Six Series That Needs To Be Released In The U.S. On Blu-ray
2011 marks the year when U.S. anime distributors finally began to distribute anime on Blu-ray as a norm (and not a special limited edition). Thankfully we do have a wider selection of anime titles on Blu-ray today, and fans are actively demanding them. We at Anime Reviews love Blu-rays. Why wouldn’t we? There are better, sharper and bluer than DVD ever was. But there are anime series that, despite being released in Japan on Blu-ray never quite made it to the U.S. on that format. Here are six series that needs to be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray.
Kara no Kyoukai – Garden of Sinners
Ah, Garden of Sinners, that series of 7 movies (with a 8th on the way) which was only released on an infamously expensive Blu-ray box. Sure, the Japanese version had English subtitles and Right Stuf! brought some 400 or so copies of it to the U.S. but that can hardly be specified as a U.S. release. First of all 400 copies are laughable in terms of quantity. Second, the box came at a whopping 398.98$, which made a hole in the pockets of even the most devoted fans. So to sum it up, Aniplex’s “limited edition” of Garden of Sinners actually limited the amount of people who could enjoy it. We waited patiently ever since, hoping that Aniplex of America will one day release this collection again without the bells and whistles (none of which were worth the extra $$ anyway). And guess what, Aniplex of America is gearing up for a second release of Garden of Sinners, but only on DVD. Excuse me? DVD? Why is Aniplex downgrading our viewing experience instead of releasing a proper Blu-ray budget release? Realistically speaking if Aniplex of America doesn’t want fans to pirate these movies it need to do a proper U.S. Blu-ray release, and soon.
Serial Experiments Lain|RESTORE
In 2010 a Blu-ray version of Serial Experiments Lain came out in Japan. This was not simply an upscale: the production studio took the original 35mm film and telecined it specifically for HD. Yoshitoshi ABe personally recolored part of the scenes and added details to others. The opening and ending themes were resampled. And if that’s not enough this special edition (Serial Experiments Lain|RESTORE as it is called in Japan) came in an art box together with 2 OST CDs, a guidebook and a “resources” book. It’s been more than 10 years since Serial Experiments Lain was released on DVD in the U.S. and this Blu-ray version is obviously a great way for new people to watch the show, as well as a nice new updated version suited for those who’d like to replace their worn out DVDs.
Rest assured, this Blu-ray version is already marked for released in the U.S. The FUNimation Entertainment staff has admitted several times that they are working on acquiring the right to it. It may not be the same deluxe box the Japanese audience had gotten but Serial Experiments Lain will no doubt get its much needed U.S. Blu-ray release. Oh, and while we’re at it lets add the Haibane Renmei Blu-ray Box to our wish list as well.
What do you know, another Type Moon title! The Fate/Stay Night Blu-ray came out in Japan in September 2010. By that time Fate/Stay was already available for quite some time in the U.S. on DVD. It’s unknown whether there was a problem with the master copy the production studio used when authoring the original Japanese and U.S. DVDs but those with sharp eyes could easily see the DVDs didn’t turn out so good. They were blurry and had mushy colors. The Blu-ray version used a different master and has been redrawn and recolored. It looked amazing compared to the original.
Now, it’s been some time since the original Japanese release of this superior Blu-ray version, and Fate/Zero is just coming out in Japan and the U.S. Could there be a better time to release an HD version of Fate/Stay Night in the West? In the humble opinion of this writer I think not.
Tales of the Abyss
Tales of the Abyss was a good anime of the old sort, one that you start watching and end up marathoning for a couple of hours. Sadly Bandai Entertainment USA released the series on its death bed and Tales of the Abyss suffered because of that, from a marketing point. Stagnated marketing issues aside Bandai chose to release Tales of the Abyss only on DVD, despite a better Blu-ray version already available at the time. Why did Bandai chose this awkward decision? Did the company even have the time to consider a Blu-ray release of this title before folding? We may never know.
Sora no Woto
Sora no Woto follows the same lines as Tales of the Abyss. Well almost. While the Abyss is an action series Sora no Woto is an artistic series, which means you are supposed to be oggling at those awesome backgrounds and admiring the symbolic opening song and, well, watch other things. It was a series meticulously created for you to enjoy with your sight. In Japan the Blu-ray version outsold the DVDs 10 to 1. But did Nozomi Entertainment care? Not really. They licensed an SD copy of the series and slapped it on some DVDs. Why? Because Nozomi Entertainment doesn’t do Blu-rays. The backlash didn’t fail to come – some fans simply ignored the official release because of its inferiority. I know I did, and so did my friends (one bought the Japanese Blu-ray discs though). I don’t care when or who will release the Blu-ray version, but watching Sora no Woto on DVD when the original Blu-ray looks so much better? No thank you Nozomi.
The story surrounding the Japanese Toradora Blu-ray is as painful as it is misfortunate. The Toradora Blu-ray was announced in Japan almost simultaneously with NISA’s announcement of the U.S. DVD release of the series. NISA wasn’t even the one to blame this time around – the Toradora Blu-ray was made using a special technology Sony had developed to create HD content out of SD content. So at the time when NISA announced the Toradora DVDs there wasn’t even an HD source to begin with. The rest of the story is the painful part: Sony released a beautiful HD version of Toradora with a completely new OVA episode in the last disc, while NISA released the original series with a bad case of ghosting and no OVA. Since the Toradora Blu-ray Box was only released last year the chances of it making its way to the U.S. within the upcoming year or two is slim. But a fan can dream, right?