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Dennis A. Amith reviews “Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” (DVD Review)

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It’s a bit pricey at Y3800 (which is normal in Japan) which may turn overseas fans off, but unless you are a huge fan of the Yomiuri Giants, this DVD may not be for everyone considering that the Giants came up short and didn’t win the championship.  But true fans will no doubt want to check “”Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” out!


TITLE: Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14

DURATION: 1:03:58 (not including special features)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, Dolby Digital, 16:9 LB

COMPANY: VAP INC.

RELEASED DATE: March 2014


読売ジャイアンツ DVD年鑑 season ’13~’14 / スポーツ

読売ジャイアンツの2013年シーズンをまとめた決定版DVD! リーグ優勝&クライマックス・シリーズ優勝を果たした2013年の原ジャイアンツ。2013年ペナントレースのハイライトから、2014年度の キャンプイン映像、新戦力の紹介映像も徹底収録! <主な収録内容>●2013年シーズンハイライト ●ファンフェスタ ●2014年度キャンプイン映像 ●2014年度新戦力紹介、インタビューなど

The Yomiuri Giants, the Tokyo team that is often compared to the New York Yankees due to the team winning 36 Central League pennants and 22 Japan Series Championships.

There is no doubt pride and tradition that is tied to the team but also being one the most profitable baseball teams in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), but also receiving the ire of anti-Giants fans from other NPB teams including Tokyo Yakult Swallows fans who dislike the team for its marketing tactics.

But love them or hate them, the Yomiuri Giants are no doubt a baseball team that has had a history of championships under their belt and continue to remain dominant since debuting back in 1934 as the Great Japan Tokyo Baseball Club, before changing their name to Tokyo Kyojin and later to the Yomiuri Giants in 1947.

But with their last championship win against the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in 2012 for the Japan Series, there was a lot of high anticipation for the 2013 team.

But in 2013-2014, it was one of the most heartbreaking seasons for Yomiuri Giants fans as the team, who had the best win-loss record of that year, would take on the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japan Series and would lose in a heartbreaking game 7.

But for those who are more interested in watching the Yomiuri Giants play exciting baseball for the 2013-2014 season not including the playoffs or championships, the “Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” is a DVD that may be worth checking out!

About 64 minutes long, “Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” (Yomiuri Giants DVD Yearbook Season ’13~`14) is a documentary featuring the team’s wonderful winning season with interviews with players, free agency and the acquiring of Kataoka and Ibata, acquiring foreign players, a visit from former Yomiuri Giants slugger Matsui Hideki to practice, Fan Festa 2013 and the up-and-coming players from their draft.

The game doesn’t go into the Japan Series and the loss against Rakuten, it pretty much goes back to the draft and training camp and preparing for the 2014 season.  So, no need for Giants fans to relive the game 7 nightmare but respect what the team accomplished that year.


 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • 2014 Players Guide – A text based player list.
  • 2013 Home Runs – (38:07) A compilation of all Yomiuri Giant home runs for the 2013 season.

Overall, these end of the season DVD’s released by NPB teams are strictly for fans who want to remember the great games that the team had for the 2013 season and bouncing back and preparing for 2014.

And as the team was able to have their third straight Central League Victory the following year, the truth is that 2013 was a year that the Yomiuri Giants were in perfect position to win and they had their chances but came up short.

While the team played a magnificent 2013 season, unfortunately the end result was not what the team expected but it was against a strong Rakuten Eagles pitching team which included phenom Tanaka Masahiro.

As for the DVD, it was quite entertaining and seeing the spectacular plays made by the Giants players.  You also get a 38 minute special feature showcasing all homeruns for that season.

Nevertheless, this “Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” DVD is more about celebrating the great season the team had in 2013 prior to the Japan Series and rebuilding for 2014.  Nothing more and nothing less.

Sure, It’s a bit pricey at Y3800 (which is normal in Japan) which may turn overseas fans off, but unless you are a huge fan of the Yomiuri Giants, this DVD may not be for everyone considering that the Giants came up short and didn’t win the championship.  But true fans will no doubt want to check “”Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” out!



Dennis A. Amith reviews Nakahata Bay Star Zu 3 Nenkan No Kiseki Yokohama DeNA Bay Star Zu Koshiki Documentary Dugout No Muko (DVD Review)

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I love the fact that Yokohama DeNA Baystars allowed the cameras to have access in areas where coaches and players usually never let them venture into. And I’m not sure if they or any team will ever allow it again. But this “Nakahata Bay Star Zu 3 Nenkan No Kiseki Yokohama DeNA Bay Star Zu Koshiki Documentary Dugout No Muko” mook/DVD release is a rarity and if you are a Yokohama DeNA Baystars fan or fan of Japanese baseball, then I easily recommend checking it out, especially now that you can purchase it for under $15.



TITLE: Nakahata Bay Star Zu 3 Nenkan No Kiseki Yokohama DeNA Bay Star Zu Koshiki Documentary Dugout No Muko

DURATION: 1:17:50 (not including special features)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, Dolby Digital, 16:9 LB

COMPANY: Kodansha

RELEASED DATE: November 28, 2014


内容紹介

『プロ野球の新たな魅力が凝縮されたドキュメンタリー「ダグアウトの向こう」で振り返る、中畑ベイスターズ3年間の軌跡』知 られざる野球の一面や魅力を伝えるために、横浜DeNAベイスターズが制作したドキュメンタリー『ダグアウトの向こう』。これまでメディアが足を踏み入れ ることのできなかった“禁断の地”ロッカー内や試合中のベンチ裏、移動バスの中などにカメラが密着したレアな映像から紡ぎだされた本作品は、選手たちが見 せるグラウンドでの華やかに活躍する姿とともに、その裏に隠されたダグアウトの向こう側にある喜びや苦しみのすべてを映し出した珠玉のドキュメンタリーで す。
本書は、『ダグアウトの向こう2014-今を生きるということ。』の完成記念として、『ダグアウトの向こう』を特別編集した映像とともに、中 畑ベイスターズの3年間の軌跡を振り返る、DVD付きマガジンです。DVDには、2012年、2013年に製作された2年分の「ダグアウトの向こう」特別 編集版に加え、中畑監督に2014年シーズンを語っていただいた独占インタビュー、さらにはそのインタビューに合わせた試合映像と密着映像で2014中畑 ベイスターズを振り返ります。その他、セルDVD未収録の映像も特典映像としてDVDに収録。

For Japanese baseball fans, Nakahata Kiyoshi will be remembered for his time as a player for the Yomiuri Giants (1976-1989).

He was also visible as a sports commentator and even dabbled in politics.

But Nakahata would return to baseball to help kick off the new chapter of the Yokohama Baystars as the company was purchased by the mobile portal site DeNA Co., Ltd.

Now called Yokohama DeNA Baystars, sporting a new logo, new mascots and new energy, would Nakahata’s Baystars do well in the Central League rankings?

To help usher in the new era of the Yokohama DeNA Baystars, an unprecedented documentary was created to showcase Nakahata’s team from 2012 through 2014.  Cameras were allowed into the locker room and dug out and fans will get to see what transpired behind-the-scenes with each win or loss.

And now the documentary is released in a mook/DVD titled “Nakahata Bay Star Zu 3 Nenkan No Kiseki Yokohama DeNA Bay Star Zu Koshiki Documentary Dugout No Muko” and you can see what happens beyond the dugout.

The mook comes with a case with twelve pages of content which includes an interview and shining moments from the three years with the Baystars.  But the majority of the content can be seen on the near 80-minute DVD.

The documentary kicks off with an interview with manager Nakahata Kiyoshi as he discusses challenges especially during a game against the Yomiuri Giants (note: the documentary shifts from the interview, to footage from the game and the players going into the dugout or to the locker room).

From Hirata Shingo giving up 10 runs in the eighth inning against the Yomiuri Giants when they had a five point lead, discussing the importance of pitching and the success of Yamaguchi Shun and Mikami Tomoya.  How Miura Daisuke would win the MVP and his playing ethic.

After discussing the importance of pitching, Hirata goes into the importance of batting and getting runs.  He discusses the signing of infielder Yulieski Gurriel and the power of Tsutsugo Yoshitomo.  But also discusses the future of the Baystars with bringing in people from the farm team after the team has suffered key injuries.

The second part of the documentary features the team dynamics and preparing big games against Hiroshima Carp’s Maeda Kenta and key games against the Hanshin Tigers and Yakult Swallows.  But also how the team had to deal with key injuries, especially team captain Ishikawa Takehiro.  But also discussing the challenges the team has faced and not being successful (as the Baystars would be in sixth place in 2012, fifth place in 2013 and 2014 in the Central League).

The third part of the documentary would focus on improvements that had to be made within the organization and feature the team going against the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers and finding success with their pitcher Ota Atori and how the team was starting to do well in the standings for a short while.  And how they would fine solid batting with Sekine Taiki and would end with the retirement of Koike Masaaki and his wonderful final-at-bat moment.

And despite the many ups and downs, the result remained the same and to show how the Baystars would once again end their 2014 year in 5th place.


With the release of “Nakahata Bay Star Zu 3 Nenkan No Kiseki Yokohama DeNA Bay Star Zu Koshiki Documentary Dugout No Muko”, there is no doubt that the documentary tries to capture the behind-the-scenes situations of a baseball club, what happens in the dugout and the locker room.

While in the United States, watching this type of footage for various sports is common, in Japan, it’s quite rare.

So, I was drawn to watching this documentary because of its unprecedented access but most of all, knowing that the Baystars has struggled since 2002 (with the exception of better standings in 2005 and 2007).

What I found interesting is how upbeat manager Nakahata Kiyoshi was at the beginning of the “Beyond the Dugout” experiment.  So much footage was on him, interviews was with him but you start to realize how much of that footage started to decrease and the focus became more on the players, what goes behind-the-scenes with key injuries, celebration of wins, agony of multiple loss and not being in sync.

Of course, having three difficult years to cover, to show positive sides of the team, we get to see more of the good than the bad, which is good.  You get to see players when they were hot, making home runs, catching difficult hits outfield and also seeing the older members shining, especially Miura becoming MVP and Koike’s retirement and final home run.

But for some unknown reason, the documentary is cut off at the end.  No closing footage but to show that the Baystars had another fifth place standing in 2014.  The narrator was cutoff and was surprised that it ended abruptly (I suspect they wanted to save more of the footage for the official “Dugout no Mukou” Blu-ray and DVD release).

Fortunately, you do get three special features showcasing extended sequences for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 season.  But also an eight-minute special feature about Shirasaki Hiroyuki and the player behind-the-scenes.

DVD quality for the most part picture quality is good (as one can expect on DVD), dialogue is clear via Dolby Digital with no major hissing.  But with that being said, on December 13th, a Blu-ray version of the documentary featuring longer scenes was released and can be purchased through the Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars official store at the stadium or on their website.

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Overall, aside from the abrupt end of the documentary and the fact that you had more talk towards the beginning of the documentary and more action and behind-the-scenes for the rest of the documentary, the fact is you are watching something that fans never get to see and that is what goes on behind-the-scenes for a Nippon Professional Baseball team.

The access the cameras were given was unprecedented but you realize that despite the Yokohama DeNA Baystars having struggles in those three years in the standing, it was challenging, frustrating but they tried to do the best with the players that they had, key injuries and more.

But I love the fact that Yokohama DeNA Baystars allowed the cameras to have access in areas where coaches and players usually never let them venture into.  And I’m not sure if they or any team will ever allow it again.

It’s important to emphasize that this is the Y1,700 Mook/DVD version that I am reviewing.  The Blu-ray release which costs around Y15,600 includes players audio commentary and even more footage.

But this “Nakahata Bay Star Zu 3 Nenkan No Kiseki Yokohama DeNA Bay Star Zu Koshiki Documentary Dugout No Muko” mook/DVD release is a rarity and if you are a Yokohama DeNA Baystars fan or fan of Japanese baseball, then I easily recommend checking it out, especially now that you can purchase it for under $15.