Viz replies to the video quality complaints in the SM set!

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Jul 6, 2006
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Viz/Neon Alley has a new blog, discribing what some videophiles saw. http://blog.neonalley.com/an-inside-loo ... -releases/

An inside look at the new Sailor Moon Blu-Ray releases!
Posted on November 10, 2014 by Raven Orange
Tomorrow is November 11 and do you know what that means? Yes, Sailor Moon makes her triumphant return to North America and this time on Blu-ray!

Sailor Moon Limited Edition uncut blu-ray DVD release November 2014


You’ve been watching the two new episodes of the classic 90′s anime each week here on Neon Alley and Hulu, but there’s nothing quite like having the Guardian of Love and Justice herself in a shimmery box right on your shelf. Today, we’re going to show you something really special and let you peek at some of what went into the Blu-ray releases.


The original Sailor Moon series, based on the magical girl manga phenomenon by Naoko Takeuchi, began airing on Japanese TV back in 1992. Television was much different back then, and anime was broadcast to fit the televisions of the time. That’s why, when you watch it now, you see the black bars on the side. Most screens now use a wider aspect ratio of 16:9, whereas when Sailor Moon debuted, television aspect ratio was generally the squarer 4:3. Rather than doing any cropping to the image, the black bars, called Pillarboxing, were added to maintain the original 4:3 aspect ratio.

The original footage for Sailor Moon, being from way back in 1992, is also older than many fans who adore the series now. In 2009, Japan released the seasons on DVD using the best materials available, Unfortunately, the original film from 1992 just does not exist. In making our Blu-ray releases, we used the same masters used to create the those beautiful releases, but make them work for the modern Blu-ray format.

To create the Sailor Moon Blu-rays, we used the masters used to create the 2009 Japanese DVD sets. To make the footage for Blu-ray, a proprietary process was used consisting of clean format conversion, inverse telecine to return the source to its native framerate, correction of inherent alieasing issues and the sharpest SD to HD conversion possible. After this, Pillarboxing was added to maintain the 4:3 original aspect ratio of the footage and then it was processed to a high bitrate mezzainine encode for Blu-ray production. After these correct combinations were worked out, the final product was processed.

These are completely different masters than what was used for the 2003 North American DVD releases that many fans have in their collection. Let’s take a look at the change using episode 2 as an example. These shots compare the 2009 master to the North American Blu-ray releases coming out tomorrow.

Quite different, right? Of course, due to the materials and the fact that each episode is different, there’s still some minor imperfections and every episode will have some small variations. In handling the series as carefully as possible, no additional processing was done. For those of you getting the DVD only releases, you’ll also notice the difference in the picture compared to previous DVDs available in North America. However, we will be omitting pillarboxing on the Sailor Moon DVD sets going forward. The Blu-rays will still have them, though.



So there it is, a little bit of tech talk and a peek behind the scenes on the return of the legendary anime, Sailor Moon! If you like these cool little extras, don’t forget there’s lots more behind-the scenes cool stuff like in-studio footage, The announcement panel and so much more on the Limited Edition sets. Be sure to grab yours before they sell out!
This last part addresses another issue:
"We will be omitting pillarboxing on the Sailor Moon DVD sets going forward."
 

NJ_

Nebula
Oct 31, 2009
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Nov 5, 2014
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The plot thickens. Naturally the screenshots they've put up aren't anything like the foreign DVDs that are available. I'll update my Amazon review at some point to address this.
 
Jul 6, 2006
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1dbad said:
Mercurius said:
"We will be omitting pillarboxing on the Sailor Moon DVD sets going forward."
So does that mean there'll be cropping now like with the old ADV releases?
Actually, it's removing the black bars on the sides, that force it to be 16:9, hence the pillarboxing.

Anyway, ANN posted something about this, too:

This Blu-ray release sadly does not do the property justice at all. I'd been hearing whispers across social media of video problems, but I dismissed them. After all, Sailor Moon is 20 years old. Expecting magic would be foolish.

But unfortunately, the problems are not artifacts of time. Something went horribly wrong in the production process, and somewhere along the way, new problems were introduced. Whatever "remastering" was done was done by an algorithm that churned through 530 minutes of video and spit out a flawed product that's inconsistent across the discs. Sure, the final video is largely grain-free, and the colors are smooth, but the color contrast is messed up. High contrast colors like flesh-tone and black survived the process—faces look about as sharp as one can expect. But pinks and reds are overblown, so everyone's school uniforms have smeary bows, and backgrounds have unexpected splotches where texture once was.

And yes, there is ghosting. Not all the time. And not in all the episodes. But there's no reason for it to be there at all.

But the most succinct way to summarize these issues for yourself is simply to look at the opening sequence of any episode, and then watch the clean opening in the extras. The clean opening, which appears to have escaped the remastering process entirely, is vibrant and crisp. The text in the books that Usagi walks across can be clearly read from across the room. The first scene is unambiguously monochrome, in shades of blacks, greys, and whites. The next scene is bright and cheery. When Luna and Usagi's silhouettes are shown against the moon, they're crisp, and the animation is smooth.

In contrast, the opening sequences on the third disc are dark and blue-tinted. The opening shot is shades of dark, murky blue. The next scene is muted and drab, including the logo. The silhouettes have weird static-y ghosts that lurch across the moon. The text on the books is less legible, with the pinks in the first harder to read than the greens in the next. And it seems to be disc-dependent, too. The static-y silhouette shadows are still present in the opening sequences on the first disc, but the brightness of the colors is more akin to that of the clean opening.

It's a shame, because Sailor Moon deserves a fantastic release. And by all accounts, this should've been it. It's easy to see how much love is in this release, but it's dragged down by its video problems.
 

KAKERU

Luna Crescens
Nov 3, 2010
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Eric said:
So there were even more ghosting frames in the original Japanese SD Master/DVD? :?
Not at all! There isn't any ghosting nor blended frames in the Japanese DVDs.

This is what VIZ claims the Japanese DVD master looks like:

http://blog.neonalley.com/wp-content/up ... 2.0091.png
http://blog.neonalley.com/wp-content/up ... 2.0051.png
http://blog.neonalley.com/wp-content/up ... 2.0031.png
http://blog.neonalley.com/wp-content/up ... 2.0071.png

And these are screencaps taken from the Japanese DVD:

http://i.imgur.com/jlrKiNk.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/8Lxrplh.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/PNtZ8R6.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/rrGdm4e.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/B3d5Jjb.jpg


Comparison screenshots: http://screenshotcomparison.com/compari ... /picture:1

Italian, French, and German DVD masters:
http://i.imgur.com/qy8CTuv.png
http://i.imgur.com/OMdom34.png

The Mexican DVDs for seasons 1 and 2 are 100% identical to the Japanese DVDs. Season 3 has been slightly touched up: https://www.facebook.com/SailorMoonTalk ... =3&theater

1dbad said:
Mercurius said:
"We will be omitting pillarboxing on the Sailor Moon DVD sets going forward."
So does that mean there'll be cropping now like with the old ADV releases?
I may be wrong, but it seems like the "remastered" DVD version is a re-downscale of their upscale and that may be the reason why there is pillarboxing (they forgot to crop off the borders that were added when upscaling to "HD")
 
Feb 10, 2009
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So now we have Viz trying to downplay the whole thing even when it seems to be their problem soley.

For the most part, I don't mind, but of course I haven't watched the blu rays yet to see if it is overly noticeable. If it isn't, Ill be fine but I hope they learn from this release when it comes to the rest of the series.
 

Flower Hurricane

Lumen Cinererum
Sep 6, 2014
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I don't know if it was one of you who recently reviewed the set on Amazon, but I'm seriously reconsidering getting this now. If anything, the DVDs sound more acceptable than the blu-rays, and it's a shame that they won't fix the first release to match the rest of them.

I'm sure there's more discussion on this on blu-ray.com. The people there are usually pretty knowledgeable about the tech stuff.
 
Jul 21, 2014
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Flower Hurricane said:
but I'm seriously reconsidering getting this now.
If you have a 16x9 TV you'll be fine.

Most of these complaints come from Videophiles, who basically want the quality perfect.

For casual audiences, you'll be fine with it.
 

Flower Hurricane

Lumen Cinererum
Sep 6, 2014
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Tossing Petals
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Just a heads up that the LE set is now $53 on Amazon. I wonder if it'll drop even further...

SailorWelshy said:
If you have a 16x9 TV you'll be fine.

Most of these complaints come from Videophiles, who basically want the quality perfect.

For casual audiences, you'll be fine with it.
Have you got your blu-ray yet? I'm wondering if the difference between that and the DVD version is that noticeable.
 
Jul 21, 2014
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Not yet, I have seen footage from the DVD's, and from a casual person like me it looks fine.

I might order my set today or tomorrow.
 

Fire

Aurorae Lunares
Apr 7, 2011
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You know, at the end of the day, the whole thing is primarily Toei's fault... It's not very professional to not have the original film archived - and come on, considering how important this franchise has been to them, you'd think they would've taken better care of their footage over the years. This isn't even a matter of budget, like it is with Crystal - it's just plain lack of interest. And as for what Viz used to make the "remasters"... that's also the footage that Toei gave them, so if they worked with video footage that was bad from the beginning, then it's all on Toei for not providing better image quality from the very start.

Not saying that Viz pretending like everything's perfect is okay. But I'm just saying that sometimes we forget how much of the blame goes out to Toei.

Look at Disney movies and how much care they are given - what we see today on Blu-Ray is definitely superior image quality to what we saw in the 90s on VHS. And come on, some of their movies go back decades! Sleeping Beauty for example, looks much better on DVD than this Sailor Moon does on Blu Ray.

I do realize that the stakes for one 70 minute movie are completely different than those of a 200 episode anime, but... A bit more care and interest would not've hurt.
 
Jul 21, 2014
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This sort of behaviour from Toei doesn't surprise me.

The BBC didn't take care of it's archives either.

As a result, episodes of Classic Doctor Who, Z Cars, Hancock's Half Hour (The first British sitcom), and Steptoe and Son were destroyed.

See studios lack something that normal people have. Hindsight.

Also Fire, some people on here would disagree with you about Disney looking after their films.

For example many Disney fans think Sword and the Stone was butchered on Blu-Ray. And let's not forget how Disney like to pretend The Black Cauldron, and Song of the South never existed.
 
Jul 29, 2012
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#20
This is true.

TOEI, the main studio AND owner of the franchise, should have remastered "Sailor Moon" to HD definition.

TOEI didn't, and therefore, VIZ apparently felt the need to remaster what I understand is a Standard Definition (SD) Master.