New Feather

This DVD includes the first four episodes of the series. I'll be covering image quality a bit later. The cover art is the same as the first Japanese disc. They're packaged in clear cases again, although not Amray this time, showing the same white-on-green line art on the inside of the cover. The disc silkscreen is a black-on-green version of this same image, which isn't as good as the doujinshi images on the R2 DVDs.

Included with the limited edition are two pencil boards. One has the cover art on one side, with a picture of Rakka floating amidst bubbles on the other side. This is the one that came with the first pressing DVD without the box. The other has the cover art from the last Japanese DVD on one side, with the box art from the Japanese box on the other side.
They also include the Haibane Hakusho, although they've rearranged things in the consolidation. This one includes "How to Walk in Glie", a tour of the town; character profiles on all the haibane; and a Haibane Topics section covering the Haibane Renmei, Washi and the Tooga. Do be careful reading this. The character profiles were spread out over the full five disc release of the original, so some of them contain mild spiolers.

Two booklets are included. One has yet another copy of the cover art on the front, with the track listing on the back. Inside this one is the image of Rakka floating in bubbles.

The limited edition box is quite sturdy, and the art attempts to mimic an old leather-bound book. Although this is fitting for the series, I would have loved some ABe character art.

As far as the disc itself goes, we're given only a DVD5. This is pretty typical of recent Pioneer releases, but combined with the generous amount of space they give the trailers, there's not as much for the show itself as I would like. Luckily, the image quality doesn't seem to suffer for it, except with Pioneer's replacement credits (which seem to be interlaced, while the rest of the video is progressive). Unfortunately, they've mistagged the video again (see this Secrets of Home Theater DVD Player Benchmark page for details again).
Audio is, as expected of a US release, Dolby Digital rather than PCM. They seem to have used fairly low-bitrate on the audio (192 Kb/s), which is too bad.
The menus are okay, featuring cloudscapes and halos. I've just never been a big fan of animated menus, especially when their looping doesn't take into account the music that's playing, as in this case. Refrain of Memory is a good song to use, but the loop is not placed well.

On disc extras include a creditless opening and an art gallery. The main disappointment here is the next episode previews, which are not the same as the ones on the Japanese discs. These are simple voice-overs of clips. This is apparently what Pioneer LDC sent, but I have no reason why they'd change them like this.

I have not yet addressed the dub, and there's a good reason for that. I'm not a dub fan. I rarely ever watch them. Several of the reviews I've linked to cover the dub, and it's been pretty well recieved. Best thing to note is that Jonathan Klein, the dub director, has stated that they didn't pay much attention to the lip-flaps when recording. This is a good thing, as it allows the voice actors to actually act.

Overall this is a pretty solid release, but it could have easily been better.

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Images Copyright Pioneer and/or yoshitoshi ABe unless otherwise noted