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Wrong packaging description & Out of sync audio for a very nice show
on 23 October 2011
While the show is worth discovering (beautiful animation with Otomo's usual character design and well paced and deep plot), the technical presentation here is more than sub-par.
First of all : Video quality.
3 years ago (!), Honneamise released a beautiful (but expensive) 4 discs + artbook US set. The UK boxset reviewed here have the same content (minus the artbook), except that it squeezes the 7 episodes on 1 disc, instead of 4 for the US set. The bitrate suffers quite a lot.
Moreover, if the extras are here put on a dedicated DVD (and thus, are presented in SD), they are also put on the BD (also in SD !), meaning that the episodes are losing even more space to breathe.
Furthermore, the 5 min Prologue is implemented twice : as a stand alone, and at the beginning of the 1st episode. That's another 5 useless and redondants minutes.
However, even if the bitrate suffers, and that every single bit is squeezed on 1 disc, the video quality is still quite good, but you can't miss the few instances of shimmerings and aliasings that pop out once in a while.
Audio quality :
This is where the real issues are.
First, the packaging states that the audio tracks are English & Japanese, both in 5.1 and 2.0, all 4 in DTS HD MA.
That's perfectly and completely wrong.
The audio menu on the disc, indeed, states only 2 tracks : English 5.1 DTS HD MA, and Japanese 5.1 DTS HA MA.
That's, again, perfectly and completely wrong.
In fact, you only have English 5.1 and Japanese 5.1... but in a 1.5 Mbps DTS lossy track.
However, both tracks are very good, and a 1.5 Mbps DTS track is still the best of lossy tracks, but still, this is false advertisement.
However, Japanese track on episode 4 and both tracks on episode 7 are fully out of sync.
It has already been heard on other sites and forums, and I confirmed that on my fully updated PS3.
It is very, very annoying, because the only option is then to watch the episode with the DVD.
And the DVD is a NTSC - PAL conversion, with the 24th frame repeated to go to 25 frames / sec.
Meaning it looks quite awful.
In the end, this is quite a bad portage of the beautiful US set.
If the tracks weren't out of sync on 2 (out of only 7 !) episodes, I wouldn't care that much. Extras are packed, PQ is still quite good.
But, in the end, this UK set really feels that a awfully cheap portage, that I quite regret having bought.