Since so much has been said about this unusual, surreal, nonsensical series already, I'll skip right to the details of the set.
Bo-bobo has had a troubled home-video history. It was picked-up by an up-and-coming company spun-off from ADV employees who flew the coop called Illumitoon. They promised the series without the cuts it received on television and the original Japanese language track. Instead of offering a box-set of some sort, they went with singles. Volume one arrived and something was glaringly off; the subtitles were closed-caption dub-titles that followed the dub and its varying detours from the original. The dub-title track wasn't horrible per-se, but the closed-captions just didn't work. The company admitted to their mistake and began replacing discs for free that corrected this issue. Soon enough, volume two came around. Then everything went silent and it stayed that way; until now.
Illumitoon closed-up shop after putting-out a very small set of discs for two-to-three different series. Fast-forward to January 2011 and a surprise annoucement is made; Bo-bobo had been licensed rescued! S'more Entertainment pulled the series from its slumber and promised fans a complete series release in two box-sets. This was it! The series was finally getting the release it deserved; in full.
The release of set number one has come and gone earlier this week with not just joy, but confusion. Reports started coming in that the English subtitles were downright missing from the set. S'more Entertainment announced subtitles, advertised it on their online store, and slapped it on the package. Illumitoon's old release started with an issue, and this seemed to have been no different. A coincidence? Not so.
It appears mentioning of subtitles was an error on the company's part. That's right; they weren't including subtitles to accompany the Japanese language track. Instead, disc four comes with a set of translated scripts for all thirty-eight episodes in the box. S'more was not offered subtitles to go along with the set, and admitted to leaving them out because of cost reasons. My problem with this is that they passed-off the wrong information for nearly four months straight. If it wasn't going to be subtitled and you incorrectly stated it as such, fix your mistake!
That said, everything else about the box is beautiful. 38 episodes come spread on four discs with crisp artwork inside two regular-style DVD cases housed within a lightly matte-finished slipbox. Picture is crisp and bright, with minor artifacting affecting mostly on-screen text and scenes with heavy movement. The sound is clear as day and quite LOUD. (This is a plus!)
Finally, the original Japanese audio is included along with the English dub. As far as the latter goes, it's really good. I watched the whole thing when it aired on television, and found it well-cast. The translation took liberties here and there with obscure cultural stuff, but not like usual; it picked at it. And believe it or not, the joking was in the vein of the series and felt far from out of place. With this set, viewers who want to see it in the original language can do so know. But as I said before, no subtitles.
-English scripts come as .pdf extras
I'm really torn about this set. It's decked-out with the series in the way it should be, but the missing subtitles makes it hard to recommend. My issue lies more with how the licensor handled their issues and continues to do so. Had I known before hand, I would have had time to think about watching the series raw or printing-out the enclosed scripts to follow-along with. For those who don't care, you have no reason to skip this at such a great price. For those who do, think about it first long and hard.
Either way, the series has finally come close to getting the release it deserves. It has on literally every single front, but the falsely-advertised issue can make or break it in the eye of the beholder.