Transformers The Japanese Collection: Headmasters

Released by: Shout Factory
Release: June 2011
Price: $20 - $24 US/Cdn.

Synopsis:  Season 4 may have marked the end of the American series of Transformers G1, but Japan had many more stories to tell! Transformers: Headmasters replaces the Gen One 4th season and begins one year after the end of Season 3. Optimus Prime lives again, the energy of the Matrix has been released, and peace reigns on Cybertron... but all that is about to change with the startling arrival of the newest bred of Transformers warrior – the Headmasters!

Comments:  At long last, the Japanese TF series have been released in Region One! Or at least, the first of the series has been (hopefully with the others on the way). Of course any hardcore TF fan has likely already tracked down these series by other means and seen them anyway it's still nice to actually have DVDs one can easily access and which might potentially be seen by new audiences.
   Even though the release lacks the terrible English dub from Singapore, it's nice to get these in some form (and for a mere $24 I don't mind that Shout didn't spring for a new English soundtrack since it means I can get the set for cheaper). I also noticed that the series is much better without the bad Singapore dub making you laugh unintentionally at it (I should also point out that I have a Chinese set with the dub too so I'm not out anything really).
The video quality is good. It's not flawless but since the series has been put on DVD several times before in other regions it looks reasonably good (again, there is the odd flaw here and there--dirt or scratches periodically but decent for an official release).
    I could stand better titles for the episodes but I can live with the original ones, I guess (many are too revealing--The Death of Ultra Magnus, for example).
   I haven't watched every episode but the story is decent. A lot of classic G1 characters get screen time and many also die casually. The story sensibilities are different then what Flint Dille and gang did with the Sunbow stuff. Is is worse or just different? I'm not certain... but at least it's more episodes for fans to fuss over and enjoy.
   And now we can do it without needing to import something or download it online off some sketchy site. We have an official release like fans the world over have been enjoying for years.

Technical Details:

- Contains the 35 episode entire series of Headmasters on four discs (technically, three "recap" episodes are missing. However, they apparently just reiterated previous episodes with no new story).
- Japanese soundtrack with English sub-titles only
- Full frame (4:3) aspect ratio
- Special Features: Art Galleries
- Region One (U.S./Canada/Mexico)

Transformers Relevance:

- The first of the legendary Japanese exclusive Transformers series produced by Takara.