only accessible by using your DVD’s remote.

While all the stuff that’s missing from the episode can be considered “extras,” it still sucks that my downloaded copies of the episodes seem more “complete” than this official DVD release.  It's also infuriating that the rental-only DVDs of the series have all this stuff intact; why couldn't they just copy those releases instead?  Why do we have to settle for this bare bones release?

Being a Region 2 release, the episodes are, of course, in Japanese and uncut.  No English dub is present, but that's to be expected.

On the plus side, the video quality’s quite good (though that really should be a given considering both the age of the episodes and the fact that only one episode is present on each disc).  And, well...it's Pocket Monsters on DVD.  It's not something you see everyday, is it?

Another set is being released in June that will help bring the total number of Diamond & Pearl episodes released on DVD up to 20. As flawed as these releases are, I do hope that they’ll sell enough to convince Media Factory to give this franchise another chance at a proper DVD release.  Their last attempt with the Jouto episodes only lasted five volumes before it was discontinued, but with the franchise enjoying a more renewed surge of fans, a proper release does seem more feasible than ever before.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.


20 minutes | Color | MPEG-2 | STEREO | DOLBY DIGITAL | 4:3 Aspect Ratio
Region 2 | Spoken Languages:  Japanese

Each disc is sold separately contains one episode apiece:

Disc One:  "Setting Off!  From Futaba Town to Masago Town!" (Episode DP 001)
Disc Two:  "Search for Pikachu!  Route 202!" (Episode DP 002)
Disc Three:  "Naetle!  I Got One!" (Episode DP 005)
Disc Four:  "Gureggru of the Mysterious Gym!" (Episode DP 008)
Disc Five:  "Let's Play with Mimirol!?" (Episode DP 009)
Disc Six:  "I'm Gonna Get this Pachirisu...Is That OK!?" (Episode DP 019)
Disc Seven:  "Buoysel!  The Road to Being the Strongest!!" (Episode DP 034)
Disc Eight:  "Explosive Birth!  Cycling Road!!" (Episode DP 038)



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