GOOD NEWS: Packaging looks stellar, the menus are super cute, the limited edition booklet is out of this world, and... you know, it's motherfucking Serial Experiments Lain.
BAD NEWS: ...y'know what? I'm not even going to discuss this. I've spent all day wanting to punch faces into steaming craters, so I'm going to let the only person capable of topping my own rage handle it; take it away, Mrs. Kentai!
Yo! Little Lady Kentai here, to talk about how pissed I am at FUNimation for their sacrilege to the absolute classic anime title that is Serial Experiments Lain.
Lain is a show that I was immediately attached to. Cute main character? Check. Obsession with computers that rivals my own? Check. Interesting story line? Check. This is one show that I've never heard anyone say a bad word about. The only show, in fact. I'm sure there are people who dislike it, but it's been one of the only shows where everyone seems to find one thing they enjoy about it.
When I heard FUNimation was handling the blu-ray release, my first thoughts were, "YES! FUNimation has the money to back this shit up! I look forward to this interesting, beautiful, perfect reproduction of the Japanese blu-ray set." Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I waited in suspense, credit card already earmarked and pre-order immediately sent into RightStuf.com.
When the set arrived, a whole weekend earlier than expected, we immediately cracked it open and shoved it into our reliable ol' PS3. Watching the first episode, my heart started to sink. Surely.... surely the Japanese disc didn't look like... this...
The banding. DEAR GOD, THE BANDING. It was eating away at Lain! Her hair was dancing with the tiny shifting blocks caused by compression, or gamma adjusting, or I don't fucking know or care, WHAT THE FUCK DID THEY DO TO LAIN?!?!!
I am not being sarcastic whenever I say that it looks like an xvid file from the early eras of anime downloading. I mean, not RealVideo bad, but pre-H264. I honestly think that the actual H264 files of the Japanese blu-ray, compressed to hell as I'm sure they are, probably have less banding and look better than this disc.
I'm sorry, FUNimation, but how did you do this? This should have been a very simple "take Japanese blu-ray, put FUNi logo on it, sell" sort of disc. Why did you adjust the brightness (or gamma? Like I said, I don't know or care, because it shouldn't have been a thing) and do whatever you did. How did it actually get to the point where this disc was replicated with such a terrible transfer? Didn't someone, at some stage prior to shipping the ugly fuckers, actually watch it? Y' know, to make sure it doesn't look like total fucking shit? If this were my business, I would have.
If they did, I imagine that somehow they managed to skip to the only light colored scenes in the whole show. The issues are pretty much non-existant there, but I'd say that the show is 5% light colored scenes, 95% dark, banding, creepy-crawling blocky hell.
They better do a trade in at some point.
And for those of you who aren't used to taking the angred word of a femgeek over good old-fashioned Blu-ray grabs, well, JP release will be on top...
So... I basically paid $50 for a nice booklet and a chipboard box.
Just so we have some perspective on this: A goddamn SD upscale of Sora no Otoshimono: Heaven's Lost Property gets a pair of BD50s. A truly seminal work of progressive fine art focused on a deconstruction of man's eternal relationship with machine... doesn't. Lovely. I understand that there's economic realities in pressing a second dual-layer disc. So charge me more. It's fucking Serial Experiments Lain! It could have been another twenty bucks and I don't think anyone would have batted an eye.
If you want to see more of Lady Kentai's musings, reviews and super happy stuff, you can check out Judge Me Not.