A pair of Yasuhara HASEBE Pinku have been restored by myself.
Not bad for a VHS upscale with an initial capture from a cheesy Lite-On DVD recorder, eh? I'd say that SLAVE WIFE is still the best looking of the bunch, but only because the tape was especially nice. The process hasn't changed much, but I've found that using spline or lanczos is overkill; there's just no more "detail" to magick out of a VHS tape, and using bicubic cut down on the inherent noise ever so slightly in comparison, but not so much that you lose any actual detail. The pattern on the wall of the Rape! screencap was sort of a litmus; it didn't change using any of the algorithms, proving that all I was doing was wasting CPU cycles and getting better defined analog noise, which I don't particularly want in the first place.
There's occasional combing on Rape!, but only because the tape had some tracking issues which creates horizontal distortions which wreak havoc on any IVTC method, so my only hope to get rid of it would be to buy a new tape. As I didn't buy any of these in the first place, that just ain't happening.
I'm hoping Nikkatsu makes with the restored R2 DVDs on these films, especially Raping!, which is easily the greatest road movie ever made. No, really. It's the Marquis de Sade's JUSTINE but with a hot Japanese girl in bell bottoms getting molested by truckers in the woods who throw money in her face when they have their way with her, and at one point has a wheedly little salaryman looking dork get butt raped by a gang of bikers. And that's just the tip of the awesome iceburg, too. In comparison Rape! has delicious Tani getting tied up and ravaged on a playground, but without her being the object of rope based torture via Dan Oniroku's perverted imagination I'm slightly less interested in whatever it is she has to do. Don't get me wrong, Tani's lovely... but she's even moreso when kimono and bamboo poles are involved. S'all I'm saying.
Best part is both of these will get subtitle patches shortly. Video Search of Miami made hard-subbed bootlegs back in the days of VHS dupes, and while Rape! looked mostly okay, Raping! is so bad that the subbed tape is literally black and white. I'm not kidding, literally monochrome grayscale covered in composite artifact rainbows. *Shudder* Nasty stuff.
I think both films have been cropped slightly; what should likely be 2.39:1 look more like 2.1:1, particularly Raping! which doesn't have as much window-boxing to mask this fact. I'm guessing it was a sacrifice made by Nikkatsu in the era of low-res NTSC transfers, and isn't quite as bad as poor Slave Wife, which was literally cropped to 1.78:1 after a full scope opening. Eh, if anyone wants to hand me a fresh 2.39:1 telecine from a 35mm print they're more than free to do so, but until that happens I'll assume that this VHS restoration is the best either of these films will look until Nikkatsu breaks all their Hasebe classics out of their vault. I don't feel embarassed about these transfers, either... years working with the soul-crushing defeat of Vampire Hunter D had made me self-conscious about wither or not I was any good at video restoration, but these relatively simple tweaks have given me just the boost I needed. No, I'm neither Don May Jr. nor God, but I'm getting there.
So, if you want these check out ADC. Also grab SABURAI while you're at it, as it's still golden. I'll admit that it's not as great as I may have made it out to be, but that's in part because I wasn't familiar with enough good chanbara films to make a fair comparison. But hey, it's a free download, right?
In other news I got me an 8mm projector and moviola style viewing suite. No clue what the hell I'm going to do with it, but I'm sure it'll be a lot of fun, whatever it is.