Instant review: Nanoha A’s is one of the best otaku-exploitation shows ever, featuring explosions, Starlight Breaker, German-shouting magical girl weapons, and charming and pleasant plot holes you could drive a truck through. I’m not sure how this happened considering how bad the other two Nanoha series were. The DVD box is $30 and I guess you should buy it, unless you’re tired of every post on here being about buying stuff or something.
That said, I watched the first DVD, and they ended up doing really low quality work. Apart from having a dub, the fansubs are probably better in every way.
Video – Maybe because they stuck 5 episodes on one DVD, the bitrate goes really low at several points and it artifacts really badly. I don’t think you’d notice unless you were me/Defiler/Fluff, though, but I only have two other DVDs (KareKano, which has an excuse, and Haruhi, which doesn’t) that have noticable artifacts this bad.
Audio – is worse; the first episode is in mono, of all things. Apparently they switched mastering studios and the new one loves to randomly hit the wrong checkbox in their encoders or something. This pretty much makes the OP/ED sound terrible but doesn’t really affect the important part (EXPLOSION!). Maybe they’ll release fixed DVDs, but since they have no money I wouldn’t hold my breath. It’s fine after that episode (excellent panning across the forward soundstage etc.), but I think the other two DVDs might have the same problem.
Translation – is really literal; it looks like it was edited, but not by someone who knows what a bad Japanese translation looks like. A bunch of metaphors are translated literally, resulting in lines that only kind of make sense, and a few lines are weirdly overspecific to the point of actually being mistranslated.
Ep 1, DVD on left/fansub on right:
(note: I am bad at matching the same frame, oh well)
Nanoha’s “Listen to me!” before using her Energy Beam of Friendship is subbed as “Listen to what I have to say!”, which usually would be ok but in this scene makes it look like a threat or something. Admittedly it makes the scene better than it actually is, but it’s totally not justified by the real line.
After ep 1 it gets better, but it still seems below good fansub/average retail quality.
Not a translation problem, and optic yellow is great and all, but can we please not use it in digital animation when characters have the same color hair as the subtitle text?
This is kinda surprising since usually retail DVDs seem pretty well-done to me. Manga is another story.
Also someone gave me a Nendoroid Miku and I can’t figure out how to put the stand together.