I am unaware if there have been long-standing plans to turn Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 from its initial comic book form into a motion comic. While it cannot have escaped your attention that the Buffy franchise is moving on without Joss Whedon, this seems like a nice sendoff that winks and says, “This is the established level you are going up against.” We can only hope that the new Buffy movie will come close to what the masterminds behind Buffy seasons 1-8 have created.
So, let’s talk about that. I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel. A comic book fan? Meeh, not so much. Still, life is all about adapting. What we have here is a motion comic, which is not exactly animation but a far cry from static images being shown on the screen. There are voiceovers who read aloud from the pages while you view the images (which have their own method of being animated with special effects, pans and camera zooms.)
This is a newer form of media that’s hitting the mainstream, in one sense. But in another sense, I completely remember being entertained by children’s TV shows in the 80’s which used similar formats (remember the guy on PBS who would draw a picture as he read a story?) Thing is, it is entertaining so don’t write it off. While it may seem to be a tame way to present a story on DVD/Blu-ray, it’s simply a different way to present a story. With the Buffy Motion Comic you get to see the great illustrations, for instance.
When it comes to the voice-acting, you really have to get used to these new voices. It would have been amazing had they been able to get some of the original actors to voice parts, but maybe it’s better that they’re all new so that we don’t look down on the writing and storylines helped by any less familiar voices. Sadly, the voice I dislike the most is the person who voices Buffy Summers. I feel she lacks a sense of humor or sarcasm in her voice (which you need to say a lot of these Whedon lines!) So that’s a bit of a bummer. Still, the plots are really engrossing and I liked it overall.
While this is labeled as the Motion Comic for Buffy Season 8, they should have added that it’s more of a Volume One Motion Comic. Buffy Season 8 had over 40 issues, and there are 19 issues (each of the issue episodes runs about 11-15 minutes) included on this DVD/Blu ray combo. It seems highly likely that executives are just testing the water, to see if people are interested enough for them to continue down this road. (Let them know that you are interested by purchasing a copy!)
The quality of the pictures is fantastic. I love seeing the characters I’ve known for so long rendered in these artistic ways.
The packaging has cover art as removable cardboard on the outside, and then you can also see the cover as an insert which is the cover of an included comic book. It’s a little different than what you’re used to.
The Buffy Season 8 Motion Comic Special Features for the Blu-ray include a doc named “Under Buffy’s Spell”, test pilot for the motion comic, a trivia game and an art gallery of the covers of the comics. The DVD special features have all of that but also have an option to create your very own Buffy Comic using Tooncast Studio DVD-Rom. There is also the included comic.
A true sign of the changing times in technology? Get this up on Netflix Instant Watch, and the future will seem much happier for all Buffy fans.
Whether this can ever live up to your standards of the original TV series, that’s hard to say. But it’s certainly worth your time, and a must-see for all Buffy fans. Creative, artistic and gripping, Buffy and her friends always going to be a welcome sight.
Disclosure: A copy was sent for review purposes.
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