H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 5600 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)
Harmon Cardon DD/DTS receiver
Ascent (main) + Boston Acoustics (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze







Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...


Ghost in the Shell (Kôkaku kidôtai) [Blu-ray and SD Combo DVD]


(Mamoru Oshii, 1995)

Bandai Visual and Manga Entertainment
Review by Gary W. Tooze and Luiz R.

Video: 16:9 1080P AVC (± 39 Mbps)
Size: 50GB (dual-layered BRD) and a dual-layered SD
Audio: Japanese 2.0 PCM, English 2.0 Dolby
Subtitles: Japanese, English
Extras: Ghost In The Shell Trailers
Box: (see image below)
DVD (Dual Layer, Mpeg-2 ±8.0 Mbps)
Audio: Japanese 2.0 Dolby, DUB: English 2.0 Dolby
Subtitles: English, Japanese, none

Released: August 24th, 2007
Blu-ray case
20 chapters


Product Description:

The skillful blending of drawn animation and computer-generated imagery excited anime fans when this science fiction mystery was released in 1995: many enthusiasts believe Ghost suggests what the future of anime will be, at least in the short term. The film is set in the not-too-distant future, when an unnamed government uses lifelike cyborgs or "enhanced" humans for undercover work. One of the key cyborgs is The Major, Motoko Kusanagi, who resembles a cross between The Terminator and a Playboy centerfold. She finds herself caught up in a tangled web of espionage and counterespionage as she searches for the mysterious superhacker known as "The Puppet Master."

Mamoru Oshii directs with a staccato rhythm, alternating sequences of rapid-fire action (car chases, gun battles, explosions) with static dialogue scenes that allow the characters to sort out the vaguely mystical and rather convoluted plot. Kusanagi's final quote from I Corinthians suggests that electronic evolution may compliment and eventually supplant organic evolution. The minor nudity, profanity, and considerable violence would earn Ghost in the Shell at least a PG rating.

Excerpt from Charles Solomon' review at Amazon located HERE




Ghost in the Shell is another great example of the anime genre. This Japanese animation was dubbed into English by the Manga Entertainment company and the voice acting is surprisingly good. Unlike most anime, though, the emphasis seems to be on the cerebral aspects that come into play when one questions their own identity. There are some standard-issue car chases, nudity, gun fights and ultraviolent scenes, but there's less than you might expect. Some scenes are seemingly endless conversations of existentialism and some of its more abstract ideas.


As a visual representation of the future, Ghost in the Shell is impressive. Some scenes of futuristic Hong Kong are photographic in quality and the interweaving of computer graphics with the animation is stunning and effective. The result is a very convincing atmosphere of gloom, decay and menace from an unknown source. This helps the viewer identify with the main character's search for herself, since the outside world seems so unpleasant.

Excerpt from Media-Assault.com located HERE




Video: (BIG thanks to Luiz R. for his assistance)

I think the Blu-ray is an amazing upgrade from the SD DVD, although I noticed some "color flickering" the overall improvements are immense. This is most evident in the resolution (obviously) and the vibrancy of the colors. I did notice some unusual dirt - but it was very infrequent. Bottom line with the image quality of the BRD is that I'm pleased and suspect it will be years before something superior for this film comes along. I would estimate it is around 15-20% better than the SD DVD included in the package.


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample















Caps from the Blu-ray









The only audio is a Dolby 2.0 track and I really enjoyed the PCM output - so much so that it sounds superior to any of the previous releases I own. Saying that though a 5.1 output would be interesting. There is a 2.0 English DUB offered.

Optional English, or Japanese subtitles support the dialogue.


There is nothing here, just some trailers...


BOTTOM LINE: Digital animation - including adult-oriented Japanese animation really seems to benefit from a high-definition transfer. Colors in this are explosive. For those keen on the Blade Runner concept of this (or Ghost in the Shell: Innocence), then owning the Blu-ray(s) is the way to view these film's to maximize the visual splendor.

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...


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