So, remember DEMON BEAST INVASION (Yojuu Kyoushitsu)? The 1990 MAEDA Toshio OAV series about horny aliens who impregnate human women and the whole thing ends with utter retardation and hawt Manta Monster Sex? Yeah. I just saw the US print of episodes 1-4, and I'll watch 5-6 later.
Episodes 1 and 2 do look a bit like shit. It's not nearly the unwatchable crap that happened with damaged digital masters like ADVENTURE KID (another Maeda "B" title), just that the bitrates are too low and there ends up being a lot of MPEG noise and blocking uglies in the many night scenes and space scapes. It's a watchable transfer... just not mind blowing. It's also the 100% uncensored edition, same as the LD MEMORIAL set I watched, and has the original title cards and original credits. Only downside really are a bunch of "hard" subtitles on title cards, subtitles and the like. Should have had a higher bitrate, but otherwise good.
Episodes 3 and 4 are... wow, this is bad. First off, there's only 1 hard subtitle between them, so yay. The title cards this time are replaced, using an ugly ass font than can only be described as atrotious. Seriously, while I sometimes question my friends' devotion to original credits on anime, these are so bad I want to buy the Japanese DVD's - and I don't even LIKE half the show! Yuck... seriously, these are the absolute worse looking title cards I ever saw. They're even gayer than the VAMPIRE HUNTER D crap Streamline stuck on their master in the early 90's. *Shudder* Best part though? The unmosaiced tentacle pr0n footage was taken from a washed out VHS master.
WHAT THE FUCK?
Anime 18 clearly had uncensored masters to have released the VHS uncensored - all things considered maybe 3 or 4 minutes worth of footage was ever mosaiced to begin with, and once the soft, washed out footage kicks in it's pretty noticable. I'm usually forgiving of composite prints, having made plenty myself for a variety of reasons... but what happened here? Were they given an uncensored workprint to release and the difference was negligable on DVD? Were the uncensored digital masters lost even in Japan? Did Anime 18 send the encoding house the wrong footage? Seriously, what the hell happened here? This doesn't make ANY damned sense... but at least I can properly wank to uncensored tentacle penetration, I suppose.
Incidentally, Episode 5 and 6 have a few fugly-ass title overlays, the same hideous font in episodes 3 and 4 for the title cards... but at least the uncensored Hawt Manta Secks and trilobite rape is the same quality as the rest of the episode. I almost hate to give Anime 18 credit for the eyesore footage in my favorite episodes (3 and 4), but the colors and detail on the R1's are actually better than the Japanese LD's. The Japanese DVD's probably look better than anything else out there (apart from the penis pixelation, of course...), but the real question is "do I care"? I love Maeda, and while the third and fourth episodes are at LEAST on par with stuff like Urotsukidouji 3 and Gedou Gakuen, the other 4 either bore me or leave me in fits of retarded laugher. And I usually only do that to INJUU KYOSHI (Angel of Darkness). So... yeah. It's a good thing when bad hentai makes me laugh, but not as good as when good hentai makes me smile in sadistic glee.
All things considered, the R1 is a decent package, and one I'll actually pay for eventually... it's just far from perfect, and I really wish people would mention when uncensored VHS footage was used. I dare anyone at Anime 18 to tell me something else was used. Sorry guys... I've encoded VHS. I know what it looks like compared to Digibeta.
Time to see what misery Kiseki Films and Anime 18 managed to make of ADVENTURE KID. I can't rightly blame Anime 18 for this one: the release has looked awful since it was sub-licensed from the UK, and there's not much they can do to fix horrendously damaged/fux0red up digital tapes. But... seriously. Something went very wrong there.
I've offered to help Anime 18 with special editions of UROTSUKIDOJI in the past. They weren't interested. It's a shame: between my partner in crime Zuba and I we probably know as much about the show as is humanly possible without having been in the production process. I don't know nearly as much about Demon Beast Invasion, mostly because... well, I don't like it nearly as much as other Maeda shows. But I -do- know better transfers were possible than what Anime 18 has given us. Still, these DVD's feature subtitles, are uncut, and you can get it for dirt cheap if you try a little... *CoughHKFLIX.COMHack* It's just a shame that, much like the rest of Anime 18's back catalog, a special edition - or even a notable remaster (as in, using new master materials... not just a new encode) - is likely to never happen.
Truth be told, I'd be amazed if we got the last episode of YAKIN BYOUTOU from Anime 18... I have a feeling they're going much the way of Soft Cel. And that's not good, considering how many good titles they own the rights to. They may not have been perfect, but Critical Mass cuts loli, and Media Blasters is about the last "anime" studio doing hentai alongside mainstream titles. The new guys - Amorz, Japan Anime and whoever - seem to be all right, in that NuTech No Money No Effort sort of way - though with HOT STORM cutting credits I'm starting to get just a wee bit worried. No matter... I don't buy much ecchi anyway, and Angel Core is the only great looking show they have right now.
Urg. My head hurts. Time to go watch pinku methinks.