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Japanese DVD / BD News (Don't Expect Subs)

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  • Japanese DVD / BD News (Don't Expect Subs)

    I thought some of you might be interested what's going on in the land of the rising skirt. I probably won't be posting too much in this thread since the market is pretty much dead, and I rarely buy anything because I prioritize seeing old films in theaters. Anyway.

  • #2

    Sailor Suit and Machine Gun: Kadokawa 4K Scanning Blu-Ray: Post 1/2

    Here's a brief look at the new Blu-Ray released by Kadokawa in December 2014. Not to be confused with the earlier BD that came out a few years ago. I didn't sit down and watch the entire film this time, so this is just first impressions.

    Well, this is certainly an improvement. The film came out on remastered DVD and BD a few years ago, but judging by the screen captures the BD seemed quite underwhelming, possibly even an upscale. This new BD comes from a 4K scan and looks nice to my bad eyes. It does have a bit more grain that I expected, and I'm not so sure if all of that is film grain (see the motorcycle cap in the next post) but anyway...

    The disc includes both the theatrical (111 min) and the extended (130 min) versions. The new scenes are integrated into the film via seamless branching, but at least on my PS3 there's a small pause after (yes, after, not before) each new scene. That's quite irritating if you want to view the longer version. The picture quality seems the same for the new scenes as the main version.

    Click on the screens for full version. Comparison in the next post.


    The original mono (PCM) sounds perfectly fine. There's also a 5.1 mix (DTS-HD MA) which doesn't seem to have any added crap on it, though I only briefly checked both tracks.

    Kadokawa is known for being sketchy with the extras. Most of their original DVD releases, which came out more than 10 years ago, came with a great extras, such as interviews, music videos and behind the scenes footage. Their remastered DVD re-releases, which came out a few years ago, as well as BD releases, however, dropped nearly all of those extras.

    This new Sailor Suit BD is a bit of a mixed bag. I never owned the original DVD release but it seems the extras are the same: Teaser, Trailer, Extended Version Trailer (double feature trailer with footage from Yosooi no Machi *) and TV spot. I had never seen most of these as I only owned the Hiroko Yakushimaru Box Set (with the Extended Version of the film), which however came with an extra disc featuring Hiroko documentary and a silly Hiroko tribute music video. Those extras are all missing from here.

    The disc also offers a possibility to watch the added scenes one by one from the extras menu. Also, there's a re-printed (and resized)version of the original theatrical pamphlet (20 pages). I own the original (with 4A size pages) so I don't really need it, but it's certainly a great extra for those who don't have it.

    * Yosooi no Machi (装いの街) is a television special drama or TV movie from 1978. I belive only one episode was produced, and Hiroko was in it. They showed this episode in cinemas as a double feature with Sailor Suit's Extended Version in 1982.


    Footage from Yosooi no Machi in the double feature trailer

    Here's a picture from the original pamphet. The one that comes with the BD is identical but smaller.
    Senior Member
    Last edited by Takuma; 12-06-2014, 02:28 PM.


    • #3
      Sailor Suit and Machine Gun: Kadokawa 4K Scanning Blu-Ray: Post 2/2

      Top: IVL R3 HK (111 min original version)
      Middle: Kadokawa R2J (130 min complete version)
      Bottom: Kadokawa 4K Scan BD (111 min original version)


      • #4
        And, well, I already posted about the Hiroko Yakushimaru Premium DVD Box Set in the other thread some months ago, but maybe it's better to copy them here as well so that everything is in one place. Here goes:

        Hiroko Yakushimaru Premium DVD Box Set: Post 1/3

        I have the Hiroko Yakushimaru Premium Box Set which includes Tonda Couple (Somai, 1980), Sailor Suit and Machine Gun (extended version, 1982) and Main Theme (Morita, 1984) + bonus disc and 1/6 size sailor suit (no kidding!).

        Sailor Suit and Machine Gun(1981)

        Main Theme (1984)

        Tonda Couple (1980)


        • #5
          Hiroko Yakushimaru Premium DVD Box Set: Post 2/3

          Bonus disc

          The bonus dvd contains two features. The first one is 'Sensational Hiroko' music video, which is basically just three guys singing ”senzeezonal HIROKO” with short clips of Hiroko edited in. It's sillybut works like a drug. Watch it a few times and you won't be able to live without it anymore.

          The main feature is a 43 minute interview with Hiroko. She discusses about her Kadokawa films and singing career. Plenty of great behind the scenes stills are shown during the interview but unfortunately there isn't any behind the scenes video footage.

          (director shinji somai in the middle)


          • #6
            Hiroko Yakushimaru Premium DVD Box Set: Post 3/3

            So what's different between the two versions?

            1981 Theatrical Version: 112 min
            1982 Extended Version: 131 min

            Scene 1 (2:50)
            Extended scene. After Hiroko returns to her apartment, which has been turned upside down, she goes to a cafe with the detective to talk about her dad.

            Scene 2 (1:15)
            New scene. Hiroko drying her hair. Any footage of Hiroko drying her hair makes a film automatically better, so this is a good addition.

            Scene 3 (0:30)
            New scene. Hiroko and and the young gang member crossing the street. This is a nice little addition, partly thanks to the music.

            Scene 4 (9:38 )
            New scene. This is the biggest addition. Hiroko goes to meet a gangster alone and almost gets raped. Doesn't really suit the film, and Hiroko gets in trouble too many times in the film anyway.

            Scene 5 (3:14)
            New scene. Hiroko waiting for the ganster to arrive after she has been kidnapped. Has some nice moments but isn't really necessary.

            Scene 6 (1:13)
            Extended scene. Not really necessary.

            Bottom line: some good additions, some not so good additions. It's not really better or worse than the theatrical version.


            • #7
              Here are all the 4K Scan BDs Kadokawa has released

              Kadokawa also released some other films on 4K Scan Blu Rays...

              Resurrection of the Golden Wolf (1979)
              The Beast Must Die (1980)
              The Girl who Leapt Through Time (1982)
              Fancy Dance (1989) (also in a box set)
              Sumo Do, Sumo Don't (1992) (also in a box set)
              Shall We Dance? (1996) (also in a box set)

              Senior Member
              Last edited by Takuma; 12-06-2014, 02:50 PM.


              • #8
                Toei is celebrating their dead heroes in HD.

                Abashiri Prison BD Box Set I
                - Films 1-5
                - March 13, 2015

                Brutal Tales of Chivalry BD Box Set I
                - Films 1-5
                - May 13, 2015

                Abashiri Prison BD Box Set II
                - Films 6-10
                - June 10, 2015

                Brutal Tales of Chivalry BD Box Set I
                - Films 6-9
                - July 8, 2015

                Detective Story TV series BD Box Set
                - 2015/03/13

                Takakura Ken Leading Roles: Toei Selection BD Box Set
                - Bullet Train (1975)
                - Winter's Flower (1978)
                - Dí´ran (1980)
                - Railroad Man (1999)
                - The Firefly (2001)
                - 2015/04/08

                New Battles without Honor and Humanity BD Box Set
                - Films 1-3
                - 2015/04/08

                Cops vs. Thugs (1975)
                - 2015/04/08

                New Battles without Honor and Humanity: Aftermath (1979)
                - 2015/05/13


                • #9
                  Toei already released Bunta Sugawara's two most popular series on BD before

                  Truck Yaro (1975-1979)

                  Battles Without Honor and Humanity

                  Disc 1: Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Blu-Ray)
                  Disc 2: Deadly Battle in Hiroshima (Blu-Ray)
                  Disc 3: Proxy War (Blu-Ray)
                  Disc 4: Police Tactics (Blu-Ray)
                  Disc 5: Final Chapter (Blu-Ray)
                  Disc 6: Battles without Honor and Humanity: Soushuu hen (224 minute re-edit of the films) (Blu-Ray)
                  Disc 7: NHK Documentary: The Men who Made Battles Without Honor and Humanity (90 min) (DVD)
                  + Booklet 1 (16 pages)
                  + Booklet 2 (28 pages)
                  + 30 Lobby Cards (6 for each 5 films)

                  Trailers and info screens ("conflict map") should also be found on the film discs.


                  • #10
                    I would so gladly upgrade on so many of these releases if they had subs.... it's enough to make you cry a little bit.
                    Rock! Shock! Pop!


                    • #11
                      Nothing to add, but I'm enjoying this thread immensely :)
                      'You know, I'd almost forgotten what your eyes looked like. Still the same. Pissholes in the snow'

             (my photography website)
                      'All explaining in movies can be thrown out, I think': Elmore Leonard


                      • #12
                        Well, this is a bit unexpected. The Yasuaki Kurata TV show Fight! Dragon (1974) is coming out on BD in Japan.

                        Vol. 1
                        - episodes 1-13 (312 min)
                        - 4:3 1080i High Definition/MPEG‐4 AVC/BD50G/
                        - 2015/03/27

                        Vol. 2
                        - episodes 14-26 (312 min)
                        - 4:3 1080i High Definition/MPEG‐4 AVC/BD50G/
                        - 2015/05/29

                        What's a bit less impressive is that both volumes are 1 disc releases, meaning there's 5 hours of footage on one disc. I don't know if that's enough to ensure ideal quality, but I do know that's not the way you justify a 12 000 yen price tag (per disc).


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ian Jane View Post
                          I would so gladly upgrade on so many of these releases if they had subs.... it's enough to make you cry a little bit.
                          I'm crying because a year ago Toei stopped releasing catalogue titles on DVD. Of course it's nice to get BDs on some of their most popular films, but there are so many treasures yet to be discovered that never made it to DVD (or VHS). Those films ain't gonna come out on BD anytime soon. Expect something like Red Peony Gambler, Yusaku Matsuda flicks, and perhaps something with Koji Tsuruta to come next - in other words, the films I already have on DVD.


                          • #14
                            Please, please, please, let this be a new start! After a two year break from catalogue releases, Toei is releasing three yakuza films by Shigero Ozawa on DVD November 11.

                            Gambler Life Stories (Bakuto retsuden) (博徒列伝) (1968)
                            Starring: Koji Tsuruta, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Junko Fuji, Ken Takakura, Bunta Sugawara

                            Chivalrous Man's Life Story (Toseinin retsuden) (渡世人列伝) (1969)
                            Starring: Koji Tsuruta, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Junko Fuji, Ken Takakura

                            Biography of a Chivalrous Man (Yukyo retsuden) (遊侠列伝) (1970)
                            Starring: Ken Takakura, Junko Fuji, Kanjuro Arashi

                            These are parts 2-4 in the series. Part 1 (dir. Masahiro Makino) was already released years ago. Part 5 remains unavailable (dir. Kosaku Yamashita).

                            Now I'm just praing Toei will release some more Sonny Chiba treasures some day, especially my all time favorite Chiba film Wolfguy: Enraged Lycanthrope (1975), other gems like Army Intelligence 33 (1968) and some that I've never seen but really want to, e.g. the Yakuza Wolf films and the Narcotics / Prostitution G-Men (aka A Narcotics Agent's Ballad) films and many others.

                            I think now would be a good time to send Toei a message and order some Toei DVDs.


                            • #15
                              I'd grab English friendly editions of any and all Ken Takakura and/or Bunta Sugawara Yakuza films in a heartbeat. And of course, any Chiba.
                              Rock! Shock! Pop!