BEHOLD! Ichi the Killer in High Defini-
I just don't feel like dragging my Blood Bag SE DVD out now - the fact that there is zero appreciable detail difference between the "1080p High Definition" transfer and an 853x480 downscale of the same material is enough to tell us everything we need to know.
Maybe the licensor wasn't cooperative, I don't know. All I do know is that this damn thing is an upscale, and now even photoshop backs me up. The worst part is that this is still the best release of Ichi out there, but once again, I can't recommend that anyone picks it up if they already own the special edition DVD. The difference is marginal, at best... So let's just hope that DEATH KAPPA looks better, or something.
In similar-yet-unrelated news, I think I've figured out why the Dragon Dynasty release of THE KILLER was an interlaced HD standards conversion:
This German DVD transfer, sourced from the same master as the recent DD Blu-ray, has several random shots with "hard" interlacing artifacts (combing) that can't be gotten rid of with standard 2:2 cadence detection. If this were pitched down to 24fps, the progressive 1080p transfer would have the same combing artifacts, and would effectively cease to be a genuinely "progressive" anything. That doesn't make the shoddy release permissible, not by a long shot, but at least it's finally starting to make sense.