The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi DVD 5.714285

Posted by DiGiKerot in Haruhi, R2(J) DVDs at February 13, 2010 on 8:39 pm

DiGiKerot 3 – Kadokawa 3. Two volumes to go, and things are all even now. Except, it’s Kyon, again. I almost feel like Kadokawa are still trolling me here…

Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s really not much point in protracting these posts out at this point – there’s never anything new to say about them. The only really significant thing to say about this volume that doesn’t apply to the ones preceding it is that this volume sees the move from Endless Eight into Sigh’s.

If I had a list of things I don’t really need…

Posted by DiGiKerot in HiME, R2(J) DVDs at February 10, 2010 on 10:27 pm

I’d think that another release of My-HiME would probably be pretty near the top. Long-term readers (of which I suspect there are few) may well remember that at one point I even wrote up a comparison between the R1, R2J and R2E releases DVD of the show – not that I have more than one volume of the R2E release. I still have the show twice over on DVD, though, and, honestly, half those US disks are still in shrinkwrap.

Which is why I had absolutely no intention of pre-ordering the recently released My-HiME Blu-Ray boxed set – after all, at the point when I managed to bring myself to not to buy the BR release of Zwei, I figured I’d finally managed to free myself from the franchises rigid grasp upon my wallet. Even regardless of that, it was a TV show from 2004, and there’s generally a limit to how much better a show of the vintage is going to look on the HD formats – it’d benefit from the reduction in compression issues which comes with the jump, but otherwise history informed us we could expect nothing better than a slightly better looking upscale.

But then people started getting their copies, and informed the world that the set had actually pulled the dub and the subtitles from the US release, and my will began to crumble somewhat. Then came the speculation that it was, infact, not an upscale at all. Needless to say, I ended up buying the thing. Sometimes I really don’t know why I even try to resist.

Still, it was worth it. It’s been a good four or five years since I saw the show last, and although I probably shouldn’t have been, I was kind of surprised to rediscover exactly how good a show My-HiME was. Not that I’m really all that interested in discussing the show at any length at this point – I kind of got that out of my system five years ago, and I really don’t want to risk getting into yet another debate about the ending.

The BR release is really rather lovely, though, even just to look at – it’s nice and compact, and all the covers feature new art by the shows character designer (and Queens Blade stalwart) Hirokazu Hisayuki. Well, at least I think it’s new – I don’t recognise it, and can’t spot any of them that pictured stack of books I’ve just looked though.

The experience of putting the disks in the player is quite pleasant as well. The fact that, like practically every other Japanese anime Blu-ray I’ve picked up, it’ll play quite happily on my European, Zone B player is highly appreciated, particularly given the way that Japanese still insist on region encoding their DVDs (even one’s with English subtitles, like Haruhi). Each of the disks boot-up to a menu enquiring as to whether you wish to play the disk in Japanese or International format, the later of which switches everything – from the copyright warnings to the menus – into English. Kind of makes one think that they are planning to release this thing in the US, doesn’t it?

The actual show itself looks pretty fabulous. Honestly, it’s a little difficult to tell if this is an upscale or not. If it is an upscale, it’s certainly a very good one. I kind of suspect that the video (it’s 1080i on disk, matted black bars down both sides in order to keep the aspect ratio) is taken from a source that, whilst not in 1080, was certainly higher than what it was broadcast in. Even taking into account compression issues, it looks an awful lot better than even the R2 disks. It doesn’t really matter, I guess – the point is that its far and away the best looking release of the show that exists, and the line-work is just so gloriously crisp and clean, without any sign of nasty edge enhancement. It’s just so beautiful *sniff*

If I’ve got one complaint about the release, it’s that it’s missing the “Next Step” text from episode 20’s next episode preview. Seriously, Bandai, how could you screw up something so important?

Well, okay, not really, but Bandai obviously consider it serious enough an oversight that they’re actually running a replacement program for that disk in Japan ^^;

Really, though, my complaint is about the extras. It’s not that it’s the only disk for which none of the content has subtitles – the only place you are going to miss them is with the all-new, four minute long omake feature (which, by the way, I love them for producing). Rather, it’s that for something they’ve devoted an entire additional disk to, it’s kind of light on them. It’d be understandable if there was a lack of additional material for them to pull from, but it’s not even like that’s the case. I mean, they’ve pulled the original promotional movie (did that even make the US release?) from the first pressing DVD vol 1 bonus disk, and the music videos from the My-HiME Fandisk, but the bulk of those disks was a good couple of hours of voice actress interviews and voice session footage that it’s a real shame aren’t duplicated here.

It’s a small complaint, I guess, and it’s not like I’d really get much value out of having them on here myself anyway, but it’d have been nice to see. Otherwise, these disks are an overwhelming pleasant experience, and being one of the weirdos who preferred it to HiME, I’m really looking forward to getting the ZHiME Blu-Ray set when it’s released next month. That’s got an new omake feature as well…

The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi DVD 5.571428

Posted by DiGiKerot in Haruhi, R2(J) DVDs at December 31, 2009 on 6:51 pm

It’s another month, which means the arrival of another ludicrously monikered instalment of Haruhi to make me squint in an attempt to correctly read off it’s annoying string of numbers. It’s Endless Eight again, of course, meaning that there’s really little point in saying anything at all about the content (even the extras are, once again, just continuations of the previous volumes) beyond mentioning that it’s the final instalment of that particular run of episodes. Presumably that means that next months (or this months, if you live in one of those parts of the world where it’s ticked over into 2010 already) will, aside from containing the first instalment of Sighs, see the end of Yuki’s dominance of the front-cover space.

But it’s not as if discussing the content is really the point behind these posts. Rather, it’s all about the eternal struggle of Man versus Kadokawa. Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi DVD 5.428571

Posted by DiGiKerot in Haruhi, R2(J) DVDs at December 4, 2009 on 9:34 pm

I did a silly thing this month – I allowed myself to get optimistic. Reports from those receiving copies of the latest Haruhi disk earlier than myself over at AoD were positive, with a couple of people landing their first film strips of the series. Faced with such evidence, I couldn’t help but start to ponder – had they, perhaps, increased the percentage of copies carrying said extra in an attempt to maintain their sales? Perhaps the random nature of the shipping had seen CDJapan receiving a stack with copies carrying this most elusive of extras this month. Whatever the case, somehow I was feeling strangely positive about this months release.

Yup, it’s a pretty normal looking haul isn’t it?

Well, I say normal looking, but let’s just take a closer look at that front cover…

The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi DVD 5.285714

Posted by DiGiKerot in Haruhi, R2(J) DVDs at November 22, 2009 on 9:02 pm

I’m going to have to open this one with a disclaimer – I’ve not actually got around to watching this DVD yet. It’s a net result of me spending far too much time playing video games and way too little time watching cartoons as of late. I must work to rectify this.

Still, it’s not like it particularly matters much in regards to what I’d be writing here anyway – by this point, I hope it’s abundantly clear that the on-disk content for these Haruhi release will continue to do little but iterate upon the previous volumes. It’s the same thing every month, only with the numbers incremented. They’re essentially the same – quite literally at the moment, given that the release is presently neck-deep in Endless Eight (absolutely not the reason why I’ve yet to watch this – Honest!)

So this post is really just another update in the battle between the heroic Collector and the evil forces of Chairman Kadokawa…

And that blasted Kadokawa is victorious once more! Alas, once again, no film strip nor extra coaster.

Still, this months volume (well, last months, the next disk being out on Friday, which is what has lit the fire under my arse required for me to write this) also came with a clear file – that thing you can see in the upper-center of the image. Kind of amusing that, with this and the previous volume, they’ve resorted to supplying additional physical extras with these Haruhi disks beyond just the randoms. Absolutely nothing to do with them being worried that Endless Eight will cause their sales to under-perform otherwise, I’m sure…