Images for the MB Blu-ray were taken using Media Player Classic Home Cinema's screenshot option, because they're not exact frames and honestly, I don't really give a fuck. This isn't the usual critical piece I'm fond of, it's just an excuse to point and laugh to hide the fact that I'm drowning in bitter, bitter tears.
I know I talked briefly about this last time, but holy poop on a stick, whoever did the color grading for the HD transfer needs a proper pimp-slapping. Flesh tones are alright, and I'm not suggesting the old LD master was "better" overall, but why the fuck did they turn the gamma down to nothing? It's practically a black hole now, despite - as you can see - thorough attention paid to the dark and often moody backgrounds. "Black" needs special care in animation, since making sure outlines hit IRE 0 won't necessarily be "correct" - there's too many variables in paint and lighting to assume that, and turning everything down results in... well, in overly dark and "off" looking transfers like this. I suspect the reds are pushing way outside of color-safe zones, too, but I'm far too lazy to confirm at this point. There's so many other things wrong that complaining about Blu-ray limitations just feels like pissing on a corpse after you've stolen its watch.
And the next two shots are from the "explicit" scenes not included on the Media Blasters BD, just to prove the Japanese release - while far from uncensored - is, at least, the complete 18+ version.
It's really... it's really something, isn't it? The American BD may be a disaster on every level, but at least somebody seemingly tried to assemble a high quality composite of the best elements available. The Japanese BD is the laziest sort of abomination, an eyesore that's more censored than ever before... and yet, when it comes time to compare the Japanese BD to the upscaled scenes on the North American release, it's still the better of the two. It's like having to choose between a fresh shit and a dried turd, truly.
If it wasn't for the combination of pixelation-censorship and bizarre blurred-self censorship, I'd say the Japanese BD was the best version available, if only by default. Sadly, it seems the Media Blasters "Kite Uncut" DVD from a decade ago is still the winner, despite being a badly compressed release pulled from what I can only assume is a noisy-ass Betacam SP dupe master. The JP release has some gnarly analogue noise of its own, but at least it didn't turn into pixelated mayonaise with a nice high-bitrate AVC encode, I guess.
I'm fucking done with the internet for the next couple days. Was hoping to have a feature on a less sorrow-inducing release finished by now, but hey, I go where I'm needed, like a rounin with the superpower to shitpost and complain at the speed of spite. I hope all of you have more fun seeing this than I did, 'cause man, all I feel right now is sick.