Captain N was a show many children watched in the late 1980's,
when Nintendo ruled the world. It will come as no shock that being
part of that generation means I have a special place for this
particular series. Many fans have eagerly awaited the release on
February 27th, 2007.
Our friends at Shout! Factory managed to acquire the rights to this
series after a long battle over licensing the series from Nintendo.
Rumor had it Nintendo didn't want much to do with this long
forgotten television series. Licensing
is a common problem with series from the 80's and 90's unfortunately.
But does this show hold up today?
I thought this show had particularly good cast of characters, and
it was a good break from the Mario mania that was getting
overplayed at the time. The writing for this show was
average - most of the shows clearly were intended to tell a story
in a short amount of time and very little was done to develop the
individual characters beyond each episode. So from an
entertainment aspect the writing was very good as each episode
was new and 'exciting' but this kind of formula generally does not
hold up well over time as you need to develop characters and
legitimate plot in order to really get a greater appeal and longevity.
I think these are some of the reasons the show was short lived at
only being two seasons each of which are in this box set.
In shorter words, I think the entertainment value for a Nintendo
fan is definitely still there. If you like the cast of characters you will
heavily enjoy the adventures they go through, and I've always
found the portrayal of Simon Belmont to be very entertaining.
What exactly am I getting into with this box set?
When you get this box set you are buying the complete series, two
seasons spanned out over four discs, which makes it about 7
episodes give or take on each disc. Since there are many aspects
to a DVD in terms of entertainment and collectible value let's break
down and go over a few key ones in a little more detail.
Boxart - The box is black on the front with a nicely detailed picture
of Kevin, the main character. On the back appears to be again
updated artwork of the larger set of characters with a nicely written
introduction on the series. Overall I thought the box was very well
put together, nothing over the top, but very good.
Menus - I thought the artwork used in the menus were rather
average, I'm not sure if there was sufficient funding to get new
artwork done for this release. The layout is a background image
with foreground text -- bonus points are awarded for using a retro
80's font for the text as well as a mosaic menu transition, which is
Audio - I wasn't expecting a lot here beyond an English track in
Dolby Stereo, and it met my expectations. I'm actually glad they
didn't do anything silly like try to give a remixed track so for that
alone bonus points are awarded for not reinventing the wheel.
Video - The video as you can guess is 4:3 full frame, quality
however is one area I felt let down. Restoring frames from film is
a dirty job and often very costly. In the DVD video you can often
lots of the original film grain, as a result there is compression
artifacts on top of this in certain situations. I would say the transfer
to DVD was successful, there aren't any interlacing issues for
example, but I really do not see much evidence of significant time
spent in restoration.
Extras - I wasn't actually expecting any extras for this release,
they are more or less character bios and videoland tours with a
voice narrator. I realize the expectation level has to be realistic
considering how old this series was, but the extras didn't really
interest me much but its better than having nothing else for
Overall I consider this above average considering the audience for
this release will be limited. They did a good job providing a solid menu
and decent encoding to DVD, but there is nothing beyond that.
You may never see a series like this again where
Simon Belmont, Kid Icarus, Megaman, Eggplant Wizard coming
together on a cartoon series. One of the best aspects of this show is the characters
and the adventures they have in placed themed after various
Nintendo games. I'll never quite understand why they added
Gameboy in the second season, he didn't really add much to the
series and he couldn't talk for crying out loud!
Anyway if you are a Nintendo fan like me, this is worth getting a
hold of either for rental or purchase depending on your level of
commitment to enjoying this brand.