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...


Patlabor 2 - The Movie [Blu-ray + SD versions]


(Mamoru Oshii, 1993)

Studio: Bandai Visual / Honneamise
Video: 1080p - 16:9 - AVC (29Mbps)
Overscan Prevention Bars: Yes
Region: All / DVD 2

Audio: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (� 1.9Mbps 16-bit/48kHz), Japanese PCM 2.0 (1.5Mbps), English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640kbps)

Subtitles: Japanese, English, none

Disc: Dual-Layered Blu-Ray (50GBs) + Dual-Layered DVD
Runtime: 113 min.

Extras: Trailers, Booklet

Release Date: August 24th, 2007
Package: Blu-Ray + DVD Box

The year is 1999. A unit of Labors has been deployed to Southeast Asia as part of a UN peacekeeping mission. Forced into a confrontation with local guerilla fighters, the unit is destroyed after failing to receive permission to fight back. The unit commander, Japan Self-Defense Forces officer Yukihito Tsuge, subsequently vanishes without a trace.

It is now the winter of 2002. The former members of the Special Vehicles Section 2, 2nd Unit, have transferred out. Out of a clear sky, a single missile is dropped and bombs the Yokohama Bay Bridge � and a video taken by chance at the scene shows what appears to be an F-16 fighter in the vicinity. The public uproar that follows targets the JSDF, which claims that it has no such aircraft as the one seen on tape, and distrust of the JSDF grows until one day people wake up to the fact an atmosphere of intense discord pervades their society, and that Tokyo, the �information city, has lost the ability to function as such.

The Film:
After three years of silence, the world of PATLABOR entered the new millennium. The setting of PATLABOR 2 THE MOVIE is in the winter of 2002 after the former Labor pilots and personnel of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Special Vehicles Section 2�s 2nd Unit � which was originally formed to cease the crimes committed by Labors � have transferred to various other positions and new locations except for Commander Gotoh and Officer Yamazaki. It seemed that people in Tokyo were spending ordinary but peaceful days until the day a single missile bombs the Yokohama Bay Bridge out of the blue.

PATLABOR 2 THE MOVIE is a controversial work that incorporated many domestic and international issues that Japan was facing at the time of the film's creation. Director Mamoru Oshii's unique sense of concern over Japan is apparent all through the film � in both the nature of the story's political backdrop, and in how realism is stressed within the animation itself. The overall Japanese animation landscape took a decidedly different turn as a result of this film, and transformed radically as the 1990s progressed.

Tremendous economic growth took place in Japan during the late 1980s, but the economic bubble went bust with the 1990 market crash, which proved a blow to the morale of many Japanese. In addition to these domestic changes, the outside world also brought a dramatic transformation to Japan�s circumstances around that time such as collapse of the Berlin Wall, outbreak of Gulf War, end of Cold War, disintegration of the Soviet Union, and most importantly, Japan Self-Defense Forces participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations, which caused extensive debate in Japan, whose constitution does not officially regard JSDF as a military force.

PATLABOR 2 was created against these events and the most compelling reason why Oshii adopted such a theme may be the director's sense of alarm over the radical shifts seen in Japan's domestic and international situation since 1989, the date of the first PATLABOR film.

Excerpt from From Bandai Visual (Ryusuke Hikawa) HERE




Same style as "Patlabor 1", this is a glossy double case/disc box, standard DVD keep case size. Illustration is beautiful as usual.

Video: I don't have any considerable complaints about the quality of this Blu-Ray transfer. The only slight disturbance are occasional but very light and narrow reddish speckles. Regardless, they are easily concealable. The texture is very smooth and calm, details are sharp and dirt is minimal and never compromising. In comparison to other Bandai/Honneamise's Blu-Ray releases, the contrast is a bit heavier, giving a natural brilliance to the image. Comparing with the included SD DVD the effect is very positive, the image is more vivid and grabbing. Obviously that is not the only difference between the two transfers; there is also detail, depth, clarity... everything is improved. In the many snow scenes the 3D-ish feeling from the HD transfer is the final blow that leaves SD DVD completely eclipsed.

The HD image also seems to be bigger and wider than the SD one, I could see a shade more detail on all sides watching the Blu-Ray that were cut from the SD DVD. I believe this difference can be seen in the comparison grabs below, but please be aware the images are slightly cropped.

The master, I believe, is a few years old but it is really solid and clearly contributes to this quality transfer - one of the finest Blu-Ray ones yet. I watched the movie completely satisfied by it.

Luiz R.

(SD TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM)



(SD TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM)



(SD TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM)



(SD TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM)




Blu-ray Screen Captures










The Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 is is not the best mix I have heard from these Bandai/Honneamise releases but it is very dynamic. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 is similar in content but is more blunt - lacking brilliance. The DUB also degrades the quality and fidelity a bit due to the lack of special effects originally added to the voices in some instances. When somebody speaks through a radio or another electronic mean you can clearly note the voice distortion. In the English dub you hear a fake, attempted way to mimic this effect. This is quite dull.

Both 5.1 mixes have some background music and other not so interesting details added in comparison with the Japanese PCM stereo track. I believe the PCM stereo is the original sound version, it is more "quiet" and centered in the characters than the others. The other mixes sometimes have added background voices, like soldiers screaming in the radio, and occasionally some soundtrack music that gives a more childish tone to the movie, IMHO.

The PCM stereo is my favorite track here, it lacks the surround details added to the others, but it is more tense and never annoying. The PCM is as keen as the Dolby TrueHD, but as I said doesn't have the same amount of frivolous details and is not so concerned about the subwoofer.

The booklet is always interesting and fully illustrated, this is the only thing that could make an American release worthy if one can't read Japanese.


Like always there are also some ordinary trailers.

Translation and timing seemed accurate to me, but it does get a bit too fast at times.

BOTTOM LINE: To me this is the best episode from the Patlabor's series, offering an improved denseness to the movie's plot, when compared to the first, without leaving it boring or tiring. If you got the first and liked this is strongly recommended. For anime fans in general thinking about acquiring the series, know that quality won't be an issue.

Luiz R.

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