Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Lone Wolf and Fuck-Ups

Rock! Shock! Pop!'s forum - once again, that all-important source of the piss and vinegar I need to get through life - has done a few side by side COMPARISONS between the original "SHOGUN ASSASSINS" Blu-ray fron AnimEigo, and their brand-spankin' new LONE WOLF AND CUB/子連れ狼 Blu-ray set due later this month.

Now I admit, I may have lost my shit over a release I don't actually have yet... and, yeah, in the scheme of things, that's a little unfair. That's not to say that a 1:1 screenshot isn't a perfectly valid and useful tool in discussing what a particular transfer may (or may not) have done right or that it can help viewers make an informed judgment on whether or not they want to support a release due to whatever materials and encoding methods have been used, just that until you've watched that disc from end to end... well, you're basically taking a couple random moments in time that may or may not tell the whole story. Screenshots aren't invalid as a medium for exploring this sort of thing, but they're just a single moment in time, and there may be more than you can see with just a small sampling of them.

To that end, I probably should have taken a goddamn chill pill over Re-Animator. Oh yes, I still think the caps look like garbage, and it'll be with gritted teeth and lowered as hell expectations that I pick that up later in the week.

All that said, I'm not going to talk about the new Lone Wolf and Cub set until I've gotten my hands on it. In the meantime, however, this is what those comparisons have wrought:



*Deep, calming breaths and a slow sip of camomille tea with lemon. Mmm, I taste honey...*

AnimEigo themselves bragged about how long the DVNR process was going to take for their Lone Wolf and Cub transfers, so I don't think it's unfair t say that the above image is exactly what we should expect from the actual release, which unceremoniously crammed about 4.5 hours on each disc. I'll give Synapse a pass for that nonsense when they're doing 80 beat-up trailers or whatever, but this kind of bullshi-

Nope. Not going to talk shit about a release I don't have. Not this week. Let's all just read Ian's lovely, LESS THAN POSITIVE REVIEW and then... I don't even fucking know. "Commit seppuku" seems a little over the top, but, you understand my current sentiments I'm sure.


Kriztoffer Swank said...

Oh my fuck. :|

Now I feel like a jackass for laughing at my friend for picking up the Shogun Assassin BD box set when the uncut original films were just around the corner.

If this is indicative of how AnimEigo will continue to utilize hi-def, I dread their anime releases. Their DVDs are already kinda shitty-looking, I was expecting at least a little more...

Kentai 拳態 said...

If it's any consolation, AnimEigo doesn't actually hold the rights to any anime titles at this point, unless their rights to BUBBLEGUM CRISIS extended twenty years or something. Their company name might as well be a cute historical artifact at this point, as they almost exclusively deal in jidai geki fare now. Not, as Seinfeld once awkwardly said, that there's anything wrong with that...

Small world: I now work for a guy who came in wearing an AnimEigo shirt one day. I got a bit excited seeing it ('cause, you know, I'm a dork like that) and asked him where he got it, and he told me he worked on YAWARA! before getting his current job.

Anonymous said...

Damn it! I was so looking forward to this. What a freaking joke! Plastic DNR garbage for such quality films. Totally unacceptable. I hope their e-mail gets flooded with angry customers. I sure as hell will let them know how I feel about it.

Demon said...

Blech. No sale. Will wait a bit to see if another blu-ray release pops up in the UK or something. If not, will grab the AnimEigo DVDs or Eureka DVDs.

Kriztoffer Swank said...

I sent AnimEigo an email about this last night and got a response from Robert Woodhead today. Now, I love Robert. He seems like a genuinely cool guy and I'm happy he's licensed anime in the States all these years. I don't mean for this to be a "shitting on AnimEigo" post or anything. I'm just really let down by their decision to noise reduce the HELL out of these transfers. And who knows? Maybe if enough people express their disappointment, they'll reconsider. Maybe I'm being too hopeful there...but despite being old masters, if the Lone Wolf and Cub set looked similar to the Shogun Assassin one, I'd buy it. As it is, I'll avoid this like a cornucopia of turds.

Here's Mr. Woodhead's response:

I'm sorry you're disappointed in the transfer. We did the noise reduction (and applied it lightly) to reduce the background noise in the video, and the goal was to make the video viewing experience better -- I personally find the background noise from the telecine distracting (our HD transfers were done some years back when we did the DVD release), so we wanted to tone that down just a little from the SA release.

Admittedly, people can differ in their opinions about the "right" amount of adjustment. At the end of the day, it's a judgment call. But looking at the screenshots, I have to honestly say that the loss of real detail is (to my eye) hard to see; what got reduced is the random background noise -- and I would point out that doing that increases the number of bits available for the real detail.

But thanks for the feedback. I do appreciate it, and will bear it in mind in the future.


Kentai 拳態 said...

While I'm 110% agreed that the LWC caps look substantially worse than the SA caps... well, I'm afraid Woodhead does have a point. There's visible moire patterns and an unnatural, chunky appearance to the "grain" on the SA transfer that's probably analog garbage more than anything. What these films really needed was a new telecine, but I can imagine that's a pipe-dream for the current market...

As much as I think Robert's heart was in the right place, this is one of those severe cases where the symptoms might have been preferable to the cure. Digital noise is bad, but waxy DVNRed transfers are even worse.

Gurotaku said...

Looks like I'll keep my Eureka PAL DVD box set from the UK. Shrugging off BD releases and sticking with the DVDs I already own is starting to become the norm.

X-human said...

Definitely a case where the cure is worse then the disease. When you'd rather watch an unconverted DVD than a Blu-ray it's just shameful. The paranoid schizo inside me believes this is a conspiracy to get completists to buy both boxsets; only then to re-issue Lone Wolf unaltered.

We need to adopt a new standard for when HD TVs are first turned on. It will show you two clips. One grainy as hell. The other blurry as hell from DNR with EE. The viewer decides which they like better and the default is either the TV does nothing or it cranks it up to eleven. Then companies will no longer feel the need to spend extra money on over-processing their image.

We can do this. We have the technology.