Friday, December 19, 2014

Mysteries of the Universe, vol. 1

I like astronomy. I like looking at high-quality space photos, staring at the moon, etc. Recently, I've been looking for DVDs I can install on my PC with some kind of screensaver or wallpaper. So, when the Uchuu no Shinpi (Mysteries of the Universe) series started coming out from Hachette, it caught my eye. I didn't really want to spend the money right away, so I waited until the release of vol. 7 (biweekly release, 1,490 yen ($13 USD) per magazine/DVD) to go back and look over what was on the shelves. Since the introductory issue is always the cheapest (490 yen in this case), I finally decided to get that one and hope there'd be good stills of the moon.

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.
Package front cover.)

The DVD wouldn't auto-play on my PC, and only contained some strange files that had unrecognized file extensions. So I popped it into my DVD player. It wasn't until the FBI copyright protection notice came up that I released that these disks are from the History Channel in the U.S., and are just re-dubbed versions of the American TV program, rather than photos and film clips shot by Japanese astronomers. That pretty much killed my enthusiasm for the series (partly because Japanese dubs are never very good; the voice acting is horrible).

(Official vol. 1 magazine cover.)

Anyway, the magazine is ok. The first 5-6 pages advertise the rest of the series, and announce the prizes you can get if you collect the proof-of-purchase seals from the entire $350 set (a DVD holder case, and a small planetarium). The rest of the magazine introduces the hosts, with the addition of 2 Japanese guys that weren't in the U.S. version, and then goes on to mimic the DVD.

(Page describing what you get if you collect all of the proof-of-purchase seals.)

There is one page worth mentioning, which talks about Japan's "Mr. Rocket", Hideo Itokawa (1913-99). According to the wiki entry, Itokawa designed the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa "Oscar" fighter plane during WW II. Later he became a full professor at Tokyo University, and worked on the Japan Space Agency's Pencil Rocket program in 1955. He retired from the university in 1968, and started his own institute.

(The Pencil Rocket program.)

Naturally, since Mysteries of the Universe is a History Channel program, it's slick and well-produced. But, it's not what I'm looking for. So, I'll keep scanning the astronomy shelves at Junkudo Books for something with more of a PC DVD-ROM approach.

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